Friday, December 30, 2011

a michigan christmas

i suppose it's high time for a christmas recap. it was lovely.
full of family, sugar, laughter, late nights and early mornings. cups of much-needed coffee, fires that thrived and died, little people afoot and good/hard/necessary conversations.


oh these little ones and holidays. they bring so much joy. noise too, yes. but joy. and it's a wonderful addition.



we were so happy to see snow on the day after christmas. my little man was so excited. hopping out of bed, looking out the window, and exclaiming a quiet, "yes!"




being separated from my family doesn't really get easier. maybe i've gotten a little bit numb to it, which perhaps makes it easier. i don't know. but i love my sisters. i can't get enough of them. i'm so thankful to have sisters i love. but i miss them terribly.


as the new year approaches, i'm thinking about so many grand things. trying to summarize my year, my thoughts. trying to sweep up areas of my life that need change and a good spring cleaning. we'll see. i'm sure i'll be back here for more reflection and recaps.

i hope these holiday-in-between days have been good ones for you. we're trying to slow the pace a bit. trying to revel. soak in the last days of this beautiful year.


there's still good to be had.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

my favorite chair

i'm sitting in my favorite chair at my sister's house. here at 3 am. can't sleep.

we are leaving for home tomorrow morning. well, this morning. and my mind is filled with thoughts and plans.

the wind is blowing so loudly outside. but it is beautifully warm in this wonderful house. i love being here. love being with my sister every day. making breakfast for our kids together. watching the cousins play. seeing our boys head down to the basement with their headlamps on- "on a mission" together. and it's hard to jump into the car and drive to a place so far from here. even though i love so many things about my home- there are so many people i love. still, i will miss this so very much. miss her. miss them. and that's just what is.

i hope your holiday was beautiful and celebratory. ours was sweet. i'm looking forward to a fresh start. a new year. i'm big on reflections and summaries and there's no better time for it than the start of another trip around the sun.

i really should get back to bed. but i'll probably sit here, in my favorite chair, for a bit longer. it's hard to say goodbye.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

He is here


merry christmas, friends.


He came. was among us. here. is among us. now. praise to His good good name!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the light

we're still preparing over here.



getting the cookies made, the gifts finished. school wrapped up and dear friends hugged and merry christmas-ed.




we are packing up this place and heading north tomorrow. i'm trying to savor today. when i so badly want tomorrow to be here now.

it has been rainy here for a few days. dark and wet.


today, the darkest day of the whole year, feels like a great day for candles and poetry. remembering His light. the light that was sent for us. the Light that lives in me now.

so much to be thankful for. what a happy season.


Monday, December 19, 2011

play vs. list

we've had some unseasonably warm weather here lately. it's been beautiful and a little odd. but it has allowed for this:



which is awesome. this was a day where i needed to grab the camera- abandon whatever task i was checking off my list inside- and run to join in the fun.


these babies are such fabulous consistent reminders of good things. of right perspective. and in the midst of christmas mayhem i need more of this:


do we need to send the list into the wind and play instead? can i play in the midst of the list?


oh how i need to remember that His joy, His good, His beauty is here. in the faces, yes, but in all the other corners too. in the well-intentioned list. He's here. Emmanuel.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


i love christmas. i do. and during every other month of the year i picture december and can see this beautiful twinkle-light-filled glow around each one of those december days. my life is filled with sugar cookies and i am constantly smiling. gifts are being given with joy to the ones we love and jason and i are cuddling on the couch after the kids are asleep- just looking at the tree together and dreaming.

now- i realize this is irrational. talking with you now, i know this vision is impossible. but when i have unhappy days in december- days where my children are yelling and the cookies are burning- it is harder for me to find my way out of the crabby-hole. it's december, after all. christmas time. i should be smiling and sparkling with pink sanding sugar.

so much of my life-struggle comes down to expectations. on both the large and small scale. from my afternoon changing because i suddenly have to run to the bank, to thinking marriage would be __________ and instead it is __________. the expectations get me in trouble and i don't shift gears very well. and i set my sights pretty high during this evergreen month. another situation where my expectations need to be managed. remembering that while this is a delightful month, it is also filled with a lot. a lot a lot. maybe it's okay if there are some hard days in there. in the midst of the sparkly ones.

i'm going to try to spend some time at the sewing machine today. again. some more. making a cape for a very deserving little nephew.


samuel in a similar cape roughly 2 years ago. where? where do the days go? how is he so much bigger today?

blessings on your holiday prep/celebrations, friends.

