Category Archives: Valentines Day

When You Just Want To Be A Better Mother– How We’re Saved Everyday

I turn over, bury head underneath covers against morning light, trying to sleep away the fogginess from staying up too late the night before. I finally tumble out of bed, equilibrium rolling and room’s floor shifting. The unlevel wooden floors of this ‘ole house don’t help much.

My hair a ratted nest, I grab my water and chamomile tea cup and head for the kitchen and freshly brewed coffee, hoping for one of those heart cookies Husband left for us this morning.

Upon entering a little too sunshine lit living room, Ivy informs me that the little ones ate all the cookies and left none for anyone else. So the first duty of the day before I can even brew a cup of coffee is to discipline my little ones.

My wee one asks, “Out, Mama?” and I call back, with a warm smile, “Yes, cutie pie, you can get out.” “Yay!” she cries, and so the day begins. I cozy up on the couch and drink coffee, find the recipe for Lorna, mourning that I didn’t prepare and buy ingredients ahead of time for us to do our normal tradition of baking sweets together, all of us hens in the kitchen, clucking happily away.

That won’t be this year, because I botched it up. I have no one to blame but myself. I know there is only a vapor, a moment of time to create memories with these girls, and then they’re gone. Teaching them to bake, sew, and do fractions, how to find the right man–I only have a blink for those things and then they’ll be off, teaching their daughters.

I go into the kitchen, awake now, and tell Lorna I want to make the pancakes, all of us together. It’s Valentines Day, after all, I tell her. I am seized with new hope and get out the heart-shaped cookie cutter, place it on the griddle. I pour in the chia seeds and flax seeds, because I’ve been wanting us to eat better, but have lacked the energy. Zeal settles upon me and all of the sudden everything must be perfect. We are going to make heart-shaped pancakes, and it’s going to be awesome. Ivy will wash while I ladle thick batter onto sizzling heat, Lorna will measure out the dry ingredients, then Ivy and Bella will both come and stand on the stool and ladle the last of the batter into the hearts. And we’ll do it all with smiles.

Then the coffee kicks into over-drive, because in an instant I go from happy zeal to irritated and my face and body is hot all over. My blood pressure feels elevated, heart beating way too hard and fast in my chest. I fuss too loud at Ivy, underfoot, not obeying my request to wash and she walks away lips trembling. One tiny is yelling my name at the top of her voice over and over, the other tiny is provoking her, loudly sing-song-ing “Wah-wah-Wah-wah”, and the pancakes are burning. I can’t find my Wise Words For Moms discipline and training chart, I ruffle through the tray on the fridge and it goes crashing to the floor, contents spilling. Lilly is standing right below me now, crying, clinging, the pancakes threaten to turn black, sizzling fiercely, eldest daughter watches me with big hawk eyes, and I’m much too keenly aware of the impression my actions are making on her as the clock ticks on the oven. Everything begins to close in too tight around me, and I turn around and shout at Bella to just. shut. up!

Lilly begins to wail and snub and I realize she thinks I’m yelling at her. I sink down to the floor, look at the tear running down her little face, and grab her, fold her into my safety and nurture. I begin to cry with her, and she pulls back, looks at me. I sign that I’m sorry, rub my chest with my fist. “I’m sorry,” I sob. Tears run. She sees the sadness on my face and her lips turn down and tremble. Her eyes have huge questions in them. I call to all my girls–come here, come to me.

I tell them Mama is sorry that I got aggravated and angry and sinned. I tell them the bible says do not sin in our anger, which means that while it may be completely natural to get irritated or angry at times with someone, what’s important is what we do with that anger. We are to love them in our anger and not sin against them. Mama sinned, I say. I yelled, I disciplined you in anger and that was wrong. I look each one in the eyes and tell them. I tell them Mama needs Jesus.

I crumble over and my body racks with sobs in confession, so good for the soul, so good for their little souls.

I fall forward because really, when I make lips tremble that I swore to protect, who can save me then? I let the repentance wash over.

It feels like a powerfully good strong cleansing.

I tell them of Christ’s pilgrimage to earth and to the cross. He wasn’t of this world, and if He’s a pilgrim, so am I, human but also spirit.

I tell how that he comes into Mama’s heart and takes away all the sin because of that cross, and how it makes me a better Mama, and all the things that I can’t do on my own? I can do them because of Him. I look straight into Lorna’s eyes.

Even Christ crumbled, even his body fell forward in agony, head bowed, the grief racking his body as he begged His Father for another way. He was torn between spirit and flesh. He was human.

And there I sit, feeling so human, looking straight into her big green eyes, taking me in, every bit of me. I direct it to her because I know she cries when she is in trouble, not because she has been found out, but because she is frustrated with herself for sinning. And so I tell her the secret that Christ knew, that Paul knew, that I know now– “You know how when you want to do good, the right thing, instead you do the wrong thing anyway?” She nods.

“Well, that’s what happens when Mama sins, too. I want so badly to be a good mother and to do the right thing. You understand that, right? But Jesus is the only one who can help me with that, because in my own sinful nature, left to my own evil heart, I would choose wrong every time.”

She nods again.

Lilly points at herself, her lip tucked downward and trembling. I know what she wants to say and can’t.

“Are you sad?” She nods, “Yeah”.

She points at me, her lip still down, her eyes speaking a thousand emotions. Oh the way children can see into a soul.

“Mama is sad too?” She nods yes. I hug her tight, tell her I’m okay and I hold all of them close. I promise them a great rest of the day and it is.

