Monday, January 30, 2012

bread crumbs: joy

Joy is mysterious to me, how it sneaks up and surprises. Yesterday morning, as I sat in church and listened to my pastor talk about serving the poor, reaching out to the lonely, and raising children to love Jesus and do the same, I was absolutely filled with it. We sang about vision; we heard stories of beautiful things that have already happened. I felt assurance rise up in me, and I felt the absence of a great weight.

I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace*.

Lately there are hints of the divine everywhere. It's there, calling to me, and I commune with my Savior as the days pass. There is no special ritual really, we just walk together. This is what it looks like right now.

There are seasons where I can't seem to see past my own front door; where I'm overwhelmed with inner struggles. And then, one day, it just lifts, and I find I have a bit of wisdom to tuck away. Some days I choose joy and some days it chooses me. Joy doesn't really make sense; it just is.

I stumble out of a cave and I twirl in the sunlight, and there are several truths to contend with. One is that a force other than myself drew me out of it, and so I will not take that for granted. The other is that I will keep spending time in the cave, because there are precious lessons to be learned there. This is a journey, but I'm finding more and more that it's not linear. And if we have to revisit things, and look them over a few more times, there's a reason.

I am learning to embrace the mystery of it all.

*from Matthew 11, The Message

Sunday, January 29, 2012

week in phone pics

Nicky is really getting the hang of reading and Silas is really getting the hang of walking. (Suddenly "getting the hang of" sounds like a really weird phrase. Where did that come from anyway?)

I am so ready for Spring, minus the wind. It's been so nice to be outside more, especially yesterday. We chalked, Nicky kicked a soccer ball into the neighbor's yard, Silas was absorbed in playing for over an hour, then Ricky came home from music practice and we had BBLT's (well, BBST's I guess-black bean, spinach and tomato) outside. Then our chalk and dirt-encrusted boys took a bath and we cozied up the rest of the day. Made brownies and hung some new curtains in the dining room, and I got in some serious reading time while the boys played. Good Saturday.

This coming week holds three training sessions for foster parenting plus our final homestudy, Nicky's 100th day of Kindergarten, and a big project due for Ricky. So a day of rest and planning is in order, then off we go.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

right now

  • resolving to try to be in more pictures with my kiddos, even if I do feel slightly ridiculous setting up the camera and running across the room and quickly attempting to look natural. It's worth being present in the family photo album, no?
  • finishing up my book for January, There is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene (it's been sitting on my bookshelf for the better part of a year). It's informative, inspiring, and devastating. 
  • picking at Anne Lamott's book on writing, Bird by Bird. Another one that's been on the list for a good while.
  • trying to decide what's more efficient: yard sale or Craigslist-ing a LOT of stuff. I'm so tired just thinking about it....
  • missing my love who's on a work expedition and needs to come home already
  • developing a stiff neck from folding entirely too much laundry
  • relieved to be done with an evening trip to the vet with a very excited Penny and both boys and a stroller that has perpetually sideways wheels
  • renewing my RN license. Two years, already.
  • thinking I'll check on the littles and then call it a day. A cool pillow is calling my name....

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


This kid loves water, so much so that we have to keep the bathroom door closed or he'll gleefully splash in the toilet.

So sometimes if he's fussy or we're bored or just feel like it, we  stop the day and take a bath. It feels like giving him a treat, and I love that. He watches the water fill the tub and bounces with excitement, and lately he throws some cute baby jabbering into the mix.

Spending a lot of time with littles is so rewarding, and so taxing, all at the same time. I feel like I'm still figuring it out. One thing that's been cemented in my mind, however, is that when we get the chance or feel the need to slow down and have a moment to just be, I should take it and enjoy it fully. Notice it all-the sunlight warming and soothing, the lashes, the way his hair curls when it's wet, the way he shouts triumphantly after throwing toy frogs overboard. Seriously, that other stuff can wait.

And take pictures, in case I forget.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

week in phone pics

Highlights: warmer weather, MLK Day-all of us off together, obsessive quilt-making, Kinder Appreciation Night at a basketball game, brothers who love to play. Good week.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

just write: two

Something that becomes more precious as our family grows: time for just two people. Yesterday it was Nicky and I going to the movies, with scratchy 3D glasses and Red Vines and me holding his good hand while we skipped through the parking lot. Me and my impossibly long-legged boy whose mind never seems to stop, whose questions and musings I struggle to keep up with, and whose innocence and acceptance of all I feel desperate to preserve. We go to see Beauty and the Beast, and he's so upset when Gaston dies ("he was a good guy, Mommy, and the beast was a bad man, then a bad beast, then a good beast, then a good man")-he sees that progression is possible. My five year old, deconstructing a fairy tale. And there's another bread crumb-I have to remember, now that I'm thinking of it, to tell him I think that's what Jesus would say too, that Jesus is planting seeds of compassion in his heart.

