Category Archives: Girlies

Bigger and Tireder and Come Unto Me

He said Come unto Me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.

He didn’t say Come every Wednesday or Come unto me even though you’re exhausted or Come unto me or else we won’t be friends anymore.

He said Come unto me all you who are weary…

And they don’t tell you in the pregnancy books that there comes a time, way past the first roll-over time, way past the sitting up time, way past the solid foods time, and wayyy past the first-steps time…

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There comes a time when it seems a little like it did when there were babies in the house, and a little like it did when there were toddlers in the house…

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But it’s all a little bit different and a little bit bigger.

Because they’re bigger.

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You should be tougher but you don’t feel much tougher.

In fact, when you talk to mamas just a wee bit older than you, you might whisper it to them quiet and confidentially and maybe even with a hint of a doubt in your tone while you secretly hope that maybe they’ll understand.

You really hope they’ll nod knowingly and that they won’t tell you that you’re wrong. You hope they’ll hug you and say OH HONEY YES.

It’s harder than it was.

It’s just a different hard.

You feel somehow weaker than you did even though you never ever thought you’d feel weaker and more vulnerable than you did with no sleep and no makeup and milk streaming down your chest and soaking through your shirt and onto your mattress and into your days while the beautiful baby just screamed and screamed and constantly needed a new diaper.

You’re tired.

And that just seems so wrong because they sleep all night now, a long teenager’s sleep late into the morning for their growing bodies if your day can spare it, so a full eight or nine is your delight, and most mornings even a leisurely cup of coffee is yours before they arise…and they do work now, real work that makes yours easier.

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But they take more of you now.

More mind muscle. More money. More miles.

They take up more space.

In your house.

In your head.

In your heart.

There are more of them and they are bigger and it’s just all bigger and a little more overwhelming but you’re older now and wiser now so you handle it better but handling it better makes you tired sometimes and it’s a different kind of tired.

And sometimes coming unto me looks a lot different than what a mama thought it would way back when they still napped in the middle of the day and still needed you to buckle them into their car seat.

A quiet time isn’t always ever a quiet time, and me-time doesn’t work and long ago when they were toddlers I cut out a magazine piece that said me-time comes when the babies are grown and now that mine are almost there I see.

I see how it is that I don’t really feel like taking that me-time anymore unless they force me, and now that more than two of them fill a room while college and jobs and future fill their horizon…

I’m glad my me-time revolves around them.

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It means saying no sometimes.

It means that I actually had more time for friends when my babies were babies and we could all get together over diapers and coffee and Cheerios and Boppies.

It means that pulling in to them instead of pulling away needs to be my daily priority.

It means that I may lose outside opportunities in order to stay inside the circle of these years.

It means that my growth might actually be watching them grow and that is what my job is right now.

It means that I might have to work through the new ages and stages and grow right along with them.

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It means that I might be lacking for folks outside of here and seem shallow when in truth, I’m growing deeper and broader in my care and attention.

But a mama still needs come unto me and thankfully, He stands and He knocks, and what a comfort…what.a.comfort. to know He’s there.

That He is always there.

That when my quiet time is driving-down-the-road time, He doesn’t abandon.

He’s there.

That when I’m extra busy or frazzled or full, He doesn’t condemn.

He invites.

That when I forget, He doesn’t write me off.

He gently prods.

That when I’m exhausted, He doesn’t shame.

He comforts.

That He loves.

That He forgives.

That He encourages.

That He holds.

That He stays.

And that unlike this time that rushes…that goes…that hurries…

He doesn’t.

He still says come unto me and when I’m weary and when I’m burdened and when I’m heavy laden…

He doesn’t pressure but He waits.

And He gives rest for my soul.

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains

Your love never fails and never gives up it never runs out on me…your love…it’s your love…

On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death and in life I’m confident and covered by the power of your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate my heart from your great love

Your love never fails and never gives up it never runs out on me…your love…it’s your love…God it’s your love.

~Jesus Culture

The Golden Egg

Almost ten months ago my sweet girl got a very special order via the post office. It was the box containing her three goslings, shipped up all the way from the Midwest.

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She lovvvvvved those babies.

The plan was to auction one at the fair, butcher one for the freezer, and keep one for the farm.

Tragically, one fell out of the coop and was eaten by a raven while we were in town one day.

My baby was devastated. She was the one who found the remains of her fluffy little baby goose. It was a high trauma day here on the farm and I held her while her tears rolled down my shoulder and her daddy and big brother laid what was left of her gosling to rest.

It was just an hour later that my husband looked into the sky blue eyes of our sweet girl and told her that her two remaining goslings could be her pets from that day on instead of being meat birds.

You should’ve seen her sweet face light up.

