Author Archives: Bridget

ups and downs and smiles and frowns

I got all the clothes* out, ironed, and ready.
The girls got their hair trimmed and primped at the salon.
I walked into the house and gagged.
My poor pup had a tummy bug and it didn’t end well for her or the floor.
I went to clean it up only to realize that we were out of paper towels.
Because of course we were…

I started spraying and soaking and scrubbing and soaking some more.
And with a mother’s ear, I heard screaming from across the house and through the yard.
I rushed out to find Mr. Adventure hanging from the tree with his shirt impaled by a branch.
(The others were just standing there watching. Proof in the gawking effect, I suppose.)
I helped him down to discover that he really was scraped up quite a bit.
We went in and cleaned it and dressed it and gave many magical mommy kisses.
And he walked out of my bathroom looking like a mummy.
But apparently that wasn’t good enough so he went and created his own solution.

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It doesn’t stop with poop and blood. Oh, no…
When we do something, we make sure to really do it.
My happy-go-lucky girl had a late night, so she was exceptionally grumpy.
My little bit fell asleep in the car so we woke her and got her out of the car…
And then she promptly ran into a tree.
(I couldn’t make this stuff up).

So this is the first thing the photographer saw when he met us.

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I voiced my frustration on Facebook and I love that one of my friends immediately laughed.
Because you know what happened for me in real life?
At one point I just started laughing and couldn’t stop.
It’s something I learned from my parents and I try to keep living it and passing it on.
Real life isn’t always pretty and sometimes it’s really hard,
but there’s usually something to laugh about.
(We are dark humor people, so there’s always something for us to laugh about).

As we were pulling out of the driveway on our way to the shoot I checked the mail.
A little brown package tied up with string and addressed to me.
Unmistakably Studio Jewel.

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I’d been waiting on this bracelet for years and here, on the day I needed it most, it came!
The best part? The verse I chose to have stamped on the bracelet.
God has brought me laughter… Genesis 21:6
And there it is.
God has brought me laughter.
(But it’s nice to have a reminder sometimes).

*The girls designed their own dresses and “we” made them.
I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out and I can’t wait to show them to you!

 

 

detour of dreams

I won’t be getting my thwack-bomp-bomp-bomp screen door.
Or my chickens (for now).
No sleeping porch or attic fan.

But let’s be real.
After a few weeks of kids rushing in and out of that door
the thwack-bomp wouldn’t be as romantic, would it?
And the sleeping porch? It’s Georgia, y’all.
I’d only be able to use it comfortably when the weather was just right
(which is two whole weeks a year).

But windows?
I’ll have those. Lots of those!
And laundry on the line.
And love and laughter.
And rocking chairs.
(Well, 3 rocking chairs since 1 went missing).
There will be a symphony of crickets and frogs, sitting still, and hopefully a few hymns.

It’s funny how your dreams have a way of shifting,
of washing in and out with the tides of life.
How one little thing can wipe the slate clean and you start all over.
We didn’t get the house we’d dreamed of.
But this? This is so much better.

Thirty acres.
A house with giant windows.
A barn and a chicken coop.
A creek and a big playhouse that I’ve claimed as mine.
A writing space, a home for my art.
I didn’t even know that it was my dream
Until my eyes saw it and my heart said yes…

 

little bitty babies (that aren’t mine)

You forget so quickly.
The little sighs.
The quick, shallow breaths.
Fluttery eyes begging to stay awake.

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You remember so little.
Sleep deprived nights.
The rush to get the bottle all warmed and ready.
Little sounds that only a baby can make.

But you also remember things long forgotten.
The glow of white Christmas lights in his room.
The world’s loudest creaking board beside her cradle.
The velvet touch of the chair and its gentle eek-eek, eek-eek.
The reflection of you both in the mirror, illuminated by the dim closet light.

Memories stretch from the back to the front and  a smile bubbles up,
giving every atom in your being a shiver as warmth floods your soul.

Him and Her and He and She.
My four tiny(ish) humans, so different but the same.
I miss their teeny-tiny little selves, but I don’t.
Because beyond the babies lay beautiful stories that make you laugh and cry and sigh.
Growing pains and growing strains.
And dreams of lives well-lived.

Look.

