almost two months

How do I say it? What do I even say? If I don’t say anything for awhile, then I don’t have to acknowledge it, which I think will make me feel better. I’m not sure.

On the late afternoon of Monday, December 7th, my Dad called three times in a row. It was strange, but neither my dad nor my mom left messages. I had been sick for a couple of weeks and had now completely lost my voice, so I texted him that I had no voice. I’d been texting earlier with my mom, and she knew this.

My dad texted back.

“Mom has gone with the Lord. I am sorry for you, for me, and especially for Samuel.”

(Samuel is my brother who has been living in a home with kids with special needs for the last several years.)


It has been hard. I know that we don’t grieve without hope, but we do deeply grieve. The Christian’s life on earth is only a preface for the true life that’s eternal in paradise. It wasn’t that my mom got cut off from a ‘good life’, nor was she taken unfairly compared to others who maybe should have gone before. She didn’t miss out on the grandchildren growing up. She didn’t get taken too soon. My mom is in glory forever doing what she was made to do – worship. The sole purpose for which we are called and created is to bring God the most glory. She has already reached the eternal rest where she adores Him with a pure heart and a pure mind – sinless.


I immediately called my dad when I read the first sentence of his text. At first hearing the news, I could only say, “No, no, no. It can’t be. It can’t be.” She had texted me just an hour or so before. My dad called after the paramedics had worked on her for a half an hour. She had a massive heart attack. Resting on the sofa with my dad next to her, she said that she thought she felt lightheaded. He took her blood pressure, and she wrote it down. It was the same as it had been in the previous weeks, so they weren’t alarmed. Then she said, “I’m dizzy.”

She was gone.

I can’t ever remember sobbing so painfully. “Be merciful to us. Make the path straight for dad. Provide the comfort to our souls as only you can. Your Almighty power alone can care for Samuel. Please, Father. You are good.” Prayer after prayer of supplication were my only thoughts.

Nathan looked for tickets for us the rest of the night, and although COVID made for a cumbersome trip, we were able to go to Spain. Alexander, Eva, and I arrived in time to see my mom at the funeral home. Oh how very grateful I am for this opportunity! Nothing ached more than the thought of not making it in time. I just wanted to see my mom.

As the weeks passed, I’ve had the strongest feeling that I am changed. Especially when driving to church or Nathan’s parent’s house, “Will they know I’m different? Could they tell?” As a good friend who has walked the journey of grief confirmed when I shared this with her, “Yes. Fundamentally changed.”

It hasn’t been so long yet, that I still think I could call her sometimes. “Today is not a busy day. I should call…” Or, after I take a picture of the kids, I quickly say, “I’m going to send it to yaya…” Then it stings again, first in my chest then in my eyes.

I am very thankful for His goodness. The Lord has been my comfort through the day, everyday. I perceive it and am overwhelmed by His mercies. Some days, I sense that I’m beginning to understand what has happened. I think I get it, and I’m going to be okay. The next day, it feels as if my dad has just told me. My brain is in a fog, and I am sorely sad. But God is my refuge in time of trouble. He is very near.

She is with her Savior. She is with her Lord.

 
"Praise the Lord!
 Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his hosts!
  Praise him, sun and moon,
    praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
    and you waters above the heavens!
 Let them praise the name of the Lord!
    For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
    he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
 Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
    stormy wind fulfilling his word!
 Mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
    creeping things and flying birds!
 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
    princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together,
    old men and children!
 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
    praise for all his saints,
    for the people of Israel who are near to him.
Praise the Lord!"      - Psalm 148 
 with love, Damaris


an inheritance left to me

While I was in my dad’s car traveling to my mom’s burial Friday, December 11th, with a heart full of intense sadness and joy and through many tears, I recalled her loving care to me. I wrote these few words, overwhelmed by the thought of my mother’s legacy in my life. Later, I read them to those gathered at the cemetery.


The Bible teaches of the inheritance parents leave their children. This inheritance is not an earthly one:

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
    but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.”
-Proverbs 13:22

“We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done.

that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,”
-Psalm 78:4,6

“One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts.”
-Psalm 154:4

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” -Deuteronomy 6:5-7


Although the most precious inheritance isn’t earthy, my mom taught me to ride a bike, to obey, to pray little prayers, to clean, to sew, and to cook. She instructed me to take care of myself, and she taught me to drive. She also trained me how to take care of my husband and of my first baby. She showed me how to keep up with the laundry when there were so many little ones and how to tidy up the house before bed, so it’s ready for the next day. She taught me that a mother is always there.

