3

Beginning A Morning Well

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For the past year there has been a quote from Mere Christianity on the side of my refrigerator.

“The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it.  It comes the very moment you wake up each morning.   All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.  And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day.

As someone who is naturally lackadaisical and tried to make up for this flaw with frantic attempts to do everything and satisfy everyone, this quote really touched me.  Sometimes I forget, in all of my laboring to do right, that my effort isn’t, (or at least ought not to be,) all about me.  It’s about doing the work that my Lord has given me to do, and doing it within the limitations that He has seen fit to place upon me.  But I can only do that work if I can hear His Voice.

I have found the stillness of the morning to be the best time for this.  I no longer check my phone before I get out of bed, or grab my tablet and spend a few happy moments on the wonderful AO Forums.  I don’t sit right down and review the busy day ahead.  I take my pen, and copy out a few verses from Hebrews. I sing a song, and pray for a little while.  I’m trying to seek His voice first of all, and I’m finding it makes is easier to distinguish His voice from all the others.

CSLewis

 

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Thanksgiving 2014

This past week began with My Man being gone on business.  Together the children and I managed to hold the loneliness at bay by having a giant “sleepovers.” Each night everyone but the baby piled into my bed and we watched Brave on the laptop.  And when it was over we’d just restart it, until everyone had drifted off to sleep. Then I would lay in the darkness and listen to the sounds of their breathing, and feel the bed gently wiggle as each one turned and tossed, and I would feel so thankful.  Thankful from the depths of my soul that here, surrounding me, were little people who depend on me and keep me depending on God.

By the third night I think we could have just turned off the sound and quoted the entire movie word for word. 😀

In one of the funnier moments, the children were wondering why their father is so very talented at the work he does.  Little Boo matter-of-factly states “It’s because he has big nipples.”

We all just stared at her for a moment, then Zorro (obviously prepared to leap to his father’s defense,) says “He has WHAT??!!!”

Boo holds her arms out and boldly flexes.  “Big nipples.  Like me.”

We *eventually* explained that the word she was looking for was “muscles.”  When we could talk through the laughter……

We had fun making some felt crafts as gifts for Thanksgiving, and I particularly enjoyed listening to Rosie agonize over which Superhero mask she should make for her father.  “The Hulk is strongest, but Batman is the most handsome…..”  She eventually chose to go with Batman.

Then, glory be, he was home for 4 days straight and we slept and snuggled and cooked and built and shopped and loved and laughed and generally basked in the warm glow of Thanksgiving and the haze of prosperity with which we are blessed.

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3

Delight and Disaster

Our Pumpkin is truly blossoming. Adorableness abounds.

She marches around the house saying “Muuah.  Muuuaah. Muuaahh.”  It took a little while, but we figured out that she is not attempting to say “Mom”: she’s kissing us.  When someone kisses back at her she becomes excited and thrilled and generally acts as if all is right with her world again.  If she hears any noise that sounds like akiss she begins calling “Muuahh.”  We’re having fun with this.  *looks innocent*

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She can very clearly nod “yes” or “no” to questions.  What’s funny is when she hasnt quite decided on her answer, so she swings her head in a few circles before settling on one or the other.  🙂  Even though she’s not talking at all she understands everything said to her, and her ability to answer questions is quite handy.

She’s running to give hugs when Daddy comes home.  She’s bringing books to anyone she thinks might read to her.  She calls the cat by running around the yard meowing loudly.  She giggles when birds come to the feeder outside her window.

Unfortunately, her talent for disaster has taken some precipitous bounds as well.

It started last Sunday with the Cornstarch Incident.

The next day she discovered how to climb atop the kitchen table, where she not only broke the eggs that were in the basket, but she carefully painted a path across the table with them, and then climbed down and added egg to the cabinet door…. And her hair…. And the floor… and the wall…. all within the space of half a math lesson.

Next she discovered how to remove her diaper.  But she was wearing an adorable little dress which disguised this fact.  There were puddles, and worse, to clean up from that one. The same day of the diaper removal a rooster got into the living room.  I have had chickens for 9 years and never, ever has one WALKED INTO MY HOUSE!!!!!! Any guesses as to what was the first thing that rooster did when he got nervous?  *sigh*

The following day, my lovely little lady discovered how to open the toilet, a source of endless wonder.

And then, she found the dog bowl……..

