Slow

It’s Saturday.

And it’s almost mid-November. And I made chicken and dumplings for the first time in a loooong time last night.

This week I have been simultaneously wanting to hibernate into a long winter’s nap (exhaustion from life, recently) yet knowing that I need to settle into a new rythym of sorts. A new normal.

Sometimes when life is crazy busy and you’re running from one thing to the next it’s just time to stop.

Just stop.

Stopping this week looked like school going by the wayside. I would think about it, feel guilty about it, but when I listened to  Sally Clarkson’s podcast I knew.

I knew that it was time to do a little caring for my own soul.

That looked like sitting down to knit on Friday.

It looked like making doughnut muffins for my kiddos Friday morning …just because.  It looked like chicken and dumpling comfort food Friday night.

It looked like letting my children play in their hay fort without requiring school to get done.

It looked like a stop at the library to bring home a dozen or so books and oh! The squeals of delight…!

(There is something thrilling about seeing your 12 yo get excited about books on King Tut and his tomb, and it helped me stop feeling guilty for not requiring 3 more math lessons be done this week. We are learning, in this house, and my children are learning to educate themselves with books and questions and all manner of self-direction.)

Who really said anyways that you were supposed to make sure you didn’t skip any school the first week of November?  I have to ask myself these kinds of questions- and I’ve heard several veteran homeschool moms say the same.

Again, we just needed to stop. To slow down.

I was able to enjoy coffee and a conversation with an older, wiser mama who encouraged me to keep pressing on.

I got to chat with another friend who is in the same place in life as I am, and we talked about keeping perspective fresh and truly loving our children.

We snuggled kitties, I listened to music that lifted my heart and soul, and vacuumed my floors because there is hay-bale remains everywhere.

I set a timer for a few minutes at a time and cleaned up my bathroom, my living room, and washed my dishes.

Stopping this week wasn’t necessarily about not working… it had to do with slowing my heart and mind down and thinking truth.

Listening to wise friends and mentors. Listening to God’s Word. Allowing stillness to penetrate my heart.

Slowing down.

Resting.

Break-neck speed wasn’t meant to be an environment for thriving.

So I rest. I rest my heart in His. I rest my need to get all the schoolwork done and lay that down too. I rest my concerns and wonderings about the future. The future isn’t mine anyhow.

I snuggled my girls up this afternoon and read a couple books and laughed along with 5 year old giggles about the mouse who needed milk with his cookies. I breathed in the scent of my 3 year old and marveled at the softness of her skin when she fell asleep in my arms within minutes (very.very.unusual) the other night.

I thanked my son for helping me wipe down the counters even though he was grouchy about it.

Seeing beauty is so much easier when we are slowed enough to look for it.

 

 

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Bless the Lord, Oh my Soul


I am thankful.

I will not choose to be anything else.

I’ve begun several sentences to try to describe in a nutshell the last few weeks, and I just can’t figure out how to say it well, so I’ll just say it how it is.  (Many of you know this already, but still.  Hard to know how to encompass some circumstances in words.)  These past two weeks have been hard.  Just hard.  As hard as they could have been? No. Harder than anything I’ve faced yet? Yes.

And at the same time, it’s not the hardest place I have been. Hardest circumstances, perhaps.  But the sense of God’s grace and provision and the prayers of people we love have made the things we have been dealing with not go away, but the load has been made lighter, all the same. 

There is a very real sense of Emmanuel.  God with us. 

A very real sense. 

Fear. Anxiety.  The knowledge that perfect love casts out fear.  Hopelessness. The knowledge that love never fails.  Not knowing how to pray. The friend who says – we will pray on your behalf.  The sensation of flying blind. The knowledge that in Jesus, we are guided.  We are NEVER flying blind.  That in our weakness, His strength shines brighter than ever. Blind tears. The strength of my husband and seeing that strength in fresh ways that I never, ever have seen in all our nearly 13 years. 

