A Weekend in Maine

We celebrated the Labor Day weekend up in Maine with Darren’s family. It’s fun watching all the cousins playing together and letting them run a little wild outside at Grammie and Papa’s house in the woods. We live off a busy road here so even though I let my kids play outside a lot, it’s just a different feel up in Maine among the woods and pastures, mountains and lakes. Everything feels slower and quieter (helped I’m sure, by the fact that my phone doesn’t even really work up there).
IMG_20180903_125357_582.jpgNow we are home and I was tempted not to post anything about our trip at all. We have spent most of the day in post-travel meltdowns and tears. I have a mound of dirty laundry to unpack and wash. Everyone is just a bit tired and out of sorts and it didn’t feel genuine at first to share a bunch of photos of smiling faces when that is not at all how things look today.IMG_20180903_131137_453.jpg

IMG_20180903_130132_273.jpgBut that is life—this mixture of happy memories photographed and cherished combined with all the headache and frustration that comes with leaving and trying to come back into your routine (especially with little kids).ย IMG_20180903_125919_996.jpgSo here are some of my favorite photos from our weekend, mostly of my kids’ faces while they watched the Labor Day parade ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_20180903_130237_763.jpg

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Life with Littles and Other Misadventures

Already we are to the last week of August and in some ways, it feels like the last week of summer too. Though we are still in the middle of 90+ degree days, kids are heading back to school and here and there I notice leaves beginning to change. On Monday we will celebrate Labor Day here in the States and with that, summer’s last hurrah will officially be over.

We decided last-minute, middle of the week to take one final trip to the ocean. I ran around the house tossing everything in bags and as soon as Darren walked in the door from work on Monday, we threw the kids in the car and took off for a hotel. Darren and I are both fairly spontaneous, adventurous people and if there is a trip to be had, we will gladly be taking it. But life with kids is certainly a lesson in patience and flexibility when you are used to going where the wind blows.

This was our first time staying in a hotel with both kids. Roman had a wonderful time and was especially excited about going downstairs for a hotel breakfast in the morning ๐Ÿ™‚ Aletheia saw no real point in sleeping at all.IMG_20180828_174710_111.jpgThe more I do life with kids the more I believe two things: 1) Kids make everything more magical and 2) Kids make everything harder. As grownups, we don’t typically leap from one hotel bed to the other in excitement. Nor do we race downstairs first thing in the morning for a continental breakfast. We’re mostly just tired and grumpy. So watching the world unfold through a child’s eyes is a lot of fun and a good reminder to chill out and enjoy life a little more.

However, children are also the most difficult, infuriating creatures alive.IMG_20180828_174506_267.jpgWe wanted to walk around Portsmouth for a couple of hours before heading to the beach. We hadn’t been in years and never with our kids. Portsmouth never seems to change. All our favorite shops are just as they’ve always been. I walked through my favorite letterpress store that still sells all my favorite Rifle Paper products, got my favorite dirty chai latte at the same little German cafรฉ, and had sandwiches at our favorite sandwich shop.IMG_20180828_174343_657.jpgWe walked the same loop down through Main street, by the water, and back up. Everything was just as I remembered it from previous visits. Only this time we pushed a stroller over the uneven cobblestone streets and listened to a toddler file many a complaint in the background. He did not want to go in the stores. He did not want to walk. He did not want to eat the fancy grilled cheese we bought him for lunch though it was made with his three favorite food groups (bread, butter, cheese).IMG_20180828_174242_172.jpgHe wanted to go to the ocean and that was all. So after we finished lunch, got the stroller back in the car and both kids back in their car seats, we left for the water. Once there, we figured out how to the load the beach tent, umbrella, chairs, and beach mat along with snacks, sippy cups, changes of clothes and diapers into our trusty red wagon. Everyone changed into swimwear and off we trekked to the sand.

It was approximately 2,000 degrees out and as soon as Roman touched the sand he began to come unhinged. He didn’t want sand on his hands and he didn’t want sand on his feet. His legs most certainly did not work and he desperately wanted to be carried. I was already carrying his sister and his dad was carrying everything else we own in the little red wagon.

So Mr. Roman plopped himself down in that horribly offensive sand and threw a royal temper tantrum. It wasn’t a horrible day, really, it was just another day with kids. All winter my friends talk about how they can’t wait to go to the beach, sit by the water, and read a book. And I chuckle inside a bit because that is not at all how I picture a day at the beach…and that is why I only go once or twice a year.IMG_20180828_174824_398.jpgI know this season of littles will change. Someday when we want to take a trip to the ocean all we will have to do is throw a couple boogie boards at our kids and they will be happy all day—and I will finally get to read that book. But for now, traveling with kids feels a bit more like an obstacle course and a lot less like a vacation.

