Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Of December Days

This week from my window, the winter winds blew away the autumn. We have chilly, gray days now with mostly bare trees. It's a little depressing to write, but I enjoy such changes. The golden fall was just that, golden. However,  A cold rainy day in December is lovely for snuggling in with a Christmas movie, and a warm something to drink.

The last several years, Emery has hung a few strands of multi-colored lights around the exterior of our house. I derived inexplicable joy from seeing them all lit up when we'd come home in the evening. This year, I felt that inside was the place to hang the lights...after all, I'm having a baby at Christmas time, and from delivery onward, I'll be home a good deal more than usual.
So the lights are sweetly hung in the bedrooms and around the living room. Actually, I ran out of strands after putting up all the colored ones, and had to pick up a strand of white for our room. All the while I'm asking myself WHY oh why haven't I put up twinkle lights before?!?
Well, probably because I wasn't feathering my nest at Christmastime in Mississippi before.

I'm a couple of days past 37 weeks along. If you put in "37 weeks pregnant" in the pintrest search bar, you'll get hundreds of pins declaring that it's awful to be 37 weeks, that you're ready to pop, and you have never been so uncomfortable in your life. {Don't ask me how I know. Ahem.}
But I beg to differ.
I'm not saying I just love waddling around or working really hard to turn over in bed. Those things do get tiresome, but I'm certainly not feeling like death or like labor is a day or two away. And thank goodness. I've got Things. to. do.
My family has had the plague, and we simply have to all recover AND get the house sanitized before this baby is allowed to come. I haven't baked Christmas cookies - you know that NEEDS to happen. Nor have we made paper snowflakes. And Amazon hasn't delivered the last of our Christmas presents. So there. It's just not time Yet.
I have checked a great many items off of my to-do list, and I do thank the baby for spurring me on toward productivity in the area of things that feel like they need to get done.

Speaking of things that need to get done....freezer meals. I have been working on filling the little chest freezer that came with our new house since August. On one hand, I've really enjoyed filling it and storing up seasonal produce and all. On the other hand, I can't remember what's at the bottom of the freezer.
But really, What I want you to know that making freezer meals for after the baby's arrival is fabulous. I applaud you, if you do. IF you really want to step-up your game (and you have the space), make some meals for your last month of pregnancy too. Lately, pulling something out of the freezer is as good as it gets around here, and I'm so thankful that I have something there to pull out. It does make me sigh a little and think, "that was supposed to be for later", but I get over that fairly quickly because we all have to eat Now too. Stock the pantry. Stock the freezer. Pass me all the gluten/dairy free convenience  meals I can find (or afford!) 'cause I'm pretty much over cooking. Unless, you know, the baby wants something very specific. {I'm looking at you Friday before Thanksgiving when all of the sudden I needed the whole Thanksgiving works for dinner. I needed a day to recover from that cooking spree too.}

On an unrelated, but happy note: after 7 months of having our house in GA on the market, we closed on the sale of it this week! What a glorious blessing! What freedom!  How thankful we are to those who prayed so faithfully - SHOAL CREEK! - for our house to sell. Thank you friends, and thank you LORD!
We stopped by our old house in early November while we were visiting for a weekend. Such a sweet place, with sweet memories. We only lived there 18 months, but it was ours. Our first home in which we weren't renters. I'm thankful for the time we spent there.
In some ways, the house closing seemed just a tiny bit bittersweet. Even though we've been in Mississippi six months or so, it's as if now is the time we've truly finished the chapter of our lives in Georgia. Now, we can move forward. Now we're all-in here in our new home. And mostly this feels just beautiful, until I think of the relationships of all our dear ones back in the Peach State that I can't possibly maintain on the same level as they were - that aspect makes me want to cry a bucketful of tears. So bittersweet it is.
{But I am thankful for modern technology that lets us see & hear our loved ones with just a punch of a button! It could be much worse. I think of Ma Ingalls in the pilot movie of Little House on the Prairie, the way she looks at her family as they're driving away from the Big Woods - knowing she'll probably never see them again. It makes me cry every time.}

May your December days be cozy and warm!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Life - Late October

Listen up y'all, there's no order nor reason to this post. It's just snippets. I might ought to use bullets.
Alright, I will.

