"What's your favorite Bible story?" Colored pencils slung between us, I toss out a question.
Lucy lolls her fingers over the lined up pencils. They rattle and scuff. "Probably one that has red words," she says, "'cause that's when Jesus is talking." She settles on a limey green.
"Oh. But what's your favorite story, like what happened?"
"The red word part." She prods a jade green and rubs the jade and lime between her fingers.
"Ok, how 'bout this: you think of a story and I'll think of a story, and we'll see if they are the same, 'cause the one I'm thinking of isn't a red letter one." I smooth out our coloring notebook and then encapsulate the willowy fin of an angel fish in cornflower blue. The question ripples, buoys. I pluck up fern green and start on the fishy tail. Color rubs on effortless and thick.
"Probably the part where the tree is lighted on fire." Lucy strokes chartreuse into the gangle and tangle of seaweed.
I eddy between colors. Tree on fire. "When did the tree light on fire?"
"You know," she pauses, pencil sagged horizontal, "when the angel came in the tree."
Angel in the tree. I wait for the pool of shared knowledge to swell, include me. Angel in the tree. "Oh, yeah." Moses, burning bush.
"And then he said, 'Take off your shoes. You're on holy ground,'" she says. She tic-tocks her head side to side, plucks up burnt orange.
She doles out details, fluent, offhand, a spinning rolodex behind her eyes. "How do you know this?"
"I just listened." She doesn't even look up. Just listened.
On the way home, I ask her more. "Who do you think in the Bible loves God the most?" Again the question lobs between us, rolls, a marble in a labyrinth. We loopty-doo down a rolling-trolling hill south of town. I wonder if she's forgotten and ask again, "Who do you think in the Bible loves God the most?"
"Probably the guy who had all the bad things happen to him, and he still loved God." I can't see her there in the back, but I feel the firm earth of her answer.
I trace her answer in my mind. It's all braille and invisible earth. I trace it out, "If you love God when everything is good that doesn't take very much strength at all. But if you love God when things are bad, then you really love him."
The guy who had all the bad things happen to him. Love. I wonder what this means.
4176. "I think Joseph was braver than all of his brothers because he was able to go THROUGH all that stuff," Jack comments.
4177. "That's such a cute little one legged monkey," Jane comments on my knitting.
4178. I quiz the children on integrity. "Integrity is like reading someone's mind and then doing it," Jane guesses.
4179. We have Tuesday at Auntie Libby's, and the kids get to play with Rockie. We all swell with love for her.
4180. Name bracelets.
4181. I read a children's version of The Tempest to the kids. "Momma, thanks for reading that," Jane gushes. "I just feel really satisfied now."
4182. "I know what would be good," Jack suggests, "chips covered in butter."
4183. We get another flat tire, the spare already replacing the last one, still I don't worry a bit. Even as I pray, I know Craig will find a way to fix it. And he does.
4184. I navigate another day with a migraine. When I rise, well again, Jane greets me. "I didn't clean the downstairs yet because I was reading to the kids to keep them quiet."
4185. I watch Craig express his authority through gratitude and encouragement. I watch him bless Jane for her help and her receive it. "I want to help you, Momma," she says. "Helping you all the sudden got way more fun."
4186. The migraine abates.
4187. We plan our end of unit celebration. I rearrange the living room and Myra comments, "This is ready for PARTY school."
4188. Craig watches the Gonzaga game with his dad complete with steak and potatoes.
4189. We learn the new world of woodless colored pencils, 100% lead. It's like going from drip to espresso.
4190. Spring sweaters. Isn't it time for spring sweaters? Lime. Coral. Mint blue. The weather almost agrees.
4191. Flannel sheets.
4192. Myra starts applying sign language without cues.
4193. I sling Joe over my shoulder, and he pats my back.
4194. Miss Lynne tells us about Tongue Twister Day. "Tomorrow you have to say something to make your tongue get all twirled up," Lucy translates.
4195. "Do some people not marry the person that God tells them to?" she wants to know.
4196. I set the kids loose in the backyard. Naturally, they fill the wheelbarrow with water, and Lucy takes off a rain boot to stir it. Later they tell me it was the boot washing station.
4197. Jane discovers The Secret Garden. "I'm really glad that The Secret Garden is a really long book," she tells me.
4198. I go out with Myra. "'D ya want to hold hand, Mom?" she says.
4199. We get ready for church (no one faint) early. We arrive on time, non-frazzled, and gallop inside.
4200. On the way to church Lucy comments, "It's gonna be so wonderful when I get to ride on the clouds of Heaven."
4201. I run into a dear friend from college. I marvel at her genuine joy and sincere interest in me. I feel so loved.
4202. We give the three older kids headlamps for reading lights.
4203. I make coconut curry chicken soup with bell pepper and whole chunks of ginger.
4204. The kids and I spend the evening coloring. We eat dinner at the kitchen counter so the whole table is just paper, pencils, and elbows.
4205. I start reading the autobiography of George Muller. I take note of how he values his private times of prayer and Bible study. All the good things in his life seems to flow from how he nurtures this private love of the Lord.
4206. I square my shoulders to this next week intent to do what is right however I am able.