A Haines Home Companion: A Little Eden

IMG_1148Yes, there are moments I’m like Peter, I confess. I’ll get out of the boat, but then I’m breathing water. It doesn’t take me long. It’s just a matter of time that the weight of my body prevails. I’m stuck in it, and for that, honestly, I am also grateful. I am created in the image of God Who Loves Poetry, endless metaphors. I am eating the good from the Garden of Eden once in a while. There are pleasures in this body, indeed.

IMG_1935I can’t really tell you how Titus is doing. He’s weighed the same, give or take a few ounces, for several months now. I can’t linger in the number on his flesh. There are some things that hurt too much, things like worry. So I don’t spend much time there. Only I snuzzle up under his chin. My shoulder is one wadded-up throb of muscle because I carry that child every single where I go. He always helps me hear the music. In the quiet far-away background, there’s always a beat, and he’s guaranteed to start popping his shoulders up and down. He’s a feeler, like his mama.


All my children terrify me if I stop to think about it too much: the moody artsiness, the pleasure-seeking, and the disobedience, how one recently raised his eyebrows up and down while announcing at the supper table that he can’t wait to find out how the daddy plants the seed in a mommy to grow a baby! One came home talking about how people are saying the F word at school (not fart, he said), and another is smart enough to manipulate the mind right out of somebody.



But they’re growing, slowly slowly slowly maturing. The oldest tells what he knows about sex to his brothers, says that it’s a special thing.We talk about how to treat women, how to always remind girls how they are meant for great things – no matter how much they act like they don’t believe it. They already have a sense of the sacredness of our bodies.

Brian HIrschy Photography -2013 - Haines-100

This photo of Ian was taken by our friend Brian Hirschy, and I can’t wait to show you more from him. He took our new profile pics.

Ian is absolutely the least self-aware human being I’ve ever known. It makes for such a mess that I’m always having to remind him to wash his hands and blow his nose. He could wear his shoes on the wrong feet and zip his pants up the rear everyday without even knowing it. He never stops saying thank you. He never assumes that he’s not doing well because someone else has done something great. He never assumes that he deserves something. Maybe this is how it is with all 3rd born sons. I just know that he goes to Kindergarten in the Fall, and my time at home with him has been so different and special. The other day he sat up close to me while we ate tuna sandwiches in silence. After a minute he put his sandwich down and gave me a squeeze and said, “Mama, I’ll never give up on you.” Oh yeah, I cried.

Sometimes walking on water is finding the wonder in the everyday. To abide can mean seeing a streak of peanut butter down your pants and just rubbing it in. Walking on water is taking the body for a ride while living in the Spirit, and sometimes the ride is merely from the sink to the dryer, while the Spirit relishes in how much a father loves.

Ian tells me he loves me more than I love him. I always say that there’s nothing more impossible than that. I knew him as I was making him. I loved him before he had ever laid eyes on me.

About me


Wild in the Hollow Book Club: an Introductory video
August 28, 2015
How Right Living Was My Brokenness: a guest post from Kelly Smith
August 11, 2015
Marriage Letters: On Home
July 06, 2015
A Final Haines Home Companion: a Secret I’ve Kept
June 06, 2014
On Broken Parts in Regular Towns: Alabama, Arkansas, and Haiti
April 03, 2014
On Losing Place
September 05, 2013
How the Light Peeks Through
August 26, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Alter
February 22, 2013
Back Around Again
February 13, 2013


Reply March 13, 2013

I guess it's a side point, but I think it's important to say to you younger mamas how grateful I am about my candid, age-approriate conversations with the boys about sex. We've talked early on about why I have cramps and how you don't have to be married to have babies. Seth and I are very affectionate together, and I'm pretty sure they hear him comment often on how he loves my body.

I've written about it before, but living next to a field of horses has been very helpful. They feel very sorry for female horses. It's hilariously educational.

    Carrie & Troy
    Reply March 13, 2013

    I have so much to learn from you, momma of 4 boys! I wish we were close and I could come play with you today!
    "Sometimes walking on water is finding the wonder in the everyday."
    You are a wise woman! =)
    Still all praying often for your beautiful Titus!
    We love you!

      Reply March 13, 2013

      Love you so much, Carrie. I wish you could come over, too. Thank you for praying. It's a big deal.

        Carrie & Troy
        Reply March 13, 2013

        It is a big deal! The best part about praying for Titus is that it's often our 4 yo Sylas that reminds us to pray for him! He's learning to pray by practicing on your boy, who he doesn't even know! I love that! =)
        Today at lunch, I read the quote above to Troy, while dodging a sippy cup flying through our kitchen! Your words are too real! =)

Reply March 13, 2013

I love this and I love you friend.

Elizabeth W. Marshall
Reply March 13, 2013

Can you please make a video of your words here...just add this to your mix of recent vlogs on the call to preach. You need to preach this one for the mamas because, Amber I mean really these children just make us see life in a such a way that only poet and her metaphors could express :) I love this so much..."I am created in the image of God Who Loves Poetry" please write more on this.

Reply March 13, 2013

don't ever ever stop writing, Amber. Thank you!

Annie Barnett
Reply March 13, 2013

I'll never get tired of hearing about the holy in the everyday small places. Beautiful, Amber.

