Monday, May 27, 2013


"I put it up high for now," Myra bubbles, "so WOBBERS don't get 'em."

Myra perched on the kitchen bench, scuffles a bale of flashcards onto the top shelf of the old pine wardrobe. The bench, lugged caddywhompus away from the table, knocks against a potted plant when she jumps off. Dead leaves rustle like old newspapers. She patters away, eyebrows still arched.

Then, I'm on c-span. Deep furrows cultivate my forehead as we parse out committee hearings on the IRS scandal.

"Look at that. He's not gonna answer the question," I blurt. "They always do that when they are lying. If they did what was right, they would just SAY it."

Janie frowns deeper than my furrow. We watch the man wheedle out of more questions. "I just wish I could hold him down and MAKE him answer," she spars. We nod, consternation splayed out.

"Well, you just have to get proof. Then, it doesn't matter what they say." I grouse. We nod again. Emotions weave in tandem.

"I'll tell you why if you are a president and you LIE it's so dangerous," Jane says.

"Why?" The conversation, shoulder to shoulder, we watch the man repeat the same non-answer again and again.

"'Cause," she says, "people like us watch and find proof. And if you won't answer a question, we're like: HE"S GUILTY. And you'll just be impeached or whatever." She frowns again at the missing pieces.

Then it's Sunday. We coax the morning scatter of oatmeal bowls, socks, and blankies into the home team all suited for church.

Somewhere between the memory verse and a missing sandal, I find Myra crouched in the sunroom. I pause and slow the melee.

"What are you doing?"

She stands, steps past a flat of coleus. "Not hiding," she says.

"What?" Another tip-toe step, eyes flitted up and to the right. "Why were you hiding?" I turn like the noonday sun, full and direct. She measures out another small step, me, a full-grown one, and I encircle her in my arms. All the way around, my hands smooth over the back of her arms.


I stroke her arms, perfect and smooth. "Do you know how to pray about that?"

"'Name of Jesus, go away, monsters," she whispers. I nod. That's pretty good.

So it is, with robbers and liars, we weave with the threads we understand, trace out truth and right, and make our stand.


4489. The overnight temperatures dip below freezing. Of course, Craig has our 65+ tomatoes tucked under a feather shield of reemay.

4490. Dad and Mom join us for ham salad and soup, towering bowls of ice cream and chocolate sauce, conversation, another chapter in the story, love.

4491. Craig's mom brings up the last of the garden plants.

4492. Friends join us for dinner. We compare notes on laughter and discipline, diapers and daily routines. We barbecue burgers, linger over brownies, let the children run and whoop and slide another pearl on the string of friendship.

4493. Joey falls in love with his hand-me-down Nike sandals.

4494. "By the way," Jane reports, "I renewed Psalm 1 in my mind. By Saturday I'm gonna know it."

4495. A friend brings me fiddle head ferns ripe for butter and garlic and new porcelain white measuring cups, pristine as snow.

4496. Craig and I have a date night tucked away in the folds of the house.

4497. Friends invite us into their morning: brunch and sunlight, family encircled around the long kitchen table that keeps going and going until there is a place for us all and plenty of bacon and conversation and then volleyball out in the yard. It's the kind of brunch that lingers until almost three, coffee cups drained and filled and filled again, and we all leave filled up will the woven words between us, happy in all the cracks.

4498. Craig's parents drive up for a barbecue at our place. Lynn brings homemade hamburger buns and the burgers turn gourmet. Spur of the moment, we puncture the evening with the laughter of our children and the seesawing of our lives together.

4499. Friends call and ask what time they can come to help us paint the living room moss green.

4500. I slide into Sunday night with a headache and clear mind, confident once again of each tired step.

4501. Craig greets me with a smile, home from work. It feels like the day finally begins.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


"How'd you get Daddy to do that?" Janie yanks Jack's arm, give it a flop.

He, a sack of grain slung over Craig's shoulder, chortles, guffaws. Craig pokes the little boy washboard-ribs. Jane capers around their feet. I clear picnic shrapnel from the yard and the pageant cavorts inside at my heels.

I guide the last of the silverware safely to sink and dishwasher. Myra patters up behind me.

"I got somethin' out of him's nose," she blurts, "and it was a booger." I turn, she, a golden silhouette, evening sun behind her. "I got it with THIS." She gestures an index finger in the lambent evening light.

"Oh," I say, the dishes a sluice at my elbow.

