For the love of books // Frankie’s Favorites

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I love sharing the books that are special to each of my daughters. They gravitate to different genres and illustrators, and it’s a constant reminder that children are so unique in their interests. It’s a true joy to discover what books put that twinkle in their eye – I love seeing them light up when they bring me a book to read for the MILLIONTH time. I try to remember that one day they will not need or want me to read to them quite as much…..it’s a gift to be able to do so!

I thought I would share Frankie’s favorite books first, simply because they are always laying around, they are super colorful, and she is extremely consistent in her choices. She loves the same books and focuses on the details of the illustrations and words – she knows (and points out) when I make a mistake while reading, and she has tried to copy the drawings from each one, many times.

Frankie loves vibrant color, one-of-a-kind illustrators, and zippy story lines. If it’s not original, it’s not for her. There are several that didn’t make it into the photo (simply because they were in her bed and she has a huge bunk bed that I didn’t feel like climbing up) but these are her go-to’s. She’s almost 8 years old, but most of these have been on her nightstand for up to 4 years. She’s a creature of habit and knows what she likes. And I like that about her.

Without further adieu, here are “Frankie’s Favorites”:

Sayonara Mrs. Kackleman – it’s quirky and bizarre.

Walter the Baker – She ADORES the illustrations of Eric Carle; so colorful!

The Day the Crayons Came Home – if there is humor and a touch of sass, it’s for Frankie!

Whistle for Willie – Ezra Jack Keats is her favorite author, hands down. We have his entire works and each one is beautiful.

Caps For Sale – it’s a classic for a reason.

Ferdinand – long before the movie released, Frankie loved the part about him sitting on a bee.

What Will The Weather Be Like Today – not sure the specific reason she loves this, but I think it has to do with the intricate drawings and small details.

A Bad Case Of Stripes – the drawings are so colorful and the story is pretty funny too.

The Little Prince – she adores this and has since the first time I read it to her, when she was five.

The Tiny Seed – again, the illustrations of E. Carle are abstract and flowing. She loves this story so much.

Not in picture:

Ox-Cart Man – I believe this is a book she will go back to over and over again, even in adulthood. It’s just that good.

The Jesus StoryBook Bible – her favorite story is about Joseph and his coat of many colors. She has drawn it at least 50 times.

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt – this was her first dabble with graphic books/comics. She thinks it’s hilarious.

The Teacher’s Pet – she thinks it’s HILARIOUS when books say “fart.” (eyeroll from mom) + the illustrations in this book are AMAZING (IMO.)

Annie and the Old One – this one made her cry.

Wait for William – we have a very vintage copy that she adores. The parade is adorable.

The Story of Ping – Frankie is fascinated with ANYthing even remotely associated with the Asian culture.

I hope this gives you some exciting ideas for lovely picture books – they would all make wonderful additions to your home library!

 

it’s ok // be different

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It’s so peaceful in the country 
It’s so simple and quiet
You really ought to try it
You walk about and talk about
The pleasant things in life
It’s so restful in the country
It’s the right kind of diet 
You really ought to try it
You lie and dream
Beside a stream 
Where daisies nod hello
City living is a pretty living 
It’s so full of unexpected thrills 
But there’s too much stone 
Too much telephone 
There’s too much of everything but trees and hills
It’s so peaceful in the country 
It’s so simple and quite 
Someday you’re bound to try it
The only place to be 
Is a place for you and me 
Where it’s peaceful in the country
The skyline of New York is a splendid sight 
I know Chicago’s loop is magical at night
The natives of Cleveland from Frisco and Boston 
And natives of cities a stranger gets lost in 
All of them claim that their city’s the best 
From deep in the south and from out in the west 
Perhaps it’s all true but from my point of view
It’s so peaceful in the country
It’s so simple and quiet 
Someday you’re bound to try it 
The only place to be 
Is a place for you and me 
Where it’s peaceful in the country
-Mildred Bailey

****

I can recall sitting on the front lawn of my parents home and asking myself, “why are these houses all stacked so close together?!” I’m not sure that’s a normal question for a young child to ask, unless of course they were raised on “Little House on the Prairie” television episodes, which I was. At any rate, suburban life never sat perfectly well with me. I wasn’t suited for it, and I felt that from a very young age.

