Saturday, May 30, 2009

T E N




This weekend we celebrate ten years of marriage and I can hardly believe that is possible. Of course it has made me reflective of this time ten years ago, who we were and what we were doing. God has been good and held us together these ten years by his grace. Marriage can come under attack from so many directions, and it really is hard work. We have learned and grown so much along the way and hopefully will continue to do so. A few things that I have learned: that it is so much easier to love when you study your partner and how they need to be loved instead of being more concerned about having your own needs met. Talk to each other about everything. Feelings of romance come and go, choose to act in love and kindness regardless. Protect your marriage, it is sacred. Try to see your partner like Jesus sees them, be compassionate, we are all in the same messed up boat. Go to bed at the same time whenever possible. Laugh a ton, Josh is great at making this happen when I really want to be mad at him. Make time for your marriage no matter how much you keep procreating. Occasionally sit down and talk til you finish a bottle of wine together. Dance whenever possible, under the bridge, in the kitchen, in the street. Write each other love letters even though you live in the same house.
I like to celebrate milestones and so I thought I'd sing a song I love to Josh and make a slide show so if you can't take the lovey-dovey stuff than skip right over
this. I am so thankful for this man that has loved me unconditionally, who loves God and life and people, who works hard and is an incredible daddy to our brood. I love him so much it hurts.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ella rose


Today was a good day not to go anywhere. It was a good day to huddle on the porch and get sprayed by the heavy rain. It was a day made better by tea and little umbrella straws, paper thin poppy blooms, and lots of books.
It was a day filled with lots of good tunes, listening to this and this, oh and this for my girl. It was a day I wanted to soak up my girl in all of her 3-year-old-splendor. It was a day that it felt okay to let housework go and join the crew in the living room fort. It was a day that started with Ella insisting on "Laura Ingalls kind of pony tails." It was a day she wore no less than four different dresses. It was a day that I let myself doze off for a few minutes beside her. It was a day like any other with nothing particularly special, but a day I didn't want to end.






Monday, May 18, 2009

sometimes it rains





The weekend was grey and rainy, giving it a lazy spring-time feel. It seemed to fit well with the heaviness I'd been feeling. I missed my dad's face on the day we celebrate his birth. On top of that was the weight of loved ones hurting, fragile health, relational dysfunction and just the messiness of life feeling like a weight around my neck. I was reminded by an older women that this is how God sanctifies us, through disruption and healing. It's just that the disruption feels so uncomfortable at the time, and it's hard not to want to skip the struggle and get to the peace. So I get on my knees and look to God and listen and wait.
I was happy to have a rainy weekend with my precious family. We decided to hike and bring umbrellas just in case. We were glad we did since almost as soon as we were out of the driveway, big drops rolled down the windshield. And rain it did, creating a different kind of wonderfully enchanting adventure. The kids tromped through the light spring rain and bursts of sunlight pierced the forest until we got to the little bridge near the waterfall where we've gone since we dated. Shoes and umbrellas where cast aside and they splashed and jumped till Naya's little lips where blue and shivery. There was the lush smell of newly watered earth and the trees shone in the strange stormy light. I felt my spirit lift as the rain washed down my cheeks. I'm thankful that mixed into the messy brokenness of life, God gives us beauty at it's purest, in a forest of rain, in the care-freeness of my children, in a hidden waterfall on a perfect afternoon, in my dad's love that I miss everyday, in knowing that there are little parts of him in me and in my kids, in moments that leave me wistful and happy at once.






Sunday, May 10, 2009

being a mama




I never knew I could fall instantly in love with my babies.
I never knew the feeling of a soft little mouth rooting around my neck and cheek, looking for milk.
I never knew how it would break my heart to see his spirit sink when people laughed at him.
I never realized something that innocent looking could make me lose my temper and say things I wish I hadn't.
I didn't know that becoming a mom would make me love my own mom more deeply because I would discover the sacrifice and commitment it takes to truly disciple my children's hearts.
I didn't know that stories would be more vivid, the glories of the ocean and the feel of sand and the seasons changing and a million other things would be magnified when sharing them for the first time.
I didn't know the joy of seeing things through their eyes.
I didn't know that grocery shopping, and tidying and any productivity while keeping all the kids happy and fed and rested, would be feats for which to be proud of accomplishing in a given day.
I never knew they would teach me so much about being uninhibited, loving people enthusiastically and having childlike trust.
I never knew that worry would take on an epic level.
I never knew that a tired little bundle of weeds would make me more happy than a room filled with roses or that their family portraits would be more dear to me than an original Picasso.

I never realized that when I became a mother, it would begin a universal bond. I didn't know that something in me would change or that I'd turn whenever I'd hear a child cry.
I didn't know that every child that is in distress would signal in me this deeply-rooted instinct to protect and nurture.
I didn't know that the refugee mama with babe on her back, and the crack addict struggling to care for her baby... that suddenly we are all the same.
I didn't know that God could take my feeble attempts and put His grace on them.
I didn't know that being a mother would be the most fulfilling, draining, hard, beautiful, meaningful, mundane and fascinating thing I'd done.
I never realized how being a mother would paint such a picture of the way God loves me.
I never thought that while some things in me faded away with motherhood, I'd be awakened to a more true version of myself.
I never realized how completely unequipped I was for the job, or how much I rely on God's promise to give me what I need and walk with me every single day.





