Tuesday, September 28, 2010


"Honey, try not to leave pinch marks on them," I say, "or they will look smushed."

She turns a peach like a newborn babe, hands it one palm to the other. "They'll just look like kids helped with them," she says. Her eyes and hands cradle the peach.

"Hmm," I pause, "That's true."

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Note

A note of regard, highest respect for the patients, doctors, family in the hospital. They do the very best possible in the worst of circumstances. The care they offer fellow human beings, the dignity against all odds, it would make you cry. They offer what they have -- all they have.

All they have -- puts us to shame.

The Hospital

"Momma," Janie says, "why is it a hospital where they go to die?"

She scoops an almond out of her oatmeal. I crunch cereal. "They don't have some of the things we have, honey." We chew. I sip coffee.

"They have one of the things we do," she says.

"What's that?" I fish around for a pecan, bite it in half.

"Hands," she says.

"And doctors," Jack pipes in.

"Hm," I sigh. "And God."

Jack furrows his brow, looks up, "Why do they have God?"

His elbow brushes my arm. "If people are there," I say, " and they pray, where is God?"

"Right IN there." He doesn't hesitate. As if captured by the idea, he hums between bites, "God-is-in-the-hospital. GOD-is-in-the-hospital." His spoon clanks against the bowl, but all I hear is, God is in the hospital.

Hands and doctors and God.

God is in the hospital.


197. Emmanuel, well enough to leave the hospital.

198. No malaria in the mosquitoes here.

199. Child prayers.

200. How Lulie copies and prays like a big kid.

201. How Janie practices being easy to correct.

202. The way she erases and makes sloppy letters neat.

203. How Jack JUMPS off rocks, furniture, kitchen benches, the hearth.

204. How WIDE he opens his eyes when something is really funny or scary.

205. The way children memorize -- rote memory -- absorb it and love it until the age of six.

206. How Lulie recites Psalm 1 while she waits on my bed for discipline. How she loves the words before she even knows what they mean.

207. How husband corrects Lulie, "Honey, that's just not what people like us do." Like us, identity.

208. Husband's never ending strength for a job well done.

209. How he preaches: Work at everything as if working for the Lord, not men. And how then, on the longest day of his week, he comes home and rearranges the basement every which way. For me.

210. A tall tower of watermelon cubes.

211. The cradle Gramma made when I was a baby. Myra sleeps in it now.

212. That all my children have clothes and shoes enough for winter.

213. How when I get a scratch I just put a little Neosporin on and never worry that it will grow infected and make me lose a limb.

214. That cousins make good family and good friends.

215. Great decorating advice.

216. That I even get to worry about decorating instead of just staying alive.

218. My feet now cold that will carry me to baby and then bed.

holy     experience

Saturday, September 25, 2010


"Hey Momma," Jane swallows a last potato soup bite, "I want to grow strong, healthy, and whole to help other people grow strong healthy and whole."

Hm. Me too.

She clanks a bowl into the dishwasher and runs after Jack. "I won the battle," she hollers.

They tangle into jammies and gallop to the bathroom for toothbrushes. I wipe down the table.

Emmanuel. He received a unit of blood. He's stronger, but weak yet. They hope to get another unit. Soon.

They make do there in the hospital. They encircle gangrenous limbs, flies and all, with prayer. They bathe fevered brows with words to God. To God! And we pray too, half a world away. Lord, let it be good blood.

Craig's mom donates blood as often as they let her. Platelets too. Why, she's probably given gallons and gallons by now. Never really realized what a gift blood is.

"I'm gonna pray about 'Manwell even though I prayed about it at lunch and in my room." Jack squeezes my neck, "God, please heal Emmanuel. Amen."

And amen.


Emmanuel has discharged from the Hospital. He has improved!!
Thank-you, Jesus. THANK-YOU.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Boy

"Tears are coming out of you." I set down the phone. Jack watches my hands, stares at my face.

I crouch down, poke out bottom lip. "I'm sad," I say.

"You have tears coming out of you." I hug him, shoulders to my chest. Four years old.

My momma called. A boy we know in a far away hospital has malaria. And sickle-cell anemia. His daddy died a year ago. Malaria too. The boy, he's four.

When Craig visited the Kenyan hospital far, far away, he told me, "You go there to die."

I gather my children and we pray for four-year-old Emmanuel. We pray and pray and gather strength.

Our God is able.

My four-year old thunders through the house in cowboy boots, and I hear it echo down the hall.

God is able.

He is able.

Please heal, Emmanuel.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mud Pie

"But Momma," she says, "my mind is SMALL. And I'm thinking of a LOT of things in a row." Jane raises a shoulder, blinks.

