from fall to frost

The rain abated. Outside, the ponds are going down and they’re covered with sheets of ice in the morning. The wind blows in the afternoon and leaves skid across the surface of the water. We walk on crackly leaves that have not been raked on a lawn that has not been mown and our hearts and days are full.

Mattie has been teaching Chamberlain to shoot arrows that he made from fireweed with a bow that he made from willow. He has a posse of his close buddies called The Bandits, and she is the new recruit…the littlest Bandita.

They are practicing, and I can hardly take it. I’m totally undone by cuteness.

He’s been helping Andrey practice with a different bow, too. Duuuuude.


He’s also training Chamberlain to use a pike. For reals. This is hers, and his in on the ground behind them. A sampling of the instruction in progress:

“Point the pike toward your brother.” Yep, that was me. Don’t tell the social worker. We say crazy things when we’ve been caged in for a little too long.

Even on the computer during naptime, someone usually wants a piece of mama.

The other day – it was one of the hard ones last week – I was back in Psalms after putting the kids to bed and my bookmark was between chapters 56 and 57. I read this, and found my sense of humor again:

Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me;
all day long an attacker oppresses me…
They stir up strife, they lurk, they watch my steps
as they have waited for my life…
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in You my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge
till the storms of destruction pass by…
My soul is in the midst of lions,
I lie down amid fiery beasts –
the children of man whose teeth are spears and arrows, 
whose tongues are sharp swords.

 – Psalm 56:1, 6 and 57:1, 4

And I think, Wow…David had a lot of kids, but I had no idea that he spent so much time with them when they were little. And whatever a miktam is, it must be Hebrew for Parent’s Plea for Divine Mercy and Rest From Little Fiery Beasts.

Yesterday, I was the crazy lady driving 70 mph down the mountain (don’t tell the social worker that, either). I was fleeing the house for my first drive alone, away, alight. Escaping on auto-pilot to a best friend’s home, flipping the turn signal while looking the other direction, taking turns without thinking and finding myself at the right place and hardly knowing how I arrived almost thirty minutes later. She lives way the heck out there. But it’s a familiar drive, remembered not because of recent or even frequent use, but because of steady, continual use.


I found another best friend there (a total gift!) and had a few hours of grown up girl therapy with my own posse of close buddies.

Rest. Perspective. Refuge.

I came home happy to my own little contingent of troops. They are continually learning, learning…though it’s not always what we are trying to teach them, they are always learning…something.

For example, Andrey has learned the capital letter A and points it out approximately 157 times a day.

“Ma-moh! Ma-moh! A!” Points to object. Repeat every 2 minutes.

“Ma-moh!” Bursts in the room. “AAAYYYYY!!!”

“Yes, very nice, that’s a package of toilet paper. Can I have a little privacy here?”

I have yet to convince him that there are 25 more equally interesting letters in our alphabet.

We start week 3 of school tomorrow. We are practicing a new routine, a new curriculum and new demands. Many of the roads are unfamiliar and we have to pay close attention to a lot of details. The drive through our day often seems slow because every turn requires us to look both ways and wait for a ton of traffic. And the traffic route changes, too – what worked one week does not necessarily work the next week, and we have to learn a new detour.

For example, though Reagan overcame her fear of a normal Western toilet during our first week at the hotel in Sofia, she is suddenly afraid to go down the stairs by herself again just like she was during our first week home. She will stand at the top of the stairs interminably while we coax and encourage and her feet will paw at the top step like a cat kneading a couch cushion.

So I eventually give up, hold her hand for the first two steps, and then let go. Let her practice. She eventually arrives at the bottom, almost thirty minutes later.

We will see how tomorrow goes. We will work on B and C and walking down the stairs and using the potty and reading about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Tom Sawyer and bows and arrows and practice hiding from little fiery beasts…because if they get too out of control, I know of a couple small frosty ponds that I could maybe toss them into.

Psst…don’t tell the social worker that, either.


from fall to frost — 4 Comments

  1. Full days do equal a full heart! Glad you had some girl time and, especially, God time. Keeping you all in prayer! – and if I get tossed in that icy pond for saying that again… I will catch any flying chillins that are headed my way ;-)