october: celebrating daddy

Before October’s close, there are birthdays to note.

Ryan. He’s not much for parties, gifts are impossible (he knows what I got him before I’ve even looked for or bought it!), and this year there wasn’t even dessert we could make for him. But still we celebrated with anticipation and joy. I loved being home with the children that day, seeing their love for him spill out in cards and special table settings and general “buzz” as the afternoon stretched into evening and we awaited his homecoming.

Fiona stood and watched for him, and it made my heart squeeze. My kids have a daddy who loves them so much.

They made cards, and I made dinner, and that was our gift. Somehow the kids even found that pink goblet way up high on a pantry shelf, given to us by Dr. Wilson at our wedding. Anything to say, “My dad is the best!”

We gave him our words, trying our best to communicate what he means to each of us. I had them all pile on the couch to capture this moment of our lives: a father who loves, and five children who adore.

saying goodbye to august

We said goodbye to August this week.

Ryan came home as we were eating dinner and said, surprise! We’re going to spend a couple nights at a lake house nearby! The kids could not contain their excitement. William spent the next hour and a half cleaning up and packing and talking about how “two hours ago we thought we were just going to bed, and now we’re going to the Lake!

It was just 48 hours, but it was really a blessing. There’s nothing quite like “waking up, and just boom, put your swimsuit on and jump in!”, as Beatrice said. Not to mention Daddy being with us for those two days. Jameson played and laughed with him out on the paddle board. William played his first solo game of chess against him. Beatrice and Fiona swam out to the dock and jumped to him. It was wonderful.

Jameson built a fire almost by himself. Fiona devoured a s’more. Cecily hated the boat ride! I got to spend a few minutes alone with each boy as others slept, watching them in the quiet take in the peaceful surroundings.

Goodbye, August.

August 18

We had a birthday.

I’m not the best party-thrower, and we aim for simple around here, but it is so good to stop the usual and celebrate the fact that God gave us the gift of each other.


making cake together


last hug for her 4yo sister


first-thing presents from neighbors who love her


coloring at the picnic table — the big event that held their attention for over an hour!


I love Fiona, quietly taking in every nuance of these big girls


getting ready


ready!


soaking it all in


“It’s just what I wanted!” I wish I could have captured her face. Perfect.


best big brothers

We are really thankful that God gave us this bright, perceptive, loving, joyful little lady.

August 3

Sunshine.

It’s every single blue-skied day.

True, we could use rain. (Oh, my grass! Coarse, brown, and dusty.) But we have had sunshine. So much that I haven’t given it much thought, until just now, looking at photos.

The sun touches everything, big and small. It sets the vast sky ablaze, and illuminates the smallest detail. It makes her eyes sparkle and my food look yummier. It declares the precision, passion, and provision of our Father.

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.”

August 2nd

Yesterday while I was out mowing, I decided that’s it — I’m going to post something every single day and get my writing muscles working again.

And now I’m laughing, because I didn’t even last one day into August.

Does anyone else have amazingly grand productive thoughts while showering or mowing or sitting and nursing the baby? You think, look how happy everyone is. As soon as I’m done here, I’ll just slip out and do XYZ. How hard can it be?

I’m trying to just laugh.

And so the summer has slipped by. Day after day of living, woven into the fabric of our lives and into who we’re becoming.

One sentence for each month I’ve missed, and a photo, for brevity’s sake:

June was a month with Daddy — 30 wonderfully full and rich days off from work!

July was quintessential summer, with swim lessons and parades and friends and even a few nights with the Sinclair clan at my parents’ house.

My life lessons have, I’m sure, been many. Mostly feeling the Holy Spirit pry my fingers off [what seems like] the last little bit of control I’ve tried to maintain. Slowly He’s brought me to waters too deep for me to stand, and I’m having to trust that He’ll hold me. It’s messier and crazier and my brain is zanier than what I think should be — but then, is it? Maybe that’s just me, standing by and panicking a bit because I’m not in charge. Not that I would ever do that.