Monday, December 12, 2011

more christmas

so. less than 2 weeks away from the big day. i feel like i woke up yesterday in a bit of a panic. and not the usual i've-got-no-time-to-get-it-all-done kind of gift buying/craft making panic. i really should/could be panicking about that, but i am happy to ignore it.

i feel like i haven't savored enough of this fabulous season yet. i'm not ready for it to be over. i haven't cherished an afternoon of christmas baking with my little ones. i haven't sung enough christmas carols. my jesse tree should have at least a dozen ornaments on it- it has 4. we're behind on the christmas joy. it's just one of my favorite times of the year. and i feel like i'm missing it somehow.

i'm going to try to relax (which, in general, is a good thing for me to do more of). try to savor the busy and the calm moments as they come. i am going to try to sing more christmas carols and look at the christmas tree more often. but mostly, i think i need to open my eyes to what He is doing all around me. the good things i know are there.

i think i'll go make more caramel.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

the princess

i know i've written about this little one before.


and her princess tendencies.

well recently i tried on a floor length red dress that i've had for years. just to see if it fit. and it did! i was elated. and i showed it to my princess-y daughter. i asked, "what do you think of mommy's beautiful dress?"

she looked me up and down with squinty eyes and said, "no."

then immediately went to her closet to find a rival dress. then crumpled into a puddle on the floor as each dress she tried on did not reach to the floor. "it doesn't work!!!" she cried.

jason and i stood by and laughed. and wanted to cry. both.

her little heart went so quickly to jealousy and envy. it was the first place she went.

oh my darling. you've got a long road ahead.

and maybe i shouldn't have, but after she'd calmed down, i pulled some old silk out of my fabric stash. wrapped it around her tiny slippery-soft little body, and tied a small belt.


she was pleased.


as we parent day to day, it's so good to get a view into the hearts of your babies. sometimes i don't look, the day rushes by with books, meals and cleaning without me seeing anything God might be doing or revealing in their hearts. my daughter isn't quiet about many things. and her heart was loudly obvious as she glared at me and my dress. and i am thankful for that view into what really is going on behind those smiles and curls.

and now to pray for wisdom. so glad He doesn't leave us alone to try to work His good in our children by ourselves. so glad this beautiful girl is His first. ours second.

oh she's so much fun.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

coffee and christmas

i broke yet another french press. this one lasted pretty long, i have to say. but it shattered nicely in the sink. it has passed one.

there are two and a half weeks until christmas. i can hold out, right?

here's the system i've invented:


so if you come to my house for coffee... be prepared for a muslin filter. it has turned out pretty well, though. clean and delicious. man i love coffee.

anyway-- our house is in the throws of holiday festivities. i've got spritz dough in the fridge for us to bake today. the tree is up and the lights are out. i made a batch of caramels to give as gifts to friends. but i was skyping with my sister during the last steps (i know. not smart) and they cooked for too long. they are too hard to inflict upon anyone's jaw/fillings. so we are stuck with the whole pan. a whole pan of dark caramel pieces... bummer...

i hope the holiday season is settling in well at your house. we're doing our best to anticipate-long for- remember our need for the Savior who came. happy Christmas-time, friends.


Friday, December 2, 2011

jesse tree


we are trying out the Jesse Tree tradition over here this year. i've been trying to come up with something to fill our advent anticipation with scripture and direction. i wanted to make my own, but ann already did.


we'll see how it goes. i'm hopeful. for more reminders of Him in this busy december that now greets us.

what about you? do you have any advent traditions that you love? ways to keep your and your family's eyes fixed on Him? i'd really love to hear. really.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

community. again.

yesterday was a bit rough. for no apparent reason. and by 4 o'clock i was gasping for some metaphorical fresh air. texted a friend- threw out a line- and she grabbed on. after kids were bed-time ready, i left the house alone and drove to meet her with a mixture of quiet and very very loud music in the car. my heart a jumble of things i couldn't find.

we gathered together and poured out our days. and, slowly, out came our hearts. right onto the table.

neither of us had answers for the other, it seemed. but, once again, the beautiful mystery of the community He has made worked in the midst of two women looking at each other with honesty.

and i drove home different. smiling. thankful.

community rocks. i'm just sayin'.


Monday, November 28, 2011


what a wonderful holiday.


thanksgiving was filled with all the usuals.


friends and walks around the block. it was a lovely day.

oh, and french fries and ketchup for a kid who doesn't like any thanksgiving food. i figured that i make him eat stuff he doesn't really like every other day of the year. it's thanksgiving. he should be able to eat something he enjoys.

and i've very quickly moved on to celebrating this beautiful advent season. i just love it.


we decorated the tree and the rest of the house. kids with christmas ornaments. and hot chocolate mustaches. couldn't be better.



and i finally finished off all the things i needed to send off to my sister's. she is hosting a show in her home featuring my stuff and another friend's jewelry. if you are in michigan and would like to know where and when- email me and i'd be happy to fill you in.

i got it all piled and boxed.



it was a good feeling.

and the time off from life was so very nice. a true holiday. we did mostly nothing. saw friends. cuddled under blankets. read books and watched christmas movies.

but today has greeted us. with rain and school and dirty dishes. we'll turn the lights on the tree and read Cat in the Hat, i think.

happy advent, friends. the anticipation. the waiting. for the baby King. what a fabulous season.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

willow's whispers

i have a sometimes-quiet boy. he doesn't let it all out in front of many people outside the small walls of our house. he has songs, pirate voices and awesome dances inside that little body. but they don't make it out if there are other faces in front of him. he can quickly become very reserved and... inside.

we recently made one of those trips to the library where we just grabbed whatever we could and brought it all home in a giant bag. one of the books we acquired in the mix was Willow's Whispers by Lana Button.


about a little girl whose voice only emerges in a whisper. in every situation at school, it seems she can never make her voice loud enough to be heard.


she decides to make a magical microphone out of a paper tower tube. and suddenly she can be heard.


i read it to samuel one night at bedtime and when i was finished i said, "i liked that book. what did you think?"

"i really liked it."

and he requested it each night after for awhile. which he never does anymore. he asked me to read it in the middle of the day- asked me to read it before supper.

of course, my overly expressive self, i tried to get more out of him as to why he liked the book. i asked, "what is it about this book that you like so much?"

"i just like it."

so we'll leave it there. i know he can be heard sometimes among the throngs of people- sometimes he finds his voice and uses it. but not all the time. maybe not even most of the time.


but he's doing just fine.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

i don't like dora

i haven't ever really heard a mom say she loved dora. i think her high pitched yelling is enough to send any parent over the edge of crazy. "hola! soy dora!" i can't stand it. she is not allowed over here. can't do it.

this disney princess take-over also gets under my skin. the pink, sparkly, puffed sleeve madness is too much for me. i've never been much for the girly stuff and now that i have a little girl, i find myself oh-so-subtly pushing this daughter of mine towards other things. outdoors. blue shirts. old books filled with medieval princesses and woodland fairies.

i have such clear visions of my kids reading books of poetry in their hand-made tree house and playing with their waldorf dolls by the fireplace.

but they don't. and as i talked with a friend about this earlier in the week, i told her my desire to push my agenda and ideal with my kids. i know this reality only grows as the days pass, but these little ones are, in fact, their own people. with their own preferences and leanings. these are my issues. my dislikes and odd tastes. nothing eternal stands in the balance here.

so maybe i should stop rolling my eyes- however slightly- at the request for the princess toothpaste. maybe toothpaste isn't worth the fight. maybe it's okay for her to only wear pink- though i've bucked the color for as long as i can remember.


maybe even now there is room for her to be her. and me to be me.


i think we can still be friends.

Monday, November 14, 2011

carrots and leaves

we harvested carrots. samuel loved it. so did i.


and it was beautiful work. we're not so much gardeners over here. we try. we aspire. but as much as i'd like to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle our lives, we don't get very far. small steps. carrots.


a bit in our freezer for winter soups and such. we'll be thankful as we eat our labor and the goodness grown from seeds given to us by a friend.

and our saturday wasn't filled with much. which equals lovely. a little crafting for a show my sister is putting on for me. it will be in michigan- i'm not even showing up. i'm shipping fabric-y yumminess and she's inviting friends. what a sister, huh?


and the leaves out front are falling. our golden tree is falling apart. new chips in the beautiful light daily. more branches showing and a larger pale carpet covering the grass.



leaves. to throw and gather and throw again. what fun.


blessings on your weeks as you begin, friends. i'm longing to have eyes to see more and more good. i know it's there. He's in our midst. at the kitchen sink. in the laundry room. i know He's there.