the blur of July

What a month this has been, with one more packed week planned! My body is exhausted, my brain on overload, and my soul on the wild ride of so many emotions related to pregnancy, being a mother, being a friend, being a sister and daughter, being a citizen. Every aspect of my identity has been touched by joy and sadness (and several waves of anger and frustration, too), and I find these morning times of quiet and eye-fixing are, again, an anchor.

“…casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

“…nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

“Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”

I am a one day at a time kind of girl. And each morning, as I’ve listed priorities and remembered commitments, sifted through decisions and been fully aware that there is more to the day than I can handle, I am refreshed in the simple truths of daily bread and Jesus’ presence. He is good.

The Fourth: No parade, but nonetheless, celebrated. It’s always a good time to discuss history, culture, and worldview, but probably this year is a “more than ever” time.

Spontaneous picnic on a Sunday with no meal plan. Ryan can be counted on for summertime excursions that leave everyone happy and loved.

A week away from home while renovation progress happened. Rest, focus, play, togetherness.

May and June’s labors paying off with still-green gardens moving into the next phase of blooms. Perennials are just such a great picture of “invest now, enjoy later.”

Meals continue, made cheerier with two antique bowls now in my possession.

A decade came to an end: our neighbors, who moved in only months after we moved here, bought a larger house and moved away. What a gift those ten years were!

Trying, in the midst of topsy-turvy days, to not miss the fleeting pleasures of summertime.

Weeks and weeks of kids sleeping on the floor, on mattresses, on couches. This little one, reading quietly to her dolls and animals, is the sweetest.

This weekend, two out of three bedrooms [nearly] finished and moved into, thanks to hard-working sons, baby-sitting daughters, happy-to-eat-pb&j husband, and hours of “The Chicks”, Dolly Parton, Shania, and Hamilton. Boys are so blessed to have a thoughtful, finished room. Cecily was inspired to actually fold her clothes without me asking. Kids love a clean, organized, pretty space — that’s one thing I learned from my mother and it’s absolutely true. It’s also true that they all knew to interpret my months of effort collecting and planning and executing on these as love and care for them. I love that!– because it’s true. One more bedroom and a complete bathroom reno, coming right up. And then there will be a place for everyone, and also everything will be in its place (and yes, there is a massive purge happening as we go. Kids can be such hoarders!)

But we will pause at this point for now, and enjoy a few days with my family — days that were meant to include two out-of-town sisters, whose presence was suddenly made impossible due to government mandate. Picking up the pieces of disappointed hopes and expectations, we will spend a few days in eating, playing, singing, and just being.

“Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You
Through it all, it is well with my soul.”

settling in, waiting, soaking up sunshine.

That sums up the last few weeks of life, I suppose.

What started to certainly feel like a long 11 (or so) weeks without our usual rhythms has resulted in a beautiful, open kitchen that feels so grown up and real and like me. How amazing it was to see the elements of cabinetry and collected antiques get put into place, exactly resembling the drawings and ideas I’ve been concocting for so long.

I feel above and beyond blessed. I just keep smiling.

The cupboards are arranged (at least, for now!) and I have almost broken the habit of going to the garage for refrigerated items (where the fridge was kept since February!) The wide expanses of windows that we missed so very much are freshly appreciated as we gather around the kitchen table for meals, and enjoy the family room’s views.

And just in time to watch the world magically and suddenly turn to vibrant green right before our eyes!

Such a long winter we had, with no real hints at spring. April cold and gray, windows shut tight and not even a thought for summer clothing switches. But then, suddenly, it all changed. Better late than never, and certainly received with extra thankfulness and enjoyment, spring has arrived. Trees that were only in bud a week ago are unfurling leaves. Lawn is emerald and lush and scattered with the sunniest dandelions. Daffodils went from tentative little shoots to full blown flowers in only a few days. Bird song fills the morning. Cheeks and shoulders are pink at the first suggestion of sunshine, after months and months of sweaters and snowsuits.

We soak it in and pinch ourselves and try to find the sunscreen.

And we also are waiting. 40 weeks and 5 days, waiting. Keeping up the balance of walks and exercise and crossing off to-dos while guarding rest time each day, collapsing into bed each night. I’m feeling so good this pregnancy. I feel pregnant, but good, and I’m so thankful for that. The kids are so excited, and how fun to be living in an atmosphere heavy with expectation.

