in light of hemingway's advice

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

For several months I've been in this funny place where somehow I have too much and too little to say. I don't know how that works exactly but it seems to keep me from saying anything at all. And then I start to feel a bit less like myself when all these words pile up inside me...and then you get posts like this. 

Brace yourself, folks. 

I decided to take Hemingway's advice and write a true sentence. This decision is ironic since I recently read The Paris Wife, a fictional take of Hemingway's first marriage as narrated by his wife, and Ernest Hemingway is now #1 on my Least Favorite People List. It's a short list, folks. Hemingway may actually occupy several places in the top five. But the advice is helpful- so let's go from there. 

Now about that one true sentence...

My life is shifting around me, solid things giving way and new things easing up, and I don't always know how to feel about that. 

It seems like somewhere along the way I had found a rhythm, a steady-yet-offbeat cadence that my life moved to. This involved a backseat full of kids, a solid team of six of us, reading and writing at all hours of the day, a general existence of physical health, a predictable chaos of sorts. 

And then there was now. And now is not like any of that. 

Take this for example. This is the guy who now sits next to me in the front seat. 

Drew- 10 years

This subtle shift, this not-being-the-only-person-up-front, this minor change makes me do a double take as a pattern of the last decade is undone. It's "we" up here  now. Where did you come from? I wonder. When did you get here? How did I not see this coming? 

And just when I started to think that my babies aren't really babies anymore, here comes this guy on the scene.  
Silas- 7 weeks

In the blink of an eye it's all diapers and spit up and first smiles that we're swooning over. Where did you come from? I wonder. How could I ever think we were all here before you? How did I not see this coming? There it is again, that shift that happens when I stepped out on something and it changed underneath me. 

Other things have done that, too. My health has taken a strange turn since Silas came, resulting in two brief hospital stays. The big things have been ruled out, things like heart disease and blood clots and asthma and major concerns, but we still don't really know what is wrong with me, why some days my breathing is off and my chest is so tight. ("We don't know what it is, but we're pretty sure it's not serious," said the cardiologist. OK...?) And the not knowing and the discomfort that comes and the anxiety that can linger from not knowing......all of that is uncharted territory. Outside the pattern. New beats in this rhythm. 

Maybe at some point you stop trying to find your old rhythm and simply acknowledge that the song has changed.  That this is the new us, the new life, the new we. 

In the midst of things shifting, some things are blessedly steady. 

My girls are my girls: smiling, singing, dancing, changing their clothes so often that it drives me nuts. 

My second recently turned eight, and he is still funny and kind, still has the same twinkle in his eye that I swear he was born with. 

We still love pizza and ice cream, still listen to audio books, Sara Groves, and Spotify. 

We still rack up library fines and mountains of laundry, still struggle to speak life and practice self control. 

My husband is still my favorite person. Ever.  

We still look to Jesus, and He is still good. 

So I guess that's it, a small but significant piece of the days that are unravelling as summer slips away.  We're trying to find our footing in this new family dynamic, trying to claim this brave new world with more courage and less longing for the shores we left behind. 

Thanks for stopping in. It's good to be here again and put some words to the process. Hope you're having a lovely lazy summer, folks. 


Omaha Gives

Hello, blog folks! Just thought I'd pop in with a courteous plea to help Release Ministries raise funds today through the Omaha Gives! fundraising efforts. Go to OmahaGives24.org to partner with us- thanks!


week one

Tomorrow the baby will be one week old. 

We've been home a few days, settled a few days, laying low and just surviving a few days. The kids have been enjoying the baby and having dad home and the feel of all of us here. All seven of us. We're all here. 

Including this guy...

Silas William
It feels like there's a lot I could tell you- birth details, early baby days, funny things the kids have said (though the three year old asking every day if there's another baby in mom's big tummy is getting less funny every day, I'm not gonna lie). Isaac declared on Wednesday that he's ready for the next baby. Ella says well of course that baby is cute- it looks just like her. Drew is employing his sense of humor to come up with multiple nicknames for the baby (my personal favorites are SiFi and  Si-lent but deadly.) And my tired husband is taking care of all of us with so much patience and grace. 

I find myself riding the ups and downs that is the postpartum life. I'm thrilled to be home, to be safe, to be all together. And then in the next moment it's all so much. I know this is normal and that it's my new normal for awhile, but the ride can leave us all a bit exhausted. 

But here we are, exploring our new normal and getting to know the newest addition and stretching our rhythms to find what this new rhythm will be for us. Thanks for your thoughts and kind words and prayers on our behalf. 

Have a great Friday- more from us soon. 


a post for a Friday

Hey there, folks. 

We're still hanging out and waiting for baby. The last few weeks have been good- wrapping up our Classical Conversations school year, finishing up baby stuff, tying up loose ends, and enjoying the sunshiny days. The kids seem to be growing exponentially; not sure if that's because of the size of their clothes compared to newborn onesies or how independent they've become as they go about their days. But they are such a treat. 

