The Mommy Bell

I wrote this post in December of 2020, but it has been unpublished until now.

Micah has been extra clingy lately. He turned four in December. Suddenly he wants to never be separated from me, even for a milli-second, it seems. And that’s fine by me; I’ve been around this track a few times before. In his case, we are enjoying a little more uninterrupted bonding time than I had with the others at this age. Many of my four-year-olds had at least one if not two younger siblings.

I am well aware that it won’t last. His Mommy radar will inevitably fade with time. But for right now, it’s on high alert.

As a humorous but on-point illustration, here’s what he did the other day. He was having a fussy Saturday, this or that was causing him to fuss about this or that, all while being underfoot of the many tasks I wanted to accomplish that day. While I was doing laundry, I heard him calling me and fussing for me from the kitchen. Then, I clearly heard him call out: “Mommy, when you hear this bell, that means I need you!” A moment later: “DING!” He rang the bell that happened to be sitting on the counter. (One of those silver bells that you ring at a storefront counter top. It belongs with one of our board games in the basement.)

I followed the call of the bell and came into the kitchen to see what he needed. He was quite pleased with his success and I was amused about the bell.

A little bit later, he came hobbling through the dining room with one flip flop on one foot. (I have no idea why the flip flop.) He hobbled over to the bell and rang it loud and clear. Steve and I both started chuckling and I said, “What do you need, Micah?”

“Mommy, I hurt my foot!” So I went over and comforted him and gave him a kiss.

Micah, now age 5. “Give me an underdog, Mommy!”

Between every mother and child is a built-in Mommy Bell.

Who can understand the jibberish of a toddler? Only Mommy. Have you ever noticed that if a little child is trying to say something, other adults automatically look to the mom to find out what the child is trying to say. And she knows, 99% of the time. The child knows that when nobody else understands, they should tell Mommy. She can help.

I heard once about a little girl whose mother was studying in medical school, whose father was caring for her each day. The daddy of this little girl told me, “I take her to story time at the library, and she goes around the room and sits in the laps of all the mommies there. She doesn’t want me.”

Some days we are just so tired. There are needs on every hand and want to resist, ignore, or avoid that incessant bell. We can become depleted and utterly worn out with all the needs. But we have to mentally step back and remember that being called Mommy is an extremely privileged position to be in.

So on this Mother’s Day, I say let the Mommy bell ring! It’s a beautiful (if exhausting and often incessant) sound, and it signifies a position of infinite worth. Along with that figurative bell come the best hugs and the shining eyes and the tiny bouquets and a lifetime of love. Happy Mother’s Day!

From the TH archives:
Remembering the Mothers
Did you enjoy mothering and staying home right from the start?
Keeping the Joy in Mothering

I’ve been going through pictures in preparation for Katelyn’s graduation. Here she is in 2006.
Our first three, in 2005.

Happy New Year! – Patchwork Post {January 2022}

Hi dear ladies, congrats on making it to January. We can all take a deep breath and also take a minute to realize what we’ve accomplished. We’ve navigated another holiday season. Although it was done imperfectly, the fact remains that we served our families to the best of our abilities, did all the shopping, choosing, planning, decorating, cooking, wrapping, sizing, baking… and all the other things. God is gracious to give us such a reason to celebrate and the strength to make it special for our dear ones.

The last link of the Christmas countdown chain!

You can read our family Christmas Update 2021, here.

Just two things have been on my heart for the year ahead.

Continue reading “Happy New Year! – Patchwork Post {January 2022}”

A four-year-old boy and his mom

Micah is a thoughtful child and he has a way of saying things that my other kids didn’t necessarily verbalize. Here are three recent little exchanges that give us glimpses into the heart and mind of a four-(soon to be five)-year-old boy.


We have a little section of wall in the hallway where the kids mark their height from time to time. We were looking at it a few days ago and remarking over the growth of each one.

Me: “Wow Micah, you are getting so big!”
Micah: “Well, I don’t want to grow up and get married. I’m never going to get married!”
Me: “Why not?”
Micah: “Because then I will have to go away from you. I’m never going away from you!”

Continue reading “A four-year-old boy and his mom”

Patchwork Post {September 2021}

So much to share! I’m popping in with some various links, ideas, and news!

Rise and Worship Album

We’ve listened to this album countless times since Joshua brought it to our attention early this year. Refreshing, convicting, artfully done, worshipful, Christ-honoring. I want to fill our home with this kind of soul food.

An idea for children’s artwork

Children go through (sometimes lengthy) stages of wanting to create various types of art. What to do with all the masterpieces? You hate to throw them away, but can’t line all your walls with coloring pages held up by painter’s tape, either. (Side note: Painter’s tape does work well for temporarily hanging art work.)

I have ended up stashing the artwork papers in a “file” (using that term very loosely) and then going back to the collection on various occasions. Does someone need a letter sent to them in the mail? Or a birthday card? Do big brothers need a care package? We pull out the stash and look through. Such cries of delight as my young ones find treasures they had forgotten about. They select the perfect one, we write some words on it, and voila! Ready to go! Now to gather up the artwork spread out all over the floor…

~a small sampling of our current stash~

History Recommendation
In my February Patchwork Post, I recommended a history book. Unfortunately, I will have to retract that recommendation, since the denominational and doctrinal ideas ended up being just too distracting from the history we were setting out to learn.

