Plenty To Be Thankful For

The week of Thanksgiving was…

awesome.

So awesome that I didn’t step foot on the internet for many, many days and so awesome that the only word I can think of to describe it is…awesome.

{Which is kind of sad. Not because it is not a wonderful word (though somewhat overused), but because I’m too lazy to look up a different word in the thesaurus. The one that is sitting right next to me. The one that is so big and full of words. Thesauruses make me tired. Or better yet, exhausted. Weary…}

Sorry.

So why was last week awesome?

Many reasons…

1. The entire family was not vomiting (and then some) like we were last year. Read “Thanksgiving or Bust” to hear more on that jolly good holiday.

2. Seeing the last “Twilight” movie with my Mom and my cousin’s wife, Amanda (who also doubles as my soulmate) in a theater full of teenagers. There was a teenage couple sitting behind us, and I kept imagining they were making out behind us in disgusting teenager fashion, with their long, gangly limbs and their retainer slobbers. Gross. But there is nothing better than getting a fit of the giggles during a melodramatic “Twilight” movie…

3. Little things…

Like coming across these Thanksgiving crafts I let the kids make while I was cleaning. I had to laugh at the obvious difference between boys and girls. Rebekah’s turkey is standing next to a flower. Gideon’s turkey is also standing next to a flower, but is being shot by a hunter.  Poor turkey.

Or walking into the schoolroom to see that Gideon had been inspired by the Thanksgiving chalk “art” I had “made” (i.e. copied off of Pinterest). Here’s mine:

Here’s his (so sweet!):

or receiving the pinecone turkey Gideon made in Sunday School, full of “feathers” stating what he was most thankful for…

Thankfully, “Mama and Papa” is also listed, right underneath “armor”. Food and armor and chicken. Little boys are the best.

4. The family. I could go on and on for DAYS, but you all know who you are and you know how much I love you. Bunch of weirdos.

5. The food. Oh, sweet Pete, the food…

6. Watching my Mom do her magic, hosting a houseful of people in the midst of a bedroom renovation (carpet was actually installed during the mayhem), and still managing to feed all of us 2 or 3 times a day without ever losing her cool. Amanda and I were shocked one night to see her pull a beautiful and perfectly cooked turkey out of the oven. NO ONE had seen her do any preparation. But it’s always like that at her house…a timer goes off, bottabing, bottaboom, a turkey. Amazing.

7. The Janie and Jack Black Friday internet sale that enabled me to buy a year’s worth of dress pants for my little vintage boy who wore woolen slacks (with silk lining) all summer long, because he “liked they way they feeled…like I’m not wearing any clothes!” Thank you, God, for 30% off sales, $25 reward cards, and free shipping.

8. And lastly, on a very serious note, I am most thankful for something that happened this Thanksgiving week that has caused my heart to soar in gratitude and wonder. Settle in, why don’t you? This might take a while…

One morning as we were preparing once more to load up and join the rest of my family at Mama and Daddy’s house in the country, Gideon and Rebekah got into a massive fight in the living room. I could hear their shouts clear in my bathroom on the other end of the house, quickly followed by Rebekah’s heavy footfall as she came to rat her brother out.

“Gideon hit me!!!” she wailed.

My heart sank. A most punishable offense, no matter what she had done to entice him. I followed her back into the living room where Gideon met us with tears of anger and frustration gathering in his eyes.

“Did you hit your sister?” I asked him, my own anger barely in check. We had been over this many a time before. Too many times.

He nodded meekly, before defending himself: “But she stomped her foot at me and she did her mouth like this (all twisted up) and said “grrrr!!” His temper began to boil over just thinking about what she had done to him.

I’ll spare you the details, but the discipline was swift and firm, followed by a sound scolding for Rebekah for enticing him to anger, and the two were told to apologize and “make up”. But you know how these things go…you can instruct a child in the way to go, you can present them with the Word of God, you can make them look each other in the eye and say the right words, but…you cannot make them feel conviction. It has all been rather rote and mechanical for us during these preschool years.

Thank God for His Spirit.

