Letting Go.

I had this vision when we bought this house and I learned it already had a garden going in the back…that it was already landscaped out front and around the sides. A vision of beautiful flowers crowning the privilege of owning our own home. I daydreamed of picking these most gorgeous flowers and adorning my tables and Victorian rooms with their beauty. Spring came and plants came to life. The excitement grew as I learned what was planted where. I pictured in my head these Monet-ish bursts of pastel color clouds beckoning me from a long drive home of grocery shopping.

Then reality set in.

I have three boys who like to bash things, two dogs who like to trample things, and three girls who like to pick things. I mean they really like to pick things. And soon my poor, defenseless flowers started looking bare and sparse. There were vases adorning the table but only in a poor attempt to save some of the almost petal-less flowers from their oh-so-shortened lifespan. And we had to get creative on arrangement style as stems were a rare oddity!

At first I seethed inside. I tried reasonable explanations.

You know, if we pick the buds before they bloom then we will never see the pretty flowers they were to create.”

I tried cajoling.

Baby girl, how ’bout we wait till everything blooms and then we can pick some together…just you and me. 

Finally I resorted to sharp, not-very-loving, mamma-commands.

DON’T PICK THE FLOWERS if you want to live!”

Nothing worked. I fretted and worried and my garden just became more naked. I fumed and tried to ignore the smashed down Lily patches with buds that never came to fruition. And then the Lord started speaking to my heart.

Let go.”

NO! I can’t. It’s not fair. These are MY flowers. I’ve waited 37 years to finally have this house and this garden and MY flowers. It’s not fair. Did I mention their mine? I selfishly pouted.

Let go.”

He nudged gently as He reminded me:

Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.” ~ Matthew 6:19-20

AND

The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements. ~ James 1:11

AND

As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades.” ~ 1 Peter 1:24

Is this what I was doing? Was I holding on to this temporary treasure here on earth, desperately trying to make something so fleeting last longer than it was ever intended?  Was I robbing joy from my girls who already knew the secret of living in the moment? This feeling I had in my heart…it felt very familiar, like my old friend jealousy. When you try and control your hand squeezes until the love is squeezed out with it. It was not until I learned to open up that hand, let go of that control that the jealousy left and allowed love to grow in it’s place. I needed to let this go too. Stop squeezing my possessions. It is all temporal. He made this for us to enjoy in the moment. It was never intended to last beyond that.

I heard Him whispering to me how it was Him who made little girls to love flowers so dearly. He put that desire in them to collect these momentary bursts of beauty. “If that is so, Lord,” I prayed, How do I let go?” 

And the answer was so simple. I have a gift of the lens. A photograph that can capture that first perfect bloom before the physical realm fades. So here are my beauties. A perfect shot of loveliness captured in a singular moment of beauty.

I’ve let my garden go.

Now I snap a picture when I first notice blooming (if they get to that stage) and inhale deeply of any fleeting perfume aroma. And when I drive home from grocery shopping to my balding backyard, I am no longer tense with anxiety. I even left a few weeds to grow around the poor, barren flowers adding some beautiful, unexpected wild flowers into the white space of our lives! Slowly this momma is learning.

 

The Blessings of Spring {New Life}

I can’t help myself. Spring is…well, springing up all around me and I just can’t stop taking pictures! Oh how I wish I had this lens so I could take macro to that next level. But, I digress.

I’m popping in momentarily to this blog in order to drop off some seasonal pictures that I don’t want lost and to list my utter gratitude for new beginnings and all the hope that it carries.

{blessings 603 ~ 608}

  • spring meals full of fresh berries and long awaited greens
  • fresh eggs for the perfect (my first) souffle
  • leisurely breakfasts with daddy
  • rays of morning light basking my children in beauty
  • the first strawberry shortcake of the year
  • fresh salads for dinner ~ a meal in itself!

Oh, my yard! Did I mention my yard? I have gardens! Beautiful, glorious, blooming gardens. I have hydrangeas ~ big, full mature, white snow ball hydrangeas ~ just started to bud at the front of my house. I have the first signs of Lilacs growing up the side of my house. I have spring blooming dogwood, cherry, and apple trees in the backyard. There is a beautiful glowing salmon pink bush full of apple rose-like flowers. I have no idea the name but am basking in it’s beauty all the same. There is promise of lilies and black eyed susans and purple cone flowers and clematis to come in the summer. There will be a plethora of daisies for my little Delilah to pick at her hearts content. And the bulbs…did I mention those? You really must take a look. All gorgeous from the first crocus to the daffodils and then the tulips. Even the weeds are at the height of their beauty! Have you ever seen such wonderful speckled lavender spots on the viola? And it’s dandelion season! Can’t even tell you how happy that makes me! Cheers…to my garden!

{blessings  609 ~ 626}

  • green shoots promising the first spring flowers
  • the first purple crocus rising up from the dead
  • the sunny face of daffodils waving in the March breeze
  • spring rains puddling in perfect drops on flowers
  • walking to church and picking posies
  • using collected antique jars to display children’s posies as art
  • ground warming to dig in dirt
  • worm play with littles
  • hearing the first robin and chickadees chirping in the trees
  • the biggest blooms of the magnificent magnolia tree
  • little girls getting lost in it’s branches
  • cherry blossoms against the blue sky
  • the sunlight piercing tulips velvety petals
  • newly bare feet trolloping among the flowers
  • speckled violas against garden-dirty blue jeans
  • recycled {free} seed starters
  • newly bought, hope-inspired, garden seeds
  • first shoots and the miracle of germination

And it’s almost Easter. There is no cheerier holiday than this. Practicing Lent and sacrifice in the last bits of dead winter only to celebrate with the Resurrection  of Christ’s return just as all is coming again to life…words can’t describe. All around me are signs pointing to Him and my need of Him. Plants that look dead, never to return…we almost give up when at the very last possible moment buds spring forth. A beautiful picture of our black dead souls, foul with sin, are not left for dead but clothed in a new righteousness of a new beginning. Life is breathed back into us and Christ’s light cloaks the filth. We appear more glorious than the rarest flower before the King. And all we can mutter is, “Praise Him!” with heads hung in humbleness.

Because of the move and gathering our bearings here, we didn’t get to celebrate the fullness of Lent. But we do have a humble tree adorning our table hung with signs of life. The girls love it as do I. It is the bane of Adam’s existence as he gets daily tangled in it’s branches. But to me it is the perfect small touch that I can add to this beautiful new home.

{blessings 627 ~ 634}

  • the King has come!!!
  • broken branches that lend to traditions
  • Easter pastels
  • Beatrix Potter and her little lovely books
  • playing easter egg hunting
  • egg baskets
  • offering myself for church busy bags
  • Johnny Cash’s When the Man Comes Around

And then this amazing thing happened the other day. My kids came running inside yelling, “Mom, mom…there’s a baby cow outside!!!!” What? A cow? So I went to see for myself. There sitting on the other side of our fence was a baby girl cow only an hour old. And we got to watch her arise and take her very first wobbly steps. Can I just say my breath was taken away? ‘Thank you, Lord,’ I whispered. Right here in our own backyard the miracle of life.

{blessings 635 ~ 639}

  • the miracle of new birth
  • first wobbly baby steps
  • squeals of kid delight
  • capturing first steps on film
  • long baby cow eyelashes…oh how long, and how beautiful!

 

 

 THANK YOU, OH HAPPY SPRING!!!!!!

{blessings 639 ~ 646}

  • light in the evenings
  • playing outside from breakfast till bed
  • new neighborhood friends
  • bare feet covered in mud
  • trampolines
  • swinging high in the sky
  • brave girls buried alive
  • tree climbing

{House L.O.V.E.}

Moving day weather was a gift from above. A spring-like 64 degrees, sunshine, wear-a-T-shirt kinda moving weather. Just perfect. Being bone-tired and only three of us, a fourth of the move ended up in the garage. Not quite as planned but we were officially moved in. The next day’s weather held out as boxes were slowly dragged inside from the garage. Not too many left, I thought to myself patting me on the back for all the work done.

Than my husband came home with news of a winter storm a-brewin’. So out to the garage we went in the drizzle and dragged in the remaining boxes. Then we woke up to this…

Almost 12 inches of snow came down in a fairy tale blanket of sparkles. I said a mantra prayer ~ thank you, thank you, thank you ~ all morning long as I continued to unpack boxes in the cozy comfort of a heated new home. Only a gift from above, that timing! He is amazing!

We are settling in nicely here. All boxes are unpacked. Pictures are hung on the walls. The place has felt instantly like home from the first night. No night trauma transitions of littles. All is well and one is even sleeping better. Every morning I wake up to my colored walls and revel in the small details of my home. It’s these details I love the most. They are the architectural details that people won’t notice first but make up the bones of why this house feels like a home to me.

Porcelain roses on my very own chandelier…hinges that hold up story-book doors…vintage lights that look just as lovely with a cobweb or two…filigree holders for the everyday things…knobs that look like antique buttons…key holes to spark little imaginations…

My mother-in-love called the other day just as a friendly reminder to my husband that a gift was in order for this Valentine’s Day. I love her dearly but when he told me I just laughed.

“What could be a better gift than this house?” I said to the man who gave up his farm dreams to give me this Victorian girl dream. “I mean, even the walls of my favorite room are the perfect Valentine red!” And they are…deep, rich jewel-toned ruby red. And I am in love with them.

And who needs temporary flowers that will wither away in a matter of days when right on my very table I already have something that is lighted perfectly by the morning sun? I am reminded of a tiny blog post I ran across the other day at pea soup. She said,

Dear Universe,

fewer major life events, more pretty light, ok?

Yours, Suse.”

Perfectly said! (You must go visit her. Pictures are divine!)

Just look at this beautiful family of mine sitting in this beautiful room eating breakfast for dinner! What could be more perfect?

Later as I was soaking in this amazing tub I was reminded that most people pay a lot of hard-earned money to vacation away in a tub just like this! I am luxuriating in warmth, soaking my cares away. Little voices sound far away as my husband gifts me again with an alone bath.

It is these selfless acts of love that grow us. I was reminded of that as I read my Starbucks cup this week. The world we live in tells us to be just like this Starbucks heart. All arrows point inward towards ourselves. But it is when we reverse these arrows in an outward direction towards others that love actually grows. This is what I want to contemplate this Valentine’s Day.

Happy Heart Day, everyone!

~ Girling It Up ~

I meant to post these pictures as my first post of the new year. We had a great New Year’s Eve spent together as a family. There was much singing, laughing, dancing, and playing. But the funnest part was girling it up with my princesses. I am always amazed at how different they are from me! They may have received my genes looks-wise but I’m pretty sure they got Aunt Mandi and Sarah’s genes all-things-princess-wise!

Delilah put on her best party dress, found a feather to tuck into her hair and wanted some pizzazz on her face. Lily offered for us to use her new Monster High makeup kit. Daddy did our hair.  And, of course, they made mommy join in the makeup fun too.

My new year’s resolution?

To be more girly with my girls. 

I think it’s going to be a good year!

 

The Perfect Gift ~ An ER Visit

Because my husband is the best he surprised me with a little gift…even though we weren’t to get each other anything. This year it was quiet, understated and just right! A few good things to curl up with…

Did I mention that the real gift this  year is this ~

Because who can beat a Victorian claw foot tub and a porch swing?

Well, maybe this can.

It is 12:57 am and my husband is at the emergency room with a little boy of ours. Pneuminia? Croop? Whooping Cough? Fluid in the lungs? Can’t tell but it’s getting worse by the hour. So a Christmas Eve vist to the ER it is. Did I mention how incredible my husband is?

The true gift of Christmas ~ 

One self-sacrificing daddy who loves to an unimaginable depth.

Perfection Through Imperfection {Thankful Christmas Moments}

After reading this amazing post When It Isn’t Perfect, I need to reprioritize. The Bible talks of renewing my mind. When I start thinking one thing then I need to replace it with a truth. Now I’m sure scriptures are thinking much more along the lines of writing the truth of His Word on my heart, but for me I just need to remind myself of truth on a much baser level. This season of life has me really struggling to keep Christmas as the beautiful forefront of my family.

So, instead of seeing all the needles under the tree that I will vacuum up at least twice today (Did I mention our 1 year old pulled the whole tree down the other day and that the garland has been confiscated due to structural issues?), I will choose to see…

A mother-in-love who graciously gifted handmade ornaments that littles could touch for a season.

Instead of the lack of garland (see above), I choose to see…

Vivid imagination that sparks play in a season that will pass by way too quickly.

Instead of my floor that sticks to my feet as I walk through the kitchen and dishes piled high, I choose to see…

Littles playing in flour and helping daddy make imperfect gingerbread cookies.

Instead of worrying about the millions of scraps and toys and clutter on the floor (did I mention I had already vacuumed twice?), I will choose to see…

Children actively creating, making a paper town come to life.

Instead of seeing the marker on the walls that will need to be scrubbed before we move and the stains that need to be purged from the carpet and all the rest of this home’s imperfections, I choose to see…

The beauty of my morning walk by the window that I will greatly miss. Stunning really. Didn’t even have to go outside to take these pictures. Right through my dirty window pane, all finger-printed up, these images glowed through. How breathtaking. There is a lot about this house I won’t miss. This living room window will not be one of them!

Instead of seeing all the muddy boots in the entryway mixed in with shoes in heaps of chaos with a sprinkling of toys thrown in just for fun, I will choose to see…

Fleeting play days that melt quicker than a memory!

I know that one day I will look back on these photos and cry with a longing deep wanting them back and not even blink at the list of worldly mess that threatens to collapse on me today as a young mother. Renewing my mind and repairing my heart today. Belting out some Christmas songs of old and not caring who hears my out of tune voice!

 

Preparing for the Season ~ Pinterest and Christmas

This is my favorite time of the year. Has been ever since I can remember. This is a cozy, snug-as-a-bug-in-a-rug, jack frost nipping at your nose, hot chocolate-y, hibernate at home season. As a mother of six children, traditions have become even more important to me just as much as letting go of unrealistic expectations have. (Umm…still working on that one!) I figure by the time they are all leaving the nest I will be just starting to get good at it!

This Christmas I’ve discovered a new tool that has been such a blessing for my sanity. You see, I am a visual learner. And because of that I am also a visual rememberer (is that a word?). And this little program {insert Pinterest here} has become my lifeline this holiday season. A wonderful little online space to bookmark things I’d rather not forget. When I look at my board I immediately think, “Oh, yes, that is the project I wanted to do!” I can lazily look through my boards on a free Saturday morning while drinking a hot cup of coffee and decide to do a project with the kids or just dream of future projects. Or I can browse quickly while homeschool planning and remember where to find projects, experiments, books, and ideas.

I’d decided I’d share a few of my favorite things this winter from my own Pinterest board. So go grab a cup of hot cocoa and let the browsing begin! Pin away and don’t feel the least bit guilty if you never do a one of them!

~ Preparing for the Liturgical Season ~

~ O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree ~

~ Letters to Santa ~

~ Christmas-y Crafts ~

~ Wrapping Up Love ~

~ A Very Recycled Christmas ~

~ Winter Decor ~

~ Christmas Photography ~

~ Comfort Winter Foods ~

~ Homeschooling by the Fire ~

Oh, and don’t forget to PIN this page while you’re at it! In fact, come back and pin up each category separately. Great way to organize that Christmas board!