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The first snow of the year and the kids were too sick to play in it. The head cold is working its way through from youngest to oldest. Sadie had it first and now she’s right as rain. But her big sister and brother are sadly looking out of the windows, worrying that they’ll miss the fun completely. It’s the hardest thing in the world to believe that there will be snow out those windows all winter long.

I’m about as up-ended as any person can be. I burst into tears or laughter at odd moments. Holding a book I wrote in my hands is wild and being under the roof my husband built is that much wilder.

We moved into the cabin on the day before Thanksgiving. We didn’t move because the cabin was done. We moved because the snow was coming. We were out of time. But there’s still a great deal to celebrate. Four walls. Warmth and insulation. Big windows and more room to play. Sadie finally has her own bed. Boards Nick cut literally years ago have found their places in this jigsaw puzzle of a life.

We’ve taught ourselves so much patience these last few years, and patience is in part a kind of suppression of the heart. “Just wait. Just wait a little longer.” Then it comes time that you don’t need to wait any more and you find your heart is clumsy waking up from it. It has morning fog. It needs a cup of coffee.

I’m delighted but I’m also exhausted. I’m more than intimidated by the project of making cosmos out of this much chaos. That’s the real reason why I’m doing a daily video log of this busy, special time. I can’t sort it out as we go, as far as what is important or not. I really can’t tell if I’m going to want to remember the first snow or the shopping trip, the lock sets or the long walks. I’m grabbing every bit of it. I figure I can sort it all out later. Maybe when I’m old.

Meanwhile I have a box full of copies of What Falls From the Sky sitting next to the bed. I let the sick kids watch a movie yesterday and I just read it. I read my own book cover to cover, from beginning to end. It’s amazing to me how this thing that came from me now has a life of its own. I don’t even recognize it in this form, a whole thing that has been worked on by so many wise people other than me, with an amazing cover and art and design and editing.

I do think my writer mother was in some ways the wisest, for self-publishing her own words. She kept control of her work, especially financially. But I don’t regret for a minute that I entrusted my first book to the team at Zondervan, and especially my brilliant editor, Stephanie Smith. She sorted out the things I can’t sort out, as far as what is important or not. She took this chaos, even this much chaos, and saw the way to cosmos. She has a heart that is awake and ready for the day, and I’m grateful that the world has people like her.

This week in the season of Advent we celebrate hope. I’ve been asking the kids at dinner every night, “How can we hope today?” They’re lovely and thoughtful people, with lots of things to teach grown ups. They say things like. “I can hope that I feel better tomorrow.” And “I can hope there is still snow tomorrow so I can still go out and play in it.”

I hope for the strength to not suppress those hearts.

Wishing you all this week a wide net to grab it all, in case you can’t yet tell what is or isn’t precious. And also wise people who will help you comb through all that sand in search of treasure. Also, the gift of patience, especially if you’re too sick to play outside in the new snow.

With love,
from the house in the woods,

Esther

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If you haven’t followed our little house vlog, here’s the move-in day. They’re all embedded on the videos page, or you can find them on YouTube. Enjoy!