I know less about parenting than I ever have.  I’m asking God what it looks like to truly love my child.

What is His heart toward my child? What does He think of them?  I’m asking Him to teach me how to mother, how to love.  I’m asking Him honestly.  Because I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever been in a place so empty of my own ideas or plans and just plain clueless on what to do next. 

So, with all that said, I’m thankful.  This is what I choose.  I am thankful for a good, good Father.  I’m thankful I serve a galaxy-builder.  That the God who lives in my heart is great enough to raise dead men from the grave and make dead hearts new and make me know that He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that I can ask or think. 

He is so able.  

So able.  

So as we walk unknown paths, I choose to be thankful for many things, and these are a few.


the truth of God’s Word.

-the brilliance of the leaves out my window.  Orange, fiery red, fluttering to the ground, clinging to the trees who have borne them all season.  

-our four baby kittens and how my sweet girls mother them. Rocking, loving, talking to them as though they were their very own babies. 

-fire in the fireplace in the morning

-chilly nights and cozy soups

-hay-forts from the hay bales we used the other evening

-bread and wine, fellowshiping in His sufferings, realizing that His sacrifice was pure love, and He’s able to guide me in the same

-laying down in the quiet night, with a husband who prays with me for strength, guidance, and wisdom

-miss E – naming her kitty “Clifford” (pronounced Kiff-uhd) … after her favorite stories about Clifford the Big Red Dog.

-requests to read “Pa and Ma” (Little House on the Prairie)

-garlic breadsticks

-finishing the white lace blanket, blocking and folding its softness up

-kindness in all of its forms, from dear friend’s hugs and sweet children wiping my cheek with their palms. 

-taking a nap with my girls after a trying and tear-filled afternoon yesterday

-this gorgeous sunset

The Beauty of Mums, Bread, and Dishcloths

Mums.

Yum.

I have two yellow ones on my deck, and they shine bright and lovely every single day.

<exhale.>

My obsession with flowers continues.  But they sure are the happiest things, just sitting on my deck, minding their own beautiful business.  I believe in the power of intentionally surrounding ourselves with beauty.  It comes in all forms, and might just be a clean countertop or in my case – yesterday – an actual, for real, clean microwave.

There is a mulled cider candle on my mantle that is burning, and I lit a candle this morning on our table while we ate breakfast. Last night after cleaning my microwave I got in the notion to make some quick English muffin bread, too.  And ah. Fresh bread with butter for supper was a hit.  It wasn’t hard, didn’t require kneading, and was just amazing.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I shall post the recipe.  You really should go make some.


English Muffins in a Loaf

6 c. Flour

2 T. Yeast

1 T. Sugar

2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 c. Milk

1/2 c. Water

Cornmeal

Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and soda.  Heat milk and water until very warm. (120-130 degrees) {or if you are like me and don’t want to mess with a thermometer, just heat your milk and water til it’s lukewarm, and dump your yeast in and stir it up nicely.}

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Beat well.  Stir in the rest of your flour to make a stiff batter.  Spoon into two bread pans that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal.  Sprinkle tops with cornmeal.  Cover.  Let rise in warm place 45 minutes. Bake at 400 for 25 min.  Remove from pans, slice, and EAT WITH BUTTER. (Well. Or whatever you want.) 


This loaf is all that is left of the two I made last night. The original recipe says to slice and toast, which I did, just now, with the intention of taking a picture of toasted, buttered, English muffin bread yumminess.  However, I ate it before I toasted it. Or took a picture.  Oh well.
And you should really make the soup (Zuppa Toscana copycat – made with cauliflower instead of potatoes) to go with it.  You can feel all carb-free while you eat the soup, and then take a bite of luscious bread and remind yourself why carbs are good for the soul every once in awhile.

I’ve been knitting along on my blanket edging… almost halfway done.  It’s easy, mindless, and continuously beautiful.

