Yarn Along // Restful Pursuits + Progress is Most Important

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These days my knitting and crafting has been so hit and miss. My shoulder and arm won’t let me do much repetitive work for long, but I do sneak in rows occasionally. In the evenings, after the children are in bed, sometimes while I read aloud or when I listen to them read to me. Something about that yarn… the sight, the feel, the comfort of repeating stitches, fabric growing under my fingers.

It’s just so good to have a tangible reminder that work done is not in vain. I can see slow progress on my knitting, but the work of parenting is much more fluid and unseen.  I need these reminders that the stitches of days, in and out, repeated motions of truth told and meals prepared, hugs given, discipline handed out… all this is right and good, and input matters more than outcome.

So I mother and I knit, I wipe dishes and kiss hurts.  I speak truth to the ones in my care, and listen to the truth of the Spirit in my own heart.

I’ve been working on these rainbow socks since summer, in hopes to finish the pair for Miss A for Christmas.  We shall see if that gets accomplished. 🙂

My crochet blanket is probably big enough, but I can’t seem to make myself be done with it just yet.  When I’m working on it, it seems that inevitable that one of my girls wants to snuggle on my lap underneath it.  I think I may have one of these always going. Truly, truly fun to make.

This is only a portion of the books I/we are going through right now. I’m two chapters into Adorned – our women’s Bible Study group is going through it.  It’s very good so far.  Children of the Storm  came highly recommended by a friend, and we are reading it aloud as a family.  It’s a true story/biography about a girl and her family in Communist Russia, and the persecution they endured.  It’s sobering and excellent and inspiring all at once.  I’m going through Season’s of a Mother’s Heart again, and enjoying it every bit as much as I did the first time.  I’ve been picking it up when I need good reminders of mothering truth, reminders of loving and caring and nurturing being my highest goal.  The author, Sally Clarkson, always inspires me in this direction, and I love that it was written by her when her children were the same age as mine.  The Power of Habit is an unusual book choice for me, but I’m loving it.  It’s an easy and engaging read on the science of habits and how much of an impact they have on our lives.

I’ve recommitted to more reading these days… even if it’s just 3-5 minutes a day. I think the same holds true for all creative and restful pursuits.  Even if there isn’t time to spend hours engaging in them, it makes them no less worthwhile.  Perhaps it’s even more important in busy seasons, to make time for the things that bring joy.

Little bits of progress, day by day, row by row, line upon line.

Joining Nicole from Frontier Dreams

Joining Ginny from Small Things

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Break Week + some much needed margin

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Break week.

I made a decision yesterday, in among the rest of the school planning I have been working on, that this was break week for us.

We have been going so, so, fast for the past 6 months… with a significant event occurring at least once every 3-4 weeks.

I’ve been working on our schedule and trying to figure out what works best for our family and our days.  One thing I realized is that there are three types of days we have. No school, partial or soft school, and a full schedule. Looking at where we have been in the last several months, I realized there have been very few days, except for absolute necessity, where we have taken a complete break from school.  Lots of full days, some partial days, but unless we’ve had to be gone for one reason or another, we’ve had our noses to the grindstone. This is all very diligent and noble on the surface, but the long and short of it is that they need a break.  I need a break. 

We need a break from the constant going, the pressure to perform and get all the things done. From the going and the doing and the activities, good though they all are. But we also need a break to pursue other important things that need to be done. 

We need to get a few extra chores done. We need to pursue interests and hobbies. Yesterday I needed to catch up on laundry, and they needed to have space to sprawl out and listen to an audiobook for awhile. I needed to work on planning.

We all just need some margin. And I need to get it though my head that it’s ok to just.stop.

As of yesterday I made a plan for the rest of our year that incorporates more of these weeks. It also incorporates weeks of partial school. Where all I require is math or their Ambleside reading. I’m rolling the idea around of year round schooling, but we shall see how that works out.

In the meantime, it’s 8:01 a.m. and I’m snuggled under a fleece blanket while the sun streams in my living room window. My girlies are singing at the top of their lungs, and last I knew my boys were scouting the woods in search of a place to build a new fort.

