Sunday, September 25, 2011


"Why do they do worship?" Jack whispers full-voice into my ear.

The lady next to us, all red lilies and black dress, looks straight ahead. I lean in, "It's a way to tell Jesus how much we appreciate him dying for us. Sort of like how we sing Happy Birthday to you to appreciate you." The congregation all on our feet, he stands on the chair next to me, crosses his arms.

"How long do they usually do worship?" he asks in shout-whisper. He washed me white as snow, the melody encircles the sanctuary. We sing.

"Oh, for a very long time," I whisper.

"Oh." He straightens up, wraps an arm around my shoulders. Another song unfurls. He rubs my back. His spine straight, shoulders broad, he's the silhouette of Craig, the gesture of a man. Though he taps out the songs' rhythms on my arm, lays his head on my shoulder, all I see is that flash of man.

For a moment I wonder why people want their sons socialized by peers.


1379. Lulie, fresh garden tomato in hand, "I picked it because I thought it would be fweet."

1380. Jack's determination that yellow tomatoes float and red ones don't when he floods the sink to wash his tomatoes.

1381. Jane's response when I bumble over a bumpy parking lot, "We're special to God. I know he will take care of us."

1382. How Rosie flutters her eyelashes when I run my fingers through her red curls.

1383. Jane's question when I grumble over clothes left out, again, "Do you feel like I don't understand because I'm not like, 'ERRRRR!'" And how she adds, "I'm just calm when things happen."

1384. Her confession, "Wanna know why I ask you things two times sometimes? Because the second time you give me more details."

1385. How when I grouse and complain that she takes forever to get ready for bed she asks, "Can you ever brush your teeth too much?"

1386. Lulie's determination, "Mommy, I thought everyday we would wipe my face off," as I rush around to clear dinner.

1387. All the children shored up in green quilts and pillows listening to old time radio with Craig.

1388. Jane at the dinner table, "Jack, your ears are fabulously dirty. There's a lot of wax in there. It's yellow."

1389. And her cordial, "Before I go to lay down in bed, I just have to tell you one thing: You guys are such a blessing," as Craig and I smile, elbow deep canning pineapple salsa and plum jam.

1390. How Craig and I stop for plum toast, mozzarella cheese, and Greek olives, a late dinner amid laundry piles and mason jars.

1391. How Janie keeps asking how many pound of gas we put in the car because she can't remember gallons.

1392. How Jack feeds Rosie oatmeal with a toothpick.

1393. How Cerissa says, "Oh, that was nothing," when she watches my kids so I can exchange a vacuum.

1394. Picking plums in the orchard and how we have to outsmart the bees, and a sting.

1395. Five of us squeezed on Grampa's four-wheeler for the lumbering crawl up the mountain to the plums.

1396. Salmon grilled to balsamic and soy sauce perfection. And the midget watermelons and cantaloupe Craig's mom serves straight from the garden.

1397. How Lulie recites The Tiger by William Blake three times on the drive home from the farm.

1398. How I finally realize I should be intolerant of Rosie's sour attitude when I tell her NO.

1399. How much happier she is!

1400. How she signs SORRY and squeezes our faces together for a hug.

1401. How I stumble into a clearance sale on stylish jeans for the kids and me.

1402. How I made almost everything from scratch this week.

1403. How I tell the kids, "I love it when you guys come to church with me." And Lulie's matter-of-fact, "I know," she says, "You are a special girl, Mom."

1404. Realizing that this next season I will work harder than I ever have before and fall breathless and spent into bed each night -- and love it.

1405. The nugget of wisdom from our pastor this morning, "It takes no effort at all to be selfish or greedy or hypocritical."

1406. The handicapped man who hugs my hand and kisses it when I push his wheelchair out of church for him.

1407. Lulie's realization that she can't save plums under her pillow because they will get 'mooshed.

1408. How Jack offers me a plum he picked himself and grins as I take a bite, "Stout but good, huh?"

1409. Lulie's sing-songy lilt, "Jack is so fweet because he picked this for me." the plum in her hand.

1410. How Lucy picks a bowl of mint for Grammie and insists she wrap it up and take it home.

1411. Yellow cake with lime and powdered sugar.

1412. How Jack fishes out the sweetest pieces of caramel corn for Rosie.

1413. The Joy of Mathematics, a college course from Harvey Mudd that the sisters-in-law and Mom and I watch while we knit and shhhhh the children.

1414. How the kids sit and watch the first ten minutes before they shooo off to play.

1415. Jacks suggestion that if the baby's a girl we name her Laura, and if the baby's a boy we name him Hook.

1416. Dinner at a friends' house, taco soup and gray skies, and how a whole afternoon slips away in just a moment.

1417. Boston baked black bean with molasses and bacon.

1418. Psalm 95 in unison with the kids, O come let us sing to the LORD...

1419. Learning that discipline leads to freedom.

holy     experience


  1. I read this quote this week and it made me smile:

    Worship ought to be our number one priority on earth. And what greater calamity can fall upon a nation than the loss of worship. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Your words are lovely as always.

  2. I think Hook should be his nickname, for sure!

  3. I cried reading your post this morning, sweet Bethany. How you *notice* is such worship.

    My groom and I struggle to embrace chaos that comes with more than one child, and we wonder how in the world people can possibly have more than two, or two so close together. We judge without knowing.

    And you, you write about how your children learn from each other. You write of how they notice life, too. And their poignant reflections, observances and feelings.

    *Noticing* is my "thing" today. What He is calling me to. And I'm so glad you helped me toward that even more today.

    Rich blessings in your own noticing. It is my joy to read your heart.

  4. Socialization. Make it happen with the people you most admire. Of all ages. Bad company corrupts good character--I think we forget that. Or leave it all to chance.

  5. So many hidden moments in here that could make a mama tired or annoyed (mooshed plums under the pillow!) yet what an example that instead, you chose joy and gratitude. Keep writing because I want to be like you when I grow up. ;)

  6. a late dinner amid laundry and mason jars- way to seize a quiet moment! What a gift that you paused for something delicious. thanks for your attentive list today! blessings to you all the way from Uganda

  7. hi Bethany,

    as always, you inspire. i love that your children are intuitive to things, as if God is whispering in their ear.

    it is a reflection of the fact that the parents are taking time to show how to listen, how to notice, how to be grateful.

    this is a place that we want to reach in our home--we strive for it--and just have to accept His grace when we fail.