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Life, lived rapidly, seems to be my Ordinary Moments these days.

On a brighter note, I can finally drink coffee again. I’m not sure if I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s a Really! Big. Deal.  In honor of that, I thought I’d add a picture that has been making me chuckle all week long.  It showed up on my FB feed and now lives in my head.  😀

Funny Coffee

Oh, and it looks like the cat is pregnant as well as the dog.  The children discovered a large orange tom far up a tree the other day. They spent the better part of their free time trying to coax him down, or climb up to him, but neither option succeeded.  The following day he was gone, and now Clever is looking suspiciously rotund.

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3

Capturing Ideas

Last night Rosie and I read Longfellow’s “The Village Blacksmith” together, which led us to discuss My Man and how much the poem reminded us of him.

Toiling,–rejoicing,–sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

I find myself awed at the power of words.  Awed by the ability of of Longfellow to capture the timeless idea of manly strength within a few short lines.I have seen families where the men have failed at this, when each morning and evening only see tasks not attempted, tasks not begun.  I have known men who spent their youthful energy in avoiding the forge of life rather than facing it head on, but they have not been men on whom I was dependent.

I have been blessed to see this ideal lived in individual ways by my grandfather, my father, my husband, my brothers.  I hope to see it lived someday by my son.  I am grateful for the words of Longfellow; the way he captured this ideal has allowed generations to read and consider it.  Thankful for these words that I can share with my children, words that allow their minds to form a picture of worthy manhood in an age when manliness is often despised or perverted.

This morning we sung Faith of Our Fathers, and I was reminded anew of the obligation of each generation to pass along good and right thoughts, that they be not lost.

Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word!

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free;
How sweet would be their children’s fate
If they, like them, could die for thee!

Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach Thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.

With all that is going on in the world: as Christians are persecuted abroad and Christian ideals are rejected more and more by our society, I want these words sunk deep into the minds of my children.

Ideas are captured in words, learned by the mind, but ultimate touch the soul.

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2

Preparing for Winter

It’s time once again for the weekly roundup of homestead happenings.  A cold spell has plagued us for the past week, but we had ample warning that it was coming and were able to prepare.

Zorro has been using his father’s axe to split firewood.  It took him 30 minutes to split his first log, but since then he has only improved.  It’s rather nice to have such a productive outlet for his boundless energy.
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While their brother split firewood, Rosie and Boo gathered straw to stuff the doghouses with.  Katie is pregnant (oops!) and will whelp around the end of November.  It’s been four years since we needed to keep a litter of pups indoors, but I think that’s what the winter will hold for us.

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I finally feel that I have perfected our bread recipe, and the system for making it.  Fresh bread three times a week has been quite a hit around here.  I I think my system just might deserve it’s own blog post.

Bread

Monday night there was quite a commotion when a pick-up rolled at the edge of our ravine.  2 ambulances, 3 Emergency Response trucks and 7 police cars lined our tiny dirt road.  Zorro and I slunk bare-foot through the woods and watched from the darkness, prompting My Man to make some vague remarks about Children of the Corn.  I ignored him, of course.

Big Wreck

This spring a peregrine falcon migrated through and took an inordinate interest in my chickens.  We spent the day outside waving sticks and shouting, and were relieved to find ourselves falcon’ free by the following day.  This event had slipped from my mind, until a looked out our large picture window to see a rooster running for dear life as a falcon dove towards him, pulling up just in time to avoid hitting our greenhouse.  There were two falcons this time, but being autumn our chickens have plenty of sheltering growth to hide under, and it wasn’t many hours before the falcons moved on.  I’ll need to make sure we’re alert to this issue in spring in case they come back through again.

Still, a falcon!  not just one, but two of them!  How cool!  As long as our chickens are safe, I don’t mind taking a day or two so we can observe these splendid birds.

I’ve been finding some interesting photography on my Kindle lately.  What big eyes you have, my dear!

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See my beautiful colored pens? While I was agonizing over my choices thoughtfully deliberating my options,  My Man swiped up both packages and I ended up not having too choose.  Now I can  feel that snuggly “I am so loved” feeling every time I sit down to plan something or write in my (growing) collection of notebooks.

PresentPlanning

Last but not least, it would appear that some events are generational.  Like playing in massive amounts of fine powder, and looking slightly guilty when caught.

