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Two Little Girls and a Bench

  It was one of those moments before dinner in which I could have easily moved into the busy rush of dinner, clean-up, and bed-time, when I was stopped in my tracks. Isabelle, with her round face, and bright eyes, and fifteen month strength, clamored onto a bench and made it apparent to me that she wanted to jump from its one foot height with the help of my hand. I obliged and a game began, a game that was immediately joined by Emmaline, her three-year old sister, who does everything with full abandon. Soon, I found myself holding two little hands as two little girls jumped off a bench in unison. What joy this moment held for them. Again. Repeat. They would have jumped as long as I allowed. Each little face starlit with the joy of leaving the earth for one brief moment in the company of one’s sister and one’s mommy.  Tonight I read in Chesterton’s Orthodoxy that, “Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things rep
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Slaying Giants

Days like this begin when the night before I choose not to sleep, because I must read a few more lines from some news site or scroll one last time through the glowing screen of my iPhone instead of making good on my resolve to read quality literature and journal prior to bed. They continue when I wake up earlier than usual to teach, but finish teaching to realize that my children also went to bed later then they should. So now, everyone’s patience operates like feet hitting a wet spot on a wood floor. Bam. You loose traction. And first one then another is upset and done. That tantrum sparked another melt-down from someone else, and as I try to not join the melt-downs, and instead attempt to be the adult I hazard some words of explanation.  “Your choices impact us all.” I tell one of them.  My children’s choice do change the tenor of the room for good or for ill, but so do my choices. On days of this sort, where nothing is really wrong, other than a strong case of the grumpies, that ge

Good Friday Reflections

Tonight, squished between my eldest two children, I read bedtime stories on my big bed—a move we made because my pregnant body filled up the whole toddler bed leaving no room for my story-ready children. We started with a book on friendship told from the perspective of a shy chipmunk who didn’t want to leave his mommy. Then we moved on to a story about Peteriffic building a block tower high into the sky. We finished with our Bible reading and knowing that we are in Holy Week I then showed my kids pictures of the Lord’s Supper and Good Friday. I told them that Jesus died so that everyone could be raised from the dead, and then, “Boom.” I was right in the middle of a conversation I wasn’t expecting to have on this ordinary bedtime, with late daylight streaming softly into my bedroom window.    “Will we all die, Mama?” asked Gabe, my three-year-old.    “Yes, but Jesus came so that we can live again. We will be raised from the dead—just like Him.”    “Will it be a long time until we get ra

A Leaf

  A couple of weeks ago, I read “The Leaf by Niggle” aloud to five-year old Felicity. Since I was teaching on the story a few days later, I counted my inspiration to read-aloud as a double win towards homeschooling and teaching prep. Didn’t know that my five-year-old, would once again teach me.     Tolkien’s short story follows the life of a Niggle, a painter, who envisions a glorious tree, but only manages to paint leaves, a paltry homage to his vision. About half-way through the story Niggle is sent on a journey, presumably death. After some time in a dismal hospital and workhouse, a train takes him to a familiar green space. As he wanders, wonderingly, he discovers it. The tree. His tree.   Felicity turned to me as I read and she said with the joy of discovery in her voice,    “Mommy! Did God make his tree real?”   “Yes, Felicity. Yes, that is it. That is exactly it.”    Tolkien and Lewis both thought that fairy-tales and myths, those bearers of reality, could be understood by child

The Emmaline News

Lately, the news is not my favorite activity, and yet, I have a hard time looking away. Some inner drive empathetically proclaims that the more I read about what is happening, the more I will know, and the more I know, the more I can control. A default assumption that with knowledge comes power.  What actually happens, is the more I read, the more my lack of control becomes evident. The headlines show various peoples’ opinions, governments’ attempts to act (and keep us from acting 😂), and scientists trying their best to lead (we are lucky and blessed to have scientific advances). But the predications of our best scientists about our current situation still need to be proved, partially proved, or disproved over time, and in the meantime, we wait at home. In this case, knowledge of the current situation just reiterates my powerlessness.  And that is good, because, “All flesh is grass and all its beauty is like the flower of the field,” and, “The grass withers, the flowers fade,

What to do in Case of Pandemic

“Gabe when you are afraid, will you trust in God?” the small, sincere voice of my daughter, Felicity, drifted to me as I sat on the couch, legs folded under me, looking at my creative writing projects. They were tucked in bed and should have been sleeping.  My son’s voice, largely ignoring Felicity, hummed and thrummed as he made his toy cars vroom along in what sounded like a vaguely destructive manner. Then her voice continued, singing the lyrics, “When I am afraid I will trust in you, I will trust in you, I will trust in you.”              The interchanged warmed my heart. Yes, I want them both to trust in God when they are afraid.  And I want to trust in God when I am afraid.  And I want someone to remind me to trust in God when I’m tempted not to trust in Him.  **             I began this post several weeks ago when ordinary life thrummed and hummed. As I revisit this story, ordinary has shifted and changed and the hum as I and many knew it has shifted. The

On Soup, Vices, Babies, and the End of the Day

I’m sitting eating soup and hearing phantom cries. At least, every time I jump up the baby monitor confirms that the crying is only in my head.  Today, with the rapt attention of my four-year old, I wrote a to-do list on our large kitchen chalkboard. I’m not certain if that was a good idea as the last to-do—a very large pile of laundry still looms a pants and onesies mountain or a shirts and socks field, pick your favorite metaphor of choice. But whatever your choice, it’s there.  Strewn along my bedroom floor. Waiting. (Yes, the bed would be a better place, but the baby needed nursing.)  The problem with a to-do list is that my biggest to-do, is to be with my three little ones. And really, that is not even a to-do, that is my life, my calling.  The other problem with a to-do list is that tasks sometimes seem to stand in the way of just being, a woman, a mother, striving by the grace of God to grow in virtue, to model said virtue so that the little souls I am given to steward