It’s the kind of day where anything looks possible, and I hope to menu-plan, read aloud, and look at the vibrant leaves in our woods and marvel at them time and time again.

a good kind of busy

I don’t really remember ever being quite so busy.  It’s funny, because it’s not a bad sort of busy, or the type of busy I wish weren’t mine. Just, lots going on, every minute, every day, every week.  There’s 7th grade fractions and narrations and books being read and new teenager feelings and a boy-man almost my height with feet that are beginning to rival his dad’s. There’s dreams of cows and sheep and a rabbit hutch being built for the nonexistent rabbits. There’s hunting to be done and things wished for and real life struggles with growing up and how in the world do you do that.

There’s loads of opinions and hot heads and a lot, lot of thankfulness that one of those heated heads is not my husband’s.  (The rest of us, well, …)

There’s Scripture sinking in and stinging and wrapping up in comfort and helping and guiding. There’s a whole lot of nostalgia at the littlest around here not being so little anymore. There’s just a disbelief that this life gets to be mine, with all its crazy riotous glory.

There’s evening plans and weekend plans and a yard sale (collective sigh of relief that that’s overwith). There’s entrepreneuring young men scouting out egg-buyers and odd jobs.

There’s girls singing their hearts out regularly a whole host of made-up lyrics. “The shepherd…! Of my souuuuuul… he will KEEEEEP! He will deliver, the KINGDOM….!!!”

There’s new habits I’m forming (earlier rise, earlier bedtime), a new schedule we are keeping that is bringing a level of sanity to these busy days. (In among this new schedule is 3 times daily where I make myself stop and pray… and breathe. And this, my friends, is beginning to anchor my days in good ways I couldn’t have even predicted.)

At the moment there’s one child  reading, and one who just showed me the old music box he fixed this afternoon after taking all the teeny tiny pieces apart. (I was duly impressed to hear it merrily sing its music box tune.) One girl is taking a much needed nap after falling apart more times than I can count this morning. And another is singing to herself in her bedroom.

My dishwasher is humming, my washing machine is nicely washing the last load of laundry. I’ve just brewed a cup of coffee for myself and I need to figure out what kind of soup we are having. (I’ve deemed Monday night soup-night.)

School is done for the day. My work is not, but there’s warmth and joy in service. In pouring out my heart and using my hands to wash/fold/rub a back. There’s apologies I need to make for the frustrated attitude I held tightly to earlier today.

So much busy, so much good.

And as a side note? It’s finally cold. And there’s yellow leaves and a fire in the fireplace for the first time yesterday. Yay, fall!

Its a good life.

With a good Father guiding.

 

 

Twenty things

It’s almost the first day of fall – and my 12 year old turns teenager on Monday.  It’s obvious time flies and somehow my heart slows and is unbelieving at the fast pace that surrounds me.  Everywhere I look there is change, growth, seasons, and it is just so crazy that I’m actually living this incredibly rich life.  I didn’t always see it so, and now that I’m understanding in a new way the fleeting-ness of little kids not little, and a marriage that’s seen almost 14 years, (and I know that’s short compared to my parents’ testimony of 52 years) I want to not waste one.single.moment.

I want to drink it in and live it well.  I want to let the relationships thrive and whisper peace to my soul when things go south on an average Friday morning.  (Yes, this was us this morning.). For so long I unwittingly took nearly everything for granted.  And now I see littles getting big.  I see hairs turning gray. I have a 7th grader, a 5th grader, a 1rst grader, and a 4 year old who is beside herself with wanting to do all the schooling things.  There are no babies waking me up. It was 9 short years ago when we had been wide-eyed foster parents for all of four weeks. God’s sense of humor in answering my desperate pleas for a family is not lost on me. 

So here we are.

I’m all weepy and unbelieving at the goodness of God, and more aware than ever before at the supreme blessing of being a wife, of being a mother, of having the freedom to teach my children.

I wake and put my feet on the floor, and it’s a gift.  Legs that work, eyes that see, hands that can dump coffee beans into the grinder and start the coffee maker.  It’s a gift to kiss my husband goodbye and tell him to hurry back home to us.  It’s a blessing to sort muddy clothes and sweep the crumbs off the floor.  Instead of seeing the dirt and early-wakers as inconvenient, oh how it is a gift.  Life’s a gift.  And the ability to settle into the Scriptures each morning and whisper too-quick prayers of blessing and thanksgiving over our day and these ones I love is more than I ever could have asked or imagined.

I forget this, then I’m reminded again.  Mr J was pretty upset today because all was looking hopeless and unfair, and I finally sent him to write down 20 things he was thankful for.

