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We came home from vacation yesterday. Aaron and I spent yesterday doing all the just got home after a few weeks away camping type things. Seven loads of laundry, mowing the lawn, unloading the leftover odds and ends of groceries. Cleaning all the beach sand and keep kids occupied while driving obscene amounts of both distance and time items out of the van. Those types of things. Life type of things.

Today we were right back at it. All the kids had VBS this morning (I’m volunteering) and Liam went back to soccer skills training. Aaron was at the office for 13 hours trying to get a little caught up there.

I picked our raspberries and our beans – the tomatoes are starting to ripen and the peas were a bust this year. We sorted and distributed 500 or so pounds of fruit from my parents no spray orchard to my food coop friends out of our kitchen. We hit up the library to return read books and pick up some new items on hold. We needed milk and a few other basics so we went to the grocery store too.

Moving from camping holidays where the pace is so slow and steady (even monotonous at times) to the first few filled overflowing days at home leaves me off kilter. I’m happy to be home: to sleep on sheets with no sand in them and to have a longer shower where I’m not wearing flip flops because the campsite shower floors are always dirty.  But I’m also dizzy at all there is to do.

Those first few days I’m always wondering what to do next until the catch up is done and things are back to our normal home rhythms. Where we are moving from the wonder and beauty of being all together outdoors by the sea to the wonder that is our everyday life.

Home rhythms

This weeks chalkboard wisdom. Art by Haven.

Posted in Everyday holy, Gardening, Present | Leave a comment

Mondays and cupcakes

We had to wake up early on a Monday after a full, full weekend to get to an appointment for one of the kids. No one within our walls is a morning person by nature and we were all wishing for an hour more sleep. My house smelt like five people’s stale, sweaty soccer gear waiting to be washed and garbage that should have been taken out the day before.

No one was getting ready, or eating breakfast or brushing their teeth. I kept finding them all with books or toys, quietly settled instead of staying on task. There was one giant melt down before we left the house – I told them it was okay, they were sad, they were frustrated and rubbed their back. I ignored my impulse to tell them there was no time for this, they were too big for this, this was not a big deal.

Sometimes it feels like there is no time for compassion.

We made it eventually, we all got in the car, two out of three with brushed teeth and made it to our appointment just on time. Then, we start the drive home. There was a lot of bickering from the back seat. I put in one headphone and turned on my music (highly sensitive mama’s driving with kids survival tip).

Still it got too loud and at one point I yelled ‘would everyone be QUIET!’. It worked for two minutes before the bugging and bickering started up again.

So I took them all for cupcakes.

Here is one tiny thing I know about life. Sometimes we all act like assholes. We pick a fight when we should pick peace, we yell when we should listen. We melt down when it is inconvenient.

There is no such thing as perfect.

Yet there is such as thing as beloved – it has nothing to do with how we act – it has to do with who made us. It’s an unfathomable idea. How we are so loved all the time, no matter what we do. How that love is expanding continually like the universe itself. Nothing can ever convey it fully.

I still feel this urging inside to try though. To give my children and myself glimpses that it is okay to melt down, yell, disagree, bug, bother, be selfish and act ungrateful. All that doesn’t change how you are loved. How you are needed. How you are cherished. How you are safe here in this place of beloved love when you are not at your best.

And just for one day, that looked like cupcakes.

Posted in Everyday holy, God's love, Parenting | Leave a comment

Summer is for…

My husband built me a new desk as one of the final projects in our house renovation. It sits right in front of a window overlooking one of the original apple trees on our forty year old property. Two weeks ago the tree started to bloom. It is a stunning thing – it looks gorgeous yes, but more than that it is the smell – delicate and sweet. When you stand under it you can feel the way the whole tree is absolutely alive with hundreds of bees buzzing among the blossoms.

Apple Blossoms

This picture isn’t from this year. I kept meaning to get a shot but didn’t get my camera out in time. A rain storm we really needed washed them away before I anticipated in the midst of an overfilled week. This picture isn’t from last year either because last year I was depressed and reeling from death. It’s a quick one I snapped on my phone from the year before and all three of my kiddos are there, enjoying the gift of the blooms and the rain showers, tinier than it seems they ever were.

Two years can go by just like that. I’ve been told and I’ve seen it myself, the truth that days (especially if they are dark) can drag on and on and on. Yet somehow I was just rocking my last baby under the stars and now she is about to be five.

I haven’t written much here the past year but it feels like it is time again. Time to bring some presence back to this place where I like to reflect about love and life and God and belovedness.

One way I’m going to ease myself in without feeling a need to be too serious or too wordy is a summer series. I’m calling it ‘Summer is for…’  Just a photo or two with a few words. A chance to capture a few moments of gratitude and a few memories for the future hopefully once a week or so because summer is for savouring.

Summer is for biking in the middle of the day under gorgeous skies just because it is fun and we have nothing else to do.

Blue Sky Biking

Summer is for reading bedtime stories in the gazebo while the sun goes down.

Summer is for little girls with pink toenails.

Gazebo Reading

Summer is for new life.

(If you blog or instagram I’d love to see what you are using your summer for too.)

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Looking for hope

It turned out to be a hard week to write about hope. This week my little view of the world seemed to have more than it’s share of loss, mourning, injustice, hardship, sadness, sickness.

When I think about what I hope for it’s this: wholeness for people and planet. Kingdom come. I think this is why Barbara Kingsolver says the most you can do with your life when you have figured out what you hope for is to live inside that hope. ‘Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under it’s roof.’

How many of us have the gumption, the strength in spirit really to do that – to say ‘I hope for goodness, wholeness, light and well being and most of all I hope for love’ and stay there living with it in a week like this one. In a world like this one.

When I was depressed I couldn’t. The mind lies to you and says there is no hope, there is only more drudgery. There is only more getting through, there is only more of this. There might only be more darkness.

I’m still learning this the thirties are more than tired – they can be a breeding ground for mental illness.

I’ll end with this: I believe in Jesus but sometimes I feel like I can’t see. So I look for the light he brings instead. I see it in money raised for a new widow. I see it in people speaking up and demonstrating about oppression. I see it in meals cooked and kids looked after and ‘how are you doing’ texts sent with some chocolate on the side. I see it in fair trade Christmas gifts and spending time with family who are hard to love and cups of tea shared with friends. I see it in parents who work hard at jobs they wish they didn’t have to go to. I see it in diapers changed and toddlers consoled and books read. I see it in prayers prayed and love sent. I see it when I look in your eyes.

Posted in Life in the 30's, Prayer | 1 Comment