Thursday, December 27, 2012

Homemade Play Dough and Backpacks

I wasn't ready for Christmas this year.  I am never ready with the presents, but this year I just wanted to journey a bit longer through Advent.  If you don't know me (odds are, you do, but if you don't...), I must confess a deep and abiding love for the liturgical year.  I am pretty sure Jesus celebrated Advent before his birthday each year and he most certainly gave up chocolate during Lent.


This year we are serving a new church (I know, I may have mentioned this once before), and to be honest I was nervous.

Would we ponder enough?  Would we struggle enough?  Would we face the coming of Christ with new wonder and trepidation?

Our families arrived and I just wasn't ready.

The decorations were up, the meals were planned and the gifts were assembled, but I just wasn't ready.

I was still cogitating as they say.

Then a wonderful thing happened.  Over the weekend we went to six church services and each one brought with it one message, "I am here now.  You are home."

Welcome to Asheville, heart.

The children were thrilled by the pageantry and I confess to more than one tear when we raised our candles during Silent Night.  For an Advent entitled, Journey to Bethlehem, I give my whole-hearted huzzah!  And now...

Merry Christmas!

We are home!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hail, Mary, Full of Grace

Today I have an essay in our church's Advent devotional.  I hope you will download the whole thing and enjoy the spirit of this season!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A gentle day

In the flurry of the holidays, it is sometimes nice to look back at a gentle day and smile.  Porch sitting, apple spinning and napping with daddy!  Doesn't get better than this!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lully Lullay

Lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lullay, Thou little tiny Child.
By, by, lully, lullay.
There is a part of the Christmas story that we do not tell to our children on Christmas morning, it has never been a part of any Christmas pageant I have ever seen and this week it has been haunting my thoughts and prayers.

It is like our whole kingdom's birth is all about love and inclusivity and social justice except for the part where some guy KILLS ALL THE BABIES!  My heart just wants to scream, "what the #@$&, God?"
O sisters, too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day;
This poor Youngling for whom we sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

I hate this story.  It is all the worst of life rolled into one little, tiny excerpt.  I want to yell and scream and protest that this is not the God that saves Mary from stoning or finds Zaccheus in the tree.  This is a Olympian God who promotes God's agenda and if all the babies die...well, the hero escapes, so it's all good.  I hear the voice of the Psalmist raging out, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?"  

Do the ends justify the means?

Could any ends justify those means?

Herod the King, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight,
All children young, to slay.

And yesterday, another day of weeping.  Another day of overwhelming sadness.  Another day of lament.  

But we skip lament in our stories, so we don't have any framework for this grief.  So, we say it is God's plan, all things have a good purpose or just vaguely pray for comfort.

I say no!  

I say we stop and scream and lament.  For the moment that an enraged king orders every child under two killed or a gunman opens fire on children is no other thing than hell.  The why's and how's are out there, but the spirit of the thing is hell.  

God stopped and wept.

I believe that God's heart weeps with the mothers of those innocents and those many long years ago, I know God wept with Rachel.  And God weeps when a child is stolen for sex or whimpers and dies of starvation or is abandon or beaten or lost.  These things are hell.  God weeps when a homeless woman hears herself ridiculed.  That is hell.  God weeps when people are rejected for being different.  That is hell.  And God weeps when a man's hurt, pain and confusion turns violent.  That is hell.

These are not God's plan.  These are things about which God weeps and we also must weep.  Deeply.  

Is there a hell?  Yes, when we hurt and hate and reject, that is hell.  Those children died at Herod's hand and hell came to earth and although we all know Easter is coming and there is a powerful good coming, it is worth a moment of lament and grief to remember why our "souls thirst for God."  On the long road to Bethlehem this year, we have all been forced to remember that love might win, but pain and loss is real and there are times of weeping. 
Then woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
And ever mourn and say;
For Thy parting, nor say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blood and Water

The nativity of our faith is a story of life.  Our precious nativity sets don't reveal the real grit at the bottom of this story.  First, Mary, terrified, facing an angel who is giving her news that will change her life forever.  Will she risk everything to say yes to God's call?  Will she risk losing her place, her home, even her life to say yes?  And Joseph, his scriptural right was to throw rocks at Mary until she died, but my nativity scenes didn't come with a pile of rocks.  Joseph chose life and love even if it meant making a fool and spectacle of himself.  And shepherds.  We don't even have names for them.  A nameless, faceless group who lived in fields with sheep...sans showers.