Saturday, May 09, 2009

laura&nora



There are few things as close to my heart as the relationship between a mother an child. So it seemed an appropriate weekend to share some mama/baby pics. I took these a few weeks ago hoping to capture more of the everyday moments of being a mom, playing, reading, snuggling rather than a posed portrait look. It was fun seeing the bond between them. I've known Laura since she had a irresistibly cute speech impediment and would fight to join her big sister and I when we had sleepovers, and now she is one of my very best friends. As for the little one, the cheeks and the eyes alone melt me. They are a duo very dear to my heart.






Friday, May 08, 2009

songs from the nest


We are back on the saddle. I suppose I could offer any number of excuses as to how I became waylaid from finishing the CD. From laryngitis that left me with half my vocal range for months, Jade going to Slovakia, the demands of the wee ones and just life happening, things fell behind schedule. I wish I had half of the drive my husband has sometimes. Regardless of a goal un-achieved, I am happy to be immersed back in the process. It amazes me how this process now takes place thanks to technology. Instrumental lines are laid down in various places then woven together in our attic. For instance, Dave Kaufman, who plays bass on the songs, did so in Baltimore. Carl(of The Distribution) played the line in "The Painting" which John Drexler came up with. We had a friend of Jade's named Joy put on some beautiful violin parts. It just seems strange when you listen to a song, that the people on it may have never even been in the same room at the same time. It's satisfying to listen to the end result and the fluidity of every one's sounds coming together. I am happy to be singing again and looking at images for the CD art with Jade that reflect the feel of the album. I've said before, some of the songs are lullaby-ish, songs I've sung and hummed over and over to teary babes. I thought of my bambinos sleeping just below me as the notes floated through these old wood floors and hope that the songs will weave their way through their dreams and into their hearts. I hope the sound of these songs reminds them of late night kisses and how much I love them.


I've said before that I struggled some growing up with being shy. I think I mistook promoting or being driven in personal pursuits with pride somehow. I still would much rather blend in but I am taking steps to do the things I love. Someone told me once that we all have a story and a voice and no one will know our soul unless we use it.It has been a blessing seeing how God made me in His image with a desire to communicate and create and connect with others. The older I get the more I think, life is too short to be silent or to think "maybe I'll do that tomorrow." So I make mud pies with my kids and gather them under my wings to watch thunderstorms. I watch sunsets with my husband, I sing songs in my attic and drink in everyday.



As for the album... it won't be long.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The World Next Door



I had a question in the comment box on the last post asking where Naya's dress came from and seeing as I meant to put in a plug for them but forgot, I thought I'd just post about it instead. I bought it at The World Next Door, one of my very favorite shops in our fair city. It is a locally owned fair trade cooperative with a very broad vision. They work with representatives from forty of the poorest developing countries to give fair wages to local artisans and craftsmen and "provide opportunities for sustainable living for the global underdog." You can find out more about their mission and the work they do here. They are doing a good and powerful thing and since we can't all be globe trotters, it's nice to be able to support them in some small way.
For this reason, along with the unique, one-of-a-kind selection, I buy gifts and shoulder bags and clothes there, when I can. They also have home decor and kids' gifts from Haiti, India and Africa, to name a few. Because of the unique quality of some of their merchandise, it can be out of my price range, but they have great sales if you catch them at the right time. I got this two piece outfit for Ella that matches Naya's dress for 75% percent off. I love the breezy gauze feel of it for the summer and the embroidered flowers. Most days I let them get as dirty as they like but I love little girls in white. Both outfits cost me about 15 bucks.

Check out their blog to learn more. They posted this video awhile back and I like its message. It shows people with joy in the face of struggle and poverty. I'm hoping the source of that joy and peace is Jesus.

Friday, May 01, 2009

many hands...

make light work, sort of.


I've noticed that my kids, especially Ella loves helping me with everything. She drags the stool over and grabs the apron as soon as she sees me cooking. She comes running when she sees a pile of laundry and a favorite task is helping water the garden. It makes me happy to see a helpful spirit but sometimes I sigh, knowing the task may take longer with their help. Ella prefers a wadding up, rolling method so I end up refolding clothes. Many a plant has fallen victim of the entire bucket deluge. When baking, more flour ends up on the child than in the dough and cooking can become a juggling act. With that said I so want to nurture a servant's heart and the desire to work and help. I see how they thrive and shine with pride when given a job (unfortunately not always when asked to do the mundane toy clean up.) But doesn't everybody like to feel needed? Parents can do their children such a disservice by doing everything for them. Kids need to feel a sense of their role and responsibilities, how they fit in to the family and the growing abilities they have, even though it's not always convenient to have their "help." Now, the way she drags her dolls around by the feet... maybe we'll brush up on the mama skills, just in case.