Dear Friends (Family Newsletter)

Dear friends,

For some time, I have been wanting to write a newslettery kind of post to let you know a little more about my life, our family, and what is going on in my heart. At the end of the post, I will be asking you a question–feel free to respond in the comments, as a DM or message, or if you are getting this in an email, hit reply. I would love to know more about you as well, and I hope through these little exchanges, we can be reminded of the quiet power that words have to connect lives, give courage, and bring hope.

Week in the Life:

Are you curious what life looks like for us any given week? Well, here is a little glimpse. We are getting back into a solid routine around here, and I am loving it. Most of you know that we have eight children ages 1-14, homeschool, and teach music lessons from our home. My husband, Randy, also leads worship at our church, and between all of these things, our life is very busy. This year we have settled into a rhythm that suits our family. Three mornings a week, we focus on a solid morning time and schoolwork, and Randy and I spend the afternoons tag-team parenting and teaching lessons (I teach piano, and Randy teaches guitar, bass, and Irish whistle…), while our older kids work independently. We are totally wiped out at the end of these days! On Fridays, I grocery shop and we spend the bulk of the day cleaning the house, each child with jobs to do. Friday evening, we move into a time of rest, and Saturdays are spent together, trying our best to lean into a Sabbath, although I have yet to find a way to fully rest with many babies, no matter how intentional I may be. A lot of times, it means sitting down longer, reading a chapter or two of a book, doing less busy, turning off the inner dialogue about all that I need to get done, and allowing myself to be more still and turn my heart more intentionally towards seeking God and listening for his voice.

Today is Tuesday, and I have to tell you that Tuesdays are good for my soul. This is what we have come to call, “Creative Day.” Basically, the kids are allowed to make things, to play games, to go outside, to draw, to build, to imagine, etc. Kells, age 11, is creating a board game that he has been working on for weeks. Paloma is likely somewhere in the middle of the audiobook of Jane Eyre, needle-felting or making little people out of clay. Heidi, Remy, and Azalea are probably playing a made-up game that involves moving from room to room in the house with little obstacles that they have invented for one another. Rune is almost assuredly in a big heap of couch cushions in the basement, which is how he makes his best forts. The baby is wandering around from person to person, getting loved and passed around. Randy and Rosie are working on recording a video of some tunes on the Irish pipes and whistle (hopefully Randy will have this posted sometime this week on his facebook page…) Throughout the day, there will be music, art, and stories that will be scattered all throughout the house. There will also be lots of messes that we will have to see about at some point. But we can put that off for a little while and enjoy doing what we love most: making things.

I have to speculate what everyone is doing, because Tuesday is my day to be creative as well. This is the day I lock myself in my little office with my breakfast that I eat all by myself (!!!) and a good, strong pot of tea. (Today I had some homemade gluten free bread with orange mandarin jam and a strong pot of Margaret’s Hope Darjeeling.) I sit here and let words come as quickly or as slowly as they want to come. I pray, I write, I read, I research, I plan, I journal, I blog, I podcast, I draw, I update my website, I post on social media, etc. This is my day to get all the ideas in my head out on paper and into words and images. I can’t believe I have actually made it to a season of my life where I can shut a door and not be disturbed for hours at a time, and for most of a day. That I have a weekly appointment to tend to something that is so deeply rooted in my heart. I get to stay in here all day long, coming out only to deal with food a little, to nurse a baby (At the moment I typed this, Randy actually brought the baby to me…). I am overflowing with gratitude for this day every week, and for my family, who have come to understand that I am a better wife and mother when I have time to write and share.

I often ask myself why it is so important to me to make time in my life to write words and to put them out into the world. Of all the things I have let go, this is the one essential part of who I am that I am still coming back to. I lay awake at night with words crowding my mind.  In all the quiet spaces of my days, I am sorting through them, putting them on paper, recording them on my voice memos, pounding them out on the keyboard in blog posts or speaking them aloud in podcasts.  Words matter.  In the darkest seasons of my life, I have locked my eyes on a word in the distance, the only light emanating from the vast landscape of darkness.  And I have walked forward in faith because of that small pinprick of light.  And as I walked toward that word of hope, the light grew stronger and the path clearer.  I have wanted my life to be so useful and find that it is mostly used up.  I have wanted so much to give but find that I have so little to offer.  But I do have these words.  And I have the story of my life.  I share these two things humbly, knowing that God can take a word and bring order out of chaos.  He can bring light from darkness.  He can create a whole world with a word.  He can speak peace to the storms with a word.  He can speak life to the dead with a word.  My prayer is this: O God, illuminate the manuscript of my life.  You, who speak light into darkness with words, breathe into my story, and let it radiate the shining beauty of your holy and tender loving presence. Today on my instagram, I posted a read aloud reel of this little prayer. You can see it here if you’d like.

If you want to know what I’ve been working on for the last couple of months, I’d love to invite you to take a browse through my blog. You will find a few new podcasts on motherhood and overcoming fear, some new artwork, blog posts, and sneak peaks of my journals. I also just posted a personal journaling retreat inside my Patreon for those who want to learn more about translating the heart into words on the pages of a journal. I’ve been busy, and I think of you often and pray that God gives me words to share that will encourage and bless you, and that he will use me to give you hope.

Thank you so much for being here in this Sacred Everyday space with me, and for letting me ramble a bit more than usual. And now it is your turn!

Question of the Day: What is currently bringing joy to your life? There is no wrong way to answer this–send me a list of little things you love, share a story with me, tell me about your favorite tea or coffee routine, big joys, little joys, any joys. Are you struggling to find joy right now? I would love to encourage you to search for something, small as it may be. Let it be a little pinprick of light for you today. And I’d love it if you would share with me!

Love, light, and many joys to you,

Mackenzie

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