  • My view at the moment - beyond my screen - is of my freshly painted toes. They're purple...the nails, not the toes themselves. I've been meaning to paint my toes since March. I can't exactly figure out why it's taken me six months to accomplish this task, nor why I've waited till I'm seven months pregnant to try to attempt it. Somethings are inexplicable.   

  • We have one larger towel in our home. We used to have two, I don't know what happened to the other, but I do know that when I get the large towel, I feel it's a reason for celebration. The smaller standard sized towels just don't quite do the job at this point in my pregnancy.
  • Also, pregnancy nightmares: attack of the varicose veins. I'm not even kidding. 

  • Today we enjoyed our first family campfire. The kids have roasted marshmallows and such before, but never just our little crew at our house. It was charming. 
  • Emery's such an effective fire-manager. Love him! 
  • We accomplished some rather low-priority jobs around the house & yard today. The kids weren't feeling well yesterday, and I was completely expected and low-key sick day, but our rather slow-paced outdoors day was just lovely. We ate a picnic lunch as well as dinner around the fire. 
  • Some days it hits me how much I love our little family. OUR PEOPLE. Those with whom we are all thoroughly comfortable and relaxed. Such a neat blessing, especially for two parents who tend toward the introvert side of life. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Daring to Hope

Can I confess something?

I used to read Katie Davis' blog once in a while and see the "romance" of the mission field. Maybe that seems absurd. But it's true. I think I thought that however before I became a wife & mother...before I knew what this life looked like...this life that can be as romantic or unromantic as I make it, but that bears so many similarities to hers. 
Of course, I'm not living in Uganda and raising 13 daughters. That's a big one. BUT the daily grind, the meals and house work and school work, and clinging to the Lord for strength - that's the same. 

Katie Davis Majors' new book, Daring to Hope, tells less of the romance of mission work, and more of the heart ache associated to loving and caring for people who may or may not get better; who may or may not love you back; whose presence and need begs you to Say Yes to opening your heart and home to say yes to God when it hurts.
There's beautiful transformation at work in the hurt. A speaker I heard recently said you have two choices when it comes to suffering, you can grit and endure with sheer willpower and shake your fists at God all the while for letting this affliction come into your life OR you can choose to accept suffering as gift, a radical gift that might feel like it's tearing your heart in two, but all the while drawing you closer and closer to the Savior.
Maybe sometimes it's both.
Sometimes, as Katie mentions in her book, it's clinging to any shreds of thanksgiving/thankfulness you can find to remind you that God is still good - still worthy of Praise and Devotion - while you work through difficult seasons of life.

Yet through it all, beauty for ashes and joy in the morning.
It's for our good and HIS glory.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

One of the hats

You know mamas wear many, many hats.
It's just the way we roll.

Including, but not limited to:
  • Chef & Dish Washer
  • Chauffeur
  • Nutritionist
  • Laundress
  • House-Keeping/Cleaning
  • Interior & Exterior Decorator
  • Motivational Coach
  • Educator
  • Story-reader
  • Hygiene Manager
  • Organizer/Clutter Manager
  • Sick-Nurse
  • Baby Nourisher
  • Diaper Changer
  • Wardrobe Manager 
....That last one I've been tackling the last two weeks: inventorying our stash of winter clothes and listing out what needs purchasing and for whom. I typically buy the majority of our kids' clothes twice a year at the large consignment sales, with maybe a little fill-in throughout the season. So, it's pretty important that I get organized beforehand. And it's work, for sure, but I find I enjoy it.

Getting organized helps me feel prepared; feeling prepared helps tasks feel manageable.

