Friday, December 3, 2010

Take 5

This has been an off week here in the nest...I'm attributing it to all of our activities resuming a "fast forward" mode after Thanksgiving weekend. Or, perhaps it is just me. Either way, there's never a dull moment around here.

Taking 5 is about moments. We've enjoyed them aplenty.

A highlight of the top 5...

1. Our leggy wonder danced at an event which benefits Children's Hospital called "Fantasy of Trees". On the eve of Thanksgiving, we watched our girl do both Kickline and Bollywood. I keep marveling at how she's grown, but realized she still looks bitty next to all of the other lasses. A big treat of the evening was having one of Little Bit's dearest friends (and mine too) come and join us to watch our Big. My absolute favorite part of it all was watching maybe the sweetest six and seven year old on the planet walk around, hand in hand, looking with wonder at sparkling trees and gingerbread houses. It was magical...JUST LIKE THEM.

2. My parents came to visit. It was unexpected. I didn't have anything ready. We were supposed to travel to parts north on Thursday, but our Big had been battling a nasty sinus infection that just wouldn't go away and I didn't want to put her though ten hours each direction in a vehicle. I called them to break the news on Tuesday night and my sweet folks said they would come here. I'm quite sure they were in granddaughter withdrawal. The girls enjoyed every single minute of it.

3. I Christmased the abode. I know, adding -ed to a word doesn't necessarily make it a verb, but we're cutting edge like that over here. Wink. I also declared, with the decidedly chilly weather, that brrrrrr"ing" would become an additional part of our vocabulary(as we've experienced uncommon and downright frigid temps as of late. Just ask my friend, Robin...as a fellow southerner and lover of Christmas, I'm sure she agrees with me. Honestly, no one I've ever seen does this amazing holiday more homey and warm and, to use my sister Sara's word "glowy" than Robin. I aspire to her decorating prowess. I am quite sure I'll never make it. It's okay to dream.

4. I've done the elliptical every single day for the last three weeks. I'm just throwing that in here because I need to stay the course. I don't use it to lose weight, keep off holiday goodies, or because I like being physically fit (although the last two are nice benefits). I use it because I want to keep moving with the chicks. My husband tells me he's never met someone with so much determination as I'm climbing out of our cozy bed at 5:45 am into freezing morning air because I keep the house cold during the night to save money on heating costs. I tell him that it's my only choice if I desire range of motion. I wish I had more options, but I am thankful for movement, so I'm sticking with it.

5. We decorated cupcakes with friends yesterday in lieu of the traditional cookie baking and decorating. It was fun to watch the girls create masterpieces with frosting, sprinkles and brightly colored sugars. I labeled the event "a bellyache waiting to happen", but in all honesty it was gads of laughter and shared memories. Bonus? I can count it as both art and home ec for the week.

I'd love to hear about your week...why don't you link up so I can come visit? Just click below and follow the instructions to link to your Take 5 post. When it asks you to choose the web or a file for your thumbnail, choose web. Then it will take you to a list of the images on the page you are linking to and you’ll be able to choose a photo for your thumbnail.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Take 5--Thankful Edition 2

My friend teased me about the fact that we already did thankful edition over here at the nest. I laughed and wrote back that there is never a limit on being thankful. I think we get so busy living that we sometimes forget gratitude. I do not desire to forget. So, this week, we're giving thanks again, for things big and small, for the opportunities we are given and those we let pass us by. Thanks. It's a small word with so much heart. It lies firmly in mine this week. I am so thankful.

1. I'm thankful for our groomer. Her name is Kim. The life she leads is not easy; she's supporting her adult son and granddaughter by making Fido look amazing. I am no longer able to bathe and trim our pup easily. It's too hard on my hands, back, hip and arms. I pushed forever not willing to give up this task that saves us money, but gave in about a year ago when I found Kim. She loves my pup and is as gentle with her as I am with my girls. I am thankful.

2. I'm thankful for godly women in my girls' lives. My friend, like a sister, encourages the chicks and acts as a sounding board when life is rocky; they look to her for gentle hugs, laughter, song and leading. Their dance teacher, who loves the Lord with her whole heart and serves Him in a variety of ways, both by nurturing little souls here and bigger ones abroad, spends hours a week shaping their form and hearts. My mom, who loves her granddaughters without judgement and sends cards weekly to remind her girls that they are loved and treasured. Little Bit's friends' moms...sweet women who raise their girls in the same fashion we do and have simply been a gift by allowing us into their group. For women who exemplify the presence of our God, I am thankful.

3. I'm thankful for my husband, who provides all of us with shelter, food, and the necessities plus more than I ever dreamed. He puts in grueling hours and does not get enough thanks; he's expected to just change his hat from prof/researcher to dad/husband/listener and playmate as soon as the ignition shuts off in the garage. Many days I know it is not easy to do so, and I appreciate the ways in which he loves us. I am thankful.

4. I'm thankful that three years ago I chose kids over career. I do not regret the time I put into the world outside our door, nor what it taught me about the abilities I possess and who I could be. I had a choice, sought wise counsel (my then eight and four year old gave input) and made up my mind. I am thankful.

5. I'm thankful for the opportunity I have to home school. It is rarely easy and usually takes more patience and energy than I possess, but it is proving, once and again, to be a gift. My sweet babes are excelling and growing and and learning. I have the privilge of bearing witness. These years will pass quickly and all too soon my chicks will leave the nest. I'll will never regret giving our kids the choice of learning here in our home, at their pace, with cirriculum geared specifically for them. I am thankful.

What causes you to pause and give thanks this week? I'd love to know...Just click below and follow the instructions to link to your Take 5 post. When it asks you to choose the web or a file for your thumbnail, choose web. Then it will take you to a list of the images on the page you are linking to and you’ll be able to choose a photo for your thumbnail--I can't wait to see what appears!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Take 5--Thankful Edition

It's a most excellent day to kick off our Take 5--Thankful Edition because today is a day for which I'm supremely thankful. Today was the day that our amazing God chose to bring me into this world and gave me the opportunity to live. For this? I am thankful beyond words.

Here are five other thankfuls I have for today...I'm looking forward to hearing yours.

1. Grace. I know it sounds trite, but it's something for which I'm truly thankful. Grace by which I have been saved, grace by which I go, grace alone. Thankful.

2. Laughter. The way the twinkling tones of my daughters meld together and lift my heart. Every. Single. Time.

3. Family. Nuclear and other. Lifting me up and making me whole in areas I didn't even realize I was lacking. Allowing me to grow. Change. Bloom.

4. Knowledge. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn and guide. Sometimes it's all in finding the teachable "heart moments".

5. Nature. I'm not the biggest fan of being in nature, but I'm a huge lover of nature. The feel of the breeze on my face, closing my eyes and allowing the sun to warm me, the sound of rain on the windows...I will never take any of these for granted and will forever be thankful for every moment I've been given to enjoy God's splendor.

I'd love to hear about your week! What are five things you're thankful for? Big and small. People, places, things or ideas are all appropriate.

