Friday, September 12, 2014

when the mountains loom high


I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? -Psalm 121:1-2

So. I lifted my eyes and what did I see???









So. What do I do on days when dirty clothes and dirty dishes and dirty floors and crabby kids loom like mountains? Lofty mountains. Mountains that I will never conquer once and for all.

Well. I like to complain and grumble.

And sometimes throw a massive pity party for myself.

Complaining and pity parties have only made me a miserable wretch and they sure haven't been very efficient companions in conquering the mountains.

I'm a slow learner. Very slow. But my Father is faithful. He keeps working with me and pushing me to higher heights.

Two things that bring me courage and joy when the mountains look formidably high:

1. Knowing that He sees me and what I am doing right now matters to him. It is a worthy sacrifice. He is my helper!!!!! (Read on in Psalm 121)
 
2. Tuning my heart to sing his grace. His song becomes my song. And I give thanks.

And this is what giving thanks looks like on some days:

-thank you for the mountains of laundry I have to do today. It means I am surrounded by 6 active people who play and work hard. It means that you have provided us with more clothes than what we even thought to ask for.

-thank you for all these dirty dishes. It means an army is dining well at this house.

-thank you for modern conveniences that make my life so easy. The washer churns away as I load the dishwasher. Running water, hot and cold, pours into both at the push of a button. Thank you.

-thank you for granting me health and energy again today. Thank you for giving me the strength to care for my family.

I haven't found the magic of Mary Poppins to make my work disappear, but I have a mighty Helper!!!
When I tune my  heart to his I find joy and rest even as I work.

"Every time your hands toil, rest your soul into the rhythm of prayer. Your work can lull you into the rest of God." A. Voskamp



surely my cup overflows




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

the day I {almost} resigned from photography





I have been wanting to do a 1 year photo shoot with Miss Cassie Jo for several weeks now.

I was waiting for the magic moment because I know that one year old photo shoots can turn volatile with one small wrong move.

So. I was waiting for the perfect mood, perfect weather, perfect time of day, perfect outfit...

Yesterday afternoon I thought the moment had finally arrived.

With much fear and trembling, I got her dressed and got my equipment out.

We were all set.

Well. Mostly.

All except Cassie, who underneath her charming public face, was actually in one of her most impish moods ever. 

Our time was filled with Cassie:
 
-tearing her hat from her head and throwing it across the lawn. It was cute the first 21 times.
 
-eating flowers

-salivating over the flowers, which produced unusual amounts of drool which was very unbecoming on her feminine chin

-standing on the suitcase instead of sitting on it as a fine lady should do

- not only planting herself in the standing position, but also jumping off the suit case and landing on the ground in one big rumpled pile of grins and giggles
 
-looking away from the camera with a most mischievous grin and then turning towards the camera with the most innocent and sober look ever

So. We walked away from the photo shoot with some good memories and a few candid shots that captured the essence of Cassie.
 
Hey!!! Who threw that hat at me!!!??

What?? Me crack a grin for you??? Never!!! And don't even think of putting a bow in my hair. I'll yank it out pronto!

 
If I'm not careful my mom might actually be successful

First mistake of the day. I paused long enough for mom to catch a meditative moment.

Did someone say 'flower'...(drool pool)

Look at me now!!!!

This is so much fun, mom....we should play this game every day!!!

You didn't say I couldn't eat the stem

wheeeeee......here I go!!!

Of course you should document me eating flower stems at 1 yr.

Here we go again.

Mommmmmmmmmyyyy....I'm a com'in to get you!!!

Funny....mom thinks she is going to get me to sit still and look at her and smile all at the same time!!!! She's crazy!!!


 
oops. mistake 2. She got another charming shot.

 
I was going to resign.
 
But this is just too much fun.
 
And besides. I'm not a quitter.
 
And besides besides I'm not going to let someone else have the joy of capturing and documenting my baby girl's sweetness at one year old.

Monday, September 8, 2014

my mini musicians

"Why, of course our busy mother has been dedicating endless hours in teaching us to read music"

What's cuter than cute???
answer: small pudgy brown fingers plunking on the piano

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

{Birthday} Song for the 5th Child

An older lady friend of mine who has birthed and raised 9 children of her own has often shared lines with me from A Song for the 5th Child. This little poem has brought solace to my heart this past year as I mothered my 5th child.

I am not a poet and this is not intended to be a poem. It's simply an open letter that I am writing to Cassie on her first birthday which we celebrated on August 3.

My Dear and Darling Cassie Jo-

I never knew that 365 days could pass by so quickly.  While I'm still adjusting to the idea of adding a perfectly delicate little lady to our family tree I realize that it's time to celebrate your first birthday.

I never knew that I could survive 365+  nights in a row of interrupted sleep.

I didn't realize that  precious infants could demand an arm and a leg plus several toes from their parents. You were the most delightful little teacher.

