27 April 2011


first, an update on the enat necklace: we have a winner! congrats to paula, i’ll be in contact with you! and thank you all for your warm comments and hellos. :)

now joining emily for imperfect prose:

there are days when the wind pulls and harrows, so that mid-week i weave along pock-marked and bare, all that tenuous courage heaped in pieces at my feet.

but i wake-shower-coffee myself to wednesday morning moms meeting, half surprised to get there intact. and i scoot in sheepish with the knowing that all i bring is fissured prayer and faith in a God who hears, a God who responds with the cross while i’m after an answer quicker, tamer, prettier.

and it’s a marvel, what a couple hours with those grown-up girls can sprout in me. without exception, somewhere in the middle of tea and mothering stories and a crack in a praying voice, a fresh sprig of courage wends up and buoys me even here, in this wash of fragmented plans.

i’m well versed in the full-throttle joy of brothers, but i look around the room at crystal and amy and carrie and think that this? is maybe what it means to know sisters.

25 April 2011

awash in color.

it’s a funny thing how egg-dying draws out one’s personality.

em was a machine of precision, careful about angles and elapsed time in each colored bath. (he was also keen to know when, exactly, we would wrap up the decorating and get on to the consuming phase of this egg project.)

elle was sweet zaniness, writing ‘egg’ on her egg in wax crayon and generally cracking herself up.

zee’s eggs were prettiest, his penchant for color and double-dipping resulting in the brightest shells, one of which was all sherbety swirl (not pictured, my bad).

and bee was a heap of caution and patience, quietly waiting for his siblings to take their turns with the crayon and the wire dipper before launching work on his own eggs.

they’re each one distinct but such a wonder, these smallish folk, and i can only spin the faintest threads of imagining what next year’s egg-dying might look like with five.

something tells me we’ve got some downright crazy times ahead. :)

counting to a thousand with the gratitude community:

125. a tomato-red rice cooker bubbling over in the morning’s background
126. a worship pastor head over heels for Jesus
127. brothers who play hallway-mini-dodge-ball while the sky’s a torrent of wet
128. elle, who fashions egg hunts for the rest of us
129. 1 corinthians 15.55
130. the electric green of spring
131. teachers whose words are tempered with patience
132. the joy of right now, tomorrow, all of forever with Him

24 April 2011

and this is how joy comes in the morning.

22 April 2011


just slain today, my heart laid out by relief like rain, drenched in wonder of the One who sacrificed the unthinkable to make a way back to God.

'if His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.'

21 April 2011

five on friday. otherwise known as thursday.

1. so bee and i have been working through the fsi amharic course, and i am pleased to report that we are making great strides (by which i mean we can say 'hello' and 'thank you' and 'oxen,' the last of which is bound to come in handy, i just know it).


2. from september through april i pad around the house in terry slippers and jeans and a fleece zipped to my chin. it's been blustery dark with lightning and a side of cold, the wind slicking petals to our glass.

sometimes you just gotta cook up your own sunshine, all lemony cream:

cream of sun

turkish bath towel : posy pins : goatsmilk soap : vintage dress
rosette broach : surfer photograph : zesty marshmallows : embroidered wall flower
sunflower print : porcelain dishes : giclee print : rain&sunshine letterpress
buttercream cookie-wiches : yellow dog canvas art : vintage minolta camera : boards print

3. it has only taken me thirty-four years to admit that while i'm right fond of the idea of cadbury eggs, the reality of all that sugary muck makes me a bit queasy. sad story.

4. i did not keel over from the yellow fever vaccine this morning, which always makes for a fine day.

5. in a fit of celebration over my survival in number four, i came home and hammered up this enat necklace. i'm so fond of the thing, i thought it’d be fun to do a shiny little mother’s day giveaway to one happy commenter. (enat equals mama in amharic, but i’d be happy to customize yours with mother or nana or grandmum or aunt tilly, as applicable.)


the sterling heart will be hammered and lightly blackened for a rustic feel, then curved into a slight cup. i'll top the heart with a baby pearl for each child, or else a fat cluster just for decoration—your choice. (i can fit probably nigh eight or so, but if you need more we’ll rig up something sweet.)

to drop your name in, just say hello in the comments below sometime before midnight on tuesday (april 26th); i'll draw out a name at random on wednesday. bonne chance!

