Monday, January 5, 2015

Of Thriving and Grace

Over the weekend I hit a post-holiday slump. With the end of our break in sight and the return of normal patterns and routines looming, I was suddenly tired and discouraged. I've noticed that the dreading is often worse than the reality... perhaps because in my crazy mixture of thoughts and emotions I forget to factor in God's grace. And His fingerprints... His mercies... they are always there.

This morning I was up as the sun was rising to read and savor the silence before getting the boys out the door. And I read, "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of Him who sent me..." John 4:34. "My food," he says, "my food." Jesus thrived on doing His father's will. My prayer is that I will thrive in doing the Father's will as I carry out His daily callings... His will. And that in the thriving, my life will well-up full with life-giving, grace-filled, merciful living water.

For from His fulness we have all received, grace upon grace.
John 1:16

Thursday, October 9, 2014

For a Little While... At Least

You can find me on Instagram if you feel inclined to meander over there. It's not the same as blogging and I haven't figured out what a hashtag is or how to follow or how to be followed {yes, I'm stumbling around a bit} but for me, for right now it's the best I can do.

And, really, what it's all about is moving a little slower, taking time to see and savor, and giving thanks... because my life {and your's} is a beautiful tapestry of mercy and grace being woven by a creative and compassionate God. Let's walk together and look for the loving fingerprints of the Father.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Off to Camp

It rained all day, but when the afternoon turned to evening and it was time to drop him off at camp the skies cleared. That's when we finally saw a bit of sun. We tromped up the hill and through the woods to his cabin where I hovered and fluffed like a mama bird, certainly enough to embarrass him. And then the professor said, "He can handle the rest." And he could. Gulp. Father and son gave each other a quick fist-punch. I snatched a short hug. Certainly no kisses! Then we were off again... back through the drippy woods, back down the muddy hill, back to the car. And he was there.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Cool Mornings

The children spent a hot, steamy afternoon in the pool. Shortly after we tumbled indoors all soggy and waterlogged the rain came, and afterward the cool air. Since then our mornings have been deliciously cool and breezy. When I wake, I crank open the windows to let in the fresh air. We meander outside in our pajamas to pet the cat and eat breakfast on the patio, always leaving the kitchen door open behind us. I find Sister leaning out of a living room window breathing it in. Who can blame her? These rare, cool mornings in July are something to savor.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Grandmother's Breakfast Room

Several weeks ago the children and I joined my mother for a day trip to the little town in rural West Alabama where she was raised. It was a sweet time of showing and telling, connecting with family, listening to stories, and standing in places that have, for many years, been only memories.

A highlight for me was visiting the home that my grandparents built. My aunt lives there now, in the house built of antique bricks with a big porch on the side, but everything is still so familiar, so little changed from the days of my childhood. When I stepped into the dimly lit breakfast room I saw the same table that's been there for as long as I can remember {always with hydrangeas in the center}, and I breathed the same familiar house-smell that's lived there always, and I peered out the window at the same piney backyard view, and in the seeing and the smelling and the remembering I realized that, although the moment might be fleeting, sometimes, in a breath and in a heartbeat, we can go back. And, it was sweet.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


{the boys on the beach of Lake Michigan}
We told them, "It's a lake but it's so big that you'll feel like you're standing on the shore of the ocean." It wasn't until they stood and gazed that they comprehended the vastness of Lake Michigan.

I think it's important for boys to be struck with enough wonder and awe of the natural world to remind them that they're not invincible.

Yet, to feel small while simultaneously being reminded that the deep friendship and love in the unique bond of brotherhood is larger than this wide, wide world is a blessing to treasure for a lifetime.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Because we're called to live by faith...
and underneath us are the everlasting arms.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1

Sunday, June 15, 2014

These Fathers

{their father and my father, on the shore of Lake Michigan}
On guard,
Standing firm in the faith,
Men of courage,
Doing everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Gatekeeper

For the first three years of my oldest child's life, we lived in South Carolina in a little 1940's red brick house that we were, of course, renovating on the weekends. Those were mostly simple days. Our house was across the street from a small school and behind the small school was a large learning garden maintained by the teachers and students. There was a beautiful eucalyptus tree that grew in the middle of the garden. From time to time I'd step over there in the late afternoon where I'd clip little sprigs to fill our vases. I loved the fragrance of those branches in our little brick house... it was the fragrance of simplicity.

