To Love Well Every Day

This morning, after Teyla and Kieran and I had dropped the older kids at school, a blur of quick hugs and brittle air and rushed squeaky footsteps through fresh snow, we drove straight home to enjoy the morning.

It was good to be home, toy-strewn and warm. Kieran had fallen asleep snuggled in his parka, so I wore his chubby face on my shoulder as Teyla and I carried upstairs supplies to play restaurant.

I grabbed my laptop, mostly so I could email Corey, en route to Orlando. But then I started replying to a few other emails. And I opened Twitter and clicked through to a few blogs. And in-between the bits and bytes, my daughter stood next to me, wearing make-believe headphones, and asking me what I would like for breakfast.

“Do you want caw-key, Mama?” she asked.

“Yes, Teyla. I would love coffee,” I answered distractedly, my eyes barely leaving the keyboard. I only had a few more sentences to type to wrap up that email and then I would pay attention.

“Which ones do you want, Mama?” she asked, holding out identical sets of plastic pickles.

“These ones,” I pointed vaguely, aware that she would give me the pickles she wanted me to have regardless of which ones I chose.

The baby slept, the toddler kept chattering to herself and to me.

I never stopped typing.

And then, the baby woke up. And I looked up. And the toddler, she had gone on to another toy, another game of make-believe because I wasn’t paying attention to the one she was playing with me.

I had missed it.

I had missed it.

How often do I do that? How often do I live with blinders on, distracted and preoccupied? I live life as if it were a giant To Do List, as if my efficiency and organization will follow me into eternity. How often do I parent on auto-pilot, caring more for my chidren's needs than their hearts?

My soul throbbed at the realization of what I had casually thrown away.

My gifts. Each day.

Lord, teach me to treasure them. Teach me to see eternity. This year, this year of Sabbath, teach me a new habit. Slowly, falteringly, open my eyes to the real. Every day. Every moment.

Teach me to love well.


Surely, if you are online, you know Ann Voskamp's much-anticipated book "One Thousand Gifts" was released yesterday. (And quickly shot to #7 on Amazon's best seller list; watch the video for a perfect description of her work.)

Maybe, like me, you would like company on this walk of grace, this discovery of God's gifts in the everyday? There is a community for this journey. I would love to see you there.


  1. Oh Kelly, my eyes are full of tears that I can hardly see what I'm typing. I know exactly where your heart it because I do the exact same thing. I want to change and be fully there in everything I do. To be intentional in everything I do, especially when it comes to my kids. And to not be distracted by the computer, my cell phone, or keeping the house. I know. I know, girl. I really do.

  2. Ouch. Totally. I was reading this while Brody kept coming up from the basement and toddling over to me, pointing at himself saying, "Play? Me?" and going back down, hoping I'd follow. I think it happened four times. Four times that I could've shown him he means the world to me, but four times I chose myself instead.

    Thanks, Kelly. You are a treasure.

    And yes! I can. not. wait. to get Ann's book in the mail. Ordered it yesterday! See you at book club!

  3. My heart hurts. How many moments? Don't I know it.

    Painful, powerful conviction here. Thank you for bringing truth.

    I love your words, sweet sister.

  4. Ouch and amen. And I won't say any more so you won't be tempted to read it! :-)

  5. this is so convicting. thank you for the reminder that the good moments are precious and fleeting... that if we look up too late, they're gone. i'm thankful that His mercies are new every morning, and each day we can decide to love better than we did yesterday... turning the computer off now :)

  6. Yes, my friend, we are on the same page. Did you read Ann's post for today? Beautiful and convicting. Not only do I pass up moments with my children but all too often I pass up moments with Him. I'm hoping to get the book soon! :)

  7. I believe being "present" for LIFE, in general, is an intentional thing. We have to work at not missing the moments that make up the hours that make up the days...What a great post.

  8. Hasn't Joanne's situation made you think about this more than ever?

    I was just thinking this morning, what if I knew I only had 9 years or 12 years with my kids (the ages of her daughters). How would that change the way I parent?

    How WILL that change the way I parent?

  9. "I had missed it."...oh we walk on common ground...let us determine to really BE in each moment.

  10. I think that you must have written this for ME, my dear friend...didn't you? WOW! As I read it, I was TOTALLY feeling your 'pain'! Then as I read the comments from the other readers, the tears started. What an inspiration YOU and your 'fellow bloggers' have been to me today! ~Thank You~ :-)

  11. Hi Kelly! I am popping over her from Me, Myself and Mercy. What a honest post- one I could have written myself. It's God alone who can change our hearts, open our eyes to see and treasure our gifts and these moments!

  12. So very true. There are so many pointless distractions, aren't there... Thank you for the reminder.

    Just started Ann's book. I'm so excited to read it that I don't want to start because then it will be over.

  13. Oh this. I so appreciate your honesty, your heart, your willingness to call yourself out (and by default the rest of us who do the same thing on where we've failed to love well.
    I'm actually thinking about taking a blogging/twitter/facebook break during lent, not b/c any of it feels "out of hand", but just because I feel myself living in an increasingly distracted manner. It's a hard balance to find...

  14. That video is lovely... a great message.

    But as a 40 year old, single, mother-in-my-heart-and-soul-not-in-real-life, most of the message to me was drowned out by the beautiful pictures of children and domestic life.... screaming "You don't have this! She's talking about appreciating what you have, and you don't have any of it! These are not the moments of your life. This message is NOT for YOU!"
    So, while I'm sure the book is inspirational... I won't be reading it because I expect it to tell me how to appreciate the small moments of life that are so so precious....
    and I just don't think sweeping my own hair off the bathroom floor, rinsing my own plate after a microwave dinner, and coming home to an empty house everyday are going to cut it. I will concede that the single moment I have each morning where I think of how much I love my bed, the smooth, soft sheets and the little burrow of warmth I created during my sleep might count... until one realizes that I 1) don't want to get out of bed and face the day alone, again and 2) I rarely want to go to bed because I'm tired of it being empty.
    All you momma's and wives enjoy it... I am clearly not the intended audience.

  15. TRS - I haven't read the book yet, but from other writings I have read by the same author, I would say you are exactly the intended audience. Give it a try.

    I'm sorry things are hard for you at the moment, my heart hurts for you.

  16. I echo anonymous, TRS. My heart is heavy for you. I do not wear your burden. But I hear your cry of agony.

    I haven't read the book yet either. But I suspect it has less to do with domesticity and kids as it does finding God in YOUR every day. Those pictures are pictures from Ann's life -- which, yes, is filled with keeping a house, keeping a farm, keeping a family. But I suspect her message cannot be contained by one lifestyle.

  17. Found you through Mocha with Linda. So thought provoking. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  18. Oh, Kelly. A good word I needed today. So often I block out what matters most to tend to what matters hardly at all. Thank you.

  19. So true! I have had many wake-up moments like this when I just want to slap myself for putting frivolous things in front of my children. It's a hard battle to fight and I struggle every day. At least we're aware and do make the effort to overcome.