For ten minutes later, as I was sitting on my bed braiding Rebekah’s hair, the fight forgotten, Gideon quietly walked in and stood at my door. Our eyes met.

“I’m sorry…” he said quietly, his bottom lick puckering.

“For hitting Rebekah?” I asked, intrigued that he was bringing it up again.

And right before my eyes, his little spirit crumbled, shoulders drooping, despair cloaking his countenance, tears falling freely and sincerely. “I don’t want to hit!” he exclaimed through his tears. “I don’t like to hit people.”

I couldn’t breathe for a minute over the magnitude of what was taking place – this was different than any “remorse” he had ever shown. And then Gideon ran to me, crying, and I gathered him up with all the compassion and love I have for him in my heart.

“Gid, I know you’re upset,” I encouraged, “but this is a great thing!” I shook his shoulders a bit in my excitement. “Do you know who is helping you to not like your anger? The Holy Spirit! He is fixing your heart, just like we’ve prayed!!”

“But…” he whimpered, “I just don’t like how it feels!”

Can a heart rejoice and break at the same time? Because, while thrilled with this new development in his heart, I mourned for my baby to wake up to the horror that is the sin nature. There is no greater pain on earth than realizing our depravity, but…it is a pain that leads us to the Savior, who has a healing balm of redemption for our sin-sick souls.

And the reality that my son, whom I love more than anything, is beginning to feel the very same God-breathed pangs of conviction that I feel on a daily basis…well, it just nearly bowled me over. For nothing has humbled me or caused me to come to grips with my finitude and humanity more than realizing that I have no control over whether or not my children will ever have a love for their Creator or will ever hate their sin. In desperation, I cry out to God on their behalf as we look to His Word for the tools to lead our children, knowing that the only way to parent them well is to parent them biblically.

And all that remains after doing those things is faith that He will keep His promises.

But oh how weak my faith can be.

And so this random and unexpected moment during an otherwise busy week was a holy moment for us, earth-shattering for Gideon, but faith-bolstering for me, and became the highlight of my holiday as it assured me so deeply that God is with us. He is moving. He is working. He is hearing our prayers and causing the truths that we share to take root in our children, softening them, wooing them, making their dead hearts come to life before our very eyes.

This alone would give me every reason to be thankful this holiday season.

~

No vomiting, silly movies, family, food, and life-changing spiritual breakthroughs. It was a good Thanksgiving.

 ~

IMG_7993

Me and my sweet Mama, Thanksgiving 2012

Sunshine.

She was heartbroken.

Because, even though her 5-year old Cousin Anna was still downstairs playing with Gideon, it was naptime, and 3-year old girls simply must have their rest.

It’s funny, isn’t it, that the ears of a mother can discern the different tunes and chords of their children’s cries? And while Miss Sunday is notorious for her loud, fake cry that she can turn off and on like a switch, this cry was real and deep, and I felt her pain in my own heart.

How tempting it was to give her the afternoon off and allow her to indulge in her heart’s desire, but we had a long night ahead, and I knew that she and I would both pay if I allowed her that luxury.

And so I held her, instead.

Sitting on her brother’s twin-sized bed, she straddled my waist and buried her head on my shoulder where I could feel her tears sinking into my shirt. We rocked, together, riding out the storm of her hurt, and I absent-mindedly mused over what a blessed invention the rocking chair was, created, I am sure, for moments such as these.

Still yet, mamas can rock just about anywhere, even without a special chair.

“Can I sing to you?” I asked her, searching for any means with which to ease her sadness.

She nodded, and her wails of despair immediately calmed down in both decibel and frequency.

First it was her standard favorite, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. And then the old standby “Rock-a-bye Baby”. With each word I sang, her tears ebbed a little more, and she began to relax on my chest.

And then I heard her muffled voice from my shoulder: “Just one more?…”.

I breathed in the smell of her long, golden hair and relished the feel of her warm body cuddled into mine as I perused my musical index for the perfect song to describe the way she makes me feel…

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine

You make me happy when skies are grey.

You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you,

Oh please don’t take my sunshine away…

I sang the song to her, the words flowing directly from my heart to her ears, and as I sang, I praised God for the gift of children, especially, at the moment, for my beloved Miss Sunday.