Last week I inherited an arrangement of white roses leftover from the wedding of a girl I've only met twice. Passed along through a chain of sweet friends, the vase of blooms and greenery and eucalyptus landed on my dining room table. And when the roses wilted I plucked the sprigs of eucalyptus from the vase and laid them across our copper bowl to dry. Seeing them and smelling them took me back to our quieter, simpler days in South Carolina.

In thinking of simple days gone by, I remembered something that my dear friend Emily said in passing a few years ago as we chatted about kids and calendars and activities. I doubt she remembers her words or even the conversation, it was, after all, just chit-chat on an ordinary day but her comment sank deep within me. She said, "When it comes to my family's activities and how busy we are... ultimately, I'm the one who is the gatekeeper."

As my children get older it's becoming easier and easier to fill up our days... going here, going there, friends, and activities. These aren't bad things, they're blessings and I'm so thankful for a full and vibrant life, but balance is important. These days, especially these summer days, I'm realizing that I must be intentional about keeping the gate. My children {and I} need space and time for moving slowly, for quiet moments, for watching Sister's squash grow in a green Dixie cup, for reading, for laughing at the cat, for late morning Cheerios, for chores, for floating, for bike rides, for catching tadpoles, for playing, for noticing, for loving, and for enjoying the eucalyptus in the copper bowl.

Monday, June 9, 2014

We Carry On

{On the shore of Lake Michigan}
As the mother of school aged children I've noticed that the weeks between Spring Break and the last day of school go by so quickly. As a teacher and the mother of school aged children, those weeks were. a. blur. Although school ended in mid-May the momentum, the mayhem, continued... Our family took to the highway on a long dreamed of, much anticipated road trip to Michigan, an adventure that all of us thoroughly enjoyed. Upon returning home {ahhh, home!} the pace continued... gatherings with friends, swimming lessons, an out of town wedding. Finally, we're settling in for the slower, hot days of summer. And so, we carry on now as before, and as always, under His grace.

Monday, March 17, 2014

In the Hearth Corner

Because it was gray and cool and rainy, today was a hearthy kind of day. The lines and the textures and the warm tones captured me. {And to think, I wanted to paint the brick when we first bought the house... I'm glad the professor refused.} All that was missing on this drippy day was a fire.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Lamp for Reading

Oh, hello you. And, hello weekend. There's nothing like Spring Break and some lingering illnesses to make a girl lose her recent blogging momentum. Whew!

Let's talk about lamps for a minute. Several years ago the professor stumbled on a mid-century mahogany table lamp at the university's surplus property sale. The lamp was actually in the discard pile but the man in charge gave it to my husband after he expressed an interest in it. {You can see it in the photo above; it lives in our living room.} A little research revealed that the lamp was made by Nessen Lighting, a manufacturer of high-end light fixtures and the creator of the original swing-arm lamp design.

Since then we've been passively hunting for a vintage Nessen swing-arm wall lamp. From a cost standpoint, to purchase a new Nessen lamp is a bit like buying a nice piece of furniture... which is not budget friendly... which is why we have to rely on discard piles, thrift stores, and ebay for our Nessen purchases. Several months ago the professor finally found the right one at the right price on ebay. It was chrome with a teak wall mount, it was missing the shade, and it was cheap.

The professor worked with a lighting company in Atlanta to replicate the original lampshade for our "new" lamp. While a custom lampshade sounds lavish this was, by far, the most cost effective way to go. Apparently, Nessen thinks pretty highly of their lampshades as well as their lamps.

The professor installed the new lamp a few weeks ago and, lucky for me, it's on my side of the bed! We are both delighted. It's a simple, classic lamp that casts a lovely light in our bedroom. I've been curling up every night to read in its warm glow.

As for what I'm reading, I thought it might be fun to share...

I have three favorite books that are always are my nightstand; I never tire of them and their beautiful photographs always inspire me. They are, The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket, Atomic Ranch Midcentury Interiors by Michelle Gringeri-Brown {this one helps me keep the vision in the midst of our home renovations}, and Heart of a Small Town: Photographs of Alabama Towns by Robin McDonald.

In addition, A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson has kept me up late laughing for the past few nights and I'm enjoying The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois, a book that Big Brother recommended. I love that he is old enough to make a book recommendation to me! I've also been slowly reading through all of L.M. Montgomery's Anne books since early fall; right now I'm in the middle of Rilla of Ingleside, but, obviously, that one's on hold for the moment. I think one of the pleasantest ways to end a day is with a good book and a cozy place to read.