Wednesday, July 17, 2013

38/365...First fruits

Every time I plant a new seed, every time I gently pat in fresh soil on a young seedling, in my head I am hearing, "This is not going to work.  Its not going to work.  All this work will be for naught."
And then the first's like Christmas morning!  Every. Single. Time.
And then my first fruit.  Again, always surprising me with lovely fruit from all that labor. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

37/365...The Best Song

Baby Monkey is three.  And potty trained.  (Woot woot!)  As I was thinking on an appropriate post in honor of her third birthday, the following song by Bethany Dillon came on my Pandora station.  Couldn't think of anything more appropriate.  

You're The Best Song

Good morning
You and the sun are up before I'm ready
But ready or not, you need me
So here I am

I'm learning that in the long hard days
There is beauty
Do you know my favorite place to see it
It's when I look at you

And though I'm tired now
You're worth every sleepless night
You're worth it all, cause I know...

You're the best song I'll ever write
And we're humming and dancing through the years together
You're the best song I'll ever write
And I pray you'll hear Jesus in it when you're older

I remember when you were just a heartbeat that I heard
and now our eyes meet
Forever is not enough to love you

Every prayer for you is like a seed in the ground
Every tear I cry is like rain
And in its due season
I pray a harvest will be found
Your heart and mouth confessing Jesus' name
Your heart and mouth confessing Jesus' name 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

35-36/365...Mom's Hands

We recently had the pleasure of a visit from Nana and Popaw.  Nana wasted no time trying out our new piano.

I just kept thinking to myself, "It is so right to have my Mom in my house filling it with music."

I grew up in a house filled with the music of her fingers.  Went to bed some nights to the comforting sound of her practicing.  Her music embedded itself into my heart and is still playing today.  It gets in you, music.  It soothes, motivates, cultivates.

That music represents the legacy she passed to me.  The roots that take me back to the
 safe place we called home.  And the wings that are the soundtrack to the soaring.

Now my monkeys, the next generation, benefit from that legacy.  It is a special day, this Mother's Day, to be a mother to daughters and a daughter to my mother.  I am especially grateful today for her beautiful hands and lasting legacy.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

34/365...A Dozen Years

I pray my own daughters might be so blessed.  Partnered with a man who not only SEES them...but DELIGHTS in what he sees.  That is what makes a young budding woman blossom into the beautiful flower she was created to be in time.  That is the echo of a creator who creates...and delights in his creation.  He looked...and saw it was good.
He looked...he sees the parts I would prefer to keep hidden from the rest of the world.  He knows my tendancy to withdraw in fear of failure.  How I slump my shoulders when insecurity grips subtle and hard.  That beneath the perceived confidence and strength is an approval junky, a recovering pharisee.  He has seen me lose my cool in a good old fashioned come apart with the monkeys.  How good intentions mean nothing when they don't see/hear/feel love.  He has seen me step up to the edge of opportunity, rare back ready to pounce...only to retreat in fear and denial time and time again.  He never really bought my excuses.  But he never made me feel like a dumb scaredy-cat, either.

...and he saw it was good...when he sees the parts I would rather no one else see, he delights.  He sees good.  He sees value and worth and beauty.  He pushes me to use my talents, my gifts AND makes the path straight for me to do so.  He sees a girl who still has a hard time remembering grace.  A woman miraculously redeemed, forgiven, set free.  He sees freedom.  He sees it when I cannot.  He believes it when I do not.

It is a beautiful thing to be loved by another broken, fallen, redeemed human being.  A beautiful gift indeed.  Here's to a dozen more!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

34/365...Monkey in a Tree

 We had to have our beloved Maple thinned and trimmed this weekend.  This monkey watched the arborist (did you know that is what a tree specialist is called?  learn something new every day!) from the front steps for an hour.  His comment?

"Somebody needs to give him climbing lessons."

Spoken like a true monkey.

Monday, April 29, 2013

27-33/365...Happy Birthday, TBird!

We are entering into birthday season at our house.  The first to celebrate is our one and only Queen Monkey herself.  How could eight years pass so slowly and speed by in the blink of an eye?

