Monday, July 11, 2011


"Oh, it smells like Bethany's house," she says. "I like the smell of Bethany's house."

Her mother tells me, they were about to baptize her, lean her back in the sky blue baptismal, and Savannah remarks, it's like Bethany's house.

From the back I'd watched dark curls and closed eyes swoosh below the water. They pulled her up, and water purled down ringlet curls onto soaked orange shirt and shorts. My Jane had watched and cheered. I whistled.

In the flurry of towels and hugs, cheers and song, they whisk by. They linger just long enough to tell me, Bethany's house, it smelled like Bethany's house.

Savannah's smile drawn wide and long, her brown eyes hold me. In the moment before I turn and smile to her mother, I see it: steady strength, endurance. Like an agate hidden in plain view on a country road, I see it. She blinks, tucks her chin, and the morning spindles back to motion.

They whirl by, a promenade of felicitation, but all I see are those steady eyes.

Eyes. At night Lucy traces my eyes and eyebrows, eyelashes.

"That is soft," she murmurs, strokes my brow. She rubs her small finger temple to temple, smooths my eyebrows.

"I like this part," she remarks and brushes her finger over and over my eyelashes. "And this part too." She softens on a tuft of eyebrow.

Then, gentle as a petal, she dandles a perfect circle on my eyelid. I wait and she traces again and again that same ephemeral loop. I pause, eyelids flutter.

"I do it to me," she offers and closes her eyes. I watch her trace the bump of her contact with that same caress. Circle, circle, circle, as if to stroke sight and sleep into place, gentle as the dawn, she circles it.

I marvel at her complete submission -- submission to that contact, the continual patching, the flat world with no depth perception. And she circles it, circles me.

I close my eyes. "Do it again," I say.

She does.


1052. How Lucy traces my eye.

1053. Savannah baptized.

1054. A trip to the pool with our four children and how when another girl wants to teach Janie to swim, Jane turns to me and whispers, "What do you want me to say?"

1055. Her submissive heart and burgeoning mind, a bliss of questions and lots and lots of time.

1056. Time with my mother talking and talking and mapping the world according to our friendship.

1057. How my mom and dad have found they like to bike together.

1058. Lots of conflict on many fronts and the sincere pleasure of watching Craig, completely impervious to public opinion -- kind, cordial, and fun, but impervious none the less.

1059. Being protected and provided for.

1060. An Independence Day BBQ with more salads than you could count and a bouquet of flags.

1061. Another BBQ just to eat up all the left overs.

1062. More swim lessons with Libby, the world's best swim instructor and pedagogy teacher.

1063. Rockie smiling and laughing at me.

1064. A whole day of slip-n-slide and blow-up pool and hoorah-hoorah play for the cousins while the grown-ups sip water with mint and eat corn salsa.

1065. Minted cucumbers.

1066. Learning first hand that truly, no matter how gourmet the bread recipe, if you forget to put the salt in, nothing will fix it.

1067. Salt.

1068. A new home for our dogs in Craig's home town with one of those salt-of-the-earth farmers.

1069. The nugget of wisdom that sometimes gentleness is more important than patience.

1070. My children getting to see people talk behind my back and then watch me respond.

1071. Daisies.

1072. How 120 grit sand paper, a little elbow grease, and 10 days can completely heal cracked heels.

1073. Reading a loud to the children an hour and a half past bedtime because the story was so thrilling.

1074. A phone call to my grampa.

1075. Chocolate covered pomegranate from Great-grammie.

1076. Six chickies still peeping away and plans for a chicken coop in the works.

1077. The epistles of Paul on repeat on my ipod.

1078. How since scripture is living and breathing it really does speak each time around.

1079. How I'm still surprised every time.

holy     experience


  1. i feel so dry this morning, but the way you pen your words. . . i am inspired to get moving and get my own pen writing today. thanks for sharing such a sweet story!

  2. Your words are always a treat.

  3. This post takes my breath away.

  4. Yes, those eyes. And, yes, scripture living and breathing and being pertinent every time we read it.

  5. great list! I love the one about scripture and how we can still get surprised! Amen!

  6. Have to know what book kept you up past bedtime.
    Your post is lovely.

  7. Oh, thanks for the lovely banter.

    The book is Heaven is for REAL. The hospital scene was just too intense to end on. We can't wait to read the rest!

  8. I read that book it two days! I loved it. Just like I can't wait for Mondays to read your posts. You make my Mondays!

  9. This post made me want to come to your house (to smell it), as if I didn't want to, anyway. I get so excited when you post.

  10. A treat as always...thanks for sharing!

  11. I mined that same nugget (#1069) this week. Cultivating Home?

    If I were allowed the written word in only one other form besides the Bible, I would choose your Monday posts. I mean that sincerely.

  12. Oh, bless your heart! {hug}

    Yes, #1069 was from Cultivating Home. :)

  13. You are a beatiful writer! I was reminded when I was little and my cousin would come spend the night. We would lay in the same bed and trace the features on each others face. We would put "pretend" mascara on as we rubbed the eyelashes, and powder as we rubbed the face, blush for the cheeks, eyeshadow as we rubbed the eyelid. I hadn't thought of that in years. Thanks for reminding me! :)
    (visiting from Ann's place)

  14. 1070. Yes, the eyes are always watching. Somehow I know that they learned more than what we can instruct. Beautiful post. So nice to meet you.

  15. 1070. My children getting to see people talk behind my back and then watch me respond.
    What a lesson they can learn!

  16. How refreshing the opening lines of the baptism were. You captured it gracefully. This journey we are all taking and counting never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I just loved 1061. Another bbq just to finish up the left overs! Isn't that always the way it is????

    I just sighed as I read your post today. I feel breathless, and like so many others who have posted, I feel inspired.

    I, too, would love to know what this mysterious "smell" is!

  18. dropped by from Ann's . . . and so glad that I did. . . a bouquet of peace . . . a pleasing aroma . . . makes me smile and my tense shoulders drop. . .thank you . . .

  19. Thanks for writing again and encouraging my heart. Another breath of fresh air.

  20. Dear Bethany, I loved this so much. The tracing. What a beautiful picture...all of it, really.

  21. yes, as others have said--the tracing..the way your children look to you in obvious admiration, and how you obviously spend quality time with them and invest in them...such a reminder for all us moms, and especially me be still enough that they would wonder at the feel of my skin on the other side of their be still..isnt this one of the greatest lessons God wants us to learn? thanks so much for writing! i have been inspired to just "be still" today with my children, with myself, with God...