A Letter to my Brother || Andrew

Andrew & August: 2013
Dear Andrew,

You may not know it, but you saved me from a dark place. One movie night at a time, you pulled me back to the present. You reminded me that siblings can be friends, that Charleston is lovely and that laughter is universal. I will always be thankful you chose to move to Charleston with the family.

Not too long ago, I was mad at one of our brothers. After acknowledging my frustration you said, "he is family; you have to give him grace." The curse of family is to be known so well; family feuds and secret jokes are frozen in time. Apparently, we can never forget the fists thrown, the forts built or the pool games of Marco Polo. To each other, we will always be stuck in the 80s.

You were right; we have to forgive. And it is high time you forgave me for gifting you your own Micro Machine, for stealing the red chair and for drawing a better Jesus picture in art class. In turn, I will forgive you for feeding M&Ms to August.

I watch you with August as your face reflects delight and your eyes alight. I am certain you are imagining the mischief your sons and mine will create one day. I hope they are as close as siblings.

- your four-doors-down neighbor

PS- Go Canes.


for your consideration || 08

Our lives are full of brokenness; broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter except returning again and again to God's faithful presence in our lives.

- Father Henri Nouwen

[I thought this apropos regarding yesterday's post.]


the islands || the sea 06

In my very first blog post, I wrote, I keep searching for the islands in the sea to bring life to these hours. To harken back to this idea, I will periodically post examples of current islands and sea in my life. The islands are the inspirations, the joys, the overwhelming blessings of light that restores my soul. The sea represents the brokenness of this world that I am currently wrestling with. It is not the negative; it is that which pulls deep and heavy on my heart.

the sea 

My heart is heavy in a "what difference can I possibly make" kind of way. Everyone is writing and thinking about the heavy, intense pain occurring worldwide these several months running. In this month's edition of the islands || the sea, I will be focusing on the beauty. In the words of A.J. Arberry, "Today, the earth is beautiful, but men are disillusioned and afraid." There is hope, my friends. Let us cry "mercy, Lord!" and not forget that there is hope.

considering the weight of fostering and thankful for families who speak truth loudly

continuing my cries of "peace, Lord"

wondering how the Lord can use me to transform this dark, dark world (and thanking Sarah Bessey for returning to blogging to bring us this truth)

anticipating refreshing conversations with our ex-DCF community throughout this month

the islands

living in a world where Legos wash up on beaches 

dreaming of needing things like this again

yearning for cool autumn breezes and winter vegetables

devouring every book in sight (and getting to know my local librarian in the process)

rotating my five favorite outfits: wash, wear, repeat.

surprising my mother-in-law by showing up on her doorstep (today!)


Capture Your Days || Step Two: Choose your Camera

Pick your Camera
Decide which camera you want to use. Any camera will work, of course, but keep your end goal in mind. If you want to share your pictures on your favorite social media platform, use your phone camera so you can quickly edit and upload during the day. If you want high quality images to turn into a photo book or print for a scrapbook, pick up your digital camera (point-and-shoot or DSLR). If you enjoy shooting with your film camera but don't pick it up often enough, this is your chance. These sessions are as much about stretching ourselves as they are about memory keeping. 

You can use different cameras throughout the day, but I find it is best to stick with one designated camera. Each camera produces a different type of photo, and I want my session to have a cohesive feel.

Take Pictures
It is easy to get in a picture-taking rut. Here are a few ideas for different, creative pictures:
- Please get in the pictures with your family. I am so passionate about this- our kids need to see the way we smile, the way our eyes light up in their presence. They need our joy to be captured and reflected upon in the future. Embrace the camera! (For more information and tips, read this.)
- Take pictures of your children (duh)
- Take pictures of things, especially rituals. Do you make coffee every morning? Snap a picture. Do you restack the board books every night before bedtime? Grab your camera. Is your counter lined with drying baby bottles? Document it.
- Play with angles. Stoop low to your child's eye level. Stand on top of a chair to get the bird's eye view. Tilt your camera on an angle so your subject is diagonal.

- Hold up an ordinary, everyday object against your wall (coffee cup, toy, car keys, pruning shears, favorite book)

I am always looking for a new way to view the ordinary. Please share your favorite camera perspectives with us in the comments section.

To view all of the posts in this series, click here.


French Coffee, Served White || Narrative Series 02


Here continues a new series in which I will drop down into the scene of poignant moments in my life. The goal is to stretch my literary and narrative voice. Some years have passed since I have practiced the discipline of narrative memoir; forgive my rusty start.


Closing my eyes, I smell the paper stacked high on the shelves. It smells of Indian dyes and strong coffee. All of France is undertoned with the caffeinated scent, even hand-pressed papers carefully bound into journals, displayed as cards, intended for scrapbooks. I stand surrounded by aisles of paper in any array of color smeared with the odor of coffee.

The shop door opens, blown wide by a forceful wind. The cold bites through my lungs, stealing what breathe I have left. Forgetting the perfumed papers, I follow the swirling air into the alley. Suddenly, the soft snow falls. Intricate white flakes of enchanting falling snow. No, it is not falling. It is bowing low in respect before rising in an elegant pirouette. It performs a ballet and a hiphop simultaneously, not for the bustling Christmas crowds. For me, the muted audience.

You can erase ink in France. The calligraphy tips are fed from changable cartridges of colored ink. Mistakes are not crossed through, they are erased with a special white eraser. Even erasable ink has a certain quality of permanence. In the land of dancing snow and espresso-laced paper, who would keep records in pencil? 


Read my other narrative posts here.


Because These Days are Fleeting || Summer 2014

I hope too remember... 

Slow backing up steps as he moves towards my lap but not big enough to crawl in on his own

Joyful expression as he spots and points at the book Grammie put together for him until we "read" it

Chubby feet navigating their way around toys and other obstacles

Pointer finger outstretched accompanied by "t.t.t." sounds

Head on my shoulder as he drinks his milk

Neck thrown back in deep sweet sleep


Capture Your Days || Step One: Choose your Timing

Pick your Day
The first Capture the Day session I undertook was my first Mother's Day (2013). The second session was Thanksgiving 2013. The third and subsequent sessions have been on random, ordinary days. Whether you choose a special day or an ordinary one is irrelevant. I recommend choosing a day when your activities will be conducive to cameras and small moments for journalling. Perhaps a day at a water park or on the beach or snow skiing is not the best day to lug a camera around with you. I also like to pick a day that doesn't involve a lot of errands since I'd likely forget to take pictures while grocery shopping. Don't let that stop you though! I bet kids loaded in a grocery cart amongst cereal and vegetables would be an amazing memory to capture. 

Decide your Time Increments
You will want to divide your day in different increments. I prefer hourly or morning, afternoon, evening. If you choose hourly, you could note the specific time (ie- 4:09 am) or just the hour range (ie- 4-5 am). Morning, afternoon, evening is a great way to document the overall tone of your day. I think this method works really well if you do an activity (ie- homeschool, soccer games) for several hours in a row. The practicality of the day's events help determine which increments of time you should choose. 

There is not often a rhyme or reason to when I choose to do a Capture the Day session. I take things one hour at a time because the clock is a great reminder for me to check in. Every hour I try to take notes. Each time our activity changes, I snap some pictures. At the end of the day, I have a full camera card and small details journaled and ready to be edited. 

To view all of the posts in this series, click here.