29 October 2009

No Longer

No longer will I look scornfully upon you when I notice your child walking down the street wearing only one flip flop. Maybe your daughter just tripped on her left flip flop, took it off and used her teeth to try to "fix" the problem, thus creating a new problem - a completely unwearable piece of footwear. And maybe you were only a block or so away from your car anyway so it just made more sense to walk back to the car with her one shoe-less than to really address the problem on the street with four other children in addition to the one-shoe-wonder walking down the street.
No longer will I assume you are a disrespectful food addict when I watch you sneak a granola bar/graham cracker/ cookie/ candy bar/ fruit roll up/ milkshake/ five course meal during a church service/ theatre performance/ meeting/ class/ study/ funeral. Maybe you had no time for breakfast between the morning mayhem of feeding your many small children, giving a loopy overgrown puppy his morning meal, dressing ten legs and ten feet and ten arms and being sure your bag was loaded for every potential disaster a day away from the safety of your home could bring. Maybe your lunch was a half eaten slice of apple and lick of brownie batter.

No longer will I secretly laugh at you when I watch you fall asleep during a children's theatre performance. Maybe your head is sinking over onto your son's head because you stayed up too late talking on the telephone to a friend from another state. Maybe your eyes have been blinked ten minutes too long because your infant son decided his regularly scheduled wake time needed an hour and a half earlier than usual morning call. Maybe that one night is reflective of how several weeks have been of trying to do too much too late too often.

28 October 2009

I Didn't Know

I am constantly learning new things.

Sure, plenty of those things are powerful, spiritual and perspective-altering.

But some of them are not.

For example.

I didn't know that size 6 jeans for six-year-olds are already $15 even at low-cost stores such as T.J. Maxx. (I just visited Ye Olde Good Will Shoppe to cure that one.)

I didn't know that petite clothing has very little do with your overall size. I always thought those clothes were for very tiny people so I sidestepped those racks. I recently found out that petite is actually talking about your height! As a relatively short person, why hasn't someone, anyone, told me this before? Was every salesperson in my life ignorant or uninformed? What? I have been walking on the hems of my jeans since....well, since I could walk. And now, now at thirty-six, I discover the world of petite. It's about time!

And this week I just solved another mystery that had left me confused for years.

After carving many pumpkins I always wondered how the innards of the pumpkins we carved could ever mutate into the form of the condensed pumpkin stuff I bought in cans for less than two dollars. I just chalked it up to the mysteries of processed foods and let it go. But I could never connect how the stringy, seedy pulp we plopped in the compost became such a different texture and consistency. And I assumed it must take hordes of real-life pumpkins to fill even one can of pumpkin at the store.

Guess what?

It was just this week that I was enlightened.

It's not the stringy, goopy, seedy stuff that makes it to the cans. Nope. It's the rest of the pumpkin. All the golden thick walls of the pumpkin which your knife slices right through.

Who knew?

Okay, well, probably everybody but me.

(And yeah - I was raised on a farm. So what? We had cows, not pumpkins!)

So in the spirit of making me feel less ridiculous,
wouldn't you like to tell me what you never knew?

27 October 2009

Calls It Like He Sees It

Bergen likes to call things by the names he thinks are best, even if they are not correct.

These delicious little peanut butter kiss cookies?

Needle Tips.

26 October 2009

Are You Sure?

I find myself always asking,

(repetitively, yes)

How can I best serve God?

(Right now. In this life. In the present.)

And the answer seems to always be given

(repetitively, yes)

softly in my mind,

boldly in my life.

By serving the people living at this house.

No, no, no.

Can't I do something glamorous?
Something big?
Highly visible?

Don't you need a writer for a really popular magazine?
Do you need me to work at a theatre like Flat Rock Playhouse?
Do you want me to sell all of my possessions and travel across the country with my family in an RV for you?
Do you want me to sequester myself away in some private hideaway and write the next great novel?


to stay

To wash these clothes?
To wipe so many sticky hands?
To kiss golden heads when they cry?
To stay up late holding inconsolable babies?

(or may not)
ever say
thank you.

Are you sure?


I am supposed to be busy
about the business
you gently placed


But . . . .
No one notices.
The hours are really long.
The salary is sub-standard.
The benefits
not entirely


Really hard.


25 October 2009

Not Allowed

Maybe I have been a little too busy moving furniture around lately.

London secretly made this sign all by herself and then displayed it prominently on the fridge.

Translation: No Moving Furniture

24 October 2009

Little Bites

Piper Finnian is notorious for a lot of reasons around these parts.

Standing anywhere she can gather a crowd and announcing, "Everybody! Dance!"

Agreeing with all who may perchance comment about her cuteness. "I cooot!"

Wrapping grown men around her finger by announcing how much she loves them. Men such as Kevin Keigley, Nathan Heffington, Walter Howard, Jody Deming, Jamal Quattlebaum and Greg Boone.