I recall feeling uneasy at large shopping malls (still do), and almost always feel like I’m going to lose my mind on a grid-locked freeway. Popular city destinations, always-crowded beaches & jam-packed local restaurants, museums, watering holes, hiking trails, movie theaters, and main street attractions. For peets sake, even the city drained the allure out of Disneyland for me – and I love Disneyland – but so does everyone else in the entire world- and they’re all there…..every.darn.day.

I started having these feelings when I was young, they wained a bit once I had children – let’s go to all the exciting places! – and then reemerged in the last few years (for both my husband and I.) We felt the push to exit the rat race, for both ourselves and our daughters. That is very much what city life had become for us – a race. Not necessarily a race against anyone else – it was against ourselves. We were always moving, always on the go and always crowded by shoulders rubbing against us.  Hearing about amazing things we should do and have our kids involved in. It was constant. What’s funny is that I know we weren’t half as busy as some and we were still exhausted. I don’t know how others managed. I suppose I wasn’t born with that gene. Sean and I both became miserable with the velocity.

Some people love the city (some of my dearest friends, in fact!) and they flourish in it. I think it’s beautiful that God creates a variety of personalities….but we were not those people, and the city quickly started to lose it’s shiny luster for us. The constant

driving

concrete

look-at-your-phone all the time, rush

noise

horn-honking traffic

colorful and often unsavory billboards

busyness

obscenely tall and nature-blocking buildings

convenience

Starbucks drive-thrus

always inflating cost of living

lack of personal space

concrete

concrete

concrete

It became too much for us and I began to wonder and feel….

Are we weird?”

Because it’s hard to be different and want something different, especially when many you know enjoy the very thing you are trying to escape (and do quite well in it, I might add). You can have all the reasons in the world for why you know it’s good for you to be in a different environment, but people will inevitably look at you a bit sideways, and give the eyebrow raise. In fact, when we finally shared we were moving to the East Coast, the amount of well-meaning, critical comments were plentiful.

“Are you ready for that humidity?!” 

“You’ll think twice once you get snow and have to shovel it!”

“You won’t be able to afford to move back to California, EVER!”

“Why would you want to move there?!”

“You’re buying a…..farm???”

“Do you even have a Target close to you?”

“People in the South are….different.”

Of course, we also received an overwhelming amount of support and affirming words too – but it struck me how different it must seem to some. California natives wanting to leave and try something ridiculously different!??!

And then it made ME a bit concerned as well…WHAT were we doing?

However, only two months in and I can unequivocally say that this home in the country is precisely what we yearned for. It’s not without it’s faults but we have found…..

…green, lush, quiet, freedom from the constant buzz of overcommitment and deluge of information. Creation as far as the eye can see. People move slower, which can be a good, fruitful thing. The grass grows longer and the rain pours down right before the sun blasts its rays all over the rolling hills. Ma & Pa businesses where you can “put it on the tab.” Houses with plenty of room in-between them but close enough that you can walk a pie over (and we’ve already had a delivery!) Not as many cars (and not as many stores either.) Children running as far as they want, without a care in the world. No highways and byways littered with too many cars, unless you need one….and cows, horses and sheep along every gravel road. Grazing and moving peacefully through life – just like we do.

It’s hard to be different. Especially when something seems to work so well for others.

But it’s also acceptable to be different and go against the grain.

When we finally admitted to ourselves that we felt city living was somewhat crushing us, we found freedom. Admitting this gave us the ability to realize a dream and direction and purpose for the feelings we were having – we found friends that felt the same and were able to voice that without being thought bizarre. God gives us desires and grants us feelings of contentment and I think we need to acknowledge those and see what He is teaching us through them. It might not always mean a move, but it might mean the beginning of a huge learning period.

