Thursday, October 15, 2015


Sometimes the most innocuous things can completely derail our homeschool day. For example, yesterday while teaching Judah his new piano piece ("Honey Bee"), I randomly hummed my way through that old camp song "Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee". Everything ground to a screeching halt.

"Wait, what? WHY would he think his mother would be proud that he was bringing home a bee?? I don't get it... WHY did he squish it up? Wouldn't it just sting him again? Wait, wha-wha-what kind of bee was it? Was it a HONEY bee, or a BUMBLE bee? Probably it was a bumblebee cause then it would just die after it stung him that first time because bumblebees leave their stingers in your body and then they DIE. But African HONEYbees, they can sting and sting and sting."


And earlier in the morning...

"Wait.. wha?? What'sa phone book?? Why would you want your phone number written down in a BOOK?"

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On the mornings when the boys don't wake up at  zero dark thirty and stand at the top of the stairs with a constant stream of, "NOW can we come down, Mama, NOW can we?"... On these mornings when they kindly sleep a wee bit longer and I have a minute to read and pray and jot down some thoughts... 

On these mornings I sit at my dining room table and watch the sun rise. The window faces west, so what I see is a line of brilliant sunshine slowly traveling down the line of trees in the nieghbor's yard across the street. They gradually turn a golden green from top to bottom till they are on fire entirely. Some mornings a steamy mist eminates from the cold ground as the warmth of the sun hits it. I had forgotten about that steamy morning mist of cold autumn days, the mysterious shapes and undulations as the sun rises and burns off the night's chill.

As the sun continues to rise and the light travels down the little hill and across the grass, my fingers travel faster across the keys because a moment will come and... ahhh, there it is. The light hits the the white picket fence, a flash of reflection blinds one eye, and I hear the boys rumbling and tumbling out of bed.

Time to start the day.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Things I forgot about coldness

Blankets. This might sound weird, but after five years in the tropics, we just don't have blankets any more. I mean the "extra blankets", right? The ones you slip in between the sheet and the bedspread/comforter for those extra cold nights when it's below 40.

The inadequacy of short-sleeve sweaters, footless tights and 3/4-length sleeves. In Florida you walk the fine line every year between the basic human need for Fall Fashion and the reality that even in October it's still so hot the birds are picking the worms up with potholders. So you adapt. In Virginia if you wear footless tights, you are going to lose a toe to frostbite and short-sleeve sweaters are just a joke.

Fleece-lined everything. Fleece is God's gift to everyone living above the 35th parallel. You can put it into anything. And I mean anything. In Florida people do wear fleece-linings as a comfort measure and a fashion statement, but we all know you're sweating under there. You're not fooling anyone. And those fleece-lined tights are footless and you're wearing sandals, so...

Layering. In Florida, layering means you wear a t-shirt under your button-down, or you slip on a cardi over your shift dress. In Virginia layering means you start with a fleece-lined bra, top that with a fleece-lined cami, add your basic top, sweater over that, then you top the whole thing off with a fleece-lined vest.

Hats. Scarves. Gloves. Boots. Slippers. Coats. Pajamas. Man, cold is expensive! I mean, there's a whole extra wardrobe you have to have. In Florida you could wear almost the same stuff, just "layer" it a bit, or throw on a hoodie and wear socks with your sandals. But when it's 10 degrees overnight, a t-shirt and your underwear is just not going to cut it. You need some serious pajamas. Even J wears pajamas here.

Real Rain. In Florida the rain is the like the temper tantrum of a basically happy child. Stormy, shocking, extreme, but over in no time, with an almost imediate repentant return to sunshine. And it's never cold. The dry season corresponds mostly to the coldest weather of the year. In Virginia, on the other hand, you're dealing with the cold, sullen sulks of a rebellious teenager, who turns the cold shoulder and drizzles on depressingly for days and days and days... I know you people in the PNW know what I"m talking about and I respect your greater burden.

