In the winter of 2010, with Husband working a lot, we Simmons girls huddled together on the couch, the old crochet blanket our assuagement, the red-eyed heater our sun and glowing warmth, and our favorite old movie our cheer.
Lorna, always the original mind, having grown listless, said, "I am so bo-o-ored with just sitting in the house all the time." She dreamt up a theatrical for her sisters to perform while she directed. These little women of mine did a good job of making fun and persuading their parents to join in. They were so merry, their wild imaginations soaring and landing who knows where. There were all sorts of new worlds to see and characters to play. Of course, Ivy complained, as usual, "I'm tired of playing the boy...Why can't I be the lost girl?" She entreated for her part and her sisters were won over, as the velvet dress was placed in her hands. Bella, being the smallest and youngest of the three, and most in need of exerting her will, frowned at being told how to act out her scene and made it an arduous effort for her director-sister.
In the late evenings when we heard Mr. Simmons come to the door, all joyously met him with a chorus-cry of "Daddy!" There would be much jumping on the leg and clutching of his arm, all gathering around and cloaking him in affection and devotion. Lilly's sunny little face, smile spread wide, would run in unsteady haste to him, and attack him with her tiny, chubby baby hands. "Hey little Lilly!" he exclaimed. "Hey babe", with a kiss to the lips. We all would follow him to his throne where he would be entertained with our histrionics and melodramatic tellings of the happenings of our day.
Lorna- "Daddy, Mama made us do chores ALL DAY, and I have made up a play for everyone and I want you and Mama to come to see our play after supper, okay?"
Ivy- " Daddy, today-at school- I did not have to move my clip ALL day, and Mrs. Pat says that I am her baby because I am the littlest in the class!"
Isabella- dimpled cheeks glowing radiant--"Dadddy, I catch a frog today--look! He isn't moving!"
Lillian- "Da-nay"-her special way of saying Daddy
#179 that with the regrets of sinful behavior, when we fail one another--there is also this--a tight-knit family--all six of us--loving one another, making home and shelter in the grace of God
#180 a humble pink flower delivered to my desk by tiny hands, tucked and pressed into a small envelope and the contents, "i love you"
#181 a day full of trudging for our whole family
#182 i know that this trudging is God's way of growing us and who knows who we will be when we emerge?
#183 these--Ann Voskamp's words contained in this book --a light to me in my darkest night--"It is in the dark that God is passing by. God in in the tremors. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can't see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us, I-beam supporting in earthquake." Thank you, for these words, Ann!
#184 a special, comforting hug from a daughter who is too "big" to need Mama's lovin'
#185 Lorna's mumbling protest when i leave the kitchen, "I'm not going to play this game if i can't play it my way." and her response to her Daddy when asked what she means--"don't you understand teenager talk, Daddy?" oh my.
#186 continuing my gratitude list when the days have been HARD and i don't feel like it
#187 carrot polish on tiny fingernails and piggie style braids by big sister
#188 brown hen's eggs sitting next to one another, waiting to be cracked
#189 baby spinach summer salad and Lorna's "I made it with Daddy's special dressing"
#190 delving out wholesome food to my children and watching them take in life
#191 following Husband when he says there isn't enough and we have to be patient and the security of being provided for and protected from the dark pit of greed
#192 a fridge full of food
#193 air conditioning--even if it is only one unit for this large house--what a luxury
#194 the simple delight of beautiful, second-hand free clothes from a neighbor, and Lorna's excitement, " i love all of my new clothes!"
#195 Lorna's prayer, "God, help our family, especially Mama."
#196 that we have started praying together at bedtime again after a dry season
#197 girls organizing and cleaning laundry, bins, and piles of bed linens to make Mama happy, and a teary thank you--if the laundry room is a castle, then i am a queen!
#198 that God has "people" who take care of His daughters!
#199 dear new friends that God sent to encourage, and one with a very special gift sent to my door--strangers made friends across the web and i am in awe
#200 trying to hold onto slippery grace
#201 my sweet girls making my bed--i feel i am somehow being rewarded for years of taking care of their every need
#202 a week-long illness, a relapse, this dark place that won't lift, that God still has me and He is nearest.
#203 this song and this song ...here is a different version with the musician's heart and prayer behind the song, with live piano...these songs encompass my prayer for this week if you would like to listen-- i know of no other music that is more gospel-centered or musicians with purer hearts