I have wanted out of Southern California for as long as I can remember, but God didn’t see fit for that to happen until I was almost 40, with three kids. He has His timing.

I suppose I share this for that one person who believes there must be something backwards about them because the big city offerings don’t appeal to their sensibilities.

You’re not weird. You’re just different.

And that’s ok.

lost in pages

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To get lost in a book – is there anything better?

Inside their bindings, I find hope and wonder and emotions I didn’t know I had.

In all honesty, books have been some of the most true and faithful friends I have even known. I don’t read for leisure, I read to feel something and to become something. Leisure appears and washes over me, but it is rarely my pursuit.

In years past, books were often a luxury, especially when I had much younger children….spare time was difficult to find, or I should say that a book was difficult to hold.

Now, I have more pockets of time, but books are no longer an extravagance….no, they are a necessity.

I need books to breathe. Books remind me of what things were, what I aspire to be, what I should be. Books give me inspiration, rebuke, and guidance.

Books frame the rest of my living experience – I am able to see things in this world more clearly because I have read.

I listen better. I know more. I search continually.

Books are life-giving to me and so I read and will never stop.

 

about Ray {part 2}

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…..I signed off from writing the previous post and munched on a few kernels of popcorn (I don’t even eat carbs but I’M NERVOUS! WHY am i nervous?!)

I decide to log in and open the email which confirms what I already know….Ray thinks I’m a lunatic.

There’s a new email!

It’s from Ray!

Ray does not, from what I gather, think I’m a lunatic. In fact, he goes on to share about his two grown children – neither of which live close but both have grown children of their own. One is coming to visit soon and will see Paulette in the home for the first time. He shared a picture of his sweet bride “in better days” and commented on how beautiful she is.

And he mentioned that he lives alone and would enjoy an occasional email from a friend.

Nothing earth-shattering, nothing monumental.

But a beginning.

And one I shall pursue – because everyone deserves a friend. Even if it’s a lunatic mom-of-3 who randomly decides to become your penpal.

 

…….off to email Ray……..

 

about Ray.

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It started when my daughter went scouring CraigsList for pre-1980 editions of Nancy Drew books. She received a set from my mom a few years ago, but just began to dive into the wonderful world of vintage mystery. She blows through them so quickly and is only interested in the “old” copies. She has no use for the newly reintroduced, snazzy “re-makes” (as she likes to call them.)

She happened to find a seller who was trying to unload 19 books for $40 dollars. While a very good price, I’m always one to haggle (blame all the estate sale-ing) and offered $30.00 (I’ll later feel bad for that…) The seller accepted and we agreed to meet this morning, at 10am “sharp.” He asked me to bring exact payment and we made an hour long drive to retrieve these treasures for my bookworm.

As most people, I was slightly unnerved with visiting a seller at a new location, without having ever met him. I rarely feel fear, but CraigsList does something to me. I’m always very cautious and have passed up some really good deals, simply because the location was shady. And I’ve been to some seriously shady neighborhoods for a good find.

Back to the story.

My nerves were settled when we turned into the neighborhood from which we would make our much-anticipated pick up. It happened to be a rare suburb in Virginia, which warrants an entirely separate blog post, but I haven’t the time for that right now. It’s almost the girls bedtime and my private writing moments are waining.

When we pulled up to the home my navigation had instructed me to, I saw a large American flag waving and a tightly manicured lawn, but not that of a gardener. No, one that was straight out of Revolutionary Road – strategically selected and coiffed regularly. It was heavily bricked and stately. Perhaps I’m remembering it incorrectly, but that is how my mind has played it back all day.

A man slowly emerged from the garage and waved. He had a friendly smile and his shirt was tucked in, secured with a belt. A fashion regularity I wish more gentleman my age would return to. It’s a sign of a bygone generation, much like men who mow their lawns in slacks and collared button-ups.