But we’re not quitters, Darren and I—we spent last night on Google and Amazon trying to figure out how to get ourselves, our children, two car seats, a stroller, and two suitcases through the airport next month. We will travel, watch the world unfold before our children’s eyes, and deal with plenty more tears along the way—both theirs and ours.

Here’s to life with littles and all the misadventures along the way โคIMG_20180828_170121_273.jpg

Let’s Make Blogging Fun Again

I started blogging seven years ago in 2011. A lot about blogging has changed since then. Honestly, some of those changes have started to suck the life out of my interest in this space and the online spaces of others. When I first starting sharing online, I did so after being inspired by what I saw from a handful of creative people. I loved the stories I came across and all the interesting photos accompanying them. I loved having a peek into someone else’s life and marveling at both how similar and different we all are.IMG_20180826_142648_734.jpgBlogging has made me a better writer and photographer and given me courage and inspiration to share when I previously would not have done so.

But then, as with all things it seems, someone figured out you can make money with these spaces — be it through ads, an online shop, affiliate links or however you choose. You can brand, build a platform, attract a huge audience and following, and in the process, create an image completely your own. You can (and are encouraged to) curate and color coordinate your image feed, your home, yourself, and your whole messy life into a visually attractive color scheme. We document and share both everything and nothing at all.IMG_20180826_142758_185.jpgWe try to be “real” and “raw” while also being positive and uplifting. We want people to know our lives are not perfect or easy, that they’re messy and complicated, but also magical and sprinkled with beauty throughout. So we do our best to share the hard stuff but also to balance it out with all the good. We take in mountains of beauty through the images and stories of others and struggle not to compare our own lives and stories with all the many bits and pieces we see each day.IMG_20180822_165935_270.jpgWe admire the house remodels and exotic trips, the stylish clothes and curated lifestyles, the gourmet food and fruffy coffees, the love stories and darling families, the book launches and success stories — it’s all good — we know that. But there’s just so much of itย and sometimes we wonder where we even fit in anymore. What do I have to offer in a world already so full of both beauty and heartache? Hasn’t everything already been shared and said?IMG_20180823_222036_004.jpgIt’s like those rare times when you stumble across something truly interesting and unique and it seems at first that no one else even knows about it — a sweet little coffee shop, a book or song, a little store that sells the coolest stuff. You like it because it’s different and you like it because it’s yours. But then other people start to realize how good the coffee is there or that book you loved is adapted into a movie for the masses and some of the magic is lost.

The little shop you loved gets bought by a big corporation and though they can now mass produce the same results at a fraction of the cost, the unique quality of it is lost. It’s not yours anymore; it’s everyone’s.IMG_20180823_222352_445.jpgThat’s how blogging, and social media in general feel to me now. Where once I read every single post featured on “Freshly Pressed” and truly enjoyed so many of them, I hardly open any of the ones featured now. Why? Because they feel like “big business” now. Political. Corporate. How To — grow, build, expand. I miss reading normal people’s normal little stories. I miss the days when Facebook really was for staying in touch with friends and family rather than selling something or growing a following. I miss photography that was good but didn’t feel quite so professional and curated. I miss the good old days of blogging.IMG_20180823_221837_900.jpgAm I alone in this? I’m genuinely curious how others feel on the matter. Do you like the changes or wish we could go back to the way things were ten years ago?

Obviously I can’t change what anyone else does or how social media operates at large, but I have decided for myself at least to do just that — to go back to the “good old days.”

I would like this space to be my own and not driven by the stats. I want to get back to sharing the stories from my heart and the normal, every day photos that accompany them.IMG_20180823_221713_403.jpgThis week I made a conscious effort to pull my camera out more often and document what was going on around me. Not just for the sake of having something to share online but for the sake of creating and remembering. I want to notice and remember what our life was like, every day, in between — and not just the big trips or special occasions. So the photos in this post are just that — our week. The evening at the park, our Sunday best, snuggling after long days and temper tantrums — all the normal moments of all our normal days. Next week I hope to do the same and the week after that too.

