Loving You Recklessly {and Gratitude}

Oh, sometimes it just sweeps over me so violently–how I love you, my man, more than life itself. Our life together is all I know now, all I can really feel in the marrow of me. The memories of these years–the struggling, the bonding, the falling apart and coming back together, all the nights and days knowing your powerful love–in the sunshine on our faces as we work and play and in the night as we love with the moon glowing upon us–it’s all I really know deep in my soul.

You have taken me on such a wild, breathtaking love journey. I go on and on about intimacy and weigh down the air with words, but you have taught me the hard work of love every. single. day.

Every time you wash the dishes, try to help me get on track with a schedule, when you jump in without saying a word to help make up for my inadequacies–you teach.

How you are quiet in faithful trust, how you hold your tongue when I’m angry and I say too much–and you just stand there, looking at me, eyes an anchor when I look into them and me drowning in this sea of emotion–you let the grace just pour over us in waves.

When you patiently, quietly show the girls the way to do something right and responsible, and you laugh softly at their mistakes and you don’t harshly correct–you are love in motion. And I want to be this–this love in motion I see in you. That I get to be a recipiant– I am one blessed woman.

And honestly? I just don’t know why you keep putting up with me. I have a hard time staying within the grocery budget, I’m not a great housekeeper–I leave dishes piled high until after the kids and I have had fun outdoors, and I fail at keeping time–can never help us arrive anywhere punctually.

Grace is this thing that I’m always hoping for, and always surprised to receive.

And for all the times that I’ve held you to your debts, and forgot to forgive, I pray that grace comes on the wings of a dove, carrying the gospel message. And for all the baggage that may be stacked high between us, I pray that His justification and righteousness would come on the backs of wild stallions, their hooves pounding in the Christ-blood, and rescue us from our sin-wreckage.

Because I am just this wife that fails over and over again. I really cannot be the woman that you need, and then you bend over my bedside in still-dark morning and as I take in the smell of your cologne and sweet breath, feel the hot against my neck, you whisper into my ear affirming words, words of love and devotion. You always do this when we’ve had a hard night and disagreed.

You always come on powerful wings of grace and anchor me back to Love.

Gratitude:

3 gifts from my Heavenly Father…

#815 grace, grace, grace…How He loves, in spite of me

#816 how He picks me up and gently rocks me, soothes me, lets me know its going to be alright and hides me in the shadow of His wing–Psalm 17:8 “Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.”

#817 how He leads me so faithfully always in the right direction, my steps sure

#818 how Eddie and I hold hands as a team, and we require obedience and responsibility from the children

#819 how Eddie leads us all in godliness and keeps us all on course with work ethic–yielding all to please our Father

#820 his phrase–“You have to work hard if you want to play hard”

#821 how we all know there is reward at the end of our work

#822 how Lorna says to me in the middle of couch being scrubbed down, “Mama, I feel good about the house being clean” and the pink glow on her pretty face.

3 difficult gifts…

#823 hormones taking over my body, I’ve yelled, and Lorna hugs me and tells me she forgives me.

#824 Husband and I, neither of us able to sleep, staying up all night with little one while she is in a night terror–all of our efforts unable to cure her inconsolable crying

#825 me and the girls missing the free theatre play because baby girl is throwing up–thankful little one is ok
 

#826 getting up earlier with purpose

#827 watering flowers in the hot, early morning sun

#828 peeking through the crack to watch them play, lost in child wonder

3 gifts I became today in serving…

#829 chauffeur

#830 neighborhood mom–foregoing my run for a playdate at our house–game of Bocee in the backyard and turkey and tofu lasagna for supper

#831 friend–dancing silly and making my daughter and her friend laugh

#832 folding clothes with my girls

#833 birds singing as we do schoolwork outside

#834 finding a bird’s nest in our little backyard tree

#835 teaching my little one to write her numbers

#836 her sweet dimpled grin, her and I both so proud when she writes her name

#837 lying in the hammock, all of us tangled up, reading Little House On the Prairie

a gift bent, beautiful, loved…

#838 bright yellow sunflowers brought to me by our neighbor, starting to wilt

#839 a tray brought to me by eldest daughter with fried eggs as eyes, toast with jam for a mouth, and bits of bacon for eyebrows and mustache –just because she knows her Mama has a hard time getting up in the morning and she enjoys serving

#840 Lilly’s soft blue hippo in her arms in our bed, her limbs splayed out, the hippo’s limbs hanging limply for the wear

#841 the girls and I climbing a tree to see newborn baby Brown Thrashers

#842 how devotedly and tirelessly the mama Brown Thrasher watches over and incubates her nest

#843 how in one fell swoop, the father appears from nowhere, sqwaking and thrashing his wings, threatening our young cat who has climbed right up to the nest

#844 his text to me sent out of the blue, sweet words of affirmation for no reason…

**Friends, your comments mean so much to me–they soul-drench me in grace and minister to me. And your prayers mean even more. I am not able to answer each comment–I am probably helping construct a science project, cleaning up potty-training baby girl’s messes, reading a good book with my kids in the hammock, playing tag, having a glass of wine with Husband, or just trying to breathe, friend! I hope you understand? Thank you in advance for grace. I love this community of grace-filled people! Head here to get to know me better and to read why during this season of life, I am just quietly writing, and not visiting via social media as much….

