Saturday, November 19, 2016

In Thanksgiving

I woke up today in the best mood. My alarm went off at 6:30. I didn't mean to set an alarm, it is Saturday, but still, I felt wide awake and time to myself is precious, so I went with it and stayed up. As I lie in bed, enjoying the coziness of the covers and the prospect of a long unscheduled day ahead of me, I began to reflect on the goodness of life. Because life is good, isn't it?

It's good because I have people to love. I have five perfect children. I would not change a thing about them. They are who they are and I love them just like that.

I have a husband to care for, who cares for me. We look out for one another. We are partners, compatriots, and co-founders of a family. And (bonus!) sometimes we accidentally dress alike.

I have a mom and a dad, brothers and sisters. They love me and always will. I have people willing to drive ten hours, just to eat Thanksgiving dinner with my family. They think we're that great! 

I live on the most beautiful planet. I've never been to another, but I suspect it might be hard to beat Earth. It's got trees, a sky, an ever-changing moon and a unbelievable view of the stars, it has mountains-- rugged or rolling, but always majestic--rivers, clouds (!), and that gorgeous South Carolina autumn morning mist, that lies low over the fields and ponds during the quiet early hours. 

I get to eat food, which is the best. I get to drink Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate. I get to eat avocado toast with grape tomatoes and cracked black pepper. Darron makes the best salmon and and Los Compadres restaurant makes the best pecan burritos. 

I live in a sturdy, beautiful, charming house. It has a heater for winter and an AC for summer. It has a bathroom and one to spare. It's a place where my family can hang out, do homework, play the piano and XBox, eat meals, and read books. I can feather it and make it as cozy as I like. 

I have friends who care for me. Friends who text or call or ask how I am doing. I have friends who let me do things for them. They laugh with me, they comfort me, and we practice being humans together.

I have a group of eight high schoolers who meet with me every morning at 6:30 to study the scriptures together. They listen to me and share little pieces of their own lives with each other and remind me that once I was just like them. And that I still kind of am.

I am surrounded by people and their goodness. The news and media feeds may tell me that people are horrible and people are cruel and people hate me because I am different from them. But you know what? When I turn off the news and I don't read the media feeds and I go out of my house and interact with actual people--when I go to the grocery store and I visit my children's schools and I go to church and I walk downtown with my family, I see that the news and the media are dead wrong. People are lovely. People are friendly. They smile at me. They hold doors for me to walk through and thank me when I do the same for them. They speak kindly to my children and they let me say hello to theirs. They ask me how I'm doing and they respond to me when I ask the same. 

I have confidence in the future. When I think about God and His wisdom and love and mercy, the fears and worries I tend to snatch up and hold on to dissipate. They ease their clutch on my heart and I understand that everything truly will work out. When I hear that I should pull my kids out of school or prepare for the imminent collapse of the world I remember that God has been in charge a lot longer than we humans think we've been. He knows what to do. He can tell me what is true and what is real and give me confidence to act on truth and reality.

I have faith in Jesus Christ. When things seem dark, I remember that He is the light of the world. Because of Him, I have a family, friends, a world to live on, food to eat, people to love, hope for the future. He is the one sure rock of faith and I will continue to cling to Him. 

This morning my heart awoke full of thanksgiving and isn't that a wonderful thing? I wish for you all a happy Thanksgiving season, holiday, meal, and heart. 



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween Pictures

Halloween! 

We had two Houses represented. 
I think they were sorted properly.



And a cute little bunny. "Mom, everyone's going to just tell me how adorable I am."
Making a "bunny face"
On our way. My favorite moment of Halloween, on the cusp of the thrill!

Piper, Annabeth, Supergirl, and Superpup.
(Halle and friends)

(not pictured:
Man with dogs: Dad
Juliet: Mama
Homeless hippie Halloween bin mish-mash: Hinckley)

Happy Halloween y'all. 



Friday, September 23, 2016

Where We Are Now

In honor of it being a lovely day (80 degrees, dry, and beautiful!) I thought I'd charge my good camera and take a few pictures around the house. During the past several months since we've moved to out quaint little farmhouse, there has been plenty going on. This isn't a dramatic before and after, but I will show you a few befores...from our first walk through with our realtor as well as a few before we moved in, as we worked like crazy to do as much as we could while it was still empty. As crazy as one can work whilst keeping track of five children and two puppies.

To the right of the tree is the street. I'm crouched down in a magnolia tree to get this shot. Never thought I'd be crouched down in a magnolia tree doing anything but life is full of surprises. 
The right side of the house. This is the direction from which all cars approach. Where guests exit their cars and then proceed to knock on all four doors trying to find one that will be answered. Spoiler: none. We don't have a doorbell and can't hear your feeble knocking. The concrete pad and sidewalk are new and help immensely in directing folks where to try first. 

Standing on the concrete looking our over our driveway. I mean "driveway". Someday it will be a picturesque winding country drive with tire tracks in the grass. For now...mud. 


Speaking of mud...here is our back yard. It was leveled and reseeded when we moved in so we wait patiently for things to turn green one day. Our shed/dog run/lean-to is visible here. 

Entering the house. Here is our front door. No one actually comes through here so I haven't felt a huge push to get it decorated. But it does need attention. 


                                                 

Pivot to the left and see our pretty pretty staircase. My original paint job lacked a certain "precision" so the painters tape is me midway through my tidy up the slapdash job project. 

Here is the family room. We FINALLY got couches in here after two months without them. The funny thing is that no one sits on them now. They've already developed their habitual perches and so this is easily the least used room in the house. 

We 
Turning directly around points you to the dining room or the most used room in the house. Not comfy or welcoming but adjacent to the kitchen where you can always find mom slash snacks. I'm not sure which is the bigger draw. Okay okay, yes, I do. 



And here's that adjacent kitchen. Ain't she purty? 
And then...the snacks. There was no pantry in this kitchen up until about a week ago, so this addition is quite the treat. It's not actually crooked I'm just actually not a good photographer. 


Moving upstairs to the landing and hallway. The kids' rooms are up here.
Can you see the invisible line that divides the clean sister's side from the messy?


The boys haven't yet decided who gets to be the clean one. I'm sure they're working on it, but it's a big decision and they're real busy, and...you know how it is.

The dogs. Ugh. My banes. They're so adorable but so big and muddy and naughty. If I didn't have a little girl who would be deh-vuh-sta-ted if they disappeared in the middle of the night...


Not sure who took this picture of me (in our old rental house) but it would seem I'm not happy about it. Probably because I don't have my eyebrows on yet. That really ticks me off.

So there we are. We're constantly in a state of fixing, changing, adding new things. It's fun but it's been wearing for sure. I really appreciate order and cleanliness (children! irony!) so to live without it for so long has been a struggle. There is very little storage and we have very many things so the piles of stuff pushed in corners and pushed to the side and pushed up in the attic are just...getting old. But it's also so satisfying to be able to make real and noticeable improvements to your environment and be able to appreciate that you didn't have them before and isn't it great that you do now?