Sunday, September 30, 2018

and ten thousand beside

Today was her birthday, and so I am celebrating with her very favorite...

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be

Summer and winter and spring time and harvest
Sun moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine and ten thousand beside

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me


So thankful for life forever in Christ, for a mother who loved Him and who spent her time with us so that we could bear witness to her becoming, and for joy that remains undaunted and will never fade away ♥

Friday, August 10, 2018

not just any old august

This month marks my twelfth year homeschooling, but that's not what is making this August extraordinary. How does one really share the heart of the hardest, best things? It's almost midnight as I begin setting these thoughts to paper, and I've just hugged and kissed Meredith goodnight. It is she who is making this year's August something quite different, a fun adventure, startling, a bit heart-wrenching, and so new.

When Jamie and I first heard word that she was on the way, I remember lying awake in tears, begging God to teach me how to be a mom and giving her right back to His care. That night I also asked Him, knowing my heart, to teach me how to let her go when the time came.

And then when she was ten and had decided for some reason that ten was all grown up, and that she would be leaving us soon -- and did not want to! God showed up and gave me the words to comfort her and to tell her that He would make her ready as the years went by --and that He would turn her heart toward the things that He would make of her.

He has done that. I have watched her over the past year and a half as her heart began to turn to her future, and it has been so gorgeous to see. This month she is stepping out into the first days of what will become her first college degree. The vision of what is to come is magnificent, whatever what is to come is to be.

So, tonight, I sit with the promises of all of these years wrapped around like a hug. His comfort. His joy. As she steps into these next days, I celebrate them with these precious words of our whole life together...

"He tends His flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in His arms
and carries them close to His heart;
He gently leads those that have young."
Isaiah 40: 11

"Blessed is she
who has believed
that what the Lord has said to her
will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Recording the thankful things and memorizing this view ♥

Thursday, July 5, 2018

just a mom

As I was reading and researching the other day, I came across a statement written by someone I love and admire that has stayed with me --and that is reaching into the heart of this day on my own front porch. She was working to encourage her readers and made the statement that she always knew that she was meant to be more than just a mom.

It occurred to me just moments ago, as I realized that I was being a capital brat while preparing the vegetables for tonight's supper, that that very mindset is ingrained in me, too.

I remember the day so clearly when I was in sixth grade and our teacher was doing a round table about what we were planning to be when we grew up. Oh, the grand plans! It was fun to listen to our class talk about the future. One of our friends surprised us, though. She wanted to be a wife and a mom. Out of our whole class -- and every girl I knew for that matter -- she was the only one. And we thought it so strange!

Growing up on the first wave of girls truly being able to "be anything," I was excited and so ready to do the great thing!

Most days, I remember all day long that the great thing that I will do with my life is walk with Christ. For those of us who know Him, love Him, follow Him, there is no higher calling.

But there are times like in the hour that has just passed, that our enemy bears down unmercifully on the mantra that has been a part of what has been taught to girls for as long as I can remember. Do you know what was washing over me as I sliced peppers in the kitchen? You were made for more than this! If you didn't have to do this, think of all the important things you could be doing right now! You will never get these moments back!

The truth is, what I was made for is God. He created me to glorify Him.

As soon as I realized what was happening (and that was that I was being an absolute brat), I reached for an attitude adjustment. I have food! A kitchen in which to prepare it! Precious mouths to feed! A calling that is the most (and only) beautiful part of me! The thankful things are simply everywhere.

So, I say to you (and to me) if He has given you a child, there is no such thing in His estimation as "just a mom." ♥

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

o beautiful

Love one another.

His grace sets us free.

Who more than self their country loved...

Each day is a gift.

God shed His grace on thee...

He made us. We are His.

We love, because He first loved us.

And crown thy good with brotherhood...

It's a gift, not a burden.

Grace and peace to you, in His Name.

From sea to shining sea.



Listening to Mr. Ray Charles sing so beautifully. And as he belts out this anthem of his heart, he speaks of the gifts of God's grace and the brotherhood we have been given as a country. His advice? "Ya'll ought to love Him for it!"

The best way to show God our love for Him is to obey Him.
If you love Me, obey...

Love the Lord your God with all your heart...
Love one another...

Where the Spirit of the LORD is...

THERE is freedom ♥

Sunday, July 1, 2018

to stand

Taking a few minutes to write for what the Father has done, as I look out into a new day in several areas of my life. Psalm 40:1 - 3 was my Scripture writing for the day, and it fits so beautifully...