18 April 2011

mellowing and such.


i find myself not minding much these days when the smalls cart out every last pillow, shoe, blanket and monopoly bill to form a restaurant, or when plastic bagpipe dudes keep company with our fruit.

i think i must be mellowing out nicely in my mid-thirties, softening at the edges. (plus also, it helps that the kids do regularly pick up after themselves, though not always as right away as the parental units would prefer. but right, totally mellowing.)

restaurant (tea for a crowd)

in other news, it has become apparent to me that i am a Crummy Explainer of Adoption Processes. your enthusiasm has warmed me right through, and a well-timed word of brightness from one or the other of y'all has carried me through many a stagnant morning. i need to explain, though, that we don’t actually get to bring our littlest person home next month. we will spend time with him, which is pretty much the best news i’ve heard in centuries, but then we must squeeze him goodbye and trust him to the care of his nannies, stand before a judge, fly twenty sobering hours back home.

then we’ll wait for the finalization of our paperwork, and for the US embassy in ET to review our case and clear us for travel for a visa interview. when we have the interview appointment we’ll return to addis, obtain his visa, and then bringhimhomehallelujah.

i am hopishly hoping and praying that he might be home with us before his birthday in july. admittedly, that’s a bit of a long shot, but boy would this mama rejoice.

and in the meantime, we (by which i mean mainly elle) will keep building him lego airports to practice that happy day of all together.




16 April 2011

week in review.

well that week whisked by at mach speed. for an old dude, father time can move.

we now have tickets to addis; we’ll leave may 13th and arrive at night on the 14th. even though i’ve worked out in my head how far we are from the horn of africa, the miles only began to sink in when i studied our itinerary and exclaimed to the mister: this is nearly two trips to hawaii! get out! (i did not actually say the ‘get out’ part, but i should have. it’s very exclamatory.)

the cherry tree out back has bloomed like so much popcorn. on balmy days bees swarm the skunk-scented blossoms, which makes me think they are either resolute in their pollination duties, or else lacking proper noses. poor guys.

i am working on a now-late birthday something for my youngest sister in law, and in allegiance to my lifelong MO, it’s taking roughly twelve times longer than i’d planned. however. if it turns out even a smidge of the awesome that it is in my head, this will be time well spent.

i have officially learned to love lentils. now to convince the rest of the fam. (sort, rinse, simmer, drain. then cook in a bit of oil with onions, garlic, cumin and tomato sauce. serve with salsa and crispy quesadillas.)

(not a picture of lentils, but still sparkly, right? if only my brain would give me advance notice on what odd thing i'm going to find blog-worthy at the end of the week. then i could Photograph Appropriately.)

there’s nothing like a looming court date to make one stare down one’s wardrobe until it twitches. i’m to don business attire and quiet dress shoes, but as a mum who works from home, such things do not live in my closet. (do i own anything that would pass as dress shoes? for that matter, do i own a pair of shoes less than seven years old? um, that would be a negative on both counts.) luckily, i have spotted a dress shirt on clearance and some quietish shoes on ebay. please do not outbid me.

i am a list-maker. it’s entwined with my dna. and let me tell you, this week has been sheer nirvana as i jot and revise lists for everything under the sun: packing, grandma watching our current four, pre-trip tasks, contents for our littlest’s photo book, donations, immunizations. i’m near the point of needing lists of my lists, whereby i will promptly float off on a cloud of happy.

i am dreadfully behind on all forms of correspondence. if i owe you a phone call, email, fb message, or if i haven’t popped in at your space since caesar augustus had his day, please kindly bear with me. i will, in fact, get this carnival running smoothly. probably. perhaps. there’s like a one in three chance.

till next week,

11 April 2011


we rise to a sky slipping steel down the shingles, to a watery smear of sun. laundry mounds, papers tower in stacks of waiting and this is how i know it’s monday. i thought they’d tidied up last night, but the aftermath of books and legos on the middles’ floor is enough to make this mama sag into the morning’s grey.

clearly: this is day that needs singing.

so i put on some crowder band and hillsong and matt redman and start a load of whites in the washer. i fold up this cloak of exhaustion, step from the reach of sticky-fingered fear over all the things that could go wrong in the next month’s time. and i allow His fathomless grace to speak a better word for me today.


