I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont...
I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, good vs. bad thinking, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont... read more here

Category Archives: Simply Living

A Prayer for My Son, A Prayer for Our World…

A Prayer for My Son, A Prayer for Our World…

We have this little box with a sliding lid that we keep prayers for dinner in.  I made it years ago when the older kids were younger and we were just starting a tradition of saying a blessing before dinner.  Some of the prayers the kids made up over the years and others I collected from books.  We have an old standby that we use at most meal times now, but years ago each child was given a night where it was their turn to choose and recite the blessing before dinner.  Lately we have mostly used the blessing box when we have visitors and want to give them the honor of choosing the blessing.

So it sits tucked away on the counter.  Two year old Paul has found it a few times lately.  He has set it on the table, slid back the top and proceeded to empty and spread out the 4″x4″ white card stock blessings.  He’s been pretty good with putting them back in, so I haven’t said too much.  Today he did it again and his brother Gus, who is almost 4 years old, got in on the action.  Eventually the cards fell to the floor in a messy pile.  I cleaned them up and put away all but one.  Gus had it and when I asked him to hand it to me he tightened his grip on it instead and shook his head no.  I tried sweet talking him a little, but he just did not want to give it up, so I let him wander around the house with the blessing while he made his own particular type of toddler mahem.  Later in the day, I found it laying on the table.  Curious I went to find out which blessing he had chosen…

It couldn’t have been more relevant.

Our world today is very nearly screaming to give voice to the voiceless.   For the tween/ teen trying to figure out how to fit into the world and feel safe using the thoroughly vulnerable space of a public bathroom, for women and the inherent inconvenience of fertile bodies that can derail plans and opportunities, or worse.  For the very littlest of us just beginning the journey of this world deep inside our mothers.  For the people who come to our country for opportunity, to escape poverty and war, who take risks we can hardly fathom for a chance at life and end up vulnerable without the rights the rest of us are born with.

For all the people our hearts bleed for, for the lives our eyes see, the people whose plights we relate to, for the circumstances that touch our families, the people that touch our hearts…

For my almost 4 year old son Gus, who has Down syndrome, a funny, sweet, great little problem solver, whose words, while they are surely making progress are far far behind most his age.

Reading that blessing he clutched in his hands all afternoon nearly took my breath away today…

“Dear Father, hear and bless

Thy beasts and singing birds,

And guard with tenderness

Small things that have no words.”

~Amen.

I read it and I prayed it.  And I know it is a prayer you pray in some way too…

With love from the silent mountains of Vermont,

~Lisa

I’m Amazing! or Searching for Simplicity in a Complex World.

I’m Amazing! or Searching for Simplicity in a Complex World.

Ha ha ha, no this is a HUMBLE brag 🙂  So my two littlest really needed some new snow boots this winter.  Even though they are not twins the 2 year old has caught up with his older brother who is 3 1/2 and they now wear the same size shoe.  Out at Marshall’s three weeks ago without them I saw some Columbia snow boots in their size and on sale.  I picked up two pair and brought them home, hopeful they would fit.

For two days I kept trying them on them, squishing their feet into these adorable boots.  At one point my 3 1/2 year olds’ heel made it all the way down into the boot which just emblazoned me to keep trying.  Finally realizing that that one time was a fluke, I gave up and admitted even though they were super cute and functional, they didn’t fit.  It took me another week to return them.

Eventually a week and a half after that I went on Amazon and found the same boot, on sale again, and bought two pair in the size bigger, again hopeful.

It’s been a snowy winter so far here in Vermont, I’ve had these boys in less than ideal boots and was really hoping these would work.  They have a velcro strap to keep the boots on tight and a string at the top to tighten to keep the snow out, just what I wanted.

Well, the bigger boots I ordered arrived today and this larger size was still not even close to fitting.  I pulled out the inner liner, and noticed the same issue with the last pair, the liner was super skinny, far smaller than the inside of the boot shell.  I was so frustrated.  I did not want to return these boots.  I looked at the liners and they looked pretty simply stitched together and then I remembered that we had some extra boot liners for some of the bigger kids boots… hmmm, could I fix this?  I was a little nervous it wouldn’t work and then I would be unable to return the boots and our money would be wasted.

The idea caught hold of my imagination though, so I decided to go for it.