She wrapped her arms round him and buried her head in his belly and she smiled with relief and she said Daddy, that is the best news of all and those geese are going to be such good friends to me Daddy, and for a very long time too. Daddy did you know geese can live for a whole twenty-five YEARS?

You should’ve seen his face.

And ever since then, he’s wondered exactly what he was thinking that day and has said out loud how he supposes she’ll be toting those geese off to college with her one day and we all laugh and say Oh Daddy.

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She took her babies to the fair and she won ribbons and she taught the world about the mysterious life of the goose and in her eyes they are super stars.

Every morning she opens their door and they come FLYING out of the coop after her a’honking and a’ squawking.

Every night when she puts them to bed they waddle along behind her muttering and mumbling their goodnight greetings like only geese can.

Every time a plane flies over they cock their heads up sideways and look with one eye fixed on the sky and the only thing that will break their stare is when she coos to them Oooh Gooooseyyyyy.

She’s their mama.

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She’s cried genuine tears of distress when the chickens ate her geese’s feed.

She’s laughed genuine bellows of joy while watching them splash in their kiddie pool.

She’s proud of them, delighted by them, bonded to them…

and because she is, so are the rest of us.

Including her Daddy.

Imagine the shouts tonight when her little brother came running to the house to announce the news.

She’d been wondering and finally, tonight it happened.

We had a goose egg. The very first one. Ever.

Almost a whole year with her feathered friends, these waddling, mumbling, nibbling, sassy, sweet little creatures we’ve come to love with an endearing, warm, and humorous tolerance, all because our little girl adores them and her Daddy let her keep them forever. Or at least for a couple decades.

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Tonight, there in the coop, she went to tuck them in and she found the very first goose egg left there by her babies.

And you should’ve seen her sweet face light up.

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“An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.” ~Oscar Wilde

 

Kids and Clothes, and Mama, It’s Delightful

I used to be so tough.

A basket full of four children six and under would see me steely faced, jaw clenched, muscling my semi-truck cart through the store in firm, mama determination as I made my way through aisle after aisle with purpose and grit.

Now though? I’ve been at this shopping-for-a-family gig for awhile and quite honestly, I’ve kinda come to hate it. My once-a-month grocery shopping trips and Amazon have pretty much spoiled me for trips to the store, and lest you call me weak and wonder how I escape the mall at back-to-school time, let me remind you that we homeschool so clothes shopping isn’t a regular occurance round here.

But today I went clothes shopping with two of my lovely children who, coincidentally, happened to run out of everything to wear all at once. When I looked at my boy yesterday and realized his one good pair of jeans now had two blown-out knees and one blown-out crotch, I came to the obvious conclusion that it was time to take them to the department store. Not even Amazon Prime was gonna be fast enough to get clothes for my kid to wear to church tomorrow, so there was one solution and I knew it wasn’t gonna be pretty.

 

Somehow, in thirteen years of mommying, I’ve never once clothes shopped at the department store with more than one of my children with me. The thrift store, surrre. But that’s different. At Sally’s there’s the fun little toy section where the kids can quietly play among all the busted up second hand toys that they think are all brand new and fancy because they’re NOTHING like we have at home Mama, and while they enjoy their holiday time on the Island of Misfit Toys, I can peck carefully through the racks of second-hands and find the perfect ones to bring home at a bargain price for my little people’s dresser drawers.

But today wasn’t a Sally’s day. Today was a day when they needed new clothes and they needed them now. Today was a day when I needed to know that they would walk into the store owning one pair of pants (albeit holey), two stained-up shirts, and three single socks, and walk out with enough clothes to look presentable for at least the rest of the week, but more aspiringly, the rest of the year.

So off we went. They were excited on the way over, no one had to climb into the way-back back seat, and everyone got a turn at talking since there was only three of us in the truck.

Just my two kiddos and me and there we were, clothes shopping.

And after filling up the cart with a healthy, hefty stack of girlie possibilities while brother acted the gentleman by waiting patiently on the beige pleather armchair (the kid-version of holding the purse), I pondered exactly how different these two children are.

One is very deliberate. She likes to think things through. Extensively. And she has very high sensory preferences when it comes to anything touching her body. Tags slay her. And sleeves that don’t reach her wrist bones can ruin her day. Tight things are of the devil. So are low collars. Especially V-Necks. Crew necks are okay but don’t even mention the words scoop neck. Or wool. Or anything that is not as soft as your favorite pair of softie jams. Or that is not one of her favorite colors.

 

Within seconds of parking the pile in the dressing room hallway, I remembered all these things from all the Sunday-morning fashion fiascos and I worked her pile into a color-coordinated assembly-line system of trying on structure and order, making her name each item with a No, Maybe, or Yes.

My other one built a pile of shirts in his size, ripped off his clothes and went one by one through the stack, yelling YES! for his favorites before the hem of the shirt even touched the waist of his underwear, or tearing them off within a millisecond if he didn’t care for it, tossing it into the No pile before the hair had even settled back onto his head. I don’t think we even got to the code-word game in his little room.