Singing "How He Loves" at the top of her lungs.

Finding the half-eaten bag of M&Ms reserved for potty training and eating the remainder of the entire bag before being caught.

Recognizing songs by Michael Jackson and Ben Harper without any prompting.

Waiting until naptime every day to drop a toxic poop in her diaper.

And eating tiny bites of fruit and returning the fruit to its original container without my knowledge.

Such as apples in a wooden bowl on the kitchen table. (Tiny Piper bites through the whole bowl full.)

And this row of semi-eaten carrots, neatly lined up across the counter.

Operation Potty Traing: A Family Affair

I don't enjoy potty training.

It's one of my least favorite parenting tasks.

I don't enjoy changing diapers either really, but somehow, for me, potty training is worse than a gross, but speedy and predictable diaper change.

So Piper is two and has been talking about the potty for some time. Lately, she's even begun to request a new diaper post-poo. I guess those are the generally accepted signs that she's more ready than I am to start this messy, time-consuming journey.

I decided to adopt my husband's well known philosophy of not playing around. I immediately began employing a system that involves bribery and back up.

I explained the whole m&m scheme to Piper. One m&m for sitting on the potty. Three m&m's for peeing. Five m&m's for poop.

She was impressed. (What age do we stop being impressed with a tiny number of candy-coated chocolates as a reward?)

I wasted no time executing my next step.

I called in the reinforcements.

London, Mosely and Bergen gathered around me with serious expressions on their cute kid faces. I explained the system I had just told their toddler sister. And then I added the incentive. "Whichever of you helps Piper do these things, receives the same number of m&m's as well."

They cheered. (Seriously.)

And then, just to show their sense of team play, they actually gathered around Piper in a huddle sort of way, placed all of their small hands one on top of another, and whispered for a few seconds before saying in unison, "One, two three . . . go Keigleys!"

I think they had just formed their own game plan.

And I am pleased to report that one day in to Operation Potty Training Piper, the kids' team efforts have proven most effective.

With the enticement of m&m's, the kids have been taking Piper regularly to the potty and shouting with more excitement than imaginable over her success, and theirs too.

I could not resist photographing their work.

I only wish I could have recorded their conversations during the task at hand as well.

Words of encouragement from Mosely. "You can do it, Piper." "Good work." "I am so proud of you."

Bergen's claim to be master of the flushing responsibilities.

And London's announcement - "I will be in charge of looking at Piper's bum to see if anything is coming out!"

21 October 2009

What Is She Wearing?

My friend Mandy and I were on our way to our weekly Bible study.

The kids were all buckled into their seats, quietly enjoying our little ride.

"Mommy. I think Piper just threw up," Bergen said.

"No, I don't think so Berg."

"Yeah. I think she did," he said.

"I throw up," Piper announced.

Mandy turned around to verify the facts.

"Uh. Yes. She did throw up."

We were almost at church so we kept heading in that direction so we could clean her up there.

Not to get too graphic, but it was pretty much a pure strawberry yogurt type of throw up. More than likely brought on by the quick downing of an unshaken yogurt drink and a new curvy road driven at speeds slightly too fast for the conditions caused by a sincere desire to not be late AGAIN to Bible study.

As we reached the stoplight, Piper said, "I throw up again Mom."

"Are you sure?" I asked.

What's my problem? Why do I keep doubting the validity of my children's claims?

Mandy and I both look back this time.

Oh yeah. She's throwing up again.

Mandy searches the floorboard for a blanket or any piece of material to help contain the overflow.

(Which is incredibly kind of her since she is like me and has a complete aversion to throw up in any form, particularly in the form of someone else's child. Oh, and she's pregnant, which we all know multiplies that sensitivity level enormously.)

Of course, there was nothing to be found on the floorboard - an absolute anomaly in our Suburban but Riley had just cleaned out the car the day before. Normally you could clothe the Duggar family with the contents located between the seats.

So here we go.

We arrive at church and Mandy escorts the other kids to class while I escort my sweet little stinky yogurt girl to the bathroom. But there's no recovering this outfit. It's a gross bile-strawberry mess.

The most pleasant and efficient nursery attendant offered me a change of clothes that the church keeps on hand for such occasions. I gratefully accepted.

And that is where this story really starts.

The outfit that I was graciously loaned was . . . . . well, it was a look I would have never willingly draped on my daughter's body.

The clothes weren't that awful, I guess.

And they did cover her nakedness.

And they were a marked improvement over the cute dress whose current primary decoration was yogurt vomit.

But the pink and turquoise printed turtleneck and matching turquoise thick corduroy jumper did make my sweet Willow look as if she was the eighteenth child of a homesteader who hand-fashioned her children's clothing from the scraps of Grandma's quilt. Not to mention that both the bulk and the cut of the material added enough weight to make Piper look like a tiny human weeble wobble.