"I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God..."

Each phrase a picture of the past and present,
works in progress and lessons learned and learned again.

Oh, gracious! The lesson of waiting patiently?
When will I ever learn it?
So thankful that He keeps teaching, leading,
patiently helping my becoming.

His faithfulness,
His mercy,
and that He heard and hears me
is such a gift. 

And there's just so much hope
--in the fact that He has set my feet on a rock.
I do have a firm, sure place to stand.
Every day. All day long. And in the night watches.

My songs? They're all Him, too.

Writing praise ♥

Saturday, June 2, 2018

everywhere

• The way a raindrop hung on the tip of every leaf yesterday after a storm, and the moment the sun burst through the clouds and they all were alight. My view from the front porch was filled to bursting with fairy lights made of water, and it was simply breathtaking.

• The look on my son's face every time his dad asks him to help with a project or a chore or an opinion - his heart shining through his eyes.

• The possibilities.

• Watching as my littlest one experiences a book series that we have all loved for herself. We have held the stories close for so long! Watching her eyes dance and then her brow wrinkle as she meets characters and situations and tries to decide what she thinks. And the great anticipation of her finishing each book and the glorious discussion to come.

• Planning for my family as the change to summer days approaches.

• Hope.

• Talking with Meredith about future days. The ones coming up this summer, and this fall, and then later on. Working to balance the joy of seeing her wings catching the air with the mom-cry, "Can it be possible that we are here already?" Waiting and keeping watch with her through prayer as she makes decisions.

• Waking up with Jamie.

• The gift and privilege of praying with friends near and far. Day after day after day the notes and calls and messages pour in. Sometimes it feels like I will burst with hoping or rejoicing or sorrow, but what a gift to be asked to pray and then to be able to talk with the Father for a while.

• Words.

• Finding the thankful things.

• The joy of a call from a sweet friend about everyday things turned into fifteen minutes or so of laughter and fun and making plans.

Listing, because everywhere I look if I am really looking, there is a blessing.
And I do not want to forget ♥

Monday, May 28, 2018

sweetest song

Dwelling on His love with sweetest song, that's how I am praising Him tonight and that is how I am doing battle. It's quiet here this time of day, the sweetlings are tucked in and Jamie and I are working away at our keyboards across the room from one another. I wonder if my singing reaches through his concentration? It makes me smile to think that the battle cry I am raising tonight could bless him ,too, by simply being a part of the background canvas to what he's writing for next Sunday morning...

I am writing tonight, because I simply never want to forget the hours of these recent days and weeks.

Word after word has come to me here, sharing the delight and wonder and indescribable joy of celebration: precious babies long anticipated and finally welcomed, years and years of hearts' prayers of precious parents and friends - hopes all wrapped in graduation weekends and plans for the fall.

Too, there's the joy of these last days of the gift of another completed school year with my own sweetlings, the view from this side of a summer stretching out before us and looking forward to more time with Jamie.

And word after word has come to me here, the heart-wrenching news of sickness and loss: mothers, so many mothers terribly, horribly sick - with husbands and small children who adore them. Women who have blessed their families and communities beyond telling. And they are so sick.

With the news comes the agony afresh and memories of my own mom's leaving for heaven. Most of the time my view there is clear and my heart remembers so well just how full the goodness of the Father is. But I am struggling right now with the knowing what it's like for your mom to leave, and I cannot seem to set that down at His feet again.

So, I sing. It's what I have done all of my life when the words to the prayers of my heart won't come  - to express the great joy or the great sorrow of the day. Holding fast to the promise that Holy Spirit intercedes when I cannot speak my heart, I sing.

To Our King be highest praise
Rising though eternal days
Just and faithful He shall reign
Jesus shall reign ♥

Original words to Jesus Shall Reign by Isaac Watts

Getty Hymn sing official lyric video...here.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

o little firefly

I just stepped out to the front porch and saw my first fireflies of the season. Do you smile every single time you see one light? How I love them!

Just being themselves, they are a joy, aren't they? And then there is the wonder and delight of my sweetlings (year after year after year) when we pile into the kitchen for jars. Which one of us isn't overjoyed at the shrieks, squeals, and giggles that result from a dancing firefly hunt?

Memories flood in and I am sitting here thinking about the Firefly Adventure we created for one of Meredith's half birthdays. Precious family and friends came over and brought their tiny sweetlings, too, and we all wore adventure hats and had a glorious ex-po-tition. It's one of my favorites of our earliest celebrations.

