Endless Gifts September into October

joy: hearing him play piano,all the pieces so familiar to my soul- and all the unexpected grace; sitting in first string lessons and being privy to all the artistry, care, and soul. Truly, it is such a privilege.

her sweet face – unhappy – seeing her so run-down with an illness, and the grace that I noticed and pulled her close for the whole day, held her and remembered how she has always needed to be tucked in for a bit for peace, spurred her creative mind and took dictation for her creative writing, listened to her stories, and delighted in her sweet, blond head tucked next to me, and then I suffer with that same illness. And all is well. All is perfectly well.

messages from college of all sorts; texts, phone calls; polos. I love it all.

a gift of pens from a sweet and thoughtful one

messages (online) that speak to my heart and speak to my mind- too hard to link here- but

Joel Clarkson on Instagram; Sarah Clarkson on Instagram; The Cultivating Project; Christy Purifoy on Instagram

all for some good words to nourish mind and soul.

her 1000th day #amazing

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Crash Hot Potatoes on a Wednesday and Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breast

Salad with hard-boiled eggs and home-made thousand island dressing that harkens me to my childhood and my mom

Matt Maher flooding the house

all the ways music connects me to the hearts of my people and how much, how much I have enjoyed every season; The High Kings; The Gray Havens; Andrew Peterson; Josh Garrels; Fleury; John Mark MCMillan; Grits, NF (note: some! NF); Titan; GAWVI; (and so many more-  songs I adore whose names I don’t even know);  playlists curated just for me. Blessed.

Standing on Lehigh’s campus with my sister; my nephew and my son (same age) and jolted by that life two decades ago that brought me here. Who would  have ever known? Certainly not 21 year old me.

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Following behind a little bevy of daughters heading to the van to load up for lessons… and my heart thought: the next generation (on cello, viola, and violin)… they had their music bags slung over shoulders and instruments in hand, and they are so small- they were manfully dwarfed by the bags- and my wee cellist was holding her own clad with stool, cello, and bag!

the peace of slowing down for family dinner and family bible and feeling my soul and body restore

giving space for the writing life in my life and squeezing in a bit of reading, too.

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the way a bundle of mini carnations- less than five dollars in cost- light up my soul and my life

Homeschool days:

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Powersheets and a dear friend in the journey

a wild, windy day

college boys home on Fall Break and back again and all the driving, driving, driving

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it is a bit of a blur in a not so good way; I wobble to anchor my soul

I learn I can drive to Lehigh and back in one day- but then continuing on with a night full of driving- is monumentally not a good idea; my little girls are road warriors; I am grim determination.

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we look tired- cause we are… so tired.

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words that made my heart sing from a son at school

batch after batch of chocolate chip cookie bar

standing at Morgan Run with water and rock and leaf and sky and love and joy

October’s gold, and its gilded and… someone else said that, too, and my heart leapt

cozy in gray, so cozy

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night soccer games on a blanket under the lights

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Everyone’s missing teeth!

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Taking time to breathe and think and ponder and pray.

Endless Gifts. It’s Fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 1st: End of Summer

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Bonfire Night 

Summer night

that brands our minds

with a rivulet of gold

 

like the ruddy flames

that flicker upward

from the last bonfire

glowing at our feet.

 

The sparks singe

and disappear

pinpoints of light

radiating north

 

unlike the memories

of celebrated days

marked by summer’s

sweetness-

 

which instead, nestle

deeper

aflame forever,

heart, soul, mind, memory:

Bonfire Night 2019.

Endless Gifts

Endless Gifts

winding Maryland roads and the butterflies floating up in glimmering sunlight like the campfire sparks fly up against the backdrop of quickening summer darkness

Cunningham Falls and swimming at Courtney’s and the way she welcomed us in on a day close to a trip

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so many swallowtails this year, so beautiful

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traveling on varied Lehigh Shuttle buses up campus and down and grateful for my brother who successfully got us on one in the nick of time by watching the amazing app that tracks the buses in real time! How things change!!! Everything bigger- but O! the memories -us, wilted with heat and sweat, hanging on for dear life on those wild Lehigh buses, – Campus Connector, MOOV-In, Packer Express- the very names make me laugh out loud

And the sweet lady who chatted us all the way up the mountain and escorted us right to the foot of son’s new dorm- and impressed emphatically upon our VERY MINDS to stress the importance of NOT losing his I.D. card to our son- so, so funny. We show her the ID card holder we bought for him and were about to give him. She nods her approval.

the way I narrowly escape an infamous parking ticket; it’s all grace

Being able to talk math classes and calculus with my brother and my dad- and that one moment rising out of a speech at the Arts and Science convocation that suddenly galvanized me to action

the wonderful “hotel” bed at my mom’s (you know who you are!) and condoling with two long episodes of never before watched Call the Midwife (yes, yes, I did) the night of Move-In Day

Two new Lehigh mugs- and somehow I accidentally like his better than mine. Oops.