Real Fires. In Florida we'd ocasionally have a fire in the fireplace because it made us feel cozy and secure. We'd have to open the doors and windows sometimes, but by golly, man just needs a fire now and then. In Virginia we have fires because keeping this mausoleum of a house warm enough to sustain life will run us broke if we don't and because when you go fifteen days in a row without seeing the sun, youll take any bit of light and comfort you can get.

The biggest thing I'd forgotten, though, is the anticipation of More To Come... 

Those first few cold days that slowly sneak up on you, like an ice cube slipped slyly down summer's t-shirt, caught by a waistband, slowly melting shivery trickles down... they are merely a harbinger. The Real Cold is yet to come. And that sensation of being hunted, relentlessly, inevitably, by the Frost Giants of December, Januray and February has caused even the gods to shiver a bit, in spite of lightening hammers and magical cloaks.

On the other hand...

The first time you step out your door and see your breath crystalizing in the air, and the smoke of all the chimneys chasing in spirals across the neighborhood skies, you can suddenly hear the faint ringing of the Christmas bells begin their distant peal, and as you scramble over the next few weeks to re-stock your house with blankets, sweaters, tights, hats, gloves, fleece-lined stuff and firewood, the clamor grows ever stronger and louder. I learned to celebrate the measured march of anticipation of Advent and Lent when we lived in Florida and it helped to replace the rise and fall of the seasons, but oh how my soul has missed this sense of participation in the natural order of things. The anticipatory pace of this year's Advent will have behind and under and around it an added pulse of suppressed haste and secret joy.

And I suspect we'll be singing Christmas Carols well before Thanksgiving...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I love babies. That's no surprise to most of you who read this blog. Many of you know that I have loved babies since... well, forever. I've always wanted more and more and more. (Not even exaggerating, ask J) I also love the toddler years (except for age three-- you can just HAVE the three year olds, I'll take them back when they turn four). As my own children have gotten older, I've learned to appreciate fours and fives, too, but babies, man. Aaahhh, babies.... That's where it's at for me.

But we're now firmly out of the baby years around the Casa de la Forshey, and unless God intervenes supernaturally, the next babies of mine own will be my grandbabies. This has been interesting to realize. As a teen and young adult, imagining my life ahead of me, I confess I never once looked past the end of my baby-raising days. I never imagined life in a house full of half-grown People. I never imagined (nor could I have) the difficult transition years of the sevens and the eights (and nine and ten and eleven), nor the slowly re-imerging humanity of the 12th year. The relief with which one senses that the feral creature you've been wrestling for the last three or four years is slowly becoming tamed and civilized, can actually carry on a conversation without sassing/crying/arguing/bragging/spitting/potty jokes... ah me. Thank you, sweet Jesus. Of course in our house, just as one is reemerging from the cocoon, the next one is entering it, but no matter. Having seen the miracle of the butterfly once, one ought to have the sense to trust the process.

At any rate, here I stand on the edge of something new and different, something I never imagined for myself, never pictured myself doing. It's awesome, and a little bit scary. We have in our house representatives of three stages of metamorphasis: pupa, chrysallis, newly emerging butterfly (still a bit wet as to wing, still not ready to fly away just yet, thank the Lord: my poor heart). But no more caterpillars. No more fuzzy headed, wiggly-limbed, squishy-faced, milk-sodden, stubby-legged caterpillars.

It's going to be an interesting ride. Stick around...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

And continuing on the theme of teaching our kids stuff, here are five things I want to say to New Homeschooling Moms

1) Don't sweat it. A lot of people are probably saying this to you right now. BELIEVE THEM. You can teach your child. You can. I promise. There are tons of resources to help you and you are the one person in the world who knows your child best and you CAN teach them anything. You've already taught them tons of stuff. You taught them how to walk and talk, dress themselves, eat with a fork and spoon, go to the potty, tie their shoes and ride a bike. None of these things is really any different from math, reading, writing and grammar. You've got this.

2) The most important thing is that you have this child in your care for a comparatively few short years. At this point, you have very little indication of what/where they are going to do/go in their lives. But you do have a Scripturally-based idea of who you want them to BE when they get there. Do that first. Everything else will come in it's time. You first need to teach and model for them how to love God and their neighbor-- reading, writing and arithmetic can come along the way.

