30 April 2014

missing him.

this guy.
this. guy.
my man.
he's been gone.
gone for four.long.months.
plugging away at school.
trying to get another degree.
a different degree.
for a different career.

we've been here.
he's been there.
it's been so, so very hard.

I miss him in a way I have difficulty defining.
this missing him is rather like the mountains here in Alaska.
the mountains.
they're everywhere.
surrounding me.
they're invariable.
massive monoliths.
silent centennials.
their weight is always there.
but I rarely give them a thought
because I see them so often.
I've become callous to their beauty and magnificence.
there are times though, with a glance in my rear view mirror,
or a fleeting look out the window,
that they catch me off guard.
debilitate me with their sheer magnitude.
their wonder.

this missing him is like that.
it's always there, this ache.
this weight.
I can ignore it.
for a while anyway.
and I will be just fine...
but then suddenly, wham.
an uppercut to the solar plexus.
o o f.
and all of a sudden, I can't breathe.

if I let it,
if I even think about it,
the sheer volume of my missing him will overwhelm me.
cripple me.
I can't acknowledge it if I'm to survive and to care for my kids.

soon it will be over.
he will be done with his course and exams
and he will come back to us.
but in the meantime,
my bed is cold tonight.
the sheets are frigid without his warmth.
the bed that seems so small with him tucked in beside me...
it's expansive.
as wide as the sea.

I miss him.
pictures taken with my phone - excuse the crummy quality!

24 April 2014

traditions and treats.

easter is celebrated in our house with great fanfare.
baskets filled to overflowing with small treats and goodies.
special fancy dress: sweater vests and ties. dresses and cardigans.
eggs that play hide and seek. fluorescent pinks and blues against the brown grass of early alaskan spring.
chocolate abounds in bunny form.
yes. those things.
we are blessed.
but we also stop.
stop and remember.
remember the reason.
the reason we get to celebrate in the chilly sunshine of april.
HE is the reason.
His sacrifice.
the ultimate sacrifice of greatest price.
this year, I had the opportunity to sing in the special easter choir.
and as I sang during the morning's service, "HALLELUJAH!", I couldn't help but smile.
my whole soul smiled.
smiled with relief.
and thankfulness.
sincere gratitude.
I don't have to be good enough.
I don't have to try harder.
I don't have to feel guilty.
I don't have to DO anything.
repentance and acceptance.
Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!
and so I sing.
and I smile.
and I sit in the pale sunshine, baby on my lap, watching my three seek sweets trapped in plastic eggs.
they shout with joy.
my soul shouts with them.

"can we go now, mom? enough with the pictures."

first find.

excitement encased in plastic.

this find gets the booty shake.

"is that all?"

nope! one more!

dividing the plunder.

sweet siblings in the sunshine.

samuel gets spoiled too. just not in chocolate form.

19 April 2014

thoughts on easter.

of course it's huge.
of course it's awesome (in the true sense of the word).
and all those other words that don't even begin to scratch the surface of its magnitude.

one event.
one moment.
rent history in two.

most days I don't let it touch me.
this mammoth thing.
I can't.
I can't let it touch me and survive the day.
I have places to go!
little ones to feed!
sarcastically said: my life is too important.
to important to be bothered.
bothered by majesty.
majesty come down.
majesty sacrificed.

so I save it.
save the colossal truth.
save it for a day when I have time.
time to be broken.
broken by its significance.
its sheer weight.

it's a sad reality.
this callousness of my soul.

to overcome.
to daily be broken.
to daily sacrifice self.
He desires nothing less.

I can fool myself.
fool myself into thinking that I'm doing it all right.
up early to do Bible study?
remember to pray before meals?
offer forgiveness to my children only after making them feel guilty for what they've done?
triple check.

life with Christ is not a checklist.
it's not a list of to-do's and not to-do's.
it's a living, breathing r e l a t i o n s h i p.
a relationship based on love and forgiveness.
and grace.
those things.
but I can't leave out sacrifice.
loving sacrifice.
the basis of it all.

this is love: Jesus came and died.
                                                  He gave His life for us.
                              our God I S love.

17 April 2014

dreaming of that island across the pond...

I saw England in the sky the other day.

that isn't meant to sound cryptic.
I actually did. see England. in the clouds.
it was quite astounding really.
a map of the United Kingdom composed entirely of clouds.
floating up there in the sky above my head.
it wasn't at all like those photoshopp-ed pictures of hearts in the clouds or of the moon the same size as the sea.
no...it was much better.
Ireland was floating over on the left and Scotland jutted out from the top. Wales was even represented!
this cloud formation was truly geographically accurate.

why am I bothering to write about this phenomenon?
because. well, because! if you know anything about me at all, you know of my love for all things British.
there's even a name for people like mea  n  g  l  o  p  h  i  l  e 
[ang-gluh-fahyl, -fil] noun
a person who is friendly to or admires England or English customs, institutions, etc.
yup. that's me. 
almost to a fault.
I spent six months living there in my early twenties and ever since, I've dreamed of going back.
as in, returning to that island is never far from my thoughts.
scheming and dreaming my way.
if I could choose anywhere in the world to live, the UK would be my number one choice.
true story.
I honestly would have no problem giving up my American citizenship and could live quite happily as an ex-pat over there.
sometimes I wonder if I wasn't meant to be a Brit.
it sounds silly, I'm sure...
but so many of the quirks that make me, well, me, would fit in quite nicely on the other side of the pond.
I'm not just talking about my inane love of all things Harry Potter and Downton Abbey
no...I'm referring more engrained things.
like my need for four seasons (and summers that aren't ridiculous)...
and my love of cold.
I honestly can't remember ever being more cold than the winter I spent over there...(and I grew up in Alaska!)
that wonderfully wet cold that just seeps into every crack and cranny and makes you crave fires in the grate and woollens and something hot in your hands.
and tea.
and tea and biscuits.
and tea and toast. (no one does toast quite like the British!)
did I mention tea? 
there's also my slightly unhealthy obsession with Wills and Kate. and baby George!
let's not forget my complete loathing of driving.
I most certainly love the convenience of having a car...but goodness, i really and truly hate driving.
especially at night.
to be able to just pop on the train or bus or tube...bliss.
perhaps it sounds strange, an American that would willingly give up their citizenship...
I know I have a romanticised view of it all.
and I also know there would be things about it that would drive me absolutely mad as well.
it's my dream. one I've harboured in my heart since leaving back in 2002.
I'm afraid I've passed my obsession on to my son. 
he draws Union Jack flags on his colouring sheets. 
he knows all about the Tube and how Big Ben is actually the name of the bell inside the tower, not the tower itself.
he could tell you several examples of the difference between American English and British English: chips/crisps, pants/trousers, garbage can/rubbish bin, cookies/biscuits, etc.
he was absolutely crushed when he was assigned Italy for his class country project. he so desperately wanted to do his report on England.
his favourite shirt at the moment has the iconic red, double-decker bus emblazoned on the front.
Halloween 2012
and of course, you can't leave out his beloved Harry Potter.
he is also an anglophile despite his lack of appreciate for tea.
this past month, there was a glimmer of hope, a chance that we (our family) would be spending an extended period of time over there, "across the pond". 
joyous shouts of glee and jumping about the house ensued.
I courted mistress hope. let my heart fly sky high.
but she is a cruel mistress, hope. 
and the higher you fly, the farther you fall when reality rears its sensible head.
alas, the chance, our one chance! has been lost in the details. 
my heart has been mourning the loss.
seems silly, doesn't it?
there are so, so many worse things in this world.
I sometimes contemplate simply giving up my dream of living there with my family.
seems easier.
because really, what are the odds? 
slim. to none. yes.
yet, I can't help myself.
I can't STOP dreaming. 
because that's what I am.
it's what I do. 

04 April 2014

a day in the life...

these aren't the moments I think to document.
I typically think to grab my camera at the pretty moments. the special moments. the moments that leave me gasping for breath.
like that moonrise over pioneer peak the other morning. the sliver of moon slicing a tiny rend in the inky velvet of the sky.
or when the sunshine fell on my youngest daughter's hair as she quietly read to herself.
or the silliest, laugh-so-hard-you-think-you-might-pee giggle fest I had with my eldest.
those are the moments I try to capture.
not the mundane.
not the everyday.
and especially not the yucky. the mess. the snot. the dirty. the pile of unfolded clothes that have been sitting on the stairs for a week. or more.
definitely not those moments.

so for one day, I tried to do just that.
to preserve the mundane. MY mundane.

this collection of images is nothing spectacular.
some might find them even boring.
I choose to see them as simple.
marvelous in their mundane-ness. (not a word, I know.)

so. take a step into my world. a day in my life.
see my precious moments.
my quiet moments.
my nothing-spectacular moments.
snippets of my simple life.
just as they were.

all pictures taken Wednesday, 2 April 2014.