Friday, November 8, 2013


I stumbled across this charming book of paintings and poetry by Douglas Florian this week. Have you read it? 

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Maple seeds in fall turn brown

then they fall off and all fall down

like fallicopters to the ground.

Simple poetry with darling illustrations, and lines that visually trip down the page. And that word? Autumnblings. So clever. It describes too well the rolling, jumbled pace of recent weeks.  

Beautiful Autumn is tumbling by. I have a dozen posts spinning in my head. Posts I may never write. Posts about twin comparison, twins in school, twin mentality. Posts about wealth. God's abundance and ours. What we do with it. What we tend to hold back. A post about anger and how to get the mad out. A post about loss and living and a wooden box I had made for a friend. A post about my Mom.

So much to say. And never enough hours. 

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Last night was our book signing at The King's English book shop. It was a nice evening. Intimate and sweet. I looked out at all the faces I knew and felt so grateful for good neighbors, good friends, and a good family. Thank you to those of you who came, who called, or texted. Your words of support meant just as much to me as if you were sitting in one of those chairs.

I spoke briefly about my chapter on patience, and began with this anecdote:

This week we’ve had various workers in and out of the house trying to repair damage from a broken drain-pipe. My husband has been out of town since Monday, and I’m trying to get us ready to leave town on Saturday. So while texting a friend I said,

“My mantra for the week: Be the eye in the storm.” 

She texted back, “Ha! I can’t even aspire to that. I’m just trying not to BE the storm.”

And I thought, now that's the kind of bar I should set. Just don't BE the storm. Isn’t honesty refreshing?

Unfortunately, Wednesday night, I WAS the storm. With the house a monstrous wreck, no one wanting to do their homework, practice piano, have baths, or pick up their stuff, I became the storm. Which is never good. Because, haven't you noticed this trend? Anger tends to fuel anger? It sparks. It gives our children permission to ignite, and soon it spirals upward into a full-on eruption?

So to talk as if I know anything about patience, is to admit that I know a lot about impatience. I bump up against the patience challenge every day. 

As moms, we work at being patient, we fail, we regroup, and start again. And that is okay. It is okay because of things like grace, a fresh morning, and forgiving children.

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Autumnblings. I'm kind of in love with that word. As I bumble along, day in day out, cleaning up messes. My own. And theirs. 

Autumn break for us was slow and simple. Simple joy. Like building with cardboard boxes for an afternoon.

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Eliza's idea.

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It was quite the construction site.

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All they needed were a few butter knives (can you hear the sawing of cardboard?) and a roll of duct tape. 

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Next up? Grass sledding.

Also the kids' idea.

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Snowboard style.

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Or old-school. Look at that smile on David's face as Sami gives him a shove.

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The last day of Autumn break, we went to Cornbelly's with the Lehnardt and Linkous families. 

Hans and Xander were good sports to pal around with Spence and Gordy. My boys think these two are the real deal when it comes to super heros. And I can't disagree. They're pretty much Awesome.

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We rode the cow train.

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Cute Gabe. I will mourn the day he combs his hair.

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Traipsed through the corn maze. 

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"An ear of corn, Mom!" 

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And the boys grew corn tassel mustaches. This one looks surprisingly real on you, Xander. Yee-Haw!

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It was so nice to be with Michelle. We haven't been able to run together lately and time to talk always feels too short.

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Looking out at all that corn.

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After the maze, we raced rubber duckies, slid down the slides, bounced in all the bouncy houses, and shared pumpkin donuts.

It was a warm and happy day. 

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I love this life. Bursting, busy, full. And imperfect.

That night I was the storm? That night I couldn't hold it together? It was rough. Things still didn't feel right after I had tucked everyone into bed. Then I remembered: When I am most frustrated by a child’s behavior, that's my signal I need to draw closer to that child. Even if only for a few minutes. 

So I went down to Eliza's bedroom, cracked the door, and climbed into bed with her. I put my arms around her shoulders, and she put her arms around me. Hot tears slipped down my nose as I apologized. And in the dark, I pressed my face against hers and realized she was also crying. We said I’m sorry. And I love you. As the act of holding each other healed things. 

No matter what happens during the day, we can make it right. We can end it with love.


  1. What a beautiful post, so moving. x

  2. oh Cath, I have so been there. I feel like I'm never the eye of the storm, almost always the storm, or at least the beginning of the storm. I love how you've put it here. I especially love "When I am most frustrated by a child's behavior, that's my signal I need to draw closer to that child." I need to remember that after my stormy days. Love you and your deep good soul.

  3. Loved this real and beautiful post! Thank goodness children are forgiving and love us no matter our faults. My husband is out of town this week too and I loved the goal of not being the storm. Probably a very realistic one :)

  4. Beautiful Cath, just like you. I enjoyed a few hours with your boys today. They are darling. You are raising awesome kids. Enjoy your break.

  5. Thank you for your honesty about trying not to be the storm, going to our children when we've had bad days with them, and ending in love. So important!!

  6. I think you're going to persuade me to start reading blogs again! I've been almost completely out for about two years or so, but I may just have to jump back in. Thanks for writing so beautifully from the heart. Can't wait for the NZ posts!

  7. Few women can be so real and so wonderful and inspire so much. You are the salt of the earth. Why am I bawling over this post? Hits so close to home I guess. I hope to be as wise and loving as you were, the next time I become the storm. Thank you for writing what you do, it makes such a huge impact. You help me be better.

  8. You're all so beautiful to leave notes of gratitude and encouragement. I appreciate your thoughts so much. Someday we'll aspire to be the eye in the storm. ;) xoxo


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