There were times in my young life when I thought that motherhood would be a stifling road, one that would ruin my body and strip me of my dreams, one that would leave me haggard and old and washed up and…lost. At that egotistical time in my life, nothing scared me more than the thought of forgetting who I was and losing my “identity.”

I understand now that I had a sinful aversion to self-denial and living for others, and that I had digested the lies of my culture, hook, line and sinker…

But God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, knew so much better, and He weaved a sanctifying tale of motherhood into the story of my life, one that has changed me and challenged me and humbled me and taught me first-hand that great paradox of Christianity, that “losing ourselves” is where we are actually found, and that in dying is discovered the road to life and life abundant.

And now I have these little gifts running helter-skelter all over my house, keeping me on my feet from the minute theirs hit the floor in the morning and until their eyes close in sleep, and I am training myself daily to live for Christ by living for them…

but sometimes, like today, it hits me that it’s not all dying and losing, is it? And it’s not all exhaustion and training…

for as boisterous and energetic and sinful, even, as these little ones are, they are sunshine.

And I have seen over and over again that, when times have been especially dark and confusing, and when the outside world seems unbearably cruel and unjust, God uses my children to bring moments of happiness that transcend words and reason: a small hand on my shoulder radiates peace and comfort, a mispronounced words pops a giggle out of my mouth, an unscripted and unplanned moment of togetherness drops down like a gift of grace from the sky…

and I fall in love with God’s plan for my life over and over and over again as I heave a great sigh of contentment and see with clear vision that children are a blessing and a heritage from the Lord, and are, at times, great little ministers of peace and hope and love. Not burdens. Not exhausting little monsters. Not roadblocks to personal success or achievement…

if only we would always see them so clearly and bask in the sunshine that they bring into our homes during these precious and fleeting years.

As I finished the song, Miss Sunday asked me to sing it just one more time.

And so I did. For her and for me. She needed the extra comfort and time, and I needed to say the words – and the accompanying prayer of my heart – again and again and again…

~

I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ’s name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother’s heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her lifelong prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!

Elizabeth Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward

A Storybook Halloween – Part Two

…Continued from “A Storybook Halloween“…

~

So as I was saying, Granny was just sitting in bed waiting for someone to come visit her, as sick people are prone to do…

but she most certainly wasn’t expecting a wolf.

a BIG…BAD…WOLF!!!

“Oh dear me!” Granny cried.

and she sprang from her bed in terror.

For even those who are very old and very sick can become quite spry and hasty when there is a wolf at their heels.

But alas, she was no match for a fast and hungry wolf.

He caught her, and tied her up in the closet to save her for his dessert…

and Little Red Riding Hood would be his supper.

He put on a hat and shawl and crawled into bed, for he had a sneaky plan: to trick Red Riding Hood into thinking that he was her Granny, and not, in fact…

a mean. sly. horrid. cruel. dastardly WOLF.

Just as he curled up under Granny’s covers, Little Red Riding Hood arrived.

“Hello, dear Granny!” she sang with a smile…

and walking up to Granny’s bedside, she presented the basket of goodies that her Mother had sent.

But when she looked at Granny, she thought something seemed a little…strange.

“Granny…what big eyes you have today…” she said.

“Well, the better to see you with my beautiful dear!” replied Granny.

“And what big ears you have!” said Red Riding Hood.

“Oh, well, the better to hear you with, silly!” replied the wolf, growing more nervous – and hungrier – by the minute.

“And…what big teeth you have!” said Red Riding Hood, leaning in closer to figure out what in the world was wrong with her Granny.

The Wolf knew his time was up.

In his vicious wolf voice, he lunged forward and growled, “the better to EAT you with, my dear!”

I’m afraid it all would have been over for Little Red Riding Hood and her Granny if something quite extraordinary had not happened next.

A most handsome woodsman who was out hunting for his supper happened to walk by at that very moment and heard the Wolf’s growl and the little girl’s shriek.

He burst through the front door and presented something even sharper than the Wolf’s teeth…

a sturdy and trusty axe!