Just click below and follow the instructions to link to your Take 5 post. When it asks you to choose the web or a file for your thumbnail, choose web. Then it will take you to a list of the images on the page you are linking to and you’ll be able to choose a photo for your thumbnail.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Take 5

Hi Friends! It feels as if I'm a day late and a dollar short this week, but even taking five is allowed to be a bit tardy at some point...right? It's before noon on the west coast. That's my convoluted reasoning and I'm stickin' to it.

Here's our five in a nutshell for the week:

1. On Saturday, we put together a Mr. Potato Head Pumpkin. Seriously. It was glorious. No carving, no pumpkin guts (much to my big's dismay) and a super cute Pirate for our porch. It didn't light, but the amazing grapevine pumpkins did that I found at Target. Ah, how I love Target.

2. The girls got all gussied up on Sunday to grovel for candy. I don't particularly enjoy Halloween, but we go for fall festivities instead of spook. Little Bit had our neighbor enthralled with both her Pebbles costume (complete with dog bone hair accessory thank you Riley) and her description of how she believed there should only be Happy Halloween Houses instead of haunted ones...our sweet girl.

3. The prof has participated in a conference all week, so I've been on my own. I have loved every minute of the girls. We ate dinner out on Tuesday as a date and looked around for Christmas ideas. It is a gift to be their mama.

4. The dog has almost been released into the wild multiple times, even though she celebrated her 3rd birthday on Sunday. Lulu has taken apart the trash, ripped three toys apart, and wet the wood floor. She's showing her lack of patience with my not being able to walk her lately. The line is, "If she wasn't so great with the kids..." Sigh.

5. Families are difficult to deal with. It has been a particularly trying week on this front, and at this moment all I can say is that my prayer life is very active. Like, 24/7. I am a woman with a heart that calls out to God all the time. This week? It's been like it's echoing off of the canyon walls I'm so insistent. I know He's here. I just wish I could see Him in all of it.

I'd love to hear about your week! Oh, and a heads up for next week; we'll be doing five things were thankful for...big and small. People, places, things or ideas will all be appropriate. I'm going to cheat and do six, giving you one now: Fresh Fruit Lime Sonic Slushes....ah, how I love them during Happy Hour. I'm thankful for Happy Hour too...okay, I'd better stop and get Mr. Linky posted :) Have a fabulous week, dear ones. This week? I'm thankful for you. Okay, I just double cheated and used two. I have a whole lot to be thankful for in this world.

Just click below and follow the instructions to link to your Take 5 post. When it asks you to choose the web or a file for your thumbnail, choose web. Then it will take you to a list of the images on the page you are linking to and you’ll be able to choose a photo for your thumbnail.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Take 5

Hello, friends. It's been a windy week here at the nest. Just like in Little Bit's favorite movie, Mary Poppins, storms have been brewing and things are changing. Change isn't necessarily bad; it's just different. It's the adaptation that takes adjustment.

So...let's take 5!

1. We were invited to our second neighborhood party here in the great state of TN. I washed faces, brushed hairs, and got us out the door and across the street. The chicks had a blast in the jump castle, the prof played basketball and was asked if he was a former pro you should have seen the man grin, and I managed to appear social. It was a success all the way around.

2. On Sunday morning, we attended an amazing Gospel concert instead of going to our regular church. We loved it. Little Bit was fully into it and the Big, although slightly uncomfortable, actually ended up clapping. Having roots in Deee-troit, the hubs and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It took us back to our church youth choir days where we took spirituals on tour one summer thank you so much Mr. Randy Bonser. IT ROCKED.

3. I made dinner for a friend who'd had surgery. It's a gift to be able to show the girls love in action. Then I made three containers of soup to freeze in case it ever becomes cold. Um, I haven't cooked this much in six months more like a year. Really.

4. We did "stuff" that makes the house feel like a home. After two and one quarter years, I put liquid soap in decorative containers, covered the Kleenex box on the main floor in stainless steel, purchased matching towels for our bathroom, and hung a few pictures. It's the first time I've been sure that we aren't going anywhere in the near future (we've always moved every four or so years as the man has finished a job or done schooling) and I'm thinking it might be okay to continue making this place ours.

5. I took the memory foam chair pad to dance. I sat on it. In front of people. A whole lot of people. I did it three days in a row. Folks, I park in a handicapped space and all, but good heavens, I fake it good. This week I just couldn't. It was equal parts liberating and humiliating. 100% of it? Growth.

What happened in your week? I'd love to hear! Just click below and follow the instructions to link to your Take 5 post. When it asks you to choose the web or a file for your thumbnail, choose web. Then it will take you to a list of the images on the page you are linking to and you’ll be able to choose a photo for your thumbnail.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Take 5

Yippie for Friday...we've made it through the week. Seven more days removed from the lazy days of summer. Those are the moments that I'm missing this week. Ones of quiet and sleep and a lack of rigid scheduling. How about you, is there anything you're missing this week?

Missing isn't always about wanting what you do not or cannot have in the present. Sometimes it's about looking back a bit wistfully and noticing what you need to work on incorporating into your days.

Here are 5 things I'm missing this week...

1. Having family close. After two years you'd think I'd be used to going it alone. I'm not. I miss the girls being able to laugh with their grandparents, and my mom and dad having the ability to really "see" them as they grow up.

2. My best friend. Skype, twitter, texting and the telephone are all most fantastic and I definitely feel her with me all the time, but there's something to be said for just being able to "be" together.

3. A well-behaved dog. I miss having one. Ours is sweet and fluffy and oh-so-good with the chicks, but well-mannered she is not.

4. Time. I miss it. I am not sure where it goes everyday, or how it escapes from me, but I miss feeling like I have it.

5. Fall. It's still 80 degrees here in my neck of the woods. I'm thankful for the warmth and the sunshine. I'm missing the crisp air and crunchy leaf piles of late October in the north. Oh, and donuts, fresh from the cider mill...I miss those too.

What happened in your week? Is there anything or one that you're missing? I'd love to hear! Just click below and follow the instructions to link to your Take 5 post. When it asks you to choose the web or a file for your thumbnail, choose web. Then it will take you to a list of the images on the page you are linking to and you’ll be able to choose a photo for your thumbnail.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Take 5

My five for the week are painfully slow in coming...I'm going to blame it on grading period brain. With that excuse in hand, here goes....

1. The Big started pointe this week. Yep, satin shoes, ribbons, lots of sewing. Talent and hard work has brought her this far. She usually keeps me on my toes. Now she's on hers...

2. We've finished ten weeks of school--an entire marking period plus. Both girls are doing swimmingly and I'm only mostly tuckered out.

3. I've not turned on the air conditioning or the heat for thirty days. Waiting for the electric and gas bills this month looks a whole lot like a child anticipating Christmas.

4. I bought the husband a new shower head. Ours came with the newly constructed house two years ago and um, well, stunk. It trickled where it should have pulsed and dripped where it should have shot. In short? Yuck. He might just love me forever and ever.