I’ve been searching for my word of the year.
January passed. February passed.
And now March is zipping by.
And as I was looking for my word, my word found me.

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Look at my children.
Look at them when they talk.
Look at them when they rush off to play.
Look at them and remember how they used to be,
and how they are, and how I pray they will be.
Look at the little details and wonder.

Look into the eyes of others.
Keep my eyes sharp and focused.
Look and listen, really listen.

Look at the world around me.
Marvel at the good.
Look for ways to heal the hurt.

Look at those I love and see how to best love them.
Look at those I don’t love so much and see how to best love them.

Look for goodness.
Look for mercy.
Look for grace.
Look for love.

Look for the sacred in the ordinary
And the ordinary in the sacred.
Look and pray that I am changed by what I see.

 

be who you be.

the wind blows the blinds gently and I hear their voices dance through the air.
a swing squeaks in time. squeak {pause} squeak {pause} squeak {pause}
she laughs as the others chase her to home base.
Oh, the Joy of being the baby.
(they never let her lose).

the wind blows the blinds and lands upon my face.
brushed by The Almighty, my eyes prickle with tears.
breathe deeply. drink up this moment.
but The Melancholy weights me down,
refusing to let me sit up and answer.

this too shall pass.

be still and know.
more than a suggestion,
less than a command.
be still and know.
(i know, but my heart is still restless).

i can’t do it.
this being still is hard.
this being is hard.

I lie in bed, eyes straining, begging to close.
be who you be
the words stare at me from the wall.

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be who you be when all is well and happy.
be who you be when anger stirs up in your soul.
be who you be when you laugh until your face hurts.
be who you be when the world smooshes down on your heart.
be who you be when you don’t know who you be.
Be who you be when who you be changes
(sometimes a little, sometimes a lot).

Be.
Be still.
Be changed.
Be who you be.

 

*art by the lovely and talented Robin Plemmons

dashing in the dark

He was in his chair and I on the sofa, both fast asleep. They came in and out and in and out and in and out of the house. (This place where we are, this place where they still need me but not all of my attention all of the time, deserves a few hundred words of its own). It’s been a long day preceded by two long nights. Marshall is doing as well as one can do after having an appendectomy in the middle of the night, but we are weary.

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I stepped out onto the front porch for a little piece of peace. And, as usual, the homing signal went off and the little stinkers crowded around me, wanting to know what I was doing. We sat on the steps and saw something shinning at us from the sky. With SkyView app, binoculars, and a telescope in hand we went to seek answers.

It feels so delightfully perfect outside. The wind blows but can’t get the heaviness of the humidity off of my skin. It does bring in dreams of spring, lightnin’ bugs, and fresh cut grass. And they can feel it in the air, and it whooshes over their little big hearts with excitement that just can’t stop. In the dusk-to-dark they laugh and run and play. They race in pairs, in fair pairs, and they cheer for each other and it makes my chest thump with pride.

Marsh and I are mentally and physically exhausted. But their wild and wacky energy wound its way to me and lifted me slowly and carefully. I could do nothing but smile as I watched them race back and forth and back and forth and back and forth again.

(Lest you think our life is as pretty as this picture, I must confess that after a handful of these lovely little moments I was screaming a little too loudly. And by the time the tears of resistance came I was so frustrated I turned and walked away. With the good there is always the bad. How would we truly know one without the other?)

go. go. go. stop.

Last year I started saying no more than I said yes. I started taking time to do some things I wanted to do. I started reading again. Sewing some, crafting some. For so long (too long) I let other people, circumstances dictate my time. With homeschooling four kids, life is naturally chaotic. That’s normal. That’s what it should be. We work hard in the mornings and some days we don’t have to work in the afternoon. Some days we’re still plowing through until Marshall gets home. But we have the option to take a 2-hour lunch break. Or go to the park on a lovely day. Or spend an extra 30 minutes at the library. Just because. I’ve begun to leave time in my schedule, purposely leave time open just because. And I fully believe that our life is better for it. We do one sport, one music class. That’s it. And while that may not be feasible forever, it works for now.