Powder Escapades

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1

Of Logs and Childhood

Last week a neighbor dropped off a load of logs to be cut for the winter, and they were piled on the north side of the house to await the chainsaw.  Normally I’d view them as an eyesore, but this week I have seen them through the eyes of children.

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In the last week those ugly logs have been a pirate ship, a castle, an island.  They have seen unprecedented dangers and seen miraculous rescues.  They have seen hubcaps transformed into shields, princesses saved from dragons, hordes of fish captured with stick and string.  They have been the base of spy operations, an island in the middle of shark infested waters, the hideout for dangerous bandits.  Dolls have been tucked to bed in hidden pockets, weapons have been stashed in handy places, and advancing foes have been met with flags waving defiantly.
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Like most joys in life, this one is fleeting.  Today the children helped to stack the wood their father cut and chopped, and there were a few tears as “favorite” logs were rolled away and beloved boundaries disappeared.  The pile they play on tomorrow will be significantly smaller than the one they played upon this week.

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I have no doubt their imaginations are up to the challenge.

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3

Buttercup, Poppy, Forget-Me-Not

If there is one thing I have learned about poetry since beginning AO, it is that poems have a power to touch the soul in a way nothing else does. Poetry is like having music, art and great literature all wrapped together.

Zorro and I have been immensely enjoying the poems of Eugene Field.  Each night we read three, leaving off one at the beginning and tacking a new one on at the end so every poem gets read three times.  We have laughed over so many of these rollicking adventures in word play that I was utterly unprepared for Buttercup, Poppy,

For three nights I have read it, and for three nights I have struggled to control the rush of grief my children do not share and wait until I can remember in private.  Remember his first days in the world, when he was so brave and bold and alert despite his impossibly small size.  Remember the later weeks, when they increased his opiates to cover his pain, when his eyes were rarely opened and he no longer reacted.  Remember my rising panic in his last days, when everyone had a story to tell about a child who lived and no one spoke of children who died, and my greatest fear was not that he would die, but that I would never be free to speak of him once he did.

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I wonder how, a hundred years ago, a man named Eugene who was full of laughter and merriment managed to capture so poignantly the process of losing a child, the peace that comes from remembering the pain.  Did he, too, lose a child?  Did he have to hold a small body, see a tiny person wracked with pains that could only be relieved by drugs?  Did he have to watch that spiral towards death, the spiral that seems to last forever and later seems to have been but a moment?  Who was the child that inspired this poem?  It seems to me that this poem could only have been written by someone who had lost a child.  However it came to be, I know that next spring I will plant some new flowers around the small grave on the hill overlooking our pond.  Buttercups, Poppies and Forget-Me-Nots.

Buttercup, Poppy, Forget-Me-Not

Buttercup, Poppy, Forget-me-not—
These three bloomed in a garden spot;
And once, all merry with song and play,
A little one heard three voices say:
“Shine and shadow, summer and spring,
O thou child with the tangled hair
And laughing eyes! we three shall bring
Each an offering passing fair.”
The little one did not understand,
But they bent and kissed the dimpled hand.

Buttercup gambolled all day long,
Sharing the little one’s mirth and song;
Then, stealing along on misty gleams,
Poppy came bearing the sweetest dreams.
Playing and dreaming—and that was all
Till once a sleeper would not awake:
Kissing the little face under the pall,
We thought of the words the third flower spake;
And we found betimes in a hallowed spot
The solace and peace of Forget-me-not.

Buttercup shareth the joy of day,
Glinting with gold the hours of play;
Bringeth the Poppy sweet repose,
When the hands would fold and the eyes would close;
And after it all—the play and the sleep
Of a little life—what cometh then?
To the hearts that ache and the eyes that weep
A new flower bringeth God’s peace again.
Each one serveth its tender lot—
Buttercup, Poppy, Forget-me-not.

4

Of Book Sales, Practical Jokes and Real-Life Romance

I’ve attended the Norman Library Book Sale for the last 5 years, and I’m fairly certain it counts as a family tradition at this point.  I set money aside for it all year long.  I practice for an entire week to ensure that we all wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, feed the animals, gather everything we need and load up in the van in time to make the 2 hour drive to the city and arrive at opening time. I agonize over life-changing meaningless decisions such as which room to visit first. I study my lists of favored authors, making sure their names are seared into my my mind and accessible under pressure. Over the years I have honed my technique into a model of efficiency and speed, able to flip through the books with rapidity and move forward feeling confident that I have missed nothing worth adding to my collection.

