Sunday, February 27, 2011


As I write this, the boys are running wild, the man strumming his guitar fueling it all.  It's so loud in here with giggles and wild singing that I can barely hear myself think.  Yesterday, when I left for a day of retreat, I didn't know why I was going.  It never really seems that I need a break.  Now that I'm on the other side of it, hulligans running wild, I see it clearly.  I needed some quiet.  Some times with friends and time alone.

The retreat was with some friends from our church.  Older ladies, younger ladies, all of us just seeking some time away.  Time to grow closer to God.  Time to listen.  Time to just be.  It was so good.

I drove there with a good friend and it was so nice to have time to just chat without being interrupted by a child.  Between the two of us we have eight, so this is highly unusual.  I had time to sit during meals and not get up fifty times to get something for someone.  I had time to crochet without feeling like I should be cleaning something.  I got to go for a walk by myself outside!  All of this felt so luxurious, and although I honestly really love being a mother and homemaker, it was so nice to have a break just for a day.

The boys had a splendid day with papa too.  They spent time with their woodworking, had a trip to the library, and played legos with papa all afternoon.  I came home to find everyone all ready for bed and a general atmosphere of peace and happiness.  The house however, was only 57degrees!  Apparently there was some trouble with the thermostat and J hadn't time to fix it while he was watching the kids.  Ah, so he did have a little bit of the experience that I have most days of trying to juggle it all.  :)

He fixed it after a few minutes of my arrival home and we had a good night snuggling in together.  I love this little family.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not Feeding the Cat

One day last summer, I was in the garden at twilight, weeding, tending.  That's when I first saw her.  This little fluffy kitten, crying this loud, growly-sad cry.  She was walking right on the fringe of the woods and I so wanted to go pick her up and bring her home.

I could tell at once that she was not someone's kitten.  She was so little and it didn't make sense for such a little kitten to be in the woods crying and wandering on her own.  When I stood to see her better, her long grey tiger fur stood on end and she gave me a warning snarl.  She was definitely not a tame kitten.  I called to her, because isn't that what you do when you see a kitten that needs you?  "Here kitty, kitty".  No, really.  That's what I did.  So incredibly stupid, but truly that was my action.  At that, she jumped up a tree, realized it wasn't going to work, fell, and ran into the woods without a second thought.

I saw her all last summer.  Her paw prints in our sandbox (and maybe some other "proof" of her too).  Glimpses of her in the sunflower patch and lying under the grapevines where the earth is cool and damp.  She grew, and by fall was a lovely, long haired, tiger girl.  And whenever I saw her, thriving as she was, I thought she must be someone's cat afterall.  Because a "wild" cat couldn't possibly survive without a human (without me?).   At least, that is what my slightly arrogant "here kitty, kitty" attitude privately thought.

A few days ago we had a doozy of an ice storm.  And then yesterday I saw her again.  Same long grey fur.  This time at night, twenty degrees, long hair completely frozen into long drips of ice.  She was in the neighbor's driveway.  When she saw me through the window she ran across the road and onto another neighbor's porch.  And again, I immediately thought I must do something!  Wild cats can't survive with ice for fur.  She must need me.  I thought about how to feed her or entice her to my porch.  Only to give up my schemes when my very realistic husband told me I was absolutely not aloud to put food out for her or waste the $7 a gallon milk on some cat. (cats don't even digest milk well he says)

Today I saw her footprints on my porches.  Both the front and back.  Oh, and she ripped the garbage bag and had some supper.  So, I guess I had already unintentionally put "food" out for her.  And as I cleaned up the mess and swept up the snowy pawprints I realized that I go about my life thinking that I must help all the wild cats of the world.  Sometimes the wild cats are people who are in need.  Sometimes they are people who really would benefit from me stepping in to aid, but sometimes it is not helpful at all, even though I think it is.  Sometimes, though I am ashamed to admit it, the wild cat is a person that *I* think is in need of my help, but that's not the case at all.  I wonder how often I've stepped in and "helped" when really it's just come off as me being arrogant or nosey or bossy or the like.  "Here, kitty, kitty."

