"To think that we, who thought ourselves rich before, are made so much richer now."
Documenting the riches of our ordinary, "gets all blurred together," responsibility-filled, confusing (because when human hearts are involved there are always questions and there aren't always answers -- or at least clear and easy ones), inestimably precious, rich-in-joy, holy ground of daily life. One month at a time.
- Jo and I went on a very special trip to New York to be with her Aunt Bek and Honey. Late this past fall Bethany felt a lump in her throat. After all sorts of doctors' appointments, googling, opinions, and options... there was very little clarity. As a family we were praying for the obvious (full healing!) but for the Lord's guidance and clarity for "the next right step." The confusion was just so sad. Dun dun dun... all those "wrong" paths led Bethany to a specialist in New York. She and Cindy initially went for a consultation and a few days, but it turned into identifying the tumor AND having surgery for it. All in one trip!
We arrived the day before surgery, made the most of the freezing, icy, rainy New York Wonderland, hung out in the hotel, and just waited for the next day to come... a day riddled with questions and unknowns. Bethany's composure and elegant grace deeply moved me. Of course she was nervous, but she had a sweet steadiness about her that brought me chills many times in that 24 hours. Cindy, too. They were out here alone, doing "tumor things" again, during the same time of year as they had as a family before... and they just. did. it.
I've been studying the embodiment of beauty in my personal (and partially public) life, and one of the main verses I've reflected on - I even blogged it a few weeks before my trip! - is Acts 3:2. After a simply stunning day of peace, thrillingly happy news over the outcome of the surgery (went better than all were expecting! They removed the whole tumor with no long-term side effects!!), and relief... I walked out the hospital lobby (where I had been a number of times that day), and happened to turn around. I noticed, for the first time, the words inscribed over the arches leading into the hospital: Acts 3:2.
A beautiful, cherished time in my heart... a time when God seemed so near, working so joyously on the behalf of His children. I know He is good when He gives and when He takes, but this all felt like a particularly triumphant "Give!" and we are all so grateful.
Slap happy and wild. Phew. She is at a tough age of wills, energy, and "keeping in small, quiet, germ-y places' (like hospitals and airplanes)... but I'm so proud of her for being forced out of her comfort zone, and learning how to handle it. We had a few especially sweet moments that I had to jot down as "mom highlights." Love discovering the world with and through this little one.
Honey, Bek, Corrie... we love you so! Let's do margs on the beach next time, k?
- A Grandiose Day. I love the simple, tiny things... I love how they all add up in a lifetime (or at least seven years so far...). But The Grand Gestures only mean that much more. The guy is tired. He's working seven days a week for a little bit of time here. And yet, Caleb spent every night while I was away in NY working on his Valentine's Surprise. Making wooden flowers by hand, painting them in the garage, researching dinner options, ordering balloons (and then, the morning of, rising at 4:00 am to fill and tie them all himself), finding "themed" treats, going through my Amazon Wish List and picking out a gift, serenading me, roses (special for some secret reasons only he knows... not the normal "classic love flower" reasons). And then, on top of it all, he took off work that night - which is NOT usual! He works on holidays because they are some of the best days, and I want him to! But he told me he always sees these couples enjoying these nights, so much energy in the air for "the world," ladies all dressed up... and he wanted me to be one of those ladies, right with everyone else. He got one of the last reservations at our favorite restaurant, and he just truly lavished himself on me. Which, I don't care if this gets me in trouble or labeled or not, isn't particularly rare. And I'm grateful and blessed to the heavens that even on the most normal, routine days... he makes me feel so loved by him A day I'll never forget, because of all it represents.
- Our Valen-Tiny's had a pretty fun day getting notes, candy, and special treats! How I adore them!
- After a blissfully full January and early Feb, we've settled into an intentional simple life for the moment. Keeping Caleb fed, rested, and healthy is the main priority! Structure like we're doing isn't "as natural" for us, but we've learned we need it sometimes! So far so good! We couldn't resist adding on night of fun, however. The last night of the Florida State Fair we met up with our dear friends, the Ahlgren family, and watched seal shows, watched the kids go down giant slides, went on the ferris wheel, munched on Amish donuts, dared Dave to that rope-ladder-climb, and met some "scawy!" animals in the barns (Summer stared down a horned-bull! I think Summer won... hahah)
- One of my biggest goals for this year - especially this season of Caleb's schedule - was to get out of the house with the kids! Vitamin D, salt water, sand minerals, fresh air, childhood treats... it does everyone so much good! So 4-5 days a week the last three weeks, you can find us at the beach, or park, or wandering Tarpon Springs!
- C and I are also trying to make the most of our mornings together. And our time alone with Jo (Rue is in pre-k from 9-noon). I love these memories of breakfast, coffee, oil changes, gym, and putting around town between 9 and 11 as a family of "three."
- One of the best parts of our many hours at the beach has been the chance I'm getting to read! (Seriously... quality/fun time with the kids, getting out in nature, moving their bodies, and basically "free time" for me - in between all the little requests. Can't beat it!!). I'm one of those people who likes to read a few things at a time, but I'm almost finished with "Liturgy of The Ordinary" by Tish Harrison Warren (as recommended by Megan Haughery). The beauty and importance of the ordinary is so near and dear to my heart, and this book was equally interesting, "amen-ing!," and "new way to look it this"-ing for me. Feeding my family is one of my greatest joys, but in the midst of reading I was prompted in these moments to just *relish* the goodness it is to make grilled cheese, and cut up little produce bites, and present my babies with their food.
- And just this week we started what I hope I can keep up with: lunchtime is story time! When I was in school we often had 10-15 minutes of "quiet" eating and the lunch monitor would read aloud to us, and there was a season during homeschool where mom would use lunch to read chapters of scripture or of chapter books. I always loved being read to while eating. So far it's been a huge success: more peaceful lunches, more food in mouths, and a feeling of mid-day connection <3
February, you were good to us! March and April hold 4-5 groups of visitors and we are SO thrilled! Can't wait for all the new memories to move from anticiaptions to realities to preciously-held-rememberings.