A few moments later he came out with a delightful list of blessings in his hand. Not surprisingly it was accompanied by a happy, but sheepish grin.  We talked about these things, talked about what life would look like without cousins, without Daisy and Henny-Penny (chickens), without siblings.

Yes, the reality and importance of listing blessings just keeps replaying over and over.

I had to think.. maybe that’s a good exercise for all of us.  Go to the bedroom, don’t come out until there are 20 thanksgivings.

Then think of what life would be like without them.

 

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Friendships. 

Coffee.

 Almost fall.  

Yellowing leaves. 

Maple buttercream candles from Walmart. 

A lovely conversation with my aunt.

 Talking to my mom regularly. 

Joking with my husband. 

Clean sheets. (Not on my bed yet. But they are clean and ready lol.) 

A free hour at the coffeeshop.

 Talking with a sweet young lover of Jesus who inspired me this week. 

Colossians 1. 

Discovering square-footage calculations with my eldest- and the light of understanding.

 Reading aloud to each of my kiddos today, separately.

  Nature finds of a deer antler, birdsnest, weird fungi, and two mushrooms this morning, and drawing and water coloring afterwards.  

Boys old enough to make breakfast. 

Prayer and the ability to see Jesus as the lover of my soul. 

Fresh croutons.  

A sourdough starter I’m attempting, that I named Fran (she’s very bubbly.) 

The fresh eggs sign my boys made, and their enthusiasm for entrepreneurial endeavors. 🙂

Good moments.

Good moments.

Ah. There surely is a wealth of those happening around here. In case you wonder: this disclaimer must be written… there are also a host of emotions and moments that aren’t so pleasant.  But I absolutely must dwell on what is good and pleasant and true and lovely.  So here goes!

-Mr J- so excited because there were boiled eggs for lunch today.

-The relentless enthusiasm and energy of young boy-men.

-Our lawn, mowed with precision and care, because our eldest takes great pride in his stripes.

-Miss E and her new little baby… “Her name is Elsa. And she woke me up last night because she kept saying ‘Mommy!’, ‘Mommy!” And crying for me.”

-The grin on Miss E’s face as she does a few “school” things. “I want to do my school” she says.

-Hearing Miss A read to me from her Dick and Jane book.

-The very real and present ache and goodness of recognizing just how precious life is.. how precious these souls are that make so many messes and eat so much food. They are seriously always hungry. Always. But they are a thriving, growing bunch of little (and not so little anymore) humans that are only here for a few years in our home.  The boyishness and bare feet and exploring and fort building and fresh-from-bath snuggles are mine to enjoy.  And I do not take it lightly.  Miss A’s most recent thing is that she declares days “Hug Days” and “Kiss Days.”

-Miss A’s story last night about a horse named Honey, a pony named Jelly, and a bunny named Nut.

-I’ve developed a new habit! I’ve been cleaning up my room for a few minutes in the morning.  Every morning after I get ready for the day, I set my timer on my phone for 5-7 minutes for my bedroom and 2 minutes for my bathroom. I’ve actually managed to do this for the past 2-3 weeks. It takes about a minute to make my bed, and a couple minutes to put away any clean clothes, gather anything on the floor, etc.  And oh goodness it’s a welcome change to walk into my room and see orderliness.  It puts my mind at rest.

-We started school. And we are using AmblsideOnline this year, a free curriculum that has guided me on book selections for my two eldest. I’m loving it.

-In reference to aforementioned news, everyone is excited about school starting. This, dear reader, was a shock to my system.  A very welcome shock, mind you.

-Mr. J’s reading ability has exploded in the last 6 months.  (I can’t help but connect this with the fact that 6 months ago was when I really starting devoting a lot more time to reading aloud.) He is devouring nearly everything I’m handing him.  I’m hearing things I’ve never heard before -“DID YOU KNOW!!! That Washington DC isn’t a state?! It’s a city!!  DID YOU KNOW?!! That an elephant can stand on the tongue of a blue whale?!”  It’s amazing what good, engaging, living books can teach our young’uns.  Spell check does NOT want me to put young’uns in that last sentence.  But I am rebelling. So there. 

-I’m reading a lot of books too. I’ve decided to stop feeling guilty for having lots and lots of books started without finishing them one at a time. As in, there are maybe 15 books I’ve started? But I’m reading a bit of a few of them each day. Absorbing, chewing, on the truths and good stuff I gather from each one. It’s been a great thing for me to regularly engage with books that are for myself, not just for the kids.