But it is also a story of a generous, mysterious God who did not abandon Mary without hope or help.

But do we choose to find abundance or poverty in this story.

Is this generosity?  A first time mom, terrified of giving birth, terrified of leaving her family to go with a man she has not learned to trust yet to a strange town when she knew her child's birth was close.  In those last weeks she would have thought of little besides the coming birth of her baby.  And now, she is standing outside the inn waiting to be let in to the relative safety of a room with a bed and a mid-wife.  Babies are rarely born without warning, and Mary was probably gripped by fear and terror at the thought of giving birth to her first child away from her home and family.

But there was no room for them at the inn.

Is this abundance?  I can see Joseph's shaking hands as he tries to clear a place for his increasingly terrified almost-wife.  He is ashamed to be unable to provide a suitable place and angry that his strong, skilled hands have no idea how to help a baby into the world.

But he did.

Was there a mid-wife?  Did someone bring hot-water and towels?  We don't know, but we do know that shortly after Jesus's birth, simple, lowly shepherds who knew the way of birth and suckling and new life, came and worshipped the baby.  The gospels don't tell us that they helped, but I hear the heart of God there.  These men would have been comfortable handling a new-born lamb and would have known some of those things that babies need in those first few hours.

A kingdom for the nameless, quiet, dirty ones.

God let God's own self be birthed in a dirt-floored animal shelter, but God found gentle souls to come and share in those first moments of love.  God did not leave Mary without a protector and God did not leave her without help, but she could have found heaps to complain about in her story.  When we say yes to God's call and find ourselves in a dirt-floored animal shelter, do we look for the gentle, humble shepherds who check the baby's cord and tidy up the afterbirth or do we decide God has abandoned us because it didn't turn out as we had expected?

Do we look for abundance or poverty in our story?

Friday, December 7, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Through rain or snow or kinda chilly but still unseasonably warm weather

Today we wrote a letter to our mail carrier.  Laine drew a very fancy picture.  I wrote a note.  We included a little gift.

Then I realized I didn't even know if we were writing to a he or a she.

Shame on me.

Nice, Andrea, nice.

So, I guess today's lesson from Advent is to notice the people around you.


Tomorrow: Visit a nursing home or shut in

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program...

...for our Indian summer. And we are soaking it up!

Our feet are dirty, our clothes are unfolded, and dinner is summer-brief, so if you are waiting on your daily service announcement...we will be back when it rains.

Love and hugs from our bunch!

Monday, December 3, 2012

An Advent of Service

In typical fashion, I have waited until just after the last minute to get my act together for a project.  This year for Advent we are going to celebrate with daily acts of service and kindness.  If you would like to have the whole list early, please leave me a comment below.

Today the service activity is making cards (to be delivered to a nursing home on Thursday).  We will probably find some idea on Pinterest like hand print trees or something (I will pin whatever we find to the "Advent" board).  Hopefully I will follow up with a picture this afternoon.  That would be fun.  Also unlikely.

In other news, my son has discovered Samson.  He was riveted by the story.  He is now upstairs knocking down towers.

Actual quote:

"Annabel (with thick whine), Samson was going to knock that tower down!"
"Soah--weeeee, Waine!"

My house is not going to survive.

Hope your Advent is starting to twinkle.  I hope you find some way to connect with the coming of Christ's gentle kingdom during Advent.

Tomorrow: Prayer Service

PS Why is my dog licking the couch?
PSS Why do I shelter, protect, feed and cuddle an organism who licks the couch.
PSSS If the dog told my kids about it, they would lick the couch too.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Don't Teach if You Don't Want to Learn

Dave was a potter in South Carolina.  He created beautiful functional works of art and embossed vibrant poetry on the sides.

Dave was also a slave.