5. Little Bit and I headed to Home Goods to look for the shower head. I wasn't expecting the Yuletide to be in full bloom. I started humming carols (a no-no before mid-November in the nest) and then panicked because I realized I wasn't sure what my style-de-Noel is...homespun, traditional, glitzy, partridge-and-a-pear-tree filled? Ugh. It all looked so magical and made me wish for snow while wearing Nike running shorts.

What happened in your week? I'd love to hear! Just click below and follow the instructions to link to your Take 5 post. When it asks you to choose the web or a file for your thumbnail, choose web. Then it will take you to a list of the images on the page you are linking to and you’ll be able to choose a photo for your thumbnail.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You: Create

I have to admit, I just contributed to the creativity this week.

With girls? It's all about color and sparkle.

I found and supplied the paint and glitter stickers along with a smock.

The idea arose after the prof and I discussed the joy of playing with boxes as children. Throw me a bone here...did anyone else do that? You know, when your parents or a neighbor or long lost relative purchased a new appliance and it came in that huge cardboard box that had the amazing ability to transform into a house/spaceship/retail establishment? Hours of enjoyment...I'm sighing and smiling just recalling those moments.

Well, following the aforementioned conversation, I arrived home from using the elliptical to find this in our family room:



My dynamic duo had assembled a whole bunch of Amazon boxes to form a submarine. This project had "Daddy" written all over it. There was a new captain in town, and her boat was purposefully headed to the depths. I am quite sure that Little Bit created ahem clearing throat it was all Dad one of the most accurate cardboard control panels EVER. The child was preparing to dive, had the helm, and was removing sea life via her torpedoes with deadly accuracy.
Once Little Bit removed herself from the controls, she surveyed her new vehicle with a critical eye. It was missing something...

Color.

Flair.

Sparkle.

So, out came the poster paints, brushes, and floral glitter stickers.


With Woody, Jessie, and various stuffed animals along for a voyage, she headed to the beach.

As her Mama? I was asked to accompany the crew...of course I replied in the affirmative! How could I ever resist this face? After a bumpy, loud passage, we arrived at our destination: Isle of Palms, SC.

She brought the vessel ashore, I disembarked. It was a trip I'll never forget.

Thanks, Little Bit, for being you...spunky, self-assured, laughter filled and creative. How I adore sharing your days.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Take 5

Taking five is all about capturing the moments. Five, to be precise. Good, bad, or ugly...they all make up the week. Remembering them is what life is all about. Here in our nest? It's all about the remembering.

1. Our Big went away for the first time to a weekend camp. Gads of middle and high school kids from church were in attendance. Four coach buses. One new sleeping bag. A gallop-filled horseback ride on Luke (all the horses were named for biblical persons or characteristics). She learned, worshipped, laughed, grew. I think her wings may be a bit longer.

2. The prof and I experienced our first duo of days with Little Bit as a solo kiddo. Glorious is the only way to describe those sweet forty-eight hours. It was interesting to note the difference in the "feel" of our home...Our chicks are definitely their own little people, right down to the way our home hums when they are in it.

3. We went to the pumpkin patch. Twice. The first one that we pulled into was scary to say the least. The dude running it had on one very holey wife beater and the "patch" was thirty pumpkins in front of a lean-to. No joke. Thanks to the Droid, I mapped us to another farm about 15 minutes further...complete with hayride and corn maze. We got lost in the maze. I slightly freaked out after an hour. I thought about Google Earthing myself out of it. Narrowly decided against it when I realized how much fun my Boo was having leading us around.

4. I tried a fried Oreo. Correction: I tried a small bite of a fried Oreo. Verdict? Quite unhealthy in a doughy goodness way. It made me yearn for a real Cider Mill/Apple Orchard and fresh cider and donuts.

5. It became oh so cool here in the South for a few days. Amazing. We wore jeans and I thought about breaking out the fingerless gloves for the dance waiting room. It's currently back to tank tops and pants, but that is a HUGE improvement on the weather. I love wearing my jeans; they make me seriously happy.

What was stupendous or ho-hum in your days? I can’t wait to hear about your week! Just click below and follow the instructions to link to your Take 5 post. When it asks you to choose the web or a file for your thumbnail, choose web. Then it will take you to a list of the images on the page you are linking to and you’ll be able to choose a photo for your thumbnail.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wired

Wired.

I'm wired. Purposed. Planned.

I believe that what we're wired for is where we excel. I've come to believe that sometimes we're purposed for some things for a period and others for a lifetime.

As a child, I was a nerd. Honest to goodness, teacher had to come and touch my shoulder to get my attention while I was reading kind of nerd. Bookish. Quiet. I excelled in school. I was a decent big sister, the kind who always looked out for her little brother, the one who brought him along to friends homes and played Barbie meets GI Joe/Transformers/Skeletor as his whim dictated; I used constructs more than my Strawberry Shortcake dolls. I also once fed him a dandelion, but that's another story. I excelled.

As a teen, I was still completely type A when it came to school. However, I found that a great group of church friends makes a girl bloom, the gift for which I will forever be thankful. I played soccer, ran track, sang in the church and school choirs, took up dance, sang in a musical, and fell in love. I was intensely competitive and social, linked to others while growing and exploring who it was I was being purposed into...

In college, I majored in english and minored in psychology. I worked with kids, special needs students, and photography (not all at the same time). I pushed and learned my limits. Still bookish, wired for perfection, set to be "on". All part of the plan.

I married my high school/college love. We moved 900 miles from our hometown for a new job and in short order we had a baby girl. Not planned or expected, but rejoiced over. Our eldest entered our world full of vigor and life and spirit and kept me on my toes from day one. Perfection went out the window. Patience learned while working with students came into play. The lens of my life had changed, and I chose to be molded along with the tide. Becoming a mother was a quick, wild ride, and I wasn't sure I would be good at it. I was used to excelling at things, and I was afraid at this I might fail miserably. Would I break her? Could I avoid making her like me? I wanted my sweet babe to be carefree...not so adult and not so difficult on herself. But, from the moment she was placed in my arms, I knew.

Wired. Purposed. Planned.

Our firstborn was not an easy baby. She had reflux and she didn't grow quickly. She screamed nine of the twelve hours we were awake together for her first nine months. When my mom asked me how I was able to stand it, I replied, "She's a baby, she can't help it." I didn't know any differently, so for me, this was how babies were. Our big grew, showed her tenacity and wit...I wasn't sure how I'd keep up with her. She was full of life and adventure and because of her I made friends in a new part of the country; I wouldn't have done it on my own. Our girl taught me that I was self-reliant and that she wouldn't break and I couldn't break her...that she was her own person and I couldn't make her anything. I was given an oportunity to lead, guide, nurture, set boundries, and love. But make? That wasn't up to me.