The three girls and I got out of the minivan and met him halfway. He introduced himself as “Ray” and he had our books waiting. He had also offered to show me seven other vintage titles (of course we bought them) he had and told me he would give me a very discounted price. He leaned down to talk to Polly and shake her hand. He grinned at my girls and we made small talk. He asked where we were from. I quickly knew that this wasn’t just a “this kinda thing happens” meeting. Maybe I’m making more of it than I should, but it’s what I do, and it’s served me well.

Because nothing is chance and nothing just happens. It’s all in the plan.

He told me that his wife suffers from Alzheimer’s and is now in a home.

He is alone and downsizing their estate, to a degree.

They are one of two couples on the street that were original owners.

I didn’t want the conversation to end, but it couldn’t go on indefinitely. We don’t “know” one another and I had three hungry young ones, so we loaded up the minivan. As I was punching in our home address into my phone, Ray walked back to our car. Apparently we gave him one dollar too much and he wanted to return it.

We waved goodbye and that was that.

Except it wasn’t. At least I didn’t want it to be. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. I immediately texted my husband and told him that life moves so quickly. This beautiful, rhythmic routine you begin….can end. I don’t fear much, but I fear that (well, and CraigsList.) It had me very emotional. Life is so beautiful and I don’t want to forget it. I don’t want to think of only having a few more decades left with Sean and the girls. It was a bit stifling, so I decided, to instead, write Ray.

I sat down this afternoon and chose to respond to one of his earlier emails regarding our transaction. I breathed deep and started in. I thanked him for selling us the books and told him how happy it made Kensington. I also wrote that I was so very sorry his wife (and he) suffer. I hoped that it didn’t fall on deaf ears and he understood my intention.

I went and prepped dinner.

About an hour later, “bing!” There was a reply.

Ray had just returned from visiting his wife, Paulette. He told me that, in all his years selling online, he had never received a thank you note. He shared a few things with me, most notedly that his wife no longer recognizes him, except as the man who brings her ice cream, apples, and cranberry juice. He had taken care of her for eight years before no longer being able to on his own…eventually relinquishing what had been their life together.

I exchanged one more email with him, apologizing if my emails and inquiries were bizarre to him – I am a stranger, after all. I wrote a few more things asking if he would like to exchanged words….letters…emails. That I am interested in his life and Paulette’s. If they had children. What their life had been like. What it was like.

I decided to write this post before I checked to see if he has responded.

There’s a part of me that is afraid he will agree this entire thing is odd. That he’ll think I’m some weird kid who looks at him like a kitschy sociology project.

But it’s not. I just want to understand why we met. Why my daughter has been asked to read Nancy Drew for three years and she just now decided to become obsessed and just now wanted to find vintage copies online.

I want to know about Paulette and Ray. Or maybe I don’t and I think this is going to be some magical connection and it isn’t. But I can’t stop being me and I can’t stop being interested in people, their stories, and who they are.

I think I’ll go check if Ray wrote back…..

look what the cat dragged in (welcome back, death & moving)

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Well, well, well……look who finally decided to write again (over three months later.)

My absence is well-founded, I promise. As I shared in the previous post, we traded coasts and in the last three months we packed up our family home, said goodbye to loved ones, and set off for the country.

So much has happened and while I desire to chronicle it in sufficient detail, my sad excuse for a nightstand journal (and Instagram) will have to do. Without sharing every single moment and emotion, I’ll say that it’s been a whirlwind, but a remarkable one. Change on this scale is never without heartache – the old refrain goes that when something new begins, something has to end (or something like that). It’s true, you know. We had many goodbyes to say and many memories to release from our grip. Everyone says that you’ll always have the memories but what they don’t say is that many memories are dependent on location and current circumstance. Sure, they will always live on in your mind and heart, but some things just feel more alive when you are still close to the people and places with which they occurred. Of course you always have them, but they do change. Trust me.

Leaving everything you know is really hard. And really good. There is so much to learn that you can’t possibly predict or hope for. You just let it wash over you. If you resist, the story turns contrived and fake.  I’m glad for the change and know that I will never, ever regret this adventure. All of it has taught me so much about myself and others.