** Thank you for so, so much grace, friends. My heart cannot express in mere words, my thankfulness. I love all of you.






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How Baby Girls Can Be Last Chances {And Gratitude}

Oh, child, stop growing. Please? Just wait a little while longer.
This mother-heart can’t take anymore, but I pray it grows stronger.
You are my last chance, my hope of redemption. Did you know?
You are my last chance, you see, Little One, to get it right– to laugh long and let the laundry go,

to stare for a moment into your eyes and those dimples
and forget about the buzz of the world, to rock a little longer and to see you as Jesus in disguise. And yes, child, to not yell, to give praise, to not critique and to always, always say it is good.

The giggling, boisterous, loud conversation, the dancing, chasing, the slamming doors–as much as my nerves hate slamming doors–it means you are here, with me now, Precious Love, and you run free through these doors, through these frames of time
that stand still for you, if only I will wait, if only I will abide
here with you a little while longer.

One day, the noise, the dance of feet, these old wood floors trembling,
as a drum trum-trumming, louder and louder, the crescendo and the cadence–
yes, child, the music of you will be missed and all the days that we made it.
It will be like chaff in the wind, blown away, just leaves in the fall,
scattered over so much earth, spread wide and tall.

Because a parent knows that fully-grown wings can fly far, and while I can, I want to gather you in my nest,
hold you to my bosom, and I really do want to raise the bar, never rest. I will push it up with all the mighty strength God has given woman, and I won’t stop until I’ve told you, and you’ve believed it, His precious one, that you are a treasure to me, in your heart received it
what you are to your Father, in this moment right here, right now, just us the way we are.
You are the light of my life, this life that has known utter darkness but much more beauty and breathtaking light by far.

Do you know, baby girl, that you hold me to this earth? You hold me to it right hard with a magnetic force.
I couldn’t leave as long as you are here, and I will stay the course.
That’s how powerful your love is and the rise and fall of you leaves me breathless.
You take me to the highest of heights and the lowest of lows and I would scale any mountain wall, let my body slip down any ravine of darkness to save you and of this easy sacrifice any parent knows.

Do you know that you are my chance in this life? You are, child. You are what’s real
and you are hope to me. You are what’s tangible and all I can feel
and I reach out for you, reach out for this hope of innocence.
And if God exists in this cruel world, I know I’ve seen Him in you, child, when I can’t make sense

of all of it–I know I’ve seen Him in that heavenly light in your eye,
in that fragrant scent of your mouth as you nurse on my breast,
in that one fell swoop as your eyelashes flutter and you captured me completely in arrest.
I never stood a chance in the face of your irresistible charm, just like I never had a chance when God met me on the road and I fell victim to His irresistible grace.

Idea for birthday pumpkin roll found here on Ann Voskamp’s site
Or you can go straight here to see the recipe
Gratitude…Unending thanks and praise to God…

#787 an invitation to a new friend’s house, all of our 8 kids playing in backyard, her showing me the things I will be teaching in Classical Conversations homeschooling group this fall, and catching me off-guard, telling me I smile a lot and that will make me a great teacher

#788 Husband’s immediate support and excitement about going with me for a 3 day seminar

#789 taking girls to swim team practice and time to run while they are there several times a week

#790 running alone–the refresher it gives, me trimming down…

#791 conquering fears, leaving inadequacy and anxiety in the dust behind my flying feet…

#792 how good it feels to be so alive

#793 the girls learning piano from me–what an overwhelming gift God has given me, to be able to teach my girls–I am amazed at His goodness!! 

#794 3 1/2 mile run with eldest daughter in the evening, her talking to me the entire time

#795 Lorna pointing out the moon to me on our run, telling me I should bring my camera with me on our runs–her inspiring my thoughts, yes! i should buy a tiny point and shoot!

#796 Lorna and I running the State Games 5K together, her winning a medal, me and Ivy doing the Fun Run together …{pictures and post to come soon!}

#797 Lilly’s mile-wide grin with softest, fullest red lips when I walk through the door

#798 a several hour break and me and Husband going in a few shops, going to movies together, sharing popcorn and coke

#799 how he reaches out his hand for mine, how he only remembers to do this on dates, and how I feel like a queen when he does

#800 how Bella tells me when it’s time to return home in the evening, that we need to go get Lorna and Ivy from Meme and Papa’s, and when I tell her they are staying until tomorrow, she says, in 4-yr-old-lisp, No, I don’t want them to be gone a long time! I want them to be thisthers {sisters}!