All of that to say, don't we have a gorgeous heavenly Father? To think of him sitting and grinning and creating the first firefly, giving it a light... oh! It makes me smile! What interesting and wonderful gifts He loves to give.

And yet I have been wrestling all day long with myself. Do you have those days, too? Here at the close of the day, in answer to my wondering, a firefly lights up and I remember. All of His gifts are good, including His timing. And so I wait, doing what I know for sure He has given me to do right now. Resting in the certainty that when it's time for the next thing, He will let me know ♥

Saturday, April 14, 2018

the wisest

Listening to one of my favorite song sets - lots of genres, lots of everything - all of it gorgeous in blended notes and in lyrics. Tucked in among the wonderful for this past week and the one to come, there's this...

"The wisest men still find their way
by the light He gives from day to day
and the strength that's found in knowing
that He came to earth to save.

Sometimes life can be so hard
but there's always rest inside his arms...

The wisest men still find their way to Jesus."

Oh, to be wise enough to never, ever stop seeking Him. For the strength to stand and stand and stand again.  To love greatly in what seem like the tiniest things that really are the gigantic things. In the days when what I am and what I do seems like so much less than enough. For the gift of remembering to refocus and fix my eyes on forever with Him and not to leave anyone behind for my not having shared. For the grace and mercy of having a heart of flesh, squishy to the point that joy and sorrow flow freely down my face for all to see. Always with the thankful things set before me, so that I do not lose my way in selfish, vain, discontented wandering.

And that in seeking, I am not the only one who comes to see the King ♥

With a hug to Carl Cartee. Quote from his song, "The Wisest Men"


Thursday, April 5, 2018

quiet farewelling

Just after supper, as Jamie and Ila disappeared to the basement shop to paint a new beehive they are building and Meredith and Samuel rushed out to enjoy the last hour and a half of the day, I stepped out onto the porch to read. During what should have been a delightful meal with my family, I discovered that my frustration fuse was unbearably short. I needed a breath of perspective.

So, I gathered a yummy cup of coffee and my current read and found a rocker on the front porch. This weather is deliciously springtime, crisp and cool and life-giving, isn't it? I had just sat down and opened my book when M & S came around the corner by the big camellia chirp-chirping in their own special sibling speak and having a marvelous time. Can you guess my reaction? It was UGH! Another huge indicator that the time I was taking to breathe was urgently needed.

I spoke to them gently, told them I loved them to pieces and particles, and asked could they please be off around the house, because my mom-radar was going off every time I heard their voices. They grinned and said, "Sure, Mom!" and trooped away giggling.

Perhaps it was fifteen minutes total, then, that I spent out there rocking and reading (even turning on the porch light for the last couple of paragraphs so I could finish my chapter). And then I stood there by the porch railing watching as the day gave way to night, a beautiful quiet fare-welling that I would have missed had I not taken the time to step away.

I am unspeakably grateful for the Father's encouragement to step outside and see, and to read and see, and to look inside and see, and to look up and see. A hint, a tiny glimpse of His perspective was just what was so sorely needed. What a joy now to head away from this spot of recording the joy -- into the joy of reading aloud to my sweetlings.

So very thankful ♥

Monday, March 12, 2018

the most important time of day

Working through Discipline: the Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliott, and it's taking me a while. This little book is packed, and I find that it is an imperative (for me, at least) to take it in just bit by bit.

I have been spending time with the Father each morning for a while now, but it was a joy to find encouragement and fresh ideas for ways to spend our time together...

The time spent alone with the Lord is the most important time of the day.

• Let it be a regular time. Have a special time for solitude and silence. If you have never done it before, start with ten minutes. You will be surprised how quickly it goes, and you will soon need to plan for more.

• Have a special place. Anywhere you can be alone, even if it has to be a closet, bathroom, or in the car in the garage.

• Pray. Include worship, thanksgiving, confession of sin, petition (including asking God to speak to you during your quiet time), and intercession (prayers for others).

• Journal. Note lessons learned, Scriptures applied to a particular need, prayers answered - this is a great encouragement to faith.

• Read a portion of the Bible in some ordered sequence. Read from Psalms and Proverbs daily, along with a potion of where you are in your other reading.

The best time for most people is early morning - not because most of us love jumping out of bed, but because it is the only time of day when we can be fairly sure of not being interrupted and because it is best to commune with God before you commune with people. Your attitude toward them will then arise out of your life in Him ♥

quoted from EE with a few sprinkles of Q

Saturday, February 17, 2018

treasures in a health lesson

It's Saturday afternoon, and I am sitting at my desk going over Meredith's work for the week. We will meet in a little while for our conference and to discuss things. I just picked up her health assignment, part of her elective work this semester, and began reading. It was a lesson on self image. Here are her answers all together in paragraph form...

Think before you speak. Don't tease someone to be mean. Why would you do that? If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything! Use your words to encourage other people not break them. Be yourself. Doesn't matter what others think, only matters what God thinks. You can't know what others think all the time, and it'll drive you mad trying to guess, so drop it. Just do things. Be brave. Talk to the people who love you. If you have a problem with negative self-talk, read what God thinks about you. If God has given you a gift, use it! Inward qualities - self-control, thinking kindly, being wise, being trustworthy, wisdom, trusting God - make you ready to face big outward things. If you focus on God and His word, you keep in mind what you really are - His child. Beloved. We are made in God's image. Think about that. We are modeled after Him. He loved us enough to do that.

What oh what would the world be if we all measured and viewed ourselves this way? ♥

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

of doing and being

Hospitality. Simplicity.
Communicating. Conversation. Community.

These are the themes that have been swirling around in my head and heart today. I have been trying to pop in here all day long and set down some notes ^_^

• "Sometimes we are called far and wide on a mission, but more often we are called to love others in our everyday, ordinary lives...right where we live..."

• He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters, restoring my soul. And He guides me on paths. I don't have to figure out what to do. He leads. He teaches me how to love and how to reach out. He brings people into my life. He gives me the words to say.

• I tend to make things harder than need be: planning too much not recognizing when it's enough, focusing on the outcome instead of simple obedience, bound and burdened at my own hand by the doing instead of letting go (He's in control, not me) and resting in the being.What are my priorities, my motivations, anyway? Focus and really see!

• Abide. Dwell. Be Still.

• inspired, God-breathed hospitality

• "a simple table spread with abundant love"

• In what ways am I working to be present in the moments of my days? Intentional with my time, words, activities, attitudes, and yes, planning?

• How am I showing the people around me that they matter, holding place and time in their service, creating welcome and a place to belong?

• No grand plans, big programs, time shattering reconstruction that removes all joy and peace. Employing just a gorgeous simplicity and the attention to detail that carves out moments instead of spending them...stopping to consider in prayer again and again: availability, the gift of eyes to see, willingness, and the hope that I know and am here to share.

• Simplify.

• Set my face against the lie that busy-ness is better, is crucial, and call it what it is, an idol. Cultivate a quiet heart in myself with the Father's power as my source, and cultivate His peace in my home as we walk gentler days.

• Learn to rest.



quotes & trails from "The Turquoise Table" by K Shell

Thursday, January 25, 2018

the terrifics

You have heard the expressions, so have I. The "terrible twos, the terrible tweens, the terrible teen years..." As a very young parent, over and over again, I was told how awful, exasperating, wretched the twos would be. And the more I heard that spoken, the more I set my face against it. Surely, surely they don't HAVE to be? There is no saying what HAS to be with my children if I decide differently, right?

And guess what I found out? The twos were terrific! It depended on my own attitude, whether I was consistent, if I followed through with discipline, if I worked to make them so. Prayer was the key. Keeping my heart as close to the Father's own heart as I could, asking Him for wisdom --from moment to moment some days, and trusting that He loves the sweetlings even more than I do. Claiming again and again the verse from Isaiah that says that He gently cares for those who have young. How thankful I was and still am for that promise to the mommies and the daddies!

Were our days perfect? Nope! Did I fail utterly at times? Yep! Do I look back now and wish I had done some things differently? Absolutely! Do I pray that my children will have a blessed forgetfulness of the days that were less than they should have been? I sure do!

And guess what they remember? That I was there. That I played. That they learned some neat stuff. That we cried together and laughed a whole lot, too. Are they wearing rose colored glasses? No way! The lessons we learned together (including the fact that their mom is altogether human) stayed with them, just as they have with me. And many times the outcome was and is a testament to the great grace of God.

