Sunday, December 4, 2016

Courage and Valor

We had a guest speaker of sorts this morning in our Sunday School class. She brought to light, almost as a side note, the story of God's call to Gideon. Gideon is threshing wheat in hiding from the Mideonite oppressors and the angel of the Lord appears to him and says, "The Lord is with you, mighty man of valor!" The incongruity of his situation and emotion with God's greeting to him has stuck with me all day...

My sister posted a confessional about her weekly Sunday night dread of the return to the homeschooling routine of Monday morning on Facebook tonight and I responded with one of my favorite quotes, "Courage, dear heart" It's Aslan's voice, speaking to Lucy in the depths of dread darkness. Those words echo frequently in my heart when things seem dark and confusing...

Mothers, wives, sisters... If you are facing this week with a feeling of dread, inadequacy, fear, or heartache; if life beyond the relative comfort of the weekend feels just a little beyond your ability to manage or direct, remember that He bids you be of good courage. If you are hiding in a wine press, frantically trying to thresh out a little wheat before the marauding Mideonites come to devastate and destroy, remember that when He looks at you, because of Christ, He names you a Mighty Woman of Valor.

You are a Mighty Woman of Valor, dear heart.

Also, remember the marauding Mideonites are cute some of the time.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


I hosted a party tonight for a friend who's recently started marketing for KEEP Collective-- a jewelry line from Stella and Dot. The mission of the line is to help women tell their stories through symbolic charms and symbols that you can personalize. When I first heard my friend talk about this concept, I didn't really get it. I mean, the brand is basically a grown-up version of the charm bracelet. The pieces are cute, but... Lots of jewelry is cute. But during the course of the party, I got it. And, as I am wont, I found a deeper symbolism in what they're trying to do...

My friend gathered us all together and started the introductions. She told us about her life and her twin daughters, she showed us her necklace and told us the significance of it. Then she had each person tell how they met me (I was the common denominator in a group of women who mostly, but not all, knew each other) and give three words that described me for them and then three words that they felt symbolized themselves, or this particular stage in their lives.

At first it was awkward. I do not like being the center of attention unless I am teaching, or telling a funny story, performing-- in control of the script, so to speak. But as each friend, most of them new, in this new place, in this new part of my life; as each friend shared their experience of meeting me and then affirmed verbally to me, in my hearing, that they saw this thing in me, that they saw this or that part of me, that they knew something about me, I felt a spreading warmth and confidence that I did not realize I had been missing in this new place...  And I gradually began to see another piece of this truth about women needing women that has been a part of God's teaching in my life ever since I can remember.... We need this from each other. We need to tell, not just our own stories, but each other's. We need to deliberately affirm for each other who we are, what we do, what we think and believe, what we are doing and why. We need to remind each other often of who we are, and why. 

Women, in the daily grind of housework, office work, mothering, infertility, loss, moving, never going anywhere, having no place to go, laundry, cooking, yard work; whatever it is that drains you of identity and makes you forget who you are, and why... we need to have someone who will look into our eyes and say, "I see you. I know who you are. Remember this? This is who you are, this is why." So much of what we do goes unnoticed, unseen. A large part of our daily activity is cyclical, unmade as quickly as it is made (cooking, cleaning, laundry). I believe we crave, sometimes unconsciously. a witness that we exist outside of those things: that there is something continuous, something linear in us that is essentially Us. We sisters ought to be that witness to each other.

I ended the night with the deep urge to text all my friends and tell them; I see you. I know you. You are a reader, teacher, artist. You are a musician, teacher, creator of beauty. You are strong, vibrant, loyal. You are warm, caring, welcoming. You are driven, articulate, creative. You are gentle, loving, humble. You are curious, intelligent, caring. I see you. I see each of you. I name you. Thank you for being in my life.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

written one spring, in a moment of loss and longing

god is the ocean and the boat

my life swells and sinks to the rhythm of his providence
safe in his will, i float above the unpredictable tempests
protected alike from storm dangers and the whispering doldrums
that suck men's souls out of their bodies

I sail along a steady course, every tack and jib secure
my every line written on his hand
my future safe, my harbor sure

and yet

should my boat seem to sink beneath me,
deserting me, helpless, to the fury of the roiling deep,

god is the ocean, too.