#801 Father’s day service, listening to an 87 yr old man give advice to fathers and talk about his late wife as the Pastor asks questions…a sobering reminder of our God-given role as man and wife…

#802 eating barbeque sandwhiches and coleslaw outside in the shade, two kids eating free, a coupon from my thoughtful Granny, and getting to sit right across from my father and talk to him about how he answered questions that morning

#803 everyone going down to Yoo-Yoo’s for frozen yogurt, Mama’s treat, white-chocolate yogurt piled high with brownie, cookie dough and strawberry glaze

#804 my father sharing with me all the card he ever needs: an encouraging text I sent to him a while back telling him he is my hero and I want others to honor him the way I do

#805 how good Husband looked in his slim-fit plaid shirt and skinny tie

#806 how Bella dramatically throws her head down and buries it into her slayed-out hands when she has been going on and on about Mario and Luigi and I ask her to tell Meme what she learned this week about fewer and more. I prompt her: Fewer is…{I make the little bit symbol with my fingers}..a little… Yes, and more is how much?… A lot! She grins and is so proud of herself.

#807 how her sisters switch the orange and green spoons in and out of yogurt cups and ask her to count them and tell which has fewer and which has more, and she does it, to everyone’s delight…

#808 beating Husband at a new ping-pong game and his little-boyish irritated expressions that he can’t see it coming soon enough when I spike it across the table at him

#809 him telling me It’s obvious you’ve played this a lot more than me! and us laughing…..

#810 Husband adamant about planning to have family time on Father’s day…I am so, so blessed. What a gift of a husband….

#811 him showing the girls how to play ping-pong

#812 afternoon nap with husband, him wrapping arms ’round, kissing me on the cheek, on the neck, telling me he loves me, asking him where that came from? Thinking about what the men said this morning at church…

# 813 love made between my man and I, how bonded we are, how nothing could separate us.

#814 this beautiful music–matchless to me in the emotion it evokes–the girls and I have been listening to all week, listening as I write…. click the link here, and enjoy. God meant music to be savored and chewed long, soothing our souls. All glory to Him for the creativity He has given man!!

**Friends, your comments mean so much to me–they soul-drench me in grace and minister to me. And your prayers mean even more. I am not able to answer each comment–I am probably outside watering the flower garden, in some corner of my home sorting through laundry in danger of mildewing, cleaning up remnants of a brand-new box of cereal thrown across the room, reading a history lesson with the children, or just trying to breathe, friend! I hope you understand? Thank you in advance for grace. I love this community of grace-filled people! Head here to read more of why, during this season, I will be quietly writing, and not visiting very much…

** Thank you for so, so much grace, friends. My heart cannot express in mere words, my thankfulness. I love all of you.

Joining with sweet Ann and others in thanks….. also Emily…

L.L…. On In Around button Laura… Jen…
Jennifer…

Shanda…


Michelle… and Courtney…

In Which I’m Real, Tell Why I Quietly Write {& Plead for Grace}

I settle a little one down whose cries awakened Husband, and I sob to him at 2 am that I feel like I’m being crushed. Panic racing through my mind–all the buzzing screens, clicks, words, conversations–play and re-play in blazing fast-forward like a bad trip.

When I lay my head on his chest, and he wraps arm ’round, it feels like being rocked.

I rock out the sobbing cry, snubbing and stammering out the fury of emotions held inside for weeks and months. I can’t breathe, I tell him, can’t sleep, and how I thought as I lie there that it would be better if all this was ended. It comes out in rythmic force. I constantly feel. as if the bottom. is about to. fall out. from beneath me. Hands flail in the dark and hot lava pours down flaming red, puffy cheeks. The Shadows don’t let him see, but Husband, he knows me. He asks if I always feel this way. I nod, murmur a quiet yes, the waves of terror all starting to subside as his understanding and caring begin to sweep over.

The social anxiety, insomnia, and depression here since Lilly was born, I google agorophobia and, yeah, I bashfully admit to myself, the symptoms are there. I didn’t know there was possibly a name for the feeling I get when I can’t keep up with the world.

I don’t know if this is the right name, but for me, learning that there is a name out there for this sort of thing? This helps explains the innate, powerful urge for quiet, why I run from social media in an age when “everyone” is constantly engaged, why entering the grocery store and going to church feels like I’m lying on a bed of nails. It explains the blurring mind-racing and sobbing at 2 am. My mind, my body just can’t keep up.

