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Showing posts from January, 2016

Quiet...

Quiet. Something I treasure deeply, on so many levels. There's the traditional kind of quiet, with a reduced noise level (and the remaining sounds are peaceful). There's a quiet space, one that's tidy and under control, so there aren't any visual disruptions or distractions. There's quiet of mind, the mental version of an orderly room... so many aspects and applications of the same concept, and the introvert in me wants them all.

I haven't had much quiet (of any sort) in my life lately... small kids and apartment dwelling (we're sandwiched between the first and third floors of our building, with a large family in a small space below us and a preoccupied med student with an odd schedule above) mean there's a lot going on in terms of ambient noise (only some of which can be drowned out by Beatles albums on repeat - and even then, that's not quiet, that's just controlling what noise we hear). There's also a never-ending line up of Things To Do,…

Desperation and Innovation

Everyone needs to read this book, parent or not - I derived just as much from it for myself as I did for Brooklyn and Tobin
A new book released on Tuesday, and my anxiously awaited copy was handed to me by our friendly postperson yesterday. It sat on the table, teasing me, while I finished attending to the breakdown in sibling relations that the knock on the door had interrupted, so I was especially excited when I finally cut open the box. I've already read Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World since I was on the launch team, but the hard copy is gorgeous and I'm planning on rereading it soon.
But I was most curious about the "global family kit" that came with it - I knew that several countries were represented but didn't know which one we'd be getting. Brooklyn and Tobin won't be old enough to enjoy a dinnertime discussion about Kenya for a few years, but I promptly sat down to read the cards and examine the sturdy handmade soccer ball, cleverly con…

Snowed In, Snowed Under

I like being snowed in - paradoxically, because I'm a wanderer by nature. But in reasonable (read: small) doses, the blanket of forced calm caused by a good snow brings a sort of peace.




There's so much you can get done when you're trapped indoors and neither the necessity nor the distraction of leaving is available to you - which is probably where the appeal lies for me. I enjoy doing a task from beginning to end without interruption (whether that's finishing a cup of tea while it's still hot, reading a book without once putting it down, writing a letter with no awkward handwriting shifts from being written over the course of multiple days, or knitting a project from cast on to bind off).


But after a few days, wanderlust kicks in and I begin to go stir-crazy. Brooklyn and Tobin have helped me see the adventure in a dusting of snow on one's own porch this past weekend, though - it was adorable to watch Brooklyn's ardent desire to touch and explore, and Tobi…

Present...

Present. Fully immersed in the moment, engaged, undistracted... it's something that appeals to me deeply as a creative, introspective, introvert. In the ordinary workings of the everyday, I'm capable of multi-tasking, if I must - but it's not a place of joy for me.
No, I find joy in cocooning myself within a moment, undisturbed. Swirling music that drowns out everything but its own melody.  Laughter shared that transcends the current circumstance. A book that draws me into its world and out of my own. A conversation that exists outside of time and is startled to find how much time has passed in its duration.
But in a busy world of dinging notifications and the constant needs of two-under-three, being present in the way I'd prefer is a rare commodity. Yet, it's still one I value, for all its rarity - and I'd like to start practicing it a little more, sacrificing efficiency and personal distractions in order to enter more totally into the moment, whatever moment …

Heart Spotting

In the February/March issue of Mary Jane's Farm (which arrived in my postbox at the end of December, for whatever reason), there was an article about "heart spotting" - the idea of intentionally seeking heart shapes, particularly in nature but really anywhere they turned up.

The article presented it as a sort of mindfulness exercise, and the concept appealed to me. But if it's just practice of paying attention, why not stars or a letter of the alphabet or something else? I especially liked the idea of it being hearts, specifically - like a love note, left for you to find.

So that's how I saw it. I've been keeping an eye out, when I remember, for "notes" left scattered throughout my day - and I've been trying to take those moments and turn them to gratitude, whenever they happen.

What's especially struck me is that the moment a heart is called to my attention (often by Brooklyn, who is more passionate about the project than I even am) is gen…

Outfitted

Excited to be joining this gratitude blog-hop, inspired by Kristen Welch's upcoming book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World!


When I chose my "one word" for the year (adventure), I deliberately infused it with (among other things) a desire to budget better in the coming year. Not so much a resolution as a prayer for heart-change - for a renewed perspective that would lead to greater contentment and increased gratitude.

I've kept a list of daily "gifts" for several years, sparked by a reading of One Thousand Gifts. But even at that, it took over a year to finally click - that gratitude, just like love and grace and patience and every other good thing, cannot be willed into being by any amount of effort, however sincere, on my own part, but must be the gift of a good God.

Everything I've read lately (books, blog posts, my daily devo) and much of what I've heard (from sermons and podcasts to conversations with friends) has been pointing in an o…

Time...

