The list

No, not the Christmas list or the to-do list or any other of the many ‘lists’ floating in my head right now.  Just this one…its been a long few days holding down the fort while my hubby is across the country with his best friend to run their first marathon.  I told him “I’m running a marathon too, mine ends when you fly home!”.  My first stint without him overnight this many days since Finn was born in February.

#532 – family to help share the load, taking kids to help rake leaves or kids over for slumber parties…all so wonderful

#533 – eggnog

#534 – the way they ask me to pray for them before they go to sleep

#535 – someone telling me that knowing my momentous regrets has helped shape the choices they’ve made…how He doesn’t waste anything

#536 – dreams so vivid and bright that the lines between sleep and awake are blurry

#537 – darling old ladies from the nursing home on a visit to our favorite ice cream shop

#538 –  being comfortable enough in my skin to simply kneel down next to them, total strangers, and hold baby Finn so he would smile at them, chatting with them about babies and life while they sat in their wheelchairs

#539 – whispering to Finn “You made their day!” and knowing that he truly had

#540 – the way the kids cluster around my legs while we worship together at church every Sunday

#541 – laundry baseball

#542 – a house that is standing

#543 – a wonder-filled field trip to the science center downtown

#544 – someone challenging my thinking

#545 – watching God work in my husbands’ heart

#546 – how much better God does working on hearts than I do

#547 – nightly haggen daz coffee almond bars

#548 – pumpkin scones

#549 – children in the church class I taught recently and their perspective – on Thanksgiving – “Well, I don’t know, I really don’t like it that much….we just seem to eat the same food every time.  And then we eat it, again and again and again.  For days we eat it!  I really don’t like that.”

#550 – finding awesome books at the goodwill

The best question asker

Rylee.  She is uniquely wired to ask more than the average amount of questions.  While this does pose a patience-challenge sometimes, it is a wonderful quality and I do my best to affirm it.  Every now and then I do ask for a ten minute question-asking timeout.  To which she usually asks “Why?” and I have to laugh.

This morning while we had breakfast together before church we got to talking about Finn and she was saying how he was too cute and we were gushing over him as we tend to.  We talked about how glad we were that he’d been given to our family. The lingo we use whenever we talk about children is always intentional and always positive.  So it was natural for her to frame her question the way she did, but it still surprised me:

If God gives a baby to someone and they didn’t really want to have kids, then what happens?

Um, wow.  She is only 8 and though we’ve talked abortion in broad terms I didn’t really want to go there in our short time at the breakfast table.  She actually asked the question in regards to someone we know that recently got married.  And they do want kids, I made sure she knew that.

But still, the question loomed and was such a big one.  I stumbled for words as I ate my pancakes and told her that maybe people might not think they did but once they’d been given a new life to love, they might change their minds.  This prompted a whole new thread of thought for her, and more questions. I told her:

Well, just like animals get surgery (like our cat and dog did) so that they don’t have babies, people can do the same thing.  And to be honest, after Kyler was born we thought our family was full and perfect.  We really did.  But God spoke deeply to my heart and to daddy’s.  We listened.  He told us that His plans for our family were different than ours.  If we had said ‘no thank you’ to what He was asking of us, you wouldn’t have the sister you prayed for.  And we wouldn’t have squishy, smiling Finny here today.  Can you even imagine?

She said no way!  And I agreed, I can’t imagine.  Though there are chaotic moments, the bottom line is we are abundantly grateful for the path we’re on and the way God has shaped our family.

What I wish I’d said but thought about later was the way that God grows and opens our hearts if we let Him.  I really didn’t think there was room for more little people for me to love in my very early years of mothering.  But the most amazing things happen when Love abides in an open heart.  Though I run out of love regularly, the Love Giver Himself is always overflowing with more than I could ever need.

That love is amazing, unwavering and extravagant.  And it is always, always enough.



Daily snapshot

It’s been a while but here is just another snapshot of our days that I don’t want to forget…

They build this awesome fort out of spare wood in the backyard then cleaned up the little table and put it in there.  Rylee hopes to have dinner by candle light out there, we’ll see!  In case that doesn’t work out I told them to stay outside and I filled my new serving tray (from the Goodwill) with hot cocoa and warm cookies.  The chances to love in these little ways are fleeting and I know I’ve already missed too many…

A boy and his mud

While he has been building with legos a whole lot lately with the dawn of cooler weather and more rain, his heart still beats for the outdoors.  Sometimes he looks out the window quite forlorn wanting nothing else than to be there.

So when he was out of sight yesterday for an hour, I assumed he was tucked in his favorite corner building ships.  Finally when I went to check in with him, he wasn’t there.  I found him out in the freshly dug up garden.

Happy as could be.  He’d dug a giant hole with his shovel and filled it with hose water.  And was picking up and squeezing the mud over and over.  And painting my house with his brown tinged hands.

My first instinct was to say “WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING?” more loudly than necessary.  Instead I turned and went right back inside.  Took a deep breath and grabbed my camera.  If I was snapping photos then I’d be forced to calm down.

‘He’s had a lot of hard days lately” I told myself ‘He needs grace‘ and ‘He doesn’t think you understand him‘.

So we talked and he told me he was making shapes with the mud.  I said maybe mud should stay off the siding of our house.  He agreed to clean it up.  He grinned proud when he informed me he was wearing shoes.

Another deep breath.  Shoes?  What shoes?  Please tell me not the new ones that were meant to last till spring?  I don’t even ask.  At this point does it really matter?  All that I want is for him to know that in this moment I’m for him, with him, on his side.  Though the past week or two may have him wondering about that, I really am.

An epic night

We got an email invitation a few weeks ago to jedi warriors and princesses for a galactic evening to remember at Nana and Papa’s house.  In unbelievable Star Wars style, Monday night went down as one of the most anticipated fun fests in the history of the lives of our children….

The oldest four knocked on the door.  They waited and knocked again.  They were all dressed up as four Star Wars characters.  Then there was music.  Even through the front door we heard the blaring soundtrack as the exuberant “grandmother of Princess Leia” answered the door.  The kids grinned and went in.  “Welcome to the Crazy Canteena” she told them.  They walked upstairs to the kitchen and were greeted by tons of fog/smoke (from dry ice) pouring off the counters and a “fierce ” looking bad
guy (?) reaching up from the mist.

The kids did a dance in the kitchen with “Grandmother” and “Unknown Bad Guy Papa”

We had dinner, below is the ridiculously creative menu from Nana:

Then Papa gave a lesson from the Bible on wearing God’s armor and how God has the power to defeat all the bad.  It was pretty awesome.

Dessert was Death Star balls and little Darth Vader Delights – how cute are those little bad dudes?

It was a night to remember. We feel totally thankful to have such stellar grandparents for our kids nearby.  It is precious.