Jesus is love and He is God with us, saving us over and over and over again. Every day.

Valentine Heart Streamer Window Treatment


Some of the things we worked creatively on this year: 

Buttermilk Heart shaped pancakes made from scratch with whole wheat flour, chia seeds, flax seeds, blackberries, blueberries, with honey butter, pure maple syrup, and cinnamon.

Strawberry cake with cream cheese icing, red sprinkles and strawberries.

Red velvet cupcakes with fluffy white frosting, melted 100% cacao, shaved 100% cacao, topped with a strawberry!

Arts and crafts from last year:

*Edited re-post from the archives

Linking with Imperfect Prose:

What Is Love? {A Belated Valentines Post}

Love is…a smile between lovers at their baby playing cute in the middle of an argument

Love is…letting Husband have the best piece of salmon (or cake)

Love is…a father saddling up all of the horses for his daughter and granddaughters, working his way from horse to horse with passion and lightening speed–all for an hour ride

Love is…reading a book to them anyway when I’m dead tired

Love is…Husband coming in the door with a beautiful blender for my juice fast after some heartbreaking news from the doctor

Love is…Husband going into town for wine on Valentine’s Day…his idea

Love is…staying is all of us being at home togther on Valentine’s Day, crafting, baking, making home happy, just being

Love is…hearing someone’s point and validating their feelings even when you think they are wrong

Love is…reaching out for that connecting hug anyway when things are really difficult between you and someone

Love is…putting down my camera to take a little one with an infection to the bathroom when she asks for help, her brow furrowed, pleading with her eyes

Love is…apologizing to my girls when I slip up, when I sin against them

Love is…cupping someone’s face, looking into their eyes to tell them you love them, to make sure they believe it

Love is…looking over an offense, forgiving the unforgiveable

Love is…believing the best in people, refusing to believe a lie

Love is…fellowshipping with friends that wounded you, only through grace, no record-keeping

Love is…desiring to see others happy, even when things aren’t going well for me

Love is…making little of myself and thinking more of my neighbor

Love is…Sunday after Sunday, working at getting past the surface smiles and really getting to know my brothers and sisters, really seeing them

Love is…a man hanging on a tree, the One Man who took all God’s wrath for us, the all-time ultimate illuminary display of love

Love is…make up your own?…..

Valentine Heart Streamer Window Treatment


                                Bella and Lilly watching Winnie The Pooh while the older girls help


White Chocolate and Cherry Shortbread Cookies {our white chocolate didn’t melt, so it didn’t make it onto our cookies}
Source: via Ann Voskamp

Valentine twig arrows…the girls had a lot of fun making these…even Lilly helped!
Source: via Kellie on Pinterest

Valentine Confetti
Source: Nest of Posies

And this is what makes life worth living….

March 14, 2011–The first post on my new blog, a delayed post–I wanted to start off where I started counting, and capturing moments with my camera. This is all about counting the ways He loves…it all started with Ann Voskamp’s website and her book, “One Thousand Gifts”, and she inspired me to start this blog, and to start writing again. Because of her, and her book, my life has been changed forever.  The first of these changes was the “love bouquet” that we made on Valentine’s Day. It was an idea that I got from a posting on Ann’s site, so I want to give credit for that. We SO enjoyed doing this together–it made for a delightful Valentine’s Day!
And this is what makes life worth living….
Counting the ways He loves, counting every grace filled moment. And I thank God for this book, because it has jolted me awake. I was no use to anyone asleep. Now, now I am alive to the moments.
I have learned that moments are all we have.

When I lie awake in the night, body warm, heart beating fast and acutely, suddenly realizing that I have wasted moments, moments I can’t get back–I take comfort knowing I can start fresh on a clean slate.

Like chalkboard washed shiny, and each moment is waiting for me, completely made new.
#1 treasure of a book, i have found
#2 how he arranges the bears, cards and flowers for all his girls
#3 how he said i have all of him
#4 black, white, & pink acrylics, paint brushes, two shoeboxes
#5 how Bella says in her angel voice, “it my valuntine day”
#6 how a big sister stays up late painting boxes that will hold gifts
#7after i’ve blurted out so many words, how he takes my hand and says “im holding it now”
#8 the feeling of knowing i’ve comforted my hurting little one in the night 
#9 how that we didnt wake him and he rested
#10 knowing this is true love’s sacrifice
#11 satisfaction in serving
#12 how Ivy comes to me and says “Mama, im so happy you got pregnant with Lilly because i love her!”
#13 him whipping into the parking lot of my favorite restaurant on a whim
#14 sharing a good meal, wine, and laughter together
#15 after all these years and all these tears, he is the only one for me
#16 how he makes my heart skip wildly, makes my eyes get wet
#17 Lilly, toddling unsteadlily on polished pine, her tiny voice like music
#18 Ivy’s startling little fairy voice, “Mama, look!”, and curious little floating specks in rays of light
#19 Lorna whispers in his ear, “get dressed, go to the store, get the candy for the bags and then Mama wont be upset”
#20 he helps her arrange cookies in heart outlined bags
#21 knowing that when i wake in the morning after giving sleep over to words, numbers, books, and sick children–His grace will be there for the drinking…..

to drink in more grace, or just to get more of an understanding of what inspired me so, and what changed my life forever…go to this site…it is simply amazing, and a breath of fresh air……. or just click the button at the bottom of the page: