Thursday, February 25, 2010


In so many ways, she says, "I can do it! Don't you limit me!"  
This day, she was after a cookie.  


She finds a way to reach her goal.  Scoots a bar-stool over, then...


Ah, she did it.


Victory is sweet.


Today a cookie.
Tomorrow, the world. :-)

She causes me to consider: What holds me back? When am I silent when I need to speak? When do I stay still when I need to DO something?

What limits me?

What limits you?

Monday, February 22, 2010

wooden blocks and monopoly games

I came up to my bedroom a while ago. Scattered on our bed: many wooden blocks and beads, along with the Very Hungry Caterpillar card game. A reminder that early this morning, Ahna wanted to play with Mama, rather than go back to sleep. So we drank our milk and coffee and talked about our nighttime dreams. She dreamt "About Eli (E-i)", as she declares any time she is asked about what happens in her sleep-thoughts. And she remarked that he was playing the piano. That part of her sleep memory was different this time. He is usually "doing nuffin."

Left untouched at my bedside: the Bible study I had meant to work on, the Yancey book on prayer that I am reading.

Fast forward to our evening. Eli (12) has had some privileges removed for the night. We end up playing a game of Monopoly, or at least we play MOST of the game. We will have to finish in the morning. (does that game ever end??) I think it turns out to be more enjoyable to him than watching T.V. or playing video games might've been. Or maybe I just hope that is the case. We listen to music, we listen to Ahna play and talk and talk some more in her crib before finally going to sleep. (Jacob: in bed already. Bill & Seth: in Sarasota for that college visit)

Left untouched all over the house: various piles that I had meant to tend to; clothes that didn't get put away; school planning that was intended for the evening...... more housework than I care to mention. 
(How DO you all keep up?)

Tonight, though, I am mindful and thankful for all the things left UNDONE today. Because most usually, I am not OK with all that I think I don't accomplish. My tendency is to be frustrated and aggravated and exhausted by even the thought of all that I need to be doing but don't do. And in the process I begin to feel UNDONE. I begin to wonder why I am the only girl in the world who can't handle or keep up with her "stuff."  I too easily forget that every simple and fun moment that I can can grab with one of my children, is oh-so fleeting.  

So it's a good place to be right now, sitting here writing. Knowing that the time spent talking quietly with Ahna about dreams in the dimness of early morning; laughing with Eli over a Monopoly game this evening: these were TRULY the things that mattered today.

The rest of it? Well, it will all be here tomorrow, won't it?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

on letting go

(Written a few weeks ago):

A toddler girl growing faster than I can keep up with. A senior in high school, who is in Sarasota, Florida with Dad, checking out an Art Institute he's interested in attending. And two more boys in between: the sophomore and the sixth grader.

Earlier today, I was (mentally) back in Knoxville, TN, on our oldest son's  1st day of 1st grade. Both his dad and I took him right to that classroom doorway, of course, on that exciting morning in August, so many years ago. After navigating through the crazy 1st-day-of school traffic that we didn't quite expect, then finally finding a parking place, we raced through the school just as the final bell was ringing, Dad holding our 1st grader's hand, me toting 2 and 1/2 year old brother on my hip.

The tall and slender and lovely Mrs. Smith met us at the door. I naively expected to be invited into the classroom for a few moments to see my big boy off, to see what his first day of school "looked like."  But NO. Mrs. Smith was not at the door to welcome US, but only the 1st grader himself. She had actually only moved toward the door to CLOSE it, of all things, since the bell had just rung. With a smile on her face, she briskly takes OUR boy (MY BOY) by the hand, looks HIM in the eye and welcomes him sweetly, then instructs him to TELL MOM AND DAD GOODBYE. Then she looks at us herself, smiling mockingly, and says, "Bye, Mom and Dad!"  OK, she was not really smiling mockingly.

I felt so jilted, as that door closed (so rudely) in my face.

The lump in my throat was so ginormous that I could barely swallow.  I drove us home, after dropping Dad off at work.  And I cried the whole way.  I remember so vividly walking into that house, going straight to my bedroom and FLINGING myself on the bed, sobbing.  Loudly.  Brother saying, "What's wrong, Mommy?"

My baby. In 1st grade.  How did it happen?

I also remember laying there sobbing and praying and then feeling like the Lord whispered to my heart, (in a very firm tone): "Are you entrusting your child to Mrs. Smith and everyone else at that school? Or are you entrusting him to ME?"  It sounded so loud to me. It boomed in my spirit.

It sounds almost silly now, but I believe that was my first real glimse of what it means to "let go" of my children.  And since that day? Boy oh boy, have I had to let go over and over and over and over.  Am still learning how to do that.  Will I always be learning how to do so?  I think so, yes.

And now the first grader will be graduating from high school and going away for a time, in a few short months.

And I ask myself again, "How did it happen?" How do the days, the weeks, the months, the years fly by so quickly?

Will I be fit and ready to "let go" when I really must? Have all the moments along the way prepared me? All those times when the stark reality has hit me hard that he is not really mine, anyway? That none of our kids are? 

I am reminded of that fact, when one of our teenagers (we have 2, almost 3) is out with friends, and I know he might not be making the same decisions as I would, if I was in his shoes. (or he might.)  I must let go.
I am reminded, when their grades in school don't quite measure up to MY expectations. I must let go.
I am reminded, when it's late at night and all is quiet in the house, and the teenagers aren't yet inside the safety of our home.  They aren't mine.  I must let go.

I try to hold on in so many ways - often in the name of just "influencing" them or "guiding" them.  It is hard. So hard, at times.

So I'll keep pressing forward, learning how to release them moment by moment, day by day.  I'll keep getting frustrated, I am certain, that I seem to take two steps forward in the process, one step back.  Like Ahna and potty-training.

Eventually, though, maybe I'll be a big girl, fully trained, with all the freedoms that come with knowing my boys - and my girl - are much better off in God's hands, and not my own.
Just like Ahna is much better off without the hindrance of those diapers.

And for the record: our soon-to-be high school graduate? He had a WONDERFUL year in first grade, and I ended up adoring his teacher, Mrs. Smith.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

here i am again

It's the name of a song. (the title of my blog-post)

"Here I am. Here we are. The story's gettin' old."

Who knew? As I sat down here to try my hand at posting AGAIN, the phrase just came to mind. So I did what most of us do: I googled it.

And in fact, it is a song. And it's a Hello - I'm Trying This Once More, from me.

"There is no failure except in no longer trying." An American philosopher named somebody Hubbard said that.

So I will try.

I'll fight the urge to be embarrassed that I am HERE yet again, to blog-tease. Only to potentially disappear again.

I will try.

A few of you will pop in.

Grandparents, aunts, cousins, etc. will love the chance to see the pictures I post, since many months and many more miles separate us.

So for starters? A few pictures of Ahna catching some evening playtime in the snow with Daddy. It was coooold, but she didn't mind a bit. She has been waking most mornings and saying, "It's snowy again."
She loves it.....

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Daddy started tossing her into the snow! (very gently)
Mama was standing at the door saying, "DON'T THROW HER IN THE SNOW!!"
Ahna was lovin' it.
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Until she got stuck.
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Still not quite over getting stuck. And not liking the idea that it was time to come in.

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