So we are in the teens with one, the tweens with another, and the third is a tween rising. Ask me first if my feet are planted firmly on this earth and in reality, and then ask me if there is anything God can't do. After that I will wink and smile and tell you that these years are terrific, too ♥

orange slices & cream topped tea cakes

Sitting here in the moments in between the time when all of my family is at rest and when I head in for the night's sleep as well. Taking a bit of a retreat from work and planning, I popped into the kitchen and made a little snack and set out in search of new journals to read. What a joy to spend time traveling all over, all in discovery and wonder at the new perspective, the fresh vision. Colors and word-smithy, textures and beautiful imagination leap off pages or quietly dance their way close to settle in for a visit. I find that I am quite particular about which ones to mark for returning. Ha! Not really a surprise at that, is it? There is something about a journal with gorgeous order, not stark but filled with welcome, a touch of whimsy, loving-kindness, an artful challenge of some kind or the other --oh, and well chosen words. Always the words are what capture my heart and keep me coming back, for they are my love language.

Here at the end of the day at my keyboard, the thankful things counted... I add one more: these quiet moments just now ♥

Friday, January 12, 2018

rainy day sunshine

Stopping here for just a few minutes to record the joy of an unexpected afternoon. Hours spent in conversation, some heart-wrenching (in both good and tough ways) and other parts hilarious. Oh, that sweet laughter, even when it's through tears!

And the absolute beauty, the gift of listening to a heart sold out to Christ. Watching her face as she speaks is a joy! Such a thing to say when she was sharing burdens that are as tough and challenging and heart breaking as they come, I know, but her face! No matter the subject, it was alight with the certainty that God holds her in His hand just like He promised.

The sweetlings and I are studying the sun in science right now, and we were discussing the brilliance of God's glory just this morning. Sharing the story about Moses and the cleft of the rock, we marveled at the fact that his face shone after seeing just a bit of the glory of the LORD as He passed by. It shone so much that Moses had to wear a veil so he wouldn't frighten the people! LoL!

I saw that beautiful glory reflected in the precious life of my friend today. I have been watching and learning from her for years and years now. She is not perfect; she is His. And that is a blessing every single time we get together. How thankful I am ♥

Thursday, January 11, 2018

the same thing over & over

When your littlest sweetling, who loves to pray, all of a sudden doesn't want to anymore... and when asked if she would like to, sadly lowers her eyes, shakes her head and says, "No, thank you..." you find a moment to talk to her to see what's up!

And you discover that she is embarrassed to talk to God, because she doesn't want to always say the same thing over and over. "Surely He gets bored hearing me tell Him all the things I always say! And, Mom! I'd be bored right out of my mind if my friends did that to me. I even have trouble when you're doing your mom things and telling me stuff again and again. So, I don't want to pray!"

You take a moment to thank God for the mind He has given your daughter, that she's really thinking about it. And then you gently tell her that it's OK, and that He wants a conversation with her. It's OK to thank Him for our food every single time we eat, because that is praise and it's good to say thank you. It's OK to lift up our families, our friends, and other folks over and over, because He understands that we care about them -- and everyone needs prayer every day. And what a lovely thing to do -- to consider, the way He's feeling about things and to want to bless Him, too.

Awash in the thankful things, especially the perks of this mom life ♥

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

first thing & the great finale

Sweetest sweetling + Jamie moments of the day so far...

• First thing this morning when the children realized Jamie was on a delayed schedule and joyful bellows of, "Daddy!!!" rang out through the house accompanied by the most enormous grins.

• Just now the two littlest ones and their Dad are lined up in a row on the couch with his guitar, a music stand, and two recorders. He is teaching them to play, and they are tootling along joyfully with bursts of giggles in between. I have to run, because I have just been invited to to be the special guest at "the great finale!"

Joy ♥

Monday, January 8, 2018

glad surrender

With the coming of the new year, I have picked up a new book. Determined to add reading to my own list of wonderful things to do each day (I usually read new things for myself only in summer, being inundated with reading for the sweetlings and for our school here), I am striking forth with a purpose!

This little book has been on my wish list for ages, and now that I have begun it, I don't believe I will be apart from it in my thinking spaces ever again. Discipline: the Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot is going to be another "book of my life." I am now eight days in, taking it bit by bit in my morning quiet time, and it is already such a challenge that I am at once delighted and teary.

Here's just a smidgen of the wonderful tucked into my reading this morning... "It is on the basis of solid conviction that He is both sovereign and loving that we commit ourselves to Him unconditionally, believing that what we leave behind is less than nothing compared to what we hope for."

Walking on with joy in this first day back to daily days ♥