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.


  1. Fighting a spiritual battle....the promise of the Spirit working because of and in spite of ourselves. Brings me to my knees.

    Praise of the Savior--an unlikely weapon.

  2. Your children are blessed with a most wonderful mother. I keep coming back to this beautiful space, and I savor each of your posts like a delicious feast. You truly inspire me, Bethany. I am blessed to call you friend. - Esther