But the greatest inheritance that she left me, is that she took me to the feet of the cross. Since then, she trained me to grow in the understanding the Word, to memorize Scripture, to serve, she showed me the ministry of hospitality and trained me in the ministry of mercy.

This is the inheritance of eternal value that my mom has left me, and this same inheritance I seek to leave to my children, and I pray that my children will leave to their children for the glory of God.

I give thanks to the Lord for the life of my mother.

 with love, Damaris


thanksgiving reflections

“It is only with gratitude that life becomes rich!”  –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Hence, since everything we possess, and everything in heaven and on earth besides, is daily given and sustained by God, it inevitably follows that we are in duty bound to love, praise, and thank Him without ceasing, and, in short, to devote all these things to his service.” -Martin Luther

“Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.” –A.W. Tozer

“True gratitude or thankfulness to God for his kindness to us, arises from a foundation laid before, of love to God for what he is in himself; whereas a natural gratitude has no such antecedent foundation. The gracious stirrings of grateful affection to God, for kindness received, always are from a stock of love already in the heart, established in the first place on other grounds, viz. [which is] God’s own excellency.” -Jonathan Edwards

“A sensible thanksgiving for mercies received is a mighty prayer in the Spirit of God. It prevails with Him unspeakably.” –John Bunyan

“Let us thank God heartily as often as we pray that we have His Spirit in us to teach us to pray. Thanksgiving will draw our hearts out to God and keep us engaged with Him; it will take our attention from ourselves and give the Spirit room in our hearts.” -Andrew Murray

“The best helps to growth in grace are the ill usage, the affronts, and the losses which befall us. We should receive them with all thankfulness, as preferable to all others, were it only on this account, that our will has no part therein.” -John Wesley

“We are surrounded by God’s benefits. The best use of these benefits is an unceasing expression of gratitude.” -John Calvin

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” –Charles Spurgeon

 “I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that, I still possess.” –Corrie ten Boom

“The Lord afflicts us at times; but it is always a thousand times less than we deserve, and much less than many of our fellow-creatures are suffering around us. Let us, therefore, pray for grace to be humble, thankful, and patient.” -John Newton

“God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.” –Elizabeth Elliot

“Yes, give thanks for ‘all things’ for, as it has been well said ‘Our  disappointments are but His appointments.’” –A.W. Pink

 with love, Damaris


family currents: fall edition

our big red barn at dusk

It’s been a little while since I gathered a few pictures and filled you in on what we’ve been enjoying lately. So, let’s catch up!

Since Michigan summers are not unbearably hot, we extend hospitality weekly throughout the warmer months. It works well because we can easily host larger groups outside. Since the kids are now older, Nathan had the great idea to find a used volleyball net. It would be such a fun game to share with friends. After much searching, he came across a local ad for a volleyball net in great shape and picked it up. We’re so grateful. It’s been fun to help the older children learn and play numerous games with family and friends!


A few months ago, Nathan saw a never-been-used ice cream maker still in its box on craigslist. We picked it up and realized the ice cream maker is brand new from the 60’s. Our family used to have a small Cuisinart maker years ago, but it didn’t provide enough ice cream for all of us. This is a 5 quart electric ice cream maker, which yields a generous amount for us all and friends. We have been loving the varieties of vanilla and the simplicity of a handful of ingredients. Although we’ve been eating loads of ice cream, the old machine is still going strong. “A lot of ice cream making,” corroborates Eva, who was our ice cream maker.


For my birthday, William surprised me with a garden arch. He created it quietly in the barn and even made a “MOM” sign with copper strand. He was so careful to not talk about it or show anyone for weeks. Definitely surprised, and I love it so much! It’s right in the view from the north kitchen windows, and my heart is full of gratitude for the tender ways children seek to show devotion.