Here's some shots of the last few days. 

Tess and I-man on the slide
38 weeks...and counting

This girl lives life in HD. All the time. 

Countdown on the fridge- as of last Tuesday

Quite possibly my favorite photo ever. 

And my second favorite photo ever. Or maybe that's just the pregnancy talking.
But I do love these cinnamon rolls. For real.

So there you have it. Baby will arrive (via c-section) on May 1, if nothing stirs before then.  Until then, we're laying low and it's business as usual, I guess. 

In other news, the chickens are laying eggs. This is an event, as I had begun to refer to them as "decorative chickens", seeing as they had so little use for actually laying eggs. But we are up to five eggs a day. Not perfect- but progress. And the way our Ella girl celebrates every single one of those eggs, you would think they were laying golden eggs. Or diamond eggs. Or Cadbury Creme eggs (get me some of THOSE chickens!) So it is all quite eventful. 

In other, other news, I am 38 weeks pregnant and not swelling. This is a miracle.

Garrett and I are watching Parks and Rec. Yes- we are late to that party but enjoying it none the less. In the last few weeks we've also watched The Imitation Game and The Judge- both worth the watch as far as movies are concerned. I'm reading Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, enjoying it but moving through it slow. 

I feel like I should say more- more about savoring the last days of just the four kiddos. More about Easter and the great act of waiting and all the odds and ends that make our days happen and the funny things the kids have said lately (minus all the "mom is getting so fat" comments). But right now, in the quiet of the house and the hour turning almost eleven and the steady contractions that like to join me at night, it kind of all seems like a bit much to tell you. 

So just know that we're here and we're doing our best to wait with grace and love with action and laugh at the days to come. 

Just know that Jesus is good to us, so very good to us in the midst of this life. 

Know that we're living our normal rhythm of whining and tears and giggles and laundry- oh the laundry!- and it's all a blessing in some way or another. 

Happy Friday, friends. 

Catch you later. 


thoughts from the couch

We're still here, folks. Still reading bedtime stories and starting coffee and spilling cereal and watching laundry piles grow faster than they shrink.  Still cheering for sunny days and fighting the pull of screen time and marveling at how quickly a clean house can un-clean itself. 

I'm still pregnant, thankfully. I say this in light of preterm contractions that have slowed me down to a quiet  steady existence of life from the couch. Cook then sit. Shower then sit. Start something for dinner then sit. Fill up the water bottle (again) and then sit. We hope to maintain this routine for another month (!) as the little man is not technically due until early May, though I'd put my money on mid-April. 

The contractions have been going on for a month already, with no real explanation. I chatted with a midwife last week and she shrugged, "You're a tired mom with a tired uterus."  Well, then. Guess that explains it. 

And so our spring suddenly feels a lot like our fall. Me on the couch. Kids pitching in. Friends and family helping out in so many ways. Frustrated by my limits. Humbled by kindness. Thankful for this baby that is making his way soon. 

My oldest said to me yesterday, "You know, it's kind of like I have a lot of moms in one. Sometimes when I wake up I wonder what mom I will have today. Happy mom? Tired mom? Sick mom? Stressed out mom?" Then he flashed a big smile and left me standing in the dining room, trying to decide what to do with his statement.  

I told Garrett later that I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry by that story (My husband's reaction to the story? "Welcome to my world, kid.") It's hard to accept that where I'm at is so obvious, that I'm not some sort of pillar of emotional resolve, shielding my kids from the ways that this time is wearing on me. I know my oldest is more perceptive than most, and I know he feels deeply, but there's a reality that who I am, where I'm at, and my health in that moment will impact all my kids. 

Thankfully, I'm far enough down the parenting road to realize that this too shall pass. I know we're in a season. I know that their lasting impression of me will be built on more than this pregnancy. I know that they are resilient and strong and quick to love and forgive me through the rainy days.  And I also know that it's good for them to see me wrestle with my limits, watch me strain to rest, witness me labor to trust God and fight the tendencies toward worry and fear. My humanness- and my battle against it- is good for them. They probably learn more about following Jesus from these emotional days where it all spills out than they do from the well- hidden, tucked away, managing-to-keep-it-all-together days that I miss. 

So here's to living life in front of our kids, living it in a raw and honest way that convinces them of their mom's need for Jesus and assures them of their God's great goodness to never give up on her. 

Here's to family confession and asking forgiveness and hugs and tears and "Jesus help us" as our family motto. 

Here's to knowing that my frailty will not break them, will not wreck us, does not really surprise anyone but me. 

Here's to life from the couch, where the company is lively and the days are steady, where the quiet and the noise are both the soundtrack of my life. 

Here's to the waiting, the hoping, the sweet anticipation of a new life.

And here's to you and the lessons you may be learning or fighting, the people your own journey affects, the season you find yourself in. May you embrace your own frailty and find sweet rest in God's goodness to you.