Oh, to see the heart of those around me.  That I could truly learn to see intentions and feelings and kindness when it is there right before me.  That I could set aside my own judgements of what *I* think is best or right and just look to what is True.  To truly love without judgement, without having to think it all through and decide about anything.  But to just love.  That is what I want to learn.  I so wish I had learned this at a younger age.  I often feel like I am just stumbling through.  Perhaps this part of the journey is just like that, and I will get better at it as I go.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Little Men

Recently, a lady from our town decided to give away some old books.  They had belonged to her mother who is now in her eighties.  There were two bags of them.  All from the twenties, published on "wartime" paper.  Several Alcott, a book of poetry and other books of which I had never heard.  How this woman, who I do not personally know, found me to give them to is somewhat of a mystery.  And since, I think of these delicious books as valuable treasure, I am inclined to think that somehow God's hand was in this.

Today, my Badger found Little Men.  He's read Little Women.  Back when he was six.  He loved it.  I was so glad.  Today he started this one and after reading about the Saturday night pillow fights, decided it was delicious too.  

I delight in having a boy that loves to read as much as I do.  It is such a privilege to be able to find books for him to devour.  I used to think it a burden, because finding things that were age appropriate yet still engage him, has been time consuming.  Now as he gets older, and I know him even better, I am finding more and more things that he is ready for and it is so amazing.  He is reading and thinking and his mind is being shaped by these books.  What a privilege to be part of that.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

All I need

Still writing it down.  All the gifts.  Taking notice.  Awakening to God's love, and seeing, really seeing that I've been given all that I need.

 White roses opening, opening.  Sweet smell fills the air.  Given in love from my husband.  Ever giving to me in so many ways.
 Owl's little hands scooping seeds for the birds.

Walks with my boys.

Arms to hold them.  Hands to wipe noses and dry tears.

The purple teapot.

New bird feeders.

Sleep.  Cozy bed.  J's warmth.

Clean water.  Bath tub to hold them all.  Splashes, laughter, brothers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yesterday's Adventure

It's been crazy warm here, for Febraury.   We've been outside every chance we've gotten, soaking up the sun, splashing in the puddles and reacquainting ourselves with our old friends in the woods.  I've missed the trees.  The snow and cold of January made it almost impossible to walk in the woods.  Even yesterday when we were out, with the several days of forty degree weather the snow was up past my knee.  We ventured out anyway, into the woods, to catch a glimpse at the very large bird that we've seen from the kitchen window.  

The snow was so deep, and had a thick crust of ice on the top.  The boys could easily walk on top of it, while I stepped in deep with every step.  It was exhausting work.  I pulled the sled behind me with little Hen happily settled in.  We walked and walked and got stuck in the snow several times.  Little Owl took the opportunity to howl and cry as much as possible.  "Oh! There's snow in my boot! Oh! My glove is off again!"  After a few minutes of this, I knew we would not see our prize.  What bird in his right mind would stay out in clear view when such craziness is afoot. 

I did see him though the day before when I took the dog out for a run.  I couldn't get a good picture because he was so high up in the tree.  Here's the best I could do.

What kind of bird do you think it might be?  An owl?  This same bird from fall? If it is the same bird then he's grown quite a bit.  And in case it helps he is a noisy, noisy flyer because I've heard him take off, his giant wings making this awesome sound.

I hope the boys will get another chance to see him.  I wonder if he will migrate or if he is here to stay.  Our adventures will have to wait though, because it seems we are getting yet another virus.  Little Hen is   coughing, coughing, coughing, and the other boys are just starting with it.

Off to take care of the wee, sad, coughing man.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Latest Creation

The new bathroom rug.....

My crochet stitches are starting to be more consistent which helps the rug look more put together.  The colors are crazy, but that is part of the fun!

