The Things They Say and Do

Much work in the kitchen these past two days…

prepping for Scout camp; prepping for PA

I bustle about here and there… and catch

these moments…

Small (not so small) son, …working in the kitchen a bit, dishes up; dishes away;

after a joint endeavor betwixt his older sister, me, and him- getting him packed-

his footlocker sorted; his clothing status assessed; it is a work!

I walk by him and hear him ruminate reflectively:

“I am going to a foreign land…”

his quiet murmur as he faces his first away camp week scouting; he reflects on what’s ahead.

A foreign land? I comment, smile,  then grin. O, the grand adventure in scouting for these boys.

The Things They Say!

********************************************************************************

I am moving in and out of the kitchen. Cooking, cooking. Abi is at the counter; Nate at the stove.

Suddenly, a little girl (M) comes loudly limping “across” the house from Family room to Dining room.

Her irregular gait loping by us three (we, –perplexed)

I, abrupt, — hustling,

with the mom eagle eye laser focused on one of my own:

“Why are you limping?” I {almost} bark- no nonsense mode at hand.

Little girl, with a declarative cry:

“I’m trying to be a pirate, a pirate!”

Two teens and I catch eyes; incredulous look rippling from face to face-

Oh! — how we laugh. Taken utterly by surprise-

our small pirate.

The things they say {and do}

Endless Gifts

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Endless Gifts

  • Evenings of firefly catching, and they spread out across the lawn; I sit in cool night air and breathe.
  • the sweet physical relief from sleep and rest for my body
  • Maryland sky
  • all their help, in every way
  • her poem request, and I wake inside my soul
  • the hard soul work of homeschooling with learning disabilities; the uncomfortable realization that really, it is about my sanctification, and it hurts, and it is hard. I cry.
  • the gutsy commitment of this journey, and knowing more than ever, I don’t control any outcome, and trying to find my own joy and soul-filledness as I walk this path
  • the way a small (not so small) son cooks for me
  • 20 years, and the sensation of cresting something.. -where– the view is now sweet, and the hand is in mine, and the soul is knit, and the realization that some things will be easier from here. And somehow, we made it here.
  • pouring myself out like a cup full of water for their growth; for their futures; for their souls; for life; trying to understand what restores that cup; but knowing Jesus is the well that never runs dry, and grateful to know; to live at any moment that I can lean in, lean in to Him, and He is everything
  • turning back to write gratefulness, to write thankfulness, and knowing it is the power to transform a life
  • her organized, structured, logical ways
  • the Balanchine essay she wrote, and the quote she applied
  • my oversight advisors  {grace}
  • sweet friend’s boundaries encouragement, and how her words ring for me
  • he collects our photos for the yearbook, and my soul exhales. I see good.
  • a writing “club” whose location is the van; whose beverages are often a cola (for him) and an iced coffee (for me); whose encouragement is grand; time with a teen who creates space & gentle accountability for me; listening ear and fiction encouragement- for him #writinglife #itisgood
  • Summer season
  • and summer plans: swims, walks; trips; summer school; cooking; baking; tending; living; writing

After {Graduation 2019}

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From this morning

It is the night after Nathanael’s graduation culmination-

all the ceremonies; the after-party; the celebration complete with confetti scatter and balloons; photos and music and words

-bitter words among us and sweet co-mingled to create pain and joy- He (God) makes the bitter sweet. I need this.

I can’t sleep. There are a variety of factors that could be the physical cause of this– but perhaps it is just the deep need to place words in this place from my heart. To be alone in the quiet and let myself feel the weight of it all.

It is the after. This year, when I walked a path in which my own footsteps were still fresh(2018)- and the going was more difficult, and that was hard-

and now, as I face an ending, and a new beginning

and it is all so recent; and now– so not unknown- which is its own kind of hard. For me.

I have to remember as I look into his face that he is his own.

I wondered how I would muster 2019 with the same exhilarated joy as I did 2018. But, somehow, I did.  We did. It is and it was.

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And I sit in the glimmer of lamplight with an apt tribute all around me{his graduation display before me; my computer resting on 2019 confetti; remnants of covered sweets -a tribute of love and celebration; gold balloons gleaming; his face before me}. What feels like the remnants of a life… I try to take a moment to acknowledge all it is and was. My earnest endeavor laid out for this child, now man, whom I love and am so deeply proud.

