A Haines Home Companion: holding together

I bought an entire box of drink parasols in lieu of going to the beach with my (in)courage girlfriends. I bought them to be funny and write a blog post that says something like, “yeah sure! I could be at the beach with Ann and Robin and Emily and Sarah and all these girls, but I’m so glad I’m home instead.” I took photos of what I was doing instead, planning homeschool and eating caramel apples. But you wouldn’t buy that, would you? Writing in a planner just doesn’t compare with sitting on the beach with a Gypsy Mama.

I’ve only cried once. The chance to be with girlfriends can be so life-giving, so I guess I cried because of that (and hormones) – though the truth is that I stayed home for obvious, perfectly wonderful reasons.

Travel can’t win in certain stages of life. Conferences and long-distance family, none of that changes that it’s wiser for me to stay home. If you were ever unable to make it to a conference or a girl’s trip, you understand.

Have you heard yet about (in)RL? It’s the perfect chance to meet up with soul-sisters, so I’m really looking forward to that. Sometimes the gathering just needs to be in your hometown, huh? Seriously, check it.


I really am glad to be home. I get to be with these guys, and in this phase after baby, when I teeter on the blue, I feel everything so passionately. I feel in love with my brown-eyed boys, constantly throw worry for them into the deep. The two middles went to preschool this week, and Isaac and I got to spend alone time together, taking care of Titus, eating cinnamon rolls,reading a fictional account of WWII, and walking through the market. He asks me about Heaven and hypothesizes that he can make fireworks from pepper and sand. He cries when a creature loses a wing.

This has been my easiest transition. The church has provided meals for me these five weeks of having four children. It’s unbelievable. Next week will be my first week to make most all our meals and to start schooling Isaac again.

Titus’s heart hole has triggered many prayers on our behalf, and we’ve needed it, and we’ve felt it.

We hit a phase where many around us are falling apart. We hear words that scare us, make us hold each other, say you are rare. You, in marriage, are precious and fragile. We are no better. Who are we? All messy, all sloppy story interweaving. We walk, bare feet, holding Gospel to our ears as from a seashell, in our hands like a whisper, a weight to help balance. Marriage can feel like a graceful tightrope.

Even coffee together in the morning can be a seal over us, skin to skin at night, a laugh together – not just a smirk, but peeled open laughter, whatever turns us inside out.

Today Seth has written about our love in order to bunk a myth we’ve heard too many times. He can never say that he never loved me.

About me


When There’s a Lion in Your Yard
November 18, 2016
What do you taste?
November 08, 2016
When The Church Doesn’t Fit Or Fix You: a Wild in the Hollow Guest Post from Christie Purifoy
October 12, 2015
The Hurt and the Healing: A Wild in the Hollow Guest Post by Bonnie King
September 30, 2015
Will They Stay if You Change?
September 28, 2015
Wild in the Hollow Book Club Video: Chapters 1 and 2
September 14, 2015
A Mud Stories Podcast on Sex, Shame, Unforgiveness, and the Church
August 06, 2015
Church couldn’t help me with it anymore.
August 03, 2015
Marriage Letters: On New Seasons
April 06, 2015


Reply September 9, 2011

You are a lovely soul, Mrs. Haines. I would say so more often when I come to this conclusion after reading your posts, but I feel I would sound like quite the broken record.

tell me more about this heart hole. Or point me to a blog post for the background. I'm out of blog-reading practice.

Southern Gal
Reply September 9, 2011

I do know that feeling. I'm so glad you're enjoying being home with those boys.
I don't even like coffee, but I drink a cup with my hubby anytime he's home in the mornings or off just because he likes me to sit and drink with him. I love that time now and I'm beginning, just a little bit, to like coffee with the right additives. ;)

Reply September 9, 2011

read about RL this morning. and the beach trip. and i felt jealous and am not even friends with these women! your titus is beautiful and i do remember him in my prayers. and teh scary marriage words? yeah. we hear them too. and hold so tight we might crush. because who. are .we?

Cassie Boorn
Reply September 9, 2011

I am so happy that you are writing again.

Reply September 9, 2011

That's lovely. And what beauties your children are!

Reply September 10, 2011

I so love your writing. And completely can empathize with that feeling of being blue over missing girl time. I think when we make the right choice because our family needs us it's part of being a grown up. Those things even though at times hard strengthen our feelings of being mature and responsible. It took me so long, even with three kids to stop feeling like a kid myself. I am so sorry about your son's heart and will pray for him. I also wanted to say I went and read your husband's post and it's just beautiful! I love that he wrote so clearly about your newfound love together as well as your newfound love for Christ.

diana trautwein
Reply September 10, 2011

Can I just tell both you and Seth how totally refreshing it is to read your blogs? You write about the hard parts out of a centered place, a place of commitment, mutual admiration and shared passion. And that is just so lovely to see. These pictures are treasures - and, as you have doubtless heard countless times before - enjoy these years with little ones. You really have no idea how quickly they grow up.

Reply September 10, 2011

Loved this post and hear the ache in the "missing" but the drinking up of the present. You have a beautiful family there, Ms. Amber. Glad you are choosing to enjoy them and embrace the limits this season brings . . . knowing that the limitations will lift soon enough.

And, also, loved your line about marriage being like a gracious tightrope walk . . . beautiful image. Have a GREAT weekend!

Reply September 10, 2011

I just have to say thank you for writing about that graceful tightrope walk the way you do, the way your husband does. Your story is hope in the way that each new divorce among our friends is despair, and your way with words... it makes for some of the most touching heart-reading I've ever found.

Reply September 10, 2011

I'm always blessed reading about the Haines family - here or on Seth's blog. Without knowing it, you have been helping me through my marriage trouble - not "ours" - he is fine. It's me. But God is providing the help right here in bytes and pixels. Gracious, He is.

Reply September 12, 2011

Your words are sweet and encouraging and a treasure... You were right were He needed you to be.. these days with your family are precious and so fleeting. Love your heart friend.

Reply September 12, 2011

My hubs and I have had a scarily easy go of marriage, and it is so painful for us to watch marriages around us who aren't having easy time and the words bandied about by the people inside those marriages. We cling, we pray, we try to be intentional. And our hearts break. Hope to see you in Feb so I can hug you in thanks for your encouragement (and keep my feet out of my mouth on and on the ground)

Reply September 12, 2011

"Travel can’t win in certain stages of life. Conferences and long-distance family, none of that changes that it’s wiser for me to stay home."

I am relating oh so well to this statement. It has been the ache of my heart for friends and family to understand this one thing lately. Thank you for typing it out and giving me the assurance that I am not alone.

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