Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Fort

"Oh, and I let the kids build a fort in the living room," Craig says, "just so you know." Flopped across the bed, leaned on an elbow, he's come to wake me. Encircling the kids in morning work, he'd let me sleep.

"Oh," I say. "Did they do their jobs?"

"Yeah, it sounded like they were doing them."

"Did you check."

"No, not yet."

Fort-land. It envelopes the living room, anesthetizes the mind, slackens responsibility. We wade out into tent-land. A trunk and a flock of stools hold up roofs of quilts. Chores fade and disappear, that mountain range of dishes far, far off in the distance.

"Um, why is the sink full of dishes?" I say. "Did you empty the dishwasher?"


"Why didn't you put the dishes in?"

"I don't know."


"Five minutes," Craig says.

Tincel town collapses into the spare parts of living room life. Stools and quilts, a stack of books that held up a wall, the children scamper the planets of their universe back into innocuous life. Chores spring up and gain momentum. The cogs of life creak forward.

"Whose job is the sunroom?" I croak. I peak around the kitchen corner, an espresso basket of coffee in one hand.

"I got it," Jack says. "When I saw your face make expression when you looked in the sunroom," he says, "I thought, I'll just pick that up." He shakes his head, guileless, matter-of-fact.

"I appreciate that," I say.

"Yeah," he nods. Half out of the kitchen, arms laden with more books, he swaggers, carefree.

That night before bed, I find a blue sticky note in my bathroom.

Dear Momma,
     I love you more than ever now.
     Do we have a plan for tomorrow?
     Can I build a fort after breakfast?
     We will clean it up when we are done.
     When you wake up can I make harvest rolls?
     I love you.
     Good night.

Fort-land springs up, a new day dawning and collapses into the work of the day. A miraculous ebb and flow of pleasure pulses like a heartbeat.


5612. For the first time since Betsy was born, this week gested at routine.

5613. Craig hides a chocolate bar by the toaster for me to find.

5614. Jack starts wrestling practice, pizza waiting for him at home the first night.

5615. Chocolate croissants.

5616. We navigate irritation and tranquility like troughs and peaks of the wide open sea. Peace and resolve settle over us all.

5617. We season lentils with new spices, gourmet.

5618. Cerissa sends over cookie dough balls with the peanut flour I bought.

5619. I listen to Tim Keller preach on the Lord's prayer. Adoration. Prayer takes flight.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Photo credit: Urban Rose

"I've been really liking First and Second Peter," Jane says. She flops an argyle rice bag into the microwave and closes the door.

"Really?" I say. "About the persecuted church?" Opposite my girl, I lean an elbow on the counter, a plate of peach pie balanced in my hand. I cut the triangle tip off the pie and eat it.

"Yeah," she says. She turns the microwave dial to three minutes, presses start. "I mean, I like listening to Revelation too. I'm just not sure I want to hear about bowls of wrath being poured out and then wake up sweating," she says.

I laugh. She grins. "When you're listening tonight, pick your favorite part, and then tell me about it in the morning," I say.

"Okay," she drawls. "I will." She blinks in time with a slow nod. I eat another mouthful of pie, peach almond filling warm and effusive. Bedtime, it's a three-step watlz with Jane and me.

I ask her in the morning, "So what was your favorite part?"

"Hmm, I can't remember," she says. "I knew before I fell asleep, but now I forgot."

"Oh. Well, listen again tonight," I say.

Then it's bedtime again and the liturgy of jammies and toothpaste. I change the baby. Jane pokes her head in.

"I remember my favorite part," she says, First and Second Peter ambling in the background.

"Oh, what is it?"

"Ahhm, hmmm, I just forgot. Wait," she stares up and to the right, "hmm." I watch her, undivided attention bunching up like a scarf encircling us. "Oh yeah," she says. "It's the part where it says if you are praying, you never have to be afraid."

"Oh," I say. "I like that. I don't remember that part." We nod. An umbilical cord of connection pulses for a moment. "That's really good," I say.

And with that a whole universe folds up like a paper crane between us. Bedtime ensues. Children tumble into bed.

Later, in mind's eye, that paper crane, I pull it out to trace again the folds of love.

If you are praying, you never have to be afraid.


5603. Spices, the gift of spices. We restock the shelves of flavor.

5604. Jane finishes her stay as kitchen manager. Craig and I agree: we will miss all the pie.

5605. We experience again the special love of family and friends bringing us food and caring for our children.

5606. Betsy eats and sleeps like a champ.

5607. Craig and Jane brine and cook a 25 lb. turkey for the postpartum recovery.

5608. Joey samples my most expensive make-up with an electric toothbrush and a bottle of lotion. It's a total loss. Craig buys me new mascara so I don't have to go out.

5609. He runs all manner of errands, even those with the most exacting detail. Sometimes he comes home with chocolate.

5610. Mom makes our weekly talk date happen nary missing a beat.

5611. We pass the 15 year anniversary of our wedding engagement. Now more than ever, I'm convinced Craig can handle anything with strength and ease. We all lean into him.

Photo credit: Urban Rose

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Baby Betsy

Betsy Kate. 

On time. 

And perfect.

A new life.

Our gratitude overflows.