I hope in a year when I look back over this space to have a week-by-week documentation of our lives and all the ways we loved, grew, and changed. Memory and reflection of how our lives and family and story were written and built one normal day on top of another.IMG_20180822_165713_064.jpgMaybe you will join me in taking our blogs back to the inspiration from which they once sprung. Here’s to recapturing some magic and rolling our eyes at the corporation. Fist bump ๐Ÿ˜‰

London Day Six: Shakespeare Play at The Globe

On our last night in London, we went to see As You Like It at Shakespeare’s Globe.

It amazes me how words written hundreds of years ago can still fill a building and get an audience laughing out loud, cheering, and dancing. And it reminded me too how powerful and lasting words can be.

We’ve always wanted to see Shakespeare in London and it was the perfect way to end our trip.

Now we’re home — recovering from jetlag, babies in our arms. Time alone with Darren is magic and I’m so thankful we got away and got to explore such a beautiful city together. And though I’m a little sad the adventure is over, I can’t tell you how good it is to be home with my littles again. Now we just need to seek out the love and adventures to be had right here.

Thanks for reading along; I had fun sharing our trip with you. If you missed any of the posts in this London series you can read them all by clicking the links below ๐Ÿ˜Š

London Day One: Kensington Gardens // Hyde Park // Buckingham Palace // The Strand

London Day Two: The British Museum // Westminster

London Day Three: Piccadilly // Trafalgar Square // The Phantom of the Opera

London Days Four and Five: Windsor Castle // Stonehenge // Oxford

London Day Two: The British Museum // Westminster

I always wanted to be an archaeologist growing up — I even looked into several programs when deciding what to do for college.

And I still love old stuff today — the feel of an old book in my hands, quality leather goods over cheaper alternatives, the vintage typewriter I keep beside the laptop reminding me to keep my writing rooted in something deeper than today’s trends and fashions.

So when we were talking about where to go for our anniversary, London topped my list for one big reason — The British Museum.

For the last four years I’ve worked my way through the Old Testament using an Archaeology Study Bible that gives insight into the culture and history surrounding the Biblical narrative.

One day after getting lost in the story of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire, I noticed something — All the artifacts mentioned are housed in The British Museum — and I knew I had to see them with my own eyes.

Also we took approximately 37,000 selfies and upon review I learned two things: I don’t smile enough and Darren has no idea where to look at my camera; we’ll work on both ๐Ÿ˜‰

4,000 year old door from Egypt making all my Indiana Jones dreams come true โค

The Rosetta Stone

What I was most excited to see — the Babylonian exhibit and the Ishtar gate…I kinda geeked out a little bit ๐Ÿ˜

WESTMINSTER //

After the museum, we decided to walk around Westminster for a bit. Unfortunately Big Ben and Parliament were under construction and I wasn’t able to get many pics but it was still a fun area to walk around.

London is enchanting and there’s certainly lots more to come โค

If you’d like to read the previous post in this series check out the link below:

London Day One: Kensington Gardens // Hyde Park // Buckingham Palace // The Strand

London Day One: Kensington Gardens // Hyde Park // Buckingham Palace // The Strand

We landed in London yesterday to celebrate our 10th anniversary a few weeks early. Here are a few pictures and memories from our first day (follow along throughout the next week if you’d like to see more ๐Ÿ˜Š).

Life rushes by if you let it. This season of parenting little ones is intense and I often find myself longing for a pause button or a slower rhythm to our days — time enough to enjoy food and coffee hot, to consume a few pages of a book, to carry on a conversation about more than the logistics of the day.

Sometimes you have to get away for a minute, to breathe new air and catch your breath. That’s what this week in London is for us. We celebrate our marriage and the years we’ve shared with sleeping in and waking up slowly, walking hand in hand through places we’ve never been (isn’t that what all of marriage is?), savoring uninterrupted conversations and the time to really see and enjoy each other again outside the normal hustle of our everyday.

You can’t be on vacation forever. Soon, we’ll head home and back into the busy routine of life with work and littles. And I’ll be glad to be back, glad to have my babies in my arms, and glad all the more because we found the time to step away, recalibrate, and come back refreshed and ready for all the normal days that build our normal, beautiful lives.

KENSINGTON GARDENS //

I took about a million billion pictures of petals and flowers today. I never imagined London, a busy, bustling city, to be so brimming with life and color.

I’ll need an English rose garden of my own now, I think.

HYDE PARK //

We walked miles today, not just through Hyde Park but several others too. I simply couldn’t believe how many sprawling green spaces there are here. I’ve always been a country girl but how fun city life would be in a place like this with so much green throughout.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE //

THE STRAND //

We grabbed dinner on “The Strand”– enjoying each bite slowly and soaking up the conversation in between.

