Archives for October 2010

Her smile

She walks to the front of the church, 12 years old, the daughter of my cousin.  Tucking her hair behind her ear and picking up her mike, she begins to sing.  Though her hands speak of nerves, her voice is quietly confident, unassuming, equally sure on high notes and low. The kind of voice that lets you simply settle in and really hear the richness of the words.  Rich words indeed.

Through the love of God our Savior, All will be well;
Free and changeless is His favor; All, all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us; Perfect is the grace that sealed us;
Strong the hand stretched out to shield us; All must be well.

Even as I rest in the comfort of the words and the promise of God’s grace in the difficulty of life, I think of the times I myself have been in front of the church singing.  I can never sing without noticing the faces of the women in my family: my mother, my aunts, my grandmother, my cousins.  Whenever I am bold enough to look up, I invariably spot one of them smiling at me, lending me courage and calm.

Though we pass through tribulation, All will be well;
Ours is such a full salvation; All, all is well.
Happy still in God confiding, Fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
Holy through the Spirit’s guiding, All must be well.

I think of my precious grandmother, in Heaven now seven years. Music was a legacy she passed on to her children, and they to theirs, my young cousin and my children now in the third generation of children affected by her faithfulness.  My heart clutches up. I wish she could meet my daughters, the ones who arrived after she went to heaven.   I wish she could hear this great-granddaughter of hers, singing of her Savior.  I wish she could share this moment with us.  Oh, how her heart would rejoice.

We expect a bright tomorrow; All will be well;
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, All, all is well.
On our Father’s love relying, Jesus every need supplying,
Or in living, or in dying, All must be well.

I mourn the fact that my cousin does not have my grandmother’s face looking up towards her now as she sings.  So I blink tears back and smile on behalf of my grandmother.  As doubtless half a dozen other women in my family are also doing this very moment. And I realize that even though my grandmother now sings her praises from heaven itself, a bit of her spirit still resides here in this room. In our smiles.

And in the living faith that by God’s great grace and power, flourishes and spreads from generation to generation.

Saturday linky love

A post that made me want to race to the fabric store.

Utterly hilarious kids.

Carb-loading at its most delicious.

A most adorable dress. (HT: Big Mama)

Happy weekend!!

Finding quiet time

A reader sent me an email this morning asking if in the busyness of motherhood, I crave time for myself, and what I do about it.  After I wrote an answer to her, I decided I’d share my answer here, and then ask you all to respond as well with ideas.


Yes, absolutely I need time to myself.   I start most days with some Bible time– even 5 minutes helps. Often in the evening I stay up late to enjoy the peace and quiet.  However since I started running, I’ve been needing more sleep, so am trying to get to bed by midnight most nights. Sleep is really important for mood regulation in mom as well as kids.  Speaking of kids and sleep, most of our kids are in bed by 9 PM, so that helps with quiet time in the evening too.

I run to the store alone sometimes, or sometimes with just one child.  (When you have as many kids as I do, having only one along feels like no work at all!) Very occasionally I go out for coffee with a friend.

I’ve found running to be a good ‘getaway’ as well.  Usually I have a kid or two with me, but the ones inclined to run a couple miles are also ones with the good sense not to expect anything more of me than breathing and moving at that point.

Most afternoons I send everyone outside to play for an hour if the weather is not too bitter.  Ah…..quiet house….for a few minutes anyway.   But even with all that, sometimes I still feel like I am going to explode from all the noise and neediness.

Like yesterday.

Seriously, I almost texted my husband saying: I can’t DO this anymore!  And then I realized I was being melodramatic and instead I went for a walk with my youngest two kids.  And it turned out I could do it after all– I just needed some fresh air, some prayer, and a chocolate chip cookie.  I also made the conscious choice not to feel guilty about bowing out of an evening activity, the thought of which was mentally exhausting me.

I think it is key to realize you do sometimes need breaks and there’s nothing wrong with it.  Also, remember to use moments of quiet time doing things you enjoy.  Last night I did some knitting, and began the third of six running books that a friend gifted me with.   I could have graded my daughter’s grammar assignment during that time, but I needed a break, and so I skipped the work and played instead.

People are amazed that I find time for projects and crafts, but it’s simply a trade-off.   For every craft I do, I’m ignoring something else.  For example, at this moment, my laundry room is a pit, my little girls’ bedroom could stand to be dug out with a shovel, preferably a large one, and the kitchen floor is a crying shame.  But crafts and projects and reading help me feel more sane.   I choose to relax my housekeeping standards to take time off.
So that’s how I do it.  I’d love to hear how other juggler-mommas find time to themselves!

