We pass mile marker five, round the bend and start up another hill. "Who thought up how long a mile should be?" His strong 16-year old legs pause mid-peddle. "I mean, who thinks up words? You know, what things are called?"
I slow my pace, shorten my stride, catching long breaths on the incline. "Interesting how ideas, inventions... the thing someone has left behind -- that's given a name -- continues to influence the world long after a person is gone, isn't it?"
"Yeah." He stands on bicycle pedals, focuses on dirt path in front of him.
"What is the legacy you'll leave? The one you'll put a name to that will continue to bless people after you're gone?"
"My children." The profundity of his quick response energizes me, inspires me. My heart beats faster and I'm sure it's more than the forcing of forward steps.
Later, Zeke removes cellophane from puzzle box, lifts the lid and spills pieces of landscape across dining room table, place where the fragments of a day get pieced together over evening meals. They begin sorting out the edges and Eli comments on the picture on the box, "I want our lives to look like this everyday."
I pick up a puzzle piece, "It's more impressionistic than it appeared on the box, but altogether whimsical, don't you think?" Only sort of listening, they murmur agreement. It really does look like our lives, I think. In some ways. The attroupement of boys playing football while girl and golden retriever look on. The house in the background with light in the windows... I can practically smell the autumn soup simmering on stove top while mamas sip spicy, aromatic tea and converse.
How many days in these summer months did the children plead to "use up the last of the day's sunshine" so they could finish their game. How reckless to let children play into the moonlight -- past bedtime. And yet, these counter intuitive decisions... They're the reason I dawdle at bedtime, lingering long at bedsides, toggling between requests to "please come read on my bed this time." Wanting to use up the last of the day's moments... listening to hopes, praying together.
Gratitude for the Grace gifts:
88. A box of Bengal Spiced Tea given to me by my friend who "just knew I'd enjoy it" and how she was spot on about that -- so much so, that I rationed it so that it'd last me as long as possible.
89. Deutscher Rapshonig from the Imkerei in Wallenborn -- fresh honey from the bee farm just up the road.
90. Apple Cinnamon tea and I John 4 and 5 first thing in the morning.
91. Hot oatmeal on autumn's chilly morning
92. The kindness in Isaiah's voice when he says, "You seem anxious about something. Is there anything I can get you?"
93. The way Israel sets up her Polish Pottery tea set for a much younger playmate, then teaches her the definition of 'delicate.'
94. Israel's huge organization task she initiates all by herself and her proud declaration after all the home school cupboards are once again in order, "Now you'll be able to find things, Mama!" Adding for good measure -- and because she knows me just this well, "And you won't have to spend so much time looking for your stuff!" Ah! The blessedness of being known and subsequently showered with tangible, extravagant grace!
95. Chili Lemon flavored dried Mango pieces sent all the way from Arizona in a package filled with love from Aunt Nancy and Uncle Brian.
96. Re-discovering the art and romance of living and loving slowly.
97. The stark sadness in moments-too-many-to-count of all the blessings I'm going to miss when we move away from here.
98. How my mama-heart about bursts with gladness when 16-year old son announces that he sorta wishes we were driving to Venice, Italy this weekend instead of flying, "...because I actually really like going on road trips with our family." And here I was thinking that he felt he had outgrown such notions!
99. Anticipating our next road trip and the next audio book we'll "read" together: Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis.
100. Husband who calls before heading home from work, always the same question in varying forms, "How can I best honor you when I get home?" or "Do you need me to do anything for you before I get home?" or "How was your day? Where are you at? And if not at a 10, is there anything I can do to help bring your day up to a 10?"
101. All the ways my sons are walking in their dad's shoes.
102. How when Isaiah asked LeRoy if there was anything he could do to help with dinner and LeRoy said he had it all handled but thank you anyway, Isaiah took up folding all the laundry instead.
103. Tangible bouquet of grace in bright -- oh! so bright! -- splashes of color when a friend arrived with pink daisies and yellow roses. Handed them to me as she walked through my front door, the outside behind her all gray and blustery, the sky about to break loose with October rain.
104. Going through the Beth Moore study Loving Well with three other girlfriends and the way we feel safe to lay our hearts open wide during ensuing conversation. The trust that each will hold the other's hearts gently.
105. And how my boys tolerate listening to the study with us, trying their hardest to giggle inconspicuously when Beth Moore talks about the testy people in our lives, then suggests, "We all have testies in our lives." And the way they ignore all the girly stuff so that they can hear the meat of I John 4.