Monday, April 27, 2015


i asked the kids to wash the bird feeder. i provided a bucket with soapy water and two washcloths. i gave specific instructions and left them to it. i folded laundry, walked back into the kitchen- on my way to the patio to check on the cleaners. my legs came to a halt before i made it outside. i saw this:

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i stopped. i considered. and i shut the door. shut myself inside and distanced myself from the insanity. the mess. the giggling.

oh these are the critical moments, aren't they friends? i stood in my kitchen deliberating briefly. and today i put reprimand on the shelf and went to get my camera.

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(the clean feeder. they had cleaned it before soaking themselves with bubbles..)

this parenting gig is no joke.

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full of so many such moments-- so many times where my legs need to stop (or where my mouth needs to stop) and i need to take stock. take a moment. reinterpret what i'm seeing (or hearing) through the lens of a saving King.

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i'm so thankful for the lens i have. for the knowledge growing more in my heart every day that He is real. that He really did come. He was perfect when i wasn't. He lived the life i never would. oh the freedom He has gifted to me.

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today i'm also thankful for the truth. for the good gifts. for the ability to hear the giggles. for getting the camera. and for the immense hope He has given. that i get to share with these super-fantastic people He has put in my home for a little while.

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Friday, February 27, 2015


i don't know what the difference is.
i really don't.

some days i have eyes to see it.
some days i don't.

i don't know why the "some days" is true.
but it just is.

it's always there just the same.
whether i see it or not.
still there. still true.

my home is filled with it:


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pure magic, i tell you.

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i watched my eldest outside today. talking to himself as he took huge licks off the snow chunk in his mittened hands. he ran at, then tumbled over, the recently built snow fort in the front yard.

he leaned over to ask me questions about math as i made some chocolate chip scones this morning.


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my daughter's curls were perfectly arranged on her flowery pillow today as she told me her plans for her calico critters. big plans, friends. i tried to listen well as i examined the freckles forming on the bridge of her nose. pure sweetness. and, you guessed it-- magic.

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that baby. oh goodness. a pile of smiley mischief. he was so fascinated today by the way items disappeared if he shoved them hard enough under the crack of the door to the basement. old phones. scone pieces- you name it. joy and delight all over his face.

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i know i've written about it many times before. but the fight for good remains.
the fight to see the good.
in the midst of piles and piles and piles of yuck.

He is still here.
He is real.
and His gifts are good. they come from Him.

the Father of lights. with Whom there is no shadow.
or variation due to change.
good. perfect. gifts.

and so i'm documenting some of them. to remind myself.
good magic-gifts.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

bike riding.

hi there.

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i know. i know. been awhile. but let's pretend it hasn't.

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hi. again.

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do you remember biking? when you were a kid? oh man, my sisters and i cruised our neighborhood like we owned the place. actually, pretty seriously, convinced that we were a posse with some authority. if you could pick up enough speed-- if the wind in your ears was so loud you couldn't hear someone yelling at you as you whizzed past-- you had certainly earned some pride. some neighborhood clout.

the days have all piled on top of each other. sometimes it really feels like those sun-filled bike riding mornings were yesterday. maybe 3 years ago. maybe.

but then i walk out my kitchen door.
i see my kids just starting out on their bikes.
my kids. my own babies. so excited about this new freedom. their very own vehicle.

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it has been such a little gift to watch them try. to fall. to try again.

to concentrate. to succeed.

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then to watch them be sweet siblings. oh how sweet they are. a lot of the time.

it has me thinking about my own bike-filled childhood. and then all those heavy-joys involved in parenting. days passing. inches gaining. legs no longer fitting in my lap. things like this.


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i would not be the first or the last to examine the scale of passing time. the days are sweet. very sweet. each one passes and builds on itself. i see myself-- blond pigtails zooming down the black pavement on my blue banana-seated bike.

and then i'm here. now. watching my own babies grip those handle bars. delight in the wind. steady the front tire as they head into the grass.

truly weighted-joy. that kind that brings tears. a jumbled mix of joy and grief.

oh it's a beautiful life, friends.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

school again

these two started school this past week.

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yep. these two crazy cool kids.

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(yes. i ask my kids to stand outside under a tree for their first-day-of-school photos. yes. i ask them to put backpacks on. and yes. they also climbed the tree for said photos.)

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i can't believe that we've come to that time of year again.

school time.

samuel and i have been doing school at home now for a few years. it has been great. really. it's super hard, sure. but really great. we like it.

and this year...

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we have a joiner.

a kindergartener. man oh man.

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we've had a total of 5 school days so far. 5.

it has been going well. we've conquered some new handwriting challenges, some new mathematical ideas and some discipline... things.

but as i've thought about school this past week or so, i keep coming back to myself.

the teacher. and my attitude.

it seems that the success of our days at home depends upon the strength of the very thin thread that is my attitude.

it can make it or break it.

i want to make it.

so badly.

i want our school year to be full of blankets outside. books read aloud. pictures drawn of stuff God has made. stories retold of Greeks and Israelites.

of smiles. of encouragement. of opportunities for growth and insight taken-- leaped upon.

and NOT full of my impatience. my sighs-- the list goes on.

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these two are fantastic. i'm so glad i get to spend days with them.

this guy's cool too:

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and as we all navigate another year of school, i'm thankful that my eyes are already seeing the importance of my perspective. glad i'm already seeing my need. actually glad that my eyes clearly see where i often fail.

so that i will ask for help.

He gives so generously.

here's to a good school year, friend. whatever shape yours takes-- may we be ready to see where we fail and in joyful hope ask the One Who knows and sees to provide. He likes us. He'll listen. He'll answer. i know it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


i was just here:

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like-- JUST. how many weeks ago? a few, right? but not that many, surely.

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and then just like that, we've gone from this:

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to this:

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a birthday. a whole year. 52 whole weeks. you all know-- it's a blink. and yet, it's hard to remember life before those 52 weeks began.

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the birthday was nice. a good celebration. but i found my own heart torn.

i got to lunch time and wondered. "hm. why on earth am i so crabby? where's the celebration, joanna? what's going on in there?"

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and when i looked a bit deeper, i found some sadness. some loss. some mourning.

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we've moved past paper-thin fingernails. past cuddles and nursing at 2 a.m. and beyond the days where i could set him on the bed and walk away. we're here now:

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a fabulous place. i know. a truly fantastic place. but as i said goodbye to my very last baby year... i had trouble. just a little bit.

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we'll be fine. we started animal sounds this week. he's walking while holding on to my hands with his little chubby fingers. taking those sideways steps that seem like they won't ever straighten into independent mobility. he says "bye-bye" in this sweet whisper-y voice. does a full palm-in-his-mouth kiss-blow. so many fantastic things.

the goodbye is never easy. it just isn't. this mysterious pull of good and sad all rolled up in a birthday. i should be used to it by now.

but i am confident.

we'll be just fine.

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

summer and after

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well, hello there.

i don't know about your place, but mine has been in the full swing of summer.

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we've had visitors.

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we've had days where there is nothing on the schedule. and i mean it: nothing.

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we've got a couple of birthdays coming up

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and then, do you know what happens?

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school starts.

that's what happens.

school starts.

i do realize that i'm being overly dramatic, but you guys... school.

my breezy days don't feel like embracing the schedule and piles of not-done-yet work that accompanies the start of school.


school comes, regardless of my attitude toward it. so. you know what that means.

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an adjustment of said attitude is headed my way. i can feel it.

there are lots of wonderful things about school.
and my little miss is starting. how fun. alphabet crafts and button counting.
it really is bringing a smile just typing those sweet words.

we'll be ok, friends. i just know it.