Saturday, February 25, 2017

Golden's 8th Birthday

Golden the Golden.

This will be addressed to you directly.

You're precious, wise, thoughtful. I love your sensitive spirit. You're hilarious, original, and such an amazing artist. You're a really good friend and I love seeing you interact with people. You've been a delight for eight whole years! Don't hesitate! God made you powerful and smart and capable. I pray for the strength and wisdom to keep building you up in your identity in God. You are a true jewel in the world, Golden. Always believe you can do anything.

On your birthday we went to Whole Foods for breakfast with Daddy.





I think it was a "stack the cats" game.

Several days later we had your party at the Fort Eustis Aquatic Center which has a fun pool and a slide! Miss Genie came with Genevieve and Rachel and several of her older children and it was super fun! 

Although I have to say, I was wrestling with that dang cat cake for FOREVER and I made us really late, and I was so stressed that I yelled a lot, and for that I am sorry. I hope that part is erased from your brain. I love you so much. May you grow as a healer and a seer this year. May you know your identity as in Christ beyond anything else, and may it give you amazing confidence! 











Mommy-daughter picture 2016!





Silas' 6th Birthday and Some Anecdotes

I just saw Silas at the library playing with another boy. He was chasing the younger boy around, silently. Every now and then the other boy would RUN to the shelf and pullout a book or a few books and throw them on the floor. And every time he did, Silas would go over and put the book back into the shelf. And then the little boy would do it again. And Silas would silently pick it up and reshelve again. Then the book chunks started getting bigger and bigger. Next time the boy ran over to pull books out, Silas stood in front of him and said, "don't mess up the books." The boy got a little upset with him. But Silas stood firm.  -July 18, 2016

Us: "Silas, would you like a little brother?"
Silas: "No. ...I can play with my sisters now." June 2016

BUT HE'S GETTING ONE!

(Continued 2-07-17) It's been such a long time since I journaled on here! I wanted to relate about Silas, and his turning six, and Golden, and her turning 8. We'll do Silas in this post, even though his birthday is later, because I already related two summer anecdotes about him above!

Silas' birthday was a home day. Thomas had the car at work, so we were home bound, but auntie Martina had sent him $50 and I had bought him a few presents, the most memorable of which was a 50-pc set of crayola colored pencils. We ALL fell in love with them! And spent most of the day in fact on my bed coloring! Silas was being really generous and sharing them.




Later we had a party at the Mariners Museum! The Thompsons were able to come and so were Mrs. Crowder and Asher. We had baked a cake and decorated it with blue frosting and fruits that the girls made into boat-shapes! It was a HOT day and I feared the icing would melt--it was whipped-cream based--but it didn't and I think Silas had a good time.

Silas, you are beautiful. Thank you for being so sincere, and so willing to help--you have a great attitude about that, and it shows your heart of gold. I love that you love the outdoors and animals so much (animals are your favorite thing in the world), and I love your enthusiasm about dinosaurs. Haha--I know I will someday miss you going into "T-rex mode." You are serious and funny and sweet and still Smiley Silas. What an amazing gift you have been to me and Daddy, for six whole years now. I pray you grow in wisdom and faith this year--that you would find strength when you need it, believe in the angels God has placed around you, that you would find comfort when you need it, and encouragement and hope. You are doing so good. Thank you too, for being my enthusiastic trash-bag replacer. You have no idea what a help that is! I love you like crazy. I can't wait to take you to the jungle! Love, Mama



What we did all day on Silas' birthday


They like beer for some reason. He got his own non-alcoholic beer for his birthday dinner! 

That's a peach-boat cake.



Opening some cool stuff. This was a badminton set that I got him. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Silver's 2nd birthday


Silver turned two!

There was a blizzard the day before, so we were still pretty snowed in on January 9th, her big day. Haha, funny story about Silver in the blizzard, for it was the first time she remembered seeing snow: when she got snow on her mittens, she said, "Oh no! Dirty! Wash hands!"

Thankfully we had everything we needed in the house for a party, even the people, for this is one of the big benefits of having a lot of children: having a party always at hand without having to invite anyone else!

From the family journal:
She woke up all smiles, even though she is recovering from a cold--her bangs had been cut for the first time yesterday, so I could see her eyes--her gray-green-blue starburst eyes. The children were really enthusiastic about celebrating her, and we decided to make french toast, not start school after all (it was a Monday), and have a cozy day. Silas and Pippa helped me make the cake--and begged for taste after taste of batter! After which I eventually sent them out of the kitchen. A baker has to focus!

It was hard fore me to insist on Silver's nap, as she really didn't want to take i, but better a happy party girl than a grumpy one, and sleep makes happy.

We had a little tea party when she woke up, which was quickly followed by dinner because Thomas came home from work. We ate the good leftovers from all I had cooked for "crazy cooking day" yesterday.

Then--to finish the cake! I had cut the cake into two layers and put a butter cream in the middle, but the top layer was whipped cream and gelatin for stability, and we colored it pink and sprinkled on some really OLD chocolate covered sunflower seeds we'd found in the back of the cupboard--stale but colorful!

Silver, in a party dress, was so delighted with it and with her present--a new "bathing baby" doll--they played with it for a long time after dinner--Golden helping her get the water into the little tub--she's such a sweet big sister.

Then we watched a nature show all together in the big bed. By the way, they are really into the soundtrack from the movie Trolls and one of the songs in particular, even Silver practically knows by heart. She sings with gusto, " I WILL GET BACK UP AGAIN!"

We are so happy to have this sparkly one in our lives and home. May this next year be full of growth and the Holy Spirit for her. Angels. Keep her safe, Father, show her she can trust you.
April 2016

April 2016
May 2016

May 2016


April 2016

June 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

January 2017

2nd birthday

2nd birthday

2nd birthday

2nd birthday




Monday, July 11, 2016

Fear is Like the Daddy Long Legs

I just observed a daddy long legs--a big one--crawling off the rail to thes side of me as I sat on the front step at Hidden Hollow Homestead (which is seemingly our summer home). He came out from behind my coffee cup and gangled his awkward strings of legs up over the white wood rail, moving the sharp mouth-pincers about in a nervous way.

He looked a fright. Those yellow pincers, sharp; and would they inflict a bite, or poison into the skin? His ghastly overlong legs shivering through space. How they would feel on the back of my neck... He looked like fear itself.

And then I realized: fear itself is exactly like this spider. Shaky, ugly, inducing the shivers. Hungry yellow mandibles, and looking like a formidable adversary. And yet--afraid himself, with very little power--no power, in fact, to do damage to me. The power of fear is only that which is given to it by those that actually do have power--the children of God. And when we forget that we are the powerful ones, the "most frightening things in this place" (paraphrase from Robinson Crusoe, a passage of literature that has changed my life), that's when we look at fear and get all a-shiver. How ugly it is! How menacing! And how, then, we cower before something that is nothing but an ugly, impotent spider, that knows in its very body that it is meant to die, and exists only to get a last meal in the shadows before it is found out and ultimately smashed.

Fear is nothing but a fear. I will not fear a fear.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Golden Evening Experienced Through Real Eyes

I have to write this down, because it is a momentous day. Pippa learned how to correctly pronounce "girl." She has called it "GORE," ever since she learned how to talk. It is a bittersweet moment. We keep teasing her, "No, it's gore!"
"No, it's not, it's 'girl.'"
I tell her, "Who told you?! Who taught you about girls?!?"
Pippa, without missing a beat, responds, "God."

Silver was adorable personified today. She was trying to jump in the living room with Silas this morning. It was like a beautiful slow-motion indie video. In the filtered morning light in the brown room on the humble wooden floor, she danced. Up went one leg, bent knee out, up went her hands as she tried to use them for momentum. Then down. Then, deliberately, carefully but enthusiastically, UP! And softly back down.

This evening was unearthly beautiful. The air was saturated in golden light radiating from a sun setting in a splendor of heavenly marigolds. The clouds, a moody mixture of dark gray and orange, split here and there to reveal a brilliant crystal blue above. Everything seemed clearer, sharper, and unreal.

The light hit the maple and lit up all the leaves for a few minutes, turning it into a fantasy tree of quivering gold and green geometry. We lay there, on the picnic blanket, getting lost in the dizzy hugeness of the sky from this perspective. It was surprisingly cool outside. The breeze blew a steady, gentle freshness whole scene. At one point it started to rain. Silver drops coming down and blessing us like showers of jewels.

The children saw the first fireflies of the season, and chased them with awe and delight until well past the velvet dusk, naming them things like "Glow-Glow, but Glow for short," and Harold, and bringing them to me as I sat on the front step, drinking in all the visual poetry with every part of my being.

Silver, dressed in nothing but jeans, found Silas' brown John Deere baseball cap, put it on, and tottered over to me, saying, "hat, hat!"

For once, I let the camera lie still in the house. I needed the moment, I needed to lock in on it with my soul, experience it undiluted instead of through the eye of the shutter.

Yesterday, I also took my moment. I have been trying to slow down again and breathe moments of beauty as used to be so easy to me when I was younger and not so... responsible. Worrying about the bills isn't going to pay them. It seems helpful to worry about them, but it's really counterproductive. I still get to slow down, I still get to enjoy, I still get to be a presence-person. God said He would provide all our needs.

I had been to an exercise class after 3 or 4 days of feeling very dizzy. When I came home, Thomas had built a large fire with thick parts of the trees he's been cutting down in the yard. The fire pulsed and popped and sparked like some live alien trying to communicate a fierce message of love.

The children had roasted hot dogs and marshmallows already and were inside, but I stole a moment and slipped outside with four marshmallows, and squatted by the fire, my old familiar place, the smell bringing me back to 27 years ago, to a tiny adobe village in the Albarradas mountains of Mexico...

And tonight, as I sang "How He loves us, Oh," and played on the guitar, Silver sang with me, "Let it go!!"

Close enough.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Pippa's Fourth Birthday

Pippa,
You're a little genius.
Pippa,
You're strong.
Pippa,
You're original.

Pippa is a combination of rainbow and TNT. The girl has ideas. The girl has energy. A lot of energy.

We were awestruck that this little thing is turning four already, and celebrated it at home with much gusto. Pippa celebrates everything with gusto. Gusto is her middle name.

I love the way she dresses herself.






I love the way she does manual labor in a princess dress.



And her bravery of deciding to get her ears pierced. The girl was determined AND decided on her course of action. Perhaps a little surprised, when she found the first side hurt, but she still went through with it and is as proud as ever.


















I love the way she loves butter.

Why yes, that is whipped cream on top of a butter stick. Happy birthday.





















And... the Mahnkens came over on her birthday! Boom. Seven extra children makes a party if I ever saw one. I love that Veronica took on the trip right before their huge California road trip. And it was the first time she had driven their behemoth van such a great distance, and the first time she had come over without the hubs. I salute her. Bonfires and park days and Old Navy trips galore! (Just kidding. It was two days. There was only one instance of each of those.)









So we made the froofroo cake, and happy-birthday-ed and these slappy hand-thingies we had purchased and given out made us wish there had been no party favors at all, and I still see them or pieces of them on my floors every single day but can't bring myself to toss them because as gross as it is, the children STILL play with them and love to do it, so...





Anyways. Pippa. This firecracker birthday girl.

Always look up to Jesus. He is excited about you. He is close to you. He will never leave you. He has great things for you. You will lead people with your voice. The way you love to recite scripture and sing is just beautiful. Your voice has power to effect change in the earth. You know that! Proverbs 18:21 is one of your favorites, and you committed it to memory really quickly. Your voice is a special gift that was notable from the day you were born, and I can't wait to see what happens with it as you hone it, as you use it in the presence of God, as you bend and discipline your will for the purpose of power and love and a sound mind. You've got this! God's in you! I am so blessed to be your mommy. You have made me an extra level of rich.

Love, Mama

Not a perfect picture of either of us, but we're both in it!
















Here's Pippa reciting Proverbs 18:21, just before her fourth birthday:



She's going places. With Jesus!