Dear Gabrielle,

How are you this week? After Bruno and Renee's wedding ended last Saturday, we spent a furious 24 hours throwing clothes into the washer, then into the dryer and then into our suitcases . . . then hoped that we had everything we needed as we boarded our plane to travel to Ameeeeericaaaa (as Selma dreamily calls it.)

And here we are - DC. We'll spend a few weeks on the east coast before we make it down to visit Texas; (ready the cousins; it's soon; very soon!)

We had dinner with the Thomas family this week; do you know them? I hadn't seen them in, oh, 20 years? Our time with them was so sweet; woven throughout our conversation -all evening long - were stories of their friendships. We heard stories of friendship that had spanned 20 years, and friendship that had just begun to blossom.  We heard stories of friendships that crossed cultures and age barriers; we heard of how friendships had been planted and then grown through letters and visits and dinners. 

It was so good for my heart.
It was such a good reminder to me of how relationships shape humanity;
about how relationship is the venue that God created for us to give and receive love
to find joy and purpose.
and it was good to be pushed to evaluate how I pursue friendships - pushed to search my heart to see if I value relationship as much as I should.

(let's talk more about this when we are in Texas this month, ok? I'm still processing)
love you,

p.s. DC doesn't have the cherry blossoms that it had promised me, but it does have these cheery bulbs. I don't mind too much!

pop on over to Gabrielle's blog to read her letter!  She posts lovely pictures and writes things that make me think  (plus, sometimes she says really nice things about me; I'm totally headed over there right now)


Oh my,  Gabrielle . . .
my week was amazing

I spent every day doing things like:
hugging all of the bride's friends, 
taking them to our favorite taco stands,
and joining with them to do important things (stuffing candles into candlesticks, for example)

And then,
I spent all weekend doing this:

(best party ever!)

I wish you had been there; you would have loved it,

p.s. the groom wore gray. . . also, did you see that picture of me and Joshua dancing? Thank you, mystery photographer for picking up my camera and capturing our sweet dance moves.

Ah, so you finished reading my (tiny) post, and your cup of coffee is still full? head over to Gabrielle's post to read her thoughts; it will make your day better - I promise!


there it is:  the school down the street

We are on the hunt for a school for the kids next year.  Finding the right school is tricky business (but, you probably already know that , huh?)

There is a public school down the street from us.  It actually functions as two schools; there is a school that meets in the morning (from 8am-12:30) and one that meets in the afternoon (from 3:30 -8:00pm). I guess that this school is kind of big deal because it's hard to get into.

We have a friend, though, who works in the preschool branch of this school.
Our friend knows the principal of the afternoon school, so she set up a meeting with us and this Principal.
If the meeting goes well, the principal of the afternoon school will introduce us to the principal of the morning school . . . who will then decide if the school could possibly find a way to squeeze our kiddos into their already bursting classrooms.

We have the initial meeting this afternoon, and I'm hoping it goes well, but I know that God is not absent in all of this . . . and so I am praying too.  I'm thanking Him for caring about the small details of my family's lives, and I'm praying that as we find ourselves caught up in this crazy tangle of favors, that He be the one who opens or closes the door on this one.
(will you pray with me?) 


Dear Gabrielle,

How are you?  I've been thinking about the green pastures that your wrote about last week, and my eyes have been attentive to the glimpses of life and beauty that God has placed throughout my days; thank you for your reminder!

I told you that we passed out sugar cookies to our neighbors on Valentine's day, right?  And I told you that even though we knocked on all the doors, almost no-one was home home, so we ended up hanging most of the cookie bags on the neighbor's doorknobs? Well, I bumped into one of those neighbors recently; She hugged me thanked me again and again for having given her the cookies; she told me that when we hung those cookies on her door that night, she was at home - all alone - feeling like no one cared about her.  When she finally got to the door and found our cookies hanging there, she cried and ate her share of the cookies, and then she ate her roommates share too.

I think she thanked me ten times for those goopy, excessively pink cookies. (ah - it wasn't really about the cookies, was it?)

I have relished this run-in with my neighbor because of the way that it has caused me to pause and remember that sometimes, sometimes - the blessing of our kindness extends beyond our field of vision . . . and I'm pushed forward to keep showing kindness even when it doesn't seem to make a difference.

love you,

p.s. I have been going through Selma's clothes, pulling out the ones that she has outgrown - tucking them into a suitcase to give to Abi's girls when I see her next month.  It always makes me smile a goofy, sappy smile when I pass on the clothes that your girls have passed on to Selma; they are only clothes, I know, but they are clothes that are forming a trail of memories behind them (hooray for meaningful hand-me-downs!)

check out what Gabrielle has to say on her side of the world (I mean  . . . just north of the border)!
Also - whoah - I posted about kindness last week too;  I guess it's what I'm thinking about lately.


