"Oh, no I forgot my homework," Jack announces. He rounds his eyes hopeful. He blinks at me there in the rearview mirror.
"Well, we're not going back," I say as we sluice down the icy side road.
"Is there a pencil and some paper I can use?" He turns and rifles through a cubby in the third row.
I scan the console and cup holders: a gas receipt, the gold foil of a chocolate square, a tiny camera tripod, two Bic pens, a Pilot retractable pen.
"I think if you tell Daddy you forgot your homework 'cause you were shoveling the driveway, he will let you do it when you get there," I say. I keep my eyes on the parallel clefts of tire tracks that squirrel our wheels. I glance at Jack, then back at the road.
"I forgot my homework too," Lu says. Her hair caught back in a pony, a flower headband wrapped over the top, she treads lightly, copies Jack.
"At home," Myra joins in, "I found two pencils in a junk drawer." She blinks, folds her lips into a diamond. "And I put them on Jane's bed," she says, "so she doesn't have to look for them." She nods in camaraderie, then stares out the window.
"Can I use this?" Jack holds up a postage stamp of a paper. I frown in the rearview portal.
"What's that?" I say.
"The back of a name tag."
I slow at the intersection. The brakes flutter while we slide. I check for cars, arc into the intersection, and find my lane mostly dry, drenched in de-icer. Name tag. "Ah, ok," I say.
"Can I have part?" Lu turns to Jack. He tears it in two.
I wheedle the Bic pens out of the cup holder, and reach over the seat toward the third row. "Here," I say, eyes divided between road and rearview.
"Can you toss them?" Jack says. I twist backward, scan the back row, hold the pens out like spears. Farther. Farther.
"No, I'm not really even comfortable even with this," I say. "Just unbuckle and grab it really quick. Here." I stretch, eyes devoted to the road.
Like a secret agent, he snaps the buckle, grabs the pens, and secures the strap again in place. He hands Lu a pen. Somewhere between an arterial near home and the church parking lot, Lucy writes in five-year-old script on the back of a name tag, the answer to a question: What are you doing to remain in Jesus?
Read your Bible everyday, she writes. It's the homework. She made the answer herself. One small tangible Lego of a step, I feel another brick of devotion slide into place.
Read your Bible everyday. I picture again the triumphant grin on her face that morning as she held up the crooked rectangle of a scrap: Read your Bible everyday.
I guess it's the things we do everyday that say the most about us.
5199. Craig takes Jane, Jack, and Lu ice skating.
5200. I meet with two dear friends over coconut macaroons and Bible -- friendship and scripture, a lifeline.
5201. Mom makes refrigerator soup, gourmet, and then masterminds the next section of her star pinwheel quilt while all of us girls gather and share.
5202. Lentil soup, cranberry coleslaw, fresh bread, Dad and Mom join us for dinner. Dad invites us to join The Truth Project. We accept.
5203. Jack starts wrestling again.
5204. I let my kids sample the lentil soup before guests arrive. "Do you like it?" I ask. "It tastes like taco soup," Lucy says. "Taco soup," Jack says. "Mmmm," Myra joins, "Tastes like apple soup. I like apple soup."
5205. Pete and Rose come for dinner. Round robin soup and chips, we land on berry cobbler, almond whip cream, and five hands of Canasta.
5206. Rosie lets me borrow Cherry, Cherry Bang, Bang!, the new nail color.
5207. Mom and I hunt down the wings of a new quilt.
5208. I slice more yards of fabric into the long strips of another couple checkered quilts.
5209. A dear friend whisks me away for coffee. We compare notes on suffering, love, and the will to prevail.
5210. "Here you go, my dear," Craig's mom hands me a plate of cornbread. I am encircled by the love in her voice.
5211. Craig's dad and I visit over dishes. He tells me his dog will be dead of cancer before we visit again. We share a moment of grief.
5212. "Even though it seems impossible, we know that the impossible is where you work," Libby prays and her words ring through me all week.
5213. I tell the girls of my marvelous fifty cent graph notebooks. "Sometimes Jesse writes me love notes on graph paper," Libby says, her mathematician slip showing.
5214. "Here, let's put your hair in a big pony," I tell Myra. "I think Rockie's hair is like that," she blanches with joy. "I look like Rockie! I actually seen her wear her hair like that," she says.
5215. Miss Emma Jane writes me notes each night for the better half of a week. It's a secret mail system, the receptacle in the toothpaste drawer. I reply every morning.
5217. I reflect again how repetition reflects allegiance. I set my mind to read my Bible everyday. It points me in a direction. Like Andy Stanley says, "Direction determines destination."
5218. I pray my destination is Christ himself.