Tuesdays Unwrapped

Every time I walk up my stairs, my eyes follow a long, curvy line of ink that travels just beneath the banister. I’m guessing my son is the artist, though I haven’t asked around.


The ink has been there for weeks, maybe months? I’m not sure. But I notice it everyday now.

I know what you might be thinking. It’s Tuesdays Unwrapped, so Emily is going to say how normally that ink would bother her but today she’s remembering how it represents children young and still at home. And so she’s going to leave that ink mark there on the wall as a sweet reminder.


Every time I see that ink mark, I remind myself to clean it when I come back downstairs. Then, like giving a mouse a cookie, I think how I shouldn’t just clean the ink but actually the whole wall needs painting.

I reach the top step thinking about Sherwin Williams Alabaster White and then remember reading somewhere that the White House paint is called Whisper and by the time I come back downstairs, the ink is forgotten.

Today, the gift is two-fold.

One, the ink is forgotten. There was a time several years ago – five maybe? – where ink on walls would have had me angry, searching for someone to blame. But the truth is it’s just not that big of a deal. And I celebrate the gift of my own growing up, my own ability to recognize what needs my attention and what doesn’t.

The second part of this gift? I also celebrate my children growing up. This is supposed to happen. I don’t need to try to hold on to marks on the wall or handprints on windows in an attempt to somehow preserve their childhood.

There is not something wrong with the universe when my daughter, nearly as tall as I am, can slip my shoes on to play outside and they don’t fall off.

Sometimes I gawk at her, breathless as I watch her run out to her bike with the movements of a girl but the growing body of a young woman. Sometimes it feels like the world has gone mad because this is my baby girl!

But this is supposed to happen, this growing and changing. And I celebrate a girl growing up.

I celebrate a boy who should know better than to write on walls but does it anyway.

I celebrate my almost-ten years of parenting that has taught me not to freak out about little things.

What do you celebrate today?

Tuesdays Unwrapped 2013

I hope you’ll choose one gift of your ordinary day and find the miracle secret it holds. Write it out, breathe it in, capture its image, see it new. And then come here to tell us all about it by linking up below. If you are new to this community, here is all the information you’ll need to prepare your post. All are welcome.



  1. says

    I love that you talk about celebrating the gift of your own growing up. It is such a gift, to grow up alongside our children and enjoy our growth as well as theirs.

  2. Kim in OKC says

    I don’t have a blog site yet, just beginning to write and share my soul:

    I like routine, I like formulas, and I like traditions. Change is difficult for me.

    With the death of a dear loved one we are looking at the death of a tradition “as it used to be”. In the past distinct change or the inability to capture something as it once was, has brought for me feelings of disappointment that lead to discouragement, that eventually lead to depression. Self-pity has also been high and deep in the list of my responses. But as I have pondered the Creator and that every day life is as Art, with the leading of the Holy Spirit there has been a gradual transformation taking place. With the death of a tradition a gentle breeze of peace is stirring a change of perspective. After death, life springs forth! Among a feeling of melancholy there is an anticipation of a new tradition, new life springing forth from the loss of tradition. Hope springing forth! Birth from the unexpected!!

    • says

      Beautifully said, Kim! I’m sorry for your loss. Praying for you in this healing grace-filled transition, believing with you that new life and new traditions will spring forth. May your life continue to be Art that gives Him glory!

    • says

      I totally understand, Kim. How many times have I landed smack dab in the middle of the bottomless pit of self pity. We lost my mother-in-law a few years back and it’s changed everything. She was the ‘sun’ as it were and we all rotated around her, particularly during the holidays. Now that she’s gone, all we, like so many lost planets are having to establish new orbits and new traditions. I struggle deeply with change and loss. I fell completely apart months ago when our family rabbit died. To be sure, I loved the rabbit, but my deep grief revealed something far deeper. My tendency to hold with an iron grip to what I love the most. The Lord has been helping me to see these treasures, whether friends, my kids or family pets as gifts. And as such to see them as the blessing they are, not to tenaciously cling or make an idol of them. This is a deep work. But as you said, transformation comes as we ‘Ponder the Creator.” Beholding Him and coming to know and experience Him puts everything, grief, loss and love all in perspective. May the Lord continue to transform and heal you from the inside out.