Somehow my dishcloth situation has gotten precarious.  I seem to run out of dishcloths regularly, and because I cannot abide dishcloths with that certain aroma about them, I’m pretty much a stickler for changing them out often.  Yet, alas, I check my drawer, and there are none.  I found a few in the garage… I think they got used to clean a weedeater. Or hold a kitten because “Kittens need blankies, Mommy!”…   I broke down and bought a few, and then I thought – hey!  I knit! I crochet! I should be making my very own dishcloths!  So I did.  Just a simple granny square, with scalloped edging around the side, and another more complex (but not very) pattern with the same scalloped edging.  I used this Easy Crochet Dishcloth Pattern for the slightly more complicated one, and this Granny Square Dishcloth for the other one.   They were so quick…  crochet is hands-down so much quicker than knitting. And fun in its own way. After finishing the one and making a whole ‘nother one, my hands were very tired of working with cotton, so it was back to my delicious merino blankie again.

I made a second pot of coffee this morning, and this weather just calls for all the coffee and tea.  Rainy, chilly, sunny, blissful fall. Schoolbooks are strewn across my table.  I sent my children out to play, and they are down in their fort in the woods. The thought crossed my mind about calling them in for math drills and science, and then I just knew.  This weather will not last, and they will not be children forever.  There is, after all, a time for everything, and school is not only bookwork.  School is manners, and getting along, and fort building, and having your siblings as your best friends.

So I shall pour another cup of coffee, and let the children play.  When they are happy and outside and getting along, it is a sweet blessing, and one I do not take lightly.  I just might even take my knitting out to the deck to sit and beside my happy little mums awhile.   (Or until my fort-builders are ravenous for their lunch.) 🙂

Joining in with Nicole from her weekly Crafting On linkup, as well as Unraveled Wednesdays and A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.

beauty.

 

Beauty.
It soothes my soul.

And its everywhere.

This past weekend I planted flowers and “beautified” our deck with plants.  There are hanging baskets on our front porch, pots on the deck, and impatiens and cosmos in the flowerbeds.

There are fewer impatiens and one less pot, because …puppy.

I am not known for my green thumb, and in previous years I haven’t been quite as obsessed with flower-beauty as I am this year.

I’ve gotten hanging baskets before, but always thinking, ok, all four alike, keep it matchy-matchy. This year, though? I picked four different baskets, loud and wild, pinks and blues and reds and whites and yellows and deep purples. I want all the variety and crazy combinations. I don’t care if pink and red clash. It’s just all beauty.

And I am enthralled.

Recently I’ve been aware not just of beauty itself, but how it soothes me. How it brings me back to truth. How it shows what reality really is – a kind and Good God who is orchestrating every detail of our lives, and showing us in all the showy ways just tiny glimpses of His own beauty.

This morning my youngest was up early, (6:30 these days..) and I wanted some quiet and time alone before I began parenting (amen?), and the thought skittered across my mind as I sent her to my bed to lay down….

“Cherish this time, don’t wish it away, she won’t be 3 and snuggly forever.”

And the words of my mother-in-law just this past Sunday evening rang in my mind, in reference to this time of our lives…”Just enjoy it,” she said.

So the coffee stayed in the coffee pot and I crawled back in bed with my delighted girl.. and this is what I heard:

“You take a nap with ME, Mommy?”

“Mommy… I love you too. I love you too.”

And she told me all about Aunt La-la coming last night while I was in town, and chattered and wrapped squishy arms ’round my neck and kissed my cheek and my arm, whispering her “I love you too’s”.  My heart filled to overflowing for this treasure, this time, this sweet one. This beauty, with her loud stomping everywhere she goes (Bull. China shop.) and her penchant for sweets, her stubbornness, her long, long, hair with wild curls, and how dearly she loves.

