Dirty Socks and Beauty

Oh the difference a week makes!


Last week I was still humming in the glow of the conference I had just attended. Tired, yes, but still warm and filled with thoughts of beauty. Filled with hope and with an eagerness to stir imagination in my children. Filled with refreshment from conversations and music and feasting.


Today? Well, today there are dirty clothes strewn about the house upstairs. They haven’t quite made it to the laundry room. The laundry basket is overflowing with clean clothes which need to be put away…I was tired after the third round. There are still a few dirty dishes in the sink which couldn’t make it in the load last night. Sweatshirts and shoes are in various places around the family room.


Library books are stacked on the kitchen table, next to the decoratively cool turban squash. And an empty Jones Soda can.


Somehow there is an empty hair gel container also on the kitchen table…Maddie has been emptying out the bathroom for me.


We have a leak in the fireplace that has come under the marble and soaked the carpet during the days of Noah we had recently. Beginning to dry out, but it left an interesting smell and we had to wait until the rain stopped before someone could come to look at what is wrong. Hoping that happens soon.


Ah, basking in the beauty.


Life is busy; crazy busy. Steve is swamped at work with a project which will culminate the first full week in November. Until then he is working seven days a week. Sports are in almost full swing. Practices are happening and games being attended. Biblestudies are happening and church events. Field trips. Tutorials.



Full and busy and constant. 

Dirty dishes and laundry and leaks.


Beauty and afterglow has a hard time elbowing for room. I would love to sit and read for hours, but I have lesson plans to figure out and grading to tend. Where do I fit in this imagination and wonder and creativity?


Some seem to do it with an elegance and grace that amaze me, while I feel disheveled and harried. Tacking on my wonder while I hide the dirty laundry.


Deep breath.  

That was what I needed.

Mondays are generally a bit messy. I find it difficult to get my rhythm back after the weekend, and I want to start with some silence. The house always bears some battle signs from the weekend, and I know I need to tend to it, but first…I need to tend to my soul. That is part of what I learned last weekend.


Beauty, and tending to beauty and imagination and wonder, is not a luxury nor an extravagance. It is a necessity. A priority.


That deep breath that gives the strength and the calm to face the litany of things needing to be tackled. It’s not just dirty dishes and laundry. It is parents aging and friends struggling. Jobs with great stress, or friends with no jobs and the great stress of ends not meeting. Deep breath.


I need the strength I find in the beauty and the wonder to carry me through the tasks at hand. All of them. Loving well, tending the things in my care…living well. 

So the dirty dishes and the laundry and tidying will wait just a bit longer.


A strong cup of coffee and the porch and ancient words of prayer await.


Messy Monday….meet a resolved heart.  There will be beauty and wonder here in this house this week, even if a dirty sock is poking out somewhere.


Delighting in the Littles….

I am not sure how many times lately I have mentioned that it is a rainy Monday. Beginning to feel a little like when we lived in Vancouver! Still, I enjoy a rainy Monday; it seems to let me settle in slowly. This is our last full week of school, which means a busy time, but also an exciting time.

This is also, for us, the season of birthdays. Our youngest boy turned 7 a couple weeks ago and we had his party with friends this weekend. Again, it was raining, so the party was indoors…filling the house with rambunctious and giggly boys. It was wonderful!


We have two more birthdays coming in May…our oldest and our youngest.  More celebrations and balloons and parties.

More delighting in our kids.

I have found myself doing that a lot lately. We’ve had our moments where they’ve been frustrating and where we’ve had to discipline, but I have found myself truly enjoying them lately.

And I noticed something this weekend: in my delighting in my kids I had a deep sorrow and awareness of all the babies who were greeted with terror at the hands of Gosnell.  Each baby I have seen in the last few weeks has brought the horrors of his story to mind, and great sorrow.

I have read some about him, and I have been absolutely sickened. I have a friend who survived an abortion, and each time I read about these innocents who were painfully murdered…I think of my friend, Gianna. I think of her fiery life and I think of the joy and delight she brings into my life and many others.

I think of the light she brings into the world.

And I think, and wonder, what we have lost with all these who have been killed. Gosnell is the horrific extreme. I cannot imagine the callousness of the soul that is able to kill babies who are crying and struggling to live…again, and again. I am struck, however, by the reality that this is the same thing that happens in the sterile clinics and when the abortion is done ‘correctly’. I have many friends who are in support of a woman’s choice, and I understand their decision and their thinking.

I understand, but I do not agree.  I am so deeply grieved, and angered, by Gosnell…but he is just the story that has been highlighted. The same choice to end life happens so continuously…and I wonder what grief it bears on the Creator. I wonder what these littles would have been…I wonder what we have missed. What laughter and delight, what joy and light, what imagination and what brilliance we have lost.

My mother and dad were faced with the choice. The doctor encouraged my mother to abort me; she had had several miscarriages and there was concern for her life. There was legitimate reason in the medical mind to terminate my life.

My folks said no. And here I am.

And I know that there is so much tied up in this discussion. So many issues…and so many failings on all our parts. As a church we have not excelled at caring for those who were terrified by the reality of a life for which they would be responsible. Some who have simply chosen freedom rather than responsibility, and done so callously. And some who have been so broken by the decision…and they need to be cared for and loved and extended grace. So many issues. But Gosnell….oh, my soul.

So, on a rainy Monday as I listen to my littles waking I am wearied by this brokenness around us. This pain and this loss, and this horror. In the midst of that…I continue to hold for hope and know that God still is working. That there are still stories of the redeemed and the made whole.

I look at my littles and I rejoice that they are filled with life and with imagination and with hope….and I delight in them and whisper a prayer of thanks that they are here. That I am here. I whisper a prayer for those who are tormented by a decision and those who are facing a decision with great fear and confusion. Lord, have mercy.