This year the book sale held an extra special surprise.  I was able to meetup with a fellow bibliophile who lives out of state!  Our harried husbands gallant escorts supervised the little ones in the library’s magnificent toy area while my friend and I smiled happily at each other and occasionally crossed paths as we dropped off sacks full of purchased books for our husbands to guard. Sometimes the pauses were longer because a baby needed nursed or a toddling youngster had caught a glimpse of Mother slinking waltzing by and would suddenly realize their desperate need for a hug. Our husbands would smile indulgently, listen dutifully to our excited descriptions of the treasures within our bags and send us off again.

If you have never had the joy of attending a library sale with a friend who is equally enthralled with books, I would highly recommend it.  It is a bonding experience of the strongest kind.  You rarely speak except to offer a book you just KNOW your friend will love, or to eagerly accept a book your friend has just recommended.  You spend your time at different tables so you never, ever end up reaching for the same book, and the entire expedition leaves you with a feeling of deep kinship for all mankind and your friend in particular.

After we were sufficiently shopped out we decided to eat lunch together at My Man’s favorite restaurant.  Our nifty GPS informed us that there was one very close to the library, and we set off to find it as my friend and her family followed us through the city.  But apparently there is this sport called football, and some people prefer watching football games to going to book sales! :-0  Alas, there were roads closed and streets lined with cars, and our confused searching revealed that Hideaway Pizza was within the area that had been cordoned off for the football game.

Undaunted, we headed north and located another Hideaway Pizza.  I experienced a brief moment of shock when I realized how badly outnumbered the adults are when two large families get together.  🙂  Without the distraction of books, we were able to carry on with some actual conversation and admire our children as they played together.  As I watched our two oldest children exchanging stories, discussing books and talking about fighting moves I found it hard to remember that there was once a time when those two children had liked nothing better than to yank each other out of chairs and steal toys.  I realized that our children were growing up, and it felt good.  Somehow they had learned to be kind and unselfish and considerate, and I had hope that they will continue learning and practicing those things.

Goodbyes are said, hugs exchanged, children are safely sorted into the proper vehicles.  I dig into the treasure bags and hand each child a book to read on the long drive back.  But we’re not going home yet.  Still to come is The Annual Cookout, at which our entire church family and many others are present.

As expected, the food is good and the fellowship great.  The remainder of the afternoon passes in a blur of tending to children, visiting with friends and avoiding the ongoing volleyball game, a skill at which I am particularly talented. I am able to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes: watching My Man as he talks with his friends and does all sorts of capable, manly things that make my heart beat just a little faster.

As dusk falls it is finally time for the pinata. The children line up, youngest to oldest, and the fun begins.  The pinata is suspended from a pulley, and the end of the rope is held by a man who tries to make sure as many children as possible get a turn.  The encouraging crowd of grown-ups tries to shout directions to the children, but it doesn’t help.  The pinata has moved by the time they swing the bat.  Even so, not all of the children get a turn before the pinata is smashed.

Now it’s time for the grand finale, the hay ride. As I check and make certain that the children are all settled in, My Man takes the baby from me.  He’s going to stay behind and ensure that she falls asleep.  As the tractor pulls slowly away I see him step into the circle of firelight, his strong arms tucking Pumpkin inside his jacket while she nestles her head up under his chin.  I close my eyes briefly and capture the moment, my heart overflowing with the love I feel for him, my children and the whole wide world. But him especially.

The wagon is loud tonight.  It smells like something died and crawled under the hay, but the ladies around me insist it’s the tractor exhaust and will wear off. There are children standing up and being sat back down, girls giggling and lots of laughter. Suddenly there is a yelp, a scuffle, lots of chatter, and voices are lifted. Word is passed around.  One of the hay bales is shocking people.  Other people sit there, certain the girls are imagining it.  Everyone wonders how this is happening.  I realize that over half the men are not with us, and suddenly I remember My Man helpfully taking the baby and opting to remain behind.