What do you think?  Crazy beautiful?  Or just Crazy? ;)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

From Where I've Come

Thirty five years ago on Valentine's Day, I met my family for the first time.  My mother, the one who grew me up, and my Father, the one who was there, came to meet me at my foster home.  My foster parents had many children living with them.  They waited until the children came home from school to say goodbye to me before they gave me away.  I was loved.
 My family met me that day and they didn't know what they were in for.  They loved me anyway.  When my mom tells me the story of meeting me that day she always says, "I remember thinking how pretty you were and how lucky we were to have such a pretty baby."  (or something very close to that)
 When I was pregnant with my first baby, it happened in February.  Very close to the day that my own mother, the one who carried me in her belly, would have conceived me.  My belly grew, and I thought of her.  Her belly carrying me.  Her giving me her life for those long months.  And I wondered about it.  I wondered what she thought.  What she did.  Did my kicks bring her joy?  Grief?  Wonder? Fear?

I have had seasons of wanting to know more.  Wanting to know where I have come from.  The story.  The reasons, perhaps?  I've wondered if the reasons would really matter.  I mean, when it comes right down to it, I think maybe it doesn't really matter.  The past can be like that sometimes.  At least in my experience.

Recently I read a story of a woman whose name has shaped her life.  It's meaning has given her meaning.  And I was thinking about how we name our children so carefully.  And thinking too, that I wonder if God has His own names for us.  Secret names that no one knows but Him and us.  We have forgotten them now, as if it were a dream perhaps.  But when we see Him in heaven maybe He will call us by our real names and it will be like we suddenly remember who we really are.  I like to think that.

Anyway, I got to thinking that I wonder what the real meaning of my name is.  So I looked it up.  My name, the one my birth mother gave me was Trisha Marie.  And my name, the one my mom gave me, is Rebecca Jean.
Trisha means "of noble birth".
Marie means many things. "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child"
Rebecca means "a snare"
and Jean means "God is gracious"

When I learned of this it really mattered to me.  The name my birth mother gave me, "of noble birth".  "rebelliousness and wished for child".   I don't know the story of why I was given up for adoption....but I do know this.  God had a plan for me.  I'm so grateful to the woman who carried me.  I'm so glad she gave me life.

Rebecca means "snare" and I have to honestly admit that it has been a snare to me.  Being adopted is wonderful.   Or at least it has been for me.  My parents are amazing.  They have loved me deep, and let me tell you, that has not always been easy.  Despite this, truthfully, a baby can not be separated from the mother who carried her without knowing.  I believe I knew when I left her.  My mom, the one who grew me up, used to tell me that when I was a baby I used to always sleep with my hands clenched tightly into fists.  And she would always love me up and hold me and rock me to try to settle me down.  And I was not a cuddly baby.  I just wanted to be set down.  Little baby fists clenched to the world.  Yes, it's been a snare.  A wonderful, life saving, loving experience, but still I've been tripped up by it.

And Jean.  "God is gracious".  Yes.  He is.  I know little else.  I had a dream once, shortly after J and I were married, where my grandmother and my mother were in our old house with me.  And I was crying at them and asking them why life had to be this way.  With all of the trouble and heartache that comes.  Why is life so messy I cried?  And they both said, these things have happened so that you would be strong.  And I woke up just sobbing.  My loving husband was so startled by my crying that he actually sat straight up in bed and hit me.  For real.  Punched me on the arm.  Apparently he thought he was being assaulted.  We still laugh about that.

These are my thoughts this Valentines Day.  Love.  Grace.  No matter where you've come from.  So that you can be strong.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Glimpse of Today

Just look at these frowsy-headed boys.
 This photo shows, rather accurately I think, just how we all are feeling.  This Croup is such a bummer.  We are still under the weather and tired, tired, tired from all the coughing.  We ARE on the mend though and I'm glad to report that at least we are sleeping a bit better and breathing a bit better too.  It's been a long two weeks.  Loooooooong.  What makes it so hard really, is just that little Hen is so crabby.  He doesn't feel good so I don't blame him, but it's been a little rough on us all.  He's fine so long as he's held.  And adored.  And the center of Mama's world.  Which I'd gladly do all day if I hadn't three other sick children, and the need to blow my own nose.  :)

Here's what we've been doing to keep up our spirits.  Besides our regular child-led, loosey goosey routine of school work, which on most days means Math and Writing in our journals.  There's been lots of building.....
 the draw bridge actually functions on a pulley....
Cricket and Little Owl have entered a Lego Contest.  The category was flying creatures.  Here is Owl's firefly with light up brick. (yes, it really lights up)

There's been lots of this. 
 Yes, that's me and Hen sitting on the kitchen floor.  Just sitting and holding hands.  And me singing songs.  And holding.  And talking.  And holding.  And drying tears.  Poor little man.