This morning it's just me and Silas, disheveling the house and putting it back together, most often simultaneously. Snuggling and locking eyes and laughing at each other, having our own kind of conversation. Just us two.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

week in phone pics

Between two shifts, three doctor's appointments, school starting again, my work holiday party, and all the usual household to-do's, this week was busy and productive. We're a few papers away from completing the foster care paperwork. I'm so excited to be done with that part and finish up the homestudy. Also exciting: I heard from a friend that her family is starting the process of foster adoption as well. 2012 has so much in store.
So it's been busy but good. I've been reading more, and getting a little craft time in too. Still feeling the newness of the year, and dreaming about the future while enjoying all this life around me.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

He who keeps me will not slumber

I have that song in my head.....just can't seem to get it right today... For some reason I woke up stiff and sore, with the same croaky voice and raw throat I've had for a few days now and it's Ricky's day to play music so he's out the door early. I decide to feel sorry for myself while I feed the littles. I slice bananas, heat up leftover waffles from the other day, sprinkle slivered almonds. I spill my full cup of coffee all over Nicky's paper and crayons. The dog laps up coffee off of the floor.

Lately all I want to do is read. Like for fifteen whole minutes without something being asked of me. Yeah, I'm pretty much in full blown woe is me mode. I'm tired, I guess? My brain is hungry and my body is tired, and days off are not really days off. I made the mistake of staying up too late last night, watching someone on the internet talk about complicated things in a way that made me angry and sad, at who I'm not sure. Also not sure why I did that to myself. I wish I had the option of a nap. I wish I could find Silas' bottle. I wish I could wear all of my hats with grace and confidence.

I think on Sunday mornings it all comes to a halt because it has to, or maybe it's just years of habit-this is when you get vulnerable and slow down, when you examine. I need some soul stillness, some wise old words to soothe, some repentance. I need to be covered under His wings.

In college on the rough Sundays I used to go the mountains by myself. Pack a sandwich, a book and some water and drive away. Sometimes I would hear better there. But this morning it's tripping over toys and a needy little guy pulling on my jeans and smiling his squinty smile, and Nicky with his Mommy? and he waits for me to answer because I've trained him to, with all my just a minutes. Oh, how I want him to not have to hide from me, to not burden him with my heaviness. So I try to get everyone ready, and I fail. It's too late to be anything resembling on time, and so I give it up, put the baby down for a nap, and re-heat my coffee.

It is good to give up sometimes. What is this really all about anyway? He will meet me anywhere, this constant friend. I read Psalm 121-I will lift up my eyes to the hills-From whence comes my help? Grace is lavished once again; help me exhale it.

He is my mountain today, my fresh air.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

the monkeyboy

Friday afternoon began with a trip to the grocery store and then this:

and lots of fun playing until Nicky had his first big fall, from a slide. He was crying so hard, and trying to explain how he meant to jump from one part of the slide to another. A little girl brought him a cookie. We had a bag of frozen peas in the cooler, from our trip to the store earlier, so I wrapped it in a spare onesie and off to urgent care we went.

He said, "I'm just having a problem with this broken bone," so mournful. 

Silas busied himself with the drawers and such, and emptied out my purse about four times. But the wait was not long, and soon the investigation began.

He was a little excited about taking a picture of his bones, but mostly just bummed. Sure enough, two fractures.

A half cast, sling, medicine, and getting to tell Papa all about it made things better. 


Thursday, January 5, 2012

right now Silas is...

taking a nap :) And so I'm cleaning out the camera, looking at these cute shots from yesterday, while Nicky does some school worksheets. It seems a Silas post is in order; it's been awhile! So in a more general sense, Silas is....

  • still working on those molars. Ouch.
  • belly-laughing at big brother
  • pointing at everything/everyone and saying Ba-ba?
  • walking with help, but not on his own yet. That boy just loves to crawl. He does love to go for a little walk around the house every morning after getting his shoes on, and pushing things around.
  • speaking of shoes, he loves to hold them up to his feet
  • emptying out drawers, and putting things back in drawers. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • doing cute little dances when music plays

  • using Penny as a pillow (Nicky does too-look at her long-suffering face)
  • giving kisses and head-butts (topes)
  • mimicking hand motions to songs
  • waving
  • clapping and cheering for himself
  • climbing
  • doing this:
  • wanting to be outside pretty much all the time

Sunday, January 1, 2012

hopes for 2012

Today turned out to be an on-call day, so we had a lounge-y morning and went to church, ate some yummy green enchilada pizza, did some major organizing in the office (pretty much all Ricky, but I did give my opinions as I sat there drinking coffee), and played Trouble with the boy. The battle of the molars rages on, but Silas is at last sleeping peacefully. Now it's one more night with the Christmas tree and twinkle lights- just popping in to make my 2012 list official, then Ricky, the couch, Netflix and a big yellow blanket are calling my name. Good day.

My Hopes for 2012
  • Become a foster parent, and who knows? maybe adopt. But probably not so soon. But maybe.
  • Learn to use more of the features on my camera, also, invest in a good lense.
  • Get brave and try skiing again. I had a bad fall and injury a few years back, and I've been too nervous to try again. But I really, really want the kids to learn, so we're going to go. 
  • Start reading chapter books with Nicky (oh, I am so excited for this!)
  • Pay off student loans. 
  • Keep up a good work/life balance
  • Read a book a month (open to suggestions)
  • make a quilt out of the boys' worn out clothes, and other fabric scraps I have lying around
  • be more intentional about spending time with friends
  • learn to make artisan bread
  • cultivate the habit of un-distracted listening
  • and finally, my word for 2012: generous
Good night and a very happy 2012 to you!
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