See, everyone brings a meal to church and we have a potluck together after dinner.  The men are quite fond of the desserts, and on April Fools Day the women of the church (admittedly, under my leadership) planned some extra special desserts for their culinary delight.  There was Dirt Pudding, (complete with potting soil added to the Oreos), Mayonnaise-filled Cream Puffs, Chocolate Dipped Cherry Tomatoes and Cherry Fluff Salad flavored with some Robitussin Cough Syrup.  The men promised retribution, but they were patient.  So patient that they waited until no one was expecting it.

There is deeper investigation.  The hay bales have been hot-wired to a mild electric fence charger.  It’s a charger that looks suspiciously identical to the fence charger that sits outside my chicken house, and I know My Man had a hand in this.    The vile smell is coming from a bucket of rotted egg shells that has been fastened under the trailer.  The fence charger is removed, the egg shells are dumped, and the rest of the hay ride goes by quite pleasantly.

Every one is laughing when the ride unloads.  My Man is grinning from ear to ear, and I can’t help but feel proud of him.  It WAS brilliant. None of us expected it and no one was injured in any way, which is pretty much the ultimate practical joke.  I find Pumpkin asleep in the van, her father’s coat still wrapped around her like a giant cocoon. We drive home through the dark, talking quietly and laughing together as he explains exactly how they pulled it off.  As I suspected, he was the mastermind behind the plan. We hold hands for a moment, discuss what will happen when we get home, and talk over the day. I feel so secure here beside him, as if anything at all could happen and I’ll still be okay as long as I get to sit here, safe beside him as the headlights cut through the night and show the way. We make a good team, My Man and I.

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Bits and Pieces 1

Ordinary moments I gathered this week.  Thank you, Gina, for the inspiration to do this in a more purposeful manner.

As I move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, Baby Pumpkin toddles towards me, tightly clutching her baby doll.  I bend down to lift her over the pile of dirty laundry in her path.  She grins and holds her doll out towards me.  I kiss it.  Intrigued, she turns the doll around, kisses the doll herself and holds the doll out for another kiss.  Only as I am dutifully bestowing the next kiss do I realize there is an excessive amount of snot on Pumpkin’s lovely face.  Snot that is now on the doll’s head. Right where I’m bestowing a kiss.

It’s a hot day, well into the nineties.  I have been exceedingly brave and applied henna to my hair, but the mix was too runny and now there are thin streams of henna running out from under the trash bag I have tied onto my head.  They leave vivid streaks of orange wherever they run, and I find myself unwilling to meander about doing normal activities while henna dye runs over my neck.  No thank you.  So I grab a pile of books and lay on my back in the yard.  The children swing on the swing set behind me, and Baby Pumpkin routinely come over to bounce her diaper against my face.  I begin reading aloud.  Before long Zorro has crept closer, sitting on the rocks of the herb spiral as he listens.  Baby Pumpkin stops bouncing on my head and sits in the grass beside me, plucking at the seed pods she has stripped from the basil plants.  Rosie and Boo play Princess in the background, and for an entire hour there is peace while I read aloud.  The narrations are brilliant, the attentiveness gratifying, and my hair is now orange. But in the typical way of henna, it has settled down in the days since and is now a rich auburn, just as I hoped.

Zorro and Rosie have banned me from the front window.  They’re making a surprise, they say, and I must not see it.  At last it is ready, and they come inside prepared to escort em out.  I decline the blindfold, promising to keep my eyes closed if they will direct me around any obstacles.  I am surprised (and slightly confused) to hear two little voices piping “Take a step to the west.  Now go north.  Now go north-east.   No, south a bit…..” Apparently they have paid better attention to our geography studies than I have. *gulp*  The surprise was a miniature garden, consisting of a tiny cedar tree and some yellow wildflowers which had been planted in the sand pit, covered with snow (in the form of stuffing robbed from a dog toy) and decorated with long strips of finger knitting.

Baby Pumpkin has taken to toddling about with all her treasures in her grasp, the only way to ensure they remain available for her personal use.  I had sat down on my bed for a quick break, and just as I began to unwrap an Andes mint she appeared at the door way, her arms full of a doll, a piece of paper and a teddy bear, with a piece of toast grasped in her little fist. But no sooner did she realize what was in my hands than she dropped everything, climbed over the pile it made and held her hands out with a grin, waiting for her chocolate.  That’s my girl…… 😀

 

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4

Writing and Motherhood

When Winter begins it seems so relaxing.  Dark comes early, children sleep soundly, families gather and fires are lit. Each New Year the whole world seems full of promise. Then our joints start to ache and the house fills with wood chips from the constant flow of logs through it. By the end of winter it seems we will never be free of walls, the woodpile is running low and everyone is getting on each other’s nerves.