(Don't think for a minute that I don't know how shallow and petty this sounds. I do. And now you know how shallow and petty I can be sometimes, okay?)

We made it through Bible study, but I was desperate to change this kid's clothes.

But then we decided to stop at the lodge for lunch.

I wanted to tell everyone why Piper was dressed like she was. I wanted to clear my throat and make a general announcement. I think if I could have made a sign to put around her neck explaining the entire scenario, I would have.

To compound the situation (and probably for God to prove His point to me) we had plans to head to art class directly after lunch, with no time for even a speedy clothes change. But I pulled into the house anyway and grabbed an outfit, tossing it in the car and telling myself that I would change Piper when we reached the art class or even the museum where she and Bergen would be playing while the girls attended their class.

When we reached the parking lot and I began trying to wrangle a two year old out of clothes she had no problem with in the back of car filled with five car seats while trying not to be late to our first art class, I finally realized how ludicrous I was being. How foolish and vain. How ridiculous.

Piper was dressed. She was not naked.

Piper was clean. Her clothes did not reek of stomach acids and sour yogurt.

Piper was content. Her attire in no way hindered her ability to run or to jump and play.

And that is all that was important to her.

So why wasn't that all that was important to me?

What was my problem, exactly?

I don't know.

Fear of man?


Pride? (That's my go-to sin apparently, in its many subtle and less-than-subtle forms.)


All of the above.

20 October 2009

School Days

You know what I love?

Borrowing ideas from people far more clever than I.

I saw a picture of my friend Kate's children playing with spaghetti noodles at a table.

I took her idea.

And did it at my own table. With my own kids.

At first, they couldn't get over the novelty of the fact that Mommy had just dumped noodles all over the table and actually instructed them to play with their food.

It was great. London spelled her name and underlined it. Hawkeye spelled a "b" and asked me to help him form the remaining letters. Mosely created a large head with an ultra-squiggly beard that made us all giggle. And Piper? Well, she just shoved handfuls of sticky pasta in her mouth.

This was just the start of a particularly fun week at the School of Keigley.

We've been covering every facet of education this week.

Monday some of the crew headed out to see a performance of "Peter and the Wolf" at a local theatre. Midway through the play, Bergen turned to me and whispered, "I like this play - don't you Mommy?" And the girls have been quoting the wolf's lines all day today.

This afternoon London and Mosely took their first art class in downtown Hendersonville. They studied Da Vinci. We introduced the painter extraordinaire last week and suddenly Mona Lisa seems to be everywhere. Bergen just thinks it is so funny that they even saw a Mona Lisa that someone had drawn a moustache across. The girls were so grown that they attended the class sans me and it was a bit surreal to watch them just go off and do their own little thing. (They have been infatuated with their own togetherness lately, even to the point of insisting on wearing matching outfits today.)

And then there's tomorrow. Tomorrow we get to take a guided hike with a homeschool group at Pisgah National Forest. The kids get to study raccoons and wood ducks and visit the fish hatchery.

And . . . . with that said . . . . I am off to pack a picnic lunch!

19 October 2009

Just Because

It's not Father's Day.

And it isn't Kevin's birthday.

But I feel like writing about him anyway.

In our house, the man is a Super Star.

He really is.

With all the trappings of celebrity . . . .

Not much private time (his biggest fans are continually interrupting him in the restroom - even if the door IS shut - try dealing with THAT Harrison Ford)

Everyone vying for his attention (Daddy, can you read this? Will you cut an apple for me? Can I cuddle with you? What are you going to watch Dad? Can I walk outside with you? Where are you going? When will you be back? Can I come? Can I have a bite? What is that? Have you seen my shoes? Can you help me wipe?)

His fashion cues being followed (seriously - Bergen dressed just like him this weekend)

The entourage that generally surrounds him (granted, the bulk of said entourage are his own offspring, but still)

Photos constantly being snapped (wait, this one is a lie)

The celebratory dance and mad dash to his side that happens when he enters the house after a day at work or ten minutes outside (you probably think this is a lie too, but it isn't)

But the guy does work pretty hard for the money. (So we better treat him right.) (Remember that song?)


He's a Super Star because he's a Dad.

And a good one.

Reader of bedtime stories. Incorporating various British accents or Southern drawls accordingly.

Constructing ramps over our bedroom steps for he and Berg to race Brutus the monster truck.

Capturing teachable moments to talk to Mosely about how her obedience pleases God when she comments about how proud she is to be learning how to make Magnus be obedient to her.

Offering warmth and security when London has a bad dream about her knee turning into a scary face.

Making our entire crowded dinner table roll out of our chairs laughing as he helps Fox to dance on the table in his diaper after our meal, all the while speaking as if he is the voice of the nearly five month old mini-man. (It is truly hysterical. You should see it in person.)