I think everyone should be forced to move away at least once in their lifetime. It’s good for your soul, good for your marriage, good for your children, and good for your faith.

At least, that’s my opinion, with which I know many would disagree.

A month after we arrived on Virginia soil, our beloved dog Molly died. She had been with our family for close to 15 years and she was such a part of us. It’s funny….I never understood the emotions that people displayed, when their pets passed, until Molly left us. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I recalled a memory from my childhood that had been hidden in the recesses of my mind, for decades.

When I was about 8 (approximately the age of my middle child), I was left at the neighbors home for the afternoon. My parents came back to pick me up, both with blotchy, red faces and tear stained collars. I still remember what my mom’s skin look liked – spotted and bizarrely puffy. They had been crying. Both had just stood in the veterinarian’s office where they put down their beloved dog, Boaz. He had been with them since the beginning of their marriage, and the time had come. I remember, as a young child, thinking their response was so overly dramatic and stunning. It was a dog!

Fast forward 30 years and Sean and I (and all the girls) stood on the back of our property, as Sean dug a hole large enough for the body of our sweet, golden labrador. She was wrapped in a cream sheet, with a bandage around her leg, protecting where they had put the lethal injections. She laid there still warm and with a look of serenity. We pet her and Sean lifted her into the hole and followed with gently sprinkling dark red, Virginia soil on her body. Tears bubble just typing this. I felt ill.

My face was red, blotchy and puffy…. just like my mother’s had been, so many years ago.

It’s not just a pet. It’s a memory. It’s a season of marriage, of life. It’s gone. Just like the reality that we are no longer a “young married” couple with our sweet puppy…..we are older. She was older. We have moved on. Nothing is the same.

And it has been ridiculously embarrassing how difficult it has been to look for her (still) each day, or catch myself saving leftovers for her. She’s gone and it’s weird…. just \a reminder that live moves on. You can’t stop it or slow it. It just goes and you’re here for all of it….whether you like it or not.

We realized that not one of our girls know any life without Molly. She’s always been around and we underestimated how difficult it would be for each of them individually. One of my girls is still crying on a near daily basis – always spontaneously. Molly left a huge hole in our lives. In my effort to allow them to feel anything and everything they want to (with Type A personalities we can often not allow much time for emotion – MUST MOVE ON AND GET BACK TO NORMAL! THINGS TO DO!) I introduced them to my two favorite children’s books relating to death and mourning. Both THIS book and THIS book have touched me, are simple, and give kids space to feel very real sadness. They are good for the soul. Neither are able to be read without real tears, even two weeks after her passing. I recommend them to anyone who finds themselves in the same place we are in.

In every difficult thing, there is beautiful light, and things to be learned. Sean loves to remind us all of God’s great timing. Molly could have easily passed in Long Beach, making the transition to Virginia a little harder – never having her be a part of this great journey our family took together. No, he allowed Molly to make the trip all the way out here and enjoy the hills, land and all that our small farm offers. She spent the twilight of her life in a glorious cacophony of barking at birds and running around after small chicks as they chirped uncontrollably. She was so happy here. She had a new resurgence of energy, that undoubtedly was gifted by this unique change in atmosphere.

It was a perfect ending to the long life of a perfect pet.

new season // moving

IMG_3207I didn’t forget to post “The Wednesday Afternoon Post” last week. I just had no spare time, whatsoever. I promise I wanted to!

Our little family has made the huge decision to move to Virginia, from Southern California. We are thrilled (to say the least) but even with how excited we are….it comes with very real sadness. We are leaving the people who have stood with us through marriage, parenthood, and life in general. But, because they are such amazing people, and we are all so woven together, Sean and I are confident that this will, in many ways, draw us closer to one another. We have always said that we know some of the most gracious, real, and selfless people in the world. Announcing we are moving has proven this – they have all rallied and are there, each step we take. I couldn’t ask for more. The Lord has truly blessed us both in the relationship category.