I’m feeling less prepared for the actual delivery than I have in the past, but learning even there to lean and trust. What ifs can creep in, and certainly life is uncertain in so many ways. But this is true: Strength for today, a favorite lyric from a favorite hymn. He knows the way I take, and He has promised to never leave or forsake.

Courage is the word on my heart this time around — at first, a reminder to myself to take heart and have courage, but as I mulled that over and prayed for a fresh dose, the deep assurance that God will not just give me courage; He will be my courage. I don’t need to keep it together and hold on; I can fall on Him and lean on Him completely, and He won’t let me down.

This morning, a spring rain that began so gently I don’t even know when it came, and now strengthening into a thoroughly soaking downpour. Even this is lovely and calming, as gray settles in around spring greens. We will take this day slowly, quietly. We will know that His name is near, and how that changes everything.

a record of moments

This little family journal is in need of an update, although my memory isn’t nearly good enough to recall every moment worth preserving. But, a bit of a try:

There have been the smallest moments that pile up into absolute treasure — William leading our worship times with his guitar and repertoire of about 5 chords, with Jameson sometimes playing along on piano; Beatrice devouring “The Saturdays,” while standing right at the doorway to the kitchen, hoping against hope that Daddy might need her for something; kids rediscovering the woods now that the snow isn’t overwhelmingly deep and coming back with muddy boots and stories of what they found this time; sitting a bit like sardines all together in “the den” to watch a movie on a Sunday night; nap times and bedtimes with me sitting in a rocker, reading to the girls until Cecily is asleep or at least settled, quickly finishing “Understood Betsy” (so darling! — a favorite), and now onto the Shoe books; packing up ingredients, kids, math and piano books, and heading to my mom’s kitchen for a few afternoons of baking in an oven (what a treat!); walks in warm spring sunshine with Cecily on my back, and walks in winter wonderlands the very next day as the North Country reminds us all of its impossible unpredictable nature; crockpot meals and hamburgers coming out our ears, and soooo many bagels…

There have been less mundane moments, too —

Ryan walking away with just a scratch from quite the crash at Whiteface, and how thankful we all were; the three big kids preparing a performance of “Anything You Can do” for Grandparents’ Day that demanded they do and give a bit more than their natural comfort level; Easter weekend plagued with a tummy bug, keeping us home on Good Friday (where we all did our sardine routine and joined the CFC service online — perfect) and that meant after much excited preparation on Saturday evening, Ryan and I ended up staying home all day Sunday sick while the kids happily celebrated with grandparents and aunts, uncles, and cousins; me getting to spend a solid week of time laying floors with Ryan while our kids [mostly] happily tended to each other — not exactly the weekend getaway I’d been hoping to squeeze in before this baby, but maybe even better.

And the slow and steady progress of life in and around us: Boys working to prepare for another year of NYSSMA involvement and growing in their musicianship. Cecily talking more and more. A kitchen ready to be painted and have cabinets installed this week! Number Six baby continuing to wiggle and grow and drop and all that end-of-the-line kind of stuff, and me marveling that we’re already here, a few weeks away from meeting them. And yes, me trying to focus on the “meeting them” part and not get too uptight about the “delivering them” part.

There have been ups and downs in the last 6 weeks, sometimes just the normal life kind of stuff, and sometimes much bigger. His hand is there, leading, in both mountain and valley. There have been “I’m gonna snap!” moments, and there, too, His grace is always there, correcting and realigning and sometimes just giving rest. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask… and suddenly that’s there, too — seeking hearts led, souls taught His ways.

The wheres and the hows of life are sometimes fun, sometimes interesting, sometimes disappointing — but the Who that we find Him to be in all those things: that’s the treasure. That’s the golden thread we hold onto, that we delight in each morning. Great is Thy faithfulness, we sing, but we truly know that as we simply live. Each morning, waking up, asking, “Will you meet me in this day, too?”, and discovering that the answer is always and forever yes.


Every great once in awhile, we wake up to what feels like a truly blank-slate-of-a-day. It’s such a treat.

Today, we ate pancakes and bacon for breakfast. I quickly realized, as I watched my kids eat, that I can just skip the pancakes next time and simply serve fruit and bacon. A little puddle of maple syrup from the Moulton’s in which to dip the bacon, and they’re in heaven. In fact, I’m sure Beatrice wonders why I even waste time on pancake-related efforts.

