an appointed time.

“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about King Solomon’s words in those verses. There is a time for everything pre-ordained and chosen for us and it will come when it is meant to come. We can fight against what Christ has appointed for our life or we can embrace it, not wishing or questioning His will.

I don’t think we are wrong to wonder about other seasons or other paths but how much will we regret our days if we look back and remember the time squandered by desires not meant to come to fruition? How often I think about the times I convinced myself I wanted something different than what was actually occurring. It’s only when I reached the other side of the situation that I realize had things gone my way, everything would be lost.

I can honestly say I am grateful for all the differing seasons which have come my way. Some have been easier than others, but each have softened me in needed ways. My current season is no different.

I am in a time of building up, as I see it.

Each and every day I spend with our three daughters, often going to bed and forgetting so much of what I did, but I know it’s there. I’m a bit of a mason, the way I figure. Each day bricks are being laid – bricks of truth and beauty inside the mind and hearts of Kensington, Frankie, and Polly. My hope is that within and in-between the art projects and read-alouds, bread-baking and math tests, hikes in the wood and history timeline graphing, book discussions and cursive practice, that all of this brick-laying and building up will yield indestructible fortresses surrounding their souls.

Of course, I am fully aware that simply homeschooling or a specific brand of parenting will not save our children from ill-advised choices or general heartache. There are no sure-fire solutions to the pain of humanity or the consequence of sin.

But it is the greatest desire of my heart that this building up, day by day, will create in them something that will not easily tumble. I wish so very ardently that these small moments, which seem so ordinary, will mold together and flourish into a strength built on something solid – on Christ’s truth and gospel. It’s easy to desire but it can be awfully hard in practice. It’s a moment-by-moment testing of a person’s focus and resolve. A resolve to not dream of another appointed time – to rest in the season you have been placed in.

Yes, I believe I am in a season of building up and it is rich and beautiful and filled with the most colorful promises. It’s such a precious time with these girls. A time that will not always be. There will be new seasons and frontiers that I’ll meet – all brought about by the Lord and held in His hands. But for now, this is the time for building up and I will be here doing just that. Quiet, normal, moments.

Brick by brick.

appendix no.7 (book edition)

There were a lot of books in 2020. I mean, this is usually the case in any year, but it intensified in the year of Covid. Books were an escape, a distraction, a tactic for survival, a joy, and a necessity.

I wanted to share several books we read that really stuck out to us and were roundly enjoyed. The list could be much longer, but these ones were most special and are highly recommended to you.

  • Kohila by Amy Carmichael: Carmichael is inspiring to all and the story of her impact amongst the people of India is riveting. She stood firmly against unthinkable evil, and soldiered on. When reading about the life of Amy, it’s impossible to not reflect on what more we can be doing with our own lives.
  • Live Not By Lies by Rod Dreher: This is the one book I have been recommending to everyone this year. Much like his last book, “The Benedict Option”, it comes prior to what is predicted and so his words can often be written off as dramatic. It doesn’t change that fact that he is almost always correct in his predictions. It’s a clarion call for those people searching for truth and freedom. Read it.
  • The Book of Common Prayer: I’ve long had this book in our home library. It wasn’t until this year that read deeply from its words and took advantage of the morning and evening prayer readings. An invaluable book to use along side the holy scriptures.
  • Now We Are Six by A.A Milne: We all needed a bit of levity in 2020. Milne’s poetry is brilliant and I won’t let anyone tell me otherwise. My favorite poem of all? “Sneezles.” In fact, the girls are memorizing it for a recitation they are giving with friends in a few weeks. They have hand motions and everything.
  • I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton De Trevino: A beautifully written story from the viewpoint of the famous artist Diego Velasquez’s slave, Juan Pareja. While he is indeed a historical figure, some embellishments and additions were found. The story was one of love, redemption, freedom, and loss. Sidenote: I’ll write about it soon, but this book (and the people found therein) may have something to do with my family ancestry. This was one of our read-alouds this year and was, by far, my girls favorite.
  • When Harry Became Sally by Ryan T. Anderson: If you’ve listened to any amount of news in the last month, you’ve heard about Ryan’s book being literally cancelled by Amazon and the mainstream media. Not surprisingly, these giants have been radio silent about a topic that is infiltrating our culture in this moment. The “transgender craze”, as written about by Ryan and others such as Debarah Soh and Abigail Shrier, is fast growing and concerning. It needs attention, thoughtfulness, compassion, and experts to weigh in. Which is what Ryan had in his book. And still, the progressive powers that be made it almost impossible to purchase. Does this make sense? Of course it does. You can still buy this on B&N and his publishers site for now. Ryan is a personal friend, a thoughtful gentleman, and a compassionate soul. His book is one that reaches across divides to talk about a real-time problem and it shouldn’t have received the treatment it did.
  • Another Gospel by Alisa Childers: Progressive Christianity is shiny and alluring because it accepts everything and truth is personal, not universal. No wonder it has grabbed whole parts of the church in America. But is it backed up by scripture? Sadly, so many doctrines being peddled in your local church are false and we need to have our eyes opened to them and on alert. This books is a great resource of those coming out of a progressive atmosphere, or those wanting to understand what it’s all about.
  • The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer: Tozer is a giant and for good reason. He puts into words what we feel in our hearts but can’t express. This book allows you to think fully about the immense nature of our Lord and how matchless He is. Please read.
  • Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan: One of the best selling book of all time, and rightfully so. It’s a masterpiece. Please read it. Read it when you are at your lowest, especially. You will emerge with new eyes and a renewed heart.

I could go on and on. I have about 10 more titles at the ready, but I must stop. It’s about 9:30pm and that means bedtime for this old dame. I do hope one of these books jumps out to you and you enjoy it. If so, please come back and share with me. Books are magic, and these ones gave me so much hope in a very interesting year.

Have a peaceful weekend!

Rachel

darkness.

Last evening at church we continued our study on the book of Exodus. While making our way through the end of the plagues, my mind struggled to move past the ninth plague, darkness. These verses, in particular, gave me great pause:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Isreal had light where they lived.”

Many themes and symbols can be drawn out of the story of the Israelite exodus from the land of Egypt. Thousands of books have been written and thousands of theologians have weighed in on everything from “how much time passed between each plague?” to “which plague corresponded with which Egyptian god?” and the list continues. My intention here is not to crack any codes or make new revelations – that isn’t my area of expertise.

I think I just wanted to write about a world without God. A world of darkness.

At the onset of any theological discussion, one must be transparent about the facts of one’s belief system. I’ve been meaning to write about the concept of “truth” and how it has been completely hijacked in our post-Christian world, but that is for another time. It must be stated, however, that “my” truth will always be the truth found in the divine scripture of the Bible – not any ad-hoc opinions or assertions made out of a desire to circumvent the reality of what Christ said and demands. “My” truth and the “truth” of everyone else should be weighed against His truth and then a conclusion can be made about what *actual* reality is. His word reveals what we must see as sin, truth, love, goodness, and evil. That’s the framework I use. It’s a difficult and often inconvenient truth. I have had to change things about myself. I’ve had to accept things about my sin. I’ve had to give up things. But, truth is truth. There is no “my truth” and “your truth”. There is only one.

Now that you know the scale I weigh things on, I think you’ll see why the ninth plague stuck with me – long into the evening. I woke up around 2 am unable to think of anything else. This was bolstered by the fact that I foolishly watched a documentary I knew was discussing a sensitive topic and much of it was graphic. I’ll never unsee that darkness and it only gave more credence to what I was feeling.

By the time the ninth plague had rolled around, Pharaoh had waffled so much, that I as a reader began to roll my eyes and recall the exhaustion of negotiating with a toddler (by the way, never do that.) Pharaoh would feel the wrath of a plague, beg for relief, seemingly soften toward the requests of Moses and Aaron, acknowledge the power of the Almighty……only to make a swift about-face and invalidate anything he had once said and harden his heart. This happened again and again. Pharaoh’s pride was unparalleled.