  3. says

    I have been waiting all morning… knowing it was Tuesday and that you would unwrap something that would sink in deep. Ah yes – the gift of our own growing up! That is something to slow and to savor and to celebrate for sure!

    Soaking in that a bit this morning!

  4. says

    I do that. I write about how quickly they are growing and how I somehow mourn the loss of childhood. I know you are right. They are supposed to grow up just as we did and our parents, our grandparents. But when you hit the age where it’s your grandchildren doing the growing it’s harder to focus! My kids are 24, 22, and 11 now while the granddaughters are 3 1/2 and 17 months. I want to remind my daughter constantly to take it all in, breathe deep and write down those memories. So here’s to celebrating the right now. Thanks for unwrapping your gift for me today. I blogged about a tree in the backyard and the memories it holds. See the theme? 😉

  5. Bonnie Jean says

    I am thinking today how grateful I am that my son who is now 19 and has some mild learning disabilities finally got his first real job this fall. He was hired as a seasonal worker at Michael’s Arts and Crafts (which is a dream for me !). They really like him because they say he has a great attitude. It is possible… that they may keep him on. It is a small possibility… but it is possible. He works stocking the shelves, bringing in carts, sweeping the floors and helping people find things. He loves it. He could work there forever he says because there is always something new to look at. I just love his attitude and joyful outlook.

  6. Ally Goodwin says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I too, am learning to slow down and enjoying being not just doing. I unwrapped my gait. I tend to walk at top speed but for today, i am ambling along; slowing down to look at what is around me. The sky is beautiful today; both cloudy and clear depending on which way you look. It makes me think of a glass of water filled part way — it is both half full and half empty.

  7. says

    Emily, one thing I’m very grateful for this Tuesday is your lovely blog! I’m so happy a like-minded friend introduced me to it; the idea of making our lives a work of art is very important to me. Thank you for posts that refresh my spirit…

  8. Mindy Seekford says

    I’m sure this idea has been seen before, but it was new to me and it made love our Father even more. Only a loving Creator would know how to satisfy our need of change, with our need of sameness. The changing seasons! We need the change, we get bored, tired of things so quickly. But we also don’t like change. We like the familiar. Even one of our biggest fears is change. How beautifully he filled our two needs together with the changing seasons. The same change year after year. What a loving God!

  9. says

    Emily, I appreciate this post and I so love the heart behind this weekly link-up. I’m taking a break from blogging this month. If I weren’t taking a break, I’d be doing this link-up with y’all here.

    Anyway, I just wanted to pop in and tell you THANK YOU for the way your writing has played a role in waking my heart up. I’m so grateful. Just thanks.

    That’s all I have to say about that.

  10. says

    Thank you, Emily, for such a beautiful reminder about parenting. I guess I am slowly growing up as a parent, for small things don’t bother me as much anymore (although sometimes it feels like I’m just giving up…)

    But you should’ve seen me freaking out when my two-year-old draw a long thick horizontal line on a hallway wall with a permanent marker! I guess I still have a lot of room to grow :)

    I’m so excited I was able to link up to your Tuesdays Unwrapped post today! Looking forward to joining you again next week! ox

  11. Sandy says

    In His grace and through your words, He has reminded me once again to celebrate. It is well-timed. This week I have been working on letting go and celebrating my first born. She is 17, and although I’ve long seen the ways in which we are alike, lately, I’ve been seeing the ways in which she is not like me at all, but uniquely her own person… with a freedom of spirit which astonishes me. I realize now that I’ve often tried to fit her into my mold, but she has stubbornly retained her shape… her bent, her heart, and it is beautiful. The way her mind works, the gifts He has given her, the potential spread out before her like a garden waiting to burst into color… It all has somehow taken me by surprise. I wasn’t ready for the coming transition, but I will choose to celebrate it. The Father has been showing me that in endings there are new beginnings. In letting go, there is much given back. One more paradox of life on His path and I am grateful.