Four years later we moved again, back to our roots. The husband started graduate school and I set to figuring out how to be an adult with a child surrounded by a bunch of college students. We lived in an international community, had exchanged a home and yard and dog for tight grad quarters, and our now kid was praying for a sibling. I, too, was missing the feeling of a baby in my arms, the soft skin, coos and sweet smell all mixing together into that luscious heaven that is infanthood. We proceeded cautiously, and Little Bit arrived just over a year later. Bliss. She was sweet and small and oh so pink. I was in heaven. With the Big, I'd learned that babies can't be broken and it's impossible to love or hold them too much. Purposed.

With two girls and a tight budget, I took on a job. I helped begin and then ran a small company that grew and flourished. I learned that I was skilled at things other than being a wife and mother. However, working eighty plus hours a week with a five and one year old wasn't all it was cracked up to be...I was still stay-at-home, but how still was I? How much did I have left to give to the little people that played quietly, stacked blocks and read books while I worked the phone and spent endless hours packing orders?

Sometimes, you just know. You realize it all in a glorious instant that in Hollywood would shine with thousand watt bulbs popping in your eyes. You know. IT.

IT...that thing for which your are uniquely and gloriously wired. Purposed. Planned. I knew.

My IT? Motherhood.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Take 5


It's been a week of movement here in the nest. The chicks are growing and stretching their wings and, at times, my patience. Our five are mostly enjoyable, sometimes undesirable, always memorable. Five minutes, five moments that you desire to savor or discard. We're taking five...GO.

1. On Saturday, Little Bit decided she liked the dog. Santa brought us Tallulah Mae two years ago for Christmas, when the prof finished his grad program. The youngest has been yea or nay on her ever since...until Saturday, when I caught this glimpse of my girl and her new best pal. I was thrilled.

2.Due to the fact that we don't have the Big Ten Network (it's not even offered here in the South via our cable provider) we miss multiple Michigan games a year. However, while on the road to the beach I figured out that we can listen to the broadcast via my Droid. I was in heaven. I also realized we could "watch" (play by play on the field) on the computer. My man, using all of his technical prowess, contrived a new set-up Saturday just for me. My best buddy did her part as well, making sure she commented on each run. She even offered to let me watch it via her TV and Skype. But I had to leave for dance. Story of my life.



3. The eldest spent the week reminding us of the following: She's a tween, life is changing, and we might make it out alive. Might being the key word. The Lord spent it reminding us of His sweet moments of tender mercies and of how we are supposed to love with His heart.

4. A small group ensemble from the company team preformed at an event in World's Fair Park on Sunday. Legs was her sweet, sparkly self. It was fun to watch "You Better Work" one last time. Especially since I'd finally gotten RuPaul's singing out of my noggin after a long summer stretch. Oh well...we all have a cross to bear...

5. Although the calendar states that Fall has officially arrived, the thermometer hasn't taken notice. We've hit day 79 of temperatures over 90 degrees. I'm completely over it. The chicks have loved it, as they've been able to swim five out of the last seven days. It's September, people. I come from the North, where, just like white, outdoor swimming is an emphatic NO after Labor Day. I guess I still have gads to learn about becoming a belle.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From Clay to Porcelain


A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain.
-Mildred Struven
I've decided that the examination of the spot that one places her tush would be a good blog topic; actually, it may be a series of posts. I could be way out in left field like way way out but honestly, the locations we park our posteriors tell a whole lot about day and our lives. Some rarely pop-a-squat, while others spend hours in one position. I am usually up and down, rather than in a sitting position. My spot changes by the hour and sometimes by the minute depending on what the chicks' schedule holds. Location isn't always about comfort (it's usually never about this) but generally about view.

My view...early yesterday afternoon

Our eldest is feisty, spirited, and strong willed. She's also graceful and sweet, with a soul as deep as the river is wide. She's a gift. When she's not putting me through the fire...wait, that should read especially when she's putting me through the fire.

Legs is incredible. A girl who always knows what she desires. However, her route to the destination is sometimes laborious. Especially for me and the professor. Balancing patience with the knowledge that she's growing and pushing exploring boundaries. Finding her own path. Setting her limits. Learning to express herself appropriately. That final one? Where we come to a time worn battleground, once again. The girl who is not yet a woman feels she must accept and understand things as an adult. Not realizing that some events in life are not explainable except through faith. Not fully understanding that someone can love you and love God and choose to follow a path that is yet unseen. Not accepting that love means letting go and continuing to care in spite of geographic location. All of this while knowing that she should accept and deal differently but unable to do so because of maturity, age, kidhood. Sigh.


Parenthood is all about the fire.


I'm learning that in life, as she and I walk though these fires, we will not be burned Isaiah 43:2. I, as a mother, am being refined for what is yet to come, what He has before us. While travelling this road albeit rocky with my girl of grace I'm changing...from a clay pot sitting in the sun to a new vessel. I'm not as hardy and strong. I'm a whole lot less coarse. I have some splinters from where leaks may spring. But no longer am I ordinary clay. In the process of all of this growing up via the white hot furnace heat I've become more fragile. My skin is thinner, I break more easily, I've hollowed out a bit. I'm approached differently than I was a decade ago, a mother with a dimpled toddler who looked young and fresh and full of plans. I've come to know that parenthood means being able to lead, let go, trust and hope (not necessarily in that order). I understand that heat brings transformation, maturity, beauty; it converts clay to porcelain.


Which brings us back, in a roundabout way, to parking ourselves. Who we choose to be seated near, and where the seat is located. You can't fully tell from the above shot, but my girl chose to burrow herself in my lap after a particularly long jaunt through fire. With her head on my chest, I held her, stroked her hair, and rocked. When I used the camera on my phone to capture the memory, she asked what I was taking a picture of ...


My reply? What love looks like.


Parenthood. Fire.
Clay. Porcelain.
Growth. Love.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Take 5

TGIF

I'm not a TGIF'er, but as of today I may be a convert. Seriously. I don't know about anyone else, but coming back from three days at the beach is enough to make a gal long for sun and sand indefinitely. Even when that girl deals with an illness where sun isn't supposed to part of the program. Good chicks can break the rules some of the time, right???

Our take five for the week, in no particular order

1. Last Thursday (yes, I know I'm going on a day eight, but this was a highlight of the month outside of sun and sand) I was able to spend over two hours on Skype talking to my best friend. Amazing. Little Bit did a show for us and Legs was at dance, so I honestly was able to just see and talk to her for over 120 minutes. It was glorious, grand, and just what my heart required.

2. BOTH of the free photo books I made arrived in the mail. I am seriously impressed with the quality, look and feel of the Picaboo book I created with our professional family photos that sweet Abby captured almost a year ago; Shutterfly arrived this morning and we sat and flipped through the pages, lost in memories. I LOVE THEM. Being able to digitally scrapbook and catalog moments makes me feel like I've accomplished something outside of being a wife, mother, and homeschooler.

3. The chicks created and sent my Mom birthday cards that were thoughtful, creative, and just plain fun. I mailed them, along with the Hallmark version I purchased, on time. This was an accomplishment in and of itself this week. They arrived today on her birthday and were a reminder that she's loved to pieces even though we're much farther apart geographically than I enjoy. Happy Birthday, sweet Mom of mine.