I’ve never moved across the country before. The most I’ve even moved is down the street. I’m moving out of the state I was born and raised in, and I’m moving to a state that I know little about, but am already falling in love with. The history! The seasons! Rain and snow! Land in my front yard! So many things to feel joyful about. And yet….so many questions and thoughts.

What will this new normal look like?

Will we find a new church that we love?

Will we find community like we have formed here?

All we can do is trust and obey. Go in faith and know that the Lord has gone before us, has a plan for us, and loves us. The unknown is looming over my head in a very anticipatory and exciting way. There’s a part of me that wants to rip the bandaid and be there already, and a part of me that never wants to leave.

(if you’d like to follow along with our journey to Virginia in a more photo sense, I re-opened an Instagram acct @rachel.r.reeves)

 

The Wednesday Afternoon Post Vol. 3

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It’s raining in Southern California, and I’m listening to piano music by the window. It doesn’t rain often so when it does, it’s a real treat.

This week’s Wednesday Afternoon Post will be short, but very sweet. It’s been a long week and there are still a few days to go. I’ll be drinking more than my fair share of coffee and looking forward to a Saturday and Sunday restfully enjoying the company of family and friends. I hope you love these small pieces of joy I’m sharing today…..

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  • A library, post office and town, built for one? It exists!                                             
  • The 10 most famous bookstores in the world. I’ve been to only two, but want to change that, immediately! Starting with the quaint strand of books in Whales…..
  • The oldest “message in a bottle” was found two weeks ago! 132 years old, to be exact.
  • I don’t know why this made me burst into tears, but it did. In a good way.

Happy day, my friends. Enjoy the falling water (if you’re in my neck of the woods.)

The Wednesday Afternoon Post Vol. 2

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The first edition of “The Wednesday Afternoon Post” was such lovely mid-week surprise for me! A real burst of energy, if I’m honest. I had so many people write me and let me know that they found it to be a simple and joyful break from their day – something that sparked a smile.

That’s exactly why I did it!

So, here we are. Volume 2. Grab your hot tea and let’s get to it!

  • My husband and I finally bit the bullet and purchased a family plan for Spotify. We both could sit for hourssssss and build custom playlists, so this is perfect for our home. We just started, so we haven’t done much yet, but give us time. Soon we will have a perfectly curated list for every moment, season, and event in your life. THIS was the first list I created, obviously. My love for 1960s music knows no bounds.
  • Speaking of music, THIS is my favorite soundtrack of all time. Ironically, I’ve never seen the actual movie.
  •  Are there any “Little Women” fans visiting? Well, if you haven’t heard already, the BBC debuted a remake of the classic novel and it’s already aired across the pond. Us Yankees must wait until May. Can I share my excitement about this? My daughters and I read the book two years ago and even as a 5 and 8 year olds, they were absolutely delighted by Alcott’s poetic and captivating writing. What a gift this book (and hopefully miniseries) is! Visit HERE for a trailer, HERE for my favorite recent edition of Alcott’s masterpiece, and HERE for one of my favorite quotes from the book….on a mug! For coffee (another of my favorite things!)

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  • My favorite viral video of last year was, hands down, THIS one. I mean, if that doesn’t perfectly sum up the life of a parent, I’m not sure what does. The mom sliding into the room and trying to close the door on the down-low is just icing on the cake. The following video is popping up everywhere and while it’s only adorable because she isn’t my child…I feel she accurately depicts how I feel about the following items: 1.) sleep, 2.) coffee, 3.) Diet Coke and 4.) date nights. I understand her anguish.
  • This post about the last farmhouse in Manhattan is tops! It makes me history-loving heart go pitter-patter. This destination will be at the top of my itinerary, whenever I make it back to the Big Apple. The website this post is found on is pretty lovely as well – full of curiosities and obscure goodness!
  • Can I make one recommendation to anyone who is in desperate need of a hearty laugh session? Like LAUGH OUT LOUD?! Buy either THIS or THIS, grab some popcorn, and settle in for a night of sheer happiness. Sean and I watched one and were falling off the couch in tears. He’s so good. And sometimes I think us adults forget to laugh. Here’s a preview (incidentally, also my parenting method:)