As Spring bursts in all of her splendor we rush out of doors, turning over soil and searching for hints of green among the brown.  What a joy it is to tend the soil, to patiently plant and weed and water as we anticipate the bountiful harvest to come. Suddenly eggs are abundant, baby goats are taking up our time and nature study is delighting our minds. New life is everywhere, and for a little while we don’t mind the increased workload it brings.

With Summer comes heat, boiling in waves around us and baking the earth until it cracks.  We rush out of doors each morning but return defeated before noon, no longer brave enough to withstand the sweltering sunlight.  We run barefoot, wearing our lightest cotton clothing and our hair piled high atop our heads. We’re far more likely to sprawl in the shade than snuggle: the heat from other bodies is well nigh unbearable. No one falls asleep before 9:00 at night, not even the baby.  We’re exhausted from all the work, feeling discouraged as we slip further and further behind on the to-do list.

Then come first cool nights of Fall, my very favorite time of year.  Suddenly touch-me-not children want tucked into bed again, and wrapping my arms about My Man feels soothing rather than sweltering. As the outdoor workload decreases I find renewed hope that I just might prove to be a capable human being after all. Strangest of all, I suddenly want to write.

It happens every single autumn, without fail.  Words begin to echo in my head and flow through my mind as surely as the night falls earlier and the days turn colder.  Inspiration beckons until I have a mind so full of plot lines, characters and introspective opinions that daily life no longer fits.

The first story I ever wrote was typed out while laying on the floor in my older sister’s room, using her old word processor.  From then on I was hooked.  Every fall I would fill innumerable notebooks with stories and character sketches.  I spent hours explaining plot lines to fascinated listeners, long nights scribbling frantically as words poured through my mind. Many told me I had real talent, and I expected to write many books over the course of my life. But what I unknowingly lacked was discipline.

I have found, much to my chagrin, that the habits I utilized as a writer make me an awful mother.  My ability to completely lose myself in the world of my own mind, to bring my characters to life within my soul; these things do not mix well with caring for a family and running a home.  Shutting the world out for days on end while filling notebook after notebook is no longer merely selfish, now it is cruel and neglectful.  No longer can I cry for a character’s pain, or my children think they have upset me.

For the first year or two as a mother I tried to do both, but that didn’t work well.  I was used to disappearing whenever the muse struck, and now found myself incapable of focusing on meals or people until I had purged the words from my mind.  So I stopped writing.

See, this motherhood thing, it’s more important than any desire to create stories and tell them to others.  It always will be.  Even when I FEEL resentful or angry that I can no longer devote myself to my writing, I BELIEVE that folding laundry and teaching children is more important. So I devoted my time and energy into changing my habits and learning to be a present mother, one who could switch gears when required rather than only when I felt like it.  I went back to school, in a manner of speaking, and began to reeducate myself with greater humility as I learned how to be a more practical person.

But something else happened. As stories remained in my mind, unwritten, new stories failed to appear. This fall I was bitten by the writing bug, but there were no words.  Try as I might, they stayed in my head and refused to leave.  When I sat down to write, I was unable to focus on the page because of all the other things that needed done.  No plot line fascinated me, no characters sprang to life within my imagination. Instead I feel empty and full of longing. I have lost the habit, but not the desire.

Can it be done?  Can one be both a writer of great fiction and a capable parent?  I’m not sure, frankly.  I know my priorities now, and there is much that comes ahead of writing and will for many years.  My God and my duty. Our home and it’s atmosphere. My children and their education.  My husband and our friendship.  Our farm and the animals.  All of this must constantly take priority over the fiction worlds within my mind.

But this time around, I know the power of habit, and I believe that there is hope. Hope that I can learn habits of self-discipline before I lose the the habit of imagination all together.  I know the habit I plan to work on this fall and winter. Writing.  Only a little, but every day.  I love my children, but I will not have them with me always, and when they are grown I know what I want to do.  I want to write. So I will take moments now, and I will write. I will build a habit, so that the next time I offer to write an article for someone I don’t end up crying in front of a computer for 3 days straight because the words refuse to come.