Without warning (different than other plagues) darkness blanketed all of Egypt. This wasn’t common darkness brought on by a sandstorm, no. It was impenetrable darkness like they had never experienced. The people stayed in their places for three days – they did not emerge from their beds, find matches lying around the house, or manage to work around this situation. It was as if they were all completely blind – surrounded in a world of pitch-black.

As I was listening to the lesson, I tried to place myself in the position of a mother during the ninth plague. What must she be feeling? Was she cognizant of the meanings of these plagues and where exactly they were coming from? What was the chatter in the cities of Egypt at this time and within the households? Were there some mothers that knew, deep down, that the all-powerful God was indeed real and they were filled with fear because they understood their created deities would not save them? How did they control and calm their children in this incredibly bizarre and frightening moment? I wonder how the fear must have been bubbling within them until the lights came back on.

And as the lesson continued, my mind turned to the why behind the darkness and the link I see to the now.

Our God is a God of all creation – from the onset to the end. He was always and was not created. He was the first and will be the last. All that has been seen, is seen, and will be seen, is His and from Him. There is nothing that can be without Him or exist without his allowing it. It all came from His mighty hand. Creation is His and He owns it. Which made it so fascinating and darn perfect that the God of all creation – who owns the light in the sky – decided to show his might by taking it away. The Egyptians had a god for everything – the river, fertility, funerals, the sun, the soil, falcons, and so on. As silly as it sounds to the modern man, they believed each of these gods was real and played an essential part in their form, function, and success as humans. In this beautifully rich playing out of God’s ultimate domination, He decided to demonstrate something so unnatural – utter darkness – to showcase His supernatural power.

It was a darkness that was felt.

It’s that word – felt – that almost made me sick while I was sitting in my pew. This is simply because I know that feeling. I know how it feels to breathe through my darkness – where there is simply no navigating or moving. Confronting your depravity feels like trying to escape quicksand. It’s heavily glued to you and pulling you further and further into midnight shades of sin.

And so, perhaps in a related but altogether different way, I understand what the Egyptians might have been feeling – those who were awakened to the power of our Almighty Lord. The realization that without the light of His gospel, the truth of His Word, and our obedience to His law, darkness will follow and consume us.

If you are living under a rock (tell me how!) you are watching as Western Civilization steadily and willingly drives itself further and further into a dark abyss. This isn’t hyperbole, it’s the truth – God’s truth. Even the skeptic who feels the religious zealot will always find something to prove the “sky is falling” has to be feeling it. I just know you know what I am talking about. I need not spend time listing the ways that our culture is swimming in baseness, immorality, and wickedness. I see it and so do you. Even my firmly Agnostic acquaintances are dizzy from whiplash caused by observing evil circumstance after evil circumstance. Truth be told, it’s not always the headline news that is the most debauched. While still alarming and heartbreaking, it’s often the insidious darkness that has creepily made its way into homes, schools, government, children’s minds, and churches, that alarms me the most.

It’s wild the darkness we are now accepting as completely normal – using specific terms to talk ourselves into a new, convenient lie. Cleverly arranging words like, “identity, appropriation, oppression, spectrum, toxic, hate, representation, non-binary, hate-speech, racist, patriarchy, nuance, sexism, systemic, love, church, gospel” people can construct any existence they see fit.

Further, it is deemed acceptable, good, and to be supported by you.

But the darkness is ever-growing and while we haven’t been completely overtaken, I almost feel like what we are experiencing right now is more dangerous than the black-out in Egypt. People know something is off but they can’t pinpoint it. There’s an unsettling amongst the followers of the Lord because we know this isn’t how He meant for His creation to live. We are swimming in a poisoned pool, trying to keep our head above water. Most sad are those who profess faith in Christ but are slowly being conformed to our raven-colored cultured. They won’t understand the complete darkness until it overtakes them.

In our culture, it is good to be a Christian but one must stay very quiet about it. It is good to be a Christian if it is at no expense of our own and as long as we can maintain normalcy as much as possible. It is good to be a Christian so long as you don’t oppose someone else and their lifestyle, eve if you do so with the loving direction of scripture.

This won’t work, of course. A faith that is constantly silencing itself to affirm darkness will eventually be eaten alive.

