Sunday, June 26, 2016

Table Talk

"You're good at wiping," I say. There at the big black table, Myra and I linger a second before church. She wipes the smooth tabletop one-handed, the ease of a full-grown woman.

"Huh?" she says.

"You can wipe off the table better than some of the big kids," I say.

"Oh, I would just watch the big kids," she says. "When Jane was little but still big, when she was like 9 or 10, I would watch her and think I could do that if I practiced." She nods, gives a half shrug, "'Cause practice makes easy." Her voice turns up like a curlicue at the end of a sentence.

"Yup," I say. Practice makes easy. For good or bad, repetition makes automatic like the flick of her small wrist, automatic.


5923. Pasta spirals, bones for broth. Wool yarn.

5924. The children tidy the house before we get home from a date.

5925. Betsy finds the pantry oatmeal bin and eats directly out of it. "Nummy-nummy-nummy," she says.

5926. A friend marries a man from Norway. Mirth ensues, glorious chaos that ends in the married couple stirring the crowd with a broadway song. And best of all they waited for the wedding night to consummate the marriage. You can always tell; it's a different sort of wedding rejoicing tenfold.

5927. A family with a dozen kids (literally) invites us up for an afternoon. The kids go through the high ropes course they have. Fellowship and the adrenaline of trust on the ropes course, we leave exhausted and happy.

5928. A new book, an autobiography of an MD.

5929. I begin to collect economy priced muslin blankets for the baby.

5930. I knit away on a sweater for him, chartreuse green and chocolate brown.

5931. I start to feel his tiny self move inside me more.

5932. Sunday naps wash over the eight of us. The house warm with sunlight, bellies full, sleep envelopes like perfect love.

5933. We await the coming week with open hands ready for work, honor, and worship, nuggets of gold slipped into our pockets.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


"You put more water in here?!" I say.

I tip the ochre yellow bowl, and a swamp of water pools at one side.

"Yeah," Jane says.

"Why?" I say. "The dough is all WET."

"It said add water," she says. I frown at the recipe.

"No, just if it NEEDS it," I say.

"Oh," she says.

I try not to groan, but still something unhappy croaks from my throat.

"Momma, can we talk about this later?" she says. "I'm just having a hard time not feeling like I'm gonna go to pieces."

"Okay," I say. I look across the counter at her, my hands now sticky globs of dough, an unsuccessful attempt at incorporating the extra water.

The bread recipe unwinds into a mass almost impossible to knead. Somehow we muscle it down for 15 minutes then carve it into four loaves. Everyone sort of sighs, but the counters piled high with dishes and flour skiffs, it doesn't really feel like a win.

Later I emerge from discipling Joe to hear Jane on the couch. So I'll cherish the old rugged cross... She sings through all four verses various ones of us joining in the hymn as we scatter dishes, silverware, and food on the table for dinner.

"Okay, Jane, time for dinner," I say.

She holds up a finger. "Just this last verse?" she says. I nod.

Finally we assemble for food. Plates pass and fill. Jane sits by me.

"Ya know," she says, "when I sing hymns, it just calms me down, and then I'm not upset any more. I mean, I'm still tired and hungry but not upset."

"Wow," I say. "That shows that you're fighting a spiritual battle and winning."

"What do you mean?" she says.

"Well, you are fighting with a spiritual weapon and winning, so that means it is a spiritual battle."

"Huh," she says.

"I'm really proud of you. I want to do that more myself," I say. "Makes me really happy to see."

"Huh," she says, but it's like a musical note turning upward, the brightest part of the symphony.  We smile at each other, a bubble buoying us both.

"It's like when you're really tired and hungry," she says, "you feel like you're just gonna shatter and go to pieces, and then later you're like, What? I was gonna cry about THAT?!"

"Yup," I say, and we laugh, and we laugh. Clarity comes like riddle unwound in our laps.


5910. "Does anyone know how to ride a 1,000-wheeler?," Joe says. "Only God," I say. "Oh, yeah," he says.

5911. Fresh tomatoes. Tomatoes just plain. Tomatoes in guacamole. Tomatoes and egg salad. Tomatoes and mozzarella.

5912. Avocados.

5913. Homemade cinnamon rolls and pizza.

5914. A white bowl full of fresh picked cherries.

5915. Dinner with friends. Everyone brings something delicious.

5916. Myra learns to ride a 2-wheel bike with no training wheels.

5917. Craig and I celebrate 16 years of marriage. The children set a beautiful table for us.

5918. Anniversary ginger ale, salted caramel, and peach pie.

5919. Egg salad from fresh eggs and all the fixin's, family encircling the table.

5920. I take special note of Craig and the optimism he spreads over this family like a blanket. Warmth, comfort, and strength ensue.

