Sunday, February 28, 2016


"God knows how to dig a hole to China," Joe says. He's on the potty. I'm waiting for him.

"What?" I say.

"God knows how to DIG a HOLE to China," he says.

"Oh," I say.

"Yeah," he says. ""Cause God knows EVERYTHING."

"Yep," I say.

"Bad guys CAN'T kill God," he says.

"Yeah?" I say.

"'Yeah, cause God is STRONGER than everyone," he says.

"Yup. Hurry up," I say. "We gotta go. Church has already started."

"Ooo-kay." We clip-clop into church a little late but right on topic.


"Mom and me are the only ones that can take care of Betsy," Joe tells Jane. "Not you or Jack or Lucy or Myra. Just ME and MOM."

"Oh," Jane says. A grin wiggles at the corner of her mouth. "Mom, Joe says you and him are the only ones that can take care of Betsy," she says.

"Oh," I say. His eyes serious and round, I smile into them. "Well, I guess when you babysit for me that's true," I say. Something of mirth softens around his eyes.

"Yeah," he says. Me-and-you-you-and-me, I can almost hear him say. We smile the special grin of inside knowledge.


"Hey Joe, go put these away," I say. The rest of us immersed in chores, I hand him a purple and a blue colored pencil. "They're NOT yours. Find out WHOSE they are."

"Oh. Okay." He trip-trops off in his boots.

"Are these yours?" He thrusts the pencils toward Jane.

"Yeah, thanks." She sets a trapezoidal rendering of Jack's pants on a leaning stack of laundry, then retrieves the pencils.

"Ohhhhhhh," Joe says. "YOU were lost-ing them. Whelp, Mom found them for you."

Bare chested, sweater and button-down shirt piled somewhere southwest of the kitchen, he's down to cowboy boots and jeans. It's almost confidence, or maybe that he hasn't yet learned to look over his own shoulder but, whatever it is, radiates from his bones, effortless.

I think of two burn marks on the utensil drawer where he figured out how to use a lighter all on his own. Two perfect black circles -- Craig was sure one of the big kids made them. O-kay, show us how, Craig had said. Not this one, not this on. Here, Joe had held up the navy blue bbq lighter. then struck it so we all could see.

He makes a mark everywhere he goes. We all do, little perfect circles of permanent marks.


5782. I find the perfect teacup with custom fit tea strainer. It has a lid and everything. A special treat.

5783. Mason jars, the really, really short ones with the big wide mouth.

5784. Fresh coconut oil.

5785. Our small group of almost 20 years now meets for our monthly dinner. Fellowship, there is no substitute.

5786. Fajita taco soup.

6787. Fried chicken and time on the farm.

5788. Jack and I spend a morning running intervals. Competition is gas in his engine. We laugh together.

5789. "God thanks that we got to go to church today and volunteer," Jack prays. "And please help us not to be tired tomorrow and even if we aren't, help us not act like it. Amen."

5790. "I could just hug you for hours," he says and hugs me tight.

5791. Hours. The days spin by a kaleidoscope of moments. By deliberation we treasure them all.


  1. The photo of Joe at the chess board captured EXACTLY the confidence you described in him, the confident doing of life without knowing anything beyond our smallness, not even realizing our smallness, and then how we go about in endless making of marks, perfectly burned circles, that we don't realize will change the world permanently......

  2. Yes, marks, indeleble marks. The marks we left behind.

    Bethany, your mothering with your boys has been like a good advice. Thanks.