 

I hope this post finds you enjoying your Wednesday and I look forward to sharing more next week. I’m off to brew my afternoon coffee and stare out the window at the gloom that’s settled over Southern California.

flicker in the dark // the innocent child

I was struck by something last evening. It so profoundly moved me that I spent the entire evening (well into the wee hours of the night) thinking about it. How on earth it hadn’t astonished me hundreds of times prior, I’ll never understand. Conceptually, I know this idea, and I even write about it. Share the concept with my friends, and encourage the very cultivation of it within our home. And yet, it took a specific moment to send an electric charge of recognition throughout my mind and body.

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Last night, I witnessed and acutely understood the mind-blowing and intense brilliance of my children’s innocence. 

Without divulging the entirety of the conversation, I’ll share that, last night, Kensington learned what a miscarriage is. Sean had bought a large pot and a succulent for each child we’ve had together. As he was potting it, Kensington asked what the “other” small succulent was for. He answered, “That symbolizes the baby that mom and I lost.” She had the face of complete bewilderment. I instantly realized we had never explained it to her. Why? I really don’t know. Possibly because I don’t like talking about my pain, but I’ve gotten much better at that in the last few years, so I’m not all together sure, but there it was. Sean gave a very simple explanation that some babies simply stop growing – their heart stops – and they are gone.

I will never, ever forget her eyes. She went from innocence to knowing. In fifteen seconds flat, she knew something, a dark thing, that she will never not know. She instantly burst into tears, which I didn’t expect. She apologized over and over again to us. That it happened, that she feels bad for wondering what it would be like to have an older sibling, and back to apologizing. My heart broke for her new understanding, because it’s just one step closer to her entering into this world where us adults reside, (and have grown quite accustomed to, by the way.) She’s had that same look in her eyes when she learned about slavery. When I had to explain the procedures and actions they are to take if someone tried to take them. When we explained to them why foster children need homes.

That broken, glassy-eyed stare of recognition. They take one more step toward dark.

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We do live in a dark and depraved world and to accept anything but that fact is willful negligence. It’s why Christ came to save. If we were clean, there would be no need, but we are a creation that is eating itself from the inside out. There are beautiful strands of grace and joy, of course, but this place is scary. This place needs a Savior. I think we, as adults, forget how dark things are. But one look in my eldest’s eyes reminded me of the vast gloom.

And my girls don’t know it yet….at least not much of it.

When I saw her face last night It was like an electric shock zapped me. I thought,

“Oh my gosh. The innocence of a child is remarkable. Simply brilliant. It’s the still remaining light in the somber overcast.

It almost steals my breathe just thinking about it, as I write. It is something that is inherent in each little being, and can be gone in a literal second. Stolen, never to be replaced. My girls walk around still believing in good, lovely, and delightful things. They talk to stuffed animals and dance awkwardly in front of friends because WHO CARES?! To think someone might care is to acknowledge at some point, someone is going to judge you based on something ridiculous. They ask important questions and come to luminous conclusions because nothing is at stake with them – except, that is, the truth. They have no phones or way to contact their friends, so when they see them, they are all in. They laugh and play and then shriek in horror when it’s time to go, because they can’t text them 10 seconds later. They don’t try to do good things because they’re going to post about it, or start the next non-profit. They just live.

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My girls don’t know what pornography is.

Or sex.

Or human trafficking.

Or illicit hatred.

Or corporate greed.

Or adultery.

Or domestic abuse.

They just wake up, eat cereal, learn, read, run and play, get a consequence for talking back, do cartwheels in the front yard, yell across the street to their friends, talk about their favorite ice cream flavor, say their prayers, go to bed and sleep. Wake up, repeat.

Stop and think for just one second about your child’s innocence. Really, really think about it. The glorious gift they have right now of not knowing.

Because of this not knowing, their lives are so so small.

But because of this not knowing, their lives are so so much bigger than ours.

It won’t always be, but please Lord, please let it be for awhile longer.