Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"It's Mother"

Learning from The Secret Garden
(If you haven’t read the book, please don’t read this, go read that instead!)

In the Garden

We were listening to The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett on the drive home:

"Who is coming in here?" he [Collin] said quickly. "Who is it?"
The door in the wall had been pushed gently open and a woman had entered. She had come in with the last line of their song and she had stood still listening and looking at them. With the ivy behind her, the sunlight drifting through the trees and dappling her long blue cloak, and her nice fresh face smiling across the greenery she was rather like a softly colored illustration in one of Colin's books. She had wonderful affectionate eyes which seemed to take everything in—all of them, even Ben Weatherstaff and the "creatures" and every flower that was in bloom. Unexpectedly as she had appeared, not one of them felt that she was an intruder at all. Dickon's eyes lighted like lamps.
"It's Mother—that's who it is!" he cried and he went across the grass at a run…

Susan Sowerby went round their garden with them and was told the whole story of it and shown every bush and tree which had come alive. Colin walked on one side of her and Mary on the other. Each of them kept looking up at her comfortable rosy face, secretly curious about the delightful feeling she gave them—a sort of warm, supported feeling…”

And that’s were I felt that little choking feeling in my throat, the feeling of a sudden rush of emotion. 

“It’s mother” 

The power and influence and wonder of what it means to be “mother” suddenly washed over me as I listened to the description of this woman. The power of one woman to shape lives. 

In the day to day “drudgery” (except that of course we shouldn't think of it as drudgery I know) that motherhood can become- the washing of the constant stream of clothes, the preparation & clean up of meals (plus snacks so that’s like 10 meals a day right?), the constant requests, decision making, sibling squabbles, etc. it’s so hard to remember the incredible importance of what we are doing. But this children’s book helped me remember.

A few minutes later the little choke of emotion threatened to turn into an all out flood...

“Susan Sowerby got up at last to return to the house… It was time for Colin to be wheeled back also. But before he got into his chair he stood quite close to Susan and fixed his eyes on her with a kind of bewildered adoration and he suddenly caught hold of the fold of her blue cloak and held it fast.
"You are just what I—what I wanted," he said. "I wish you were my mother—as well as Dickon’s!""

“You are just what I wanted.”

Our children may not think of it, but if they did isn’t that what they'd say? If they had the wisdom and understanding of the world wouldn’t they want us, just us, in all our imperfections?

Susan Sowerby, plain old Yorkshire, mother of 12 (12!!!) with very little, if any, formal education…I never saw it before. I’ve read this book so many times and I never saw who the true hero, rather heroin is until today.
“It’s Mother”!!!

That’s when I was glad for my sunglasses to hide the tears so I didn’t need to explain to the kid’s just then.

Without Susan Sowerby (why the author gave this great literary woman a name that starts with “sour” I do not know, except maybe to show that the greatest among us don’t necessarily have great sounding names), without her this story would not have gone well. This character is seen herself so little in the dialogue that she’s not even included in the movie adaptations! (at least not the ones I’ve seen). Yet without her who would have mentioned to Lord Craven that he should see Mary and let her run in the gardens free of a governess so that she could discover the great Secret? What motivation would Mary have had for going out of doors if dirt poor Mrs. Sowerby didn’t scrape the money together to buy the child a skipping rope? Would Dickon have been the boy he was and played so great a part if Susan had not been his mother? She was such a woman that even Lord Craven listened to her advice, and the housekeeper of the great house listened to her and considered her a friend. How would the children have kept their secret and grown so healthy without the simple, healthy food Susan helped provide? And who but that simple, wise woman would have had the boldness to write the letter that prompted Lord Craven to come home?
What a powerful part she played. So powerful that it’s hardly noticed. It was just her few wise words and thoughtful actions that shaped the lives of so many.

I know, it’s only children’s literature, but it’s great literature. And this part is true. Mothers are powerful and beautiful and we cannot forget. We cannot forget our influence and our importance. We cannot grow weary of the day-to-day “drudgery” (I know I have to find a better word).

I want to be a “Susan Sowerby”. 
I want to be the mother my children always wanted.
I’m humbled, overwhelmed and so thankful to be


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What You do Daily {printable}

The beginning of a new year
For me, also the beginning of a new year of life.
My birthday month & a brand new 12 months waiting to be lived-
must be time for planning
and dreaming
and writing it all down.

I love planning.
When I start to feel grumpy it’s probably time for some writing & dreaming & planning. That’s how my thoughts get processed, the emotions get untangled so I can see what the thinking is behind the feeling. So I can remember what’s important and take stock of my life to see if I’m on the right path, to check on my baby steps and see if I’m baby-stepping in the direction I want to go. 
The thing with baby steps is, they will get you were you want to go as long as you keep pointed in the right direction.

Last year I came across a blogpost about daily reading rituals by Laura Vanderkam. The very first sentence grabbed my attention. The article was good, but it was that one sentence that wouldn’t turn lose of my brain.

“What we do daily has a profound effect on our lives.”

I started thinking about what the things were that if I did them daily would have the profound effect I wanted. What daily tasks would baby step me in the direction I wanted to go? 

I dreamed about my life for a while, what I wanted it to look like. Then
I made a list.
& of course I needed to be able to see that list everyday so I typed it up in PicMonkey so I could make it something I wanted to look at everyday & this is the result:

{I just printed it out on regular paper & hung it up on a clipboard.}

I wrote & typed up my list not only for myself but also with the consciousness {& hope} that my children might soak up some of the daily habits of profound effect, either by seeing the list or by watching me. Because as a parent {or as a human} growing & pursuing my purpose is bigger than just me.