Now THAT’S a fish!
Sammy has been fishing as much as he possibly can, lately. Here’s a 4 pound bass he caught while out with his Uncle Tim. (Uncle Tims are just the best. Everybody needs one– and we are blessed with one on each side of the family!)

Continue reading “Patchwork Post {September 2021}”

Pick up where you are and go forward

Look around at whatever God has given you. In front of you, beside you, in your hand. Do you know what these things are? Gifts, yes. But not just gifts, as if God is continually giving you birthday presents. All that you have can properly be called tools. Tools for what, you may wonder.

These tools are given to you for the purpose of building the kingdom of Christ in this world. Nothing should be an end in itself– if it is, it has become an idol in your life.

Pick up where you are, with what you have, and go forward. Build the kingdom. There is ground to take, there are enemies to be defeated. It won’t look the way you’d like, because building will always be messy and laborious. But take whatever you’ve been given (fresh tomatoes, a kitchen, good health, a ukelele, a dozen children…) and get busy building, for the glory of God. You have a part to play in this Grand Story.

Pictures from a special family day together, before our oldest two departed for the fall semester. Clockwise starting a bottom left– Micah (4), Annalise (6), Katie (17), Olivia (8), Sam (12), Joshua (21), Ethan (19), Toby (10), me, and Steve.

To the homeschool mom, as the year begins

As another school year comes into focus, I want to give you a heads up about something that often happens at this time of year. You may be experiencing it even as you are reading this post.

The school year is looming and plans are swirling in your head as you prepare for another year of educating your children at home. An overwhelming job, not for the faint of heart. You work at organizing, sorting, and getting all the things ready.

Then, out of nowhere, comes some unforeseen situation or challenge, something you never expected, something utterly discouraging…. leaving you feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut. The wind has effectively been taken out of your sails.

Continue reading “To the homeschool mom, as the year begins”

Sharing the gospel with our children through family devotions

Q: I am taking a look and considering our schedules at home in light of promoting the gospel to our children. I was wondering what a typical day/schedule/routine looks like for you in summer and school year. 🙂 I know it sounds like a strange request, but I was curious seeing what you do…also especially curious on how you approach devotions with the kids.

A: Promoting the gospel to our children takes so many forms as it interweaves itself into our family life. All of Christ for all of life… a phrase that says so much (not original with me). But specifically for this post– family devotions! (I will try to answer the daily schedule question in another post… my answer to the devotions part is long enough for one post!)

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Fun Stuff We Love {June 2021}

Not just four products to share this time, but six!

From Jennifer: I love these microfiber cleaning cloths from Walmart. They are only 98 cents for two. These microfiber cloths are great for cleaning pretty much anything. The BEST thing about them is they can be used to clean windows. This was a revelation to me recently. No more wasting paper towels on windows. Window cleaner is also optional. A damp/wet microfiber cloth followed by a dry microfiber will clean the glass just fine! 😱 How did I not know this sooner?

I recently discovered these bags. They are perfect for storing a loaf of homemade bread (which don’t really fit well in a ziplock bag). Also much cheaper than ziplocks. I got them to make up some goodie bags for an event and they worked well for that too. I always feel bad about throwing away ziplocks and so I try to wash them and keep them. These are more of a use and throw away type of item. Also good for keeping leftovers, etc.

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The crisis nobody is talking about (as deadly as the worst pandemic)

We are blessed with beautiful parks in Illinois. Every town here has them, and in general they are well-kept and inviting. We went up to one for Memorial Day. We wondered if we would find an open grill, but we needn’t have worried. These peaceful Illinois parks are sometimes a little too peaceful. Where are all the people? In particular, where are all the children?

This playground has tall metal slides, the kind I whizzed down when I was a child. It has a giant wooden “hamster wheel”… it goes around and around when you run inside it. The park has swings, basketball courts, a batting cage, lovely pavilion, knobby and knotty trees, a merry-go-round, monkey bars, softball field… you name it. It even has a pond where Sammy caught 27 fish. No joke! (No worries, he threw them all back.)

All of this, and almost no children running around.

All afternoon, it bothered me. This nice park in the middle of this quaint American town…. but no people? We saw about four people all afternoon (on Memorial Day, no less), until late in the afternoon a couple came with their little boy to fish, and sat beside the pond. Of course, they would do this at the exact time that I was making a fool out of myself trying to rescue Toby’s football out of the middle of the pond by creating waves with a giant plastic jug (but I did get the football out). 😄

Continue reading “The crisis nobody is talking about (as deadly as the worst pandemic)”

Remembering the Mothers

We sent off our oldest son, again, this morning. It never gets any easier. We all stood in a circle and held hands. I had my oldest son on one side and my youngest on the other. After the prayer two boys tried to barricade the door so the oldest one couldn’t leave. Tears were shed and my mother heart was happy and sad and worried and joyful all at the same time.

On this Memorial Day, I am remembering the mothers. Mothers who stood and waved and watched their boys go off– to war.

Continue reading “Remembering the Mothers”