We’ve had the best bonfires this year! Our family and friends gathered around in the evening cooking all sorts of Sunday night simple suppers over the fire. We enjoyed grilled cheeses, hot dogs, fruit pies, and of course, roasted marshmallows. This recipe was a recommendation from my good friend Rachel, and it was a huge hit! The fire was so inviting that the boys made plans to sleep outdoors on cots several nights. Even during the cold fall season, the boys stayed warm by feeding the fire throughout the night, wearing wool caps and socks, coats, and thick sleeping bags. On Saturday morning, they would come in with a frosted nose ready for hot coffee (yes, they do) and pancakes. I’m glad we’re back to everyone sleeping in the house : )


Lastly, we are so thankful for a cozy place to live. It took us all a couple of Saturdays, but we painted the upstairs hallways and all the downstairs (except the piano room). I really like it. I love the calming white and also feel that it suits the age of the house. It was a controversial topic here for a little bit – ha! What do you think?

copen blue by sherwin williams
pearly white by sherwin williams

I hope you enjoyed our little fall family update. Stay in touch!

 with love, Damaris


kids’ chores and responsibilities

photo credit: Eva L. Kirkpatrick

We had a couple over for dinner last week, and after the meal, us ladies came into the kitchen to see how the meal clean-up was going. Just then, she noticed the “responsibilities list” on the wall next to the slate chalk board. She quickly took a picture of it and seemed equally amused and intrigued by our little list. It’s a humble note paper cut to a square and taped to the wall with washi tape (I love washi tape – I can finally display all the children’s drawings!). I’ve seen many a fancy bordered chart ,or better yet, chalk-art-decorated board for displaying the assignments. Ours is simple, folks!

I have a friend who makes a very valid case for calling the children’s job’s for the family home assignments, because chores has the connotation of burden or drudgery. Whatever the semantics, our family’s been trying to clean up messes for 15 years : ) The mess is not peaceful for me. I feel calmer, happier and can think much clearer when the spaces are orderly and tidy. I think it is this way even for children.

Our family’s chore list is for the year. At the beginning of the school year, we sit down and discuss all the old chores and how they are changing hands. Everyone is usaually happy to switch it up and understands, so the only purpose of the paper chore list is mostly for reference (in the case that Nathan or I forget or there’s a need to switch it up for a day). The children don’t really look at it, because they’re doing it all the time.

I read a quote years ago from an older mom who said, “Life is messy, so clean it up.” I couldn’t agree more. Have grace to allow the mess, and be adamant about cleaning it up. Even though tidying up is agreeably necessary, each household has a cleaning routine. If it is part of the family’s regular rhythm, it hardly is much effort to have visitors. This has proven true for us many, many times! When the children were younger and schooling was less rigorous, we cleaned before the weekend in efforts to enjoy all the time with Daddy when he was home. I always knew I’d have to forgo this little luxury when schooldays grew longer and our days got fuller. So here we are, a few years into the routine of cleaning a little everyday and a little more on Saturday morning : )

Cleaning the family home for us is divided into two categories: Daily and Weekly Responsibilities

photo credit: Eva L. Kirkpatrick

Daily

  • collect laundry and wash (first thing in the morning), flip, fold, and put away (by dinnertime)
  • wipe bathrooms, change hand towel (morning)
  • empty trash bins (morning)
  • feed the animals (morning and evening)
  • wash dishes, dry and put away, wipe counters (after each meal)
  • wipe table/chairs, vacuum kitchen and dinning room (after each meal)

Weekly

  • vacuum stairs
  • clean mirrors and spot clean windows
  • dust
  • vacuum all floors
  • mop all floors
  • scrub bathtub, sinks and toilets
photo credit: Eva L. Kirkpatrick

A few things that we try to remember:

  • Involving the children in cleaning and taking care of the family home takes time and patience both for the children and the parents.
  • Always look for age-appropriate tasks.
  • Try to find a home for everything. It is too overwhelming for a child to tidy up if there is no specific place for things.
  • Remind little ones to clean up one activity before moving on to the next activity. Small habits make a big difference!
  • Set a regular tidy-up time. Before lunch or naps, before supper and before bedtime may be a natural rhythm.
  • Work along side them even if it isn’t on the same assignment.
  • Take a break and then keep going.
  • Encourage and praise them profusely during the task and when they’re done. Celebrate small victories together. A little reward like a high-five and reading aloud one picture book can feel special.
photo credit: Eva L. Kirkpatrick

It is a joy to take responsibility in the care of the possessions God has entrusted us with. We all enjoy the sense of accomplishment and equally appreciate the reward for our efforts when we can use the tidied up spaces.

 with love, Damaris


simple homeschooling schedule

I can’t believe it, but we were able to start school early this year, so today completes our third week of school. Currently, our family has children in four different stages of learning, but we try to weave everyone into the same daily rhythm. We have shared about our school day here before.