3) The next most important thing is to teach them HOW to learn. And teach them to LOVE it. This is waaaay more important than any one particular thing/subject/list/extra-curricular activity. Your goal is to create in them a fascination with how things work and the way God made the world, an insatiable desire to Find Out How and Why. Then you teach them HOW to Find Out and send them on their way. You give them the tools, let them do the work.

4) Lists of expected grade skills and behaviors have their place and can be helpful, but one of the best things about home schooling is that you have a chance to discover along with your child who God has created them to be-- the One, the Only, the Unique Them-- and help them get there. Don't expect that every child is going to fit the mold at every stage. You want your child to be a Mold- Breaker!

5) Home schooling is not about School-- it's about Mothering. We all know we need God's help in order to be Godly Mothers. Sometimes we forget we need God's help to be Effectual Teachers, but it's the same thing. Just like you need God's help to model Christian Womanhood, Wisdom, Thrift, Honesty, Bravery and all Virtues for your children; in exactly the same way, you're going to need God's help to teach them math, science, language arts and literature. Good curriculum is helpful, but mostly you have to start every day on your knees and then start their day on their knees, too.

Good luck! Have fun! You've totally got this!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Kids are gross. Parenting is counter-intuitive. My mother is a saint.

I made pumpkin muffins this morning for breakfast because it's about 65 degrees outside and filling my kitchen with the warm smell of spices is my way of coping. I"m basically denying the reality that this chill is only a harbinger of the death of all the green things and the coming of the Great Cold.

Back to my muffins...

I had the batter all ready and went to pull the muffin tins out of the cabinet. As I unstacked them onto the counter and began to butter them, I realized that whichever child had "washed" them, had simply washed the top one of the stack, leaving the dirty ones firmly fixed to the back end. And then whichever child was responsible for "drying" and putting away the dishes had, complicit, merely dried the outside of the stack and shoved the whole deal into the closet.


(All of my children are now old enough to be involved in the dish-washing process, so even if you think you know which kid was responsible, you don't. Thus I protect the identity of the innocent and guilty alike. Also, I have no idea who was responsible either, or believe you me, I'd be doing more about it than just writing a vent-y blog post...)

That old saw about how if you want something done right, do it yourself is SO true. Especially when you have kids. But so is this one about the goal of mothering: that is, our goal is to work ourselves out of a job. Teach our kids to do everything for themselves, so that we have nothing left to do. Hah. I know. There will never actually be nothing for us to do. But you get my point. The problem is that it is SO HARD to make myself take the time to let them do it, fail, correct them, explain, make them do it over again, correct again, etc, wash, rinse, repeat, ad nauseum. It drives me crazy. And the older the kids get and the more of "my job" they learn to do, the more difficult it is for me to let go of the perfection of order and detail that I want, in order to teach them to care for themselves. Don't laugh, IT'S HARD.

When Sofi and Judah were little, J would take them off on Saturday mornings for Special Daddy Time and I would clean the whole house myself. In blissful silence and with total concentration I would polish, wash, sweep and even wash, dry, fold and put away entire loads of laundry, while I cleaned the bathroom to sparkling perfection. Now? Now everyone has Jobs. You might think this would make my job easier. You would be wrong.

It's worth it. I know it is. In the end they will be able to cook and care for themselves, do their own laundry, make a week's meal plan and budget for their groceries. The all (even the boys) will be able to sew on a button, clean a toilet and iron a shirt. And one day they will thank me. I tell them this every Saturday. "One day you'll thank me!" I shout into the maelstrom of whining, complaining, dishcloths flying, laundry swirling, feather dusters flung across the room in frustration, "I know you will!" They roll their eyes, "How do you KNOW???"  I'll tell you how I know. This is how I know.

Dear Mom,
Thank you, thank you for teaching me how to cook and care for myself, how to do my laundry, make a meal plan, keep a budget, sew on a button, scrub a toilet and iron a .... (never mind, that was Mrs Hendry). Thank you for taking the time and sacrificing your standards to teach me the skills to be self-sufficient and a decent respectable member of society. I know it wasn't a cake-walk.
Forever grateful,
you daughter

Sofi, Judah, Jamie, wait and see.... wait and see....