The simplest way we can usher away the blindness is to walk in the light, embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, and proclaim it in our comings and our goings. It must be always about us or the alternative will be. It may not happen all at once, but eventually we will woven directly into the fabric of our surroundings, therefore we must assuredly pursue holiness. Through each of us, the gospel must be the bright torch that is extended to our communities, our friends, and our families. We either walk in the light or we will be rendered completely inoperative in the unlit aftermath.

The darkness is here.

Fortunately, so is the Lord and His truth. Walk accordingly.

appendix vo. 6

It’s almost 8pm, which is bedtime for me. When I say “bedtime”, I mean the time of day when I climb into my pajamas and retire – which is code for lay in my bed and read/write. I’ve long been the source of joking amongst my peers for my old-age habits, but I make no apologies. An early bedtime has always served me well and it seems as though my children have followed suit, in a sense. We are sleeping early, and up even earlier – all three of the girls begin their days around 6:30/7am. Early to bed, early to rise…..

I would have written earlier but our internet was on the fritz, as often happens in rural America. Anyhow, here is an abbreviated list of some things that caught my eye this week:

  • I lived ALONE in three different apartments before I was married and am not sure how I would have handled this revelation. A call to the landlord would have been immediate, along with possibly a termination of contract.
  • I would love having the title, “BookMobile Lady.”
  • I can’t tell you how many of these types of things I have lying around our house and stuffed in closets. If you ever come to the farm, ask to see a few. It’s truly amazing the things people are willing to throw away.
  • Von Trapp Family: Movie vs Reality (National Archives)

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Rachel

the fastest year.

Tomorrow marks one year since it all began.

On March 11th 2020, Sean stayed home from work and we watched the news. Much like the rest of the world, we exchanged “what the heck is going on” texts messages with friends, observed plans and commitments quickly be cancelled, and rushed to the store because everyone was convinced that there would be a run on flour. Sean and I sat in the kitchen, slowly sipped coffee, and stared blankly at the computer screen – watching journalists make predictions about how this new virus might kill over 2 million people in the first 6 months. It was wild. We all have our stories of “where we were” when everything changed. I will never forget the walk we went on (with the girls) that day, and all the questions they asked.

I can’t believe it’s already been a year.

It’s been the fastest year of my entire life. There have been days and weeks that felt like they were moving at the rate of molasses dripping down a tree, but even still, nothing has ever moved this fast. It almost feels like the last year disappeared over night. Our girls are taller, my jeans are tighter (thanks to all-day yoga pants and weekly cheese-plates,) and four seasons have passed. It’s surreal. It’s flown by faster than I would have predicted, had I know the level of change that was going to happen. It’s like a whirlwind that I just slowed down from – what just happened?

When I look closely at the past year, there have been so many really, really good things that have happened for our family. There have also been some hard things that we’ve watched happen. It hasn’t been a perfect year and at times there have been downright heartbreaking situations that have occurred, but I have decided not to write about those at this time. Instead I desire to reflect on the beautiful ways in which we felt the warmth of the sun and the grace of the Lord in our lives. Heartache was present, but goodness shined so clearly.

  • This year our family joined a new church. After watching church online for almost seven months, Sean and I agreed that, although we desire to do all we can to keep our fellow man safe and healthy, this routine was not tenable for our family. It was at this time that our dear friends told us about an Anglican church they attend. Although the Anglican tradition is completely different than any church we have ever attended (and resembled the Catholic church a little more than we felt comfortable with) we still decided to visit and give it a try, after reading about their doctrines of faith and values. What we ended up finding has been a treasure I can confidently say neither Sean nor myself would be able to fully articulate. A small parish, surrounded by woods and a lake, next to a cottage where we have have coffee after services – this is what we found. It is full of tradition, reverence, and history that we didn’t know we were missing. It’s been a most incredible gift to worship in a way which is so removed from what we have grown accustomed to. No flashing lights or contemporary music. No guest speakers or sermon series’. No offering baskets or videos. No youth groups or segregated classes based on age. Instead we found kneeling benches, an organ, the gospel and epistle candle, stained glass, the hymnal, the Bible, and the book that is quickly becoming one of my favorite books of all time. Anglicanism is something I’d read about in the history books but had no idea was alive and well America. While the Reformed Episcopalians are a small group, we are mighty. Our family is currently moving through confirmation and just thrilled that the Lord brought us to this place at this time. I can’t say how grateful I am that He did this work.