It is more fruitful for us to begin early in the morning, although no one at our house is an early riser – not daddy, not mommy, not anyone. For us, it really is rewarding to get into the rhythm of starting early. Our day’s routine has slowly formed over years of tweaking. When we were not getting done until supper, it was very frustrating to the children. When I was losing them to various activities in the morning or during lunch, it was very frustrating to me. This rhythm has helped to shape our days, and we have followed a very similar version of this schedule for several years.

STAGES OF LEARNING

1 – Alexander and Eva are part of the Classical Conversations homeschool group where they receive tutoring once a week on all their subjects. Hence, for the most part, they require little input from me. Their days are mostly outlined by their assignment guide which has a checklist of what to work on for each day at home. Alexander (15) does Bible reading, geometry, British literature, Latin, Spanish, biology, Western Cultural History, debate, and Traditional Logic II. Eva (14) does Bible reading, math, Latin, History of Astronomy (science), American history, exposition and composition (language arts), and Introductory Logic.

2 – William (12), Isabel (10), and Nora (8) do Bible reading (devotional), math, handwriting, spelling, grammar (William and Isabel), writing (William and Isabel), and reading aloud (Nora). These subjects they do daily. History (early modern) and science (astronomy) we only do three days a week. William, Isabel, and Nora require some help like answering questions, grading homework, taking tests, and listening to them read aloud. They are learning to follow instructions and understand the lesson’s directions without my guidance. Nathan’s mom comes one morning a week to teach grammar and writing to William and Isabel. We’re so grateful for her help!

3 – Providence (6) is doing kindergarten. She does letters (phonics), numbers (easy arithmetic), and handwriting. I sit with her for all her lessons.

4 – Samuel and James sleep in and usually get up after 8. If we’ve already started school lessons, then they have breakfast, and I turn my attention to them for a little bit. My goal is to read to them during this time. They miss Bible study in the morning, so I recently ordered a Bible story book and look forward to reading to them a short story every day. I spend some time with the little ones while being in the same area where the children sit to do school. In our house, this is crucial for progress : ).

DAILY SCHEDULE

  • 6am – wake up. personal care. make beds.
  • 7 – instrument practice. chores (feeding the animals, wipe bathrooms, empty trash bins)
  • 8 – start school
  • 12 – lunch. chores (flip laundry, collect eggs, dishes)
  • 1 – back to school

During the afternoon, I do history and science with William, Isabel, and Nora (3 days). Alexander and Eva continue their schoolwork until 3 or 3:30. Providence and Samuel play, and James takes a nap.

The late afternoon is left for nature walks, going to the park, sewing with mom (mainly Eva), watercolor (mainly the older girls), writing letters/pictures of thank you or encouragement, baking/cooking with mom, outside projects (mainly the big boys), or just playing and riding bikes. The season determines much of what happens during this part of our day.

This is what this year’s homeschool schedule looks like for our family. It was really helpful for me to put this post together, and I’ll be glad to have this reminder of what the years with so many stages of learning looked like in our home.

 with love, Damaris


For Our 18th Anniversary

photos credit: Eva L. Kirkpatrick

From the very beginning of our relationship, we’ve both always said that “opposites attract” is not a true statement. Very shortly after we meet in that creative writing class, we talked for hours discovering how much we had in common. Even though we’d been raised worlds apart (literally), we were so alike that we couldn’t imagine anyone, so dissimilar being this close.

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. Even though we have so, so many ways and things in common, I (and the children) came up with 18 things in which we are different. Nathan has not seen this list, and I can’t wait to hear him chuckle in consent.

1- I don’t use the snooze, but he plans for it.

2- He loves water, and I’m not a confident swimmer.

3- I thrive on change. He’s steady.

4- His virtue is delayed gratification, but I enjoy something new.

5- He’s good at impromptu, and I need to plan.

6- “Sleep is overrated,” he says. Bedtime is never too early for me.

7- I like sweet drinks, and he enjoys bitter coffee.

8- He’s prudent, but I move quickly.

