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?

the way the light gleams on a tended, tidied houseIMG_20190821_182330276

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).

 

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.