Today, 13 degree weather, frost and light snow covering everything greeted me as I poured fluid into my windshield fluid container. Up and about at 6:00, I have chapters to write, but I do not want to miss making memories with my sweet ones.

Last week, Joy attended a Biola Bound weekend in California where she is considering attending college in the fall. As I drove up to the campus to pick her up, everyone looked old to me and like prowlers out to get Joy. How could my baby be old enough to attend? How would she manage without me?

My throat thickened and tears welled and I felt abandoned and powerless and sad for the reality of her leaving.

She bounced out of the dorm where she was staying with excitement, life, stories and a faith to take on her world.

So I tucked my sadness away and celebrated with her in her cheer and joy.

Funny how time changes things. Yes, there were the days I was so overwhelmed I didn't know what to do. Days of depression. Days of boredom. Days of wondering what I was thinking when I had these 4 children--and then decided to homeschool them.

But, little by little, God taught me a rhythm of life, showed me to cherish them, stretched my life and emotional and work muscles, and I fell in love with my children, my home and the life we shared there. Little by little it happened by His Spirit leading, instructing, enlarging my heart.

And now home, through book deadlines, conference details, myriads of correspondence and requests, only one thing is in my heart. To keep my priority of God and people, to make decisions every day to keep the first things first. Next year, I will long to talk to her face to face and see sparkling eyes and hear her antics and what she has learned and the details of her busy life, But I have today to grasp and hold and subdue. Hopefully by the time I have a chapter written, she will be up and around and we can spend time together. And Joel who is only temporarily home for three months after being gone for 4 years is here to celebrate now.

Just called Joy now that she is up and made plans, pizza for her friends coming to practice speech, chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate for all and Joel and me a date to share the thoughts and dreams bubbling around as is always constant in our home. Joy shared with me life-changing thoughts from her quiet time this morning--how very often she speaks into my soul.

So, somehow we will all gather, at least for moments planned and protected to love and build the strings that tie our hearts together a little thicker, that we will all long for this time, together, the rest of our lives.

Joy's friends warming feet by the fire--a sweet memory in the midst of some other cold on another day.