"You could pray that I don't have any bad dreams any more." Lucy lulls. She sits in the backseat, seatbelt squared across her torso.
I click the key off and rest my wrists on the steering wheel. "That's a great idea, Lucy." I fumble for a rumpled brown journal
"Wanna hear about one of the best dreams that I've had," she lilts.
"Yeah." I pop the cap off my pen. Scribble about her bad dreams.
"That Jesus is holding me in his arms," she says. Her words sway. My breath matches time to the rhythm. "He just holded me in his arms all night," she says, "and protected me." I hold still, feel His arms there with us, trace the glasslike surface of her dream.
"He does that," I blurt, the words like pebbles in my mouth.
"He can hear you even if you pray quietly." She looks out the window. A pyrex dish of chocolate chips lies empty at her knee. Smudges on her forehead and eyelid match chocolate blots in the bowl. "One time I prayed quietly to myself when Jack was praying at night," she carries on.
I nod. Secrets float by like dandelion umbrellas. We let them drift and glide. They hang in the air like a breath of wind. "Jesus always hears us," I breathe. We share the words, then grab hands and skip into the bookshop for the rest of our date.
3520. "Mommy," Myra chirps from the jog stroller shoehorned in next to baby brother, "I kiss Joe."
3521. We load up the whole herd of bikes and take a family bike ride at the park.
3522. The night gets hectic and Lucy walks around with a stethoscope in her ears.
3523. New earrings, silver arc, blue green dew drop suspended midair.
3524. Splitting headache ebbs and vanishes.
3525. I delve into Revelation with two friends. We let the awe of it wash over us.
3526. Tuesday at Mom's, coconut curry chicken, prayer, friendship, the sweetness of letting my guard flutter down like a discarded scarf.
3527. "Myra pooped in the big one potty," Myra trumpets from the bathroom. "I wipe self!" she says.
3528. I come across an old chip of terra cotta, the words worth it scrawled over the front.
3529. Joey squirms under Myra's hug.
3530. "There's slobber on you." Jane pats my shoulder.
3531. The circus of us rolls to motion as we prepare brats and salad and set the table for dinner.
3532. The children practice using checklists and set the hearth with folders and books for school.
3533. "The plum is kind of soft," Lucy confesses at plum picking, "because I had it in my pocket. Aw Mom, I squished a plum in my pocket." Jane squints, frowns and adds, "Mom, there's a squished plum in Lucy's pocket that she can't get out."
3534. "One of our best presidents," Jane says as we drive home from the farm, "is the guy that died the year I was born." I think back. "Ronald Reagan?" I say. "Yeah. He had a lot of money but was respectful and tried to use it for good."
3535. "A good thing to do," Janie tells me, "is to be respectful and try to get into authority and then guide people to Jesus."
3536. We pick more blackberries and yellow plums on the farm.
3537. We feast on stew and corn on the cob, fresh chopped cucumbers and peppers, fist-sized tomatoes, and blackberry crisp.
3538. We play tag in the car coming home from blackberry picking. I join in just to thumb my nose at a sour attitude inside of me.
3539. Craig does reconstructive surgery when Lu busts a lamp over our bed.
3540. We watch a documentary on butterflies. "Do caterpillars really turn into butterflies for REALS?" Lucy wants to know. I nod. "For REALS?" she squeals again. "Yeah!"
3541. As the movie wraps up, Jane adds matter-of-fact, "They must not believe in God 'cause they're not saying anything about him," as if God's design were obvious.
3542. After an enthusiastic conclusion to plum picking, Craig makes a discovery, "We have established that I should not have salad and plums for a meal."
3543. Craig takes Jane on a date during naps. Jack nuzzles up to my elbow. "We could play a game if you want," he says. And then offers, "Want me to make you a palm tree?"
3545. Craig brings home heavy whipping cream for ice cream. "I like that kind of milk," Lucy says.
3546. "Me and Thad and Jack like boogers," she confesses when I scold Myra for eating them.
3547. I unwrap and put away a whole set of glass serving dishes with snap on lids. They clank into perfect stacks and leave the cupboard as quickly as they are put away.
3548. I replay the spun out frustrations of the week for my mom to listen, and she tells me true: persevere, keep on, do not give up, press ahead. So I do.
3549. Tales of the Kingdom.
3550. A whole Sunday evening to linger with my dear, dear cousin encircling each other in prayer and love and dinner and a stroll in the garden. Perfection.
3551. That bedrock peace that strings one day to the next.