Patricia (Pollywog Creek)
Reply March 13, 2013

It's so much fun to be a "mimi" and watch my grown children answer their children's questions about sex and babies. When my grandson Gavin was 4 and my dil Kristin was pregnant, we were all together in my son's van heading out of town. About an hour into the trip, out of the blue, Gavin asks from his seat in the back row. "I was wondering. How do people make babies?" After a short pause, during which I tried to hide my amusement, his daddy, my son, answered, "We don't...God does."

Reply March 13, 2013

Oh yeah, I cried!
You know, I thought I was the only one with children who make me nervous. They'll either be great or...well. They'll be great. Lord, hear my prayer!
In the meantime, YOU are an encouragement.
And if you have any advice for me, I have a 3 year old who loves to eat boogers and refuses to be ashamed. He says he's a booger man. Help?

Reply March 13, 2013

OH OH! And then I heard it from the 3 year old that the 5 yr old told him there's a girl who's not pretty in his class. WHAT THE? Apparently she doesn't wear pretty dresses. Now I'm going to stop talking about it because I really can't handle this before my coffee.

Jessica Y
Reply March 13, 2013

Isn't the Lord so gracious to let us participate in all of this beauty and workin' it out, hard as it may be? This was beautiful to read this morning friend, as I have one of mine standing on the table with a gun and a hat and a "belt whip" pretending he's Indiana Jones while he is supposed to be doing his math :)
Love you sweet friend, and still wishin' we were neighbors .

Reply March 13, 2013

Amber...my mom says it's the way 3rd children are....my 3 is like that, her 3rd (of 7) is like that...not sure why?
My 3 are grown now (2 daughters, youngest is a son) but we always talked candidly about sex with them...in fact, I distinctly remember when my oldest was coming home (3rd grade/9 yrs) and would tell me the dirty jokes/sex tales a girl from her class was telling her. This sad child had a 14 year old brother and not much parental supervision, it seemed. I finally asked my daughter...."How many times do you think that Andrea has had intercourse?" (we ALWAYS used the correct terms and anatomical words when talking about our bodies) Sweet daughter answered..."oh, Mom...I don't think she's ever had intercourse...she's only 9!" and my reply...."well, whenever you have any questions about intercourse or sex or loving anyone, Dad and I are the best people to ask because we're experts and we've had intercourse lots of times and can answer any question you have". Your kids will benefit from your frankness and loving ways....keep it up!

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply March 13, 2013

I want to jump up and shout hallelujah, and then laugh a little, with tears in my eyes.

I am right here with you, friend. At the table. Sinking in the water and daily rising.

Love you so much, sister.

the Blah Blah Blahger
Reply March 13, 2013

Well, crap. You're making me cry today, too!

(just wrote the same thing on SB's page - ha!)

Sarah Bessey
Reply March 13, 2013

Yep, right there. Even the terrifying.

And it's funny but just when I think I have figured out why I love you so, I remember that these are my favourite posts of yours after all.

Don Sartain
Reply March 13, 2013

Any mother of four boys deserves an award...and I thought my mom had it rough with three, lol.

Heidi Blankenship
Reply March 13, 2013

Hi, Amber-
I'm dropping by for a visit, came to your blog via Emily Freeman because she's linked up to you today. But you probably knew that already. "I'll never give up on you, mama." Oh my word. The sweetness. What every mama needs to hear, right? I am also a mother of boys, three of them, actually. It's an amazing ride. Nice to "meet" you. I like your blog.

Reply March 13, 2013

love, love, love those boys. I'm so glad that I get to be a part of your lives.

Michelle DeRusha
Reply March 13, 2013

This is awesome, Amber. Awesome writing. Awesome insights. Awesome truth. {and I love your comment up top about talking about sex with the boys and the horses next door. that one made me laugh}

Diana Trautwein
Reply March 14, 2013

There is definitely something to that child #3 thing, yeah. But if he follows my #3's pattern, a lot of that will disappear into the ether of pre-adolescent hormones, I am sorry to say. He is now 40 and an amazing dad/husband/doctor but ever so mysterious to me in many ways. Amber - this is so lovely. Thank you for it. Continuing to pray for beautiful Titus, thankful he's still here but wondering with you when you can breathe again where he is concerned.

Lisa-Jo @lisajobaker
Reply March 14, 2013

"“Mama, I’ll never give up on you.” " Wish I hadn't just taken a big sip of coffee before I got to that line and had to gulp it down and take a breath because of the tears that hit my eyes...

Melissa @ the lovely words
Reply March 15, 2013

i hope my girls fall in love with boys like yours. boys who are being taught to value girls and lift them up out of the mire that society and insecurity pushes them into. i love your heart amber. you write beauty into motherhood and every day life. thank you for that!

Reply March 15, 2013

"Sometimes walking on water is finding the wonder in the everyday."
Amber, I can't tell you how profound this feels, how very honest and truth-telling, and God breathed. The way that you chronicle life with your boys (all of them) captures life at its best. Not perfect or super-powered but simply at its best. The way God would want us to slow and linger and drink it in. Thank you for writing out your heart. It is certainly part of the wonder of my everyday.

Reply March 16, 2013

This is absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

Reply October 25, 2013

WoW - your words are a gift!
We have 6 boys (5 here on earth) and 3 girls - they are all so different from what the world expects them to be; especially child #3 (a boy - he is so gifted!) We cannot wait to see how the Lord continues to shape and mold them all!


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