118 for honest, broken friends who allow me to show up honest and broken
119 for birdsong in the rain
120 for soft-spoken travel agents
121 for the joy of brothers
122 for portuguese bean soup, hawaii-style
123 for lisa who prays
124 for peace enough for this day

09 April 2011



in a long-ago april the mister held my hands, shaking like leaves, and we promised a life together.

we were scarcely more than kids, too young and bright-eyed to know all the reasons it shouldn’t work. and i didn’t have the first clue about wifery or growing a passel of littles. but i knew his look was a river of tenderness, and his frame halved the weight of anything that threatened to pin me down. and so here we stand, fourteen years wiser (or at least later), still happily shoring up that vow.

dear mister:

i reckon you didn’t much know what you were in for, marrying me. but you found out right-quick, and to your eternal credit you didn’t bat an eye. i owe you one.

well, maybe two: for that year of manual labor while i finished school, every stone you cleaved dulling your spirit.

and, okay, three: for how you pull yourself from sleep each morning with the kiddos, in spite of your night-owlish preferences.

four: the way you long and pray and work for our family to be together. all on the same continent, under the same spackled ceilings.

five: how you trade in your dreams for God's, and with relish.

so alright. pretty much i owe you twelve billion. but mostly: thanks for doing life with me, for showing up every day and putting in the beautiful, grueling, sometimes monotonous hours of effort. for trusting God’s grace to fill in the cracks and canyons. for loving Him so full it spills down into loving the rest of us, even when we are one part mess, three parts miracle.

you’re my kind of awesome.

love, me.

07 April 2011

on funnel clouds and whatnot.

first off, thank you for happy-dancing alongside us. y’all are some kind of wonderful.

for many adopting families, this process is a zany thing: one endless stretch of twiddling thumbs punctuated by the occasional blip of flurried activity. we’ve a mountain of things to accomplish in the coming five weeks, but since the last time i actually got to DO anything substantial was five months back, i’m embracing this funnel cloud of crazy.

bring it on, i say. :)

ps i peeked in on elle the other night, and maybe it was the way her limbs splayed over mounded quilt and sheets, but she looked two feet longer than usual. i love that my children are stretching into their very own people, all tallish and bright, but sometimes it freaks me out a little.

05 April 2011

04 April 2011

just around the bend.

‘twas the cousins’ birthday parties this past weekend, which meant superhero masks and cupcakes and enthusiastic trampolining (i sat this part out, as there’s something about birthing four children that is unkind to one’s bladder).


we made baby e a little plum top with vintage lace, and big brother b a reversible cape for his many universe-saving missions (modeled by my second grader).

to the rescue

back at the homefront, we finally ventured out again into the gusty warmth that was yesterday afternoon. i’m heady with the promise of spring.

three cheers for spring

ps who votes for getting a court date this week? i'm a-hoping clear down to my bones...

01 April 2011

april's hall pass.

[my brain grows slipperier by the week, thus the need to write stuff down in this non-losable scrap of space. it’s like a future hall pass to these particular bits of memory. ]

dear self,

as of april 2011, you want to remember the following:

if you grocery shop with elle in tow, no matter how fast you scoot past those greenish tanks, she will invariably ask for a pet lobster. [please continue to tell her no.]

zee’s fourth grade class is sending socks to japan to help clad the feet of students displaced by the earthquake and tsunami. late tuesday night you found a note he penciled to the child receiving his package, and it was cloaked in so much tenderness you had to pop your head into his room to smile at him.

you really need to figure out this wii thing. one of these days bee is going to stop needling you to play fifa soccer, and you will be sad.

em proclaimed sunday’s supper ‘the best pasta ever.’ and it was whole wheat. and it had highly visible spinach, even.

elle refers to this guy as a pineapple plant:

the almost pineapple plant

she’s pretty bummed when it turns into a lily every year.

you wake each day to a patient, funny husband, happy kids, a sturdy home. your friends and extended family double-knot your days with warmth, so that even in this puddle of yearning, you are rich.

don’t forget.

love, me.