Goodnight for now. More adventures to be had tomorrow โค

The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, Until it joins some larger way Where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say.

J.R.R. Tolkien

These are the Days

I wasted a lot of time this winter looking around wishing I could be someone else, doing something else, somewhere else. I spent too many hours looking around watching other people live bits and pieces of their lives while I questioned and struggled against my own beautiful story. I forgot for a while that this beautiful life of mine is just that—mine.ย A precious gift in my hands. A beautiful story to be told. A blank canvas for life and imagination to be lived out on. All mine.ย IMG_20180408_170242_475.jpg

Our pastor on Sunday used an illustration about how you might be running and winning a race while you’re looking ahead focused on the goal, but as soon as you start looking around, looking back to see who might be catching up, you veer, you slow down, you begin to lose ground. We need to keep our eyes on the road—our road and not on the person beside us.ย IMG_20180408_170617_175.jpg

I always seem to be at a different place in life than a lot of the people around me. When I was working, my friends were having babies. When I am having babies, my friends are going back to work. I catch myself always grasping for that next step—for leaving my job and starting a family when I still need to work. For wishing my kids would grow up and go to school so I can go back to work and be with grownups again.

IMG_20180408_093110_222.jpgย Only I’ve started to see things differently of late. As spring slowly (ever so slowly) begins to spread frosty green fingers into these last cold days of winter, so a bit of spring has begun to bloom in my heart toward motherhood, home, and the season of life I’m in. I don’t want to run away anymore. I don’t want that job or desk I’ve spent far too long dreaming about while rocking babies and washing dishes.IMG_20180408_153147_326.jpg

For the first time in a really long time, I see what’s right in front of me—and I’m excited about it. I want to be home and “make home.” I’m happy to be “just” a wife and momma. It feels like an adventure I get to dive into instead of a to-do list to check off so I can move onto the next step.

And I find, the more I open my heart to being right where I am, the more I want to put down roots and dive deep into all the possibilities this blank canvas offers. I am beginning to see all Iย can do with these precious days and hours rather than all Iย haveย to do.

IMG_20180408_152731_156.jpgNow of course it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. I find it funny that all day yesterday I had this post I wanted to write tumbling around in my mind—sharing my new love for home and motherhood—and yet it turned out to be one of the absolute hardest days I’ve had as a mom involving a lot of vomit, poo, crying babies, and one frustrated, impatient momma who had espresso for dinner. Just because it’s beautiful doesn’t mean it’s easy.

IMG_20180403_200830_145.jpgBut I’m learning to hold on, to really grab hold of these crazy days and years when life feels like noise covered in dirt. I’m so tired but time is moving so fast and I don’t want to look back and realize I wished it all away or hurried through something I’ll never get back.ย IMG_20180408_163644_897.jpgThese are the days—long, hard days, but also days filled with laughter, toddler hugs, and baby snuggles. Days watching my husband love not only me but our children in a way I never imagined. Days when we’re all together—sharing the same house, mess, and story.

IMG_20180408_155411_001.jpgSomeday, my children will move away and I’ll sleep through the night, have a house that stays clean, and margin to do some of the things I want but have to set aside for now. But I know when those days come, I will miss the beautiful chaos of today. I’ll miss having my arms full of family and my days filled with the noise of life and growth. IMG_20180408_192924_294.jpg

Today is a new day—hopefully a better day than yesterday. I type these words as my son sits beside me disassembling a lamp (he says he’s fixing it; it’s not broken…yet ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I see my daughter on the baby monitor, rolling around in her crib cooing and trying to make words. These are the days and I hope I never forget it in the crazy middle chapters of this story we’re writing day by day by day โค

 

I’ll Be Outside

It was 70 here Tuesday and Wednesday—70 degrees and a warm breeze in February is pure magic if there is any such thing in the world. The kids and I spent almost all of both days outdoors—Roman in the mud, Aletheia on a blanket with the wind curling her soft baby hair, and I chasing the sunshine around the porch and yard and breathing so, so deeply for the first time in months; I felt almost like myself for a minute.

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After we got the kids in bed Wednesday, I stood in front of the mirror and stared at my reflection for a moment; “I know that girl,” I thought. My hair, normally pulled up tight (to keep my daughter’s hands out of it) was a tad windswept with a couple shorter locks in the front framing my face. There was dirt on my flowy white shirt from playing with my son—a bit wild and untame—like the landscape, like the weather.