Thinking of ingenious solutions to basic problems - like the ice cold water bottle stashed near Otto in his stroller on hot summer days to keep his little space cool and comfortable.

Talking to Riley's Bible class about his experiences in Israel.

Gently bathing Piper and treating her to a special tiny spa day.

And this list isn't even exhaustive.

Today, I just feel like celebrating Kevin.

And I wanted you to see some of what I see.

Because it's a nice view.

17 October 2009

A Little Stir Crazy

Kevin was in Israel for a lot of days.

And some of those days felt much longer than others.

And those many days were also followed by many nights.

I might have gotten a little stir crazy while he was gone.

I might have rearranged the living room furniture in at least twelve various configurations, none of which seemed to please anyone but me.

I might have painted the kitchen cabinets with chalkboard paint and drawn on all the doors with colored chalk.

I might have cleaned out the kids' closets on multiple evenings.

I might have reorganized Kevin's plethora of t-shirts into tidy stacks according to style, color and usage.

I might have moved all of our family's unnecessarily extensive DVD collection from one storage cabinet to another, ordering the DVDs into categories that amused me - such as All Films That Feature Musical Instruction To Young Children, thus causing School of Rock and Sound of Music to dwell side by side in perfect harmony.

I might have given our bedroom a major overhaul, adding risers under our bed and picking up some new red curtains and moving bookshelves that were most certainly too heavy to lift.

I might have bought a huge framed painting of two lions hanging out at local store for a pittance compared to the cost of purchasing new canvas and framing my own artwork. And since I don't want a huge picture of two lions hanging out, I may have just painted right over that crazy scene to do my own art project.

And I might have found these cool windows in the barn and thought that they made a cute mock headboard.

But since Kevin has been home, our evenings seldom involve home projects such as these and the furniture has stayed in its proper place.


Important Things

Riley was at school. The Little Willow was taking a nap. Wilder was kicking his feet in his crib. (It's how he likes to pass the time.)

And London, Mosely and Bergen were on a mission.

A mission to help.

They were scurrying around the house, looking for Things To Do.

They offered to tidy the living room.

I let them.

That wasn't enough though. They wanted more work.

I suggested they carry the little red bucket we keep dirty kitchen laundry in and put all of that little red bucket's contents into the washing machine.

They were excited to do it.

(I am not making this up.)

(Why do I assert that disclaimer so often on this blog?)

(And what's up with all of these parentheses?)

After unloading the laundry they kept flitting back and forth doing other odd jobs at my request. All the while wearing sweet smiles and laughing as they worked together.

I thought maybe all of this unexpected generosity of spirit was a sign. Was the world ending? Had they all suffered from some sort of head injury that I missed? What did they want?

I inquired of these cherubic small humans, "What's going on today?"

And London answered for the group.

(Because she does that.)

(Just like I overuse parentheses.)

She said,

"We like to do important things."


You know, I actually get that.

From the mouth of a six-year-old budding thinker.

Business Theory. Educational philosophy. Motivational poster material.

"We like to do important things."

It's true.

Who wants to spend her life thinking that what she is doing, the bulk of what takes up her day, efforts and time, is not valuable, is unimportant?

Absolutely no one.

We are desperate to believe that what we do matters. That what we do is important. We like to do important things.

And it is precisely when we feel that what we are doing is unimportant, that we lose the joy, the pride in our work itself.

And, of course, we know the lesson is that what we do is important.

of what we do.

Is important.

And it's not just important if it is missionary work in a third world country. It's not only preaching from a pulpit on Sunday mornings or Saturday nights, whenever the cool churches have service these days. It isn't just writing the next Christian novel or evangelizing on television.

It's whatever you are doing.

Right now.

In your ordinary (extraordinary) life.

Doing important work starts where you are.

It's important not because of what you do, but because of why you do it. And who you do it for.

Because we all like to do important things.

15 October 2009


You know how some things people say stick with your forever?

For better or for worse?

Words really are powerful.

My 7th grade teacher once called me a "snot".

She probably does not even remember.

But I can't forget it.

The truth is, I probably was being a snot. And she probably was having a rotten day with one too many junior high snide comments.

But I am thirty-six years old and I can still clearly remember how those words made me feel.


What scary power.

I know this and yet I am always speaking without thinking.

I hear myself say such ridiculous things.

But that's not even the worst of it.

Those silly things probably will be soon forgotten by everyone who heard them.

It's the other things I say that are going to stick.

The more hurtful words and phrases. The ones I don't even want to admit in writing.

You know the ones.

I say them when I am unhappy. When I want someone to know just how unhappy they have made me. When I think it's their fault. When I want them to hurt, even just a little. Sometimes a lot.

I just say things.

And I may not even mean them.

And it's horrible enough when I say those rotten words to adults. But somehow, it seems, I am able to control that flow of speech better.