This girl started it all for me.  There is no way in a thousand years I could have guessed that mothering would be the impetuous to my self-understanding.  But mothering you, my dear, has made me needy, dependent, strong, and brave!  

It is so fun to watch the creativity of this big idea girl blossom as she plans parties, science projects, and birthday gifts for friends. 

She was determined that her birthday party would be a scavenger hunt...but not just any scavenger hunt.  One with stuffed animals.  Because she loves stuffed animals.  Each friend had one hidden with clues to lead her to find it.  

She was also determined to have puppy cupcakes.  Because she loves puppies.  Thank you, google.

It is a beautiful, scary thing to watch the fruit of your young, inexperienced womb grow into a real live person...with dreams, and opinions, and preferences often different from your own.  With gifts and talents and personality...often different from your own.  What a gift it is to be your Mom, Queen Monkey!  It is all grace, my dear.  All grace.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

26/365...April Showers?

Could it be true that April snow showers bring May flowers?  

Bring on the flowers, May!  Bring it on!

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Somebody's getting ready for summer...and swimming pools...and goggles!

I'd be happy with 50 degrees!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


So much energy and thought goes into preparing our hearts, minds, and families for Easter.  Good energy.  But last night as I prepared myself for a week of meal plans, carpooling, dentist appointments and the like, I began asking myself...
"What now?"

What does it all mean?  For the next 364 days of the year, what is the celebration all about?  What literal intention is there for me at 6:45 am as I dress myself for another day?

I have been studying Exodus this semester.  Last week, on one of the monkeys' days off I had them storyboard with me the story of the Israelites cornered at the Red Sea, Pharoah and all his chariots in hot pursuit.  
 The Israelites naturally freaked.  Who wouldn't?  And then this beautiful verse, spoken by Moses...
"The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent."
While we were talking about the story, the male monkey drew a picture of Jesus in the boat with the disciples calming the storm.  ( I should add that the boat also had a plank...for walking, I suppose.)  On the back he wrote, "Thank you that you fight in my place."

Leave it to a 5 year old to connect the dots.  

There was a whole lot of fear going around after the death of the Christ.  And what were his first words to his friends when he first appeared to them after the resurrection?  "Peace be with you."  No more fear.  He's here.  Perfect love is here, and all fear is cast out!

So, what now?
Peace.  Cease striving.  Rest, daily, in the FINISHED work.
Awareness.  He is a covenant-keeping God who will never turn His face from me.  He will always be on my side.  Will always fight my battles.
Consistency.  Making faith a habit, a continual one.  I cannot fear AND believe.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

23/365...Lenten Lights

 "Good Friday is the day when you can do nothing.  Bewailing and lamenting your manifold sins does not in itself make up for them.  Scouring your soul in a frenzy of spring cleaning only sterilizes it; it does not give it life.  On Good Friday, finally, we are all, mourners and mockers alike, reduced to the same impotence.  Someone else is doing the terrible work that gives life to the world."
Virginia Stem Owens

"When he received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished."  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
John 19:30

This Good Friday is "good" because it counsels me to cease striving.  I bring nothing.  I rest while the real work is done.  It is finished.  I have nothing to add.  

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

22/365...Spring Break is for...Reading!

So much of parenting really is about observation.  Taking note of the details that make each kid who they are and connecting all their dots to see the beautiful picture that is your little person...or monkey!

My oldest monkey can wear. me. out. with all the drama.  She is a sass pot for sure.  I have finally landed on an appropriate and effective consequence for the sassy mouth.  Potty mouth cleans the potty. She's also a germaphobe (like her Dad).  Cleaning the potty ranks right up there with death by spooning out of eyeballs.  At least according to her.

I was recently reminded that all humans bear the image of God filtered through a screen of sin.  I want to grow in seeing beyond the screen and recognizing {observing} His workmanship in my monkeys.  This child of mine has a great passion.  For life, for love, for animals, for a good story, for monkey bars and cartwheels and for all things "fun"!  It is a God-ordained passion.  In a world of uniforms and uniformity/conformity, this passion is beautiful.