If you would like to learn about the denomination that we found,
you can find information here and here.

  • Our homeschool changed in several ways as well. The weekly co-op that we normally met with had to suddenly stop in March like every learning group across the country. We soldiered on – this wasn’t a great struggle for us….in the almost 8 years we’ve been doing this, the majority of our time has been spent without a committed group. I’ve always preferred it that way – we like our flexibility and the ability to work at our own pace and on our own timing. But, we loved that group – it was a hard blow to my girls who enjoyed weekly meet-ups with their friends, for the older kids who had been organizing a Shakespeare production, and for myself and the other teachers who had 8 classes pre-prepped that wouldn’t be used (I was the U.S. History teacher.) It had to happen and we adapted, but it was still disappointing. When looking at the Fall of 2020, things for the co-op were again changing. Many of the kids who were Kensington’s age were going to be attending a local private school while we had decided that we would be continuing to homeschool. A choice had to be made due to that change and also because of the continuing virus and larger gatherings. In the end, we felt led to start a smaller, weekly co-op with just one family. That choice turned out to provide us with not only a beautiful place of learning for all involved, but also a special friendship that might not have otherwise flourished so quickly and intensely. God was in the details.
  • Our family has changed. I wasn’t sure we could get closer, but we have. When you homeschool, you are always together. For better or for worse, you experience all of life as a unit, rather than as individuals. You become intimately involved with the other people under your roof and as much as this can be a challenge at times, it is truly beautiful. With the addition of Sean working from home for the past year, we have truly been navigating the waters together. The difficult moments were waded through arm in arm, and the moments of joy were experienced in tandem. It was bonding and life-changing, in small ways that weren’t visible at the time, but are obvious on this side. There will be one day when all this togetherness comes to an end, but no matter how far apart we may end up, we are irrevocably woven together because of the years, months, days that we have sojourned together.
  • We have read, watched, and listened to more books and movies than we can count. At the onset of 2020 we had finished the book series, “Little House on the Prairie” and decided to watch the made-for-tv production. We started watching one episode a night, popcorn in hand. When March hit, this became a special ritual that happened, no matter what was going on outside the walls of our home. We all looked forward to it, had our favorite episodes, and laughed/cried. It was odd how much we all depended on that one hour. We talked about it over breakfast, bought the cookbook and tried historical recipes. We even printed out paper replicas of the homes and built those one weekend. In the Fall of 2020 we finished the entire series – all nine seasons and the specials. I remember the last episode and how the screen went to black. I was sad. Not because the show was over (the last two seasons and the specials weren’t the best television ever made) but because that season of newness and expectancy was over. The show was a bright spot in an unsure time and our family will have memories for years to come. We also read some incredible read-alouds, and listened to some wonderful audiobooks that kept us entertained for hours. Books became a safe haven for our family even more than in years past – we turned to literature in the moments where it was unclear what was happening in the world.
  • Our VICTORY GARDEN and its yield was a bright spot in 2020. It was a weird coincidence that I was personally reading about WW2 when the pandemic began. All of a sudden I started hearing news reports about how vegetable seeds were sold out and how our favorite hatchery had no baby chicks to ship. Everyone was discovering the magic of growing their own food! It was a moment that has since passed but was magical while it lasted – the concept of getting outside, providing for your family, and learning to sustainably live. Our small little plot provided much food for our family and was an escape during the early months of this upside down year. It’s bizarre to think that the time has come again to get our seedlings planted under the grow-lights!
  • We became closer to our neighbors and community. By simply reaching out and offering baked goods, we forged closer relationships with multiple neighbors and made new friends that live within a mile or two of us. We’ve gathered for dinners, hayrides, and outside bonfires. It’s been wonderful.