What is worse, really worse, is when I say these words to my children - the smaller-than-me people living in our house.

That's wrong.

And I know it.

I know it because I know the power of words - to heal or to hurt, to bring peace or to bring chaos.

And I would much rather my words lift my children up, rather than bring them down. I would much rather my mouth glorify God than bring Him shame.

Handle them carefully for words have more power than atom bombs.
- Pearl Strachan

14 October 2009

Oh, Mo

I just heard Mosely admonish Bergen.

"I don't understand Whine-ese," she said.


That's pretty interesting Mosely.

I thought you were pretty fluent in that language yourself.

13 October 2009

It Doesn't Compare

Oh. Oh. Oh.

I think I am just now
beginning to understand
with new eyes.

About sin.
About forgiveness.
About comparing.
About me.

I am always
my sin to his sin.
My sin to your sin.

when I compare
I begin to think

we cannot place our sins
on some sin scale
and measure them along those lines.

Other people's sins
the wrong reference point.

The wrong point entirely.

It's not about
my sin
compared to
your sin.

It never has been.

It's only
my sin
compared to
the cost
already paid.

(We can only
to a
sinless Christ
who died
for a

Bergen Hawkeye - The Interview

The following is an interview with a little boy.

A little boy who lives life so wide open and so exuberantly. A little boy missing two front teeth from two separate traumatic events. A boy with a scar on his right cheek from running into Jane's truck. And another scar on his chest from a nail on a dock last summer. A little boy who cries far more often from hurt feelings than from hurt limbs.

My little boy.

It is a rare and exclusive peek into the mind that is Hawkeye.

(Rare in that he does not frequently stand still long enough to answer a series of questions. Exclusive in the fact that who else would be pursuing a four-year-old to interview except his own mother.)

What you will read here will be unedited and unscripted.

Because if Bergen is anything, he's the real deal.

What is your full name?

Bergen Hawkeye Norton Keigley

Which of those names is your favorite and why?

I don't know. Bergen. Because it's a short name.

What color are your eyes?


What color is you hair?


And what is the shade of your skin?


How old are you?

This many. [holding up four fingers.]

What is your favorite toy?

Brutus. [ A monster truck with very large tires. Purchased originally as a Christmas present from his grandfather. Played with until recently retired due to a major accident. Re-purchased by his father about two weeks ago. ]

Why do you love Brutus?

Because he is just new and excited.

What was your favorite vacation and why?

At the beach. The beach is just so fun.

What do you like best about being a Keigley?

We don't always grow up that much.

Why do you love Daddy so much?

He's just real nice and cuddly.

What type of job would you like to have one day?

Just cleaning the dishes and dishing up kids' plates.

What is your favorite book?

Stellaluna. Because it's my night- night story.

What is your favorite song?

Beautiful Boy. [The Ben Harper version. Or, in Berg's words - "Ben Harpen".]

Is there anything you are afraid of?

Snakes. 'Cos they bite people too much.

What is it that you love to eat?

Chicken. Chicken nuggets.

What do you think of your little brother Otto Fox?

He's real nice and cute.

What do you like to do with him?

Play. Can I be done now?

The morning prior to this interview, we were walking through a parking lot. Bergen was adjusting his hat. He did not see the car side mirror as he walked. He completely knocked his forehead right into the solid, stationary object. I heard a loud smacking sound. I am not sure Bergen even blinked. No tears. A slight rub to the head and then back to his hat adjustment.

I asked Bergen why he thought he got hurt so often.

He answered, "Because being a boy is hard."

12 October 2009

Our Little Wilde Fox

Look who is beginning to eat cereal!

Can you believe that there was actually a moment in every one of our lives where we could swallow liquid only and then one day, at some precise minute in our past, a spoon was shoved into our tiny mouth and we experienced a great unknown.

And then that first-time experience quickly morphed into an action that we so completely take for granted that we probably have never even thought about it again.

Crazy - huh?

10 October 2009

This Circus

Tell me the truth, am I the only one who feels like life with small children is more often a circus than anything else?

Do these things happen only at our house?

At your house do reusable silicone muffin wrappers fall out of your washing machine when you open the door?

Do you walk into the kitchen to discover your toddler surrounded by piles of cornmeal, of which she is shoving into her mouth? And when you ask her what she is eating does she reply, "powder"?

Do children sing Michael Jackson's "Will You Be There?" with your husband while dancing around the kitchen using antique wooden rolling pins as microphones?

Does your two-year-old daughter absolutely refuse to take any bath sitting down?

During dinner at your place does it appear that the dining room chairs are on fire or something else equally alarming, causing your four-year-old to continually hop out of his seat despite constant reminders to stay seated?

Does silverware steadily drop to the floor during every meal together?

Do you have to put a feature length film in the DVD player to ensure a few quiet moments to chat with your husband?