We read a story and she surprised me by picking out the e’s on the page, and I melted into one last 10 minute sleep while she wallered (is that a word? I think it must be. It’s what she did.) and talked and attempted to hijack chapstick and my phone.

It’s a summer-slow morning. And everyone else trickled out of bed, enthralled with the new library books and always, always holding kittens.

That’s beautiful to me.

And the fresh, rain-soaked blueberries coming in last night from our patch by my dear second son, so excited with his find and asking if I want one. They tasted delicious, more so accompanied by the smile of the giver.

The rain-drops glistening on the bright green of lavendar and succulents on my deck this morning.

My whipping cream, pouring into a steaming cup just 10 minutes ago.

Fresh sheets, slipped on late at night with the help of the husband I love, and crawling in, the coolness and the weight of the quilts, and the knowledge that he is still loving me, almost 14 years since he started, and the beauty of love that stands through hard and harder. Sickness. Health. Vows that were hushed and quiet with all the strength of the love we shared then, and knowing that the love we share now is more beautiful than I ever could have dreamed. That even when we misunderstand  each other and get frustrated, when we are tired and clueless about how in the world to parent or what we are supposed to do, that our love is rock solid. We know so much more about each other and so much less about parenting than we ever did before. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Then the way the carpet looks after the vacuum has worked its magic, and feeling like surely this time my room won’t get messy again.

Knowing that in just “one more sleep” my mom and dad will be here, and we will talk and laugh and drink coffee in the afternoon because why not? and hug and not think about saying goodbye again. We will enjoy the beauty of the moment.

The sound of the washer and dryer humming, cleaning the dirt and grime off the summer mountains of laundry.

The way my shampoo and conditioner smells, and the sense of luxury in having a new bottle and inhaling it’s unfamiliar and intoxicating scent.

Starting our new read aloud (so what if we don’t finish the others..) “Streams to the River, River to the Sea” by Scott O’Dell, about Sacajawea.  And yesterday, going to the library, just my boys and I, and filling our bags with books for all. Then taking french fries and coke up behind that subdivision in our small town, all the way past the houses to the very end where we were way up high and we could look out and see the valley where we live, with the mountains capped in wispy white clouds. We parked there, enthralled by the view and pointing out Grandpa’s silo, and the weeds and tall grass framed the bottom with bright and sun-caught green. We sipped our drinks and I read aloud and we were all captivated by the story. The view. The sun. The taste of McDonald’s hot and salty fries.

And the kitten who traveled under our vehicle to the library and who pitifully meowed loudly as we were trying to order French fries. The rescue attempt commenced with great excitement and we hoped the people behind us understood while my boys ran wildly around the van looking. Soon the little yellow kitty was safe and sound and gifted with the first french fry for his bravery.

A bath with oatmeal and Epsom salts to (hopefully) soothe the poison oak that’s taken up residence on my leg.

A word, fitly spoken while on a last minute rendezvous with my dear friend last night.. sitting in the motel parking lot that should have had a sign that said “scenic overlook” on another mountain. This time looking at the twinkling lights below and the other mountains we know are there but couldn’t see, while rain drizzled on and off on the windshield. She spoke truth to me that I didn’t even know I needed, but keep coming back to over and over again since we talked.  We spoke of grief and pain and when your mama goes to see Jesus and leaves you behind and what it looks like to step into a future that’s uncertain and maybe even thrilling at the same time. What faith looks like and how sometimes what you really need is just to make sure you get enough sleep so you can get up a bit more refreshed and not quite stretched so thin.

The fresh cucumbers found in the garden, and brought inside with great fanfare.

When you can pray and you don’t even know what you’re going to say, but Jesus brings the words and they flow and you know you wouldn’t have wanted to come up with words by yourself anyways.

And this verse the Lord led me to yesterday:

“I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.” Psalm 71:14.  So much beauty when we praise more and more… it increases our hope. It magnifies our hope. And it’s the only way to continue in hope.

