All is Well

These days.

They are so fleeting and the lump in my throat bears witness to how I feel about that.

Quick, rush, chaos, dirt on my hallway floor.

Laundry piles in moldering mountains and there are fingerprint swirl smudges on every surface.

I break up the arguments and kiss the finger and close my eyes when she does what she always does…

Those two tiny girl-hands wrapping soft and pulling my neck in so her kisses land on my face.

She is all fire and glorious honey curls. Sweet as they come, and just as strong-willed too.  Or maybe more.
Freedom, space, relief when the daddy walks in through the back door, home from a long day and I’m twofold glad to see him.

Glad because he is still my love, more than ever, and glad for the relief of not being the sole parent in the moment.

….

I’m learning the art of savoring the small.  Just a newbie in that, though, but I’m grasping hold of the moments and closing my eyes more often in thanks-giving.

Our days continue the tightrope walk of breathless wondering at what behavior challenge might be next, (and there is so.much. I am not saying when I say that) my thoughts continue to come back to the fact that I wasn’t ever promised a perfect life, or always lovely days.

So as I learn to savor the blessings I’ve taken for granted at times, it helps to remember that I’m held and kept safe through the hard, and the hard things are gifts in their own right.  Hard is a blessing, it amplifies the blessing of what’s seemed insignificant, but most of all, it draws me to Him.

Draws me to look up, not in.

To look away from myself, and to know that my sufficiency and my okay-ness never once has to come from whether things are easy or fun.

 

True joy comes from my Saviour.  From obedience to Him. It comes from knowing, nodding yes to the truth that He never leaves, He always carries, and my worship and heart is all He desires from me.

So I’m thankful for the hard things, thankful for the small things, thankful for the heart-stopping beauty of children playing carefree together.  Each moment where there is sunshine, enough food, savory and sweet treats, hugs and clean water, the kiss and strong hand of my Dear Man, the admittance of wrong and “I’m sorry”, the gas in the car, the shoes on our feet, the Bible.

Most of all, I’m thankful there is a Giver.  And an Enthroned Majestic Ruler of all of life, who isn’t surprised, disturbed or dismayed by any of the things that so easily attempt to do so to me. He is the Giver of all Good, so I’m taking deep breaths and knowing that all things work together for just that.

Thank you Jesus.
All is Well

I’m looking up, You’re reaching out.

With outstretched hand and knowing smile, 

You fill me up, you make my cup

Just overflow and all the while…

I know my pain is felt by you,

The bitter tears, the fear that shakes

My quaking heart, but it is true – 

You’re never shaken, never moved

You’re never caught off guard by what I’m going through.

All is well.



I look to you, and lift my eyes

To One whose heart was broken first

By what breaks mine, and now I find

That when I let it go and let my soul

Take rest and find it’s home in You

I’m not alone, I’m never left —

A blessed refuge, oh, it’s true.

Jesus, You’re not shaken, You’re not moved.

You’re never caught off guard by what I’m going through. 

All is well.



You formed me, You know all my days –

You knew this morning what I’d face

In chaos rush, or quiet hush,

The truth you arrow-spear my heart,

All things, yes all things can be done

Through You, the God of  Earth and Sky

The power that raised you, rolled the stone

It lives and dwells and breathes in me.

You’re here, this Holy Power, it reigns…. 

In heaven above and in my heart and home….

Never shaken. Never moved.  Your Holy Sameness, making all things well.



What You went through, the cross that crucified True Love

And then the grave and death that couldn’t hold You there…

And now the Spirit whole and filling me,

Whatever I walk through has first been walked by You –

That I may know You.

Fuller, wholly, well and true.

And  Resurrection Power and Suffering Fellowship…

If what I’m going through makes me conformed to death,

Then Saviour, send whatever You deem best.

Send rain, send storms, send sunshine, warm and soft

But most of all, keep sending Power that overcomes the dark, 

You’re never shaken, never moved. 

And You do all things well.

 Knitting + tacos + the last of the ice cream 

Joining Nicole from Frontier Dreams



 

I am now officially knitting shrug #3.  Got started Friday night, then on Saturday my dear husband took care of the kidlets while I went to my local yarn store and had several hours of uninterrupted knitting time.  It was so nice to get a fair amount done, and I’m now feeling a bit more confident about getting finished without a mad rush before the wedding on April 22.  I did figure out I made a mistake on shrug #1, which should be easy to fix, but I literally need to be making every minute count.