And finally, do you ever enter the bathroom at your house, only to discover a urine soaked floor and upon inquiring of your children who is guilty of causing such an unfortunate disaster you get this confession and explanation - "It was me Mommy. I couldn't help it. My penis was backwards."

09 October 2009

Brought To You By . . .

As I said in the last post, it's no small task for both Kevin and I to leave the state of South Carolina sans children.

But leave it we did, if only for an overnight journey to Atlanta for that U2 concert I was raving about recently.

And our adventure was brought to us by some wonderful people we like to call Emma and Sally. Or Aunt E and Oma. Or "Aunt Eeeee-muh" if you are two.

How do you get to claim the title of sainthood anyway?

Do you have to be Catholic?

Or dead?

Well, if those are the two primary requirements then I guess Emma and Sally are officially out of the running. But despite the rules, I think they stand a pretty good chance for a nomination anyway.

Because a few weeks ago when I jokingly asked Emma if she wanted to bring her two young sons and come hang out with five of our children, four of whom are under the age of six, she didn't laugh or choke or change the subject. She said, "That sounds like fun. I'll check with Jon." (Maybe she forgot to count how many little kids that would be in total - like six, I think.)

And when we told Sally about the one night slumber party, she wanted in on the fun too, since she was heading up to the farm anyway. Just a little detour - right?

The kids were all so excited to have a sleepover at their own house with their pals Colton and Beckett. Bergen planned to share his room with Colton. Piper began early asking if Beckett could sleep in her room. (I think Emma said they tried this for a short while. Two two-year-olds in a tent. Probably not a sleep-inducing set up. But I bet they looked so cute.)

And as if simply taking care of the kids at home was not challenging enough, all of the younger kids even got to go on an adventure of their own - to the apple orchard!

(Where Sally said London declared that she realized the logic behind the naming of a certain apple variety. London said, "I know why they call this a golden delicious apple. They are golden. And they taste delicious.")

It was a blessing beyond words to be able to drive away in a car for a night's adventure and not even once have to worry about the safety or well-being of our children.

We knew they were with Aunt E and Oma.

That they were fed. Talked to. Played with. Tucked in. Laughed with. Cared for. Taken care of. Safe.

In short, loved.

I don't know if Emma and Sally are ready for a Round Two any time soon, but the Keigley kids cannot wait to do it all over again.

London and Mosely reminded me that they still want a tea party with Oma. Piper randomly declares to all within hearing distance, "Beckett. My friend." And as I tucked Berg into bed tonight he told me, "Colton liked my room. I just want him to sleep here all the time."

(I love this picture of the four of us. It makes us look as if we are just extras in Jody's life. And that's funny to me.)

I guess I owe a big fat thank you to my older brother Danny.

Thanks, man.

Back in the day (the "day" being the years he spent driving Douglas and I back and forth to school in the silver hatchback Tercel covered in skateboarding stickers), Danny introduced me to what is arguably one of the greatest rock bands ever formed. A little Irish group named U2.

This was early on. As in, I still own several U2 cassette tapes. (Remember those?)

Fast forward to the present.

This week Kevin and I, along with our good pals Mandy and Jody, made a bit of a pilgrimage to Atlanta to see that now-internationally known band do their thing.

It was a real Look Up Lodge gathering - Nate, Lanier and Walter attended as well. Jane saw them the week before. And so did Walter. Yes, that means he went twice. Within the same week.

It was no small undertaking to make this happen, actually. Well, there really is no longer any small undertaking if it involves our family.

Aunt E and Oma graciously functioned as the grown ups in our absence. (More on that tomorrow!) And Nate and Jenn Rector kindly took care of the little Otto while we were at the actual show. (It requires a great deal of manpower to harness these Keigley kids.)

Actually, the whole adventure would have had a very different ending if Jody had not jokingly asked before we buckled our seat belts in the driveway, "Did you remember the tickets?" I think he probably expected a chuckle or a "good one Jody". Nope. He got a crazed Lacey leaping out of the car and bolting back to the house to procure the precious paper slips from their resting place on the top shelf of the bookcase.


The concert was . . . incredible. Crazy loud, reminding me of my advanced years. But Bono is amazing and The Edge is . . . . you know, The Edge. He's ridiculously good.

These guys have had such a long and successful career - it's astounding. They have been a band for almost more years than I have been breathing. I mean, these guys are someone's dad! (I wonder what my life would have been like if Carl Eibert had chosen rock and roll over dairy cows. Was that ever an option Dad?)

Everything about the experience was fun. The car ride. The beef jerky. The Mexican restaurant in Lilburn (or wherever we were) where I tried my first chimichanga. (A word spellcheck does not recognize.) The fact that it was just cold enough to justify wearing my new boots. Sitting in the backseat of the XTerra with my husband. Seeing Nate and Jenn Rector in their cute house with their quirky dog taking care of our youngest boy. Driving by the entrance of Mandy and Jody's first home. Bono singing "Amazing Grace". Me singing along too loudly to "Sunday Bloody Sunday". The whole thing.

