Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Full thanks

Motherhood is a thankless job. We are told that. I played victim to it this morning, cleaning spilled (rice) milk, a squished banana segment and crumbs of shredded wheat. The milk, still seeping through the crack in the table leaf, the thought comes: who is thankless?

If I find myself complaining about cleaning after these pudgy, clumsy fingers, I cannot be thankful for them at the same time. If I find myself feeling pity-ful then can I at the same moment be filled with gratitude for this gift of the day, the life, the Light?

Obviously not, I have to learn to choose the thanksgiving for myself. The thanks for the sunny person, attached to fingers that find cups so slippery. The thanksgiving that I am healthy enough to be the one cleaning up and that the little fingers are healing and healthy enough to be making the messes in the fist place.

They do help with a fair share around here and are always grateful when I save legos from the roaring vacuum. I used to say, "their smiles are thanks enough." Of course they are! Now my thoughts lean my heart to say - my smile of gratefulness is what is enough.

Last weeks list...
106. Rain drops pitter, patter 107. Day dreaming eyes out the window 108. Watching raindrops hit puddles on pavement 109. Patterns of circles, polka dots, created by rain drop waves 110. Listening and boy dancing to the rhythmic pounding, drip, drip drop. 111. Little boy voice sing, song, "sneaky e makes a say it's name. Sneaky e is famous!" 112. duck, duck and goose 113. Running in circles, until dizziness overcomes 114. Dizzying haze tickle fight 115. Filling up our 'heart tanks' with hugs and snuggles 116. Oven baking, extra heat escaping, warming. 117. Whole wheat, ground goodness 118. Freezers, to hold my brown bananas until I'm ready 119. Banana muffins, crumbly and sweet 120. Fingers through soft, short hair at bedtime 121. Dishwasher thumping methodically downstairs 121. Band-aids to cover the evidence of hurt 122. Giggles, while peeling off the band-aid strips 123. Taking time to watch the ducks 124. Independent boy, making himself breakfast 125. Jello, sweet, peachy, goes down easy 126. The boys, healthy, dressed, holding down the fort 127. The girls, pale, snuggling under blankets 128. Bathrobes 129. Applesauce, fruit from last years harvest 130. Robins chirping 131. Tulips faithfully pushing the hard earth away 132. Little girls big, purposeful skips 133. Feeling better 134. Warming wet, towel covered arms with firm, quick strokes 135. Brave little girl, watching stitches get snipped 136. One tiny lip quavering for only a moment 137. A smile and talking to the nurse about favorite princesses 138. A tea party to celebrate no more stitches 139. Camel's 'hump' park 140. walks with friends 141. climbing trees 142. first scraped knees and scratches telling spring is arriving 143. SPRING! 144.kids playing game after game of sequence on a Saturday afternoon 145. huckleberry pancakes 146. kids sharing memories of foraging for huckleberries last summer 147. Husband, who just knows how

Monday, March 14, 2011


The other day my daughter and I were in a public restroom, she looks up at me and in a very demanding (and altogether too grown sounding) voice says, "I've told you fifty times that I want to rip the toilet paper."

I'm still a work in progress too.

The past week of entries on my list.

52.  ooooohing and aaaaaahing over a baby much newer than mine.
53. Tiny baby socks, how they like to wiggle down to show off cute toes.
54.  My funny kids, big brother saying, "She's so cute, I can hardly take my eyes off her."  Sister says, "She is just so cute, I can hardly stand her."
55.  long sister chats, laughter.
56.  husband, singing over soapy pots, scrubbing
57. Six year old reading words I haven't taught him.
58. silky, smooth, gold fabric
59.  the hum of a sewing machine
60. the strong, slender thread plodding away, over and over
61. Pretty new pillows to make me smile
62. God's character traits looked at with new eyes
63. Friends to hold dear and how we safely hold each other
64. Trust.
65. Purple cabbage, beautiful purple and white trimmed slivers, tangy bites
66. Carrot, citrus, cabbage, ginger juice - tastes of freshness.
67. cabbage pulp turning dishwater a soft periwinkle blue
68. husbands hands faithfully chopping onions and garlic
69. the end of last years tomato harvest simmering, melding
70. pasta sauce, spattered back splash
71. smell of pasta sauce from ceiling to floor
72. ear to ear boy grins
73. imaginations, wild west meets Dora the explorer
74. little boy staying in character - it's fun having a sheriff around

75. an especially chatty day with that sheriff/boy.
76. Sheriffs only rule, penned himself, "Your rules are you shall come to my palace if you need anything."
77. The 'sneaky letters' (silent e's)
78. pineapple, perfectly yellow, sugar sweet and golden tart.
79. my beautiful sister, knowing just what I need and getting me pretty sticky notes!
80. the calm during the storm
81. tiny body sprawled on mine, giving away stress to take on sleep.
82. Novocaine, modern emergency medicine
83. sutures holding the broken back together
84. ice cream, sprinkles and cupcakes with pink frosting
85. netflix veggie-tales marathon
86. long rests, snuggles and kisses
87. forgiveness
88. tiniest freckles on 6yo nose
89. vulnerability of friends
90. "I spy, my little eye, something yellow."
91. Colors of beautiful flowers, brightening up the days

