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dear mom who wishes she could home school

Still, the beautiful ideal to me is a hard but simple farm life and a dining room table school. But that's not my life at all . . .

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dear mama who worries

I think every mama on this Monday morning will say a prayer. Whether she believes in God or not. Because someone has to watch them. Someone, please.

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a season of sharing the work

What is it about sitting in the presence of someone cooking a fresh meal that soothes?

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on the occasion of my 100th post

There's a lot to read on the world wide web and so little time to read it. So thanks!

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17 things I say to my kids that I really should say to myself

If anyone anywhere very desperately needed to take her own advice, it would be me.

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when you fall asleep writing a title and hit publish on accident

So, I started recording myself.

Yep.

Because I have thoughts. Many of them. And I can’t write them down legibly fast enough.

I have an app on my phone called “Tape a Talk” which is far better for everyone than the old write and drive. Oh yes, with my eyes on the road . . . and yes, sometimes I couldn’t read it. Thoughts always come to me when I am driving.

Maybe because I used to do so much of it — driving. Hours and hours. For years. But for some beautiful, unselfish reason, my husband does most of the driving now.  He manages to get one to practice on one end of town, take the other two to work out with him on the other end of town, and go back to pick the other one up. Drives them to the bus. Picks them up from football games . . .

I know. I am utterly spoiled.

Anyway, I’m listening to one of my recordings, (which is a whole lot like listening to my sister’s voice messages — our voices are practically twins) and — now remember, I am only talking to myself. There is NO one to interrupt my thoughts — I’m chatting away on the recording and suddenly, for no conceivable reason:

loooooooonggg pause

“There was something I was just now thinking of . . .”

“ummm . . .”

“I can’t remember what it is.”

<<end recording>>

This is a conversation with myself. Out loud. Recorded. 

And there you have it: I get distracted even when I am talking to myself.

But the conversation I had with myself was a good one. I was talking about our kids, and I got a little wistful thinking about how much I loved them from the day they were born, and how love grew as they did, and how now I love them more than I could imagine.

Really.

And when I got home, I browsed the photos on my computer and realized our youngest grew up overnight in spite of my watchful eye.

And tonight, on his tip-toes he was taller than me, and my husband said “no” when I wanted him to look, and I suddenly realized why he drives them everywhere . . .

* * * * *

One day, my memory will be even worse. And I will be the lady with the cats and the books and the unruly garden, living on spinach dip and tortilla chips and feeding Dave TV dinners. And our kids will drive me around when they come home, and I will talk to myself . . .

(I’m guessing that will happen in about six years. Or around Christmas.)

And I was reminded of this verse — children are a gift — and I found it attached to the other one that has been nagging at my mind and I realize maybe my memory is not so very bad after all.

Maybe it just needs a little sleep.

 

* * * * *

It is useless for you to work so hard
from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
for God gives rest to his loved ones.
Children are a gift from the LORD;
they are a reward from him.
Children born to a young man
are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.
How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!

Psalm 127:2-5

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beginning again and again

"In dishwashing, I approach the moral realm; there are days when it seems a miracle to be able to make dirty things clean." -- Kathleen Norris

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a Sunday verse for October beauty

blueberry leaves

don’t give up your day job

All the work I am called to do lends itself to the art of writing if I listen and let it.

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a book for all seasons and an invitation to share

I really want to squeeze in a little chat about books. And I'm hoping you'll join me!

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6 shortcuts you learn when you’re always in a hurry

because you can only stay up way past your bedtime so many nights in a row before it all catches up with you.

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shoes for the season

I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for a dozen years, and I just bought my first pair of actual rain boots.

The first year we lived here, I didn’t really own socks. I had worn flip flops nearly year round in Southern California. I remember one day my neighbor said, “You need to get yourself appropriate footwear.” I smiled and laughed. We were kind of poor. We needed things like food and gas.

Eventually, I accepted the cold — got socks, and all purpose rain/snow/low top boots, but I never had the real deal: tall rubber boots. Brand new! For less than what it costs to feed my boys at Taco Bell — which has become a standard of measure.

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MY SISTER and ME!

It’s kind of amazing what the right footwear can do. They actually made me want it to rain . . .

. . . and go on an adventure.

So my sister and I hit Seattle to celebrate her birthday. She has lived here for a little over a year and is very much delighted by the rain and tromping around the city in the rain sounded like the perfect way to spend her day.

Of course, I managed to hit every light on the way to the ferry, took too long to find a parking spot and feed the meter, and I had to run to catch the boat. I am always running to catch a boat. (The last time I rode the ferry, I was the lucky last car. This time, I was the sad loser watching through the terminal window as the gangplank raised and the boat left. Win some/lose some. Even Steven.)

Half a minute faster would have done it. But either rain boots are not good running shoes  . . . or I am not a good runner . . .

Anyway, we had a lovely time in the city.

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SEATTLE SKYLINE & FANCY BOOTS

We walked all over, ate someplace we’d never been, drank coffee and talked about all the things we could fit into four hours of conversation. She is a writer, an editor, a cancer survivor, a wife of a man in ministry, a mom of teens, a cat lover and owner, an avid reader, a smarty, a voice for justice, an artist. I love her, and she lives here now and we get to be in our forties together.

It was a good day. But it never rained.

That is, it never rained on us. Rain boots, rain coats  — we were so prepared!

The rain started the second I got off the ferry and into my car to go home.

On the way home, I thought about some things. You know, like you do when you are gliding over the water, breathing the soothing sea air.

1. Teaching your kids to love each other and enjoy each other’s company is so worth the massive amount of effort it takes when they are growing up.