Another day orbits by. Evening spindles into place. A company of soup bowls encircle the big black table -- drips, puddles, cracker crumbs, Joey's turquoise booster seat slung to the side.

I appeal for help, and Jack, there suddenly across the table, splashes sloppy bowls into a puddly stack.

"I know why some people don't want to have five kids or a lot of kids," he says.


"'Cause they think that the kids won't help." He wobbles the shock of bowls, spoons heaped atop.

"Yup," I say, the bowls stacked like a neck with a crook.

"But they will if you make them." He trundles off the table-bench, teeter totters the bowls for balance, trit-trots to the kitchen.

I hose the bowls off, overspray dampening my shirt. Myra stands on tiptoe, peeks over the edge of the sink. She wrests the black spool-stool over hardwood and rug, clanks it into the cupboard. She pops up at my elbow.

"Oh, I see what you're doing," she says. "Thanks Mommy for cleaning."

And she lingers at my elbow, all eyes on the spindrift and clean bowls, damp elbows.

And then she stands tiptoe on the black spool-stool. "I'm really BIG," she explains, "because I got a really BIG arm." She reaches up, up, big arm high above her head.

I nod and fix in my mind all the bigness of three years old like stacked up bowls teetering to the sink. She blinks, grins, offers to help.

Help. The children help. We weave the threads of the day into a single cord.


4460. "It's turning like a butterfly," Myra watches the cream swirl into tea.

4461. We ask Jane how she would feel about babysitting. "I'm just afraid I'll go feral when you leave," she confesses.

4462. Lucy goes to coffee with Grammie and has her first drawing lesson.

4463. Jude gets a blue cast to fix his broken arm. "This is not a muscle," he explains to Grammie, "This is my CAST."

4464. The cousins come to play.

4465. Craig takes the suburban in for maintenance and repairs, gathers quotes, and picks the best one.

4466. Dad and Mom loan us Person of Interest Season 1: date nights for Craig and me!

4467. Mom makes chicken lime cilantro salad. We gather at Cerissa's, call in the afternoon with salad and fresh bread, coffee and chocolate, pretzels, the children a running parade of bicycles, skinned-knees, sunshine, and cogs of friendship. I'm so rich.

4468. Craig muds over all the scarring on our beloved walls, preparation for fresh moss-green paint.

4469. Myra wonders what the mud is, prods the tub of it. I explain it's for patching. Patching. Lucy patches. "Is Lucy going to eat that?" she befuddles.

4470. We barbecue burgers with Dad and Mom, first ones of the season -- fresh burgers, Lays original potato chips, tartar sauce, leafy salad, coconut ice cream.

4471. Myra eyes the burgers, buns, condiments. "Can I have a crumbly one?" she elates and points to the burger.

4472. Craig reschedules a meeting so Mom and I can catch coffee together.

4473. Mom. Encouragement.

4474. Shortie sportie socks.

4475. Black leggings.

4474. Dan and Cerissa find out their new baby is a GIRL. Four sweet boys and now a GIRL.

4475. They celebrate 10 years of marriage.

4476. Plastic balloons. Purple. Aloe green.

4477. Farmer's Market, Walla Walla sweets delivered right to my door. Generosity. A friend gives the gift of generosity. And onions.

4478. The wind blows a snow storm of aspen seed pods all over the yard and us.

4479. Jack sweeps the seeds up with a shop broom.

4480. My friend Sharon stops by with Lisa. A new friend, I have a new friend.

4481. Jack carries the groceries for me on our date.

4482. We skeedaddle down to the country church of Craig's childhood. A potluck. We celebrate Great-Grammie's 98th birthday. Auntie Carole even makes it from two states away.

4483. Ninety-one tomato sprouts, now 12-18 inches tall, lounge in the sunroom. All that tender care in Lynn's greenhouse and they are ready for planting.

4484. Craig woos me again, another week with the man I love.

4485. He installs a new faucet in the kitchen, whisks away the broken handled one. Bent down there under the sink, he muscles our world back together.

4486. Jack manages two frying pans of scrambled eggs all by himself, feeds us all.

4487. Jane bakes apple crisp.

4488. Help. I love their help.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


"I got hurt. I hurt myself." Myra coos, opalescent light from the kitchen window full on her face, the massive old desk shackled with papers the backdrop.

"Oh." I still the whisk in hand, prop it in the balsamic marinade. "Where?"