9- I have wanderlust. He’s a homebody.

10- He enjoys a juicy burger, but I live on vegetables.

11- I’m from the old world, and he’s from the new.

12- He’s daring, and I’m fearful.

13- I’m cautious, but driving dangerous roads is a thrill for him.

14- I was trained in music, and he was trained in sports.

15- He says,”I’ll find another use for it.” I throw it away.

16- When I see a crisis, he sees a resolution.

17- I can feel overwhelmed and nervous. He’s calm and collected.

18- He rules his life by principles, yet I fall prey to convenience.

Regardless of differences, we are two sinners who God chose to bring together for such a time as this: to serve Him in this place as we nurture eight beautiful children.

On a very warm Spanish summer evening, eighteen years ago, we said “I do.” I’ve never looked back. Happy 18th Wedding Anniversary, My Love!


postpartum care and wardrobe

There is so much hype surrounding labor and preparing for baby’s arrival that many moms don’t even consider how they’re going to feel when they get home.

It’s not uncommon to feel like time is both standing still and moving too quickly. The fourth trimester is an important time that shouldn’t be rushed. For our baby, for ourselves, and for our families, we’re better off to prepare. While the magical and exhausting days after birth bliss pass quickly, we need to be aware of our body’s healing.

“I don’t have time to shower!” is something every new mom feels in the first few weeks (okay, months). Today I’m sharing what I’ve used to feel a little more put together without taking much time. Also, the fourth trimester attire is real and necessary.  Mandatory soft sweats, stretchy jammies, and soft sleeping/sports bras make a tremendous difference in our mood and comfort during the several weeks of postpartum.

Here’s a list with links to all of my favorite items for postpartum wardrobe and care:

Cleansing Face Wipes – I love these! They are perfect to keep in the nightstand for washing my face at the 3am feeding, if I haven’t gotten to it earlier. These are quick, no getting out of bed, no waiting for the water to run warm at the sink, no lathering, etc. : )

Dry Shampoo – always smells good and when you spray the roots, you actually get lots of volume. It’s a multipurpose product that helps you feel fresh and combats flat, day-old (or two or three) hair.

Perineal Spray – it provides healing and relief without the chemicals. The application is just a simple and light spray.

Feminine Pads – the length of time you may use these varies tremendously between 10 days or so to 6 or more weeks. I like the long and thin for most comfort and extra coverage at night.

Depends/Always Discreet Underwear – what the hospital provides is usually not tight or secure. It’s mesh and itchy and never stays in place. I brought these to the hospital and was so happy I did! I wore them until the package was empty which was just right. They are very comfortable, you feel very dry with no leaks, and they have a little built-in support for feeling covered and all tucked in.

Breast Cream – this is a must. I always use it consistantly for the first couple of weeks. I’m so afraid of getting chapped or worse. This balm gives very thick protection.

Nursing Pads – disposable is quick and you may not need them for very long. I like to wear them especially during the weeks I apply the breast cream since it can stain or leave a greasy residue on clothing.

Witch Hazel Pads – these are my secret weapon. I have used them for all of my postpartums (eight), and it feels very cooling and clean. I use them until the package is gone. First, I wear them over the pad, later, I use them to wipe and feel like the healing is coming along.

Underwear – just a couple of these help smooth out the middle-section so fabrics don’t cling in all the wrong places ; )

High-waisted Leggings – they cover the tummy when nursing for more comfort. These have a gentle compression that secures the post-baby belly and feels supportive on my back.

Seamless, Soft Sports Bra – I always wear one through labor and delivery and really for the first few weeks. It doesn’t tug or dig anywhere and you still feel supported. Later, when I wore regular nursing bras, I still wore these to bed for the comfort for sleep and ease of nursing.

Sweatshirt – soft and cozy adds a little comfort when you’re extremely tired. This works great when you’re too sleepy to change into pajamas.

Protein Drink – helped me get to the next meal if we were going to be out or if i was nursing/pumping and couldn’t get a bit to eat until a little later.

Concealer – this one is thick and a very little bit goes a long way. I’m still using it over a year later.

Audio Bible – listened everyday and brought so much joy to my soul. I would switch up the versions (a different reader with each one). I purposed to listen during my morning feeding/pumping session. It was very comforting and I looked forward to it.