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selfie before celebration

It is a mighty endeavor. Home Education. And, for a lot of it, I have done it alone. With Todd. It is an endeavor of heart, soul, mind, — faithfulness. It is the daily in and out over and over. It is knowing I will wake up and do it all again times 7 more souls, Lord willing- and O, Lord- help me.

I must choose hope. As I have done again, again, again, again – with each hard growing pain of life. And this is one of them.

This year felt hard. And, it felt slow. It felt like everything (including graduation, party, celebration, college admissions- everything) was just more than I could muster. And, somehow, muster, I did.

And there is the deep inner pang when I glance ahead to August. I want to do better next year {2019-20} than I did this year. I want the walk to be smoother; not hurt quite so bad; not feel quite so lopsided. I don’t know if it will.  Truth is, most likely it won’t. It will feel empty. It will feel like loss and grief. It will be hard as I lean into ministry and support of college-aged children while devoting attention to children at home with pressing needs. There will be grace; there will be blessings; there will be a lot of hard change.

I lean into the moment, and the people here in front of me. Some of whom are hard to love right now. My field is always before me, and I must not neglect it.

I will keep on loving. When it is hard. When it hurts. When I am unseen. When I am alone. When I am misunderstood. When I am rejected. When I am despised.

And, I will not be ashamed for the choices I make for the good of my family and my home. They are what they are- and often- intuitive- where I see the good much after.

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I will not be ashamed for being true to myself and who I am and who we {this family} are in each decision made. Live and learn; and on, on.

I will recognize that paths diverge and that does not mean my path is wrong.

I feel the burden of being alone.

“Things” are not finished. O, no. All I have to do is look one day ahead on my calendar, and my list wavers blurry and becomes shockingly clear right in front of my eyes. So, I have to choose to find rest in this moment. This one moment of completeness and culmination. Where I battled for joy and goodness and truth and honor. Because I did.

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Where I had to recognize weakness and frailty and the inability to get all the things done.  And it was what it was- with that. And, I did. Where I learned never again to decide to make the upstairs “off-limits” when hosting plenty of guests. O, no.

Where I felt exhausted and alone and at odds with this and that. And, I was.

Where I pause and acknowledge a deeper sweetness in marriage and joy in our love that is comfort and passion and friendship and {past and future} all woven together. I am the creative cacophony, and he is the order, service, and lines. As it always has been.

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It is the end of the day {literally and figuratively}.

I am the grateful mom of a homeschool graduate, and I take just a moment to acknowledge myself as educator; college admissions coach; guidance counselor; at-home Eagle Scout mentor; supervisor; and discipler. I finished high school well with this child.

I close my eyes. I see all their faces before me; precious, treasured. It is time to sleep. There is work to be done in the morn.

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-CCS Graduation Reception                                            We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19

 

 

 

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Lenten Hope, Lenten Joy

i

40-day journey to the cross.

I posture my heart.

I posture my soul.

Face down- yet

lifted

(high)

ii

I clasp hands earnestly

and beseech

for joy and hope

at the table gathered

with children.

In the morning.

I pray.

iii

Later.

It is afternoon.

And, I am jolting

forward. stop. forward. stop.

hurtling jaggedly home

two cello players car (in)side with me.

and suddenly...

I am deliciously

captivated by the

word

incandescent-

incandescent... distilled to me from a moment

in a beautiful song. 

(I would never have found but for the son by my side)

iv

We are almost home- and oldest cellist and I study quickly

to gain the full understanding

of this lovely, lovely word:

it speaks to me.

  1. adjective incandescent: 

(of light) produced by incandescence.

glowing or white with heat.

intensely bright; brilliant.

brilliant; masterly; extraordinarily lucid:an incandescent masterpiece; incandescent wit.

aglow with ardor, purpose, etc.:the incandescent vitality of youth.

God, I love this song.

“Magic Mirror”

 

O, profound song. Speaking to me.

 

Inside, I weep.

And-

I joy.

v

Later, (on the road again) I ponder how that word

incandescent

thrilled me to the toes

and how

for a brief

whiff

of time, I felt so joyfully alive.