4. Following church, an extra dance practice for a special event this coming weekend, grocery shopping and leaving my wallet behind only to realize it five minutes later after picking up Legs from the aforementioned dance practice and then having to go back to Super Target to retrieve it, and a Sonic stop during happy hour, we did all of the first fall trimming. The beds, plants, and yard look fit and fantastic. Phew.

5. After donning maize and blue we cheered and hollered from 3:30 to 7 on Saturday evening. Go Blue!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Take 5 Friday

It has been an amazing, whirlwind week full of memories, laughter and moments to cherish. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

1. On Saturday, we surprised the chicks with an extended weekend getaway to Wild Dunes in South Carolina. They were shocked and thrilled, in that order. I planned and packed in a day--a never before and probably never again feat.

2. Little Bit experienced the ocean and beach for the first time. Ever. Legs grew up living 20 minutes from those waters, but our little boo had never felt the waves lap on her legs or the breeze swirl through her hair. It was magical.

3. We were able to relive moments and memories. So much of our bigs littledom took place in Charleston that as we drove in to the darkened city it was a road filled with remember when and over there...although long past, it brought back sweetness.

4. We took our first true "vacation" as a family of four. Seeing as the little bit is six, it was long overdue. I'm not saying that there haven't been vacations, but that they've not occurred with just the four nuclear members of our clan.

5. The girls got time with the professor. He didn't open his computer while they were awake or take calls that came in, as they inevitably do. My man made his babes feel like the most important thing in the world. He shielded them from waves, built sandcastles, and took video. It was a gift that I don't even think he realized he was giving and one that they'll recall for the rest of their lives. His job is hectic and harried and requires more of him than we'll understand; for these precious days he showed the chicks they were all that mattered.

So many other things are happening that are worth posting as part of my take five on this Friday, but for today? Well, I choose to cherish these moments and make the most of them. Each and every one.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Take 5



sparkling grape juice to brighten the end of our week

Hello, dear Friday, we welcome you back with open arms and a toast (non-alcholic of course!!)here in the nest. Here's the overview of what's happened this week...
1.On Tuesday we hosted a party for the professor's grad students. He suggested we should have one late last week and I agreed (I'm a crazy woman). Thus, invitations went out post haste, food was ordered, and decorations were purchased. I reserved our neighborhood pool house. We were expecting 12 and 20 arrived...it was a fantastic get together.
2.The road comission is doing major construction on the road where our library sits. I despise getting in there to grab books that I use for our homeschooling lit, but broke down and made the trek yesterday. The chicks are quite pleased.
3.I received a package in the mail from my dear friend, Sara, yesterday afternoon. I may sleep at some point in the near future. 'Tis what dreams are made of...
4.Evening and morning temps are bringing just a hint of fall...and I'm opening the windows and loving every second of it. Do note that "fall" means seventy degrees around here. Bliss.

5.I've instituted a "thirteen hour" policy for downtime in our household that is applicable to the girls on school nights. This means that 13 hours after they awaken they need to go back to bed. We all need the rest and I need the moments without voices. I LOVE the happy sounds of my girls, but sometimes I just need silence. Or White Collar/Covert Affairs/Burn Notice. Lovin' USA and TNT during the summer :)

Pinkies up, darling...

juice and oat bran...no better start to the day

Friday, August 13, 2010

Take 5

Ah, glorious Friday, how I've eagerly anticipated your arrival for the better part of the week...however, I'm currently at a loss as to why...

Here's the take 5--five minutes, five moments or thoughts, five reasons to be thankful or look ahead...

1. On Saturday we visited the Titanic. You heard it here first, folks, the Titanic has docked in East Tennessee. The girls and I were first class passengers, the prof was the 3rd Officer. Dad ended up as John Jacob Astor, and Mom as Molly Brown. We were all famous, if only for a few hours.

2. I've been exhausted all week. I currently resemble the crypt keeper. I'd rather favour Julia Roberts. Maybe the use of Lancome would improve the state of my face, or, perhaps I should think about taking a nap...

3. I'm not the biggest fan of humidity. Neither are my hair and knees and hips and fingers and elbows and hands and wrists and... I think you get the picture. It's currently hovering around 92% here at the nest, with a NWS heat index of 108 degrees. No end in sight. Big sigh.

4. We began schooling this week. Early mornings, long afternoons, and protests at bedtime that tiredness isn't felt. I want to join the under twenty camp. SIGN. ME. UP.

5. We're taking care of the Samoyed meaning we go over and feed and love him multiple times a day across the street while our sweet neighbors take their youngest to college. I'm thankful I have time with Legs and Little Bit before I have to approach this milestone, but at sixth and first grades, respectively, I know the moment will come sooner than I wish...so I am thankful for today.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You :: Create


My buddy, Sara, hosts a weekly link all about expressing one's creativity. In and of herself, Sara is probably one of the most creative people I know...everything she does results in excellence and beauty and I consider it an honor to be called "friend" by this amazing woman.

When we went to visit her a few weeks ago, I had planned to do something that would bring color and beauty and life to her world. I desired to gift her with something that would last far beyond the days of our trip, and which would remind her that she's thought of and treasured every single day. I also needed something completely maintenance free, as I didn't want my sweet friend to have to call anyone in to assist her in caring for what we would do...

My project began at Home Depot, where the chicks, the Professor and I carefully perused the rows of perennials. As a side note, flower selection is far greater in East Tennessee due to to yearly temperature ranges, but I was quite pleased with what was left in Waterloo, IA.




The girls each helped choose a plant and I picked the remainders. The man of our house stood and bent and lifted and pushed the cart. Even here at the nest, he's a fantastic help with the projects that I usually scheme um, dream up for us. He even has an uncanny scary sixth sense of when I am about to attempt something far beyond my energy and strength level and arrives home to rescue give me assistance when I most need it. He's a man among men, and I'm forever thankful that he chose me.

In my planning, I'd sworn (as in "I do solemnly swear") that I was only using perennials for the grand scheme. However, as I was standing looking at the flatbed we were pulling toward the checkout, I made a snap decision; the sunflower was a necessity. I'd gone with blooms that would require only rainwater and a mix of sun and shade, but the brilliant plant with petals of yellow was too much for me to leave behind. I grabbed it, a bag of mulch to match my own beds, a long handled shovel, and a container of miracle grow to round out the supplies.


We returned to Sar's and set to work...J removed pavers and dug holes, I pointed and placed and covered with dirt and mulch. The lasses ate and played frisbee and gave pointers, and my friend and her mostly companion watched from the door wall, snapping moments and laughing and generally looking pleased with the project, which was the intent of the whole endeavour...to give her life and color and joy all in one...something to look at and remember every single day how loved and treasured she is...love in the form of plants that will ebb and return with the seasons, a "garden" that I can come and tend...the promise that I'll keep returning to her door.

Our You::Create for the girl who began the concept:



And the buds with the meaning which best express our hearts...



Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Leftovers

As a child, I looked forward to leftovers.

Okay, at this point we'll all take a moment to acknowledge, well, my, um, weird unique traits.

I liked knowing what was coming the next day. The routine, the plan, the constancy of smell and taste. I took comfort in the fact that Mom had prepared enough ahead of time to tide us over in case she didn't feel like cooking the next evening. In all honesty, we had leftovers because Mom overprepared. She made too much, anticipating my brother and me consuming more than humanly possible. Suffice it to say, we were well loved children, but that's another tale entirely.

Bringing me back to...leftovers.

Have you ever noticed that some things taste delicious the second time around? Chocolate cake for breakfast, meat pie, and mashed potatoes turned into pancakes all being prime examples. Other items though, change consistency and color and begin to look pale and mushy and, well, gross. It's the latter that I've been thinking about recently.

Why? Because lately I feel like leftovers. Old. Undesireable. Slightly off. Globby. Pasty. Alone on the plate. Not able to give or present my best to anyone. I even have checked to see if I'm going green and mouldy...written in jest with a grain of truth ringing through.

I don't feel yummy or desirable or even pleasant to be around. I'm not currently feeling vibrant or peppy or like I'm drawing others toward me. Which is a huge problem, because I constantly desire to be a light and reflect Him.

Feel. Therein lies the problem, as it's not about how I feel. My God doesn't intended that I present myself according to how I feel at a particular moment in time. He requires that I give all of me all the time. Sigh. Seriously, though, how is this done when all I feel like is day-old refrigerated grilled zucchini now there's the visual picture I'm sure you wanted in your noggin that has gone mushy?

I guess I'm supposed to move forward in steps, like the song from an animated Christmas movie which proclaims, "Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you'll be walkin' across the floor...put one foot in front of the other, and soon you'll be walkin' out the door." I'm not feeling like walking out the door currently, but once again, it's not about what I feel. It's about what I do.

One foot in front of the other. Less feeling and more DOing. There are chickadees to chase, sprites that are not content to ride a current. My chicks? They soar.

Three cheers for flight.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Take 5 Friday

Five moments. Five minutes. What amazing or really not so much occurred in your week?

I'll admit, it has been one of ups and downs here in the nest...we've had fantastic and flat out flip-flops, but each second has been memorable and completely full of life.

1. We were able to spend both Friday and Saturday with our Sara, who spreads more love into our lives than one could imagine...we painted, make a volcano cake, watched movies, laughed, cried, and sang from Annie. Don't let the girl ever tell ya she can't sing, because I'm just sayin' even with restricted air and an infection and pure grief she has about the loveliest voice this side of the Mississippi. No bones about it. I know this one probably violates the whole concept of a "moment" but honestly I'm claiming it as a million moments wrapped into one so cherished my heart may almost burst trying to hold it all...

2. We made it home mostly unscathed after way too many hours in a car. The girls loved on each other. I only drank one coffee from Daddy Starbucks what Little Bit called the establishment as a babe even though the duration called for multiple. The trip? Completely and totally worth it.

3. I was able to determine what has been causing the Eldest Chick's fits that have hit the nest like a furious tornado/hurricane/force of nature for the last month or so...big and grown-up feelings in such a smallish body, which is a post in and of itself.

4. I decided that I slightly despise temperatures over 90 degrees, and when they go over 100??? Well, forgetta 'bout it...

5. My Baby turns six today. Wow, that was difficult to type. She's lovely and sweet and full of life and joy and everything that makes women want to be mothers...

Loving this week...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Take 5

This last week has been a complete gift. Unexpected joys. Laughter. Hugs that fill you inside and take up any space that feels even the slightest bit empty.

So.Thankful.

1. Someone whom I love, currently serving overseas on a short term mission, is headed home soonly. She's been able to effectively communicate the word and show love HIS LOVE to those who desperately need it. She's been spreading hope and joy into other's lives. She's invested. I've been honored to partner with her in prayer, and she's returning stronger than when she left. I can't wait to have her rejoin our lives and see the changes in hers.

2. The professor is an amazing guy. He chooses every day to love us, to stay committed to me, and to take time off from his research and crazy busy schedule to drive halfway across the country with the girls and me. He pretty much just rocks.

3. My sweet chickadees spent fifteen hours in the car at the beginning of the week and in about 24 hours will do it all again. No whining, no complaining. Best travellers HANDS DOWN. They are amazing.

4. I made it all the way to IA and can still move. A miracle in and of itself.

5. I chose to save my favorite for last...I was given the gift of friendship from possibly the most incredible woman in the universe. She's beautiful, strong, hilarious, joy-filled, gracious, compassionate, giving, loving...the list goes on infinitely. I've been able to spend the last 48 hours with her and my heart is full. Sara doesn't just write about joy, she lives it. Chooses it. Spreads it.

SO. THANKFUL.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Take 5 Friday

This has been a very difficult week. Thus, my five will probably reflect the fact that I'm thankful we're heading up to a weekend and a new seven days ahead. I'm going to honestly work to find things I am thankful for though, so maybe this will turn out better than I think...

1. Last Friday I received the phone call that broke my heart. I learned to function through the pain.

2. The professor left Sunday for a week in Cape Cod, MA. I wasn't able to travel with him because my body will no longer let me go 19 hours each way in a vehicle. This makes me hopping mad.

3. I was reminded of the good in others specifically by two amazing women who are loving on my friend, and by the countless others loving her from afar.

4. It finally rained. Yes, I know this one is weak, but I am grasping, and am most thankful that I was able to not use the irrigation system this week. I'm also a lover of storms how they sound and not how they make me feel and the drops colliding with the window panes were healing to my soul.

5. I did very little sleeping this week. Sigh. Nothing like your neighbor's car being broken into, backing up to a farm, knowing the strong man in your life is out of town, having your heart so full it could burst, and vandalism all colliding...but the flip of this was that I was able to make use of The Mom Creative photo deals, design a free canvas from The Canvas People, made a digital album with 40% off at Shutterfly, and order Little Bit's prints we went last October to add to her Disney Autograph Book.


Here's to a new week, the return of the husband, and the hope that is present in my heart...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Piece of Me

As the mama bird in this nest, I often feel that pieces of me are going in a million different directions; paying the bills, balancing budgets, schooling the chicks and accompanying them to dance and piano...in essence, keeping the nest. I flit and fly trying to get everything done. I was unusually unsettled Thursday evening, more preoccupied than normal because a piece of me was hurting. I spent the early hours of Friday in prayer and woke to preoccupation, checking texts and twitter, keeping the phone close.

In the late afternoon my phone rang as I was working on piano theory with Little Bit. It wasn't a number I recognized so I let it go to voice mail, thinking it was simply a mistake. Five minutes later, same number. This time I picked up, the question mark in my voice. My stomach dropped as my heart broke; all I wanted to do was take flight. A piece of me was hurting.