(Oh, I guess that's not entirely true. I was not keen on paying $30 to park on a gravel pile in Atalanta.)

This post has no real point.

We had a great time.

And I wanted to talk about it.

I guess that's the point.

08 October 2009

Heady Stuff

Coming out of her room many hours past bedtime, London explained to me that she could not sleep.

"I keep thinking bad thoughts about scary things, Mommy."

"Well, try to think about things that are lovely and that are good," I told her.

Apparently, she had already covered that and moved on.

"Mom, I have. Instead, I have been trying to think how God exists in three persons."

05 October 2009

Try This

I think I have just discovered a breakthrough diet plan.

Maybe even revolutionary.

It's low cost, convenient and it really works.

(I can prove its effectiveness. I am not a paid actor. This is a true story.)

First, you need a cup of something ridiculously hot.

Steaming, in fact.

Boiling couldn't even hurt.

(Something like, say, your own invention of a vanilla steamer made in your microwave.)

The next step is the most important step.

Place the cup in your hand. Do not blow on the cup's contents. Do not!

Raise the cup to your mouth

And drink a full sip.

(The bigger the gulp, the better.)


Now you have severely burned your tongue.

This should alter your taste buds and subdue your desire to eat for at least a full day.

Perhaps even longer if you are lucky.

Nothing will taste great and everything will be semi-painful to chew, thus causing you to avoid meals you would otherwise rush to devour.

Diet plan enacted!

04 October 2009

What It Isn't

I love my husband.

I really do.

But with each year and each turn and each milestone of marriage God is teaching me brand new things about love.

What it is. And what it isn't.

And I have so many more lessons to learn.

A number of books and wise counsel have taught me along this path, leading me to where I am now. Books like Love & Respect and Sacred Marriage.

But no book teaches me more than God's word. It strips away popular theory and is more relevant than any book claiming itself as the most relevant marriage help book on the market.

Today our pastor was referencing marriage in his sermon. And, among many other things, he said that marriage really means death.

No, not a death to good times or dude nights or speed dating.

Death to us. Death to ourselves. Our personal, and mostly selfish, desires.

It's really an opportunity to be like Christ. To love another human being before ourselves.

Like one of the books I listed above proposes, what if marriage is designed to make us holy instead of happy?

That's so unAmerican - isn't it?

It's not what Hollywood says. Not what romance novels espouse. It's not what poets ponder and songwriters wail about. Not what fills our dreams at night or drives the plots of the films that wait in our red NetFlix envelopes.

No. We are bombarded with the images of romance and feelings. Always catering to our feelings.

Two souls as one.
Our better half.
Love of my life.
Knight in shining armor.

Please don't read me wrong here. I like romance. Probably too much. I want my days to be full of it.

I spent far too many hours reading Janette Oake's perfect-ending-every-time Christianized romance novels in high school. I watched Pretty in Pink and Two Weeks Notice and dozens of sub-par films in between and I wanted to be swept off my feet, wooed, carried off on a white horse.

But we always take it all too far. Even the good things. Or wait, I always take it all too far. Especially the good things.

Two souls as one?

Romantic drivel at best.

Damning theology at worst.

Kevin and I made a covenant with God. We did. To act in a certain manner to one another. (Not really to feel a certain way forever. Who can promise to feel a certain way forever?)

But two souls?

I'm afraid not.

We're not a package deal.

I am not ultimately responsible for the status of Kevin's soul.

Nor he for mine.

It just doesn't work that way.

Regardless of the sweet sentiment.

When will I ever accept the truth as it is instead of the truth as I wish it to be?

03 October 2009


Maybe it's time for a little confessional.

Will this make me appear self-serving in your eyes?


But I'm going to risk it.

I once wrote that I blogged to gain perspective on my days and my life in general. To remember to laugh at the mundane or pull extraordinary from what feels ordinary.

That is still true.

But more than one thing can be true at the same time- right?

I also write this blog because, well, because I really like your comments. Really like them.

As in, I check my e-mail in the morning just to see if anyone had anything to say and I get happy when I see the little numbers go up on the comment section and when I read the facebook responses. Really happy.

Thus far, I have found motherhood to be funny and inspiring and humbling and joyous but also isolated, lonely and discouraging.

There isn't exactly a lot of encouragement in my chosen field of work.

There is no annual job review where your boss gives you the old cr*p sandwich. (In my house - cr*p is still a cuss word - okay?) The talk where you get to hear one good thing, one bad thing and one good thing. Like a sandwich.

Customers don't send e-mails back to my manager to talk about what a great impression I made on a client.

After I speak people aren't lined up to thank me for bringing a good word or revealing some new truth.

And no one is paying me by the hour as a consultation fee.