The Wolf tried to weasle his way out of the Woodsman’s grasp and ran as fast as his feet would fly…

but just as Granny was no match for the Wolf…

the Wolf was NO match for the handsome, manly, ruddy (and married) Woodsman.

With his own trickery, he was tied up and sat waiting for his deserved death…

while Little Red Riding Hood and the Woodsman laughed at his foiled plan.

And what happened to Little Red Riding Hood and the rest of the characters after this fateful day?

They lived happily ever after, just as they should have.

Except, of course, for the Wolf, who was made into a batch of hamburgers, providing a very fine supper for Little Red Riding Hood’s family right after this picture was taken.

The. End.

~

Costume details and outtakes coming up tomorrow!

~

This telling of Little Red Riding Hood and all photos are property of Mrs. Gore’s Diary and Benjamin Grey Photography. 

I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning…

My posture is a bit different this evening as I sit down to gather my thoughts.

Most usually, I wait until the children are in bed or otherwise situated before I even attempt to jot down a blog post. The reason being, I kind of have trouble doing any two things at one time – cooking and listening to people talk, patting my head and rubbing my tummy, driving and reading street signs, being alive and doing any sort of math problem, watching television and folding clothes – in other words, I’m a big, fat dummy and need absolute silence in order to properly think or do much of anything.

But today, I’m feeling spontaneous and am sitting at the kitchen table with my refurbished laptop, my eldest children on either side of me, happily occupied with their coloring books…and, evidenced by the buttery fingerprints on my keyboard, there is a giant bowl of popcorn right smack in the middle of the table. Betsie, of course, is locked up nearby us in her highchair, eating sugar snap peas and deli turkey and as much popcorn as she can convince us to share with her. For, if Betsie is loose, NObody gets ANYthing done, whether they are a big, fat dummy or a smartypants genius or even, I’m betting, the old lady in the shoe. Betsie just has that effect on people.

So what is it that has me feeling so spontaneous? What has happened to me that makes my heart feel so contented and calm within me? How in the world am I able to sit amongst this throng of little people and find the mental fortitude to make intelligable sentences?…

I don’t really know. It has just been one of those laidback (but productive) Saturdays that makes me want to be near to my family, to count my blessings, to bask in our togetherness as long as possible.

And all afternoon, an old song has been lilting through my mind, the perfect soundtrack to highlight our first weekend in November…

Got no diamonds, got no pearls,

Still I think I’m a lucky girl.

I’ve got the sun in the morning

And the moon at night.

Got no mansions, got no yachts,

Still I’m happy with what I got.

I’ve got the sun in the morning

And the moon at night…

It all started this afternoon during the children’s naptime. I was going through the 9,000 pictures I have stored on our desktop (sadly, all of them taken since January), deleting some, adding some to albums, moving some to the external harddrive…

And as I scanned through photo after photo of my family last Spring, I could hardly fathom how quickly the children have grown and how much they’ve changed in so short a season. Days and moments I had completely forgotten about came rushing back into my soul in a flood of sweet memories. And although I enjoyed looking at all the fun parties we’ve had where our clothes were matching and our hair was tidy, the sweetest pictures were just of us…unscripted…untidymismatched…living!

They were pictures of life and life abundant, the very thing I set about celebrating here on my blog. And they were so beautiful, they made my heart ache. Not because we are particularly special or beautiful people, but because the things I see in those pictures are real and substantial things that are eternal and were the main components of the perfect world God initially created for us to enjoy: love…family…laughter…innocence…work…nature…home…

Each and every one a gift created by and given from a very loving Father.

As the children woke up and our afternoon wore on, we all ended up in the old, spacious shed on our property. Mr. Gore was finishing up a woodworking project and the children and I were sitting on our bottoms on a swept-off concrete slab, coloring and talking (we color a LOT in this house). I looked around me. Mr. Gore was deep in concentration as he measured and tinkered, and looked especially resplendent and manly with his coarse, red beard glowing copper and awesome in the natural light of the shed. Gideon was dressed in a full-out pirate costume, complete with strands of beads and a bright red headwrap. Rebekah was covered in dust, as was her ditsy floral sundress that is two sizes too small, her “golden hair” (as she affectionately calls it) flowing down her back where it ended with little curls, also covered in dust. Betsie was, again, locked up, this time in her big, red wagon, peering up at us from behind her straggly bangs, eating a box of raisins and doing her darndest to reach the bucket of crayons. (She loves to eat crayons even more than she loves to eat raisins).