The Proverbs 31 woman had no fear of the snow for all her household were clothed with scarlet. Wardrobe management always makes me remember her -- thousands of years between, but mamas still looking after the needs of their families, making sure no one is inappropriately dressed for the season. It's a cheering thought to have some camaraderie with her because I'm certainly not buying fields and growing flax and weaving it into linen these days...and I'm not sure I ever will, for that matter.

Besides getting organized, I found out that we didn't need that much for this winter (because I bought the girls' clothes a size up last year -- for reasons I can't entirely remember)....a few long sleeve shirts for Elijah and a couple of pairs of jeans for Adele and we would be set...more than that, we didn't even need to venture to the big consignment sale! 
Today, with the help of the somewhat local kid's consignment store, I completed the shopping and we are Good. To. Go!

My six year old can no longer make decisions about what she likes and doesn't like. This is baffling to me. She needed a pair of tennis shoes...she said, "I don't KNOW if I like them." To which I replied, "Do they fit? Good let's get them." The same child is completely enthused by her new shoes now, but I guess in the store it's just too much pressure. MAYBE this the reason God moved me to buy too big clothes last year, because He knew I couldn't handle the indecision from my little daughter. By the way, all she wants for Christmas is her two front teeth. And all I want is a break from loosing teeth because it's too gross. Lol.

And with Fall just around the corner, I'll sign off with a

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

a little rain

It's raining here. Quietly soaking and nourishing our somewhat parched grass.
A rainy day is soothing to my mind as well. The gray light sifting in through the windows and the cooler temperatures are refreshing.
Occasionally, my children will get to pull a little something special from our Rainy Day Bag.
We make coffee or tea, and snuggle up to read.

But not so far away there is such terrible suffering at the hands of the same storm system .
I can't imagine what 50 inches of rain feels like in Houston, but I'm certain it's burdensome and far from a nice repose. I'm certain it's life-shattering -- and it'll be days or weeks before those afflicted can begin to pick up the pieces of their lives once the water recedes. Perhaps right now, the survival, is the hardest...or perhaps the hardest will be later on when the devastation fully reveals itself.

I feel guilty enjoying our bit of rain.
But enjoying it I am.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Maybe I've grown up

I had the rare pleasure of coffee with a friend sans children this morning. We have ten between us, and you know mamas can't talk when managing littles. Anyway, during our conversation we were talking about unexpected friendships and being intentional about pursuing friendships outside of our stage of life. And it hit us both how we're not the YOUNG people anymore...because there's nearly a decade between Us and the young married couples. Ha. How strange.

Yet, this week -for the very first time- I have bought produce with the express intention of freezing it. 10lbs of peaches: in my freezer! And the corn off a dozen ears of corn!
I grew up around large families with whom it was the norm to put up tons of fruits and veg, and my little batches seem infinitesimally small in comparison. But everyone has to start someplace, and I'll not despise small beginnings. 

The other hand of this matter is that while baking bread is my typical signal of "normalcy returned"* (Who wants to bake bread when it's 100 degrees out?), perhaps this freezing of produce is a similar action - perhaps we've adjusted to life in Mississippi. Perhaps we're trying to thrive.
I know we are.

*In some blog post probably 4+ years ago, I wrote about baking bread for the first time roughly six weeks after Adele was born - and then I KNEW that I was managing life rather than just surviving. I feel so much better when I'm productively managing, but survival mode sometimes comes with the mothering territory.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Inaugural thoughts

With a new home come many inaugural moments. Moments that make you feel like celebrating, from the "Yay we have the Keys!" to the "our first guests."

