It is late afternoon. My daughter and I have already done our exercise for the day and now we are outside in the warm Southern winter sun, it glancing only briefly from behind the clouds and trees, the orange orb caressing the back of our heads in heated strokes.

I'm relaxing in my hammock under the maple with it's bare limbs meandering upward and jagged, and I'm doing some thinking and writing. I'm enjoying my writing, but I feel a little restless and slightly off-kilter.

Then the girls come up to me, panting and ask me to play tag, blinking their request at me, their eyes full of uncertainty and it anchors me.

I look back at them and I feel energized because I've been practicing. I've worked out hard and I'm ready for anything they ask me to do.

I jump up and their faces shine excitement and the world shifts back into place.

I chase my daughter who is almost as tall as me, and she chases me all the way around our house, under the shade tree and around the perimeter of our large yard. I stay ahead of her, leaping over fallen branches, acorns crunching underneath my shoes, and this is no small feat, since my long-legged girl sprints like a gazelle.

When their father gets home and finds us in the backyard, he is easily coaxed by his little girls to join in the game.

I watch him dodge this way and that, pretending to run fast for the little one while she chases after him, and as I stand there and watch, my face flushed with the thrill of it all, I remember why I married him.

I flush with something else.

A powerful love.

It wells up inside and makes me aware of what's between us.

The children pull him to the ground and fall on him in laughter.

It rings out and all around and envelopes us.

We all carry the high spirits inside to face the work that awaits.


3 ways i glimpsed the startling grace of God...

#476 when i talked about being afraid, all the women one by one around the table, admitting they were just as fearful

#477 women opening up and being honest, how freeing it is

#478 husband telling me he will take the children to church so I can rest and have the night off

one thing i wore, one thing i gave away...
#479 a purple and red hand-sewn flower headband

#480 clothes waiting to go to a teenage girl

3 ways i witnessed happiness...

#481 Sunday worship service melting all of my hard exterior of pain

#482 having a new running partner--that I wasn't too afraid to ask--pure grace!

#483 the comfort of Sunday lunch at my grandmother's--like going back to my childhood

one gift that made me laugh, made me pray, made me quiet...

#484 this post...oh how it made me laugh out loud! you must read!

485. my blogging friends, little Kelly in the children's hospital with lukemia, God waking me in the middle of the night

#486 a friend tells me i'm a beautiful person, on the inside...makes me a little speechless

3 gifts from God's Word...

#487 this verse: "See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land...Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me." Song of Songs 2:11-13

#488 the Psalms that quiet my soul

#489 Romans 8:28 through the end of the chapter--our family portion of scripture

a grace in the kitchen, in the weather, that might never have been...

#490 kitchen countertops, slow-going, but being finished

#491 nice, warm weather in January for me and the girls to play outside in

#492 our little Lilly Claire, our last, our surprise baby

3 gifts i saw only when i got close-up...

#493 the fanning of Ivy's long eyelashes, the green flash

#494 the adorable soft pink of my cat, Pumpkin's nose

#495 Lilly's stubby toes, her lifting them up to me, wanting me to pick out the fuzz in between them

one thing in the sky, from my memory, one ugly-beautiful...

#496 a bold blue jay and Bella's "Look, Mama! A blue bird!", pointing her little finger up

#497 all the work-days, and lazy-days, all the days of hanging suspended in the hammock, of gardening and planting and transplanting flowers, of putting wine bottles in earth for borders, all the days of swinging on the porch and watching the kids play, of bright summer sun shared by us all

#498 laundry and watching Little Women with my girls...giving me an opportunity to get my hands dirty and serve, to make me softer around the edges, a sweet moment shared with my girls

one grace wrinkled, one smoothed, one unfolded...

#499 rain on the window, how it makes my vision a little warped, a hard washing and cleansing

#500 how Husband can soothe me....you can read about it here...

#501 Ivy and Bella's small hands unfolding to me with a beautiful gift...dandelions for me to make a wish

...you will be blessed to follow me over and read these blogs...
Shared with Ann...



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and Jen...



  1. I smile when I read this...love you finding woman...a safe place...just growing and growing....I rejoice with you today....I am with my daughter...lots of holding my new precious little love...just drinking in each moment....
    Blesssings Nacole...

    1. hi Ro,

      so happy that you are smiling and with that grandbaby! i bet she is just so stinkin' cute and edible! what you read here is probably more of our everyday life than the sad poem that you commented on...im glad you enjoyed this.



  2. Nacole...this is the sweetest of playdates. How often do I forget to run wild and let the child within scoop joy from laughter? I'm so glad you linked up to Playdates with God this week. What a lovely visit I have had here.

    1. Laura,

      thank you so much. i love this..."let the child within scoop joy from laughter". thats what i want my days to be filled with.



  3. Nacole, thank you so much for your heartfelt, honest comment on my blog. Praying for you today, that contentment will find you in each moment, and all the other "ments" will flee before grace.

    Love to you.

    1. Jeanne,

      im so glad you came over! thank you for taking the time to write these sweet words.

      love and blessings to you too,


  4. I must play "tag" the next time my sons ask me. One is almost as tall as me too. How quickly moments slip by. Beautiful pictures. I could feel the love of your family. Blessings.

  5. Those games that start out me thinking I can keep up with these boys - and the grace of my husband taking my place so easily because he is equipped for that so much better than me - I love those moments. I also love thinking I can keep up, believing it is possible, but then being content when I realize that I am not called to keep up!

    I am totally intrigued about the wine bottles on your borders!!!

    It is a surprise blessing, is it not, when we lay bare our hearts, our frailties - and discover we are not alone!

    Love you dear sister!



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