Sunday, March 27, 2016


"I'm going to be changing the oil in the suburban," Craig says.

Old canvas coat and knee torn jeans, he gathers oil filter, catch bin, and blue shop-grade paper towels. Joe watches, mimicking Craig's long strides, his deliberate voice, his pleasant and expectant eyebrows, tallying them up as if numerals on an old adding machine, as if perfect execution could spit out an exact replica.

"Ok, I'll be out front if you need me," Craig says. Joe gallops over, bear hugs Craig's leg.

"Will it take long to put the frankincense in the car?" he says.

Frankincense. Having children is like this. We do the daily chores and to the children it's frankincense.

Craig laughs and howls, giggles and shakes his head, a squeaky child-like sound escaping between guffaws, tears forming at the corners of his eyes, the other children gathering to see what's the matter. Joe grins, as if now that everything were totaled, he'd hit the final button and instead of a replica of Daddy, he's filled the entire room with pennies and quarters.

Changing the oil, this is an event that must never be missed.


5815. Resurrection Day the high holy day of the whole year. We quiet our hearts in deep, deep gratitude of Christ's sacrifice for us.

5816. Organic lotion bars. I try my hand at making these. They turn out perfect. I sell a couple and then perfect the recipe.

5817. New plastic lids for fermenting tea and vegetables.

5818. Iron on pellon.

5819. I start a new project converting a baby wrap into a mei tai carrier. I love a good challenge.

5820. Jack completes the wrestling season and final tournament with flying colors, 11-1. Still not 100% after being sick, he wins all but one match. I, of course, am exhausted just watching. Best of all: his character continues to grow.

5820. Motor oil.

5821. Frankincense oil.

5822. We attend church together as a family, all eight of us. Worship unfolds, dimensional in a way indescribable. While we have our own morning devotions, something special happens when we seek the Lord together.

5823. So we set our hearts in this new season to seek the Lord daily, moment by moment, to His glory. Amen.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


"Momma," Lucy says, "Momma, my ear hurts." Two in the morning and I hear desperation.

"Okay," I say. Stumbled from bed, "Just a minute," I whisper. I wrap in a warm robe, and we shuffle to the kitchen. "Let me check something," I say.

Olive oil infused with garlic. I check and read how to make it. Garlic crushed and warming in olive oil we sink into the couch. Time unwinds, unpeels, and loops around us.

"Does it still hurt?" I say.


The dead of night unfurls in silent strokes. It encircles us. We wait.

Something more than the olive oil buoys us as we head to bed.


5807. Glass headed straight pins.

5808. A new bug cage.

5809. Ball canning jars of the tiny variety for making organic face lotion.

5810. Lotion bar molds and new oils and supplies to fill them. The oils smell so delicious.

5811. Cheese cloth. I make ricotta cheese for the first time. Cheese cloth wins the day.

5812. Rilka's Book of Hours.

5813. Jane and I go to a local musical that her cousins are in. So fun.

5814. A long week and the kids ask for bike rides. I know they are finally starting to feeling better.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Sink

"Hey Mom, when can we order those coins?" Jack says -- the coin collector.

Sunday afternoon we each fix our own lunch, linger, relax, tidy up. Navy plaid and sleeves rolled to the elbows, Jack raises his eyebrows.

"I need you to clean the sink first," I say.

"I did clean the sink," he says.

"No, you have to actually CLEAN the sink," I say.

"Like what do you mean?" he says.

"Well, when you leave dishes sitting in there THAT long, since last night, everything gets all slimy so you have to CLEAN the sink."

"Well, I put all the dishes in the dishwasher," he says.

"Yup. Now clean the actual sink," I say.

Tears dribble out his unblinking eyes. "Well, I didn't know," he says.

"I think we might have to wait on ordering those coins for you," I say.


"I'm not sure you have a right relationship with them if you cry when I ask you to do things."

"What do you mean?"

"When you act like I shouldn't have to do THIS, or She's just giving me more and more and MORE stuff -- this is so UN-FAIR. You don't have a right attitude."


"Let's just get this taken care of," I say.

"Ok," he sags his shoulders, grabs the baking soda and sprinkles the sink.

A steady spirit ensues. Bit by intentional bit, he wields his will. Something manlike comes over him.

"Your work looks good. How's your attitude?" I say.

"Good." Cheerful, the genuine article, he scrubs the gritty soda into stains.

"Alright," I say.

"Can you come check if this is good?" he looks up, a pleasant half-smile.

"Sure," we trace the remnants of stains. Revisit the dirty parts. "Looks great," I say.

He nods, almost shrugs. "I just was wanting to order the coins sooner because I thought maybe then they would get here before Tuesday," he says.

"Oh," I say.

"Well, we can talk about it tomorrow," I say.

"Ok," he says.

I note his correctable spirit. Submission to authority is a difficult skill. And yet, it's the opus magnum of the truly great leaders.


5800. A dear friend sends us a package. Blessing unfurls. Smiles encircle the living room. Love from a distance, such a sweet thing.

5801. Turmeric, the golden spice, it makes everything yellow and delicious.

5802. Our super-scraper-pot-cleaner, the kitchen's MVP.

5803. A red basket for yarn. Red. I rearrange the whole yarn stash.

5804. Daily, I till the grounds of responsibility. Grueling toll. Like breadcrumbs on the path, I find small encouragements. Moments open up and I see, there it is, the truth: you reap what you sow.

5805. We work each day to sow habits and small obediences that make a life good in the long run.

5806. And in the process we know each other. Knowing, isn't that the point of everything? Maybe the long run is longer than we thought.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


"I've actually thought of you for debate classes," I say. Taco soup scooped, scraped, and mopped up with bread from bowls, post-dinner lingers on.

"Really?" Jane says.

"Yeah. You're good at seeing all sides of a thing," I say.

"Oh," she says. Sour cream moored on a quilted center piece, glasses empty or half full, cookie bin bloomed open, time slows.

"You have to be able to see both sides and understand the other view as well or better than your own," I say. "And you have to understand why an intelligent person would choose it, but also what the flaws are so you can maximize them."

"Huh," she says. Joe gathers bowls around our elbows, stacks and clears the table.

"It's hard, but," I pause.

"How many easy things are worth while?" she says. "I mean really?"

"So true," I say.

Before we soldier dishes and into the dishwasher, we stop to watch old Reagan debates on youtube. So winsome. Intelligent and winsome. He seems to give value even to his adversaries.


"Who's that?" Joe says. Debate night. We congregate at six and take in the current political climate.

"Donald Trump," I say.

"Where's Ben Carson?" he says. He frowns, draws his voice up like a satchel. Three years old and he knows the team players.

"He's not coming," I say.

"Oh," he says, "Trump, there's Trump again. Why'd he come?" he says.

And so the conversations begin. Strategy unfolds, observations link arms until a clear picture emerges. We found our opinions on facts and ethics. Something immovable cures in our souls.


5792. A hand-me-down cashmere sweater finds it's way to me.

5793. Eye patches.

5794. A new tube of mascara to replace the old flaking one.

5795. The children begin to voice political opinions. I note their unique bents synthesized into their analysis.

5796. I continue to enjoy a new found pleasure: tea. Green tea, chai tea, black tea, English, Irish, Asian, or Indian -- yum.

5797. A little sunshine and I make our first pasta salad of the year. A bit optimistic on the weather but the salad is delicious.

5798. Jack wrestles in a take-down-tournament. His endurance training pays off.

5799. A long week, but a good one, we slide into Sunday night ready for bed.