And my heart just sighed for a minute, and I thought…

I could live in this shed with these people.

These moments of clarity and contentment are my very favorite in life, and I can’t tell you how much I love it when all of our junk is out of my sight and I am with the people I adore, and I asked myself the same question I’ve asked a thousand times this year: why, Mrs. Gore, do you continue to store up treasures on this earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19)?

For there, in that dirty old shed, with a bucket of crayons and two coloring books, I was as happy as I’ve ever been in my entire life.

And I realized once again that NOT being rich is a great blessing.

I’ll never forget the first time Mr. Gore mentioned this rather radical thought near the end of a sermon, and he encouraged our congregation to stop striving after silver and gold and to refrain from doggedly pursuing the next level of financial comfort, not because it is a sin to be rich, but because God might be showing us great mercy by keeping us in the financial situation we are in. He went on to point out the many times the Bible warns us of the snare of money, and how the human heart is naturally inclined to make gods of the corruptible, citing John Calvin’s famous words: “the human heart is an idol-making factory”. My heart agreed so vehemently. “Be content with your lot,” he warned us, “for God might know that if He gave you more, you would become a slave to it. One of the greatest blessings in your life might be that the small income He has given you is just enough to keep you from depending upon yourself. Rest in that.”

I would never have come to that conclusion on my own, but the minute the words rolled off of his tongue, I was a believer. How great and how kind is our God, working all things for our good, even when we are little aware of it.

Since that day, the drive inside my soul to make more so we can have more has slowed considerably, and I am learning to relax with what we have today, knowing and trusting that God knows best what we need for our future. In the meantime, even though there are springs sticking up through the cushions of our couch, and even though our cars are becoming more “vintage” by the day, I am seeing with fresh eyes how abundantly we have been blessed, and how little we need to live happily and contentedly in this world.

And who knows? Someday we might have to move into our shed, and convert our home into a boarding house (what? I told you I read a lot of Christian fiction). But guess what would go with us? Love. Laughter. Gratitude. Probably a bucket of crayons and a couple of coloring books. Some flowers maybe and a set of lace curtains. The sun in the morning. The moon at night. But most importantly…

Grace.

Grace that sustains us, that fulfills us, and that allows us to have even the tiniest speck of love or gratitude in our hearts in the first place. Grace that is enough for today and gives us faith for tomorrow.

~

To read more on this subject, see “Mother Hen Paints the Fence Some More” and “Mrs. Gore is in Seven Heaven” from the archives

Halloween Magic

Well, its finally here…

The day of our year that most inspires our imagination.

The day where it is perfectly alright to eat candy for breakfast, lunch, supper and dessert.

The day when my kids actually look normal and have minions of other costumed children to blend in with.

Happy Halloween, everybody!!!

Thinking back over all of our past celebrations has left me a bit sentimental tonight, and I have a gut feeling that someday, I’ll painfully miss these days of playing dress-up with my kids. I have a deep affection for all holidays, but Halloween is truly special with its beautiful Fall backdrop and its cozy warmth and whimsy. And there is something so fulfilling about helping the innocent dreams of my children come true as I scour the internet and our closets to find costumes that will best help them look like their favorite characters.

This year is sure to be a special memory for all of us, and I’ll share more about that in the days and weeks to come…

But for now, I’d like to share with you the most special moment of last year’s Halloween. We had been busy, busy, busy, getting dressed in our pioneer costumes, meeting up with Jerry and Amy and the girls, taking lots of photographs, loading up into our covered wagon, trick-or-treating all over town, and I had been quite wrapped up in just keeping the festivities moving and keeping the children happy. We were at our last stop of the evening, a hustling and bustling Trunk-or-Treat at our town’s Assembly of God church, and we were stopping at each car to get candy, saying “hello!” and “how do you do?!” to townspeople we hadn’t seen in months, and the air was just positively thick with celebration and Halloweenish goodwill. That’s when I happened to look down and take notice of Miss Sunday, my fair-haired little Indian maiden.

She had reached up and taken my hand, and I noticed that her confident and bossy aura had been replaced by one that was subdued and watchful, and just for a couple breaths of a moment, I had the joy of seeing on her face one of the most beautiful facets of childhood. She was in awe. She was overwhelmed. She had slowed down in her running and gunning and had taken time to look around her and feel the wonder that a night of merriment with one’s family can bring. Halloween had captured her for a moment, and what I saw on her face and felt in her touch took me back to my own childhood, and the many similar moments I experienced growing up in our free and bountiful country. Moments so big and so over-the-top that the only thing I knew to do was sidle up close to my Mama and grab her hand, anchoring myself to what was normal and safe, even as my heart and my imagination were captured by what I saw taking place around me…

Trick-or-treating.

A hugely lit Christmas tree.

Musicians or actors on a stage.

Fireworks.

Sunday worship.

My heart would catch within me, and I would study the people and the scenery around me, trying to understand the mysteries of life and why we were doing what we were doing, sometimes unsure of how I felt about it, but mostly…happy. Especially with Mama by my side.

I can’t believe I’m the Mama now.

I can’t believe how wonderful it feels to anchor my little ones on their biggest days.

I can’t believe Halloween – and all the days in between – is even more magical now than it was then.

Life is beautiful. Enjoy celebrating it today!

And I’d love to hear from you…what are you dressing up as? What are your plans? Any special memories or funny stories to share?

It has been a Weird Week, Part One: Gideon becomes a Hero

It has been a very strange week, ups and downs, highs and lows, and absolutely chock full of batty randomness, most of which I will be sharing with you, my beloved audience.

Starting with an afternoon scare that I’ll never forget…

I woke up super early on Monday.

On purpose, too.

I am embarking on a new project (and perhaps a real book, y’all! No deals or anything…just wishful thinking and lots of note-taking) wherein I become a REAL person, like one who gets up at the same time every morning and has, at least in theory, total control of her household.

So my first day was going quite perfectly. I woke up a 6:00, showered, dressed, groomed, coffee’d, baked, swept, Bibled, the works. I was on top of the world all morning – super duper productive – and by the time the kids were down for their afternoon nap, I felt absolutely free to sit down at the computer for a bit and do a little perusing there, a little “working” here…

Only problem was, I kept hearing footsteps upstairs. Darn kids.

We went back and forth a lot, them coming down to ask silly questions, me going up to threaten them. You know…typical stuff.

But when it was nearing 2:00 and they still weren’t asleep, I started wondering what to do. Discipline them? Declare another “happy no nap day”?

Because if they waited much longer to fall asleep, their naps would run late and then bedtime would run late, a very unhappy cycle for the entire family, especially this girl right here…

And then I heard Gideon call for me once more.

“That’s it!” I thought, as I prepared to storm upstairs and really give it to them.

But as he called my name again and I could hear his little feet flying down the stairs to retrieve me, I noticed a frantic tone in his voice.

“What is it, Gid?” I asked, standing up.

“Mama! Mama!” he yelled in the same tone, landing on the first floor and facing me with alarm in his eyes. “Hurry! You have to hurry!”

I hurried.

In the background, I could hear him saying lots of things excitedly, but my mind was in overdrive, imagining the worst; I kept picturing Rebekah on the rooftop, a frequent fear of mine since we built this house…

But as we made it to the landing, the unmistakable smell of smoke hit my senses. And then a few of Gideon’s words broke through: lampshade. fire. burning.

I ran into their room, the acrid smell growing stronger with every step I took. Rebekah, standing in her crib, joined Gideon in pointing out the source of the smell – a lamp, knocked over on the windowsill that runs behind Gid’s bed. There, right where they sleep and horrifying close to the curtains was a teeny tiny fire burning a very quick hole through our super-cute and magical Anthropologie lampshade. The shade, that usually clamps onto the lightbulb, had been knocked askew and the lightbulb was sitting directly on the shade, burning a hole right through it.

A hole that was getting bigger by the second.

I ran to the lamp, plucked the lampshade off and, with Gideon right on my heels, ran into the bathroom where I doused it with water under the sink faucet.

With a sizzle, the fire was gone.

I turned to look at Gideon, both of our eyes wide with disbelief.

And then the nervous chatter began…

We walked back to their room, where Rebekah had since crawled over her crib rail, and the three of us congregated in my Granny’s old pink upholstered rocking chair, each one of us talking up a storm. Scary as it was, and as fast as my heart was beating, I was so amused by the children’s retelling of what happened.

And even more amused to hear them recount the story on the phone with their Papa and then Grandmother and then Granddaddy, Gideon first, always followed by Rebekah who had to throw in her two cents. Especially humorous was hearing my Mom on speaker-phone, obviously playing along with Gideon’s seemingly fabricated tale as he tried to convince her that he was telling the truth. Her tone went from patronizing and playful to confused to unsure to “Gid? Let me talk to your Mom…”

Papa came directly home, and while he was inspecting the burned shade with Gideon, I held Rebekah on my lap and asked her about the fire, eager to continue listening to her thoughts on the matter.

“What happened?” I asked her.

“The wampbulb made a FIRE in the wampthing” she said somberly.

“Who saw the fire first?” I asked.

She thought for  a moment and then pointed at herself.

“You did?!” I exclaimed, thinking she was telling a windy and hoping to hear more.

“Yep,” she responded, “and I said ‘Gid! Gid! Look at the wamp!’ and he came to get Mama.”

Well she had really piqued my curiosity, so later, when alone with Gideon, I asked him the same question: “Hey, Gid…who was the first one to see the fire?”

“I did.” he said matter-of-factly.

He continued to eat his snack at the kitchen island as I tidied up the countertop, speculating over who was telling the truth. A couple of minutes later, he piped up again:

“Well…actually…Rebekah saw the fire first and told me.” he confessed.

Aha!

So I had two heroes on my hands.

But we all knew who to really give the praise to…

Our heavenly Father, who knows just when children need to take their naps and just when they don’t. With that lampshade in my hand, in the stinky smokey bedroom, we bowed our heads together and thanked God for keeping us – and our house – safe for another day.

But Gideon still got a “hero” medal that my Mom had laid aside for a special day…

 I got my two oldest chicks, safe and healthy and whole…

Our family got a new story to tell and a memory to share…

Rebekah got a stick of gum…

and God most certainly got the glory.

But, seriously, what a weird week (part one).

Following Miss Sunday

I am not a professional photographer – I have no concept, really, of how to truly use the new (used) camera I bought from my sister-in-law, even though I absolutely adore it and it has revolutionized my home picture-taking. I just get lost in all the technical terms and the science of it all…

But I have learned that, with the right camera and a house with good lighting and, most importantly, by paying attention to the beauty of everyday life, anyone can document their home-life in a very meaningful and lasting way.

My favorite thing to do right now is to “follow” my kids around. They provide such entertaining moments, easy to capture and perfect to photograph…and the pictures, I’ve found, truly do sum up each child’s personality and display their comings and goings very well.

Let’s follow Miss Sunday for a bit, shall we?…

Counting Smarties in my rocking chair

getting caught…

hiding the evidence…

why am I sitting behind the curtain?…

so I can cry all by myself…

reading with Mama…

sweeping the porch…

sweeping the sidewalk – I have lots of work to do…

waiting for Granddaddy to come home…

so he can push me on the tire swing…

relaxing in the bath with my feet up…

relaxing in the chair with my feet up…

relaxing in the chair with my feet up and my hand in the Cheerio’s…

pretending to be a sleeping princess…

feeling the wind blow my hair…

picking wildflowers in the clothes I picked out all by myself (Papa put my dress on backwards but I don’t mind)…

kissin’ Papa…

My Mama sure follows me a lot.

And sometimes she catches me…

Miss Sunday has a happy life.