92. recipient adoring flowers, holding them close, moving from room to room wherever she goes
93. knitting needles for flag poles

94. waffles, puffy, crunchy pockets for sticky sweet syrup
95. baptism
96. "Neither life nor death shall ever From the Lord His children sever; Unto them His grace He showeth, And their sorrows all He knoweth."
97. washing a pinky wound, praying for healing for the wounds not seen
98. spinning hair, dizzying
99. painting, mixing color after color

100. masterpiece after masterpiece, right at my kitchen table

101. boy colors of fruit - fruits of the spirit, he calls it

102. skype, kids able to read to grandparents and see smiling faces
103. healing beginning 

104.  using her right hand again
105. being special


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ear to ear

This song popped into my head today and I've been loving humming it and bursting out in song all afternoon.  Yes, life is a musical around here, it really is, move over Rodgers & Hammerstein!

I had the opportunity to visit a friend's home last weekend, whom I adore.  She's just so very real and lovely and her house is adorable, she had little things everywhere that were adorable.  Did you get that? Adorable, there I said it again!  Some people just have that sense for home decorating that I completely lack.

It inspired me to look at my home and to put out things that would make me smile.  I made a couple new throw pillows and hung up some accessories above my sewing nook.

I purchased a cheap firm bed pillow at target instead of two pillow forms (they can get pricey) I sliced it in half and sewed the unfinished ends together.  It looked messy, but I don't claim to be a professional! Besides I'm making a cover to go over it so I didn't mind.  It fits me, the honest messiness underneath. *grin* 

Anyway, I had purchased this pillow and some red corduroy fabric last fall.  The fabric looked like it had more burgundy tones in Joann's but when I got it home, next to my other pillows with green tones, it looked too Christmas-y.  Discouraged, I set the fabric over my sewing chair, where it has happily lived for the last several months.

I came upon this tutorial on Tuesday and I couldn't resist.  It was extremely easy and probably would take 5 minutes if you were using one piece of fabric plus a bit of cutting and ironing time.  I couldn't do it that easy though since I had to go through my entire bin of fabric to find coordinating fabrics, which I wanted to use to tone down and coordinate with the red.

I think it worked out great and I do smile every time I see them.

I was thrilled to find a sewing desk last fall that was left over from a youth group yard sale and was being donated.  I sold my old roll top desk, (love craigslist) that was glorified storage and never actually sat at, replaced it with this old, but still in decent shape desk.  It needs to be refinished but I feared that if I sat it in the garage I'd never get to it.  I LOVE having a place where my sewing machine can live, ready to work at a moments notice.

Wanting to cozy up the little sewing nook, I had already purchased a little metal dress frame that I hung up on the wall above.  I found some other items to hang on the wall that too lift the edges of my mouth.  Perhaps that's the trick to interior decorating that I never new.  Just display things that make you smile, and you'll be alright.  I have some plans for the living room and to refinish the little sewing desk...for the next day that inspiration + time + work = smiles.

A few of my favorite things...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Just so I always remember

Last night while laying in bed watching my three year old drift off, opens her eyes wide, turns to me and says, "Mommy, you're special." Followed by a deep, rich smile. She doesn't even know what a blessing she is.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Life is not an emergency.  I read those words a couple weeks ago in Ann Voskamp's book.  Slow down, life is happening and in the hurried, careless motions I'm missing what it is about. 

It was really nice to remember that today, in the midst of a more emergent situation.  My little three year old has stitches, five of them, in her tiny pinkie finger.  Really, I'm just amazed at the calmness that was over every one of us during each minute of the ordeal.  An unfortunate occurrence with a door...in fact this little girl has had her fingers in doors more times than I can remember in her tiny life.

It was crazy busy in the ER, but there was a peace in our room, she even fell asleep for a time.  Princess dress, is now stained red and scars have ripped into our psyches, the bravest princess she is, healing has begun.  They gave her a stuffed bear and told her that she was the best patient they'd ever had.  She named the bear 'honey bear' because it was yellow with a pretty heart on it. 

A bit upset that they had to wrap her whole hand just for a cut on the tip of her tiniest finger (to restrict mobility) she refused to put any shirt on at bed time.  Well, until brother brought his favorite Star Wars t-shirt in, way easier to maneuver onto a bandaged hand.

She's upstairs in Mommy's bed cuddling her new bear that she kissed several times before allowing her eye lids to flutter closed for the night.  Thank you God for my little children and your Grace...