Time. Winter is one of my favorite seasons, because it extends my favorite kind of time - the long evenings of blankets and tea and books and games and conversations that warm my introverted soul. I'm ready enough for the light when it comes, but I can also relish the dim glow of coals and candles.
Or, at least, I could. However, I am currently in a life-season of spring-going-into-summer (everything is growing, everything is in need of figurative painting and patching and weeding and watering, but I haven't really gotten to a harvest yet and it's certainly too buggy and muggy to even consider an evening walk) which isn't particularly compatible with my vision of a quiet winter's night in.
Spending my days with two-under-three in a second floor apartment does often mean that my beloved walls of time are broken down like individual Lego bricks - a chapter here, a row there, a sip as I walk by the table - but all the little pieces add up to a pretty picture in the en…

The Amaryllis: a tragedy

Lovingly planted on December first, we checked the progress of the papery bulb and tiny leaf tips daily, along with our breakfast Advent readings.


I took weekly progress photos, choosing the filter that most flattered the slowly greening stem before posting it.

Three weeks in, it was the victim of a curious explorer with developing motor skills.

But it rebounded spectacularly, growing over 18" over the course of the next week, before reaching its final height of 24".

The bud began to slowly open, and I left it for a weekend with a fond farewell, hoping to return to four scarlet blossoms.



Alas, it was not to be. Having far exceeded the usual height of any sensible amaryllis, it tumbled off the counter after only two of the buds had opened (which two Adam kindly preserved in a glass of water for me, after returning the slightly crushed stem to its pot and cleaning up the debris), and immediately gave up growing and began to yellow for wintering.
{the end}
Coming soon: The Adven…

Carpe Diem

Friday morning started early for me (5:30 - about 2 to 3 hours before we're normally up), in order to take Tobin to the air base for his one year check up. I say that in an attempt to explain what happened later...
Adam stayed home with Brooklyn, and then we all took him to an appointment of his own. After dropping him off, we ran a few errands, then made a final stop at Target. He texted that he was ready just after I'd gotten everyone out of the car and into a cart and talked up the snacks we were going to get. But I texted back that we'd come, tossed my purse into the front seat (with my phone in it), started the car, unlocked the doors, went to put Brooklyn in... and realized that I had actually locked the doors and could not get into my car.
The Target employees were beyond helpful - they sent security out to guard my car (since it was running), one found me a phone that would dial out and one looked up the number for roadside assistance (she happened to have the sam…

First...

There are very few firsts that I actually enjoy (among those are the first hot sip from a mug of tea, the first word written on a fresh sheet of paper, and the thrill of reading a book for the first time). For the most part, I relish the comfort of tradition and routine - especially of living where I already live (please, don't make me go through the process of looking for, acquiring, and then moving into a new home!), driving what I already drive (still have my first car that my grandparents bought me when I was 18), and seeing who I usually see (I make friends very slowly and a bit painfully, at times, although it is generally worth it). I like to be comfortable.
But that's combined with a weird streak of adventuresomeness. That works something like this: if I can research it first, then I'll do anything. A Hermione of sorts, my first impulse is to run to the library (or the internet, as the case may be). I love maps and timetables and histories and what-to-do-in-[city …

Redeemed

Monday was kind of a Day. I should have expected it, but I was so looking forward to a day at home with just-us-three that I forgot about Brooklyn also needing a total reset from a very "off" weekend. Everything went swimmingly until about 11am - and then it devolved, very, very quickly. There was much push-back against everything, and not nearly enough grace and patience to go around. I sat down at the end of the day and journaled through it, trying to find the point at which I'd gone wrong, and found it - when I missed my usual solitary time during their afternoon naps (their naps had staggered that day), I just gave up.

Tuesday I woke with new resolve. I started the day with a study of love, and then moved on to gratitude, determined not to let the ghost of Monday's failures haunt a perfectly good new day (which is, sadly, my tendency). The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfu…

Adventures... Quests... Things

I've been pondering the concept of adventure lately. I wrote about the nature of adventure a few weeks ago, drawing from The Hobbit (one of my favorite books) and the way that not everything goes as planned or even goes well, but is still all an adventure.
The past couple of years I've chosen a word for the year - last year's was grow, the year before that was harmony. I didn't really write about either of them, nor did I adhere to them particularly well, which is why I'm starting here, now, with a post about this year's word (adventure) so that I'll have some sort of accountability.
I don't do well with resolutions - I do write myself a letter every year on December 31st, but I don't open it until the next year so it's more reminiscing than exhortation. But this year there are a few things that I'd like to be more intentional about, and they all fall into the adventure category nicely:
-Prioritize rest. Early bedtimes (by "early"…

The Right Foot

Cousins playing - 2.5, 1, and 1.5. It was so fun to see them playing together, since the two youngest were too young to interact last year!
Our year (remarkably) got off to what I would consider an excellent start. I realize that there's grace for rocky beginnings, and that good starts don't necessarily guarantee good endings nor do bad beginnings preclude them, but it's a nice feeling.
Darth Vader wearing a scarf, on a tshirt. Because making it funny is the only way I'm going to wear Star Wars related clothing.

Our favorite baby sitter was in town visiting family during winter break from her out-of-town college, so we had her come on Friday afternoon (a la Lazy Genius) and went to a movie, just-us-two. It was glorious sitting in comfy recliners for over two hours, uninterrupted and not on-edge from waiting for someone to start crying - and then we got home in time to put them to bed and watch the Sherlock Christmas Special together under a blanket on the couch. Star Wa…