I don’t expect my children to be the next Mia Hamm or Yo-Yo Ma. I do expect them to work hard at what they choose to do. I expect them to play hard, to practice diligently. I expect a lot of things from them. But I also expect for them to learn how to sit and listen, how to read because they want to read. I want them to play because it’s a beautiful day. I even want them to know it’s okay to take a nap if you’re tired. Listen to your body. Listen to your heart. Fight the urge to do more, to be more unless it’s absolutely necessary. There’s nothing wrong with having drive or excelling in something. I want that for them, too! But as I try to learn how to balance life, I hope that I’m teaching them as well.

I know it’s not easy. I used to say it wasn’t possible, too. But I promise that you can squeeze it in. Five minutes. Two minutes, even. Just sit in the yard and listen to the sounds around you. Meditate. Draw. Write. Watch your children play from a place where they can’t see you. Dance in the rain. Lie on the couch and turn on a song that makes your heart soar…or settles it down…or fills you up with whatever you need. It’s when your body is quiet, your heart-gut can listen. It’s when you are doing nothing, the best ideas will flow. Not every time. But some of the time. And that’s better than none of the time.

the hum of humanity

They process in without a word.
Normally songs and sounds usher them in,
but today the organ sits silent, no voices sing.

Music carefully pulls words from my heart.
Without the strains of songs, I trip on my own thoughts.
Although silence can often be a balm to the soul,
today, in this moment, it leaves me naked, exposed.

I listen carefully as they walk by.
Shoes shuffle. Someone sniffles.
A cough, a squeak, a child’s “whisper.”
Proof that silence isn’t made of nothing,
but a thousand little things
(if only we listen).

We lean into Lent with an unsettled feeling on our shoulders.
A season of quiet, a season of seeking.
Wanting, trying to hear God speak to us,
but getting distracted by all of the everythings that live in the nothing.

The kneeling bench settles heavily onto the floor,
bearing the weight of a hundred thousand prayers -
some slipping silently from shaky souls,
others proclaimed loudly, full of confidence and grace.

God hears it all -
every mumble and moan,
every laugh and giggle,
every gasp and sigh,
even the imperceptible sound of a tears slipping down your cheek.
The hum of humanity is never nothing to the almighty.

living lent.

I’ve always done lent a little differently than a lot of folks.
I’ve given up time and bad attitudes.
I’ve prayed with laundry and lint.
I’ve taken on some things.
I’ve given up some others.
I’ve redefined things, too.

This lenten season will be (I hope) a time to remind myself of how I should already be living.
A time to look at my words and actions, head and heart and try to get them all in line.
(It may be a very squiggly line).

For strangers I will:
Be joyful and patient.
Be peaceful and kind.
Be helpful and giving.

For friends I will:
Practice hospitality.
Share and serve.
Encourage.

For foes I will:
Show mercy.
Shed my pride.
(Sincerely).

For family I will:
Devote myself to staying in the moment.
Show grace, especially with the little things.
Be patient. (Oh, how I need to be more patient).

For myself I will: 
Reinvigorate my faith by asking new questions.
Reduce expectations of myself and others.
Remember things done and left undone.
And live and serve in newness of life.

i want to lie.

i want to lie in the grass and look up at the milky way.
i want to gaze toward galaxy upon galaxy
ever-expanding,
whispering in my ear
stretch
you’ve got a long way to go
but you can do it.
i want to lie in the grass and drink it in
and think about how incredibly insignificant i am.

did you know that once upon a time the world was flat?
how silly of them.
did you know that once upon a time there was no fire, no light, only darkness?
why couldn’t they figure that out?
how hard could it really be to build a fire?
can you believe that once upon a time people didn’t know how to _____?
our children’s children’s children will laugh at us some day.

i want to lie in my bed and look up at my fan whizzing round and round.
i want to stop the spinning and swirling
ever-expanding,
whispering in my ear
keep going
you must be more.
and you better do it
(or else…)
i want to lie in my bed and ignore my head and listen with my heart.
and think about how improbably important i am.

did you know that once upon a time children were to be seen but not heard?
how silly of them.
how did they ignore the smiling of small faces and the glee of giggles?
how hard could it be to wrap yourself in their embrace?
did you know that once upon a time children were the center of the universe?
that mothers and fathers raced to get their children the biggest and the best of everything.
that they spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on nothing but this and that and all the things
when the only thing they needed was a cardboard box and some sidewalk chalk.
our children’s children’s children will laugh at us some day.

i want to lie
and wait
and wonder
where do we go from here?