but what does it look like?

I want a tender, juicy, dripping, messy-making heart.

God knows this, and He created me this way.

Sometimes we go through the desert to prepare for new growth.

You know, kind of like when I “three-quarters kill a plant” because I didn’t water it for a month or more. Then, I have to slowly encourage it back to life. The dead parts get cut away and new bright green things appear, fresh and tender.

From dry to fresh and new could happen in any length of time, a day, a year, five years……..over and over, a cycle, a weather cycle of the heart.

I woke up this morning thinking about the heart.

And a Christmas hymn that always squeezes my own.

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

That last line.

The loving heart MUST give. And what does it give? Itself. But what does it look like? “Open my eyes that I may see, glimpses of truth Thou hast for me”. An unexpected note in the mail from a friend, a smile right into the eyes, being vulnerable, reaching out, opening up. A song, a dance, a painting. Being thoughtful. Knowing someone, learning them. Words, The Word, gold, frankincense and myrrh, an alabaster jar of perfume, a seat at the table, death on the cross, a tomb for His body, The body, blood, sacrifice, resurrection, eternal LIFE, a place in Glory…….. “For God so loved the world, that he ……..G A V E.”


This is Grace’s fourth year of college and the youngest ones look at her with such adoration. They admire their big sister and seeing this love between them is one of the biggest brightest gifts of my motherhood journey. Having her home over Thanksgiving added sparks of joy for all of us, but I wonder if it was deeper and truer coming from the hearts of the youngest ones, who aren’t busy with “things to do that must get done”. (  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”). Children seem to naturally choose “what is better” and are watching, playing, carefree. Behind those glowing eyes is a thoughtfulness that gives birth to the sweetest moments.

Seth has been sleeping with the same brown, loose limbed bear since he was a newborn. Mr B has been with him every night for the last 11 years, except for the times when Seth, in his excitement, forgot to take him on trips. He is Seth’s most valued possession and has a very friendly and knowing face. I have made Mr B dance for him, talk to him, walk into his room for him, put clothes on him for a surprise, and we make up stories, all of which has, to Seth, made his Bear very real indeed. (“When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”~ VR) By the way, when he was very little, Seth pronounced “Bear” like “Beer” and a few of us still call him Beer at times, because it’s cute and funny.) So you see, he has a whole family presence.

Imagine our shock on Sunday afternoon, when Grace skipped out the door to go back to college, WITH MR B held in her arms. What was happening? Did she take Mr. B? We whirled around to look at Seth, who was at the door with us, waving goodbye with pride. “I want Grace to take him with her to college,” he explained. “I gave him to her. To borrow.”

He gave his most precious possession; his heart.

And he gave it with joy and an open hand. Mr B was going to visit college with Grace! Oh the stories he will tell when he returns………..

The next day he sought me out and confessed that he had woke up in the night, feeling around with his hand for Bear, and then remembered he was gone. “So I went back to sleep.”

“Oh! Seth! come here, Seth!” I said, remembering a photo I had gotten from Grace while he was at school, “I want to show you something!”

He held my phone and I looked at his face.

“Bear,” he sighed, giving me back the phone, and turning away with a smile on his face. He was ready to get back to his busy day.


And the Lord
will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11

Praise the Savior, ye who know Him!
Who can tell how much we owe Him?
Gladly let us render to Him
All we are and have. ~Thomas Kelly

Before I start my day today (which means: clean my kitchen. again.) I sit here in my room with you, my dearest bloggy friends, and a cup of rapidly cooling coffee, my latest scrapbook, and one small female Samantha cat behind me on the narrow shelf top of my bed’s headboard.

Wanting to say hello. Wanting to connect. Wanting to pray for you. Wanting to love.

Rich woke me up out a sound sleep this morning and we all know what happens when the Queen is awakened by a magical kiss…….she wakes up and doesn’t go back to sleep. With the extra two hours, in which every one else is asleep but Seth, I shall sit my Queenly self on my throne (bed) and tippety tap on the ol’ keyboard, to you, my friends. (The King is in the garage, hard at work).