    • Cinda Thiel says

      Thank you for sharing your transition in life. My baby is also turning 17 today. It is definitely bittersweet. So proud of the man he is becoming but, tears fill my eyes just now as I reflect on all the beautiful memories of his growing years. New beginnings are scarey but, like you, I will choose as well to celebrate them, thankful that God is leading us into the next chapter.

  12. Melissa McIntyre says

    So I have this trunk in my sitting room. I feel the need to tell you I only have a “sitting room” because we don’t have a fancy-shmancy dining room. Anyhow, this trunk serves as a coffee table and stores all 6 of my children’s artwork (narrowed down of course) and their baby memorabilia. Newborn hats, hospital bracelets, lots of hair cut clippings etc… Back in the summer I saw this neat idea on Pinterest that used some of these said items in making Christmas tree ornaments. I pinned it and thought how cute, I’m totally doing that! Well, I bought the clear craft ornaments to make these adorable little things and opened up my trunk. I started going through all of these little things of my children’s. Holding them close, smelling them, running my fingers over photos that were taken just yesterday??? And I started to cry! I’m sure you know what I mean when I say bittersweet tears of course 😉 My children are 14, 12, 10, 7, 5, and 3 and sometimes it just doesn’t seem possible that they are all sooo big already! Suddenly I just couldn’t bear the thought of putting these wonderful little things inside of those ornaments! I enjoy going through my trunk from time to time holding these memories in my hands! I know it’s just “stuff” I get that for sure. I lean pretty far towards being a minimalist and my children are right here in front of me everyday! I guess it was just something about time fleeting that struck me hard in that moment:-) I also thought about how I have relaxed so much as a mother over the years. I just cleaned a long drawn mark up my stairwell a week ago! I didn’t even bother asking around to find out who it was. I just cleaned it up like it was no big deal. HUGE for me! I’m sooo thankful to God that I am at this place, because it ISN”T a big deal! Especially when we look at the big eternal picture! So now I have empty craft ornaments that I’ll be returning to the store!
    So sorry for writing a novel here, I read every post but rarely have much time to comment! Guess I just made up for that 😉

  13. Cinda Thiel says

    I have had a revelation this morning during my devotion time. Each day I have been in the habit of reading Chatting at the Sky and sometimes (in)courage or some of Ann Voskamp’s blog. I usually copy things that inspire me and paste them on my desktop where I have created a sticky note barrage. I can see these little bits of encouragement each time I am at my computer.
    I read this morning about Elizabeth Anne’s communion experience with her kids and homemade apple pie and thought…I know this lady. Then, I read a quote from my sticky note…”When you serve “the least of these” you are serving Jesus. I think for many of us, the “least of these” is the eternal ones in our care. Don’t forget to serve your family.”(Annie Dillard)
    I have read this before but, as you well know God hits you with things when your heart is ready or maybe it is when we really notice and God is thinking…”Finally!”? I have been praying and striving for years to figure out what else I am supposed to be doing besides being a wife and mom. Don’t get me wrong. I love it but, I always wonder if I am missing something. Pressures from the world to really “have a job or career” and all that. Then, while praying this morning I realized that God has given me the career that I have wanted since I was a little girl. And to my dismay, I have been asking Him for years what I should be doing. He must think I am bonkers! So, I humbly ask Him for forgiveness and thank Him profusely for blessing me beyond measure. This is the miracle of my ordinary day and I find peace and joy in this revelation. Thank you God, for allowing me to be the very thing I have always dreamed of.

  14. says

    oh my goodness… it’s back! i popped over to see how you are and what’s new and how you might be preparing for the holiday, and {big smiles}, tuesdays unwrapped. yay!


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