What I know is this: I have a Shepherd who promises to lead me, and these little lambs are the apple of His eye. That is a good place to be.

an overview

The snow is long gone, though lingering days of cold have made the spring feel slow. No surprise, then, that I can’t quite wrap my mind around May. Well into the fifth month of this year that I thought just started.

Even more shocking is to look recently for a blog post I wrote a little while ago — only to realize it was 2.5 years ago already. And reading it over to realize, sure enough, there’s been a significant shift in this little [growing] family of ours: a shift from all littles to most definitely young men. Sleeves are still rolled, and I’m up to my elbows in the very real work of shaping young lives, but already there are glimpses of what will rise from these foundational years. I am, in very real and very practical ways, enjoying the fruit of days and days of digging in dirt. It’s happening: they’re growing up. Not just getting bigger — although oh my, the length of those legs and size of those feet! — but shoulders are broadening and starting to carry weight. Hearts are awakening and needing shepherding in deeper, slower, tender, firm ways. We have five children. Five! We are moving ahead. I think part of me always thinks life will settle back down and we’ll get back to “norma” — where my boys are forever little, stuffing pockets with who-knows-what and imagining themselves to be heroic explorers as they head off with a big stick and tri-corn hats. Where Beatrice never outgrows missing Rs and little girl cuddles.

We’re not going back to that. We’re not.

I could cry buckets about that. Knowing it goes fast, treasuring the moments, doesn’t slow life down. And it doesn’t mean you’re not sad to know those moments are gone.

But the path of the righteous shines brighter. We look ahead, not because it’s the only way to look, but because that’s where our hope lies. The morning sun dawns, and there is for that day an amazing promise of the presence of a faithful God. He leads us on paths of righteousness that are going somewhere. We live on this spinning planet, watching folly after folly unfold, knowing with King Solomon that there is nothing new under the sun — and yet, we are rescued from cynicism and fatalism by the Savior who has come to redeem. Now, tomorrow, and then. He is redeeming and making beautiful.

I see it in my growing sons. I see their minds growing and their words forming, their hearts widening and softening. I see it in my Beatrice who catches herself mid-sin and chooses to repent and turn — all on her own, because the Holy Spirit is her Shepherd, too. I see it in our marriage, blending us and tethering us and already forging something that could never be separated to the two parts we were ten years ago when we began. I see it in our lives, not because every day is easier (ha!), but because the light that leads us into the gathering dusk of this Age becomes more steady, more brilliant, more sure.

*****

It’s always easier for me to look out and see redemption than it is for me to look in. If I catch a glimpse of my soul, I am quick to say, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” And this will be a mountain I’m sure to circle again, a familiar foe. But becoming equally familiar are the truths the Holy Spirit equips me with to fight the good fight. Is it a coincidence that Philippians 1:6 was a favorite verse in my early childhood? No.

And He continues to pour truth into my soul.

*****

We are running outside, soaking in life-giving green and the vast blue above. We are squealing at daffodils, celebrating bleeding hearts, dancing through dandelions. We are wearing sundresses and wool sweaters.

School books are nearly done, to be gladly replaced by more trail-blazing and swamp-searching, Huck Finn-reading, and Four Square-playing. (All that diligence in February pays off in the spring!)

Family came, playgrounds were visited, bagels consumed.

Meals have expanded beyond the early postpartum options of Main Dish Salad, Spaghetti with Meatballs, Repeat. Bread is made! –even if it is just the quick cheat kind, more often than not.

Colds are nursed, fevers tended to. Laundry is continually washed and dried, although less often folded and put away (got to figure out a better system for that.) Books are read, perhaps not on the couch cuddled under an afghan (as my idealistic self requires), perhaps while little girls sit in the tub, or while pb&j is being consumed. Correction is given, obedience required, kindness cultivated, anger and malice put aside. (Mine and theirs.)

And all the while, wrinkles appear on my face. Is it possible I’m this old? I’ve been too busy to have time to get older, but I guess that’s one thing that happens with no effort or intent on our part. Suddenly noticing that my hands don’t look 18 anymore — a quick reminder that life is short. Carpe diem. Give it all. This is my only chance to live, and give, today.