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Can you guess what movie we ended up watching the other night?

Judah and I were having a serious conversation about leadership. He wanted to know what you do when you're really trying your best to be a good leader, but nobody believes that you are, so they won't listen to you and they just complain and argue. Good question, dude...

Jamie breaks in, with a grave expression on his face;

"You know, you don't feel flying here (taps his fuzzy round forehead with his grubby, peanut-butter smeared index finger), you feel it here (pats his chest with his chubby hand)"

I am proud to say that I did not crack my serious-conversation-mom-face, or miss a beat. Long years of practice...

Friday, September 4, 2015

Mama loves yoga

It's Friday. TGIF. Whew. Another week finished-- almost. I mean, it's only 7:30 on Friday. I"m only two cups of coffee into the day...

I had a yoga class at the YMCA last night. Yoga is wonderful. There's nothing like an exercise regimen that alternates between kicking the crap out of you and putting you nearly to sleep over the period of 75 minutes of intense strength-and-flexibility-moves-and-poses. It's pretty nice.

It's also nice because it's 75 minutes of focus. 75 minutes of slow, deliberate concentration on one thing. Or perhaps a series of things... but really just one thing-- moving your body. My mind is so fragmented these days. A product, I suppose of both the society and age in which I live and the fact that I have three kids, for two of whom I am both mother and teacher. My job description is basically Hoop Roller Extraordinaire. I dash from side to side, back and forth around my little hoops, giving little nudges and occasional whacks with my stick to keep them rolling in the right direction. I'm rarely doing less than two things at once at any point during the day.

Part of my recent return to the discipline of daily writing has been an attempt to begin the day with a focused, calm activity that will give my brain a chance to focus in on one single thing. Ask me how that's going... Already since I started this post, I've gotten distracted once by looking for a gif of a hoop roller (nada) and once to check out an open tab that I didn't remember opening. It's only been ten minutes of writing...

And now my time is already up and the hoops are rolling down the stairs to start their daily race

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Today will be better

Yesterday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. But today will be better. 

Reasons why today will be better than yesterday:

1) It is the first day of September. This means that Fall is actually coming. I don't love Fall, but I love Christmas and Fall means that Christmas is right around the corner.

2) Yoga class at 9:30. I can totally make it till 9:30

3) Judah's first trip to the dentist went way better than I expected, so I can put THAT fear for his future to rest.

4) The kids had swim lessons last night. Water calms them down and makes them happy. It's like a drug. Matter of fact, I can probably blame a majority of yesterday on the fact that none of them have been fully submerged in weeks. It was bound to happen. Thank goodness for indoor pools! Otherwise, I don't know how we'd survive the winter...

Monday, August 31, 2015

Don't read this, Darcee. It's bad enough one of us spends the day bawling our eyes out...

I went shopping yesterday with Sofi. We went to buy a baby gift for a dear friend from Orlando who was pregnant when we moved and had her baby, a little girl, just a few weeks ago. It's her fourth child, the first one I won't know and love before they walk or talk. I bought a lot of cute baby girl things. A lot. J nearly had a heart attack when he saw the bill. I think I was trying to buy something not in that store...

My sister had her first baby last fall, before we had any inkling of the eventuality of this move. She had a baby girl. I was able to fly home to be with her the morning she was born and spend ten days helping Polly and getting to know Felicity. It was precious, but it nearly killed me to leave. I left not knowing when I could come back, perhaps not till Felicity was walking and talking, maybe not seeing them again before they left for the mission field. I left one sister with a newborn baby and one sister halfway to her due date with her first boy.

Another sister had a baby last fall that I still have not met. She and her husband live on the other side of the country and Lord knows when we will see them again. It's already been years...

Despite the move "back home", I still feel as though pieces of my heart are scattered all around the country in different places and the effort of reaching out and finding our place and our people here feels momentous today. I feel a little worn, thin; perhaps gunshy. If, God forbid, we have to move again, who will I be leaving behind this time?