"Right, right," she furrows her eyebrows, searches both knees pokes one, then finally settles on a freckle of a scuff. "Right, here," she points to a pin-pock of a mark. We both stare, her waiting for me to be impressed, me waiting for me to be impressed. "Can I have a bandaid," she says.

"No," I stick to my rule: the placebo properties of bandaids go to owies that bleed. I shake my head. She aims her blue eyes hard into my face as if to change my mind. "But," I offer, "you can have a kiss."

She blinks back. I blink too, her encircled in the opaline light as if on stage as if waiting for the next line. "Ok," she says. Still, we both stand there as if the line were unfinished.

"So you want a kiss?"

"Yeah," one head dip of a nod. I nod back, crouch down on all fours, gather my lips in a pucker.

"I was in the mouse trap by the chickies," she starts up, internal monologue on auto. And in the sliver of a second before I kiss her knee I replay Craig releasing the close-pin like trap, limp fur dangling, tumbling free. It's a near miss of a kiss, and then I figure what the heck and plan one square on the kneecap.

"Was that how you got hurt?" I say.

"Yeah." She does a kitty cat scuffle around the kitchen, pink mary-janes, purple running shorts, no socks. I grind more pepper for the marinade, add some honey and rosemary. She peeks around my elbow, hangs over the edge of the counter, the cure sinking deeper and deeper. A kiss. A kiss and she's cured.


4430. "So what's the best part of your day?" I ask Jack. "Bein' with you," he volleys back.

4431. Myra turns THREE. We have a cake-pop date.

4432. I ask Myra what makes her happy. "Someone playin' wiff me," she says, "I like playin' wiff you."

4433. 'If monsters bite you tell Jesus," she says, "and Jesus will take care of it. He can tell them NO."

4434. I ask Myra how I can pray for her. "Jesus to take care of me," she says.

4435. "Mom, I put another flower in my bouquet," Jack calls, "'cause one of them was crumpling, and I had to throw it away."

4436. Craig uses the metaphor of a plow horse to describe his leadership. So true. I'm so blessed.

4437. I tell Jane I love running clothes because it almost feels like I'm wearing nothing. Her stride all sing-song, her tone serious she replies, "Ah, no it doesn't. I would feel very ashamed if I was wearing nothing. It just feels like wearing really comfy pajamas."

4438. We have a family birthday party for Myra. She grins wide as a laughing zebra.

4439. "Why did it feel like a hundred weeks for Rockie to get her cast off?" Lucy reflects on Rockie's valiant endurance. (And Jesse and Libby's!)

4440. The kids unbuckle their carseats. I open the backdoor to unload and find Myra nose to nose with Joe. "Joey, my sweet one, my sweet one," she croons.

4441. We eat ham salad at Mom's and sit in the shade. I sew buttons on Joey's monkey sweater. I reflect on the gift of my mother. Wide and long and never-ending, her love is the circle of the horizon dividing earth and sky.

4442. Grandad takes Myra out for donuts. The baker lets her take home a lug of doughnut dough. The kids kneed it all morning in Myra's toy mixer.

4443. "I wonder what God made us out of," Myra chatters while the kids wash their hands. "Oh, I know what he made us out of: DIRT," Lucy chatters back. "Dust," Jack adds. "Yeah, DUST," Lucy says.

4444. "When there's a baby in a mom's tummy and the baby is not out yet, it means God is still making the shape of the baby," Lucy explains to Myra.

4445. We make coconut ice cream, a whole gallery of helpers to taste at each step.

4446. "Mom, we need some stuff that is YUMMY," Myra suggests and points to a plate of chocolate chip cookies.

4447. We read the beginning of Shakespeare's As You Like It (kid's version) and Jane grins like a whole ball of string unrolled. "I sort of liked that he beat the professional wrestler," she says. "I think he probably needed that to humble himself."

4448. "I'm bigger 'an him," Myra comments on Joe. "He's gonna be bigger than you," I say. "No him's not," she says. "Yeah," I say. "I'm gonna be on a stool; then I'll be bigger," she says.

4449. "I can jump off big walls," Myra says and leaps off the garden retaining wall.

4450. Cousins come over to play. Tag, Simon Says, and Weatherman ensue under a blanket of sprinkler water.

4451. Mom comes over to draw and sip coffee, eat pastries and soak in the sun. We review the highs and lows of the week, note the Lord's hand in all.

4452. We review numbers in ASL and chat with Miss Lynne.

4453. We attend the Mother/Daughter Tea down in Craig's hometown. We spin another year in tradition. I win a petunia. The night means a lot to us all. The mother of my husband is a perfect pearl of a woman, a treasure.