– Swimming at a new spot on the river/creek the other day that’s just around the corner. Haven’t ever been, and now I wonder why it took us so long. It was an impromptu, after-school-and-chores adventure. We grabbed $2 noodles for everyone at Walmart, and enjoyed a few hours of bliss by sparkling, gently flowing water. Me in a lawn chair with rainbow sock knitting, and them skipping rocks and floating downriver on noodles, and generally having the time of their lives.

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The gift of the moments we’re given


We are two days home now, and I’m trying?! to settle back in to some semblance of normal again.

It’s so strange that my brother is not here anymore.

My thoughts seem to be scattered and random and mixed in with finishing up the pickles that got started a week ago and the green beans need to be picked and what in the world are we going to have for supper?! And add to that mix readjusting to life with kiddos who have been out of their normal for a week and wait, WHAT?!!! Chores?!??!!! They are shocked.

However, I can’t say that I blame them entirely.  I would rather not do mine either.  Somehow I would much rather read a book or sleep off the jet lag or do anything but face the things that do, after all, need to be done.

Life doesn’t stop. My brother’s did, but ours hasn’t.

There are lots and lots of people to love and bless. Some of those people happen to be the ones I live with.  But there’s others, too.

Loss is a strange phenomenon. It has surprised me with its intensity and reminded me of what’s important.  I somehow cherish my brothers like I never have before, now that one of them is gone.  It’s crazy how losing someone has the capacity to bring forth a host of grateful feelings and love for the ones who are still here.

What an amazing thing – and another testimony to the truth that nothing’s wasted. Ever.

I think for a long time I kind of thought things would stay the same. That everyone and everything would be always the same. Death or illness really didn’t cross my mind. I’m sure I would have denied it if you would have asked me, because I knew that’s not how it worked. I just never thought about anything different.

And now I’m just contemplating the fact that there is just a wisp of life for each of us. What will we do with it? Will we squander it on self-pity? Anger? Irritability? Full disclosure: I confess that today in the midst of the chore fiasco I was less than my best mom-self. 

So, just a tiny sliver of time. It matters how we live it. It matters that we believe truth. It matters that we understand that there is a God orchestrating the minutiae of our lives. It matters what we do with the breath and words and energy we have been given; these things we often take for granted when we hop out of bed in the morning.

So I ask myself: what will I do with the rest of my life? What will I do with tomorrow’s minutes and moments?

It’s time to send that text, mend that relationship, hug that friend, be patient again with that child, (and myself, too..) and seek the Kingdom of God first above all else.

Because God is good. And He knows. He sees, and I believe He wants us to see just how very beautiful and important the life that He gave us really is.

heart failure

Dear David,

You’re gone. 

It’s so strange, and there’s a thousand conversations I would have liked to have had with you. 

But you’re gone. 

I didn’t really even know you that well, but I knew your walk, and I knew your eyes, and I knew your voice and the easy way you made me laugh. 

I remember well the times you talked so strongly about the way you respected our parents. 

And I remember the times when frustration and anger dominated my feelings for you. 

You were my big brother; biggest brother. 15 years between us and a whole lot of family memories and life experienced that I wasn’t a part of. 

But Mom says you were excited when I was born. That you helped name me, and here we are.  Me, at 35, raising a family and burying my brother. You… well, you’re gone from us now. 

I’m so glad that the agonizing weight of being out of breath is not yours to carry anymore. 

 

They say it’s because of your heart, at least that’s what we’re  all thinking. 

Heart failure. 

Oh David, heart failure. 

I don’t even know a fraction of how broken your heart was. I know it bled with regret. I know it revived and beat strong and hard for your daughter.  

 

You had an enlarged heart, yes. And that’s just appropriate. 

And now you’re gone. 

There’s wilting flowers sitting on your grave, and what’s left of your life is memories and mementos. 

I’m going to learn from this, David. Your life and your death will not be wasted. I promise.

 

I love you. I’m glad I got to be your little sister. 

Deborah

When God Does Beautiful Things + a Birthday Cake to Make

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Today is swim lessons, loads of laundry, and figuring out what to do with the tomatoes on my counter.

Today is the day that the Lord made, and it’s rainy and cloudy and generally wet everywhere. It’s a day full of new opportunities to cherish every moment and be Jesus to my children.