should my limbs fail me, should I seem to gasp my last breath and slide at last
beneath the waves of grief, loss, indecision, pain and parting,
surrendering in my struggle
should my lungs slowly fill and my body sink

I would find myself still cradled in his wisdom
I would come to rest on the ocean floor
and there see that I laid at last still in his caring
in the very bosom of his love for me

god is the boat and the ocean

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Every day after the schoolwork is done, the Davies boys and the Forshey boys go outside. It's an explosion of pent-up, barely contained energy that is, I admit it, somewhat exhilarating to watch. Exhilarating in spite of the fact that I'm one of the ones trying to barely contain it all day. With cajoling, threats, bribes, distractions, time-outs and a constant stream of chores and re-direction (and sometimes push-ups, jumping-jacks and laps around the house), it takes all my energy and concentration to keep the beach ball of energy pushed, barely submerged, beneath the ocean surface of functional order and propriety.

Then comes that moment. That blessed moment when the last page of Latin copywork is finished, or the last math problem solved, or the last recitation given; and the mother can finally release her grip on the beach ball and let it *pop* to the surface and then, blessedly, OUT THE DOOR.

Sometimes the pounding is on my door, sometimes my boys are pounding on her door:

"Can Judah/Jamie/Brinley/Smith/Henry come out NOW???"

Yes, thank the Lord, yes. They can come out now.

And then OUT they go. With a whoosh and a yell and a holler and shove/wrestle/trip/hustle out the door they go into the neighborhood. A forgiving tolerant neighborhood, thankfully. Perhaps we should issue a warning, or blast a theme song out into the frosty air as a warning Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! The boys are OUT! The boys are LOOSE! A theme song and a slogan. The boys are coming. The kracken is released. The hordes descend upon you. The Buckaroos Ride Again.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Some Whine for Wednesday

Parenting is really hard. And frustrating. And annoying. Or rather, Parenting is hard and kids are annoying and frustrating. Don't get me wrong, it goes without saying that I love my children and wouldn't trade them for the most serene, uncomplicated, boring and love-less life out there. However... Some days, like today, I might trade them to gypsies for a few cast iron pots.

Exhibit A)

So far this morning I have swept the floor four times.
1) The usual after-breakfast sweep-up,
2) Millions of tiny styrofoam balls scattered in a trail from the basement, up the stairs, back down the stairs, into the kitchen, across the living room floor and aaaaall over the rug in the school room where I sent them to watch Wild Kratts while I swept up the million styrofoam balls.
3) Globs of dried mud and, let's be honest, probably also dog poop, stomped out of the cleats of their rain boots WHILE I yelled at them from the yard to take the boots off BEFORE they stomped into the house.
4) Handfuls of dried up playdough fragments, scattered carelessly across the dining room rug, again WHILE I yelled at him to go get the dust pan and not to try and carry the whole mess to the kitchen in one hand.
5) (oh yeah, five times. I've swept the floor five times since breakfast) A trail of hard boiled egg yolk crumbs, flung from the lunch plate as he waltzed it to the kitchen sink, arms waving "gracefully" along the way.

Exhibit B)

Don't wrestle with the dog.

DON"T wrestle with the dog.

Don't WRESTLE with the DOG, she will BITE you if you get her so wound UP.


See? I told you. Don't wrestle with anything that has bigger teeth than you do. Excellent life principle.

Exhibit C)

The same child who sprinkled the playdough crumbs all over the dining room rug, dumped the leftover handful into the kitchen trash can without checking to make sure the trash BAG was securely fastened over the edge of the can. It wasn't. All the play dough landed ON TOP of the crumpled-at-the-bottom trash bag.

Exhibit D)


Exhibit E)

Me: Where in the world is Jamie??

Me: *wandering all over the house looking for missing child*

Me: *yelling out all the doors and windows for missing child*

Me: *texting neighbors, asking if missing child is at their house*

Me: *sending older brother to find missing child and drag him home*

Missing Found child: I TOLD you I was going over the the twin's house...

Me: *yelling*

Found child, five minutes later: I"m hungry. Can I go over to the twin's house now?

Exhibit F)


I'm not even going to wrap this up with anything positive and affirming. We all know there are plenty of days like this in parenting. Probably more than any of us want to admit. The miracle is, by God's grace and with a sense of humor (and a blog) we keep on, regardless. I will probably have to ask my boys' forgiveness several more times before the end of the day and maybe we'll all get a laugh out of it one day.