I sigh. "Honey, you STILL have to obey me." Obey. We let that sit for a moment between us.

"I know," she says, shakes her head.

We lock eyes, "MAKE it important to you," I say. "You're not in trouble because you forgot, you're in trouble because you did not MAKE it important to you."

"Oh," she unravels, "now THAT makes a little more sense."

"Sleep with me," Jack shouts. "Momma, SLEEP with me!" Night time and the children rollick into bed. They shout and cavort and carry on.

I lean down onto bottom bunk, "Honey, I sleep with Daddy."

"Sleep with me," he says and pokes out bottom lip.

"Maybe someday you'll marry a woman JUST like me," I say.

He grabs small hands around my neck, "NO," he shouts, "I'm gonna marry YOU, Momma!" He squeezes my neck tight. I smile into his cheek.

"How are you this morning, Little One?" I measure out oatmeal and flax.

"Um," Lulie says, "BIG."

I brew coffee and count children showered and ready for morning mush. Then we sit and eat.

"Jane, how do you like Kindergarten?" I want to know.

"I LOVE it," she scoops oatmeal, balances a sliver of peach on the spoon.

"What do you love about it?"

She swallows, carves another crater in the oatmeal, "Being older," she says.

Older. Everyday. A million miles an hour. Older.


183. Tons and tons of canned peaches. With cinnamon, brown sugar.

184. Child hands that help me skin peaches before we can.

185. Blanched and frozen beans, bright green.

186. The kitchen clean, counters wipe all down.

187. Tired husband who makes grown-up talk with tired wife.

188. Cinnamon syrup on huckleberry pancakes.

189. Husband who knows how to flip pancakes. Stacks in the oven.

190. How husband captured the black widow spider I spotted next to the front door.

191. The children's WIDE eyes at the spider still jarred up on our counter.

192. The clean floors husband mopped for me while we made conversation.

193. Pine-sol.

194. Red headed baby who looks terrible in pink.

195. Memory pages the children color while we meditate over verses.

196. A festoon of sharp pencils, fresh in every color.

holy     experience

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not Tonight

"Not tonight, honey," he says. I turn half away from the computer, then pull my fingers from the keyboard. Let go.

Hardwoods, bare feet, we step into the living room. Oh. Yeah. Living. He holds my hand and we laugh and talk and make time go slow.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


"That's not jade green," he says. I poke a green colored pencil into the color can. It splays out with the others.

"Yeah, it is," I say and tip the can to see better.

He shakes his head. "That's NOT the jade green." I paw through pointed ends, frown. Plain green, where's the plain green?

Janie eyes that boy, "Actually Jack," she says, "it is. Whatever Mom says is TRUE." She raises her eyebrows, pauses, pencil poised, then scratches more memory to paper.

I run my fingers through long pencil colors. They clank in the can. True. Whatever Mom says is TRUE. I swing yellow-green into hand and cradle the idea: Everything I say is true.

Well, ok.


163. The unmade bed that forced me to relax all day.

164. The way Lucy says, "Meditates," when we practice Psalm1.

165. Peach pie made with extra lemon.

166. An invite to Thanksgiving and family and the ocean.

167. 29 cans of dilly beans.

168. Children who ate fist fulls of raw beans when I didn't serve lunch until 2:00.

169. Cousins who picked five gallons with us just before the afternoon burst into rain.

170. Fresh dill.

171. Huge basil leaves.

172. Husband who pulled the potato plants and the children who scooped dirt and taters out of the garden.

173. Homemade hot dog buns.

174. Pepper jelly.

175. Sliced tomatoes still on the table after school work until Janie notices and eats them all.

176. How Jack wrinkles up his forehead when we learn how rain is made.

177. Books and books and books. Books everywhere in this house.

178. My laundry room wiped and scrubbed and rearranged tidy.

179. Glory to God. Even my worst will be turned into good.

180. The window of influence Craig and I have with our children. Complete devoted influence.

181. The closing of that window day by day until they are their own.

182. And that even then, we can still pray.

holy     experience

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


"How many kids do you want to have when you grow up?" Jane and I snuggle, nose to nose. Bedtime. She kisses my cheek.

"A hundred," she says.

I smile into the dark, "Me too." A hundred! She squeezes my hand between her two, kisses the knuckle. Her top-bunk creaks.

"Yeah," she says, "but I don't think it's gonna happen for either of us."

I watch her mussy curls, "Why is that?"

"Because," she says, "I don't know of anyone who has that many."

She rolls on her back. I scoot into the pillow, and we weave the loose ends of the day.

Later, I tiptoe down the hall full of sleep and hope tomorrow is so good.