I’ve got a gazillion things to do, prepping for yard sale, (read: going though all my stuff and purging like mad.) keep up with the cucumbers, (yesterday I made hot garlic dill, and kept the other 4 gallons of sweet going… I’m at the stage where I have to boil the brine every day for several days.) and try to make sure everyone gets enough snacks and food in their bellies because swimming increases the appetites around here about sevenfold.

Miss A’s 6th birthday is tomorrow and I tear up just writing that. She came in this morning with her blankie and curled up on my lap, under the quilt, and snuggled awhile.  I remember life 6 years ago today. Regular life, garden growing, little boys playing rambunctiously, and laundry to do.

We heard about Miss A just 6 years ago today, little knowing that the next day we would hop on a plane and discuss names, wide-eyed and heart-breathless while boarding. We heard about her impending birth 6 years ago today, that there was a birthmother who might choose us, and all we knew was…maybe. And that this maybe hopeful possibility of a baby to adopt wouldn’t arrive until August. And it seemed like a tiny, hardly possible ray of hope after losing a baby girl we’d held for just 24 hours and hoped to adopt just 6 weeks before that..

Even if this baby was a possibility, our hearts were weary with the cycle of being chosen, then not.  Even if this journey began, of being chosen, would it end in heartache again?

6 years ago today I had tomatoes on my counters, too, and it was the same July weather. Little did I know then what my tomorrow’s plans would be: I would hold my sweet baby girl for the first time, all the way across the country. That she would be born earlier than planned, that her birth mother would look me in the eye and entrust this precious gift to us.

But the next day, we found out the astounding news: we’d been chosen, and we had just a few hours to pack and get on a plane… because a baby girl had been born and her parents were us.

Our hearts began to heal as we held this sweet, tiny girl in an Arizona hospital in the wee hours of the morning, just that next day after I was planning to can tomatoes. A much better plan God had for us.. to be holding this new girl instead of summer gardening.

God is an amazing life-planner.

The things He is doing that we can see are pretty amazing, even if not in the timing we wish sometimes.

But the things He’s doing behind the scenes? Oh my. I can only imagine the way He is molding me, how He is sanctifying everything that’s hard to swallow.  How He is using the mundane and the painful to create beauty and purpose in my life and yours.

6 years ago I saw His hand clearly work in a miraculous way. I’ve seen it since, of course, it’s just not usually so dramatic.  However, I don’t want to forget that just because I can’t see the miraculous doesn’t mean it’s not happening.

You just never know what kind of miracles our good God is performing right under our noses. You never know what you might be doing instead of canning tomatoes on any given July afternoon. You never know what good things God’s got planned that sanctifies and stretches and fills and surprises you.  Sometimes it’s not even the answer to a prayer you’ve prayed- sometimes it’s a renewal of faith and trust that comes as a result of going through the very thing you dreaded.

That summer of 2012 began all sorts of new things for me… a renewal of my faith that strangely came on the way home from a hospital where we walked away from a sweet baby in Oregon that we’d pinned a lot of hopes and dreams on.  I didn’t expect to experience God loving on me in a way I never, ever had before while my arms were profoundly empty. 

I didn’t expect to appreciate His Word like I never had within hours of the news that we were suddenly …un-chosen. Oh, the grief was there.  It was heart-wrenching and real.  But there was light and a strange hope that emerged in those dark days.

And 6 weeks later, I was surprised by the baby God meant for us all along.

He plans beautiful things for all of us.

So this morning it’s time to get ready for swim lessons, do regular life, and smile to myself because I know that I know that I know, that God is good, and nothing is accidental, and my life is in His hands.

Oh, and I need to get that birthday cake made today.

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Chickens

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Our chickens are so happy.

They have been pecking and bobbing their way around our yard for the last two days.

Always before, they had to stay in the chicken run because our beloved dog, Shadrach, was fond of chicken. And not in a good way.

He had to be put down last month, and while we are all sad to say goodbye, one benefit is that our dear chickies are happy as little clams. Or as free chickens, perhaps. 

They’re much more tame than our previous chickens, due to the fact that we have a regular Fern (Charlotte’s Web reference) in Mr. J.  He is so devoted to his chickens that he announced a month or two ago that he wants to have a chicken dairy when he grows up. We’ve decided that would definitely be a niche market. 🙂

He sits and sits (on his homemade chicken-watching stool) down in the chicken run, just holding them and watching them whenever he gets a chance.