5921. I attend the funeral of a dear friend's mother, such sweet parting, such bitter loss. Jane comes with me.

5922. All the mess, burden, and busyness of the many children yet it feels light work as we look in their eyes and see a perfectly unique person staring back at us, one built for eternity. Oh, the riches of this work.

Monday, June 13, 2016


"Is this ACTUALLY real?" Joe says. Bible flopped open, The Writing On The Wall rendered across the two pages, he pats the picture. "ACTUALLY real?" he's scrunched up tight against me.

"Yup," I say, "ACTUALLY real."

"SANTA," he says, "is NOT real?" Eyebrows up, his eyes look from one to the other of my eyes.

"Yup," I say. "Santa is NOT."

"Ok," he looks back to the fantastical picture of the giant hand and we read on.

Here in the middle of June and he's still thinking about Santa. I'm glad we told him the truth. Santa's not real. So many miracles. I'd hate for him to think they're all just like Santa.


5897. DISHES. A local thrift store gets in a bunch of the white Corelle Ware we use for dishes. What a gift!!

5897. Craig preforms a wedding for a gal we've knows since she was in pre-school. When you see a couple who has WAITED for the wedding night, it's really something. We bring all the kids to watch the excitement and celebrate.

5898. Dan and Cerissa start their kitchen renovation. It's the most exciting thing in the neighborhood. We talk, laugh, and watch the transformation begin.

5899.We find out the gender of our baby. A BOY. Bliss. We imagine our family with another little BOY around the table.

5900. Waiting on the Lord's provision, we continue to pray for a vehicle that will fit our soon to be larger family.

5901. "We have my parents for dinner. Joe, hands coated in hotdog condiments turns to me. "I have to go poop," he whispers. "How am I gonna wipe?"

5902. I begin to sell all the diapers I bought thinking we *might* be having another girl. I feel a little silly, but I got them for such a great deal, they are going like hotcakes. (Thank-you, Lord!)

5903. I put scare tape up to deter the birds from our garden and try not to fume over the 15 cucumber sprouts and hundreds of bean plants they lopped off.

5904. I find myself declining more and more invitations out of the house to sit and really be with my children. As they've become more independent it's easy to miss actually connecting. There they are becoming real and full people right before my eyes.

5905. Craig brings me marigolds.

5906. We finish school for the year. We celebrate by alphabetizing our library and then eating pie. Summer will be fun.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


"I went even HIGHER on the swing," Joe says. He pants at the corner of the desk, taps his bare chest. I look up, accounting minutia, daily maintenance slid aside for the moment.

"Wow, good job," I say. I lean on an elbow

"Even HIGHER than last night," he says. Somehow he holds his eyes open impossibly long.

"Wow," I say.

"Yeah," he says.

"You're getting grown up," I say. "How'd it feel?"

"Cold," he says. "It's COLD when you go REALLY fast."

"Oh," I say. He flits off as if springs were in his bare feet.

"Mom," he cycles back, "a YELLOW JACKET landed on me, but it DIDN'T sting me."

"Wow," I say. "You are getting really BRAVE," I stare at his eyes, mimic the round unblinking irises. "Why do you think it didn't sting?"

"Maybe," he says, "'cause it put it's back legs UP." He points up with both hands.

"Oh," I say.

"It was on my BACK," he says.

"Oh," I say. "How do you know it was a yellow jacket?"

"'Cause I do," he says.

"Mom," he's back again, "yellow jacket's don't like AIR on them."

"Oh," I say. "How do you know?"

"'Cause I was running REALLY fast and there weren't ANY around," he says.

"Oh," I say.

I blink into his eyes, soak in the tilt of those wide set eyes and the way his feet never stop moving, perfect unending recording running in the back of his mind. We memorize each other. It's love, two memories, tracing the same moment. Devotion ensues.


5889. "Mom," Joe says. "I put hydrogen peroxide on an ant. I got it CLEAN. It did this." He shakes his shoulders.

5890. I discover that you can make your own footless leggings out of the footed ones.

5891. Jane learns to make cinnamon rolls.

5892. My niece graduates high school. Family and friends come together to celebrate on the hottest afternoon yet. Sweet Ellin is so happy.

5893. I overcome a headache triggered by food allergy.

5894. A friend from afar sends me sourdough recipes and our friendship grows.

5895. We continue to lead the children in intentionally loving each other. We take the time to get this right before we reach out to the world. Joy ensues.

5896. Craig and I spend our nights playing canasta and reading more than before. The garden lulls from needing continual attention. We sigh and try to go to bed early.