Sunday, May 13, 2012

To my mother

There are so many things to say and so many different ways to honor mothers on this day.  I am never very eloquent nor very creative, but wanted to take this day to say to my mom all the things that just never get said.

My mom has many gifts and many positive qualities, so today I am going to highlight the best of the best of my mom, Mary.
Meeting Malachi
1.  My mother is servant extraordinaire.  Of all the things that she is gifted in, serving others is by far her biggest strength.  Helping me and others behind the scenes is the most natural thing for her to do in the world.  Without a second thought, she can mend clothes, complete several loads of laundry, scrub a messy kitchen counter, and run to the grocery store.   She does all of this well and without needing or expecting one ounce of recognition.  I do one of those things, and I call it a day.
Afrika Bite

2.  My mother is a wonderful planner.  Perhaps I respect this so much because it is such a weakness of mine.  She can plan a week's worth of meals (breakfasts, lunches, AND dinners) for a crowd and have the whole schedule run smoothly, making emergency substitutions without breaking a sweat.  She thinks of every possible scenario (rain plan, sick plan) and is forever prepared, just-in-case.  She has anticipated every possible treat that we could want: hot chocolate on a cold night, skinny cows in the freezer, popcorn to go with the movie, and recipes to try with the kids.
3.  My mother is intelligent.  This is a woman who earned her master's degree while working full time and managing a busy house with three children.  She was very good at what she did professionally, and was still able to be super involved in church.  She can do many things at the same time, and she can do them all well.  Her knowledge about trivia and history and grammar and on and on runs circles around me.  Her pace, then and now, exhausts me, but some how she pulled it off with a smile and with ironed clothes.  (I ironed some pants yesterday for my husband, and Elizabeth walked in the room and asked me "what's this?"  Um, it's an ironing board.  You've never seen one of those.)

4.  My mother is a nurturer to the core.  She is the one who has made the house just right for your arrival (fresh sheets, candles lit, food bubbling on the stove, and favorite drinks waiting in the fridge).  With her grandchildren she reads book after book, completes puzzle after puzzle, gives space and time for craft after craft (my personal favorite, hahahahaha) and always has some warm treat for after dinner.  She is the one who knows your favorite (meal, drink, snack, treat) and makes sure it is stocked in abundance when you visit.  I love that.

5.  My mother is brave.  While there are many things to write about in this section, I am most impressed by her willingness and dedication to my sister and to me as demonstrated by her jumping on an airplane to travel with both of us when we adopted.  In 2008, my sister adopted from Kazakhstan and stayed in country two months (!!!!) to complete everything, with my mother by her side, having never traveled internationally before.  When we traveled last year to Rwanda, she was her extremely competent self in packing for everyone and forgetting nothing, stepping up when needed, being extremely easy to get along with, and giving all of us a much needed smile or break when we needed it.

First night in Rwanda
There are many more wonderful things that could be said about my beautiful mother.  She does not meddle.  She does not complain.  She does not push her views or agenda or ways of doing things.  She would not always choose what we choose.

But she loves.  

And that has made all the difference.  

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  
I love you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

really good books

one of our favorite things to do as a family is read.

read, read, and read some more.
we get stacks and stacks from the library and plow through them with vigor.
i love love love to read aloud to my children. now that it is getting dark so much earlier, we have been reading even more, especially after dinner.
we eat and do a quick clean up of the kitchen (the big kids help, whether they want to or not!) and then they all run and get their pajamas on.

do you remember how Malachi has blanket time? well, during reading time, he has blanket time and gets his own stacks of books. all the other kids decided they wanted to sit on their blankets, too, while I read. So there we are, all spread out, each one on his own blanket.


so tonight, Caleb read to his little siblings (without the blankets, too late tonight) and it hit me that you are likely to love these books as much as we do.

So, quick, go to the library as quickly as you can and get these:
the first
the second
the third (for Valentine's Day, but so excellent any time of year!)

and her newest, one I have not read yet:

Monday, November 28, 2011

thanksgiving 2011

He brought me to His banqueting table, His banner over me is love.

Uncle Evan with Malachi

this thanksgiving was a time spent reflecting on God's table, His feast, His lavish grace, His overwhelming love, His banner over me. amazing.

recently our pastor was describing a feast he attended where every delightful food you can imagine was on display for all to enjoy. He described how awful it would be if, upon seeing such beauty, the host said to you, no, this table is not for you. You are not allowed to dine with me.

But God does not do that. Instead He sets the most beautiful table, beyond our wildest dreams, and invites us to come, eat, rest, receive.

He brought me to His banqueting table, His banner over me is love indeed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

getting ready

today is a day for the kitchen.

a day for different.

a day for good smells.

a day for giving thanks.

the school books have been put away, not to be seen again for several days.

the hymns are on, the washing machine is doing its last load for a few days.

we took naps.

we watched a movie.

and we cooked. and we cooked. and we cooked.

I tried something new. I had one helper per dish instead of six helpers for six dishes. It went much better that way, once everybody understood they would all get a turn.

big days like this are such a good time for reflection for me. the fact that last Thanksgiving, two of my children were orphans, alone, without brothers or sisters or parents or grandparents or cousins is enough for me to say, you know what? my cranberry sauce can come from a can this year.

because it just doesn't matter.

no turkey crafts, too much baking soda in the pumpkin bread, messy rooms.

it is the perfect year to say no to perfectionism, isn't it?

yes, it is.

two orphans-no-more around my table this year.

we are ready to pause. we are ready to give thanks. we are already giving thanks. deeply.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

do what it says

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.
Do what it says."
This morning my three year old didn't do what I asked, even though he clearly heard what I said. I called him over to me, and just as I was about to begin the disciplining process for not obeying, he said "Wait, Mom. We didn't talk about it."
The same is true in my relationship with God.

There are many things that God has asked me to do that I wanted to "talk about"
first—things such as sharing the gospel with my neighbors, humbling myself when
I have been wrong, caring for unlovable people, saying no to material things that easily entangle and distract me. I have delayed my obedience—or worse, I have said "no" outright, or I have just plain ignored His voice, hoping He wasn't really talking to me.
Perhaps this is why the writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 95:7-8 three times in two chapters: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
God's people had hardened their hearts, gone their own way, rebelled, said no. I am one of them. I am deceived into thinking that just listening to, or being challenged by something means I have obeyed. It seems so radical when obedience actually costs me something. I am so content with easy, cheap obedience.

Thank You, Father God, that You speak to Your people, that You ask me to do hard, uncomfortable things for Your Name's sake and for my good, that I am able to hear Your voice at all. I do not deserve to hear Your voice. I have ignored it so many times. May I learn what obedience really is by keeping my eyes on Jesus, the One who sacrificed everything even when the cost was so high.
God, I pray that my hard heart would awake to Your Voice alone, that I would have ears to hear what You are saying to me, and that I would actually do what You tell me to do.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Starring Kate as WonderRed
Elizabeth as Princess Presto
Ezra as Superwhy
and Malachi as AlphaPig
to the rescue!

(thanks, Mom, for the costumes! the kids LOVED them!)

also starring
me, a Ravens football player
Joel, some guy who just got off work

Caleb, wait for it....a Ravens football player
and Marie, who was Kanani, the American Girl doll of the year

Monday, October 31, 2011

confessions of a homeschool mom

my sister sent this to me and thought I could relate...