Elsa, who comes to my house every couple of weeks and helps me to clean it,  absolutely loves plants.  She scolds me when I don't water my plants often enough, gives me tips on how keep them alive, and has, on occasion, taken home some of my dead plants and actually revived them.

The nasturtium plant up on our rooftop has miraculously survived my black thumb (I think that I have a mystery neighbor who waters it when I forget to) and is a prolific seed producer.  Selma has taken to harvesting the seeds and giving them to anyone who will take them. This seed pack went to Elsa.

I think they'll do well under Elsa's watch.


Here's to friends who will marry soon.
Here's to the treck up five flights of stairs to get to the cute little rooftop apartment that will soon be their home.
Here's to red tile floors and a kitchen so tiny that the fridge has to sit in the livingroom.
Here's to the beautiful afternoon light that streams through the windows, and a terrace that whispers promises of summer barbeques and serves up a great view of the city.

Here's to friends who take us seriously when we say we want to help - who hand over a broom, a rag and a squirt bottle to three crazy children; who cheer those children on even when their work looks like it may actually produce more mess than help

Here's to the amazing apple tart that we bought at the french bakery - that we bought to give our friends but that they shared generously with us

Here's to cold drinks after an hour of scrubbing soot and grease off of the kitchen ceiling (which would have been much more complicated with a bigger kitchen)  

Here's to our dear friends Bruno and Renée . . .
and to their love!


Dear Gabrielle,

do you remember that conversation we had in my kitchen, right before you left?  The one about being kind to our children?

I have that conversation tucked away into my pocket.

Sometimes it's so tucked away that it remains there, forgotten.

Sometimes I put my hand into my pocket and my fingers wrap around it, and I am prompted to set down my dishrag and go into the other room where my boy is screaming at me to come check out his new, amazing block tower . . . *

Sometimes I pull it out of my pocket and turn it around and around in my hand - examining it from every angle. . .  I think about how being a fun mama (or a sporty mama, or a healthy mama, or a creative mama) is ok, but what I really want is to be a kind mama; I think about how being kind isn't just the absence of rudeness or harshness, but instead the presence of something actively good. I think about how my ability to show kindness to my kids is limited if I'm not enjoying Jesus - the Creator of love.  I think about how kindness, planted into the hearts of my family, will produce life and beauty.

And then I put it back into my pocket again.
I'll keep pulling it out; I think this will do me some good.

This week, Gabrielle and I agreed to somehow include the color green into our shared blogging series. In her blog post, she found a way to seamlessly transition from cod liver oil to the green pastures of Psalm 23.  She's good, I tell you . . .  
I posted green pictures. (that counts, right?)

 *also, not to brag or anything, but this week, when Malachai came into my room at 3am, doubled over with the pain of a tummy ache, I snuggled up with him on the couch and rubbed his back instead of calmly telling him that I couldn't do anything to make his tummy ache go away and that really, he should leave me alone so that at least one of us could get a good night's rest (which I may or may not have done the last time he interrupted my sleep with a tummy ache).


In the taxi - on the way to the airport;  this is a picture of Gabrielle saying something brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that I came home and wrote it down in a notebook so that I can reread it and be inspired any time I want.

I was running up the steps to my apartment earlier this week when I bumped into my downstairs neighbor.
"Is your sister-in-law gone?" she asked.
"yes, I just dropped her off at the airport," I moped. (I did.  I totally moped - I pretty much slumped my shoulders and kicked the ground as I went on talking . . . )
"she's gone, but I can promise you that you will be hearing all about her trip. I'm sure that over the next few weeks, parts of my conversations with Gabrielle will spill over into my conversations with you!"

Because, you see,
that is how it is with Gabrielle:

We read books, and then pass them on to each other.
We start a sewing project, and consult each other on our fabric choice.
We get angry at people and call each other so that we can tell our side of the story and then ask each other for advice on what we may have done wrong and what we should do to make things right.
We talk about the wonderful complexities of each one of our kids and talk about how we can do a better job caring for their hearts . . . talking about what it really, practically means to fuse truth and grace in our parenting.
We push each other to genuinely care for our neighborhoods and to be a part of creating meaningful community with those around us.

That's how it is: she is a friend who shapes me - a friend who makes me think harder and love more meaningfully, a friend who offers conversations that refuse to stay put and inevitably spill over into whatever else I'm doing.

And so every Monday, for the next 8 weeks, bits and pieces of my conversations with Gabrielle will spill over into this space too . . . do you want to tag along?

Read Gabrielle's bit of the conversation over on her blog.  You won't regret it - she's a much more engaging writer than I am. (I'm sending you over with a twinge of fear that you may never come back . . . promise me that if you go over there to check it out, you won't abandon me entirely.)