"Ugh, this is taking forever." I crane my neck, mid-afternoon sun full and orange. A line of cars snakes around a curve, over a small hill, and out of sight. I sigh, reach for my water, formerly an old Del Monte peach jar that now fits perfectly in the cup holder. The first third quaffs down.
"Why does it take so long?" Jack queries from the back. Us out on a date for his birthday, he copies my craned neck and peers around the front seat.
"'Cause they're paid by the government," I frown. Another blinking light signals for me to change lanes with no actual road construction anywhere in sight. Me the daughter of a small business owner, I know all to well the impact of the government's best intentions.
"So why does it take so long?" he persists. We putt along at 30 mph. I try not to tailgate a blue Saab with a dented silver bumper but keep leap-frog breaking none the less.
"'Cause the government just keeps paying and paying and paying." We creep up on our exit. I spot the lanes opening up, still no sign of any actual road work.
"Why?" he says.
"Well, they're not very careful 'cause it's not their money," I respond. "They're giving away other people's money. They're giving away our money. That's our taxes. They're not careful with it 'cause it's not their money." I coast on the off-ramp, drink another sluice of the ice cold water, wipe the condensation on my skirt.
With nary a cadence pause, "I would be ashamed of myself if I did that," he nods. "Actually I wouldn't be ashamed of myself. I would be very ashamed of myself." Eyes, perfectly round, eyebrows flawless arcs, I sense the resolve.
Another piece of the puzzle slides into place: discernment. Something inside of him stands a little taller, steps a little closer, and cures like cement.
"So weather you eat or drink or whatever you do, you do it all for the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31," Lucy chirps. Suited up in Sunday polka-dots, custard oatmeal forgotten at her elbow, she reviews the memory verse.
My feet buttressed on the old pinewood chest, morning coffee only one sip down, I let a reflexive grin wash over my face. I regard her joyous blue eyes, effortless smile.
"I actually LOVE that verse," she reports. "It's just like my favorite story in the Bible, the one where Jesus dies on the cross." She's a collection of nods and round gestures, giggles rolling into clusters. "That's my FAVORITE story," she says.
I nod, "Yup."
"I told Jack what that means. 'I'll tell you what the GLORY OF GOD part means,' I said." She leads with her right shoulder as if every part of her body were attached to it. "Like whatever you do, make sure it's serving the Lord. Like help others, or give money to other people..."
The pearl string of example fades into my own thoughts.
I note again the daily progression from innocence to discernment. Discernment, this is the goal. Another brick in the foundation, everyday a brick: may it all be to the glory of God.
4699. I turn 35.
4700. The children and Craig greet me with four chocolate bars birthday morning.
4701. Craig and the kids take me out for an afternoon lunch at the Olive Garden.
4702. "Do you need some help?" a nice college boy asks when we end the lovely outing scrambling to change a poopy diaper in the back of the suburban all the older children searching under the seats for something that could work as a wet wipe.
4703. We laugh on the way home that we should have taken him up on his offer.
4704. Raspberry cheesecake. Again.
4705. I meet Rosie at my mom's and we eat her perfect Peach Raspberry Summer Salad again.
4706. Rachelle and family make the trek to our house for a bbq, and it's a lovely soft landing to a long, long week.
4707. My brother, Jesse, turns 31.
4708. We enjoy another installment of birthday season with Logan and Zeke's party. Every year just gets better.
4709. I finish Lucy's summer cardigan. We pick out lime green buttons, the perfect wink of color against navy yarn.
4710. Miss Lynne makes ASL class a birthday party for Jane and Jack.
4711. I start knitting a tunic dress for Myra in robin's egg blue. Every day she asks if it's about done yet.
4712. "Did you know when I listen to Story of the World I usually side with someone in my mind," Jane describes. "The person I side with usually doesn't win," she says.
4713. "So what's the most important thing about being a leader?" I ask. We're on our date. Jack looks up, a cinnamon roll the size of a softball half unrolled. "Well, if you're a Christian, being able to actually tell people the right thing," he says. "Huh," I nod, "what's that?" He pauses to prop his fork on the plate. "God."
4714. We linger in the bakery coffee shop. Jack carves his cinnamon roll as if it were a science. He excavates enormous bites. Cinnamon sticks at the corners of his mouth.
4715. "Are you a leader?" I ask Jack. Still calculating the next cinnamon-y bite, he glances up. "For some people," he says and carries on as if the whole world were more about right and wrong than whose following you.
4716. We have the whole big family over for Jack's birthday and once again thank God for family.
4717. Family Camp. Our small group hosts our annual Family Camp. Huclkeberry-ing, picnics, wienie roasts, smores, tag, bug catching, devotions, capture the flag. We come in for a landing exhausted and full to the brim, struck again at the spiritual leadership God has entrusted to us. Astounding.
4718. I enter the next week humbled at the very good and enormous tasks God has charged me to do. May it all be to His glory.