You are welcome to use my list,
but I do think there is something very important about the process of thinking about what we want in our individual lives,
making a list.

I think we all have our own lists to make.
Feel free to use mine as a starting place if you like.

It’s just that time of the year ya know. Re-thinking life & plans & 12 fresh months waiting for action. 
Honestly, I have to do this way more often than once a year,

daily probably. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hurry up and Move! Part 4

Part 4 of Where I’ve Been

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Our “new” home (we were leaving our new construction home for something decidedly not new)  was turning out to be much more work than we had anticipated. Typical eh? From popcorn ceilings to old carpet it was all getting an overhaul. 

We had approximately a month to pack, renovate and move.

(Starting to feel stressed again and all this happened months ago. Breathe, just breathe and write…)

It didn’t help that we were heading into July and that meant hot. Hot air. Sweating and stress. 
Josh worked on the “new” house, I worked at the “old” one, packing. Packing while caring for our five, keeping them fed & such and trying to keep enough clothes clean for everyone. 

I thought I had done a pretty good job packing here and there but I quickly realized that there was a long way to go. The big stuff wasn’t a problem. The main furniture we took with us was a couch, table & chairs, some shelves, a desk and the bunkbeds. Other than the refrigerator and ping-pong table from the garage, pretty much everything else was “small” stuff. 

That “small stuff” just about did me in.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Looking, Part 3

Part 3 of "Where I’ve Been"

We struggled for a while about whether to put an offer on the place or not. But we had looked at so many other properties and nothing else in our target price range seemed to have what this place had. We eventually put in an offer…

which was rejected.

It was a relief in a way because we took that as God’s answer and started looking again.

Looked and prayed.

And kept coming back to the property on the hill.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Waiting, Part 2

Part 2 of "Where I've Been"

Part 1

I get a bit of a shudder inside honestly thinking back over the market months (almost a year's worth). Those were tough, tough months. I was reminded over and over of my desperate need of Jesus in those months, shown how very much I still need to grow, stretched almost beyond what I thought I was really capable of at times. 

I didn’t try to keep the house show-ready 24 hours of every day. I did try to keep it at the point where I could get it show ready in a few hours or less. What would happen though is however long I had to get ready for a showing, that’s how long it took me to get ready. Anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours, somehow it seemed to take right up to the last minute to get all the things put away, the kid's toilet clean and all the dishes in the dishwasher (or in a laundry basket hidden in the garage) and rush everyone out the door. I never quite had it “perfect.”

Dishes in the laundry basket to hide in the garage,
cleaning supplies, paint for touch-ups and -of course-

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Where I've Been, Part 1

Well hello there.

I suppose I ought to tell why this space has been pretty quiet over the majority of the past year or more. Pretty quiet- there is that scrolling feed of pics over there showing little bits of our life through Facebook & Instagram. Only because of that has this space not been almost completely silent and neglected for so many months.

I’ll tell why. 
I started out planning to tell a condensed version, but even “condensed” I’m going to need to break it into more than one post. It is a story after all.

I- my husband and I & our children along with us-have been running after a dream.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this- tends to run hard after one thing at a time. Balance always has been a struggle. I latch onto one thing and want to pour everything into it, give it my all, not satisfied until…hmmmm, well until I’ve got it just about “perfect.” Perfection though is elusive and I end up just having to say “ok, it’s done. For now.” This happens over and over in my life and this past year and a half has been no exception.

The dream, an aspect or stepping stone of our overall dream for our life, that we've been chasing was our move. We have moved to “the country”. I’d call it semi-rural.

Driveway in springtime

Sunday, June 15, 2014

My Dad

My Dad
Who can build a warm fire to heat the house he built for his family.
Who flew big airplanes and served his country.
Who carried mail down dusty, muddy, bumpy roads on a rural mail route.
Who drove a tractor and rode horses even when they weren't quite broke yet and branded cattle and unstuck vehicles and cut the big trees when they fell during the Louisiana storms.
Who came home from the mail route to read a book about something that needed fixing and then went to fix that thing.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Story for Mother's Day

It has been a year since I last posted.

Mother’s Day a whole year ago.

Well, tonight I’m no longer waiting for an opportunity, I’m just jumping in and here we go…

A Mother’s Day Story

Or rather, a Story for Mother’s Day.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mommy Resolution #16

to love my children 
by loving my husband.

Art by Joshua, my husband

"Then they [the older women] can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children"
Titus 2:4

{The rose was drawn at the center of a love note, a gift from my husband one Valentine's Day. He knows one of my favorite things is a handwritten note from him.}

This previous post explains a bit more about this resolution.

See previous resolutions here

The Getaway

My husband and I got to get away for a few days. We both needed it. I think the last time we went anywhere just the two of us was our anniversary, December 2009. We really needed a getaway.

I didn’t really have too many expectations for the trip except that I just knew I needed it. I needed a break. I really just focused on getting everything done, the kids packed and over to Grandma’s and us packed and on our way. I didn’t think very much past that point.

I did know one thing though. The trip needed to be about us. We both have plenty of things to pursue: books to read, things to study, think about, write, etc. but without even discussing it, we both kind of mentally laid all that aside. I checked in on Facebook one time. I glanced at my email maybe once. And that was it for social media. No Instagram. No blogging. I even stopped writing in my head.

We just focused on being together. It was like it was before- before the kids. Like it was back when we were newlywed and totally wrapped up in one another.
It was wonderful & just what we needed.

I think I took about 5 pictures. And they were all like this: