Wednesday, April 27

Open Thank You Note: Patty & the Ski Coat

Dear Patty,

Do you remember that Sunday when you asked me how I felt about hand-me-downs? You seemed worried that you would hurt my feelings. Your daughter had outgrown her ski coat and matching ski pants. Did I want them? Would my daughter fit them?

That coat and pair of ski pants have been such a blessing. Not only did they fit my girl, but they were fabulously pink, so she loved them unequivocally. And when she out-grew them, they were passed down to the next girl. and the next.

This morning, I put the coat in the wash, getting it ready to go into winter storage. It struck me that this ski set is on its fourth owner and still just as fabulous. All of the zippers still work, the elastic is all still, uhm, elastic, there are no holes or stains, the colors are still bright and crisp, the hood is still attached.

I have five daughters, and it looks like this coat and these pants will hold up to use for all of them. The value of this is not lost on me. This gift you gave me has made each of my daughters feel pretty, kept them warm, and enabled them to enjoy hours of outdoor winter fun. It has saved me (a lot of) money, which always makes me happy.

Thank you, Patty. Thank you for thinking of me and my (at the time) little family, and for approaching me in the first place, even though you thought I might be offended. Every Fall, when I take the coats and gloves and snow boots out of storage, I shake this coat out and think of you and your friendship and gentle kindness.


Tuesday, April 26

Wil's the Beast

Who's the beast? My "little" brother, that's who. Wildebeest, to be precise. OK, so that's a family nickname. But he has been Wildebeest for so long, my younger sisters have shortened it to Beast, long before the term became hip.

The Beast is 19 today.

I love him. I was 16 when he was born. He has been sort of a pet to me most of his life. I know a lot about raising kids because I was there when my mom was raising him.

I am grateful for my youngest brother. I am grateful for my whole family. I am grateful for the chance to stop and think about each one on their day, and remember why I like them as much as I do.

What are you blessed with today?

Monday, April 25

Slow Down

Today was supposed to be completely different than what it was. We had spent the Easter weekend away with family, so I had an itinerary that involved catching up on a grand scale: unpacking, laundry, dishes, blogging, the emerald-colored fish tank. It was going to be fast, furious and effective.

Instead, I held the baby. A lot. I know, that's what mothers are supposed to do, hold their babies. And I do. But this baby is "so chill" (as my newly-minted sister-in-law has declared), I have gotten into the groove of doing a lot less holding than I should. It's reckless of me to schedule my day around a presumption of infant "chill".

It certainly backfired today.

No laundry was done. The dishes were only washed as needed ("Quick! We need eight forks so we can eat lunch!"). Suitcases were still strewn about the living room when my husband arrived home from work. Certain of my children were still in pajamas when Noon arrived. The scum on the front pane of the fish tank glass was etched away playfully by a helpful child.

My baby needed to be held today. Happiness and "chill" were illusive for her, and so she and I searched for them together. Some hours were more effective than others.

I am grateful that God has given me the privilege of being a mother. I am grateful for the fussy spells that obligate me to slow down and smell the roses baby. I am confident that God designed the mother-infant arrangement that way on purpose. It is good for me to take it down a notch more often than I do. I am grateful for a husband who smiles when I tell him I held the baby instead of doing housework, and then washes the dishes.

What are you blessed with today?

Sunday, April 24


As Easter draws to a close, I am introspective.

For me, this season is about rebirth, about the triumph of Christ over death and the grave, and His infinite Atonement and the gift of Resurrection for all of our Father in Heaven's children.

I try to play down the Rabbit/Candy/Egg stuff. Yes, new Easter clothing when we can afford it. Yes, egg hunts at Grandma's house. But I couch these events in other terms: new clothing can represent our rebirth as new creatures in Christ. Egg hunts with our cousins and aunts and uncles is about being with family, and families can be together forever because of the promise of Resurrection.

There were things I wanted to do this year that didn't happen. No sunrise family devotional (we slept in), no special moment where we gathered our children around and retold the Easter story (Grandma did that with all the cousins, after dinner but before the egg hunt). But it was still Easter.

I am grateful for Easter, for the Holy Week each year that helps me to focus on Christ, on His ministry and mission, and on His sacrifice and gift to us all. I am grateful (once again!) for my incredible and singular family, and that we can indeed be together forever. I am grateful that holidays and traditions don't rest solely on my shoulders, that others help to make it special and memorable for my children.

What are you blessed with today?