I was considering hearts.

And how once I was blind, but now I can see.

Seth turning around and looking at me while eating homemade biscuits and sausage gravy, “Thank you, Mom,” he says. There is the briefest of pauses as he looks into my eyes and sees my smile before he also smiles and turns back to his breakfast.

Ethan helping his sister clean the kitchen without saying a word or being asked.

Jacob “fathering” his youngest brother so patiently through learning a new game.

David giving me the best hug after I asked him for one (yes, I did have to ask twice). “I give the best hugs, that’s what the girls all say.”

Rich bringing me coffee in bed.

Brittnee wanting to be close and already like a daughter to me.

Grace and her friendship, we are so alike, we understand each other without any effort.

Caleb waking up one morning and walking right into my arms for a hug. He’s taller and bigger than I am now, but “I had the worst dream,” he says, and I think, “I am the listener of dreams.”

And then, Sarah.

I let her be carefree as much as possible, and I find her singing to herself as she plays alone with her toys, or curled up with a book, or sometimes I am not even sure where she is……..

But yet, I remembered again that the smallest of ways to gather her little heart to mine are so easy, so effortless, that I don’t even realize it’s happening until I see the evidence lasting for days…….I was on the couch one evening, it was just the two of us, she was sitting three feet away and I motioned her close to my side and pulled her into my arm for snuggles and the most wonderful movie; “Kedi” on amazon prime (I bought it a few years ago) it’s all about cats in Istanbul, and so lovely with music, little stories, and charming cats galore, just right for comforting TV time and blankets, for mother and daughter both.

And Samantha even watched, too.

And then, when it was over, we simply had to go out to look at the beautiful bright moon.

We were together, just the two of us, and we felt like we were getting away with something, going outside at night instead of straight to bed!

She was as bright and full of light as the moon itself. She laughed. She shivered. She said she was freezing. I laughed and said, “Oh stop, you’re fine!” just to make her giggle again.

In that moment, I felt it deep within me. This isn’t just fun, this is deeper than that. It’s hearts.

We said goodnight to the moon and each other.

And the next morning, while I was in bed in my nightgown drinking coffee, the first thing she did when she woke up was come to me and get back close to mama. These days are different, all of us gloriously at home and honestly, 98% of the time it is party-atmosphere, we get along so well, but then we might miss out on the one on one time, and I relearned this as I saw how Sarah warmed right up to me in this way after spending time with just me.

She got a cookbook and went through recipes as I read my own book, and she picked out a cake to make together later on……..

Then Seth came and got on the other side of me and my coffee spilled.

Somehow it was funny.

Everything was funny yesterday.

Isn’t it interesting the variety of days? One day we are exhausted, so we spend most of it being as “lazy” as possible, and then the next day our energy is back in full swing and we do allllllllll the things and everything is fun and good again.

I wonder what today will be like.

I know I’m homeschooling again. Remembering my old tricks. Thank goodness I only have to oversee Seth and Sarah; Rich is in charge of David and Caleb. Grace is a HUGE help, and I involve everyone in this household, I ask for help and they always come through for me. Can’t life always be this way? Can’t Rich always work from home? Can’t the older ones stay forever? Why must we separate? I don’t want to go back to being alone during the day again. I’m liking this too much. We have our own small community here, with a population of ten.

“I acknowledge with great gratitude the peace and contentment we can find for ourselves in the spiritual cocoon of our homes………”
~James Faust

If I can be content now, I can surely be content with, too, children flying the nest. Yes, I know, I know, all is well, and all will be well. Now is now, let us focus on the day.

I like to stick things in my ponytail while walking….it’s such fun! I’ve even been known to add small branches to it! LOL.

Please enjoy these old mashed potatoes, my fine-feathered friends.

Thank you, dear son! Please fold everything, including the underwear and socks! (he often doesn’t go that far in his laundry service)

Jacob is our resident grocery store shopper. And oh how I appreciate him and his thoughtful, good work here. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have him do this for me.

Homemade biscuits baked in cast iron, makes a world of difference.