Monday, March 07, 2011

Again new

It feels to me, that a new year starts in the month of March.  Perhaps it is all the new growth and new life emerging from the dormant, death of winter.  Looking back across all my years, it has forever felt this way to me, perhaps, because it is the month when I joined this world.  Emerged from a warm, cozy womb to cold, beautiful world.  It is my new year, the time of my first breaths, the next year I am blessed with life.

The beginning of this list began nearly a year ago, and in my meanderings, the gems of life have been appreciated, but not recorded.  Now that I am reading her book I have become compelled to write things down in the little, warn, notebook in my purse.  The one that has pages ripped out and pencil drawings on many pages buy my artist-of-a-three-year-old.  Bits of her, sprawled down throughout the supermarket.  It now records the beauty of life, the gifts I find as I live in each moment.  I'm looking, and they are abundantly there, precious, amazing things.

Today in pilates class I realized that I have spent the majority of my days wishing.  Wishing for things to go my way.  Wishing for a different, more perfect body.  Wishing for selfish, selfish things.  This is the year that thanksgiving is beginning to pour over me as hot tea filling a cup.  Warmth.  It is amazing to feel it.  My heart feels like spring on a cold winter day, full of color and life inside a cold aging body.

26.  Flags, snapping in the wind.
27.  The sweet smell after a warm rain.
28.  Everything washed clean by the beating of rain drops.
29.  Finding cloud shapes in the dusk sky.
30.  A cloud that can be a tornado, a T-Rex and a woodpecker all at once.
31.  Tiny, unseen droplets of water that make that cloud.
32.  Slender crescent moon
33.  Giggles that squeak!
34.  Crisscrossed ankles.

35.  Naps in the sunshine.
36.  Gentle, joyful interruptions to nap time.
37.  Waking to my tiniest one's joyous songs.
38.  Snowflakes, big, wet and sticking to all of creation.

39.  Operation Worm Rescue, by my tenderhearted boy.

40.  Gentle reminding that even birthday is not about me, but opportunities to show little ones they are loved deep at any hour.
41.  Pajamas under snow gear.
42.  The right song playing at just the right time.
43.  Warming cold fingers between my own warm palms.
44.  Snuggling a chilled body with damp, stringy, locks smelling of snow and frost.
45.  Watching snowflakes dance; circling, floating, falling, lifting.
46.  Husband, warm, crooked smiles!
47.  White-chocolate, peanut butter cheese cake. mmmmmm.
48.  Birthday balloons, kids singing 'happy birthday' all the live long day!
49.  Birthday wishes arriving all day, bringing smile after smile.
50.  Gifts, wrapped, and cards written and colored with crayon.
51.  Sun, magnified, reflecting off melting snow.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

In my dreams,

...I live in Greece.  There are nights when I make pita bread from scratch, Adam makes gyros, tzatziki sauce the whole dining room, transforms to a villa swept by an ocean breeze.  My hair has billowing curls and I wear the simplest flowing dress in pale, the palest, blue to match the sea.

At times I wish I still lived in NY, NY.  The bustle and contact with people outside of the metal box of an automobile.  The museums, performances, the restaurants, parks and pigeons, so much at the tips of my now typing fingers.

The memories of San Diego, they do not escape the what if game in my head.  Ohhhhhhhh, the hot sand between my toes, the sweet smell of jasmine on a late night stroll, the most perfect weather all the year long.  Yes, especially on a cold winter's night, I wish we still lived there.

Actually, I'm thankful for the gifts and glimmers of wonderment that my children give me right where we are.  I'm thankful for my man, who's happy to cook dinner and the amazing times we have, even if we don't live in one of the top 10 most beautiful places in the world.  I make sure to get sand between my toes during the summer, we do many available activities, all in all, we are perfectly here.  Right here.  This is the number one place in the world for me, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

The overheard conversation that led my thoughts....

Scene: Buckling into the car after church
Gabi: (over-emphasized for effect) I wish we lived at church.  I really do.  I really wanna live at church.
Nathan: (with compassion) Everyone else is leaving too.
 short pause
Gabi: I....I wish I married Pastor, then I could live at church. 
Nathan: (slowly, with a know-it-all-attitude)You can't, he's already married to a woman, Pastor's wife.
Gabi: (whiny) But I really wanna live at church.
Mom: (can't help but chime in) Pastor's wife is Mrs. Pastor and who knows what life has instore Gabi, you're only 3.
Gabi: I'm three-and-a-half.
Mom: Yes, three-and-a-half.  Yes, yes. (Far away empty sounding) maybe someday you'll marry a pastor. (Mom drives pulls out of the parking lot listening again.)
Gabi: Well, I have to marry a boy.
Nathan: (quickly) Yes, it has to be a boy, and you'll have kids.
Gabi: I'll marry you!
Nathan: No! (tentatively) I'll already be married.
Gabi: (searching) How about Joe?
Nathan: (again soft and unsure) Well......maybe......if he's not already married to someone else.
Gabi: (with confidence) He's not married, he's just a boy!