A row here, a row there.. during nap time, and sneaking in a few rows sitting on the front porch while the kids played outside riding bikes and carving various wooden utensils with knives.  It felt good to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and late afternoon breeze.

I’m still reading “The Insanity of God” by Nik Ripken, probably 2/3 through. It’s still gripping me, swirling in my mind and awakening, digging, convicting, and a whole host of other things that are good and hard at the same time.

I can’t wait to continue learning more about crochet… for now I have a sweet little coaster that I look at fondly and think of all the glorious crochet things in my future.

Tonight I made these Barbacoa Tacos and I have only one bad thing to say about this recipe.

There are no leftovers.

I mean, we licked the platter clean.  They reminded me so much of Chipotle, and seriously were so easy.  Just throw the meat and sauce in the crockpot, cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, shred meat, and cook again for a couple hours on low.  I  added chopped lettuce and stir-fried peppers and onions, (–I feel all frugal because these peppers had seriously saggy and wrinkly skin, and I used them anyways. They were just fine.  Yay for cleaning out the fridge!) chopped cilantro and onions, and then whizzed up some sour cream/lime juice/salt/sauce from the can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  Everyone else ate them on tortillas, and I didn’t bother – just ate mine bowl-style.

I don’t usually cook stuff like this very often… even though it was really easy.  My go-to suppers trend towards soups, eggs, pancakes, and spaghetti.  And hot dogs.  Cooking like I did today actually requires forethought.  As in, the meat must be gotten out in the morning, instead of at 4:30 thinking oh phooey, right, I need to fix supper for my family because in an hour or two they are going to want to eat.  Again.  

So …yay for today because. 1.) being frugal and using the peppers instead of throwing them to the chickens and 2.) having forethought. 

And yay for right now, because my dearies are all in bed, (not quiet yet, but in bed, nonetheless) I have a cup of Lady Gray tea beside me, and it’s the time of day when I can relax a bit, knit a few more rows, and enjoy the end of the day.

Oh. And also, there is this.   

I do believe I will, thank you. 

..all the random happy..







It’s quiet in my house.  And that is luxury.  I’ve got a cup of cold brew beside me and the evening light is fading, the lamps are shining softly in my living room, and my dishwasher is washing most all my dishes.

There’s just a lot to be thankful for, and my heart’s been swelling with it all.

Miss E…. The way her soft little hands frame my face when she wants me to look at something, or wrap tight around my neck in a hug. How she says “I have a SQUISHY TUMMY” and giggles. And just how right she is about that. Everything about her is squishy. Even her gold curls.

Miss A is my Chief Egg-Getter.  She is so proud to bring in all the eggs she finds, and carries them in her skirt, or her coat pockets, or dress pockets…. we have only had a few mishaps.  And the way she carefully holds her skirt and takes it outside to shake out the shavings from the chicken pen.

-The relaxed rhythm of schooldays.  The getting into a routine that works for us, most days, that isn’t too stressful.  I’m learning and re-learning that pushing my children to perform and get lots done is counterproductive to a well-rounded and balanced childhood.  Igniting sparks of interest, and feeding their curiosity is such a fun and exciting way to learn.  Letting their interests guide a lot of what we do….. and requiring excellence and neatness in what they are doing, without forcing large quantities of schoolwork is proving to be a good fit for us.

My newfound admiration and perhaps addiction to tulips and fresh flowers? Oh my, there are orange and pink ones on my counter now. They sure do bid a cheery good morning, perhaps especially the one with a mind of its own.

-Sweet and hot pickles from Kroger … yum.   They go really well with the crusty bread I got off the discount rack last night,  and a small slab (hmm. Is there such a thing?) of muenster cheese.

-I finished my second shrug, all but the button.  Yay!  Started on the third last night and hope to get a lot done this weekend.

-Went to a sweet friend’s house today… the children played all day… her kind, kind 16 year old who showed my boys his calves… shot targets with them on his .22, treated them with respect and gifted my youngest little man with a leather cowboy hat that he had outgrown (they go quite well with his leather chaps)… We ate salad and peach dessert and drank really yummy tasted-like-a-coffee-shop-cappucino coffee/espresso that she made us with her little Italian coffeemaker.  I knitted and her girls crocheted and played with mine, and we talked about sewing little girl dresses (she is amazing at that kind of thing) and her mom stopped by and gave me crochet pointers.  It was a lovely day in all respects and I was sad to see it end and filled up with all the happy fullness that friendship brings.  My children piled in to go home and announced that we needed to come back tomorrow.