The call left me shaken and ready for action, but what was I to do? I prepared dinner with barely a murmur. My chicks watching me and trying to figure out what was ahead. The meal on the table, an "amen" said, I headed up to the sanctuary of the bedroom to breathe for the piece of me that was in agony.

A piece of me...

The piece that resides in Iowa.

The piece that has made her home a haven and has graciously accepted the changes and challenges that come with a chronic illness that just plain stinks.

The piece that loves a furry guy named Riley, adores Padma, and hitches a lift with George.

The piece that has been so ill for the last month that she's barely audible on the phone, but when she laughs I can feel it over the 800 mile spanse that separates us physically.

The piece that shows Jesus in every single word she utters and types and with each action she takes.

The piece of me that outside of my God, the professor, and my sweet little chicks makes me feel whole.

The piece I didn't know I'd been missing until she showed up, full of joy, in my life.

On Friday, this piecethe woman I am honored to call my heart sister named Sara (aka Gitz, GitzenGirl and Fritz) got a call that her Dad had died suddenly of a heart attack. Sara's dad, Mike, was a light; he shined so brightly one almost needed to wear shades in his presence. He was joyful, giving, kind, gentle, incredibly hard working, and full of life. Sara tells me he didn't know a stranger and everyone felt better just being with him. For those of you who know Sara, I think you'd agree that his qualities are mirrored in his girl. He was her first boyfriend, her favorite dance partner, and the man she cuddled with during movies on slow Sunday afternoons. Her Dad. This piece of me was in agony and there was nothing I could do but pray and lift her up to our heavenly Father, the One who sustains her through every peak and valley, the One who gave her to all of us to love. Sara inspires love. She unites people. Glorifies God. I would bet and I'm not a gambling woman that if you know her you'd claim her as a piece of you, too. Gitzen Girl doesn't just choose joy, she exudes it.

Which is why it is physically painful for me to watch her go through the valley she has to now travel through. She's not alone...she's surrounded by an amazing group that is loving on her when the rest of us cannot. Alece immediately hoped a plane and took flight to be at Sara's side just 48 hours after returning from a 12 week fundraising trip for ThriveAfrica. She's being His hands and feet. Susie, who let the world know with both grace and beauty of the events that were transpiring via the blog was waiting at her doorstep as she got the news, and has made sure that Sara isn't alone, even for a minute. Susie is His hands and feet. I know she's not alone, but I so want to be near her. I'm sure that everyone who loves her does...But right now she's ill physically with an infection she's been fighting for weeks and she's heart broken. A piece of me is hurting...and I can't make it stop.

I usually don't plead with my Savior. I am a go with His flow kind of gal. I trust His plan and His amazing design for my life and the lives of others. This weekend? Well, that whole train of thought went flying out the window. I begged. I pleaded. I grovelled. May have done a belly and face plant; a piece of me was hurting. I wanted her healed. Pronto. I wanted her physical pain and circumstances to not interfere with her ability to grieve. I wanted her body to be whole so she could have the opportunity to mourn alongside her family. I wanted to just take it all from her, every fuse, ache, infection, labored breath. I'd take it all because she is a piece of me.

There has not yet been any miraculous healing hey, a chick will continue to hope but perhaps a more fitting and Gitz-like story has been unfolding daily. The infection that has been plaguing her for weeks isn't progressing further than it had on Friday even though she's talking and crying and more active than normal, she's not shown signs of other infections even through she's been around a multitude more than she usually sees, she's been able to participate in the family viewing, in the wake, and will attend her dad's funeral virtually because others like Katie who was able to help set it up and Alece who will sit beside her and Susie who has done more than any of us realize have been His hands and feet. All of this for a piece of me.

Alece posted on loving our Sara here , so please go check it out and participate if you feel so led; she's come up with some amazing, tangible ways we can all show our support and affection. (In) Courage , where Sara is a regular contributor, gives an amazing way to show our love here . Jessica's site encourages prayer and describes how to send her an honest to goodness ink and paper card.

Which lead me to the following conclusion...she's not just a piece of me, she's "ours". We love, come together for, and support her. She inspires this in each of us. By her reflection of Jesus, she claims pieces of us. Her joy, her passion, her determination, spunk and humor all reflect Him. Even while grieving, Sara's life reflects her relationship with God and draws people to Him. At her lowest, He is still glorified. Sara reflects Him in each situation and circumstance.

I hope someday people desire to claim a piece of me...because like amazing, strong, beautiful, loved beyond measure Sara I want to reflect all of Him.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Take 5 Friday


  1. We all made it through Leg's Independence Day Marathon...with our heads attached. While experiencing it, we weren't sure anyone would make it out alive.

  2. On Tuesday evening, Little Bit fell asleep on my chest as I sang her a lullaby. I can't remember the last time it happened, but it was sweetness to my soul.

  3. Legs attended a middle school event at church every morning this week. She was fed spiritually and I had time with the little to paint nails, curl hair, cuddle and watch musicals.

  4. Sonic was 3 for 3 this week on the quality(think of the three t's--taste, texture, tang) of my fresh fruit lime slushes purchased during happy hour. Unheard of but greatly appreciated.

  5. I set aside time twice this week to talk to my friend on the phone. Just for me. Without interruptions well, not too many. Pure bliss.

Tell me about your week the great and not-so in the comments. Looking forward to your Take 5

Sing A Song

I have the great honor of studying God's Word with my chickadees

I learn about His heart and theirs at the same time

I am constantly amazed at the depth of question and understanding that come from little hearts

There is pure, childlike faith

Trust is evident

Joy is obvious

Sometimes, there is laughter

Yesterday Little Bit and I sat down to dive in together. Her big sis was at church better learning how to both speak and listen to her God. Boo and I were sitting at the kitchen table, finishing breakfast and studying together. We read chapter 2 of the beginning (aka Genesis 2) and continued on to the Psalms. After we both recited a Psalm aloud, she stopped me by placing her little hand atop mine. "Mama, why are we not singing these?" she questioned. I paused and replied, "Well, they don't have any music with them...and I don't know exactly how David intended they be sung, so...." I trailed off as she looked at me expectantly. Quickly Little Bit came up with a brilliant in her mind solution, "Well, how about I give you a sound and you go ahead and just sing it." I sat, puzzled, working through her suggestion and trying to find a creative way to deny her request. Then, she gave me her "sound" and declared with a smile I find irresistible "Go for it!" What was I to do? Tentatively I began; as I finished a line she'd provide me with a new tone. We continued on for three Psalms in this manner and as I finished up we were both beaming and laughing. I've sung Psalms,but they've been put to notes and measures and timed out. Our time together was completely spontaneous and not always very harmonious but I'll treasure it in my heart as a precious memory with my babe. I love the way she was able to go outside the lines and follow her desire to worship as she saw fit. To Little Bit, the Psalms were just words unless we sang them. When given music her heart music they came to life and became worship. Today I was prepared. I went right for Psalm 36, first reading, then placing it to music. Music that had already scripted to suit it. It was beautiful and she beamed with pleasure. But tomorrow? Maybe we'll do it her way again...

