Sunday, December 5, 2010


"Awesome. Awesome, oh awesome!" Lulie gushes and pokes her fingers into my big red hymnal. I coax chords and melodies from my old piano. The children fight over a little spool-stool at my side.

Lulie edges over my elbow, feathers through the fat side of the hymnal, "Dat don't have pictures in it," she twaddles, both eyebrows up, she turns, "so be. careful." She nods and thunks the hymnal back to place, then sways dulcet.

Holy, Holy, Holy gathers around my untuned voice. Lulie's top-not of curls flops in harmony.


368. The sea. The great, big, wide ocean.

369. Wind blown faces and hair damp with ocean mist.

370. The layers and layers of friendship between my family and me. The remarkable strength of love over time.

371. Parents who are married. In-laws who are married. Siblings who are married. Aunts and uncles all married still. Grandparents and the immovable standard: to death do us part. The weight of this history, a footprint as big as the sun.

372. Our 16 hour drive back from the ocean. The adventure and thrift shops and coffee. The fun.

373. Five kids and three adults all splashed into a hot tub and their insistence that they were swimming in the ocean.

374. Claire. Olivia. Sophie.

375. The miracle of Claire turned woman pressing her stride in the world.

376. Our CLEAN house, the one sister-in-law and brother-in-law and kids made sparkle for us, the one we stumbled into at four minutes before midnight, bleary from road trip. How even the wet pants and soggy children seemed sweet after that.

377. My piano. And the piano dolly and three brothers and husband that wrestled my sweet beast into the living room.

378. How the children try to fly off the hearth when I play.

379. How Thanksgiving was like a dream this year wrapped in the ocean.

380. How Lucy favored my uncle and shared all the toys she stole out of cousins suitcases with him. And his generous heart, his quick mind, his gentleness with the children.

381. The way my aunt can embody peace and steadfastness and still laugh uproariously.

382. How Jack practically moved into cousins' family. The buzz of 5 little boys.

383. How identical twins can be so splendidly different. Did I mention Olivia's is taller and wants to work with animals? Sophie wants to be a pastry chef and help the poor. Such vivid dreams.

384. A blusterous game of Balderdash, and how I am completely awful at acronyms.

385. A green and orange hat knit in the round.

386. A husband so content I haven't a Christmas gift idea at all.

387. The 22 dozen cookies husband and I rolled out for half the night. How we had to use a curly piece of firmica in the middle of the living room rug so we wouldn't ruin the dining table with the pizza cutter.

388. Anise seeds.

389. Anise oil.

390. Children who blur all attempts at a family photo with their laughing and jokes.

391. Sister-in-law who tells me to make a cranky day good.

392. Six layer dip and salty tortillas.

393. Salami and cheddar.

394. A second Thanksgiving dinner with MORE family. {sigh} Such riches. Such. Riches.

395. The gathering up in preparation for Christmas. The liturgy of, no, to myself and, yes, to others. How giving ends in contentment.

396. Pockets full of seashells.

holy     experience


Heather said...

What a joy it was to read these, this morning. You always make your reader feel like she's right there with you and your family.

"all married still"... how very, very blessed you are. What a heritage!

Glad you're back and writing again :)

Erin @ Wild Whispers said...

The sea... the sea!! AMEN!

Daniel and Cerissa said...

I love reading your gratitude lists... it's like reading a story all on it's own!

p.s. Jack is always welcome to be a part of our family... he even cleans when I order my boys to!

p.p.s. BABS forever... HAHAHAHAHAHA

Elise said...

What beautiful thanks!!

I, too, know the riches of family well! We are so blessed, aren't we? : )

Thank you for sharing!

Goat said...

Your list made my cry at every turn. It's not just that you brush the dust off everyday externals, gently expose the the heart for all to see. It's that feathered thing you use around the images, the wild thing, that cannot be caught--but gives us all wings.

"Hope is the thing with feathers--
That perches in the soul--
And sings the tune without the words--
And never stops at all..."
--Emily Dickinson

Heather said...

Hello Bethany,

Thank you for the kind words of life on my Mum's blog about me in the comment. I actually am making choices and feeling the nudge to be wise right now! It is a good thing I think because with it comes prudence, knowledge, and others.

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading your list ...and enjoyed how you enjoy your children. : )

Goat said...

PS James told me he especially enjoyed talking to Lucy :)

emily wierenga said...

Holy, Holy, Holy gathers around my untuned voice. Lulie's top-not of curls flops in harmony.

that photo. the first one especially. and the sea. oh bethany, what a world you paint. now i miss the sea. (and you're right--it is in the details!)

-t- said...

oh the counting of your riches is indeed enriching! thank you for the sharing & i celebrate His goodness with you :)

my name is kimberley said...

beautiful. so, very beautiful. yes, you have a rich heritage indeed. so glad i found you through "multitudes on mondays"...

Melissa Campbell said...

I love how you celebrate marriage and family with the very heart-beat of God. Beautiful.

Rachelle said...

Another great post...thanks for your constant reminders to soak in the small stuff and enjoy all the details.

PS - 22 dozen cookies??!! I'm totally not surprised! :)