Once the little ones were in bed for the night, I found the extra liners, grabbed some thread, a needle, my Nonni’s really good huge sewing scissors, and a marker.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to make a template for the foot bed, till I realized there was an insert in each boot below the liners.  Perfect!!  The insert actually fit the full size of the boot.  So I took it out and traced it on the extra felt liners I had and cut them out.  I then spent the next two hours first dismantling the bottom of each new liner from the Columbia boots and then sewing the larger footbed I cut out into the top part of the new Columbia liners.

It worked perfectly!!!!  Now the felt liners take up all the space inside the boot and I am nearly certain they will now fit my boys.

Christmas has been getting the best of me a bit this week, that combined with the lack of light at this time of year.  There is just so much going on and so much pressure to achieve so much in so little time and yet still make dinners do laundry, sit on the floor and play with kids, listen to their days, etc.

But these two and a half hours were so stinkin’ satisfying!!!

The boots are saved people!  The boots are saved!

I watched a little of the news coverage from Aleppo today and it made me sick to my stomach and ashamed of the privilege of my relative safety, warm house, food, etc.  Thinking about the plight of these human beings feels paralyzing.  The darkness in our world can feel so overpowering.

This small tangible thing, making some new snow boots that just weren’t right, right…   No matter how many times I stuffed my little guys feet into these boots, it did not change the fact that the liners were made too small.  Our world can be so overwhelming, and I know I am just a small small cog in it.  But today I made change.  Two little boys now have awesome boots for their Vermont winter because of me.

I think I’ll enjoy this feeling for a while and remember what Saint Francis of Assisi said  — ‘All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.’ 

God have mercy on those who are suffering and preserve the rest of us from despair so we may be lights in our homes, our communities, our world. 

With love from snowy Vermont,

~Lisa

 

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Running Toward Happiness

Running Toward Happiness

Running is fast becoming a “thing” in our family this year.  After years and years I have started running again and what used to be something very solitary for me has become something quite different as my four oldest sons begin running too. So as summer has hit, most mornings I am out with atContinue Reading

Little Spiders and Paying a Call…

It is spring and our kids schedules seem to be in overdrive.  I can’t even think more than 7 days into our calendar without feeling anxiety, so for better or worse, I am just going day to day to day and moment to moment. Even within all this busy Jesus has been calling me.  PassingContinue Reading

That Sweet Vermont Season

That Sweet Vermont Season

We’ve been prepping all week for a run.  Those cold nights and warm days that wake the sleeping sap from roots to limbs.  Drilling holes, tapping trees, cleaning out holding barrels.  Today was the day, the sap ran and ran.  It’s been 8 years of Sugaring seasons for me now. I’ve been going through myContinue Reading

Obladi Olbada Mr. G Turns Three!

Obladi Olbada Mr. G Turns Three!

Tumbling around on the floor this morning enjoying life and one another, I’m like a mother lion with her cubs.  ~G and ~P jockey for space on my tummy for bounces and snuggles.  “Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on bra” sings out from my Pandora “Raffi” station and I can’t help but think: “It sure does…”Continue Reading

Play dough and Being Made

Play dough and Being Made

There are just two of us today in our twelve passenger van making the 5 minute drive to preschool.  At 8:20am it is already a day busy with an agenda ready to sweep me away.  Hidden two rows back safely buckled into his car seat I hear my 4 year old ask in a wayContinue Reading

7 Quick Takes:  It’s Autumn in Vermont Edition

7 Quick Takes: It’s Autumn in Vermont Edition

Here’s my 7 Quick Takes on what’s been going on around here lately… 1 — Fall kind of slid right by no matter how hard I pulled at it’s coat tails begging it to stay!  I did manage to take a few photos before the splendor fades into the winter…     2 — ~PContinue Reading

Walking On Water

I wrote this post around this time last year and never posted it, I found it today and it seems so appropriate to my “right now”, that I thought I would finally share it in case it resonates with anyone else. It dawned on me tonight what Peter actually did on that boat when he focusedContinue Reading

When Life Gives You Currants…

When Life Gives You Currants…

These are the July weeks when our currant bushes strain with fruit begging to be picked.  Kevin planted them 6 years ago at a time when I hardly knew what a currant was.  We have red currants which are tart and about the size of a medium small blueberry and we have black currants thatContinue Reading

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