Psalm 36 v. 5-7

"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the
heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the
mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O Lord, you preserve both man and
beast.
How priceless is your unfailing love!"

To sing along with us today, click here and enjoy Psalm 36 at it's best with Third Day leading http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEF7IoQ3eUk . We look forward to worshiping with you!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Firecracker

Legs is without question our firecracker. She entered this world red and screaming and full of "it", whatever that's meant to imply. She's her own unique, intelligent, gifted chick. She makes our nest full and amazing and never ceases to keep us on our toes. OUR TIP TOES. She is beautiful, petite, graceful and spunky. Her presence fills the room. Especially when she's hot and bothered (as our nest is in the south, I feel free using this expression). This was one of those weekends where both hot and bothered aptly applied to our eldest. Honestly, the professor and I were a bit insert monumentally concerned over this three day weekend that we'd have to make use of our contract with Rural Metro, seeing as the nest was rocked by explosions and fireworks.

It was loud, it was messy, and it certainly couldn't be labeled as pretty. On Friday eve, our middle school babe walked in from a friend's house wearing eyeshadow and black nail polish. Totally ready for a night on the town. We weren't sure which part of town, but that was beside the point. When corrected because there was no way on God's green earth she was going to pull this one off there were loud sighs, emphatic telling of "NO", a tossing of a bottle of hand sanitizer, the word hate(forbidden in our nest), the idea introduced that we were not in any way, shape or form cool, a liturgy on why our rules shouldn't apply, etc, etc. This went on with increasing pitch for two hours.

I'll take a breath to state two sure things:

(1) Our neighbors either think we're crazy or have gone through this type of thing themselves, as our firecracker was probably audible far down the street.

(2) Little Bit resembled Mary Poppins more and more with each passing moment of the next 72 hours.

By 11:39pm Friday the 2nd, the doors to Legs room had been removed from the hinges. With exclamations of how unfair we were and how she needed her privacy, we gently firmly reminded her that this was our home and the consequence for slamming doors on us was their removal. As I kissed her steaming head for the third time as I put her back in bed, I asked God to give peace to all of us. I may have also requested begged of Him that the neighbors might not feel the inclination to call the authorities. Yes, she was THAT loud...small and mighty, our Legs.

Not much improvement was seen on Saturday, meaning that most of her room was moved into our closet. My friend, Sara, laughed at this and told me of a friend of hers who had emptied her son's room except for his mattress, a blanket and pillow. I smirked, remembering our spitfire at 5...when we'd done the same thing. I was praying we'd not get to that point, as I don't have the same physical strength I did half a decade ago. I was willing to journey back there again, for one reason and one reason only...



This is about her heart, not her happiness


Yep, we're some of those parents. The ones that want their kids to turn out loving God and each other and respecting themselves even when it is not easy or popular. The parents who want their kids in the world but not of it. The parents who enforce curfew. The parents who don't dress the six year old like a sixteen year old and allow the sixth grader to dress any way she desires. Here in the nest, cheek is not exposed from either side, and we don't tolerate cheeky. Our chicks are being raised to be well mannered, obedient, cultured, intelligent, Christ following young ladies. The professor and I trust that if the little hearts in this home are right, happiness will follow. We work on teaching that joy and happiness aren't the same thing, and above everything else we are here to shepard and lead and shape their hearts...and if their hearts are right their joy that only comes from the Lord will be evident.

This weekend, no one in the nest was happy. There was much yelling (not from anyone over four and half feet tall), door slamming, crying, and general unease. Little bit cried because it was stressful. The professor pantomimed behind closed doors. I needed a nap well before 4pm on Sunday. All weekend, the words were the same, stated calmly and simply,


"It's not about your happiness, it's about your heart. When your heart is right, your happiness follows."


As we came home from church on the 4th, we asked our firecracker if there was a display in our near future. We were testing her heart, attempting to determine if she felt real sorrow over what had occurred or if she was simply trying to get out of the mess in which she'd placed herself. We were asking "Is your heart right?" About 2:00pm, the answer became yes. It was yes in a heartfelt apology, a statement about what needed to change, and true sorrow about the events that had unfolded. It was yes in her desire to go up and dance and let out some pent-up steam. Yes in the quiet moments of sitting and reading with her younger sister, and yes in the organized dresser drawers that had been arranged in the midst of her thinking. Finally our strong willed child was understanding that our rules were there to keep her safe, keep her protected, help her remain a child for just a bit longer. The eldest was grasping that we were interested in the health of her heart rather than in simply making her happy.

We watched fireworks as a family later that night in their dazzling display of color, beauty, form and sparkle. As each exploded overhead, I gazed at our newly minted middle school babe and was thankful. Thankful that we'd made it through the weekend, thankful that she'd been entrusted to us, and thankful for all of the brilliance she brings to our lives...thankful that Independence Day occurs only once a year.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A million little things



This Week...
This week I've stated "She can't hurt a thing." and meant it every single time

This week I drove to Gatlinburg to eat at a pancake place for lunch, and I don't eat lunch

This week I've done loads of laundry to remove meals off of clothing and I've treasured folding every single piece
This week I watched my eldest with new eyes as she toted on a hip, grabbed things, entertained and all around looked like I did with her--although beautiful, this scared me


This week I didn't care that my wood floors weren't cleaned and shiny--I treasured little tiny footprints mixed with big ones all over it
This week my main room looked bare--all of the throw pillows were removed and the rug pulled up so I didn't have to worry about milk being spilled or cheese and cracker crumbs being dropped--but my couch was full


This week, my Wheatie, Tallulah Mae (aka Lulu) became "OOOH-LU" and was the most gentle and sweet I've ever seen her
This week I listened to my Little Bit play a beautiful melody with her Aunt and was in awe

This week I taught little hands to color for the first time and remembered the first and second times I'd had this first...and realized it holds the same beauty every single time

This week I watched a little face bravely go into the water at the pool, and watched an expression go from shock to pure pleasure and laughed as the whole moment was then repeated


This week I had the privilege of purchasing little feet a first pair of new walking shoes and then watching the toddle followed by the stopping to remove a single blade of grass bothering a toe


This week I stayed up late playing video games on the Wii...I was quite awful and used up many lives, but I didn't care, because the moments were filled with laughter and teasing

This week I took a million pictures because I never want to forget

This week I watched my brother as a father and was exceedingly proud of him



This week I held, snuggled, carried and kissed sweet cheeks and the top of a curly head again. It was pure heaven

Today I took the two extra chairs away from the kitchen table and felt like something was missing
Today I removed a million fingerprints from windows and mirrors and left one just because

Today my voice cracked at the last "I love you" and I barely made it in the door before losing it. I don't lose it. Ever
Today I cried harder than I have in years because a red-headed "heaven in curls" who I adore like she's mine and her parents my brother, my best friend growing up are heading over oceans with too many plane trips to count separating us for years to come



Today, I'm thankful my heart is big enough to feel all of this...but I'm quite sure it is broken

This week? One I'll never forget and always treasure