enough

It’s 7:04am, even though my mind and the sun think it’s only just after 6. Daylight savings is not a joke.

I am showered and dressed, have a worship set list ready, and now I should go wake up my kiddos, who are happily unaware of the way we stole an hour from them somewhere in the middle of the night.

Five minutes more. We all need five more minutes.

Yesterday was long. Hard. No real reason. Just a very mommish kind of day. Only one day before I had thought, as we headed out the door dressed and ready for CFA at 8am, “We finally got this. Look, I’m even taking 2 minutes to find and apply lipstick!” Fast forward 24 hours, and I’m feeling like a failure every which way I turn. Taken in the positive, I could say that yesterday supplied me with several months of new goals for parenting and training.

My husband would probably say yesterday I was just tired, and the worst version of my melancholy idealist self comes out with a vengeance when I’m tired.

Either way, today is a new day. And, graciously, the grumpiest day I’ve had in awhile was shortened by an hour. The whole time zone conspiring to say, “Get that girl into some new mercies, quick.

*****

Here’s what I think often these days, and it brings strength just through the confessing:

I’m not doing this because I’m up for it.
I’m not doing this because I have enough to go around.
I’m not doing this because I’m a natural.

I’m doing this because HE has called me and promised to be my supply.

Do you know what that means? It means that since it’s only ever been about Him and His sufficiency, I don’t have to worry about my lack. Every single morning, every single moment, He is everything.

He’s all my husband needs.
All my kids need.
All the world needs.
All that I need.

*****

Oh my. I want to cry that she’s growing too fast, but who can cry when she’s growing into this absolutely fun and sweet sparkly-eyed person?

l o v e

Valentine’s Day. Clear, beautiful. Heaps and heaps of fresh snow, beckoning children to play (and their mamas to walk!)

Space made in our week for card making and crafting and cookies. Sometimes we have squeezed it into the cracks, but this year I wanted to take the chance to reflect with our time that people are important, and that appreciation needs to be communicated.

Some children are more creative than others, true, and while one boy had all of his cards made and stashed by Monday at noon, others are using every available minute on unique creations that I marvel over (because of course they have to show me, eager for my smile of affirmation, or to make sure I laugh at the clever joke.)

Cookies baked and frosted, despite my dismal failure with the buttercream. I try so hard to make it about being together, more than anything, and of course, that togetherness means more barbed comments than kindness, grabbing than sharing, laughing at instead of laughing with — and I have to take a deep breath. This is what we are doing: we are learning love. That means we don’t already know it. It means we are lacking. We are un-learning instinctive responses of envy and selfishness and pride, and putting on empathy and gentleness and humility. And I am the mother: I am on duty at all times, and shouldn’t be surprised when a table full of cookies and bowls of pink frosting ends up being an opportunity for me to be gentle in my correction. I am learning, too.

Our littlest love. She spends so much of the day caught up with her siblings, finding me when she’s at last tired, or hungry. Nighttime she nestles in my arms, and I’m glad for those hours when she’s mine. What a sweet treasure.

life with #6.

This little one! Oh, but she makes us smile. And laugh! So much laughter because of Enid and her antics. So many older siblings who will drop everything to comfort her, do anything to get one more smile from her. Only 8 months old but somehow so fully aware of how she belongs to us, and that we belong to her. She is curious, energetic, happy, playful, and (no surprise) happiest in the middle of a lot of hubbub. No, really. The very middle of everything.

fiona is FIVE!

More birthday-celebrating, more time-marching. Lots of deep breaths for this mama, as already shadows of grief for days long gone occasionally pass over my soul. We looked at pictures of brand new baby Fiona, held by by a little Jameson and William with 2yo Beatrice in the background, and once again I just couldn’t believe that that will never happen or be again. Sometimes I can just sigh and shrug and smile, and sometimes it’s more painful. But whether I smile or cry, the truth of it remains: those days are gone and today is what I have to cherish, invest in, and give thanks for.

Yesterday we celebrated Fiona and her fifth birthday. She is so easy and delightful. She wakes up smiling, ready to play and dance and sing her way through the day. Once in a while, the cloud of anger will pass over her face when something doesn’t go quite her way, but she quickly returns to a smile and kindness, only occasionally requiring my help to do so. She has long been a tremendous friend to Beatrice, and now is becoming one to Cecily as she grows old enough to play and talk and be a friend in return. She swims without fear, thrives in a theatrical environment, loves friends and laughter, is eager to learn piano, and does her little chores at home with diligence and pride. She is a treasure.


This cake was dreamed about and discussed for an entire year: chocolate, layers, pink frosting, pearls, and strawberries in the middle. She knows what she wants!

_____

And along the lines of time slipping by, this little one is getting chubbier and smilier every single day. Goodness, I love her!

the busy and lazy and timeless days of summer

Here we are, August. August! I cut a bunch of echinacea and rudbeckia and couldn’t even believe it. What happened to the peonies? Scratch that. Where are the daffodils? How are we here already?!

But oh, we have filled these days. Some filled with the nothing that summertime begs for, some filled with much anticipated activities. Soccer camp, swim lessons, and musical theater camp — far more here and there than our usual summer schedule, but it has been so much fun and just right for this year.

What hasn’t happened this year is much [any] gardening. The grass is growing quite well between hardy perennials, despite the fact that hot and dry weather has left the lawn looking brown and crunchy. I’ve never experimented with total neglect, and I can’t recommend it, but a new baby in May has bumped weeding and pruning waaaay down the totem pole. The good news is I haven’t lost anything, and hopefully that will still be true next spring. There’s a time for everything, I guess.

Last week I decided on and ordered our books for the coming school year, so that means this week will see us purging and tidying the school cupboard once again. I’m both excited about all we’ll learn and dreadfully sad that our summer days will end in a few weeks. There’s a time for everything.

*****

Old familiar tasks done in a new beautiful kitchen.

Evening walks in nightgowns and pjs.

Mama’s rug in my room.

Learning croquet.

Wagon full of beauty.

Three soccer players!

Enid’s regular activity. (Some days.)

Up bright and early every swim-lesson morning! So proud of just that, never mind the swim progress.

Cousins made it even more fun.

Sister love.

An early NOT swim morning by myself.

Donning ballet slippers.

Constant companion, growing and changing and more loved every day.

mother by design

Summer is the time for bumping into friends you haven’t seen and asking, “How have you been?”

In case you’re wondering, this is how I’ve been:

She is my constant companion these days, as I read to the kids or stir a pot or oversee play or email and call — she is most often in my arms. There is something about these fragile baby days that astounds me. She needs me. Life and death, no exaggeration, needs me.

As I serve her and her most basic needs, putting them above my own desires or needs, I am serving Christ. ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

As I serve her, showing her gentleness and love in my manner, I am showing Christ to her. I am shaping her first ideas of what love is, and her own worth.

And as I serve her, I am struck by how I am perfectly designed to meet her needs. Uniquely qualified. This is a physical truth I can see with my eyes that speaks to shades of doubt that lurk in my heart. I am a nurturer, a life-giver. I am called to strength and courage, kindness and gentleness. On my own, I am not all or any of the things I need to be. But my belief in Intelligent Design grounds me, and my faith in the Holy Spirit equips me.

As she looks to me, I am reminded again and again to look to Him. He is all — everything — we need.