The feedback we received from her 2nd grade teacher at our recent conference..."It is such a great pleasure to hear her read aloud.  She uses such expression and gives each character a different voice.  It is such a pleasure!"  And this from our "little-engine-that-could" reader!

I walked in on these two huddled on the living room couch reading together.  What a pleasure for a parent to see this God-given passion channeled into the reading of a good book in the service of a brother.  She may give him an ear full a bit later, but for now she is loving him with her passion.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

21/365...Spring Break is for...Protesting Winter!

 Happy Spring Break to you, too!

Here's to willing green grass and baseball diamonds to supernaturally appear...sooner rather than later!

Monday, March 25, 2013

20/365...Spring Break is For...Gentle Presence...Sunlight through Kitchen Windows

“O Lord, this holy season of Lent is passing quickly. I entered into it with fear, but also with great expectations. I hoped for a great breakthrough, a powerful conversion, a real change of heart; I wanted Easter to be a day so full of light that not even a trace of darkness would be left in my soul.
But I know that you do not come to your people with thunder and lightning. Even St. Paul and St. Francis journeyed through much darkness before they could see your light. Let me be thankful for your gentle way. I know you are at work. I know you will not leave me alone. I know you are quickening me for Easter – but in a way fitting to my own history and my own temperament.
I pray that these last three weeks {days}, in which you invite me to enter more fully into the mystery of your passion, will bring me a greater desire to follow you on the way that you create for me and to accept the cross that you give to me. Let me die to the desire to choose my own way and select my own desire. You do not want to make me a hero but a servant who loves you.
Be with me tomorrow and in the days to come, and let me experience your gentle presence. Amen.” - Henri Nouwen

"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."  1 Corinthians 13:12

Sunday, March 24, 2013

19/365...Ellie Snuggles

There is just no thing like a good dog.
Our Ellie was our first baby.  And she has loved our subsequent babies so well.  The oldest monkey's first words were, "ellieellieellie".  She has been tugged on, sat on, pushed around, yelled at (no, not me!) and still loves us without hesitation or condition.  

I'm not sure how many Minnesota winters this old girl has left in her.  She has slowed visibly over the last couple of years.  So we are counting our days with her as blessed and enjoying our snuggles like there is no tomorrow.  She may stink and shed, but they just don't make 'em much sweeter!

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Only these two can have just as big a time playing king of the mountain and a friendly game of...Scrabble, Jr.

Building forts and Yahtzee.

Super Mario and Uno.

The Male Monkey's buddy is moving to Canada next week.  Today was their last playdate before the big move.

We know what its like to move far, far away.  From family and friends, home and school, parks and soccer teams.  Adventure is a bitter sweet call.  But we also know the sweet comfort of The Comforter when He calls us out of our comfort zone.  We know the blessed gift of friends who become family when yours are miles away.  We know the beauty of the first snow when first snows don't come where you come from.  And the joy, oh the joy, of spring sprung on a new terrain.  But most of all, we know the truth of being strangers and sojourners in a foreign land.

This is not our home.  The author and perfecter of our faith so graciously nails that truth into us.  It helps us to hold loosely to this world, to keep our eyes fixed on things above.

So...that is our prayer for you, dear Isaac!  That you would live bravely and humbly in a new place.  Trusting the One who brought you there, will keep you there.  We will be cheering you on from Minnesota, buddy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

17/365...Daddy's Little Helper

This Monkey loves to help.  He really loves to help his dad.  Especially when there are tools involved.

We finally got a vision for the kids' bedroom and it has only taken us 6 weeks of Saturdays to get it all in working order.  A couple Saturdays ago we spent some time hanging bookshelves.  The Hubs says to said Monkey, "Want to help me hang some shelves today, buddy?"
Said Monkey replies, "Remember what Mater says in Cars, Dad?  {in his best Mater accent} 'You need help?  Shoot, that's what a tow truck does!'"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

16/365...Dance it out!