Friday, August 28, 2015

You should be so lucky: in defense of teachers

Few things get my dander up as quickly and as thoroughly as that old chestnut that people like to pull out during those awkward pauses in polite social conversations:

"Sooo, a teacher, huh? Is it true what they say, that those who can, do, and those who can't, teach?"

And tittering abounds.


I have been privileged in my life to spend a lot of time in the company of teachers. I know everyone likes to make the caveat that there ARE bad teachers out there, but in fourteen years in the business (so to speak) I have never met one of them. The teachers I have met are passionate about what they do. No one goes into teaching to "make the big bucks." People become teachers because they believe in education. They believe that investments made in children's lives in the early years pay back societal dividends for the rest of their lives. They believe that teaching a child how to think, how to learn, how to problem-solve will make a difference in how that child thinks, learns and deals with problems for the rest of their lives. They are in that classroom every day armed with the determination and dedication to give your child the tools for success. In spite of themselves, sometimes.

And it's not just the hours in the classroom either. Don't make the mistake of thinking that a teacher's life is a cushy one-- out at 3:00pm and off all summer. Heavens no! Those hours in the classroom are enabled only by hours in the evenings, weekends and all summer; preparing, learning, dreaming, problem-solving and exploring. Not to mention all the diplomatic negotiations going on to keep parents involved, informed and pacified. These teachers eat, sleep and dream their job. You get a group of teachers in a room together on a weekend, put a couple of beers in their hands, what do you think they're talking about halfway through the first bottle? Sports? No. Politics? Maybe. The senior class this year? Definitely. The best use of technology in the classroom? Absolutely. Strategies for engaging the kids in a difficult novel or scientific study? Every time.

Some people like to complain about the "benefits" that teachers get. Retirement. Healthcare. Etc. You know why those things are important for teachers? I'll tell you why. You know how it feels at the end of the summer when your two, maybe three, maybe four children are starting to get a little antsy, kind of bored with the "freedom" of summer vacation? That tense feeling of "can I make it two more weeks till they go back to school???" Yes. That right there. That's why teachers ought to get good retirement benefits and decent healthcare. Because they are WORTH IT. Because are you ready to do their job?

And you know what else? They love it. They do it because they are awesome at it and because they love it (and because they're crazy) and because they love your kid, too. Can you believe that? They do. Your child walks into that teacher's classroom the first day of school and finds a place in their heart. Boom. Just like that. And these amazing people are going to be praying for your child, talking to your child, thinking about his or her needs, working with you to guide that child through the year. And then at the end of the year or the next, that kid is moving on to the next group of teachers and another highly educated, passionate, motivated, interested and loving adult is going to pour themselves into your child for another year.

And so on.

I say let's start a new chestnut. Try this out:

"Those who can't teach send their children, the hope of the future, their pride and joy, to spend eight hours every day, five days a week, to be educated in the art of human knowledge, behavior and accomplishment by those who CAN!!"

That's the truth.

You should BE so lucky.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Nothing to say.

I don't have any words rolling around in my head, trying to escape onto a page/screen this morning. So this post is more of a place-holder, a virtual finger in my spot in this blog book, so I don't forget that this is what I do. I am so enjoying the return to wordcraft, but I fear that the slightest loss of vigilance will lead me back to the tongue-tied place I seem to have been in for so long. So I write this morning, having nothing to say, just to exercise the use of words. Just to undertake the discipline of thinking in an orderly fashion and crafting the rise and fall of a sentence, a paragraph, a complete thought expressed in typeset on a glowing screen in the quiet of my early morning.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It's August in Virginia. I had forgotten how those subtle signs of the approach of Autumn send out little flashes of warning, even in the roasting heat of summer. It's coming... The Cold is coming... I'm alternately soaking up the last of the heat and dreaming of hot cocoa and snow forts.

One of my favorite things about growing up has been the slow, gradual realization of the truth that nothing ever stays the same. There have been times when this was a truth full of pain and regret, but as I"ve gotten older, I've begun to see that this constant flow of change is a Mercy. Yes, the beautiful babe in your arms is going to walk, talk, run, sass you, possibly reject you, leave you... But then, they will come back. Older and wiser. That relationship, while nothing like nursing a babe in arms, is its own kind of beautiful. Nothing stays the same.

Keeping this in my mind helps me view life as a flow of seasons. Whatever is now, will be different soon. Babies waking up at all hours of the night? Just a season. It won't last. Laundry finished, folded and put away? Enjoy it. There will be more tomorrow. I had a beach season in my life and it was lovely. Now it is mountain time. There have been seasons in my life (and will be again, I'm sure) when my house was constantly turned upside down, I could never find time to cook a decent meal and exercising was a distant memory. Again, a season. Don't try to hold onto any one of them too tightly, it won't help. The turn of the seasons is inexorable and unending.

The thing that really puts the cherry on top for this theory is remembering that these seasons aren't random events strung together without order, they are the deliberate plot points in the story that God is writing for my life. He's very carefully crafting the Beginning, Middle, Climax and End to each of these seasons of my life and I can rest in His storytelling, even in the midst of the most chaotic of seasons, because I know the Ending of the Story.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;  a time to kill, and a time to heal;a time to break down, and a time to build up;   a time to weep, and a time to laugh;a time to mourn, and a time to dance;   a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;   a time to seek, and a time to lose;a time to keep, and a time to cast away;a time to tear, and a time to sew;a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate;a time for war, and a time for peace.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


I"m sitting here starting to form the skeleton of our weekly school schedule. Trying to use the principle of the illustration of fitting rocks, pebbles, sand and water into a jar... Remember that old story? The problem is, I"m struggling a bit over categorizing our activities and such into rocks, pebbles, sand and water. Some things are obvious. I mean, Math is a Rock. No argument there. Music practice. Family devotions. Those things are obvious. The one I'm struggling with right now is Exercise for Mama. Lord knows I need it. I have always classed it in the pebble category-- less important than devotions or music or math, more important than laundry, yard work and playdates. This year, though, I will be going to the local YMCA for my exercise at least two days a week and boy! is it hard to sit here and look at my five day jar and trying to fit two 90 minute yoga class rocks into it. The space remaining around those giant rocks looks pretty small, folks. Pret-ty small. In addition, those rocks are black with disapproval from my boys, who hate the child care room at the Y with a mighty and enduring hatred.

But I know how important this is, even for my disapproving boys. Daily exercise, bolstered by weekly group exercise and encouragement is vital to my function as a mother. As a person! Somehow I have to "sell" this experience to them. I'm looking for ways to include some sort of school activity for Judah that he can complete on his own during that hour. Jamie is easier. He finds friends wherever he is and is still young enough that I don't begrudge a morning spent just playing.

Monday, August 24, 2015


I think this has happened every school year since Sofi was born, but once again my first week of blissful quiet between J leaving at 7 and the kids waking up at 7:30 has devolved, slowly but relentlessly, into the kids waking up at 5:45 and being sent repeatedly back to bed with various threats and remonstrations until I finally, reluctantly relent around 7:30 and feed them breakfast. Who can blog or have "quiet time" under those circumstances? I ask you! No one, that's who. It's like they have this Fun Radar that goes off in their brains; Warning! Warning! The parents are awake! They are Doing Things Without You! Alert! Alert!


Good grief.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Reasons why the boys couldn't go to sleep last night

My elbow hurts.

My arm itches.

My throat is scratchy.

My blanket smells stinky (that one was legit, I admit)

I had a creepy thought.

I'm too hot.

I need some COMPANY (three guesses which one said THAT?!)

And for "some reason," they're grouchy, tired and irritable this morning!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

First Day again

It's another first day of school. An old familiar place for us by now. The adrenaline buzz of new books and pencils and uniforms. The fluttery tummy, the same-but-different halls, the smell of floor wax and new paint, new faces, squeaky new shoes, new school. I feel happy-sad.

Happy, because ROUTINE! This is my favorite. Other than the THROWING OFF ROUTINE FOR FREEDOM of the end of school, of course. I like waking up before the boys, drinking coffee in quiet solitude, quiet time with my bible and my laptop, writing, easing myself into the day. I like knowing exactly what is coming next and where everyone will be at any given moment of the day. (Although that is perhaps more the theory than the reality of homeschooling life with little boys)

Sad, because new beginnings, as deliciously exciting as they may be, signal the end of things as well. Book Club, Girl's Night, Friday Playdates and Co-op, all still go on, of course (right, girls??), but without us. The routine that used to make up our old familiar First Days. Tucked away fondly in our memories, now wrapped in the golden glow of nostalgia.

So this first day of school is a First that reminds us of all those Lasts, so recently lived, and our adrenaline buzz and fluttery tummies cover a deeper melancholy of missing a different place and time, people... life. But our New, our Firsts this year are the exciting beginnings of a life in Virginia and this place is our Home. In time the new will become familiar and the routine we form here will, God willing, last us. At least until God calls us to another New...

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Moving. Again.

Our big move is just a little over two weeks away. My mood lately has been increasingly irritated and tense. It occurred to me tonight that this may have something to do with the upheaval of the last seven months of our lives. Since the great Flooding of the Kitchen last October, we have been in an almost constant state of transition and unsettlement. The kitchen remodel had only been finished (well, mostly finished) for a few weeks, we'd only just fully moved back in on top of the new floor, when the job offer came in from Lynchburg. So we've basically spent the last seven months moving out, back in, and back out again. It's starting to take its toll. I feel homeless again. And even though I know it's only temporary, I also know I"m staring at another month, maybe two of this. More like three, if you count the final move from apartment into (dream) house (hopefully!) and the settling there. That brings the final count to nearly a full year of moving. Out, in, out again, into apartment, out, into house, *sigh*

We will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary in the middle of all that in and out. Fourteen years of wedding bliss. Fourteen years of moving in, out, in, and out again. By the time we settle in L-burg it will be a grand total of eight moves. Nine, if you count the in-and-out of the flooding/remodel. I know you military people can beat that handily, but for us average folks, that's a lot of upheaval. That's nine times of examining every item we own, weighing it's worth-- it's value-- and deciding; pack, or toss? Is this thing enough Mine to warrant space in a truck? Is this piece of Me/Us vital to our identity? Will it help make the next house a home? Or is it just stuff? Easily replaceable from a yard sale table, a rack at Goodwill, someone's trash bin?

In some ways the weighing of myself, again and again, is cathartic, freeing. I realize, again and again, that I am not, we are not, the sum of our stuff. My identity is bound up in my People, not my personal items. That's good. On the other hand, I'm beginning to feel a little too light, I think.  There was a story from my childhood about a princess who was too light. She never took anything seriously, everything made her laugh and it wasn't until she loved something other than herself and lost it, that she regained the gravity necessary for life. I'm beginning to wonder if this lightness of grasp on my stuff is somehow morphing into a restlessness of spirit that will lead to carelessness. A light grasp is a good thing, until it begins to allow important things to slip from one's hands. A healthy tree needs deep roots. Perhaps in the black dirt/red clay of Virginia, mine will begin to grow again...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jamie my Jo

For each kid I've set up a photoshoot in the few months before they turn five. They're my "Farewell to Babyhood" pictures. I have a set of matching frames that hang together where I can see and remember each child in that precious moment where they hung on the edge between babyhood and childhood. Here's the highlights from Jamie's set this week. I have to choose just three ;) Wish me luck!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Good-bye, House...

In an awesome twist of fate or providence, one year later I return to say that this Florida house, with which I had finally made my peace, is now for sale and we are returning home to the mountains, the black dirt/red clay, the peonies, roses and hostas.  We will leave the yard and tree branches echoing with the laughter and conversation of our tropical family to another homeless wanderer. Perhaps the lingering ghosts of the joy we have found and felt will comfort and delight the next occupants. I know the memories we take with us will occupy a secret melancholy place in our hearts. I will plant red geraniums beside my gladiolus and never forget my Florida home.