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My Dad uncovering an essay from my freshman year of college- that I have often wondered about and remembered- a photo analysis- and the subject was my sister

the deep grief of a certain trouble I can never seem to escape

a big bowl of salty popcorn and Mary Poppins Returns

a recognition of a fleeting deep-seated peace of us all together- I didn’t ask for that peace or even really recognize I was missing it- and I know and knew its very fleetingness- but it was still real. It was still there.

The way he saved three tiny root beers and tossed them out to his brothers in a manly spirit of kind generosity and how he chose to buy snacks for sibs on the car ride home

The way one of them fingerknit a red head band for her cousin, and I came home to little cousin adorned with it

Joshua’s art work

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a visit to Grammy Helen and PopPop John

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Coffee and generous dollops of coconut whip cream on the first, hard day

an orangey sunset and sweetest friend and the way I see her photographic eye and the orange on orange on orange

deep, singing words that feed mind and soul

Enter the Worship Circle playing loud and singing with my heart as we away, away

a silver BAM cello case

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my darlings gather round in strong support- and I wonder how I can keep breaking this heart again, again- they way I broke my body open, the way I laid down my life, I know it will get better as I stumble dimly and wonder why

Asher at the helm with diplomacy and action- I watch in wonder; those little girls joyfully do all the chores with him

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and I am grateful for this gift this particular day was for me

the way, months ago,  my dad told me that no matter what, it would all be alright- and how did he know I would need those words?

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the way things will never be the same

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Endless Gifts

 

Because cuteness

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she created octopuses all by herself just from seeing a photo

-her original knitted one even has eight legs-

and she drew the sketch

in her quick, creative way

that illuminates

my mind

with delight-

and asked me

to write the words across the top-

(we had a brief debate: octopuses/octopii- in the end

we went with octopii – ill-spelled and all)

she has an entrepreneurial heart

it has shown itself in

more ways than just

this

octopus

with hearts.

Endless Gifts Summer Edition 2019

this spun out longer and longer (than I even intended) and one thing I know for sure is the effectual ability of this habit (of gratitude) to change my life (for the good) and so I didn’t hold back- but let it loose- to roll and lift here/ so much said and so much unsaid– endless gifts… 

the blank page, cursor blinking promise

a dozen (or more) wool bunnies with jaunty hand-made tails

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Coffee with almond whip cream and cinnamon

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the boy who greeted me at the Scout camp pickup with words from Dickens. He said: Let me start by saying: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” – o! my children thrill me.
a trip to OneDish and a burger and fries for my boy
Goldie- the new to us car from Todd’s grandparents, and Micah’s quick and direct recognition of God’s faithful provision
safe trips to Pa, and my family: despite a harrowing drive one journey, and more traffic than I’ve ever encountered another; despite stress and summer heat (of all sorts); I’m left with all the realization that I want to make the most of this one life
for all the beloveds who are opening arms to Nathanael as he moves three hours away (into (what feels like) the arms of our family and friends!) for the coming year- o, my heart.
Nathanael, Lehigh, and everything this is, and all I need to learn (and all I need to understand about myself)
Maker girlies and chains of finger knitting

Simply Classical, and tears, and more tears- this book!

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a tidied bedroom, purged (almost all the way purged) bookshelf, and new, soothing bed linens (and my mom who got the linens for me- thank you)
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the realization and seeking understanding that true rest is of the mind and soul and comes from faithful endeavor (Mystie Winckler) and how can I apply this more to my life and practice it?
tea parties and little girls- and especially one particular little girl- who sets the table with flowers she finds in the yard, and sweets, and water with ice- she is the treat
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trying to squeeze in some lasts with Nathanael- and make it count. Am I?

The little girl who told her sisters they weren’t actually 8 until they were blowing out their candles on their cake(s)
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fruit kabobs
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Blueberry picking in Pennsylvania around the fourth of July. No blueberry ever tasted so good as those luscious, large berries. They went so fast. They were gone in a blink.
phone calls with Micah and a reminder of all that he is
plans for a new school year; plans for two young men at college-
an encounter in the library parking lot with Asher’s Eagle Coach- and I tell Todd- she is inspiration in the flesh-  so uplifting, refreshing, and motivating- so thankful for her
The Barton System- and progress- and most of all the fact that everything I dreaded is NOT true
darlings who love to talk with me and share their thoughts; the one who persuades me out for “soda times” and proceeds to bring such life and creativity with him! #thewritinglife
Reading All the Light We Cannot See— and then reading it again
The Lamplighter Reading Challenge and Todd
SummerMummers at Courtney’s
emailing friends for Abi
Jen and Andrea. Everything their very names mean to me- my sisters in Christ. I want to be more intentional.
car talks with Ali and the realization of God’s provision and promise in her life and the kindred commitment to excellence and drive we share
a date night out with Todd, and long conversations, and the deep-seated recognition of how needed it was
the last CHSF Steering meeting and all the vibrant, soul-filling life there
a reminder that ” All I need is here” (Wendell Berry) 
poem writing, and the life it brings to my soul and…. longing
a cry in the night, in my soul- to “Awake! Awake!” and I pray, help me, Lord. Awake.
one small step in the right direction

Endless Gifts

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

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).