Sunday, February 26, 2012


"I'm turning this off, 'cause I don't like the way this guy is talking." Craig pops the power button on the radio with the palm of his hand. "There."

On the way home from ice skating, Jack and Jane sit in the back seat. Coats, mittens, hats, scarves, snow pants form a landslide around them.

"What do you mean?" Jane asks.

"How is he talking?" Jack wrinkles his forehead.

Craig eyes them in the rearview mirror, passes a red Subaru. "He's angry so he's using bad words," he says.

"Like WHAT?" Jack makes his eyes round. Craig switches lanes, slows to turn left at our corner.

"You know Jack," Jane jumps in, "it's like when you're mad and you say FART instead of TOOT."

"Oh." With that they round the corner and pull up to our house as if all the world's problems have been solved.


1942. How when I ask Myra to get shoes on she comes out with a spiderman slipper and a sock on.

1943. How Lucy hops belly up on the table, leans on an elbow and watches me work on a project.

1944. Her commentary, "Dad actually makes gooder things than us."

1945. How Myra slurps when she eats an orange.

1946. How Jane lies on the grass and spins a shiny pinwheel in the sun before the snowstorm hits.

1947. How Jack and Lu come in from playing outback and Jane pauses in Math. "Mmmm, they smell like outside," she says.

1948. How Lucy pats her tummy, "I don't know why my belly is getting big," she says, "but I think it might be 'cause there's a baby in my tummy."

1949. How when Jack gets in trouble we pray together. And how when I say I can't understand what he's saying he says, "Oh. Do you think God could?" And we agree he can.

1950. How Myra brings me her blankie when I sleep in.

1951. Teaching the children to obey the first time we ask and the harmony it brings to our home.

1952. How we giggle and laugh over the tiny diapers I've made for the baby.

1953. A frying pan big enough to cook eggs for all of us.

1954. Short grain rice with lime and browned butter.

1955. Learning Canasta and how to be a good sport. Again.

1956. Fried chicken and blackberry pie.

1957. Settling into a season of waiting, seven weeks now until the baby's due.

1958. All the name suggestions. (Thank-you!!) And how we pour over them like a bag full of marbles waiting for one to seem just right.

1959. Learning and praying to be gentle, to let quiet words speak for themselves.

1960. Learning to not laugh at things that aren't funny.

1961. Learning again how small I am and how big God is.

holy     experience

Sunday, February 19, 2012


"You're being like me asking Momma TWO times," Janie nods to Jack. "Sometimes I get a different answer I like better."

From around the corner, elbow deep in dishes, I take mental note. The never ending rain of questions, they're mapping my every move.


1918. Jane's assessment of Psalm 139, "If you get an air tank and go to the bottom of the sea and bury yourself in the sand, God still knows where you are."

1919. Lucy trying to sound grown up, "Frow-up tastes like juice."

1920. Jack's offer, "I'll help you, Jane. I don't want you to be left out."

1921. And his commentary, "I tighten up my butt when I'm holding a toot."

1922. How I show Craig my progress on the boys' room and find the children have a fort under the baby crib.

1923. How Craig takes a vacation day and spends it taking our children on dates.

1924. Time with my mom parsing out motherhood and children, learning from someone who knows more than me.

1925. Evenings working another puzzle down by the fire, Prince Caspian audio book in the background.

1926. Baby things lent from a friend in CA.

1927. A dentist visit, teeth polished clean.

1928. A fresh shower curtain.

1929. Myra, arms raised to be held.

1930. How she shouts, "I SWALLOWED," from the dinner table when we insist she eat what was served.

1931. A day on the farm, a pot roast feast, apple crisp and a nap to draw the afternoon long. Mother-in-law who spins all things possible.

1932. A string of pearls and all the history and heritage that came with it.

1933. A birthday party for the February birthdays in the family, all the ferris wheels of conversation and carnival of children, the litany of appreciation for each birthday person.