4454. We take Lucy to donuts for her birthday. Lucy is FIVE.

4455. I remember to tell Craig the car is making a grinding noise when you press the breaks.

4456. Family from both sides joins us for another party. The influencers. We tell them they are the influencers for our children. They are family. It takes a family, not a village.

4457. I fall into discouragement and Craig pipes up, "Hey, you're our number one scorer," and it really helps.

4458. We get the news that Jude busted his wrist jumping out of a swing. Sweet boy, he makes the trial seem light.

4459. Mother's Day comes and I can't help but think I'm the mother I am because of the man I married: a rock, an anchor, a towering mountain of safety, the king of our castle. I love being a mother for this man's children.

*Special thanks to my sweet momma 
for all the birthday pictures.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


 "Mom, I know what deciduous means," Jane interrupts the lull of study.

There at the big black table, each with a stack and shuffle of papers, we wade through ancient Greece, The Odyssey, the kingdom of the Hittites, King Saul and the Philistines.

"Mom," Jane says again, "I know what deciduous means."

I leaf to the next page of teacher notes, resist the pull of the words to capture my attention. "What?" I finally say.

"It means you go to sleep in the winter." I blink and wait for the story to unfold. "I told Jack, 'Are you deciduous?'" she carries on, "And he said, 'No.' And I said, 'Well, bears are deciduous.'"

Deciduous. I interlace deciduous and hibernation and yes, BEAR does come to mind. Still, I wait, the light perfect lemon-yellow, the children set like pieces on a chess board, papers akimbo, waiting.

The idea flits from child to child. "And maybe monkeys are too," Jack chimes in.

"Yeah." They nod, the group consensus reached. And then we look it up.

Deciduous: falling off or shed seasonally or at a certain stage of development in the life cycle <deciduous leaves> <deciduous scales>

"So polar bears are," Jane says.

I frown. "No."

"Yeah, cause they lose their fur."


So we look it up. Sure enough, they molt: deciduous fur.

Then we circle back to ancient Greece. We memorize sling and javelin, chariot and helmet. I soak in the history. We all do. We wander through it barefoot and ripe in the dark soil of ancient days.


4411. "I'm a huge, humongous, big girl," Myra declares. "I'm a giant."

4412. "It's nice having a friend who makes no mistakes," Jane says when we talk about Jesus, "'cause you can tell him anything, and he won't do anything bad with the information."

4413. "Hey Momma," she says later, "I have something you might relate to. When I'm reading, I hope I miss the chapter break so I can read more."

4414. Fruit salad. Mom makes the Tuesday Girls fruit salad: Asian pears, berries and pecans, honey and lime.

4415. "On my birthday," Myra dreams, "I'm gonna almost HOP." She pulls one knee up to her chest and tries to hop.

4416. "I hardly knew you when we got married," Craig says to me, his eyes liquid blue. "I love you more every day," he says. I carry the words like smooth stones in my pocket, a gift.

4417. "Mommy, do you know anyone who is as strong as a wild gazelle?" Jack wants to know.

4418. Jane lobbies to rearrange the school schedule. "I would like to switch because, because," she shakes her head and shrugs all at once, "I think it would be easier to endure." Endurance, it's a good card to play.

4419. Jack springs from the creaky piano stool. "How I was playing it, it was like you were listening to a picture and each note was another color that I put in," he explains.

4420. Lucy and Jack chop carrots for ham soup.

4421. "Mom, you're doing a good job," Myra adjudicates as we read more of The Odyssey (kid's version).

4422. Lucy and I go on a date. We eat huckleberry cake-pops. I order the same as her so we can be twins.

4423. Mom and I talk about the weight and delight of obeying God. Each day my love for him grows.

4424. I come across a hot-button message by Ryan Oletzke.

4425. Craig and I start reading Spiritual Warfare by Dr. Karl Payne together out loud.

4424. Our fifteen year old niece hosts a lovely outdoor party for her birthday.

4425. We spot the Deaf checker as we ring up groceries and Jane asks her name by signing to her. They pause for a small conversation ASL-style.

4426. Craig unleashes more organization on the sunroom.

4427. Joey clearly annunciates: THANK-YOU, POO-POO, and EMMA. We try and try to coax MOMMA from his lips, but he just grins and grins.

4428. Tomorrow Myra turns three.

4429. We all feel a year older.