IMG_20180221_162934_494.jpgI spent a good bit of time Wednesday surveying our yard and dreaming up plans to clean things up and landscape it into something really beautiful this spring. Five years ago when we bought this place, both the house and yard were in complete disarray. While we’ve made huge gains on both, the yard and wooded tree line have certainly lagged behind.

Darren spent the fall building a rock wall out of fieldstone that will wrap around a patio area by the backporch. Right now that whole area is a mud pit (Roman’s favorite place….he will be so sad when we clean it up). We plan to finish the wall and patio this spring, add a fence around the backyard to keep the kids in sight and away from the road and dream of nights with friends around a campfire under the stars, grilling out, letting the kids play in a green grassy yard, and swinging on the porch swing in the sunshine.IMG_20180222_142957_295.jpgLast summer, while my family was here waiting for our daughter’s birth, my dad worked tirelessly on our tree line—removing brush, trimming trees, and opening the area up into a beautiful park-like look instead of an overrun jungle. Roman still talks about helping papa with the trees and I still love looking out my kitchen window at the area he cleared. But there’s still so much to do and I’m chomping at the bit waiting for warm weather so I can get outside and start working.IMG_20180222_143314_684.jpgI have plans for a small vegetable garden, a clothesline to let our laundry dry in the sun, and a sandbox for Roman to replace the mud he loves. We will be finishing and screening in our backporch so I’m watching for just the right pieces to turn it into a cozy little boho, plant-loving, Persian-rugs-everywhere corner where we can sit and soak up the breeze and sunshine (and hide from the bugs—I forgot about the bugs until they woke back up with the warm weather).

IMG_20180222_143114_009.jpg{Baby feet and chubby thighs forever please}

It snowed yesterday and today and we are back to the white winter landscape we know to expect this time of year in New England. Darren is home today and I came downstairs this morning to a fire in the fireplace and a baby asleep in his arms. As I write these words and sip my hot coffee, I’m reminded that everything will be okay, will keep moving forward, changing and growing—me, the weather, my kids, even the yard. None of us are done yet and that’s okay.

20180221_170753.jpg {On our walk to the lake Wednesday}

I know this isn’t my normal kind of post. But the truth is, I wasn’t planning on sharing anything today. I’ve felt so weary and dreaded the thought of writing yet again about struggles and learning. I know the challenges of this particular season of motherhood will pass. I know winter too will pass, and sooner than it feels right now. But while I’m in the thick of it, it’s hard especially in my writing which tends to be so honest, to pretend all is right and well. So rather than complain and turn this space into something dark and dreary, I’m tempted not to write at all until this period of baby blues and winter weather is a memory.

But for today, I’ll meditate on the goodness—the warm breeze in February, the dreams enlivening my sometimes weary heart, and the hope for tomorrow. Things will get better; I know they will. And until they do, I’ll be over here pulling weeds both in my heart and in my backyard, dreaming of sunshine, and looking for a reflection I recognize in the mirror.

 

It’s Supposed to Be Hard

I’ve been wrestling with God lately—pushing hard against him as he pushes right back. I’ve asked him why things have to be so hard. Why, if I’m doing what I believe to be right and best, am I struggling so much? Being where you think God wants you to be and doing what you believe he’s asked you to do is supposed to bring peace and joy, right? Well, yes and no.

I didn’t recognize the answer to this wrestling until I said it out loud in a conversation with my husband. We were talking about parenting—about all the well-intentioned advice we get and all the books we’ve read looking for answers. So much information is available saying, “Do A, Get B.” Only none of those formulas work on our son and we’re starting to wonder if we’ll ever figure any of this parenting stuff out or if we should just start saving bail money now (I’m kidding…sort of ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

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I told Darren I knew parenting would be exhausting and a ton of hard work—and I can handle that part of it. It’s all the not knowing what we’re doing and fearing that we’ll never reach our son’s heart that really scares me.

And that’s when it hit me—I can handle the hard work and exhaustion—so God gave me a little more than just that to remind me of my need for Him—to draw me close to his heart as I turn to him for the help I’ll find nowhere else. I need wisdom that’s beyond me and the advice others offer. I need strength beyond my physical ability and fortitude. I need hope and encouragement beyond the easy answers and quick fixes people offer to make me feel better. I need Jesus and struggling with my son reminds me of that every single day.

There was a time in my life, before I was a mother, when I very clearly remember thinking, “I can do this without consciously needing the Lord’s help.” I didn’t mean it to be an affront to God; I was simply in a place in life where I could ride the waves and do my job and everything went pretty smoothly whether or not I chose to include the Lord in my day-to-day. After I thought, “I can do this on my own right now,” I also thought, “but God’s not going to let that last forever.” I knew my comfortable status quo would change and I would likely come into a place of need that I didn’t really want to experience.

