Family & Home

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This was written last Friday.

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The wood stove hums away with pots of water heating on top and the youngest children are engaged in a lively game of chase. Stewart has gone to pick up hay and I will split my day between bringing in firewood, answering questions about diagramming sentences, snuggling little Joshie, and cleaning… probably in that order.

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We will mix up sourdough bread this morning and big pots of soup later as we make it through the few days of Texas winter that seem to come and go. As for the happenings…

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This guy is now a fixture in the goat pasture. Which means, Lord willing, Abby, Daisy, and Kitty may be mamas next summer.

And we are still harvesting bits and bobs from the garden. Stewart covered the lettuce last night and I need to check on the cabbages. The green onions, kale,and cilantro have been blessed additions to our meals. I was thinking the other day that this is the first year we’ve had something, even if small, fresh to harvest from the garden from spring until now. Thank the Lord!

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It’s hard to believe, but right now this cabin – the one we inhabited for three years, the one in which both our daughters were born – is coming down. Lord willing the camper will also be coming out, making room for animal shelter. I suppose I may share more about that coming up but for now it is at once exciting and melancholic.

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And oh, this boy… he turned one and decided, without once asking my permission, that standing up was the next logical step. He likes to eat a homegrown egg most mornings and washes it back with fresh goat milk… and potatoes, this boy loves his potatoes.

Maybe it’s the fifth baby, or maybe I’ve done exactly the same thing the four times prior, but I’m thinking if he could just hold off on growing up that would be alright.

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But it’s not looking likely that he’ll be listening to me on that subject… and that’s probably for the best.

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I realized recently how many things I have forgotten: What it’s like to flush a toilet… how I never used to hear that sleepy breathing of our children as I crawled into my own bed… that everything begins at home… how I could pull the first string that could be the unraveling of my own children.

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It’s funny to watch them pitch hay and milk goats and wash clothes without a washing machine and realize that they are learning how to do these things at the exact same time as their mother. And they watch me while we do those things – my actions, my words, my attitude – and it terrifies me and it awakens me.

I wonder where I’d be if I didn’t have children. Not in the sense that they are my identity, but that they have been a means of showing me the deepest depths of my own depravity. I suppose if it weren’t them then it’d be something else… but it has to be them and it had to be them because here we all are.

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I have been in need of quiet for some time now. Not from these little ones around me, though that is sometimes welcome, but rather from my own lips and thoughts. So I have tried to pull back here and elsewhere to be still and listen to things like this:

“Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some men seem to think… It is wounding work, this breaking of the hearts, but without wounding there is no saving… Where there is grafting there will always be a cutting, the graft must be let in with a wound; to stick it onto the outside or to tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back or there will be no sap from root to branch. And this, I say, must be done by a wound, by a cut.”
― John Bunyan

These are the days that shape us all.