And then there was some of this.  We planted seeds!  In these cute little blue pots that I recently bought for myself.  (they were just a dollar!  hurray for finding pretty pots for a dollar!)
We planted basil in all of these little pots and then a big pot of dill and another of parsley.  Ahhh, how I love to grow things.  It is so wicked cold outside just now, but this...this planting helps me endure.  Every time I put a seed in the dirt, it's like revisiting the promise of growth.  Of hope.  Yes.  Hope!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Valentine Flower Wreath

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I've been making crochet hearts!  They are a snap to make and can be used for all kinds of things.  I recently strung a whole bunch of brown, red, and pink ones together to make a heart garland, but sorry...I forgot to take a photo before I gave it away.  

 Today I decided that it was high time to take down the wreath on the door, which until a few days ago was hanging there to greet me everytime I came home saying, "Happy Thanksgiving!"  Aack!
I finally took it down, because I couldn't stand its teasing.  And, today, I gave it a makeover.  And voila! Spring time! Now when I walk through the door the wreath just keeps its mouth shut.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Butterfly Window Watercolors

Did you know today is National Monarch Day?  Well at least that is what one of my favorite blog moms has in her awesome February calendar.  Go check out Se7en for her awesome calendar days.  We have been having so much fun with some of these and it's been a fun addition to our homeschooling journey.

Today in celebration of Monarch butterflies we decided to make some colorful watercolors for our windows.  It was a great reason to take down all the paper snowflakes in the windows that honestly had overstayed their welcome.  Now we have beautiful bits of color all around and the effect is really quite cheery.
 Here's what we did.  (I got this general idea from the Crafty Crow, but we modified it a bit to make butterflies and valentines and paw prints and all sorts of shapes.)  We cut out shapes from paper towels...
 Then we mixed up some really watery watercolors....folded up our shapes again and again...and dipped corners into different colors.
 Then we (carefully) unfolded them.  The colors and folds make brilliant designs and look like this!
 Set them aside to dry for a bit on a big old towel and you're done!  All this arting left little Hen wanting to join in, but the dipping was a bit messy for him so we got out the paper and brushes too.

And pretty soon everyone was painting and one boy was making stencils out of cardstock and we all had a nice time of creativity and togetherness, which was long overdue.  We have all been rather sick lately with Croup.  It's been a long week, but I am hopeful we will be better soon.  The sun is shining today.  The light brings with it hope and freshness and a sense that all is well.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snowed In

Last night, J and I snuggled in under the big quilt and watched an episode of Lark Rise to Candleford.  (We've been watching old episodes from the library and are unashamed to admit that we love it, and can't wait for the next disc to arrive. )  The whole while the snow whipped against the windowpanes.  It actually was a bit frightening how windy it was.  The snow was coming down so hard that you could barely see the houses across the street!  And today we awoke to this....
 I love how snow tells its story of where its been and of the wind that shaped it....

 Snowed in!
 All the windows had the wind's artwork....

 I love being snowed in.  So long as J is with us.  I feel like snow days are especially for homeschooling mothers....days where God smiles on us and says....Here child, have your love home with you today.

The boys have been sick with nasty colds.  We are done with the fevers now, and on to the coughs.  Badger is having trouble with wheezing again, which makes my heart worry.  Hen is so clingy and needy, poor little guy.  Having J home today has been a huge help.  I wanted to leave you with something uplifting....and wanted to share these pictures from a few days back, before the cold found us.

Here is what you get when you mix this....

 with this.....
 and one giant clothe teepee....
 wait for it.....
 ha ha!