Present duty, present pain, present pleasure

IMG_20130918_095101_164Sorry, no post last week. We are in the middle of two really happy events – both Jason and my youngest brothers are/have gotten married back to back this month. That means last week I spent two days straight doing laundry, packing clothes, checklisting for a six hour road trip to South Dakota, etc. and the things I normally tried to sneak in (writing, eating lunch before 3 pm) took the last seat on the bus. And this week, I busted out my former life skills from working in a bridal shop and made a ribbon lined elbow length veil for my awesome future sister in law.

I also learned that putting said veil in the dryer FOR TWO MINUTES to try to shake out the wrinkles in the tulle will melt the whole dang thing.

Life lessons. IMG_1699


This week the twins are two months. Time passing, my how they’ve grown, etc. etc. Here’s my biggest PRAISE for this phase. We are all Sleeping. Through. The. Night. As in, they go to bed around 10:00 or 10:30 pm, and wake up pretty consistently at 5:30 or 6:00 am.

This feels a little like I’ve hijacked an ice cream truck and have a whole summer’s supply of those really bad for you but really good waffle cone drumsticks with the fudge drizzle on top. It’s amazing.

Here are a couple of mug shots from their recent photo documentation. My favorite might be Ellis “helping” by pointing out Lucy’s facial features while I’m trying to take pictures.

In other news, we had the two month check in this week. The good news is that the girls are starting to catch up to one another in weight- Gabrielle was at 10 lbs 14 oz, and Lucia at 10 lbs 1 oz. The bad news was that they had their shots. There are a lot of awful things in this world, but pinning down your infant on a hard clinic mattress and watching her get poked with a bunch of needles is pretty rough. Then again, coming down with whooping cough or some other Oregon trail-esque disease is way worse, so I count the shots as worth it.


 My friend Nate posted a great quote on Facebook the other day, and I’ve been thinking a lot about it.

From “The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis”
TO MRS. RAY GARRETT: On the real program of the spiritual life—living in the present moment.
12 September 1960

The whole lesson of my life has been that no ‘methods of stimulation’ are of any lasting use. They are indeed like drugs—a stronger dose is needed each time and soon no possible dose is effective. We must not bother about thrills at all. Do the present duty—bear the present pain —enjoy the present pleasure—and leave emotions and ‘experiences’ to look after themselves.

That’s the programme, isn’t it?

I used to have a pretty big beef with the monotony of routine, but these days it saves my life. And as much as I feel like a fun-sucker to say it, the sweetest days can often be the ones with nothing going on. Those are the days Ellis climbs in my lap and we read story after story before nap time. I get to sit down on the couch with each baby individually and schnoogle with them. Laundry gets down, the chickens get let out, and some sort of creativity in the kitchen usually occurs in the form of supper.

Sounds a little like do the present duty, huh?

I completely love getting out and seeing friends and something other than my four walls, but no joke, it takes serious effort and lots of time. It’s like convincing yourself it’s fun to eat an orange. Because no matter how hard I try, I can’t peel an orange properly. I usually end up hacking it open with a knife. And those little plastic orange peelers? Not helpful, unless you count squirting yourself continually in the eye with acid juice “help”. But the perfectly sweet, heaven-sent interior… that’s something entirely different. And it’s always worth it.

Do the present duty—bear the present pain —enjoy the present pleasure

At home or outside of it, I find myself doing all three of these, which makes my mind wander to a line from my grandpa’s favorite hymn Day by Day. Lovingly, it’s part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest.

I think these writers were on to something.


I ended the week listening to the newest Civil Wars album and holding my girls. Jason was chaperoning the elementary crowd at the homecoming football game (herding cats), but since the weather was calling for rain and the game started at Ellis’ bedtime, I kept the pink brigade at home and did a round of baths for everyone. And for a couple of hours after everyone was fed, bathed, and laid down, there was peace. Rest. Quiet. All of which I appreciated more because of their opposing activities during the week.

It was a moment of pure and present pleasure, and it fell over my shoulders like my favorite nubbly old sweater that I pulled out this week because apparently it’s cold now.

And all I can really say here is amen.


4 thoughts on “Present duty, present pain, present pleasure

  1. Can I just say that those babies are ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!! Holy crap. You need to get them into a Baby Boden catalog. And that cute little finger poking in from off-camera… priceless.


  2. Pingback: Onward: Kindergarten, Apples, and Hope | Fellow Passengers

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