Everyone is well now.  No sickness, no sniffles, everyone is running and playing and arguing again, just as though those weeks of sleeplessness and fever and everything were gone.  Isn’t that how life is? We go through trials, (big ones, hard things, emotional challenges that leave us thinking the world is halting) and then later on we have different things. Good things, maybe different hard things.  But we are stronger and the hard of the last thing fades a bit and we move on to the next.  One of my mom’s favorite quotes, said with a twinkle in her eye – “When it says it came to pass, it means just that.  It comes to pass.”  My mom’s full of wisdom.  But that could be another whole post by itself.  Or possibly a series. 

-Dove chocolate is a gift. I confess I hid in the bathroom with several the other day. My kids can smell chocolate/hear the crinkle of a wrapper from a mile away.  But I may have locked the door.  Just in case.  Funny how they never seem to have heard me when I tell them to clean their room/fold laundry/empty the dishwasher?

California oranges. We still have a fridge drawer full.  They are juicy and bright and never disappoint with any kind of lackluster flavor.  I mean, these things are a dessert all by themselves.  I am so thankful for every single one we stuffed and crammed into any and all available spaces in our suitcases and carry ons.

Her and her kitties.  They are wrapped and held and rocked and loved and named and renamed and sung to…. it reminds me of me when I was little.  I was in love with kitties then… and it’s just kind of sweet and thrilling to see your girl love something like you did. Today she was in her fleece nightgown, singing all the made-up songs and being a little mama to her “Fluff” kitty.

-Sometimes she comes up and says “I have a lot of kisses in my bucket for you.”  “A lot” sounds like “a wot” and I’m not anxious for it to change.  Growing up seems to happen all too quickly.


{yarn along} : unhurried + little pink shrug take 2

Joining Ginny

I know, I know.  It’s kind of a rerun from last week.  But I did get started on a new shrug, which is exciting!  {My model for the sweater was into doing all sorts of crazy faces. If you hadn’t noticed already.} So all that is left on shrug take one is the button.  Something wooden, most likely.  Yesterday I got in a row or two while teaching long division.  And as I knitted and made one left and made one right I was thankful that teaching math comes in small bites.  (Whew.)

I love the feeling that comes when your child has that “Aha! ” moment!  Especially when you have explained the same things for the umpteenth squared time.  He got it.  And I could’ve danced around the room when he began to fly through those problems instead of laboring over each one.  This is just one reason I am so glad we homeschool.  It’s not easy, many days are hard, we are challenged with just the logistics of people in each other’s space for this many hours at a time.  Honestly, I’m challenged with this as much or more than anything.  I said I wouldn’t ever homeschool, (!! Ha! Never say never!) and yet now I can’t imagine anything else.  Well, I can imagine mornings having coffee with other moms and a quieter house.  But I can’t really imagine not having them here with me.

For all of the chaos and arguing, for all the weariness and too-often questioning myself and whether I am doing ok and hopefully not ruining my children, there are relationships being built at our kitchen table. There are memories being made while the forts are being built.  The traditions of stories and tea, (however irregular some of those traditions can be some weeks) are things I hope these little ones never forget.

Which brings me to the book I am reading, The Unhurried Homeschooler by Durenda Wilson.  Oh me, oh my.  This is my new favorite book.  The tag line alone caught my heart and made me exhale.   “A simple, mercifully short book on homeschooling”.  

Aaaahhhhh.

So the other night, I filled my bath with hot-as-I-could-stand and lots of bubbles, sank in, devoured part of it, set the book down, and promptly splashed just enough water out to get my nice, brand new sigh-of-relief-in-the-form-of-a-book nice and wet. Thankfully it’s not ruined, and I picked it up again yesterday.  This book is from a mama who has been there and done that with 8 children. And it, like Teaching from Rest did a year ago, is confirming so many things that God has already brought to my heart. Gentle learning environment. Keeping things simple.

This quote:

The latest trend to “educate early” is in direct opposition to nature. The child’s level of development plays a huge part in their ability to grasp whatever we are trying to teach them. ….If it’s interesting to them, they will learn so much more.   … In fact, studies show that in two or three years, a child can learn everything they need to know for success in high school and college.”


I love this –

“You have a God-given compass inside you when it comes to raising your children…”

Just as a sidenote – this woman has several children who are finished with school,  some who are in college and several whom she is teaching at home still. She speaks of their children who are in high school now being fully engaged with their education because they have had time to explore and discover.