I love these micro-milestones. The chaos that is moving is fraught with challenges, partly because some of the moments around a move are "This will probably the last time we'll have these people over for dinner" and "Packing up beloved items" and "Where on earth do I begin today"....but there are also the "We hung our pictures on the walls today" and "Our first meal actually cooked in our new home."
{Of course those are in no particular order -- yes, I did cook before hanging pictures on the walls}

In the last week we've been delighted to host our first lunch guests and overnight guests. Company is an excellent motivator for getting your house settled and presentable! :) I so enjoy getting to host friends and family in our home, and it's refreshing to have that shift from "Where do I want to put this item or hang this picture?" to "How can I make my guests more comfortable?" Less of ME is always a good thing, I'm thankful for opportunities that remind me to refocus on being others-centered.
Life is made more of than of big events. Sure, it's easier to date things in your memory by whether it was after {a move, a wedding, a holiday etc), but our regular everydays --that's where it's most beautiful.
It's where we live out our love for our families and friends, not just on special occasions when everything is picture perfect. Lord knows, life isn't picture perfect. It's being present when things are messy and frazzled and just plain struggling.
Back last winter, I had a cookie decorating party planned. Life happened that week - I learned about the loss of my baby and was waiting to miscarry. I thought about cancelling. Everyone would have understood. I knew I couldn't pull off organizing an 'event' - but I could manage a pajama play-date. I texted the downgraded status around. Someone brought doughnuts. I just made coffee and room to be with people instead of letting my grief take center stage that day. It was beautiful. Full of laughter and kids playing, and what I needed.
Messy and beautiful.
So I'll raise my glass of chocolate milk (I'm pregnant, yo!) to embracing the beauty of the moments rather than the events. The acts of kindness and love, no matter how small, are too precious to get swept away in the blur of life. Jot them down. Take a picture. File it in your memory. These are the memories that make a childhood golden, let's bedazzle adulthood too with beauty to the brim. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Where we are

It's raining. It's rained three or four times today, vanquishing my hopes of going to a laundry mat having the joy of clean clothes.

Nothing contributes chaos into my life so much as scrounging around for clothes, and more especially clothes that are here and there in no order whatsoever. Some stashed in a box in my bath tub, some in suitcases, a very few in drawers, some on hangers tied up in trash bags. It's as if they're everywhere and no where at all.

Why on earth is life so chaotic? Moving.
Moving will do it every. single. time.

And for better or worse, this has not been one of those charming "move down the street" moves. This has been a "cross a few states" move. We enjoyed nearly peachy three years in the land of my nativity, but work has carried us away from thence. {as an aside, I had to look up that last phrase to check my grammar, and lo and behold it was "King James" speak. Raise your hand if you're surprised!} 
So, we Sayres find ourselves back in Mississippi. You know, to think about MS and all it's stereotypes, it seems a backwards thing to be moving here. Let me speak some truth into your life though, while Mississippi may not someplace you think of as up and coming - the fact is: its people are as sweet as the tea; many quaint small towns are enjoying a fun renaissance of local businesses. It's lovely. 

But leaving family and friends is challenging. The children and I are all coping with this transition. Of course, children will have a hard time with changes, I'm expecting another two weeks maybe of rough sailing with them. However, as the mother hen -- I haven't the time nor energy to cry a bucketful of tears, and am scurrying to put back together the familiar trappings of what is OUR home (not to mention to be able to cook some meals), and it's just a juggling act, like all of motherhood, I suppose.
Couple all the juggling with pregnancy exhaustion, and it's an even more complex equation. I did manage to get our old house packed, with many naps along the way. I'm 15 weeks today. I'm nervous about sharing this news because of the fear of having to "un-share" it again, should the unthinkable happen. Vulnerability isn't a weakness though, and I desire to be authentic in this space. 
'm due near Christmas. Hattie has been praying for this baby at every meal. She's been very faithful.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Spring brings quantities of beautiful changes.

In our home, we've been working the last several weeks to finish up our year's school work. It's so liberating to finally close the book, "Ah, it's completed!"
But unlike our public schooling counterparts, we jumped right into the next tier of work the day following our liberation. And what's more, we're excited and jazzed about new school books and new rhythms of course work (we added a few more subjects - that are very interesting, so far).
The only trouble is that my geography and science which I was planning to utilize once or twice a week are too cool for school, and the little scholars have wanted them everyday instead. I guess we'll finish more quickly than anticipated!

