Saturday, February 26, 2011

"There came a time when the risk it took to remain in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
~Anais Nin~

It's one of my most favorite quotes... to find your voice and use it, no matter what the cost. It's so healing.

I was in New Jersey for a bit and returned home to the welcome sights below. Just like that, after the long cold winter the first brave daffodils burst through the browned muted earth. January Jasmine cascades down stone walls and the first fragile crocuses poke through. Silken bursts of colors bringing the hope of Spring and newness and beauty, ushering in the this new season, the one I'll meet my new little son in. It is wonderful how something so tiny and fragile can bring some joy and brightness to the day.
I'm reminded of why I started doing this blog several years ago. It's not because life is all pretty flowers and sunshine and cute things the kids do; maybe because of the opposite. It's because my heart slips and drifts to the melancholy. I've seen loss and pain. I've felt an emptiness that was desperate and hopeless. I've felt the burden of my brokenness and that of others. I've been immersed in the rawness and struggle and ugliness that comes with our humanity. I'm burdened by the pain of others. This is what compels me to seek out the beauty, capture and draw out through words those moments of beauty and blessing. When I'm open to seeing it, it is everywhere; glimmers of God's love to me shouting through my days. It is a way I worship, to glory in it, to be thankful. Gratitude becomes a deeper part of you when the lovely and true is held up against the backdrop of heartache, making it shine even brighter. There is some need in me to collect the things that lift my spirit: wordless prayers, walking in a field of goldenrod, sacred conversations with my little one, images that move me and a thousand other things.
Lately I've been face to face with struggle and pain. My heart has been heavy and I've been sent to my knees desperately seeking my Papa God whose love is unconditional, whose words are true. He is so faithful, everyday covering my days in things that draw me to worship; the promise of Spring, the sleepless nights with only the company of this little one rolling and pushing me behind this flesh wall home, the anticipation of meeting my newest little boy, my husband who loves me so well and just basically rocks my world on a regular basis. What a love gift is this man, that I never deserved.
If your heart is heavy, I highly recommend the practice of collecting blessings. It doesn't matter how; a camera, sketch book, journal, list, anything will do. Let it transform you, let God transform you. This song has encouraged me so I thought I'd share. I never leave your hands...what a promise!

"I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn’t there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That you would take my pain away
You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crooked lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands

When you walked upon the earth
You healed the broken, lost and hurt
I know you hate to see me cry
One day you will set all things right
Yeah, one day you will set all things right

When my world is shaking, heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave your hands

Your hands that shaped the world
Are holding me
They hold me still
~JJ Heller~

Thursday, February 24, 2011


To Naya Faith~ on the occasion of your fourth birthday.
How are you four already? It has been a wonderful year of watching you grow and change. I can't go anywhere without being asked if you and Ella are twins. You are the exact same size. Your long golden curls make you look like such a big girl and you've got the cutest dimple in your chin. You are a free spirit, independent and strong yet sensitive. You love feeling big and working in your school book while I'm home schooling Ella. You love to dance and draw and you started your first ballet class this year. You've got a style of your own which usually includes tulle,something sparkly and cowboy boots. You seem to think mommy's favorite thing is laundry and would change clothes about five times a day if you had your way. I can almost never get you to wear pants. You've got a fiery temper and are quite the opinionated little lady. You love being with your friends and cousins but you and Ella are best buds. You can't wait for your turn to be a big sister. You can't say your R's and have a slight speech impediment which is pretty endearing. I thank God for entrusting your precious spirit with our family and can't wait to see what adventures this new year will bring for you. Three has been an amazing year, watching the gentle budding from toddler to little girl and discovering more of just who God made you. I love your laugh and your deep coffee eyes, your pouty scowl, silly sense of humor, the way you love your daddy and a million other little things. I love being your mama, my precious wild girl.

ballet party

Naya hadn't really had a real birthday party before but this year she know what it was all about and exactly what she wanted. She asked for a ballet party so we pulled out tutus and music and plenty of pink and she was one happy girl. Her big cousin Meadow even taught some basic steps and positions. There's something so precious about all those round little bellies in leotards. Happy four baby girl.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

i love sundays

The past two Sundays have been beautiful, sunny mild respites from the freezing weeks of winter. We spent them both drinking in the vitamin D and blue skies with family. Last week we went up and hiked with my sister and family on their mountain. Through swinging bridges and Terabithia pines and pristine streams we climbed. We settled onto some rocks while all the kids scattered between trees and rocks forming armies and battles and stories of their own. Charred embers became their crayons; mud, sticks and pine cones became their building blocks. This is my favorite kind of play. Where toys aren't needed, only earth and water and sky and their endless imaginations. Ella always collects little bits of treasure where ever we go. She finds these perfect smooth stones or dried flowers. I love this about her, my little observer and treasure seeker. She runs over filling my hands with the soft, yellow silks of dandelion seeds carrying in her hands the scent of summer, so intoxicating in chilly mid-winter. I never tire of her gifts and findings.
I take them all in, Dove's soot covered face, Meadow's tiny crouched frame,like a woodland fairy, Ella's hands spilling with branches and seed pods, Juden trailing after his big cousin Oak. We return a little less clean, with something in our spirits and bodies refreshed by nature's majesty, the very best way to spend a Sunday afternoon I think.


~From our birthday date~

To Juden~ on the occasion of turning seven,
You asked me if you could stay home from school to have a birthday date with me just like we did last year. It wasn't a tough decision . I wanted to be with you your whole birthday too. I told you to pick a place and you said the English Tea room just like last year and then to walk around the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. This year has been a year of big changes. It's been a leap of independence going from home-schooling to first grade all day. It's changed the rhythm in our home in lots of ways. There has been alot of good things and some hard things too. You're like your daddy in that you thrive in social settings. You want your friends around you ALL of the time and sometimes you have a hard time taking no for an answer. I love your creativity and how you care about other people. You love to draw, do Legos, watch birds and listen to the Bible. That is one thing I love that hasn't changed since I home-schooled you. You draw while you listen and always beg for one more chapter. You are super affectionate and still haven't figured out that your friends laugh a little when you tell them you love them. You love when I go on field trips and come eat with you at your school. Maybe a day will come when you won't want me around but for now I'm loving how you want to introduce me to all your friends and my heart swells as I watch you blow me kisses from the cafeteria window all the way until my car pulls out.
Last year you told me you'd have a baby brother and in just a few short months you won't be my only little boy. You cannot wait to meet him and every night you make sure to give my belly a good night kiss too.
You still love Narnia and you and Daddy have read the whole series, but now you two are reading The Tracker. You love all things art and Van Gogh and still ask to play the violin so we'll see if I can find the time and money to start lessons soon. Here's to six and all its awkward tenderness, disarming vulnerablity, to all its skinned knee graces. To lessons learned over and over, to reminding me of what it means to be a child of God and how deep and wide and forgiving our Father's love is. To ceaseless energy that wears me out and drives me crazy and makes me laugh all at once. To my little man who loves with abandon, and whose smile brightens every one of my days. You are a precious gift of God to us, may you always know that.

Every year I like to write my thoughts but I'm just now getting around to posting them.