When someone writes from experience, it gives so much meaning to to their words.  And she speaks of listening to her intuition.  Laying self-doubt aside. Being unhurried.  Not despairing over the seasons of making meals, changing diapers, and trying to keep the house falling apart, because children are always, always learning.  It may be that sitting down to read a book is the very best thing for the day. And the most necessary!

Yesterday we managed to get in our read-aloud we hadn’t picked up for awhile, “The Story of the Treasure Seekers” by Edith  and later on when the girls were napping we started our Story of the World we just got, and read about Lewis and Clark. We are also reading Seaman – a story about the dog that travelled on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  The TruthQuest spiral bound book pictured is what I have been using for our history curriculum. It is excellent and gives chronological book recommendations throughout history, as well as brief overviews that are quite compelling.  Both Story of the World and Seaman are recommended (along with a whole HOST of other options).

It’s a beautiful Wednesday here… shining sun and children racing outside with bananas for a snack and plans to act out the Underground Railroad since Mr. J just devoured “The Drinking Gourd”  (by F.N. Monjo).  It  talks about slavery and a little boy who figures out that his home is a stop on the Underground Railroad, and that slaves are to follow the Drinking Gourd (Big Dipper) north to freedom.

There’s apple pie and more coffee in the coffee pot, if you don’t mind the scattered legos and laundry everywhere, stop in and we’ll knit and chat a bit! = )

Spring Fever

It’s 1:30 and the girls should be down for a nap by now.  But…. 69 degrees.  Need I say more?  Bike riding, voluntary raking up the yard, and he told me he was making an Indian chief hat.  They have been bringing me all manner of flowers found blooming.. and it’s adorable.  Most of the time they come in with clumps of green leafy weeds and these tiny purpley-blue flowers poking out.  Spring’s everywhere.  

We had tea at 11:30 while play dough got formed into hamburgers and pizza slices and tootsie rolls. I read aloud from “Boyhood and Beyond” that just came in the mail the other day, and sighed with an inward joy at how tea and reading out loud makes a day come alive.  It makes it easy to find joy.  I was interrupted often, there are squabbles that broke out, and we didn’t finish the chapter.  But truly.  School was art and sculpting with play dough, listening to a story about telling the truth and making good choices, and tea – (it was declared “TODAY IS THE BEST SCHOOLDAY EVER” when I announced my last minute idea to do so). 

It’s a good reminder to me.  Morning Time in our school has had different flavors… sometimes very short, often not at all because I get too caught up in the importance of completing workbooks… and today we needed to gather back in close again.  Trips are lovely, and yet coming home is a restoring of routine, gathering things and putting away, making our meals and tasting the goodness of how sweet home really is.  

Chicken with seasoning is baking slow in the oven, I’ll probably make some baked rice to go with it.  I had a fresh tangerine from California for lunch, and it just tasted like sunshine. My washer and dryer are humming, and the boys have been folding clothes and sweeping and helping with gusto today. We told them if they were willing to make an extra effort in being cheerful in their regular chores, we would give them extra opportunities to make money with other chores around the house they don’t typically do.  Mr. E is focused on earning money for a red bloodhound (He just read Where the Red Fern Grows and loved it), and Mr. J has decided he wants to earn money to buy a rabbit.  I have no idea if the enthusiasm will last, but it sure is nice in the meantime. 

Our weekend looks busy… both with my sister in law’s bridal shower and helping with food for a viewing and funeral of a sweet man in our church who has battled cancer for the last while.  Life, death, change.   Today is one day filled with moments, and all of the small and mundane make up the life we will one day look back on.  That’s why today I decided that I wanted to pull my children in close to me and teach them truths rather than assign pages.  There is a time for everything, and next week it will be time to pull out the math books again.  But this week, margin and breathing space needed to be first on the schedule.  

We weren’t made to hurry all the time.  Fast-paced living doesn’t give us room to grow, to taste, to truly experience the blessings God heaps. Sunshine.  Tangerines.  Tea. Fresh Laundry. Slowly passing a hot iron and making a shirt crisp.  Breathing thanks for the husband who will wear it. Ice water. Rocking. Story -reading. Noticing the green of the fields and the contrast of spindly and leafless trees eagerly readying for spring.   We need to do these things for our children and for ourselves.  It’s a free extravagance, this slowing down…  

Each moment, a gift itself.  

I think I’ll go make another pot of coffee.  And enjoy every sip. =)