Another somewhat interesting change is that I received a new book recently from Honestly, I'd been watching their titles for a few months, and hadn't seen anything that I was interested in enough to want to invest my TIME in reading.
KNOWN: Finding Deep Friendships in a Shallow World by Dick and Ruth Foth....this one I figured was right up my ally. {Especially as my friends hear me discuss investing in authentic relationships pretty often these days!}

"Friendship is born when one person says to another: 'What! you too? I thought I was the only one.' "-C.S. Lewis

This quotation is the start of one of that latter chapters in the book, but I feel like in essence it sums it up thoroughly. If you want to build friendships to have invest yourself in both sharing your story and listening to others tell theirs. It takes work. Posting a meme on facebook about something totally "relatable" doesn't build a friendship, nor does give said post a "like" count.

Being present totally trumps perfecting our social media personas.
That said, a number of my friends and I pretty much only text. It's imperfect for sure, but in this phase of #momlife and it's not always feasible to have a real phone conversation (or in person). My sister-in-law can certainly vouch for the fact that sometimes we're on the phone but spend much more time instructing our kids or managing the chaos at our feet than actually talking to each other. But nevertheless, putting forth that effort to call makes a big's what the author calls "the chase", the pursuit of the relationship - evidence that you really care about a person, which affirms the other.

In terms of Flow - this book seemed like some more editing might be needed. The feeling is kind of foggy/hazy on the whole. Some of the stories included felt like they'd just been pasted there for lack of a better place to put them without connective tissue to strengthen the point they were trying to address. Then again, it could totally be my brain that's foggy. I wouldn't call this a life-changer, but I would say it's an encouraging read to those young adults who are trying to figure out to to develop intentional deep relationships, rather than the status quo "friend" on facebook.

I received this book from in exchange for this review.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Enjoying the Everyday

The morning sun glistened in rainbows around my house this morning.
{We keep a prism in the window and often have a couple rainbows, but they seemed to be scattered further and wider than usual. }

It was a morning sun that made me throw all the curtains open and bathe the house in fresh, almost-spring rays.

I relish days like today. An unusually warm February day, full to the brim of things worth noticing for their beauty.

The children painted today. I kind of hate the prep & clean up of painting because that usually takes much longer than the children actually paint. But today I let them. Elijah sat in his high chair with his blue paint smeared across his belly (I figured shirtless was the easiest method for him).  His bellybutton is still blue-tinged. And I just love it. He smiled happily all the while. The girls made delightful little pictures that are becoming more intentional and less blotches of muddied colors.

A few cheerful phone calls. A trip to the library. Playing Little House on the Prairie at the park (but we play it most everyday at home too). I'm always "Miss Beagle" and Ma, per Hattie. Adele is either John or SonnyBoy and Elijah is Baby Charles. Baby Charles has had the measles several times recently.

 I enjoy their creative play. I relish this time, this stage of life, where PLAY ranks much higher than academics.

Adele dreams of going on a Grandpa-Date to the hardwork (hardware) store to buy a hammer for her birthday. After which, Emery is supposed to promptly begin building the children a playset for the back yard.

And Elijah - he's a car man. Cars, trucks, tractors are all an important and well-loved part of his life. My boy sleeps with a matchbox car in each hand most nights. He's inherited this love from his father and grandfather. He drives his cars slowly and methodically. There are no wrecks and little speeding at this stage of the game, but their HIS cars and he enjoys them so.

We've done chores too, of course. For this is a normal day. Laundry and dishes and sweeping most of the house have been on the agenda. But finding the smiles, the moments when your heart wants to burst with love, the rays of sunshine and rainbows...they make the mundane magical.