It was 8 degrees when I got in the car to take the monkeys to school this morning.  8!!!  And evidently it "felt like" -10.  What does that even mean???  I'll tell you what it means.  It was freakin' cold!  On March 19.  I'm pretty sure Minnesota forgot that it is March.

So what else ya gonna do?  Have a dance party right smack in the middle of the messy, not cleaned up from breakfast kitchen.  We have alot of those around here.  Kind of blows off some steam, you know? Feeling a little edgy today?  Crank up the tunes and let it all out in your kitchen.

Monday, March 18, 2013

15/365...Afternoon Light

A few days back I posted a picture of my view of my sweet little Sleeping Beauty.  Last winter was a rough one with the baby monkey.  Lots of screaming.  Difficulty sleeping.  General unhappiness and clinginess to Mommy.  We finally figured out she was teething her 2 year molars and the teething was causing some pretty nasty ear issues.  In the midst of it all I finally threw all the parenting books to the wind and went back to rocking her to sleep for every. single. nap.  I remember sitting in that rocking chair, the very one where I sat to hold, comfort, nurse, and sleep all three of my baby monkeys, and stopped.  Stopped worrying.  Stopped fretting.  Stopped running.  And I sat.  I took in the moment.  The evenness of her heavy breathing.  The drool dribbling onto my shoulder.  How her eyes round and soften when she relaxes them in sleep.  Her smell.  The heat of her sweaty little head on my chest.  And I left that moment refreshed.  Refreshed because I chose, in that moment, to fully embrace the here.

After a time I was able to lay her back down in her crib fully awake, but still had to stay in the chair, right by her crib, until she drifted off.    I remember sitting in that chair with a book and drinking in the quiet and wondering, "Why have I not done this before now?"

That was a year ago.  She has now moved to a big girl bed.  I have traded the rocking chair for the other monkey's bed.  She is now completely capable of getting herself to sleep.  But now I am the one not ready to break the habit.

This is the view from my resting place.  On this particular day, before I got up, I noticed the warm glow on the hardwoods and felt grateful.  Grateful for sun.  Grateful for soul-care.  Grateful for a few minutes of rest.  And I wanted to capture it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

14/365...Hope of Spring

It's snowing outside my window as I type.  And just to clarify, it is March 15.  To put it into context, this time last year it was 80 degrees.  Facebook isn't helping.  All the pictures of my lovely southern friends playing soccer in the front yard in short sleeves, mixing compost for their gardens, laying on quilts in the park in the salt in the wound.  But...

there are evidences of spring...

the anticipation just makes the hope that much sweeter...

and I know one day soon, there will be green...that out of the ashes of winter beauty will rise triumphant...

and we will triumphantly glory in its beauty all summer long!

So this week, when we walked into TJ's and Piper saw the bundles of tulips and daffodils and asked, "Mommy, can we get some flowers?", without hesitation I replied, "Yes!  What color?"

They are beautifully reminding me from my dining room table that somewhere in the world it is spring...and it is on its way here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


No, I have not given up on my 365 project.  I am still happily and faithfully clicking away.

BUT...circumstances beyond my control happen.  Specifically, a clumsy monkey spilled hot lemonade on the keyboard.  Not that I am ever clumsy.  (If you know me AT ALL you detect the sarcasm.  You also know that I am prone to technical difficulties.)

Good news...the computer is now fixed.  Bad cost an arm and a leg, and I am still trying to figure out how to get all my settings back in order.  (See above reference to technical difficulties.)  Soon and very soon I will be bombarding you with way too many photos.  Til then....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

13/365...He Brought Me Flowers

My first audition in ages and he brings home flowers...

just because I showed up. 

Which was no easy feat. New beginnings?  

Disclaimer:  I am posting from my phone while my laptop is "resting", ie. "drying out". Had a little run in with a mug of lemonade. Here's hoping (and praying) for the best!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

12/365...Sleeping Beauty

She's trying to give up her nap.
But I love it when she sleeps.  

When she gives up her nap it makes it more babies in this house.  New routines.  New adventures.  

But today, she sleeps.  Now I just have to tackle potty training!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

11/365...Hope of Spring

These buds will soon unfold leaves that will shade my summer garden.