When I checked his story out from the library I thought it would be a great way to teach Laine about American history.  Until he asked what a slave was.  And if there are still slaves today.

Are there still slaves today?

Are elephants more important than children?

Do not go to this website.  At least put down your coffee.

I told you not to go.

How can we live in a place and time that forbids the sale of ivory while allowing the cute little onesies we dress our beloved children in to be made by someone else's beloved child?  I am looking at you, Carter's!

So, elephants > children.

Good news is we can choose what we buy.  No one dies without chocolate.  This is actually true.

But people do die making it.

I don't want to know these things.  I just don't want to know.

So, do we dress all in homespun while eating locally grown dirt and playing with only deadfall sticks?


But, I like underpants and my husband will not keep his job without clothes, so I am going to look for the good guys, Hanes, and pick a few areas new areas to buy responsibly.  We don't have unlimited resources, so we will have to eat, dress and play for a small planet.  This is just too important to shut off our brains and figure low prices and unlimited choice are natural and uncostly.  While I may be able to afford 50 pairs of socks, will I afford the blood price?  Just try to make a pair of socks and tell me if you would sell yours for $1.  We might just have to start mending again.

This is heavy stuff, I know.  I am easily paralyzed by the scope of the problem, but God calls us to obedience and love.  Sometimes loving God with all of our minds requires us to learn what we surely do not want to know.


Actually, not.

A few websites I dug up looking at this stuff.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I just realized that most of you are out there wondering how our homeschooling is going.  I am so sorry!  Well, don't you worry, here is the highly unanticipated, unsolicited update on Laine's first semester of preschool.

For those of you who do not homeschool, have no interest in homeschooling or were dropping by for gardening advice (snort) here is a funny picture.  We call this one, Melting Toddler.

Here are some of my discoveries and observations over the last several months.

First, homeschooling is a slow, organic PROCESS.  I find that over structuring (at this point) is overwhelming and unnecessary.  I am not really an unschooler, but we have embraced the joy of learning and life.

Second and perhaps incongruously, routine and habit are undeniably the cornerstones of our day.  Even if we don't do any discernible work, developing a flow to our day is vital.  I have incorporated some of the Oak Meadow terminology in my day alternating periods of expansion (exploratory learning) with contraction (focused learning) and I rely heavily on Charlotte Mason for most of my theoretical framework.

Third, there is nothing as amazing as watching a child learn.  Nothing.  I think chocolate covered cheddar Goldfish would be close, but those don't exist.

Tools I love:

  • Cuisinaire rods
  • Bob Books
  • Rosetta Stone
  • Anholt Young Artist's series
  • Musikgarten Cycle of Seasons curriculum
OK. OK.  I didn't link.  Google it.  

Lastly, I am so excited about this idea I just had to share.  Luke gets a bit glazed when I say the word Pinterest, but it is cool!  Really!  And, no DIY!  

Here's my 4 am inspiration (did I think about writing Pinspiration...yes...but I am sophisticated):

I set up a Pinterest account for our school, Fetter Lane Academy (Jennifer, stop!) Follow Me on Pinterest .  I have boards set up for each century and one for maps.  When we read a book, listen to a composition, or study artwork, we "Pin it" to the appropriate board.  Then we can see that Sergei Prokofiev and Robert Frost were contemporaries.  We can also keep track of places we have talked about.  I am not really sure that Laine cares, but I am totally geeking out!  

Also, Laine is reading!  Not fluently, but somehow, some way my little guy is growing up!

So, there you have it...homeschool shop talk.  Just wait until they ACTUALLY start school!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hi There!

Ouch!  It hurts to fall off the earth!

People (usually those with less than three kids) frequently ask me what the difference is between having three kids and a number less than three kids (usually the number he or she currently has).