Four hours and hundreds of dollars later, I about laughed in mad-woman hysterics when the cashier told me that the 25% off Doorbuster coupon I’d been clutching tightly in my fist for the past three hours had expired two hours before, promptly at 1 p.m. just like it says right there in the small print ma’am.  And then, I near melted to the floor in a puddle of mama mush when the big red honking siren-light at the exit doors went off.

The angst.

I dragged my children and my bags back to the checkout line where the sweet elderly clerk went through every.single.item until she found the offending black magnet tag.

It was then that my son told me he hadn’t even eaten breakfast before we left the house.

My composure threatened to crack when I heard that, so I pasted on the everything’s greaaattt Sunday morning church smile at alllll the folks I met on the way out the doors and at the nice drivers who saw me clutching my children’s hands and bags of new wardrobe and figured I was either a sweet, smiling mom who needed a break in traffic or that I was a maniacal Mrs. Joker who was just about to snap so they’d better stay back. I held it together so much that I even managed a three-fingered wave and a head tip to one of them before I finding my truck and making sure all the clothes and both the kids were tucked and buckled.

We pulled out of the parking lot, it was near dark now, dinner time, so I rolled over to Taco Bell and ordered one of everything on the menu for my hungry, wilty children and got them each a soda pop, which only happens when Mama is besieged by guilt over somehow not feeding her child breakfast before subjecting him to HOURS of waiting outside the women’s fitting room while his sister deliberated over a pair of jeggings like a hung jury.

My knees were still trembling with Post Traumatic Shopping Syndrome but my white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel helped to steady me and I flipped on the headlights and pointed the truck toward home.

We hit the highway and big sis passes out tacos and napkins and takes a big gulp of her Sprite and she sighs happy and deep.

“You know what? That was the first time I ever remember clothes shopping like that.”

“Mmmmh. Uh huh.” It’s barely a mumble from my throat but finally, my nerves feel like they might be able to come back and live inside my body again.

“And you know what else Mama?” She chomps on a bite of taco and looks at the dusk outside rolling by.

“Hmmm?” I think back to when they were toddlers and I thought I had it down.

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She shakes the ice in her cup and wipes her mouth and I’m able to smile now, and yes, it used to be hard, but sometimes it feels even harder than it was now that they’re getting bigger, but isn’t it all a joy?

And she smiles back and she says “Mama…it was just delightful.”

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Gettin’ On Autumn

I had the rare opportunity to drive home at dusk with my girl after a late meeting.

This time of year, us Alaskans start to see things we haven’t seen in quite a few months.

Like stars.

Pitch blackness.

Snow on the mountains.

Aurora borealis.

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And she tells me, sometimes at night, when it’s starting to get dark like it is right now, me and Colton just like to go outside and take a big gulp of nighttime air.

And when it’s crisp and it’s sharp and it smells like cranberries….

…that’s how we know it’s Fall.

And there in my truck…holding her sweet hand…watching the stars twinkle over the dusky mountain…

…she reminds me what it’s like to be a child again.
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Hands

Ever since the guinea pig died I’ve been thinking a lot about hands. Working hands. What kind of work our hands do, to be precise. My husband’s hands pet the soft hair of his baby daughter with her tears falling on his big shoulder as she says good bye to the little sick animal she’s loved for years. And then those same hands take a frail and fragile creature that breathes and they turn it into a still and lifeless form with no air left in its lungs. DECEMBER 2014 013 How many times has he been the one to do this? Oh, I could lose count. And on butchering day he is the one to do the killing part, and he teaches his boy to be a gentleman and do the killing part too… …because my soft mama hands are healing hands, not hurting hands he tells me. What about your hands? What kind of work do they do? What do I do with mine that sometimes look pretty but usually have dirt under nails that peel? Up until recently, they used to change diapers. And prepare bottles and pick noses and wash sheets. Today though, they tap out words. And comb hair. And pet horses. Help with schoolwork and fold clothes and read books. But mostly… …they just point the way. Today in church I thought of the smells in the stable because I know what it would’ve smelled like. When I think of a barn…my barn…my brain automatically makes the smell, and it’s hay and it’s wood and it’s cobwebs and manure and animals and life and earth. winter barn I might know the smell, but what I don’t know is who built the manger. Who wove the reeds or who cut the tree and if it was a tree, who chose the wood and who planed it soft so that it wouldn’t rip the lip of a feeding animal? Who made the joints and dovetailed it all together so it’d last long in the stable and not fall apart? My husband used his hands to make a trunk for me once. Took wood and tools and a brush and some stain and made it all into a box so simple and beautiful I love to just run my hand over its smooth sides. What does a man think of when he crafts a manger? His hands must’ve been sure and confident but he probably didn’t even have a thought that the box he was making would someday hold the most important baby ever born.26da7985851b8e3a1185e6866127a3a6a And what about the hands that took tools and a tree and worked just as hard some thirty-three years later? Were those hands rough and were they accurate and did the mind that made the hands move think of what he was making his hands do? How strong do your hands have to be to plane the pole that will bear the dead weight of the savior of the world as He hangs onto every sin ever committed?