Anyways, the boys let the chickens out a couple days ago for the first time, and they were adorable. Fluffy and pecking and just having an all-out garden party.  Evening came, kids went to bed, and I remembered that we still had chickens out. Not only that, but some of them were up on the porch, and even had the nerve to get up onto the rocking chair and attempt to enter the house by flying at the windows.  My husband was less than impressed. A.) Chickens on the porch.  B.) Chicken poop on the porch. C.) Chicken flying at the windows.

He muttered something about needing to get the chickens into their pen, and next thing I knew, my calm, unflappable husband was on the front porch, sternly informing our rooster in no uncertain terms to leave the premises. I stifled a giggle, and went outside to help with the chicken herding. This involved several interesting and humorous attempts of me, standing at the top of our backyard bank, and sending various chickens reluctantly flying down to T.

I caught the last one, (yes. I did.  Me. I held a chicken.) and we had a nice, romantic walk down to the hen house.  Hand in hand, and chicken in arms, we strolled down to the back yard.  I commented on the romantic moment, and T wholeheartedly agreed (with perhaps a bit of an eye roll.)
They all gathered in to roost, and we went in to drink coffee.

I’d herd chickens and take evening strolls to the hen house with him any day.

Coming Home

Ahhhh.

 

Ahhhh.

 

Laundry going, swish-swishing and the cool of my dark-ish living room is a refreshing alternative to outside.

We are home from a road trip to California for my grandma’s funeral, and so much about the trip and the homecoming was just lovely goodness.

Today was the first day we just haven’t had plans to speak of, and it began with coffee on my front porch and the beginning of another round of laundry.

I picked all the cucumbers in our garden, and so far have accumulated at least two very full bags of them.  I see pickles in our very near future.

Our road trip to CA – (last minute one, at that)was incredible. We soaked in the beauty of a hundred different landscapes.. rolling, green potato fields in Idaho.  Vast endless open land in Texas. Sagebrush and cactus in Arizona. Sun-reddened cliffs at the border of New Mexico and Arizona, where we stopped at a giant teepee and ate chicken tacos from the crockpot for supper. The plains of South Dakota, wildlife in Yellowstone. The canyon that we drove through during sunset from Yellowstone to Cody, Wyoming was unspeakably beautiful.

Less beautiful, yet still memorable was the nausea that was overtaking me during that particular drive, which ultimately resulted in the same stomach bug that had settled in on our family and was attacking one person every three days.  Miss E was first, and it hit her after we had been on the road for one hour from leaving home.  Several days later Miss A got it, then Mr. J, then me on the way home. Not wanting to be stingy, we spread it right on to my niece and nephews.. and my sister-in-law…. and hopefully it’s ran it’s course by now.

My grandma’s funeral was a beautiful tribute to her life, and we are so thankful she could go home to Jesus. It had been a long time for her, her home-going…. years of Parkinson’s disease gradually robbing her body of the ability to function, walk, and talk normally.

So it wasn’t sad, really. Oh, I cried more than I even thought I would at the funeral. It was the ending of an era, the realization that time doesn’t stop, that I am actually getting older, and there are just so many moments to be lived in and enjoyed.

I find myself in a place in life, a time period that I remember my parents being in.  I think it’s sort of snuck up on me.  But it’s good, too, to realize that life is so worth living, and there are just so many people to love on and bless.

And so, we are home from a trip. My grandma has passed on to eternity. I wonder what it’s like up there – my Miss E thinks she must be dancing. I’m inclined to agree. Grandma was barely able to walk for so long, and unable for the past few years.  I believe she is likely singing and praising and dancing with all the joy she never knew even existed.  I’m a little jealous of the face-to-face realization of her faith, to be honest.

But I’m going to live my life now, and make pickles, and take my kids to swimming lessons, and greet my husband at the door with a kiss.  I’m going to call my dad more often and enjoy the conversations I have with my mom.  I’m going to read aloud to my children and make a point to smile widely at them just because.

This is a good life. It’s not easy all the time, but that’s just because it’s the Before. The Prelude. And things aren’t clearly seen in the Before. It’s just a taste, a small window.

Bits of Idaho fields with mountain peaks and rivers winking and glistening below as they wind. Raging-fire sunsets. Wispy blonde curls and husband embraces. The moments where our heart dances and we’re called in beautiful longing for the More that’s coming.

After here, there’s a Story that we’ve barely tasted. Our eyes haven’t seen, our ears haven’t heard, what is coming. What is waiting.

But it is waiting. So we wait, too, in hope. In joy.

Because we will reap, if we faint not.

The half has never yet been told