A Witch’s Children Seldom Sleep ✨

A witch’s children seldom sleep;

they stay up in their rooms 

conjuring up mythical lands,

building kingdoms and castles,

or run through the house—

all wide-eyed wildness

once the full moon comes up,

and mirrors itself in their round, blue eyes.

They dance, cackle and fly about the room

until a crash into the wall—or each other—

signals the doom-bell of bedtime.

The later the louder;

the more tired the more terrible,

until their witch-mother’s exasperated hair 

shoots out in all directions like flames.

Finally, she has to resort to softly chanting spells

to soothe her tiny witches and warlocks to sleep.

When their dark lashes lay on their cheeks at last,

they almost look like ordinary children,

but the witch grins to herself…

she knows better!

✨✨✨

Spell Weaver ✨

Her hair is askew;

she has the rakish look of a wild one 

who has been up with the werewolves,

swaying under the 3 o’clock moon, 

chanting spells to lure the world to sleep.

She can often be seen muttering over her pots, 

consulting her glowing spell book 

and adding one by one to her potion 

pinches of hope, dashes of courage, and handfuls of strength.

Her bittersweet sacrifice of love 

rises like incense from her steaming cauldron.

She has a healing touch 

to soothe the brows of feverish toddlers, 

comfort crying babies, 

and reassure the young witches in training, 

as they begin to see shapes in the darkness around them— 

the fears they must face and fight 

on their journey to take flight.

But even the life-giving, spell-weaving woman 

gets worn down at times, 

and caught up in the storm around her, 

she shoots lightning from her eyes 

and thunder from her terrible mouth 

so that all things might cease!

She longs for a moment’s solitude, 

to untangle the lightning from her hair;

refill her well with starlight 

and the song of flowers

to weave into spells the next day.


In the hush of a deep breath she remembers

that her most important spells do not decorate 

life’s struggles in sparkling cobwebs;

rather they reveal to her children the deeper magic 

that was around them all along, 

and help them draw life from it,

even in the darkest moments before dawn.

✨✨✨

The End of the World

A little vignette about bedtime…

She knew it might be bad, but she hadn’t expected it to be this bad. It wasn’t like she had done it violently or without warning. Nevertheless, it had plunged her daughter into the depths of despair.

“I will never eat again!” she declared, lower lip trembling as her eyes began to redden.

“That’s too bad; you’ll get pretty hungry.”

“I won’t open my presents. I won’t come to Easter or Christmas.”

“Really? How sad. That’s a lot to give up.”

“I won’t ever let you help me!” she threw out this statement like a well-aimed spear, sure it would conquer her enemy and bring victory.

“You’re only hurting yourself, babe,” her mother deflected the spear with a shield of serenity. “I’m sorry you’re so sad.”

The girl thrust out her jaw and glowered up at her mother with narrowed eyes.

“I’m not sad, I’m angry!”

“Ok, I’m sorry you’re angry, then. But why don’t you go up to bed, honey? It’s time to sleep.”

“I will never sleep. I will just stand by my bed with my eyes open. I will never shut my eyes again!”

“Oh, really?” the woman sighed. Determination was a great trait. To be sure it had helped her daughter finish the steep, two hour hike up the mountain with her Dad the other day, chattering the whole way up. But when it was bedtime, determination to have one’s own way was a distinct disadvantage in a child of three.

“Sweetie, you can play more Reading Eggs tomorrow. I had to turn it off ‘cause it was 9:30. Now it’s 10:15. You have to sleep.”

“I will never sleep!”

The woman rubbed her head and sighed. You can’t fight crazy. She climbed into bed and nursed her baby to sleep. Eventually, the war-weary toddler climbed in under the blankets and hid. That way no one would see her eyes close.