So much beauty. So much overflowing of a cup that isn’t half empty, and isn’t even half full. It spills and runs and drenches everything, and the more I praise Him the more I hope and the more beauty I see around me.

More.

And more.

yarn along: ordinary beauty + truth reminders

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After a day of morale-busting parenting yesterday, which I won’t detail, I decided it was time for a day at the creek.  There really aren’t words to describe some days.  When the force of your child’s will just nearly lays you flat.  When your brain can’t keep up with the swirl of noise and questions and needs and arguements.  To sum it up – I simply just have to say that I really never knew parenting would be this hard.  And I never knew the depth of love I was capable of, either.  Or how much this mothering journey would teach me about my Abba’s patient love for me.

We have a lovely creek at the back of our property, and Mr  E mowed the path last night down through the field.  It’s a gorgeous day, around 70 degrees, and the sound of the creek rushing over the rocks and the splashing of happy children makes my heart dance. I have to be realistic and tell you that the children weren’t always happy, there was the screaming-3yo-stumbling and the grouchy-9yo-who-chose-to-be-selfish and the puppy who wouldn’t stop trying to get into my bag.

But overall? The scenery and the joy overwhelmed the minor irritation. They were building dams and splashing hard and singing loud and the dogs companionably joined in with all the excitement.  It’s fun to have two dogs, romping along with us, and Shadrach (our nearly 12 year old Husky/Border Collie mix) is tolerating Trigger the Puppy quite well.  If dogs could roll their eyes, I’m pretty sure Shadrach would, while Trigger bounces around him, teasing and being generally annoying.

I’ve gotten to the lace part of this shawl/blanket that I’m working on.  The pattern is Gaia by Marie Adeline Boyer, and I’m using Tosh Merino Light in Antler.  This yarn.  This yarn is so amazing… it’s been awhile since I’ve knit with it, and it’s lovely.  The pattern says it will take 3 skeins, and I’m on skein #2.  It’s simple and classic, and a very enjoyable knit.  I’m working on it some in the afternoons while my children have rest time with books or take naps, and in the evenings after they are in bed.  It’s been easy to pick up or put down, and once I take a glance at the pattern for each row, it’s not hard to memorize the repeats.

….

As I said earlier, yesterday was rough.  So this morning, I sat down with my coffee, thankful for the moments of quiet still to be had, and opened this book that my friend gave me, Mom Enough.  By page 2, I stopped.  There was so much truth and hope and good reminders packed in, that I knew I had plenty to chew on.  I quickly called my husband to read out loud to him what I was reading…

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This was written by Rachel Jancovik, and perfectly spoke to me about the perspective that had gone missing from my heart in the middle of the chaos.  This laying down of one’s life for another… it is a privilege.  Lay down your life.  As soon as I read this, my heart ignited again.  I remembered Who I am serving every time I lay my life down for my children.  I remembered that Jesus laid His life down for me.  I remembered that it is a joy to do the same for others, most specifically the Littles and the man I have been given.  I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that all this is a gift.  But I’ll have to admit…When things go south it’s pretty easy to let these beautiful thoughts slip right on out the window.  I want to lay down my grievances about the life I am living, not cling to them with ferocious tenacity.

Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.

A beautiful example in Scripture.. That Jesus Himself din’t come for people to serve Him, but to serve others.  And to lay down His life.

I get to serve these precious people in my home.  I get to fix the meal, listen to the stories (so easy to tune them out, so important to listen), to hug the child, to kiss the ouchie, to bathe the dirt off tiny feet.

It’s a fine work of refining, this mothering journey.  

And in the spirit of full disclosure I must admit, I heard the sound of waking girls from nap time.  First response? “Phooey.  They are up already.” 

And then they walk in.  These blonde and brown-headed beauties, complete with kittens and blankies.  

Be still my heart.  Thank you Jesus.  They are a gift. 

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Joining Nicole from Frontier Dreams

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. =)