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photo credit: the gospel coalition

Did a little sliver of that tree get stuck into a rough callous…a little stick, wedged tight and prickling under the skin of a knarled finger that helped craft the tool to crucify. How long does it take to make a bed for a king? How long does it take to carve an executioner’s tree? And what do those hands look like? My mind sees the task and my mind sees the tools and when my mind sees the hands, they are strong and they work hard and they all look the same.kit in Daddy's hands Hands that build good. And then those same looking hands…constructing for evil. What about yours? What are your hands building? We laid the guinea pig in the ground and my girl took her little nine-year old hands and she shoveled dirt and she tamped earth. And we all circled round and said something sweet. You get used to this dying when you live on a farm. That didn’t stop a tear from coming to her eye though. And when we walked away and started back to the house, she walked with her Daddy… ..and he held her hand.

Paparazzi

So tonight we had a little incident with the paparazzi.

While at the bonfire right after the parade a nice young man walked up to me and the kids with a big smile on his face.

I smiled back and when he said he was from the local newspaper and was wondering if he could talk to me…my smile got even bigger.

{{Think SPARKLE y’all.}}

He asked if I had a moment and of course I told him “Well, uh… okayyy”

{{I MAY have even flipped my hair a little but I’m not sure. MAYBE.}}

Seriously. How did he know about the book SO SOON?

I cleared my throat and prepared to answer some questions.

Then he turned to my kids and said he was here talking to people about the parade and the fireworks and since their mama said it was okay, he’d LOVE to ask them some questions.

{{Writer ego deflates quietly and oozes out the bottom of my boot…}}

He professionally takes out his recorder, asks us a few questions, smiles when I snort laugh and tell him I thought he was coming to talk to me about my book that just came out {{ha ha polite laugh “oh a book. that’s nice”}} and walks away to interview the next person about our little town’s fun tradition.

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Can you EVEN??

I crack myself up sometimes.

And then, in the middle of the fireworks that make us all feel like we’re eight again and that there are no troubles in the world except needing a hot cup of coco to make our life perfect, my little girl, my one who hides her true feelings deep down where I usually have to carefully excavate them, well she looks up at the jet black sky that is bursting with every color you ever thought of, and as the fire flowers dance in her eyes and her round cheeks glow pink, she randomly and casually says “I love you Mama”.

My kids scream at the sky right up through the finale and I howl loud along with them.NOVEMBER 2014 032

And when we pull out, my other daughter holds my hand and the twin snake lines of red tail lights blink on and off with the stop and go cars and Kenny’s on the radio telling us what I already know.

The closest thing to Heaven is a child.

And this writer will take that over paparazzi any day.

 

The Trophy

My girl…

Tends toward the awkward

and things break in her hands.

 

And when she first learned how to talk

she told me she had wobbly legs.

 

My girl…

Pink hurts her eyes

and dresses are her enemy.

 

And when she has to be fancy

she lets me help her pick out nice pants.

 

My girl…

Hates to give kisses

and only likes hugs from her parents.

 

And her back involuntarily stiffens

if anyone else tries.

 

My girl…

Coon skin cap always on,

she can body slam her big brother.

 

And will probably carry a choice husband home

over her shoulder one day.

 

My girl…

Yanks out her own teeth,

and barely feels a hurt when she flips and breaks a bone.

 

And she pops her knuckles like a fighter

before asking her daddy to pop her toes too.

 

My girl…

Who can take a tender moment and

goof it

spill it

crash it

smash it…

…will take the next

 

and love on her little brother like no one else on this earth

because really, deep down, in her heart…

he’s her baby.

 

And then she’ll take the next one

 

and fold her ten year old hands

to ask God if He would protect her heart…

from ever doubting Him.

 

And then in the next moment after that,

 

she’ll scoop up a baby she just met and hold it and love it and teach it

about this whole big world around us –right there in her lap…

attentive mama hen with a brand-new chick.

 

And then when she’s all done with that moment she’ll go and surprise you again with the next.

 

My girl…

She’ll take that trophy she just won,

that shiny sparkly unexpected joy,

the one she worked so hard for…

and she’ll offer it up, selflessly want to give it away to the one girl on the team…

who didn’t win anything.

 

That’s my girl.

My awkward

bumbling

clumsy

girl.

I wish my legs were wobbly like hers.

 

 

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