Here are some things I have noticed:

  • I have approximately 1,000,000 loads of laundry per week.  This is up from the nine that I routinely had with two kids.  How is this possible you ask...milk.  It is drippy, stinky and necessary at every. single. meal.
  • It takes drugs to get three simultaneous naps.  I don't take much...just enough to take the edge off.
  • I spend 50% of my life waiting for small persons to navigate stairs.
  • I don't argue with those who wish to eat crayons.  Purple, blue and orange poop makes me giggle.
  • I still try to stop children from eating dog food...don't hate--it's expensive!
  • More kids means more friends without even taking off your p-jams.
  • When we wake up alone we...hmmm...don't know...never happens!
  • Someone is always in a good mood.  Which is great because usually someone is in a bad mood.
  • I drink coffee.  I never really did before.  I do now.  Always.
  • I never have clean clothes on.  Now I layer so that before I leave the house I can peel off the outer layer of snot and milk.
  • No one ever gets milk cups anywhere but at the table.  Not on the couch.  Not in your room.  And never, ever, ever (again) in my car.
  • Kids don't actually die if they don't have a snack in the car.  They don't even really whine.  Cuz you know I don't pack anything other than diapers in that bag.
  • Audiobooks keep me sane-ish.
  • News is theoretical.
  • I don't go anywhere.  Well, that's not true, but when we go places we make it count.  
  • We have home dates.  Carry out sushi + adult beverage = happy.
  • I should really make the stair wells more interesting.
  • Nothing replaces the joy of watching my children play together.  Three makes a happier, sillier, cuddlier bundle! 

As promised, our new lady, Jessie.

So, there it is.  Five people, one dog and no squirrels.  Anywhere.

P.S.  This photo is actual size.  

Just about.

Friday, November 2, 2012

{these moments}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Super Why! with added sweatshirt

Mom, what are these?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


The wind chill was 29 here today.  29!  To my knowledge, it is still October, and here in the great state of North Carolina we pay very high gas taxes to avoid freezing temperatures before Thanksgiving.  Also, my children would like to propose a creative restructuring of the corporate structure of our household.  I may be facing a hostile take over if we can't play outside soon.

To me, this storm was chilly, and I worried about losing power.  I wondered if we would get iced in and we dug out the other box of winter coats.

But today, my heart broke for the people that I know who wouldn't be spending the day warm and snug, fixing up their beautiful new homes.  I was thinking about G and A who can't get into their housing until 4:00 every afternoon.  I was thinking about R who lives in an abandoned building where someone was murdered on Saturday night.  I prayed for them and I prayed for me.  I prayed that during these dark, cold months, God would give me the courage and vision to warm some of those fingers and toes.  I prayed for patience with my cooped up children.  I prayed that God would help me be faithful with the abundance I have.

Because I really do believe in prayer.

Also, there is a very special arrival we are preparing for.  More on that soon!  Don't want to wait...well, too bad.  And no, I am not pregnant.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

These Stones Will Cry Out

Ready? Steady! Go!!!!!

A friend looked at me this week and asked if I believed in prayer.  

The problem is I do.  I really, firmly, sincerely believe in the power of prayer.  

To change.


I deeply and honestly believe that God is working in our world.  I am convinced that nothing can stop the power of God, but I actually do believe that we can choose whether or not to participate in God's work and Kingdom.  

Prayer is one of the most powerful means of grace (pathways to God's grace) that links us to God's already ongoing work because it can be as continual as each person can stomach.  

I mean stomach, too.  There have been seasons in my life that I have stepped back from prayer; not because I don't believe in its efficacy, but because I do.  God is love but God is wild.  God is not afraid of addiction or homelessness or motherhood or fear or loneliness or stupidity.  God loves and moves and calls.  

God is.

Not was.  

Praying invites this present creator into the confines of our lives.  

And the question is not, do I believe in prayer.  The question is: am I willing to risk it?  Am I ready to begin yet again?  


Dear Politically Angry Persons--

Please stop referring to staying home and raising kids and cooking meals as cruelty to women.  I proudly stay home with my kids, and if you are hungry, come to my house and I will cook you something--barefoot.

Friday, October 26, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bragging Rights

Somedays I go to sleep thinking that someone is busy somewhere preparing to stage an intervention because my parenting skills are shockingly lacking.  As I review my day, I regret my tone and my tiredness and my overall non-awesomeness.  

I heard a sermon recently (sorry for the incomplete citation...Mama hears a LOT of sermons), I don't remember the context (Luke, maybe you do) but the gist was that we can't let God down because we were never holding God up.  Wow!  