Tylenol – when you’re not a first-time mom, afterbirth pains may be intense. I have sometimes taken it just to not think about it. Afterbirth pains should taper off within the first week.

Nursing/lounging Clothes – you may have taken some to the hospital, but if not, having a couple sets at home is very practical. You’re comfortable and discreet for visitors, but can slip into bed for a quick nap midday, too. It’s a wonderful feeling to change into clean clothes when there are so many messes around : )

Probiotics – I mentioned similar ones in a previous post regarding postpartum preparation. It was helpful to take them through the postpartum weeks to keep the digestive system regular. It may boost the immune system, so I take it in hopes to compensate for lack of sleep lowering my immune system.

Water Bottle – staying hydrated is so important! It will affect your milk supply. I like this kind because I can sip it while driving without having to tilt the bottle. It also doesn’t require two hands to unscrew when nursing.

Extra Set of Bedsheets – if baby’s diaper leaking and spitting up the whole feeding doesn’t convince you, then mom’s night sweats and midnight snacking in bed will. You’ll need another set of sheets for a 3:15am bed change. Choose natural fibers like cotton or linen.

 with love, Damaris


family currents: last call to summer

August began with a hot sun, though it didn’t hang on to the summer song long. We all seemed keenly aware this year that the changing days would soon give way to the start of school, and we savored the last of summertime’s fun.

Eva and William got to take tennis lessons through our township’s Rec and Ed. Thursday evenings were spent at the park riding bikes, playing in the play structures, or walking the trails while we waited for them.


Since our anniversary and my birthday were in August, we went on a couple outings without the children. We took lots of pictures and told them all about it, though : ). We are so blessed to celebrate 17 years of wedded bliss!


Samuel had a birthday. He’s 3!!! It’s truly the magical birthday age. He was very aware his special day was coming and couldn’t contain his long trains of questions, “And get presents? And blow candles? And my birthday? And get presents?”


We also went to the lake because if you live in Michigan, it is the proper way to enjoy summer. Of course, thunderstorms rolled in, and we packed up our encampment pretty quickly to enjoy a bowl of lentil stew at home.


This was the year of the frog. The children found so. many. frogs and toads! Cicadas, katydids (green leaf bug), praying mantis, and garden spiders also went into Samuel’s new bug box. And sometimes all at once. Not a good outcome for some. Nope.


This was also the summer we ran an animal rescue. Eva started the summer with a baby raccoon she named Boone.

And the three little girls found three baby bunnies!


We enjoyed pizzas on the grill most Sunday afternoons, and sometimes shared it with friends. Alexander would get pretty creative with the toppings, and Nathan grilled them to a crispy perfection. Our long picnic table makes for easy after supper clean-up, so we ate most suppers al fresco.


Nathan had bought a few large sky lanterns, and on the last weekend of August (while lovely friends were visiting), all the boys released the lanterns as a Farewell to Summer.

 with love, Damaris


modest teen girl outfits for back to school

Since summer is coming to an end, we’ve begun looking at the fall clothes that we have and what we need to add to the children’s wardrobes. I’m especially focused on the older kids’ wardrobes, since they don’t have a previous sibling’s clothes waiting to be rediscovered from a storage tote in the basement…

So that means Eva and I have an awesome excuse to go shopping! Shopping for clothes for Eva, who is now 13, means browsing the women’s section. Yes! She’s all grown up, and I couldn’t be more pleased. She’s a true blessing in our home as a sister/friend and a loving helper.

As we picked transition outfits for the new season, we had two criteria:

  1. modest yet stylish
  2. at a good price

Looking or shopping for clothes is a good opportunity to talk about and instill in our daughters a sense of modesty. Finding age-appropriate, feminine, fashionable clothes can be hard, and it is equally challenging to find them at a reasonable price.

It’s important to add that modesty is a virtue, and dressing modestly doesn’t make you modest. Trying not to draw undue attention to ourselves is both in action and in dress. Particularly as moms, we should help our teenagers recognize that their attractiveness is not tied up in their clothes. We should encourage them to feel respectable, appropriate, decent, and humble as they transition throughout the seasons of life.

This past week, Eva and I looked for items that she’d like to add to her wardrobe. We’re including some that she already owns or are very similar. Both of us think you’re going to love these outfits and find them perfect for the transition from summer to fall.

 with love, Damaris