I never knew how much I would actually love waking up with you in my arms after  falling asleep  during your many night time feeds.

I never thought I would wipe your nose on your pretty blanket and then keep right on using it. Thanks for being ok with it.

I never thought my house would be this messy or this disorganized.

I never planned to let the spiders take over the basement.

I never knew how much I loved rocking you until the day I laid you in your crib for the first time and softly patted your back until your eyelids drooped shut.

The next day I rocked you again.

I never thought your first birthday would come so quickly.

I didn't anticipate that we would be  hosting your grandparents for the week and that I would be so tired of preparing food that I wouldn't even want to think about a birthday cake.

I never thought you would be sick and miserable for a week before and after your birthday.

I never thought that I wouldn't have birthday party planned or no guests invited or no cake  at least planned in my head the morning of your birthday.

I never thought that I would allow your siblings to wrap your garage sale present in newspaper.

I didn't know how happy it would make me feel to see your older siblings so excited about doting all over you for the day.

I never knew that I would just want to lie in bed with you on the morning of your birthday and remember....just remember all the little details of your birth day. Remember the joy. All the delight.
All the happiness. All the hard. The tough. The days that I thought you and I might just both lose our minds.

And I never thought that the lying there and remembering would be my personal highlight of your first birthday.

You've taught me far more in these last 365 days than what I could possibly hope to mention at present.

You've rearranged my priorities.

You've broken me. 

You've humbled me.

You've made me fiercely proud.

You've softened my heart.

I love you!!!







So special to celebrate with Grandma




Thursday, July 31, 2014

That moment...

...when your baby toddles away from you for the first time.


And you know. You just know. This is just the first little peepy step in letting her go....allowing her to become the lovely lady that Jesus has created her to be....allowing her to follow him to perhaps the furthest {and maybe most dangerous} parts of the earth. Trusting her into the hands of her heavenly Father.

My children are young and I am called to watch over them with diligence today. But slowly I know that I need to be releasing them into what feels like a cruel and dangerous world. I feel like I know nothing about this process and frankly-- it scares me to death.

I'm scared of the kind of mom I might be to my teenagers.....

will I be fearful and controlling???

Or...

Will I be able to trust the One who has created and called each one of them by name?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

just half a day in the life of a mom


Today:

Josh and Christopher pumped up balloons with a small air pump and sent them flying around the house. {UFO followed by a jet stream of spit}

Before breakfast the boys moved all the furniture around in the living room in order to create an indoor volley ball court.

The almost one year old dumped a bowl of cooked oatmeal on her head. {outfit #3 coming right up for the day}

The neighbor girl keeps bopping in to ask if it is play time yet. "NOOOOOOOOO……. For Pete's sake….it's not even 12:30!!!!!"

Christopher got stung in the ear…..of all places. He's walking around looking like a lopsided Dumbo.
 
Angeline and Christopher were both victimized by a spherical hurled by my second born.

A  fight broke out at noon over…..get this….a bag of chips!!!!!!!!!

Someone was biting into the raw potatoes that I just dug to use for dinner that I am preparing for a friend.

There are 7 kids….wait….I mean…. 8 kids running around this yard that need some supervision. Actually, there are 9 counting myself.

There are smashed chips, bikes, strollers, balls, tennis rackets strewn all over the driveway.

I couldn't even carry a conversation with a good friend when I phoned her a few minutes ago.

And now my kids are biking all over the neighborhood without my permission.  Oh… and there are about 5 disputes going on around me about who is riding which bike.

I wonder when I'll get my ironing done? And what about that dress I started sewing yesterday?

 It's 12:45 pm.

Dear Lord……

I am so tired.

Please strengthen me for this hour.

 
Mr. Lopsided Dumbo
 
Miss Oatmeal Head (now I know how to make glue)
 
Ultimate Stress Reliever: look at your naughty child through a tennis racket and think prison bars. It works. You'll be laughing before you know what hit you. Especially if your kid happens to play along with the game like this guy!!!

 
 
 
Peace out, folks.....from the mom with the glazed gaze...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

a beautiful non-traditional flowerbed

I am passionate about urban living even though I do not consider my current living accommodations to be exactly urban.

I love cities.

I especially love when I see the creativity of urban dwellers to bring color and vegetation into their mostly greyish cement world. I am inspired as I observe how city folks utilize and maximize their small spaces.


I recently noticed a glorious burst of color on an early morning walk in my neighborhood.

 I thought this was such a clever way to use that thin strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street.


 
I felt like sitting down right there on the sidewalk to bask in the beautiful colors. Instead I snapped a few pictures.
 
It is just not true that you have to give up all love of gardening to live in the city. You only need to think outside of that 5 acre garden you have out in your back yard.
 
I'm still listening and learning and reading and full of lots of  crazy ideas when it comes to urban gardening.