A girl can hope!

Monday, February 18, 2013

10/365...Snow Play

Without fail, the first snow of the season always provokes excitement.  Giddy, run outside with your tongue hanging out to catch the falling snowflakes excitement.  And then January hits.  And it gets severly cold. And then you forget you ever used to play outside at all.

I've been reading alot about the crucial role Vitamin D plays in immune health.  And after the winter we had last year, immune health is a priority around here.  And who doesn't feel better after a bit in the sun and fresh air anyway?  Sanity, anyone?

We have had a few gracious breaks from the bitter cold (a balmy 23 degrees), so for the sake of our immune systems and sanity I have started setting my timer for 20 minutes and forcing Rivers and myself (and Ellie) out of doors to absord our days alotement of the big D.

 As you can see from the smiling faces, it was mostly good for our souls!
Little graces on cold winter days...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

9/365...Tea Time!

I'm just going to put it out there...I'm not that great at playing with my monkeys.  I know.  Horrible.  But I'm not.  I love reading with them, cooking with them, running with them, being outside with them.  But playing with them is not my strong suit.  That's probably why they all three love being with their grandparents so much.  Play, play, play.

I also know that some of my favorite memories of my parents involved playing.  One on one, sitting on the carpet with me, digging in the dirt, playing.  And I know that it means alot to my monkeys as well. So in honor of serving them, and trying to love them well, I sometimes have to make intentional decisions to get on the ground and play.

Yesterday it was a tea party.  The eldest monkey adores them.  The boys were at soccer, baby monkey in bed, so we had our own little tea party, complete with linens and, well, tea!

That would be her fancy tea pinky!  (The Dowager would be proud.)

And then the baby monkey decided NOT to sleep (who could with a tea party going on) and joined our little party, fancy dress and all!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

8/365...Sick Day

To be completely honest, I don't always handle sick days all that well.  I find I have become so tied to the routine that any kink can send me reeling.

But sometimes the kinks are what force me to stop, breathe, reevaluate, and embrace the beauty of an unexpected twist.

We had some special T-Bird time yesterday.  Wouldn't trade it for the world!

Friday, February 15, 2013

7/365...Putting Practice

I'm not sure if it's the longing for green fairways...

or the eager anticipation of the slowly approaching Farm Links golf trip....

but this is one way we are beating the winter blues...
a putting green in my bedroom.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

6/365...A Valentine in My Skillet

 Happy Valentines Day!  
May your awareness of The True Love be acute today.

And what would any Valentine be without chocolate?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

5/365..."Shadows - hold their breath - "

There's a Certain Slant of Light, (320)
by Emily Dickinson

There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons –
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –
We can find no scar,
But internal difference –
Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –
'Tis the seal Despair –
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death –

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

4/365...Waiting for Daddy

He still counts down the minutes until Daddy gets home.

In all honesty, I do too.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

2/365...Hair Reminders

It's no secret that the baby Monkey, though full of life and personality and charm, is lacking in the hair department.  

 Sweet little thing was born bald and bald she has remained for the first 2 years of her life.  Over the past 6 months she has been getting a few sprouts here and there.  Even enough to warrant a DIY haircut a while back.  Mullet, anyone?

 We were sitting in the dining room eating lunch the other day and as I was enjoying the midday sun streaming in through the windows and the beautiful play of light, I noticed this one long lock of hair on her forehead.
 And it struck me...though seemingly bald from birth, she has always had this one long, random hair growing right out of the top of her head.  Always.  And there it is.  The same hair.

As much as she has changed and blossomed and grown, that lock of hair was representative of the little baby formed in my womb, born into my arms.  And it got me thinking...what representations do I have of who I was born to be?  Sure, I've changed lots.  But there are pieces that remain, unadulterated by life, the world, influences.  The purest sense of who I am.  An interesting thought.  

We will cut her hair and it will no longer look like the sweet baby of mine that she is today.  But these pictures will remind me that He who began a good work in her, He is completing it.  There will always be pieces of who she is today, regardless of who she will be.