So, my failures are there.  They are mine.  I hope I grow through them.  So do my kids.

But today God reached down and gave my heart a hug; today, I have the to right to brag.  

Today I watched my children embrace the deepness and abundance of life and radiate the very image of their good and mysterious Creator.  

I watched Annabel climb up on the lap of a homeless grandfather and embrace him with no reservations.  She didn't care that she couldn't fix him, she didn't have a plan to rehabilitate his brokenness and she didn't evaluate his needs.  She freely gave what she had--pure, simple, exuberant love.  

There is a beautiful community of faith not far from our house that loves simply.  It offers food to the hungry and clothes to the naked.  It offers a place to pray and sing and have a voice.  It is a place of deep connection and shared wisdom.  Theologians and vagrants come to the same table and receive the same nourishment.  It can be complicated and messy, but it is vital and raw.  And today my son tugged on my sleeve and asked if he could serve communion.  A child.  Four years old.  I was worried.  We hadn't arrived in time to set it up before the service started.  Maybe someone would think it presumptuous and precocious.  Maybe...maybe...maybe

Let the children come to me, Jesus said.  So I did.

My little Laine walked all the way to the front of the church and asked for the privilege of serving communion.  And today I received the true and potent grace of a living and powerful God from my son.

And I am bragging about it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Well Played Master Laine

Tonight as we were cleaning up toymageddon for the SECOND day in a row, I was muttering to Laine in a motherly way.  You know, if you can't clean up your toys I will blah blah blah...well, I ending with the motherhood classic, "because I am not your servant."

Laine stopped and smiled down at me (as I was scrabbling around on the floor after 245,741 duplos) and replied, "Mom, we are ALL servants."



Monday, October 22, 2012

I Voted

Let me tell you when you stop everything and ask God for a fresh view, God might just give you a fresh view...of yourself.

This might not be comfortable.  It might leave you nervous and shaky. 

Might also feel like taking the first deep breath in a long time.


Laine filled out a kiddo ballot today.  He was so proud!  I voted too.  Hope you will too.


Annabel is a force-of-nature!


This kid is great! Even if he doesn't need sleep...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Uncultured Swine

Jamie Martin wrote a funny little book called Mindset for Moms and she makes a point that is changing my life.

Kids are uncultured swine.

(The phrase is mine, but the idea is hers.)

After reading this unbelievably freeing information, I sat my squirmy, inattentive herd down after breakfast (read: time when three swine compete to cement the most granola to the surrounding furniture) and announced, lovingly, that they were uncivilized and that we would now proceed from that framework.  What is more, quoth I, I am civilized and have taken it as my mission to civilize my herd of uncultured swine.

I would teach them to live and operate within civilization--nay EXCELL!!!

What was their job?  Their job was to help me see the rainbows and wooly boogers.  To remind me to jump in the puddles on the count of 11.  To bring civilization to its knees in wonder.

And do you know?  They understood.  They play in the puddle of refracted light on our kitchen floor.  They gasp as the leaves fall from the trees.  They twirl in nightshirts and blink in the wind and squeal at a nimble squirrel tightrope walking our fence.  They tug my arms away from my civilized tasks and command me to see the abundance around me.  And I dance in the rainbows and twirl in the wind and wonder at the frantically indecisive squirrels.

Then I clean the peanut butter off the wall.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Larry Boy Water

6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

That is the definition of full sun.

Tomatoes like full sun.  

I don't have it.

This is a gardening blog.  Hahahaha.  Because I have written at least twice on anything to do with gardening.  But listen here, I want to.  

And this is my problem.

The tulip poplar.  There are about 10,000 of them in our yard.  Approximately.  And they are enormous trees.  I am pretty sure we own the tulip poplar redwood forest.

So, I bought some tulips and daffodils.

And I dream of a patch of full sun.

PS thank you so much to Stacy for all of the amazing kids activities during Refresh.  Also, there is literally so much going on in my heart/head about that time, I can't really parse it out yet.  So, gonna stick to dirt right now.

PSS  Larry Boy water is cucumber water.  Laine is way sophisticated.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Week 7

So so so sorry!

I am late.

For a very important date.

Week 7: October 1-7

Open Our Homes

Focus Verse

John 13:34-35

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

Scripture Readings:

Children's Activities


Open my eyes that they may see the deepest needs of people;
Move my hands that they may feed the hungry;
Touch my heart that it may bring warmth to the despairing;
Teach me the generosity that welcomes strangers;
Let me share my possessions to clothe the naked;
Give me the care that strengthens the sick;
Make me share in the quest to set the prisoner free.
In sharing our anxieties and our love, our poverty and our prosperity,
We partake of your divine presence.

~ Canaan Banana, Zimbabwe

Monday, September 24, 2012

Week 6

Week 6: September 24-30

Open Our Mind

Focus Verse

Romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Scripture Readings:

Children's Activities


Merciful God, we present our lives as a sacrifice.  We come before you awkward and clumsy.  Give us the courage to consider ourselves worth giving to you.  Fill our minds with joy and transform us into people who believe wholeheartedly and whole-mindedly that the Kingdom of Heaven is here, and fill us with the certain knowledge that life is full and abundant and holy.  Open our minds to the hand of the creator in the world around us.  Help us to tread deeply in the Spirit and step away from what our minds conceive into the mystery of your kingdom.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Building barns

Isn't it odd that Jesus rips on a guy who just prepares for the future? Don't we all? If your household income is over $50,000, you are grade A wealthy world wide. The problem is not when we can green beans for the winter (I hope), but when we begin to live as if we believe we were created for comfort. God created you out of love to love. God has very little interest in the trappings. It is when we begin to believe that God's abundant life is measured in barns or garages or touch screens. I love my iPhone, but God's love goes deeper: into the marrow of our bones.

John Wesley said to make all that we can so that we can give all that we can.

Let's build barns and fill them with grain for God's children and not just ours.

And hopefully one little barn for two precious little goats...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I have a dream...

Or I would have if I ever slept more than three minutes together. You know that moment when you are crying-tired but the minions are so determined that you will not sleep that you give up?

I day dream about night dreams. There was the time that Luke spent the night in a cardboard box and came home feeling kinda rested.

Kids are bad for your health.

But, here I am, forced to my knees. I find it is so much easier to notice the little things in life when I'm lying on the floor in a puddle of drool. And praying without ceasing goes without saying. Faith as life-support.

God created us in God's image. I feel like a crazy mirror right now. My personal reflection of God looks a bit wild around the edges. Today's scripture affirms our need to cling tenaciously to God. Not with well-rested, self-reliant effort, but with untamed fury. We have tamed these words with memorization and children's songs and apathetic half-application, but these are deep and strong words that run to the core of who we are in God.





Thinking seriously about not driving anywhere today.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 5

Week 5: September 17-23

Open Our Hearts

Focus Verse

Luke 10:27
He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Scripture Readings:

Children's Activities


We are made in the image of a loving God.  
God help us receive your love.
We are made in the image of a loving God.
God help us to reflect your love.
We are made in the image of a loving God.
God help us share your love.


Friday, September 14, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Happy Birthday, Luke!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


So, I have here a brief list of super tools that will allow you to sculpt ice while homeschooling and running your own organic, biologically diverse, 100 member CSA.





But here are a few things that I love that help me finish the dishes and keep the underpants drawers full.

FlyLady (in theory, not practice)
Simply Charlotte Mason
Home Routine (iPhone app)
Plan to Eat
Pintrest (really...I find good stuff...AND how to braid and spray paint--without sanding--my children's old toenails)

New things I just found which have super-power endowing potential.

The Pomodoro Technique
Rosetta Stone (for languages...I hate when the big name seems to be really good...Apple)
And this mishmash

Love and Hugs,

Gotta get to bed so I can probably not get up in the morning.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

From Mary to Martha

So, I was reading something yesterday that suggested we start each day with a moment of stillness with God.  What a moron.  You know what that would look like for me?  Sleeping.

Guilty sleeping.

So, maybe I went at that one a bit backwards.

Maybe we need to start our morning moment of stillness with sleep.  At night.  Kinda early.

At least that would help me.

So, I dare you to turn off the stuff (after you finish this fine blog) and rest.

Here are some true facts from the internets...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stepping on a Rake

So, sometimes when you try something you fail.  Like, preschool and blogging and church and housekeeping, so that is why I think it is so funny that this week is my great home preparation week.  It's like life reaches up and smacks you on the forehead and says, "no, mine."  I am not sure why it says that, but it seems that all of creation says that (or MY particular creations anyway).

For example:

Me: Annabel, don't pick on that scab.


Laine:  Moooooommmmm...why did Annabel eat all the cucummmbeeerrrrrsssss?????
Me: I am sorry, Laine.  Those are her favorite snack.
Laine (for the next 45 minutes): Annnaaaaabbbbeeeeelllll, wwwhhhhyyyyyyy diiiiiiiiid yyyyyooooouuuuu eeeeaaaattt aaaalllll ttthhhheeeeeee cuuuuuucuuuummmmbbbbeeeerrrrrsssss.


Laine: Buuuuuuuutttt, ttthhhhhheeeeeeyyyyyy aaaaaaarrrrreeeee mmmmmmiiiinnnnnneeeee.

(Sound of all the air leaving the universe and I refrain from hulking out on him)


Ollie:  Giggle. (Pulls out all the toilet paper)
Me: No, honey...(moves baby out of the bathroom)
Ollie: aaaarrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh!

So, sometimes I totally fail.  Sometimes my kids are stinkers.  Sometimes I just want to quit.

But, then God whispers in my ear that God is not found in the organization of my home or the doneness of my laundry or the behavior of my kids: God is in the stillness.  

So, let's do stillness first!  Let's freeze our bodies before we begin each day because quiet may never come.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 4

Week 4: September 10-16

Prepare Our Homes

Focus Verse

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Scripture Readings:

Children's Activities


We long to sit at your feet, but our lives are busy with the everydayness of life.  We long to serve you, but our schedules are tight.  We long to serve others, but we just need to tidy up a but first.  Help us to discipline ourselves so that we are available to your call both to sit and to serve.  Help us to simplify our lives to give us room to reach out.  Bless our homes that we might bless others.  


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Week 3

Week 3: September 3-9

Prepare Our Minds

Focus Verse

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Scripture Readings:

Children's Activities


Triune God, we are stumped by you.  We cannot comprehend your greatness and we never fail to pare you down to our size.  Forgive us for our lack of courage and imagination.  Today we are asking you to open our minds to the things you love.  Help us to have minds that are capable of imagining what it is you are calling us to do.  Help us not to limit you to our capabilities.  Give us the courage to ask.


Friday, August 31, 2012

No, Actually I Am Superman


Actual quote.

Also, his new favorite phrase is, "[Distracted Parent], I have a question."  "Yes?"  "I do not understand why the [light is red...the floor is takes a long time to be my birthday...]"  Oh, almost four, I giggle at you.

Also, he wants to be big but it is killing him.  He wants the thrill of being able to do new things, but he is terrified of leaving babyhood.  The little guy still uses his plugger at night time (go ahead and judge our parenting...I dare you) and I am pretty sure he is worried that growing up will end that.  BUT, he is begging to read and write.  My plan was to hold him off until he turned five or six to introduce any visuals besides picture books, but we kinda live in a world full of words and he is noticing.  So, Mama's plan is being deferred to honor Laine's natural rhythm.

So, you ask, did you set up the class room?  Is everything ready?  No.  I tried.  The kids were patient.  I am close, but I couldn't finish.

In true homeschooler fashion we will be using the kitchen table.  Isn't that where all the action is anyway?  I am nervous about really saying it out loud, but we are doing this.  Homeschooling.  Please pray for us.

And what about the soul searching?  I am here.  Searching away.  And God is such a gentle God.  My prayer is that God will prepare my heart this week, and each day I feel myself healing from all these incessant moves.  A gentle God.

Except I keep getting glimpses.  Exciting.  Heavy.  Heartbreaking.  Joyful.

And Jesus only expects perfection, so no worries.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Salt and Light

We are starting preschool next week.  Yes we are.  And we are so excited.  

This is requiring that I move the junk in the basement.

Turns out we have lots and lots of...things.  Tools, fabric, yarn, toys, frames (why do I have so many frames...I don't buy frames), shovels, flashlights, scrap wood and about 200 canning jars.  So, I am sorting and trashing and giving and realizing that there has to be a time for this.  Before I can focus on preschool, I HAVE to order our space.  

I have always been puzzled by the story of Mary and Martha.  Why is Jesus so hard on Martha?  I mean, didn't he want dinner?  Wouldn't it have been nice if Mary had helped with the dishes so they could both go visit?  Sometimes I want Jesus to just walk in with a couple of bullet points listing which behavior will be the right flavor of the day.  Is this a sit at your feet day or a find some loaves and fishes day?  Is this a harvest grain on the Sabbath day or a "consider the lilies" day?

Truth is I don't know the answer, but along with the sermon we read today, Jesus also told a story about ten virgins with lamps.  Five took the time to fill their lamps when they got low, and five didn't.  

So, Jesus tells us that we have to be salt and light.  


With energy.

So sometimes we just have to jerk a knot in ordinary time and plop down at Jesus's feet and get refilled.  Pull over and check our directions if you will.  

Because at the end of today's reading Jesus puts on his mommy voice and tells us he is really serious about us being obedient.  He didn't let his followers off easy.  He came to fulfill the law.  

Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and mind and soul and love you neighbor as yourself.  

Jesus came to make that real.  

So, snuggle in at the feel of Jesus.  Soak it up.  Fill up those lamps.  

PS Anyone need a screwdriver?  I have about 97.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Your Mom I Am

Actual words out of my mouth today.  Truly.  I am not even a Star Wars fan.  Don't gasp...I don't DISLIKE Star Wars, I just don't pop out quotes...ever.  To be honest, I just verbally tripped.

Today is my parents' 35th wedding anniversary!  (Cheering)  I realized something about being married 35 years today.  I am pretty sure you have to be kinda old.

Way to go guys!

So in their honor, I thought I would give you my top 10 favorite things about being married:

  1. Feeling attractive to at least one person.
  2. Watching silly television shows then analyzing them more than they deserve.
  3. Having someone to help me find my phone/keys/purse/shoes/kids (haha)
  4. Having someone who loves adventure push me out of my box.
  5. Knowing that there will always be someone who thinks I am clever.
  6. Having back up.
  7. Making really crazy plans and then trying them.
  8. Back rubs (*wink*).
  9. Knowing someone is watching my blind spots.
  10. Always being guaranteed to have the car packed like a submarine!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


They say you can never go home.  I don't agree.  You can never reclaim childhood, but you can return to the arms of your family.  Sometimes you NEED to go back home and reconnect.  

We went back to the church where my oldest kids were baptized today.  The children's sermon was about following Jesus.  Laine, in the simple, laser insight of children, told me that it was hard to follow Jesus and he would probably have to wait until he was bigger.  While ushering him out of the sanctuary into the nursery I acknowledged that it was hard to follow Jesus but that's why we do it together.  Then I stopped and thought about what I had just said.  That IS why we bother with all this stuff.  We meet together in so many ways because following Jesus is hard and being together makes it easier.

So, how was this week.  Every moment was transcendental and meaningful, right?  The scriptures opened up and you were filled with holy purpose, right?  Your spirit found refreshment and encouragement through the collective prayers, right?  Well...I do hope that last one is true.  I was praying for you and I hope you were praying for me.  I struggled to keep up.  I struggled to keep from dashing ahead and guessing at what the end of this journey will bring, but we are here--week 2.  

Week 2: August 27-September 2

Prepare Our Hearts

Focus Verse

Psalm 51:10-12

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Scripture Readings:

Children's Activities


Lord, we are tired.  We try to love you and your people, but we find that our hearts are weary.  We are stretched and empty.  Prepare our hearts.  Soften them.  Give us the discipline to protect our hearts so that we are available to love.  Give us hope--make us hopeful.  Give us mercy--make us merciful.  Give us love--make us loving.