So I get pretty giddy when I see the super kind comments and words of love and encouragement that you guys leave from time to time.

It is not exaggerating to say that my heart gets pretty full and frankly I am humbled that you click on this link and read this stuff.

There just isn't enough encouragement in our day to day lives is there?

We're pretty stingy with our kindness.

We women.

My mom used to always say, as her mom used to always say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

I want to tell my kids often, "If you can't be kind, just be quiet."

As teenage girls we learn to stop being encouragers I think. We become competitors or rivals or something.

And then we spend most of our adult lives trying to quiet those voices we let rule us in the halls and the locker rooms of our adolescence.

Maybe we think saying kind words threatens us in some way. I'm not really sure. Women can be so jealous of other women.

(Because we love to compare. But that's a topic for another day.)

So all this is to say, thank you for your amazingly kind words. For reading these blogs filled with ramblings and sentence fragments.

Thank you for encouragement that makes me smile every time a new comment appears. For filling a void in a sometimes discouraging job.

And take that kindness to the streets. To the Wal-Mart check out line. (Those cashiers - now they need some kind words spoken their way.)

Whose day would not be made better if she knew you liked her shirt or blue was her color or her hairstyle was flattering?

When you think something nice, speak it.

We all need encouragement.

02 October 2009

Do Not Conform

Wilder doesn't really utilize his closet space right now.

So I do.

In it I store all sorts of non-Wilder things. A suitcase. My wedding dress. Outgrown baby clothing I am saving to give to Mandy (and Emma, if she decides to have just one more cute kid). A random can of paint. A silly amount of empty baby wipes containers - because they might just come in handy one day. And a load of items waiting to be sold at next weekend's yard sale. (Next Saturday. Our front yard. Lots of treasures. Be there.)

Apparently the smaller people living in our home recently discovered the yard sale stash. And the shoes featured above.

And everyone fell in love.

I think the true affection emerged when they realized that these shoes held money. Real money! I could almost see their brains expanding with the concept.

These two pennies and the leather-like material which encases them have been the source of much tension and strife at our home lately.

Everyone wants in on the action.

Mosely tried to fix the fact that they are about two sizes too large for her by putting on more than five pairs of socks at once. She found it completely unreasonable that I would not let her wear the shoes-plus-five-socks combo with her camo capris to the grocery store.

London grabs them first and early, secretly putting them in places where she will remember to wear them before anyone else thinks about.

But the loafers' biggest fan? Bergen Hawkeye. He adores these beauties. And for a solid week wore them every day. Everywhere. With every outfit. Which might have been alright if Bergen was the GQ type of four-year-old. He isn't. He doesn't care for shirts with buttons. He would wear the same plaid shorts or orange athletic shorts every day if I let him. And he firmly believes that shoes holding money match everything.

For some reason, this decision of Bergen's really bothers Riley.

A royal battle ensued one day when Riley decided that she could not allow her younger brother to be seen in public wearing blue athletic shorts, a t-shirt AND plastic-y scuffed penny loafers with no socks. She could not bear it. She tried to tell him no. She tried to bribe him. She was mid-way through her last option - shaming him - when I decided to run interference.

Don't get me wrong - I don't really like the shoes either.

I think the hip Merrill hiking boots I bought on sale at Mast General Store look way cooler. I think those shoes let people know that his mother picked out his footwear and that I have good taste. (Because that's what dressing our kids is about - right?)

But even though I strongly dislike his footwear choice, I really like Bergen.

I like his young brain and his kind heart. I like his exuberance and his cuddly nature.

I love that when he looks at those shoes, all he sees is something fun. Something that turns an ordinary occurrence, like wearing shoes, into a fun opportunity, like walking around with pennies near your toes.

Bergen does not get to stay four years old forever. All too soon he will be ashamed to wear hand-me-down hiking boots from his sisters or free loafers he found in his brother's closet. He will begin asking me to pay top dollar for the Sperry shoes or the Vans or the British Knights. (Okay, he will probably never ask for British Knights.) But he will want whatever everybody else he likes is wearing. And I am pretty sure everyone else will not be wearing second hand penny loafers.

The point is - my boy will conform.

It may not be exactly inevitable and I can honestly say I am working hard to raise independent thinkers with the hopes that they might become independent dressers as well. But I know better than to expect all of my children to eschew fashion entirely.

Bergen will one day choose his shoes to fit in. He will.

But until that day smacks us all in the face, I am not spending my time encouraging conformity.

In fact, my plan is to do just the opposite.

So wear those penny loafers with pride, my boy.

I won't stop you.

01 October 2009

Otto Fox Wilder

If you want to see how absolutely gorgeous this little Mr. Fox is ..... please check out my ultra talented friend Emma's website - Odd Dog Design & Photography.

It's linked on my sidebar.

I cannot even believe my gene pool helped create this guy!