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In which I am experiencing a thousand gifts (700 – 734)

Counting my gifts, all the way to a thousand, probably beyond, because who could stop once you start to see them all?

700. Picture day, once a month, every month.
701. 9 months of Evelynn Joan.
702. Baby headbands. I’m late to the party but sweetness.
703. Sisters.
704. The way Anne watches her baby sister, proud and protective.
705. School afternoons.
706. The piles of laundry to be folded.
707. Miss Rumphius
708.  Still falling…25 cms so far.
709. Snow is the best baby sitter yet. 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the evening, every day.
710. Hockey snowman.
711. Proud boys.
712. Rosy red cheeks.
713. Vanilla steamers.
714. Seeing your breath.
715. Sunlight on snow.
716. Morning sunlight.
717. A window above my kitchen sink.
718. Handknit leg warmers (pattern here).
719. Actually looking forward to going to church. That’s been a long time coming.
720. A pastor that tells us all to join a hockey league and stop hanging out with Christians all the time.
721. Feeling challenged.
722. More ideas than time.
723. Family art night.
724. How Joseph will work on one single painting for the entire hour while Anne burns through 17 pictures. His focus is impeccable.
725. A cluttered fridge, smudgy with fingerprints.
726. Heavy laden pine boughs and the smell of snow.
727. As my friend, Nish, reminded me, having a forest in my backyard does not suck.
728. Life verse decisions, paging through well worn Bible, for Evelynn’s words.
729. Shortlisted as Best Religion and Spirituality Blog at the Canadian Weblog Awards. (Cue me: Say WHAT?!?)
730. Morning rituals.
731. Many, many days of solo parenting and somehow finding a new rhythm.
732. Mamamamamamamamamamama
733. Saucy grin of new teeth in a kissable mouth.
734. Friends that get it.

Linked up with the Multitude Mondays gratitude community at Holy Experience.




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In which Evelynn turns 8 months old

I have a new full time job: it’s called Stop The Baby From Choking On Things. At least three times a day, I’ve got my fingers stuffed in her mouth, sweeping something out of there – from dust bunnies under the couch (who knew those things could choke a baby? Only those of us that don’t vacuum under our couches nearly enough apparently), bits of yarn under beds to crumbs from messy eaters (not naming any names… *cough*Joe*cough*), I have decided to set up the play pen. I never used a playpen for my other two but I know when I’m beat.

It’s my only hope for some peace of mind at this point.

She is on the move constantly. She’s pulling up on the furniture, obsessed with the bathtub and determined to avoid sleeping through the night. She worships her brother and sister, requires my constant presence to maintain her sweet and joyful nature and has sprouted four little toothies. Out of 131 pictures that I took in a 10 minute period, only three or four had her actually in focus or looking at the camera.

Busy girl.

If babies were all like this one, I’d probably have a dozen. She is so sweet and fun. Even when it’s tiring, I don’t really mind now. I know that it goes too too fast.

She pokes that little tongue out, saucy girl, and my heart nearly leaps out of my chest at the wonder of her.

I mean, honestly. EYELASHES. 

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In which the spirits of the air live in the smells

I mean, look at that boy’s face. That is totally Joe.

Oh, my friends, these last days of the warm late afternoon sunshine are slipping through our fingers.

As William Blake wrote, the daughters of the year shall dance at this time.  The rain is coming, the cold will creep into our bones for another long winter that we will spend counting the days since we last saw the sun, trying to enjoy another day of cold rain or wet snow. But right now? “The spirits of the air live in the smells.” (There really isn’t anyone better than Blake for seasons, is there?)

So we’re outside in the fall sunshine, riding hay racks, piling pumpkins, jumping on gigantic pillows (seriously – how fun does that look? I vote for one at the next womens’ retreat).

The real world is made up of homemade applesauce from local apples, tire swings and the gentleness of a three-year-old boy patting a bunny.

It’s handknit sweaters, handfuls of scarlet and gold leaves, grandparents visiting bearing gifts of attention, the ministry of food and homemade quilts.

The real life is in making some room for the inspiration, the peace and the loving in the small, this careful and intentional filling up, so that during those dark months, the light spills out through my own cracks.

I feel like a person when I’m outside in the fall.

I’d sing out loud in the pumpkin patch if I knew a melody for the poetry of fall.

“O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain’d
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may’st rest,
and tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruit and flowers.
~ William Blake, To Autumn





(Most photos with a few exceptions were taken by my mother-in-law. We were at the Apple Barn and a few other places in them.)

Elsewhere, in case you missed it:

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In which I am experiencing a thousand gifts (588-609)

This morning, like most mornings lately, I got up before dawn. For some reason, my entire life, I’ve been one of those very irritating morning people, the kind that wakes up at six singing songs even before the coffee is on. (I know, I know. Brian accepts your sympathies.) No grouchy-bear mornings allowed in our house because it’s my best time, the time when I’m most creative, most alive, most happy every day so I can’t really complain that the tinies are morning people, too, up and singing every morning despite Brian’s half-hearted pleas from the bed that “in some cultures, there are people that like to sleep in, you know.”

Every other morning, I quietly pull on my clothes and sneak out. Sometimes I go for a walk at Mill Lake. Sometimes I go to Starbucks to read. Other mornings, like today, I get my coffee and head to the high hills to watch the sun rise on the mountains across the Sumas prairie. I don’t stay long – maybe 20 or 30 minutes but long enough for the sun to rise slow against the hills, for the mist to begin to lift off the valley, for the wind to take my breath to prayer and rest for a while.

This? Makes me feel like a real person again, a human being instead of a human-doing.

Most of what I pray nowadays is just thank you. And that’s enough.

588. Best friends in your own family.

589. Joe’s constant tending of his “vegable gar-den” in the pool.

590. This summer, they have grown into being real friends, playing for hours and hours together.

591. Water rats, both of them. They would never get out and swim like little trout.

592. And then this little one, sitting poolside with her mama. All smiles and eyes and eyelashes.

593. The smell at the base of her neck, right above her birthmark, is simply a taste of heaven.

594. Her absolute delight in life, her content curiosity.

595. Blackberries that grow like weeds. We walk up the hill and fill another pail.

596. Teasing Anne that I’m going to call her Sal because it’s plink-plank-plunk and then she eats all three.

597. Dimples in her elbows and hands and creases in her wrists. Fat, happy baby girl.

598. Dandelion gifts, just for me.

599. Monkey bars.

600. Wooden playgrounds that are always empty for some reason, everyone else at the fashionable busy ones, I guess.

601. The walk back home, back down our hill, to our white house, past the blueberry farm in the valley.

602. Discovering that I must have missed my true calling as a carnival face painter.

603. Blue-eyed lizard pirates playing bare chested all afternoon.

604. Butterfly girl, decorating herself with leaves in her hair.

That’s a lizard pirate, in case you were wondering. 

605. The girls at SheLoves Magazine. (Seriously, if you have subscribed to that site or friended them on Facebook, get on that. The variety of female voice and experience is wonderful. Never mind that I write there, too… *cough cough*)

606. My sister is back on maternity leave and I’ve never been so happy to be making pancakes for a houseful of tinies in my life.

607. The way my little niece Addison calls me “Auntie-Mama.” And how we’re raising our tinies to call each other “sister-cousin” and “brother-cousin” because, clearly, there is a difference in this type of cousin.

608. The hard, unglamorous work between the great grand idea and the finished project. Know what I mean, Megan and Nish? Grateful for that and a steep learning curve, too.

609. My new little Thankful Tree sitting in my kitchen window sill.

Linked up, as always, with the Thousand Gifts community.

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