When I look back on this past year, or read my journal entries, there are certainly many things to lament. Pain that I had witnessed loved ones endure and personal revelations I had chosen to not fully acknowledge (but needed to.) However, when the dust settles, I know that I will be extremely grateful for the way the Lord showed His kindness on our family through the simplest blessings. Through people, His earth, His gospel truth, His promises. Even in the dark, He is there. If only we should look for Him.

appendix vo. 5

This week went by so quickly. Honestly, they all do. I can’t remember the last time I said, “Is it Friday yet?!” because it just doesn’t happen. I find that the older my girls get, the faster the days, weeks, months escape me.

Here are a few things that caught my eye this week.

***

  • 300 year old UNOPENED letters found in the Netherlands? Sign me up. Bonus: they used technology to open them without actually opening them.

  • My good friend Brad wrote this piece in response to the current proliferation/misunderstanding of the term “Christian nationalism”. It’s worth reading and thinking about.

  • I’m a bit of an anglophile. Winston Churchill is one of my favorite historical figures to study, and I have a fascination with almost all things British (except Harry and Meghan. They exhaust me.) Where did “Keep Calm and Carry On” come from? This video explains. And while we are on the topic…..the next time I’m in the UK, I will for sure be visiting Barter Books. Their website is horrible, which I adore, because it signals they have no time to dedicate to web marketing. They are actually running their bookstore and thinking about books all the time! These are my people.

  • Is there a term for a person who has a coffee table but the entire thing is used as a vertical book shelf? Because that’s happening over here. Books as coffee tables, doorstops, arm rests, decoration, foot rests. Books everywhere. And we love it.

Evidence:

***

It’s a short list, but it’s good. I hope you all have a great weekend.

Rachel

a small request

I collect two things. Books and old ephemera. It’s been going on for many years and there’s no indication that my collections will slow in their growth. It’s alright though….the books are being read and the ephemera is usually found underneath tables at estate sales – costing pennies, if anything.

I used to think these collections were separate in nature, but they never were. Both reflect my attraction (and now the attraction of my girls) to something forgotten but once loved. Most of the books we collect had robust previous lives, and all of the letters, postcards, and photos that line my closets used to be the treasures of complete strangers.

But, I’m not here to rationalize my accumulation of someone’s wedding photos or the stack of letters on 1930s hotel letterhead. If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, you already think I’m a complete weirdo.

No, I’m here to make a slightly odd, but totally appropriate request of you. I’m here to humbly ask you to reconsider giving away, donating, selling, or discarding that book you were given. I’m not talking about a random paperback copy of “Twilight” that you picked up at the local library sale.

I mean the graduation present from your Aunt Susan. She bought you a copy of, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go! and she wrote a special message on the front page with the date and signed her name. I mean the copy of a book that was very special to your grandparent in the 40s and they ordered it weeks in advance for your birthday. You think it is a bit antiquated, but they inked a poem inside the cover were so excited to give it to you.

I understand that we can’t keep everything, I really do. But I also understand that a person who is going to hand-pick a book, just for you, and then take time to write a message, date it, and sign their name is the kind of person that thoughtfully planned the gift – it meant something to them and they hoped it would mean something to you. That alone is worth giving the book a chance and cherishing it.

We are living in a time when writing anything aside from a text or email is rare. Keep those books that were designated especially for you. They are precious.

In the meantime, the girls and I will be over here, coaming the shelves of junk sales and used books stores. Peering inside every cover, hoping to rescue a forgotten or abandoned group of words. Written lovingly and with great care. We will take them home and give them the attention they really do deserve.

13

My eldest, Kensington, turned 13 today.

I have moments of sadness about this and other moments that skate by unbothered because Kensington is the type of kid that came out of the womb feeling much older than she actually was. There are plenty of times in the last few months when I’ve said to Sean, “I can’t believe she’s going to be a teenager,” to which he replied, “I can. I feel like she’s been 20 for 10 years now.”

She’s always been a bit more mature than she ought to be. Not in a bad way, but in a, “were you ever a child?” way. We tease that she’s an old soul and a bit like your favorite granny – she fancies an evening on the couch by the fire….reading or watching a British baking show. Likely with a plate of something delicious and a cat not too far away.