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Enter motherhood.

From his incredibly difficult birth right up until today, my son is God’s hand of change in my life. Every single day I’m made aware of my failings, weaknesses, and need. Every day I fight to start at the feet of Jesus because I know how much I need his help to get through each hour before me.

So why does it have to be so hard? Probably because I’m stubborn and self-sufficient and can handle a lot of pain. Probably because God knew this level of frustration and insufficiency is the only thing that would get my attention and draw my heart close to his.

So its not punishment or God mocking my efforts as I have sometimes felt. It’s mercy, it’s grace, it’s God reaching into my life, grabbing me by the shoulders and saying, “I’ll help you every step of the way but first, you need to know you need me.”

As I’ve wrestled through these thoughts, I’ve pictured myself not so very different from my son. Struggling against God as my son struggles against me. Twisting and fighting and demanding my own way. I see God’s arms around me as constraining and confining—just as my son sees me. But God is not constraining me; he’s fighting to hold me close. Not crushing my will or spirit but leading me to surrender willingly out of trust and obedience. All the same things I try so hard to communicate to my son only to have him fight back in anger—yes, how very much we’re alike and how profoundly patient is my God.

I see his Father’s heart now and finally, I think I’m learning to be at rest in his arms—not twisting and fighting his power but seeing his good plan for me; his love and care in not giving me my own way. My need is my greatest asset because it opens my heart to the all-powerful, all-sufficient God who loves me and desires good things for my life. Just like I want to give good things to my son if only he will listen and trust me, so God desires the same and so much more for me. So my prayer remains, “Lord, help me trust when I can’t see. Help me hold on when I don’t understand. Help my unbelief”

Unraveled

After a night of winter rain, I watch the dawn break in pink clouds and sunshine. The morning sky deepens into cobalt blue set off by gray clouds moving fast to the east. I’m thankful for the sunshine; for the hope of a bright, clear day to contrast the dead winter palette.

All day I watch the sky shift moodily from crisp blue to heavy gray clouds. The changing light plays games in my living room, dancing across the floor where my children play. It feels like life—sunshine and rain, sunshine and rain.IMG_20180131_223914_609.jpg

I’m an orderly person. I like to see everything in terms of black and white—manageable, predictable. The good times purely good. The bad times purely bad. The two never mingling together to confuse or interrupt the other.

Only life is not at all that way. People are not at all that way.

Winter is a hard season. The cold, the gray, being cooped up in the house with restless, unhappy little ones. Everyone I’m close to is busy with work and school and I’m doing my best to pass the long days and short nights with heart and mind intact. I feel frayed, unraveling—like my hands are full of beads falling all over the place and I’m unable to gather them back up before they roll away.

I don’t want to wish this season away—the days when both my kids mostly just want to be in my arms and half the battle is figuring out how to meet all the needs for attention and affection. The days when my three-year-old climbs on everything and walks around with his toy moose ever tucked under his arm, feet dragging on the ground. I don’t want to forget the stories he tells or the way his big brown eyes look so wild and intent as he does. He sits beside me as I type these words, intermittently trying to push buttons and asking a million questions about the words I’m writing and why.IMG_20180207_203806_458.jpgWhy? Because these days are hard and I’m tired and these words are scribbled in a fog that settles over my mind after one relentless night after another of almost no sleep. But still I want to remember. I want to record these words and this gray season so I might look back and remember these days gone by and the lessons I learned and the ways I changed when I thought I might never be myself again.IMG_20180122_190739_449.jpg

Motherhood is the hardest, most humbling thing I’ve ever done. Sunshine and rain. Never could I love more. Never could I be more discouraged, unsure, or afraid. I want to read a book and know the right answers but instead I find a million times over that the answer remains: Watch, wait, and try again tomorrow. I will get some things right; I’ll always get some things wrong too. I don’t know anymore if there is a right answer or if the answer is simply to trust and pray and grow through all the hardness of these years.IMG_20180125_161516_767.jpgPerhaps the best lesson I can teach my children after all is simply obedience one step at a time, day by day, doing the next right thing. Maybe this lesson will teach them more than having all the right answers packaged up and tied with a tidy black and white bow. They will see me struggle; they will see me fail. But I hope in all of it they will see God’s relentless mercy and grace. I hope they will see me get back up and learn to do the same.

That’s all I can offer for today in this hard season of gray.