And, I’m grateful.

I think on… what makes me feel alive.

vi

I find myself stepping

into Target.

Target, of all places,

and… once again-

the joy is

rising.

a glimmer, found for me

among little girl dresses

with unicorns

and spring themed

garments hanging like

hope

in pinks, greens, purples, sky blue

and of course,

(silver and gold)

sparkle

for some reason

I am happy.

 I am happy among the spring themed atmosphere of Target.

I tell my son, and we laugh.

Target can do that to a lot of people, we ruminate.

As we walk out, the smell of coffee fills the air, and I fill my lungs.

With that good smell.

vii

In the car,

I realize

that I prayed,

in the morning

I prayed

for the reality

of joy

and the reality

of hope

and that we would ponder the way to the cross

and 

the joy of resurrection.

 

The truth is-

it has been a rare day that

I have felt the free joy

I found today.

I don’t take it for granted.

I am grateful.

O sun, O spring, O-

thankful for hope

and

feeling

for

goodness, joy, and life.

And knowing it is true.

viii

I am looking for Spring.

I am looking…

I am looking for my Savior,

lifted high.

I am looking

in the faces of the

ones around me-

and I am remembering,

to

pray.

Face down

yet lifted

(high).

 

The Things We Say

At the table-

at the end

of one long day.

Sweet son and I.

Mulling. Ruminating. Discussing… yet – one.more.time.

We had spent most of the day in Virginia just outside of Harrisonburg. And, O! the memories for me on that drive south. Mountains, beauty, rural countryside. And, Virginia.

We immersed briefly in a different culture while there. In his words, “it was rural.”

And, we ponder.

“It was just a different culture…” he says- “those 8 muddy jeeps and the off-road militia shirts on the guys [from the red-clay caked jeeps] coming into the restaurant [where we stopped for dinner]”- “West Virginia/Virginia signage with the big, black guns.”

I nod and laugh. The jeeps were lined up in a row next to our big, white van.

We head home and the minute we cross the Maryland state line- we are swept into the aggressive traffic. Maryland drivers! It’s a real thing. The pace of the freeway; the spirit of the drivers; the angsty need to keep up, keep on. It was distinct. Even if we hadn’t seen the sign, we would have known. Maryland.

“It’s just a different culture,” he says.

I listen. I nod.

I say, “And what did you think about that culture?”

He shrugs. “It was just different.”- not quite willing to put into words all that it was and all that it wasn’t.

Then, I say, “Maybe you should go to PA,”

[PA is codeword for Pennsylvania by people from there in case you wondered- and maybe didn’t know..]-

and- [he has some possible college choices there].

We look at each other.

In unison,

“It’s more chill there.”

We laugh.

The Things We Say.

output

 

Day (Night) Story

Outside my window... winter wonderland. It is snowing, and we have a weather advisory. Thinking the highschoolers’ co-op will be cancelled tomorrow morning.
I am thinking…that I have tried three times to complete my weekly review this weekend- and it still hasn’t happened. So,now- I am procrastinating and writing this post!
I am thankful… for time around the table on Sundays. For the Piano Guys Playlist streaming through my bedroom via the Echo that was a Christmas Gift from my brother- and all the feels. This IS my music. For good talks with my loved ones, my darlings. For hot tea and chocolate. For oatmeal with raw honey. For GRACE (and my whole soul raised up in praise and an inner shout)
In the kitchen… Asian Beef made by Todd and it WAS amazing!
I am wearing… still my cozy church clothes- thick, creamy tan sweater, black knit top, black skirt with almost golden flowers. I think I was loathe to take this warm, pretty outfit off today. I also thought I would be heading out to a lesson that ended up cancelling because of weather-  This skirt is from long ago- that still fits- maybe even better than it used to- so there’s that. But my headband is round my neck, and my hair is down and going a wee bit crazy- kind of like my mind.
I am creating…the Mid-Year Report for colleges; updating the high school transcripts with semester grades; this blog post; tomorrow’s day plan
I am going…to run around tomorrow afternoon and evening- unless the snow cancels all. I am going to squeal with glee when Todd finally gets into our bed after working.
I am wondering…hmmm. I am wondering so much, I don’t know what to write here!
I am readingWingfeather Tales by Andrew Peterson, Different by Sally and Nathan Clarkson, Passion for the Impossible by Rockness, Charlotte Mason Home Education Volume 1 Part 3- I just finished Middlemarch by George Eliot, and I am pondering Becoming Mrs. Lewis (plus many others)
-with children, I am reading: My Father’s Dragon; The Horse and His Boy; The Hundred Acre Wood; Heidi; various picture books
I am hoping... to feel much better this week and to sleep better.
I am looking forward to…a special time with a cousin; annual birthday meal out with my birthday “twin” brother; one-on-one times
I am learning…about learning challenges and homeschooling with learning disabilities; I am learning about myself and how to be a more fully nurtured and invested person to pour out more richly.
Around the house… so many things. Where do I start? In March, I plan to begin trying to follow the Motivated Moms household checklist for maintenance tasks. And- all our chore routines need a hearty refresher!

 

I am pondering…Mystie Winckler’s Weekly Review Email that came out this weekend. And-
— she writes:

“It’s about knowing how to show up each morning and how to help the kids do the same. It’s about holding on through the storms – whether the storm is inside us or the storm is the child’s doing or our current situations are storming or it’s all three making a whirling tempest.

We can do it. We must do it.

Sometimes, homeschooling is a mind game –

with ourselves and with our kids.”

Later on, she says, “We are the atmosphere.”

And– I was ready to go deep in and deep under- until Todd pulled me up and out. With nary a blink of the eye. Christ is the atmosphere. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a responsibility. It doesn’t mean that I don’t need to show up with a positive force and focus. But…. he reminded me of a sermon we recently heard at church and one of the points was that the worship leader and that leader’s stainless life is NOT the focus- Christ is the focus.– and the same is true in our homeschool and should always be true.

Thank You, Lord for the gospel. And let me tell you, those storms she lists up there. Yeah. I’ve got all of those.

O! Let me wake up thinking about how to magnify Christ in my homeschool!

Note: there is a lot more to that email- and some wonderful “meat” to chew on. But, the prompt asked, “What am I pondering…” — and, well- there you have it.

One of my favorite things... dairy free whip cream on hot chocolate and coffee! O, I waited years for that stuff.

Something funny…I was at the Chik-Fil-A on Saturday with my Nathanael and Asher. The Chik-Fil-A in my town has a drive through situation that makes my heart race when I am in my big van- but I was enduring for the lemonade! The line wraps around the building through a parking lot complete with a stop sign. I was waiting at the stop sign and looked to the left. There– was a Yield Sign– and I read (in my head):

YIELD:

to the exciting

drivers (!)

and I thought: My! Chik-Fil-A is taking their positive vibe to a whole new level! Then, I read the sign again- and realized it said:

EXITING

drivers

EXITING NOT EXCITING

O! we laughed. And then, laughed again when we told Todd.

A peek into my day… this was not today– but still.

Norah and Mellie painted my toes. One foot purple (M)/the other pink (N). It made me laugh. They did it on a day I wasn’t feeling well. Nurtured by my wee, small girls. And Norah painted her own fingers and toes- blue and pink. Roses- forever my pleasure (thank you, my love). And,– me and tea with my darling.

Mary Oliver

I learned today- as a happenstance-

on social media, no less- 

from another

I consider kindred

that Mary Oliver (renowned poet) died 

yesterday.

This day of mine

-my own-

has been long and full of tumble

yet

I am fighting for this quiet pause

to

acknowledge this beautiful poet

-this soul-

whose prose (A Poetry Handbook) to this day

is in easy reach on my bedside table

and first and still

takes my breath,

distills me in a moment of held time,

makes my

heart to pound with hard, illuminated rhythm,

captivates intellect, soul, -my

self

“Poetry is a life cherishing force. And it requires a vision- a faith, to use an old-fashioned term. Yes, indeed. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed” (122).

whenever I read her pieces whether

prose or poetry:

a life- giving spark–

lilting hope

even

–the lyric pulse

in me–

quakes to life with a thrumming joyous hum:

and I want to respond to her charge-

so powerfully proffered to her generation and all the world:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild, and precious life?”

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

 

 

What is it I plan to do?

And you?

O, me!

I want to respond to her charge.

Mary Oliver. Thank you.