I made them for sausage gravy but later on for a snack I had one with jam and sour cream.

I was torn by the end of the ordering process. Should I pick “free shipping and who knows WHEN it will arrive?” Or five-dollar shipping guaranteed to come within the week?

Free it was, and it still arrived in less than a week. VERY PLEASED WITH YOU, ANTHROPOLOGIE. Well done.

And I LOVE the overalls so so so so much.

Rich is in the background, working. This is the room in the upstairs of the garage which is mostly a home-gym but then there is also a desk by the windows for him to work. He is so thankful for this area away from the busyness of the household. He is still working full days and keeping busy. I go over to visit a few times a day, stomping up the stairs in a dramatic fashion (Mt. Everest of stairs!) and falling in a heap at the top from the exertion.

Those are Seth’s crocs.

My phone case was clear so I added a piece of pink scrapbook paper to beautify it.

Even though it has a major flaw (loss of handle) I still love my seamist mug. In fact, way back when it still had it’s handle, it was featured in a blog post. search “seamist mug” it should come up.

Daffy in apricot, apple-scented geranium, and a sink full of dishes.

I went for a ramble in the woods yesterday and came home with these things. A twiggy nest, a round hallow ball fallen from a tree (see gall-dwellers) , lichen (such a beautiful light green almost like my mug) and a sheet of white birch (I put my houseplants on them to protect the table).

And, yes, we made the cake. Two just like this one, from the recipe which Sarah picked out from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook with the red plaid cover. Strawberry shortcake, all homemade, using real butter split, filled, and topped with freshly whipped cream, and sweetened sliced strawberries.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

messy beautiful

friday bowling
mom of boys
Jacob, and Steven King
my life, my loves
messy beautiful!
seafood lunch at Coopers
back home
life is good
mama duck
my girlies
oh the smell of lilacs!
quite jaunty
mother’s day morning
Rich and Gracie
Grace and her dad
me and my mama
my darling brother
my all time favorite
I didn’t have to drive this time
dear daughter
another dear daughter
snow on Mother’s day
Mom told me to make cookies
so I did, this morning and I also burned my finger terribly. I had three cookies for breakfast.

Sharing my heart..

I was lovingly reminded yesterday that God is not waiting to come down on me like a hammer everytime I get my toe out of line…….and then, this morning I read this verse, “The Lord doesn’t see things they way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

The Lord KNOWS MY HEART. When I don’t even know it, He knows it. He knows I want to please Him, He knows I beat myself up all day long over my percieved failings, He knows that I grieve and cry and long and hope and desire and love and give and give and make myself vulnerable and I fail and fail but I’m loved and I’m beautiful to Him.

In life’s choices, I choose HIM. To think this way is freeing to me.

He cares for me like no other. He knows I am nothing but dust, he knows my messy humanity and He understands. He knows I’m treading water here, trying to keep myself breathing. (Please don’t worry about me, I’ve never tried to keep depression/anxiety/perfectionism and my super-sensitivity to life and these things a secret. I’m okay, and people can be okay even when dealing with strong emotions.)

Anything that makes me small and Him big……is a good thing. Even though it can be painful. In this way, self righteousness is dealt with, and a true understanding of my need (and His provision!) is realized. No, I don’t want self righteousness or sanctimoniousness (from myself…..or others, either.) It creates fear. “Your boasting is not good. You know that a little yeast leavens the whole bath of dough, don’t you?” I corinthians 5:6…

We are to have mercy, and show love and grace. To others…..and to our selves.

“I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me.” Hos. 6:6

So, Mother’s day weekend. On the inside I was a storm of thoughts and emotions, but on the outside……life continued and there was joy and smiles and love. How funny it all is! A perfect mix of sadness and joy, love and sorrow, good and bad, seriousness and frivolity. So topsy turvy! “It is what it is” Maybe someday I’ll find an even keel. (yes, you can laugh at that).

“In acceptance lieth peace” ~ Hannah Hurnard

I accept it all, kind Father, often with great struggle, but thank you for loving me and being patient and kind. Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.

thank you for visiting my blog, friends.
you are loved