1934. Lucy's progress as a hairdresser, "Look, I braided my bear's ears."

1935. Her birthday wish, "I want an animal that is a real animal that sprays stinky stuff."

1936. How she calls scones, STONES.

1937. How Myra shushes Lucy's doll.

1938. How Jane's suddenly taller than the light switches around the house.

1939. "I have something that I want to sell for two hundred dollars: my magnet drawing thing." Jack starting to notice how the world works.

1940. How Myra sits on my lap and whispers, "Mum-mum, hi."

1941. Learning not to fret over if I said or did the perfect thing and just step into the next moment.

holy     experience

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lead On

"Momma, I'm sorry," Jane shakes her head. "Will you forgive me for trying to make it look like I'm working when I'm really just sandbagging?"

The living room a kaleidoscope of laundry and legos, dollies and dart guns, velcro shoes, rain boots, socks and tinker toys dispersed like tide, I sigh. I smile at her tilted head, curls askew. "Yeah, I forgive you."

And so it is, all the counterpoint of discipline and training and it comes to this: repentance. Suddenly, she's easy to lead. Fierce girl that she is, strength under control is greater strength yet.


1900. Lucy's announcement, "If it's on the bottom right, that means it's in the middle."

1901. Family puttering around the table making breakfast together.

1902. How when I tell Jane that flattery will get you nowhere she asks, "Is flattery a street?"

1903. Family gathered for cousin's birthday, and how we laugh and visit, three conversations going at once, and land soft and tired for bed.

1904. Thai peanut sauce made from scratch.

1905. A trip to two grocery stores and home in less than an hour, a record to be sure.

1906. Jack crossing the street alone, off to fight nerf wars with the cousins.

1907. How he could jump off practically anything.

1908. Craig home safe from a conference away from home.

1909. Excavating the playroom into the new baby's and Jack's room, and all the help that went with it.

1910. Refurbishing cloth diapers in tiny sizes for new baby boy.

1911. The continued search for a one syllable boy name that Craig and I both love. (Any suggestions?)

1912. Jane's observation, "Daddy can make practically anyone laugh."

1913. How she wakes me this morning, "Momma, will you get up, I'm dressed and already ready for church."

1914. How when I tell Jack he's a nice boy he says, "You're a nice girl! Or woman."

1915. A road trip with the kids to run an errand.

1916. My huge belly and how all the quiet moments are filled with baby kicks and life moving inside.

1917. Learning the hard road of setting standards high and expecting the children to jump.

holy     experience

Sunday, February 5, 2012


"God, help me to make nothing fair and love my neighbor as myself." Eyes squinched shut on bottom bunk, Jack pieces together the golden rule.

"Help us to do whatever you ask," Jane adds. "Thank-you that I get to have a big family."

Across the room, Lucy pulls her thumb out of her mouth. "Jesus, thank-you that everything impossible is for the Lord. Amen."

And amen.


1882. Casual conversation with Lucy, "Jack said in the playroom, if I didn't clean he would pull my ponytail out. But he forgot."

1883. The gradual ebb and flow of keeping this house tidy.

1884. How Lucy plays with my hair when we read Bibles.

1885. How Myra kisses me on the nose at breakfast.

1886. Lucy's raised eyebrows and, "I'm reading my Bible silently."

1887. And her offhand commentary on Craig, "He's a sweet man, pretty sweet to me."

1888. Jane's insight, "Hey Momma, can I tell you something that's true? It actually kind of hurts when you fall on the ice."

1889. How Jack rests his hand on my shoulder when we read Bibles.

1890. Relaxing with old high school friends.

1891. Jack bounding down the stairs, "Jane, Let's go read to each other even though it's not a school day."

1892. Peach pie and blackberry pie made all in one day in case Craig wanted birthday pie for breakfast.

1893. How even on his birthday, he makes the day perfect for me.

1894. Two hours sleeping away a headache, straight through dinner.

1895. A kiwi green candle and thank-you notes with a with a red finch on the side.

1896. A superbowl party with chili and cornbread and children run blissfully tired.

1897. Hand-me-down cloth diapers, bright primary colors for baby boy.

1898. Hand-me-down crib and clothes.

1899. Maneuvering these tired days into moments where our children pray and for all the grace of God, our flaws fall back to the shadows.

holy     experience