I’m so thankful that my mom spent so much of her days refereeing children. I know from my own experience that it had to have been exhausting. But I have always believed one of my primary jobs as a mom is to nurture the friendships inside my house. I want my kids to always love each other. How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1

2. I don’t dread the passage into fall and rain so much this year ‘cuz look at those fancy boots!

Live the season,

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for the blog collage of feet

 

a season of uncertainty and certainty

I wrote so many thoughts over the weekend and not one of them is ready for print. Not even on the internet.

I did, however, have a breakthrough last night when I realized the post I had written was the very thing I needed for something else but was definitely not the right thing to post here.

Sometimes, I wish I had written things for people to read when I was so sure, so certain of equations and sums.

If I am this sort of wife then, if I am this sort of mom then, if I am this sort of worker then . . .

But I’m very glad I didn’t. Because now, as much as I may like to think a thing should be this way, or this effort should produce this result, I know outcomes are not always up to me.

Perhaps that is the real crisis of mid-life.

Suddenly, the things you thought were real and true and guaranteed do not turn out as you expected.

The marriage you thought was unbreakable is broken. The effort you put in seems wasted. Children grow up and make their own choices in spite of (and sometimes to spite) you.

I am more reluctant now to open my mouth with certainty. Because what will come of it all is not yet known.

Because the important of yesterday fades as the walk becomes more by faith less by sight. Where I once thought I had a measure of control, I have discovered I have none at all. And the great mystery to me is that the less I am sure of myself, the more I am sure of God.

Because if you ask me if I believe people can change, I will say yes without a shade of doubt.

Ask me if there is hope in the worst of circumstances, and I will say always and never give up.

Ask me if the broken can be restored, and I will say nothing is so broken it cannot be mended.

Ask me how to parent a child, and I will say pray always without ceasing.

Ask me how to keep a marriage together, and I will say forgive.

Most things I write need to sit a while . . . and then filter through life and be worked out . . .

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try to be there, a Sunday picture

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a solitary space

So here I sit, in the hotel bathroom. In silence at last. Hearing my thoughts. Reflecting . . . . I want to live my season of noise and be fully awake to it.

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a season of fragments

Creating meaning from scattered moments, half hours, and hours takes strength and purpose and vision. It's too, too easy to just languish in the not enough time to do.

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a season of good enough

if you're like me, you really don't have time to do it perfectly. Sometimes not even decently.

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he still talks to me: a birthday reflection

Somewhere along the way, someone told me that if I took the time to listen to my kids when they were little, they would still talk to me when they were older.

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middle age, metabolism, and Monday

I figure I'm right in the middle of the August of life, which is still summer, if you know what I mean.

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our harvest of one

Less of a post, more of a picture.

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hope from a season of despair

On Thursday night I sat at a round table with co-workers and friends in an enormous room, dining on filet mignon and jumbo prawns, and witnessed contagious, hilarious generosity. Just the sort of evening to breathe new life into a tired writer.

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treasure the doing more

Somewhere over the past few years, I've lost a little of the fervor for living the current season of my life. Sometimes, it's wall to wall crazy and I don't have a moment of quiet til after midnight.

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the healing power of daily discipline

We're all in a season of something, we might as well live it.

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note to self: it’s okay to be a writer

Your quiet is good.

Your reflective is necessary.

Your words encourage someone.

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idylls of the cat, or, a brief study of self-centeredness

Sometimes, I think that’s the thing. It's a base instinct: If I don’t fight for my space, if I don’t yell loud enough and long enough, someone else is going to get what’s mine.

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it’s never too late to plant seeds

Sometimes lessons are late and awkward, but we teach them anyway because better late than never is more serious with life than with sweet peas.

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because people do change

34 year old me is desperately jealous of 44 year old me.

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pride, part two . . . or, a sampler of thoughts on arrogance

Sometimes, my "better than" comes from wounds. Maybe yours does, too.

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a swift current of sorrow

I am exhausted from swimming in and out of the current. I long for a boat of bliss, to float above grief, to get out of the river.

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of pride and pompousness, part one

maybe love does not boast means I don't need to prove how much I deserve love

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how do I envy? let me count the ways . . .

Envy is hardest when all is wrong. When all the world has spring and you have winter. Endless, endless winter.

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22 ordinary kindnesses to keep a marriage going

Maybe it’s not the once a week, once a month, once a year date that glues a fractured marriage together.
Maybe it’s the every day . . .

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when patience is a kind of suffering

I wonder whether there is anything that requires more patience than waiting for someone to become . . . "patience" seems inadequate for that sort of waiting . . .

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when you don’t know what to do, try love

Determination only gets so far in the day in day out.
And romantic stubbornness turns cold.

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a funny Valentine: love and fear and staying

If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it.

CS Lewis, The Four Loves

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a prescription for addiction

A little piece of our story made it to the cover of the New York Times this week . . .
That little piece is a drug called Suboxone.

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letting go of leaves

Stick figure silhouettes cling to dangling color that remains . . . dropping one by one . . . leaving them exposed, leafless . . . .
The woods betray us. We are vulnerable.

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a harvest of gratitude

. . . I don't mean just the big THANKS. I mean the little thanks -- for everyday things. The things that we have to dig into to find a reason for being grateful. It's a whole lot harder than it appears.

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filters for our words, part two

This forum is so immediate. Not like the "old days" when reaching an audience of more than a couple of friends was a very big deal and took time.

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right, wrong, and grace

But over the past ten years, God has been peeling. Peeling and peeling the layers of me. And I am confronted often by who I think I should be and who I am.

And why.

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