But maybe I’m not supposed to keep up. Maybe I’m not built that way–all this tweeting and sharing comments with the world? I’d like to softly whisper it, and send it out on the summer breeze: I don’t know that I’m God-built to be in constant contact, with distractions too many for me to keep my head from spinning.

Maybe that’s the good news here? That God already knows what we can handle? He did create the Sabbath–so He intelligently calculated rest into the equation of time, apart of our daily routine. He worked and rested–so I should work and rest. And rest–that can take on quite a different face for all of us. For some, this means never entering the full force of social circles that overpower and leave us weak.

Lying in his arms, I tell him I’m weak, that there are so many things I want to do–grow a garden with my girls, learn to knit with that kit my Mama bought me four years ago, read that stack of books, be a loving mama to these four kids, educate these four kids, just go out in the sunshine with them–and not enough physical strength to man-up to all the work everyday.

How many things do I have to pare back, pull away so there is room to breathe?

I serve on no committees, run no charities, bake no fresh bread. I’m just a mom who has a huge pile of laundry, a grocery list I’m afraid to go to the store with, and everything where it shouldn’t be–a few apple cores lying around in laundry baskets and books lying with their white-paged corners pushed just far enough, yes, smudged right there in the grape jelly on the kitchen counter.

And admist the chaos, I’m just a simple girl with a love for simple things: running, flowers, sunshine in my children’s hair.

I really want to say this out loud: I need these simple things–these God-gifts–to feel connected, to feel that I belong, to feel that I’m okay in this whole wide universe. 

When all around me and underneath me feels like it’s falling apart, I just want to know that I’m simply held, that it’s enough for me to just be and that God gets glory through that.

So maybe this really is the important thing to know: there are just seasons of simple. Seasons when all God is calling us to do is the very basic. And in some seasons the tasks of sleeping, eating, getting exercise and taking care of our families can even be a challenge. Every. single. day.

I’m not built to do it all. None of us are. Sometimes I just have to scale back on expectations, peel back committments so I can scale up these mountain walls and peel back these shadows to see–peel back this thick, dark cloud of burden, behind which lies the stage where real life is played out. Where food and Word is enjoyed by the whole family at mealtime, water satisfies children’s parched throats, and I look on lovingly, every bone in my body that cries out for heaven satiated in this small moment of God’s glory felt as I rock my child, yellow silky whisps brushing my cheek in these shadows. And it’s right here in these fleeting heartbeats that I know that I can’t be everything to everyone, but I can do this, right now, here in the quiet where no one sees.

It’s like Husband so wisely keeps telling me: “You aren’t a writer who happens to be a mother. You are a mother who just happens to be a writer.”

I will scale up that mountain, ask God to help me peel back that cloud, and shout out from it’s very top: God has made me free in His gospel of grace, and though these weary bones cry out for Heaven in this worldly tug-of-war, He has made me the way I am to cause me to turn to Him in praise! He makes me see His excellence in making me and I turn to His arms for comfort and rest. There I am free, really, really free, in His understanding Father-arms.

And in the shadows, God, He knows me.

Just a few of my Grace-Gifts from the past month, counting in thankfulness to God still:

one lone bright yellow maple leaf on the ground of the woods

hiatus leaving me refreshed and healed from so much anxiety

girls’ giggles

Husband working hard on schoolroom

messes in floors made by baby girls, all of us having work and a purpose, and buckets and mops making floors shiny

a weekend alone at home–just the two of us–and a day out of town having fun together

Husband grilling salmon and eating outside in the middle of the week

jumping up spontaneously on the trampoline to enjoy being with my girls and getting a workout at the same time!

kitchen table top gleaming beautifully

the way a wash rag feels in my hand as I make beautiful

a surprise visit from a dear friend

time to sit and write a letter to a close friend

time alone to run free in the woods

how he needs me, how I need him

**Please read–Friends, I write this post with a trembling heart, not knowing how it will be received. Because of what I expressed here, I will not be able to answer comments and visit very many blogs–although I would love for you to feel a sense of community when you are here, and I hope you do feel right at home–I just think–though we all search for so much interaction and approval from others, that sometimes, maybe in some seasons, sometimes very long seasons, just a quiet place with God is what we truly need. Just a place to reflect, pray, dream. I thought of taking the comment section off completely, but I would like to give you the opportunity to share if you like. I cherish your words, and the beautiful soul God made you. You all really do add such depth to the journey here…Also, I’d like you to know that when I see you here, my heart just leaps out of my chest to connect with you–to let you know I hear you! Oh friend, I’m so glad you understand, and thank you for so much grace! I am nodding my head, teary-eyed, as I read your hearts here.  

joining with Ann for counting gifts….. and also for Walk With Him Wednesday… Shared with Emily…