She’s the best type of old soul. She’s innocent and true and she laughs loudly and doesn’t care what anyone says about her ratty socks or oversized sweatshirt. Not in an aloof way, but in the way that we all hope to be. In a self-assured way. In a way where you’re certain she is settled into who she is and who she might become.

She turned 13 today and I feel melancholy. Not because I feel old – I don’t – but because I feel young and I yet I know I’m getting older and if the past 20 years are any indicator, time is going to continue flying by. I don’t want it to. I’m so happy for where I am. With who I am with. Doing what I am doing. I don’t want the years to fly by and for it to be over suddenly.

But, of course, I can’t do anything about that and I know that all the words in the world won’t change the fact that time is coming for me.

As quickly as she turned 13 (and it was a blink of an eye) she will turn 30. She will turn 50. I will continue to get older and the wrinkles will continue to appear. Sean will continue growing grey. We will both continue to moan about aching bones.

I met Sean when I was one year older than Kensington is now. It’s almost been 26 years since I met him and while that’s a common story for so many who have gone before us, it’s still a marvel to me. It’s such a good story and such a good life and she’s such a good kid.

She’s 13. It’s been a beautiful gift being her parents for this really quick roller coaster ride. If I could slow down the clock for the next few years I would, but I can’t.

So I’ll just hang on and enjoy the ride while it lasts.

appendix vo. 4

This week, for the first time in what felt like forever, we could see the roads and the sun came out. Of course, that’s hyperbole. It’s only been about a month or so that we’ve had consistently gloomy, rainy, snowy weather. I actually love the gloom and generally I’m happiest when it’s raining. However, in the last year the sunshine and breeze have been an antiseptic for all that ails. On Wednesday of this week, it hit 63 degrees, the snow was finally melted, and we went for a walk. We had gone on snowy treks, done some sledding, and romped through our woods in the past few months, but this felt revolutionary. I think I stopped a half dozen times and shouted to the girls, “DOESN’T THIS FEEL AMAZING?!” as the breeze lifted the hair off my shoulders. They looked at me and laughed, but I know they got it. It *did* feel amazing.

When you have seasons that truly differ from each others, you are able to re-fall in love with their emergence each year. The snow makes you die for the blooms of spring and the hot summer humidity makes you die for the snow. It’s a recycled yearning each year. Our friend Jake was talking the other day about how he doesn’t want to wish away any season too quickly. He said, “I want to get so sick of winter that I’m even more excited about spring and summer.” I agree. Don’t wish it away – sit in it, enjoy it, be angry at it a little, go back to loving it. It will be over soon and you will wish for some of it back. It will make you love what’s coming even more.

***

I wish I had a long list of interesting things to share this week, but we were knee deep in schoolwork the past few days and I didn’t do as much data collection. I will share one piece of news-worthy information.

Our friend Ryan had his book, “When Harry Became Sally” (written 3 years ago) pulled from Amazon (and their platforms including Audible/Kindle) this week. This book discusses the rise in popularity of the transgender movement in our country. It does so with grace, compassion, integrity, and scholarly data. Of course, that is not enough to ward off the powers of the censorship gods, and Amazon has yet to give any explanation to Ryan or his publishers as to why it is no longer available. You can find a great summary of what’s happening here.

I’ve held off writing about my strongly-held political and cultural beliefs on this blog (primarily because time is limited and it’s hard to write long-form about these topics with two kiddos asking me for help on their math homework) but the cultural moment we are in is fraught and we simply can’t fall asleep at the wheel. I hope to write more on this in the future.

In the meantime, please consider buying a copy of Ryan’s book directly from the publisher or from Barnes and Noble. It’s an important read and for believers, I think the issues of gender and sexual identity are ones that we need to be especially aware of and educated about – both pertaining to what the culture is saying and what the Lord declares.

***

I hope you have a restful weekend. My eldest daughter turns 13 tomorrow and I’m still trying to work out how I feel about having a teenager. It’s beautiful and a bit heartbreaking.

Rachel