Cookies and Milk at 3 am

Of course, after admonishing our kids not to wake up too early for Christmas (they once woke up at midnight to open the stockings on the ends of their beds) it would be me, their mom, who woke up at 2:30 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. So silly, as the kids and I had worked so hard to prepare ahead, had finished wrapping and had even stuffed the stockings and stowed them in a box days ago, so I wouldn’t have to burn the midnight oil playing Mrs Clause. Yet I woke up. Was it pregnancy heartburn, excitement, or insomnia?

Whatever it was, I decided Santa’s tradition of the post-midnight snack was a good idea and got up to have an angel sugar cookie and a glass of milk. I’d say I had a snack with Santa, but you’d know from Google Santa Tracker that he was already safely back home in the North Pole by this hour.

So while I’m up, I thought I’d take this quiet moment chance to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, despite everything, and a lot of hope for better things to come in 2021. Thank you so much to all our family and friends who supported us from afar this year, as we went through the pandemic, and through the illness and loss of my Dad, Bob, to cancer. Your loving words, encouragement, cards, flowers or food dropped at our door have meant a lot.

Shortly after my Dad passed away, in the morning of November 9th, it began snowing, which is rare on the rainy coast. “Mum, Mum,” said the kids with excitement, “Grandpa is sending us snow from Heaven with Josephine!” It’s amazing how positive and resilient kids can be in the face of loss. Here are a few pictures from our house, where we have tried to find all the joy and sparkle we can this Advent.

May God in his humble nearness at Christmas surround you with blessings and give you the eyes to see them, so the little hidden miracles of each day can shine and bring you hope.

Lots of love from all the Eastlands here at Just East of Crazy Land! Thanks for being here, making me feel less alone as I eat cookies and milk at 3 am, and await the sparkly madness of Christmas morning with 7 kids! ✨🌲✨🎁✨🌲✨

Welcome, Baby Timbit

In my last post, “Spot the Difference” I posted two pictures that my daughter drew of our family, and asked readers to spot the difference. Perhaps you’re all too busy with summer holidays to read or comment, or were simply hesitant to wager a guess, so here are a few more pictures that should make things a little more obvious.

Here we are, in a photo taken in February, an epic moment where we all looked decently clothed (note you can’t see that my boys are not wearing socks…matching socks are beyond my powers). Gotta love the godfather-style glare from my toddler, who was not amused.

And here’s the family member who isn’t in the photo, for the simple fact that this little bean didn’t exist yet, except, as the saying goes, as a twinkle in her father’s eyes. ✨

Welcome to the world, baby!

My sister has dubbed our new little one Timbit, because this is how James and I announced the baby to our other kids: we brought home a box of Timbits and told the kids we had a little piece of news for them, one currently smaller than a Timbit. After several guesses about things like Daddy buying me jewellery or something, and a hint that the news would not stay the size of a Timbit, the excited kids realized it was a baby.

Yup, it’s kinda crazy, but at this point, may as well own the crazy. Thinking of getting such a jersey for the baby to save trouble at the grocery store: “Oh, how cute! Is this your second? Third? Fourth?”

You get the idea. Lucky #9!

Back-Alley Beauty

In this time

when my heart is breaking

from so much pain in the world

I’ve been choking on silence

not knowing what to say

I felt that it was a time

for only words weighty with wisdom

words of solemn importance

and sorrow

But maybe in this time

when my heart is breaking

from so much pain in the world

it is precisely the time

to celebrate every bit of happiness

the day affords

To rejoice in each little buttercup

and bouquet of back-alley beauty

my children clutch in eager hands

and bring me while I cook dinner

And to wish and pray

with all my strength

many such simple pleasures

and calm moments of sweetness

upon each precious person

who walks the face of this earth

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    Happy Easter from the Eastlands

    This Easter we are grateful for simple beauties, being together when so many are alone, and for having a garden for our children to play in since we can’t go elsewhere! All of these are huge blessings. Wishing you all many caresses of tenderness and hope this spring! Let’s stay in touch; I’m always so happy to hear from family, friends, and even ‘strangers,’ for who can really be a stranger when we are all in this together…

    God bless you and keep you safe and grant you peace of heart! Happy Easter! 🙂