Cold weather projects

I got my headband/ear cover made and it is working well for fall running.  It is basically a tube of fabric about 18 inches long or so, sewn into a circle, which makes the fabric double layered. I am guessing I’ll need something more along the lines of polar fleece when it gets really cold, but the stretchy poly/spandex knit is great for weather in the 30’s and 40’s.

I’ve also started knitting a narrow pink scarf.  Simple pattern– I cast on 56 stitches and then alternate k8 p8 in one row and then p8 k8 the next row, creating seven 1-inch-wide vertical stripes.  The pattern makes the scarf curl softly, which I think will cause it to drape well and feel warm but not bulky around the neck.

I’m using a delicate bamboo/acrylic yarn that is so soft to touch and just lovely to work with.  Love it.  It’s just the thing to do each morning as I sit listening to kids read.  I get twitchy if I don’t have SOMETHING to do during reading, and this project is very relaxing and yet allows me to still give good, focused assistance to readers.

Guesting over at Cafe Mom

My blog time in the last few days has been spent over at Cafe Mom, talking about one of my favorite topics, affordable food. If you submit a question for me over there, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a copy of FAMILY FEASTS.  And welcome to any visitors from Cafe Mom.  If you’re on the hunt for more affordable, delicious recipes, here’s a good place to start!

Running update

I’m still chugging along running 3 or 4 days a week.  I ran 7.7 miles last week, averaging a 13 min/mile pace.  Still turtle-slow, alternating walking and running, but feeling stronger each week. Several times I’ve run a non-stop 1/2 mile moderately easily.  Surprised myself.

Longest non-stop run was .8 miles with a lot of huffing and puffing at the end, part of a 3-mile total walk/run.  Quite a spectacle for a neighbor lady who walked out to her mailbox at the very moment that I rocketed tottered past her mailbox, loud as a steam engine, on a determined quest for the stop sign 40 feet away.

Note:  When you’re running panting and red-faced past the neighbor lady, don’t jokingly ask her to call 911 if you happen to fall over in her driveway.  Because she WILL be alarmed. Even if you accompany this apparently not-so-witty remark with a grin.

Well, *I* thought it was a good book…

Here’s how the 5 year old looked half-way through a lunchtime chapter of “Trumpeter of Krakow.”

If you look closely, you can see how just before falling asleep she folded her napkin neatly to use as a pillow.

My running playlist

OK, here’s what I’m going with this week.  I’m guessing I will be adding more songs, esp since you guys keep giving me more good ideas– yay!

  • Disciple “Dear X”
  • Charmaine “Run, Run, Run”
  • Laura Story “Great God Who Saves”
  • The Afters “Light Up The Sky”
  • Relient K “High of 75”
  • David Crowder “Come Thou Fount”
  • Newsboys “Way Beyond Myself”
  • Sixteen Cities “Sing Along”
  • Rush of Fools “Never Far Away”
  • TobyMac “Funky Jesus Music”
  • Pocket Full of Rocks “Alive”
  • David Crowder “Happiness”
  • Seabird “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful”
  • Run Kid Run “Rescue Me”
  • Group 1 Crew “Movin'”
  • Sixteen Cities “Just Wanna Dance”
  • Kristian Stanfill “Alive and Running”
  • Matt Redman “You Alone Can Rescue”
  • Fee “Happy Day”


Book review: why I love non-fiction best

Always, books have been my friends. When I was a teenager with a lot more time on my hands, I loved fiction– escapism at its finest.  These days I read almost exclusively non-fiction, and there’s nothing I love better than a book that meets me exactly where I am at a particular point in life.

The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook was one that I devoured back when we first began homeschooling. The Way Home was an encouragement to me when I was considering quitting my job as an RN and staying home with my kids full time. Book Proposals That Sell sat next to my bed for months as I learned skills essential to book publication. There Is No Me Without You spoke to my soul as we began our journey of adoption from Ethiopia.

This week I got a book to accompany me on a new journey.  It is called Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving–and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity. I’m enjoying the book so much that I’m sad I’m halfway done with it.  I expected it to be a collection of stories about runner-moms, and it is.  But it is also a book chock full of running advice, covering shoes, clothing, injury prevention, motivation, and all sorts of other important topics.

I doubt I’ll ever be crazy ambitious enough to try a marathon, or even a half. 13.1 miles, people.  Yikes! But I’m incredibly inspired by the women who do find time and energy for such an amazing accomplishment in the midst of mothering.  And I’m feeling very motivated to continue on my own little journey toward strength and fitness.  If you’re a mom wondering if you could ever find time or energy or motivation to get fit, this book will inspire you as well.