I hummed “Tradition” as I cooked, and decided they would love listening to it. Of course, they then wanted to know all about it. Somehow that conversation led all the way to Corrie ten Boom, and an opportunity to share with them the reality of wickedness and sin, and the power of the Holy Spirit in such darkness.

We tore up carpet in my bedroom, in an effort to further prepare it for the installation of wood flooring. The boys worked cheerfully alongside me, and I was happy to be able to do something to help Ryan’s load in this current renovation. Jameson kept saying, “Isn’t this fun, Mom? Isn’t this going fast?” What a blessing that little guy is! He just loves to tackle a project.

The afternoon and evening were spent having a big family dinner, and then attending Camilla’s high school graduation. Eight out of nine of us — done. Crazy. And knowing that in eleven years Jameson will take his turn? Even crazier.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

a tuesday afternoon: just thoughts

This winter has been the prettiest winter ever. I think. There’s fresh snow almost every day — or, rather every other day. In between, the sun comes out and makes yesterday’s fresh snow sparkle. There’s so little yucky sand/slush/slop. It’s all just white, clean snow.

It sparkles like diamonds. Of course, that can prove disappointing if you’re 4. Jameson and I were out on a particularly sparkly day, and he, in a dejected voice, announced that “it looks like diamonds but if you get close, you can’t find them anywhere!”

Of course, this house makes winter (and spring and summer and fall) just more enjoyable. I feel like I’m living in the most magical snow globe ever. Snow dancing and whirling, snow on pine tree’s branches, snow on split rail fences, snow in drifts like dunes… Snow in all the most beautiful ways.


It almost makes up for the fact that this has also been the dirtiest winter. Sheetrock dust EVERYWHERE. Always. No matter what. In my teeth, in my rug, in my bed, on my just-washed dishes. Spring cleaning never sounded so good. I’m trying to just patiently wait for the day they say, “Okay! You can now clean and be done!” Because I’ve lost all my oomph for cleaning in the midst of more dust settling. My mantel is as snowy white as the great outdoors, I know, but I just can’t care right now. I’ll quietly and happily wash my kitchen table and counters, vacuum a million times, and block out the rest. Oh, look, isn’t it pretty outside? Yes, let’s just look at the snow, shall we?


But there is a test swatch of color on the walls, and that must mean something, right? (A pale, pale, pale warm peachy-pink. I think it’s going to be just right: clean but warm and most of all, pretty. I just want light, elegant, pretty.) And Monday (!!!), our talented friend comes to lay floors. He and Ryan will hem and haw over which board is the prettiest, which grain to highlight, how to scatter the varying widths — and then, ta-da, we’ll have a floor! Maybe it will make us giddy and itchy with excitement, and we’ll turn around and just start tearing the up the kitchen carpet—

Or maybe not. Maybe we’ll just stand and sigh and love it and take a break.

And go to California.


For a week. Just Ryan and me. To what was home sweet home just one year ago (almost a year to the day, actually, I’ll be back where I started.) How strange and fun that will be! Strange to walk by “our” house and think that it’s not ours. Strange to meet my neighbor and realize she’s been strolling those streets for a whole year without me. To see friends from church and their kids-who-aren’t-babies-anymore and try to fill in a whole year. To walk out the door in ballet flats and a cardigan and laughingly remember that I willingly and joyfully left those winters for these.


Speaking of clothes, I’ve hit that awkward stage. The old pants still work, sort of, if I don’t eat too much, but I had to buy a few extra-long t’s to cover my already-generous belly. 13 weeks? Really? That’s what people say when they see this generous belly, but that’s nothing new. I seem to always get off to a rip-roaring start when it comes to baby bellies. And I tend to finish a bit on the generous side, too, I guess. Blame it on genetics, right, Mom?


Mostly, this is a winter to go deeper. For my roots to wriggle through another layer of rock and dry soil to find the water that’s always flowing, always life-giving, always sustaining. It’s a little happier, perhaps, when life isn’t serving up rocks and sand, but this is when it counts. So I wriggle away, reaching for the water I know is there, knowing that someday these root-strengthening days are going to prove to be oh-so-important. Never mind the extras: today I just set my feet a bit more firmly on these things:

Who does God say He is?
What has God promised to do?
How much does God love me?

Does anything else matter? Really?

No, not much.

A house won’t quickly be blown over when it’s built on the true answers to those questions.

Build my foundation, Lord. Make my house strong. I want to be standing at the end.