Sunday, September 25, 2016


"I remember when I used to not care about my hair," Lucy says.

"Yeah?" I say. It's chore time, the timer set, the children bustling through the daily dishes, laundry, and sweeping. I stand in front of the big kitchen mirror and rake Myra's curls back into a pony.

"I used to think I could go for a morning run with just not even doing a pony," she says.

"Yeah?" I say.

"I mean, now I at least look," she says. The flurry of morning work, I stop to look at her, the tree-climbing, dirt-scuffing, leaf-rolling child. Her own hair drawn back in something similar, almost, to smooth, I see her measure the gap, try to gauge maturity.

"I know what you mean," I say and then turn to Myra. "Your hair looks nice," I say. She nods, scampers off. Then Lucy and I nod to each other, that sliver of shared grown-up knowledge a glint between us.


Then we are at Costco, the eight of us piling out of the car. It's like a clown car, another and another, we spill out into the parking lot. One of the kids buckles Betsy into a cart, Joe next to her.

"Can you unbuckle this?" Joe says to me.

"No," I say.

"Yeah," I hear Lucy somewhere over my shoulder. "You're supposed to put the booster back in the seat," Lu says. "Myra's in the he-did-it-so-I-can stage," she says. I look back. Lucy nods, purses her lips in an upside down arc, then smiles. There it is again, that perpetual measuring. What surprises me are the crinkles of affection around the corners of her eyes.

Myra skips up to Craig and grabs his hand. Lucy smiles at me, and we all head in.


6093. Craig harnesses Jack's silliness tendencies. He puts him in charge of a church small group. He rises to the occasion. Perhaps every class clown should be in charge of something.

6094. A friend passes on four pineapple lamps to us.

6095. We begin tandem puzzles down by the fire.

6096. Craig returns from a four day business trip. We all breathe a sigh of relief.

6097. Jack buys a dowel rod with his own money and makes two arrows out of it for his homemade bow.

6098. "It's like trying to tag a wild buffalo," Jack says as he corners Betsy and puts a bib on her.

6099. We continue to work on actually harboring kind hearts toward each other, not just acting the role.

6100. I connect with a dear friend over photography and the art behind it.

6101. We find a source to buy organic bulk food for our family. The first load comes in and we tuck it away for use in the coming weeks.

6102. The coffee maker breaks. Craig fixes it.

6103. A neighbor graces us with pears, buckets of them.

6104. Soap. Homemade, real ingredient soap -- a whole batch. Love!

6105. I find myself tireder each nigh, but more faithful in the little things.

6106. "I was sort of awestruck," Jane says, "when Daddy asked if anyone knew what a presidential debate was and no one raised their hand." We await the first presidential debate with anticipation.

6107. We continue to make lots of hot chocolate, fresh, homemade: 12-16 oz. milk, 2 T. cocoa powder, 2 T. sugar -- steam together. It's best with foam on top.

6108. We go plum picking.

6109. Jane tells me that when it comes to politics, you have to agree with people on anything you possibly can or they close up like a box.

6110. I notice Jack has converted some red tubing into a sling shot and another bow.

6111. Less than two months now until the new baby. We settle in with excitement and rest for the next season.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


"I let my grasshopper go," Joe says.

"Oh, good," I say. Craig and I look up from reading morning news. Joe talks with his hands. Already this morning they are smudged with dirt, a dark stripe outlining each fingernail.

"I was feeding him today," he says.

"Yeah?" I say. He nods, hands somewhere around his shoulders.

"If two of them are FIGHTING, they are gonna fight and LAY EGGS," he says, his voice a conspiracy, eyebrows buried in his forehead.

"Oooohh," Craig and I say.


Lucy works on schoolwork at kitchen the table.

"Sometimes," she says, "I wish I was her age." I look up from my Bible.

"Jane?" I say.

"What?" she says.

"Are you talking about Jane?" I lean on an elbow and watch her eyes, exaggerated in size compared to the rest of her face.

"No, MYRA," she says. "I know I would have less school if I was her age but less opportunities."

"Yeah," I say.

"Yup," she says. She nods and submits herself to more work.


"Can I have some bread?" Joe asks somewhere between lunch and dinner.

"No," I say.

"Can I have some stale bread crusts then?" he says.

"No," I say.

"Oh," he says. He frowns, but acquiesces, bumping again into our family rule that you should come to meals actually hungry.


The days snap by, flits in flip book -- I barely remember them as they pass, moments light as feathers.  I think of Emily Dickenson: 

Hope is a thing with feathers--
that perches in the soul--
and sings the tune without the words--
and never stops -- at all --

 Indeed. I memorize what I can before it passes.


6078. Craig changes the brake pads and rotors in the suburban. He and Jack spend Saturday masterminding the process and memorizing it. They save us $200.

6079. The kids learn the value of catching up after a foray in slacking. Shortcuts, there are no shortcuts, just delayed burdens.

6080. All that extra work, the regular schedule with feel like summer free time in comparison.

6081. I draft my sweater pattern and try a second round to see if I wrote it right. 

6082. I collect yarn for a third one and more buttons.

6083. I meet a dear friend for coffee.

6084. We have soup bar with my parents. I make a soup. Mom makes a soup. And we mix and match soups and toppings.

6085. Cap-sleeve shirts that are long enough to cover my belly.

6086. Plums. Craig and a couple of kids pick bowls and bowls of plums on the farm.

6087. Tomatoes. "Can I have as many tomatoes as I want as long as I don't go HOGWILD?" Joe says. "Sure," I say. Myra nods over his shoulder and fills her pockets.

6088. "We're getting some of these and pretending they are CANDY BARS," Joe says. He holds up a pear tomato.

6089. I compare notes with another momma who gets headaches. Though far away, the miles feel short.

6090. We finally get the library mostly done. Bliss. We settle in to enjoy it.

6091. The house settles into pockets of order, a coffee table for a puzzle, a sewing table for quilts and bookmarks, a workbench for Craig and Jack, the library. We consider each a great blessing.

6092. We prepare for a season of warm fires and great literature, popcorn and board games, slow evenings and early mornings. We set our minds to work hard and enjoy the moments of rest.

Sunday, September 11, 2016


"I actually sort of like the name Edmund," I say.

"Huh," Jane says. There in the passenger seat next to me, I glance at her. "Of all the Narnia characters," she says, "he's the only one I can really see myself being."

"I know what you mean," I say. It's a sunny afternoon, hot, just enough time to hit a thrift store before the dinner hurrah. Her and I had slipped out. "It's such a redemption story," I say. "First he's the worst character, and then he ends up the most noble, most honorable."

"Yeah," she says. "And I can just see how he doesn't want everyone bossing him around."

"Huh," I say. "Gets us every time."

"Yup," she says. There in the front seat, she seems ten years older.

We complete the loop, thrift store to home, a few books in tow. But best pleasure of all, we trace some immovable principle and note all the same curves. Growing up, it's even better than being born. Complexity takes wings.


6064. Yarn, buckets of discontinued yarn for more sweaters.

6065. I begin to invent a sweater pattern.

6066. The perfect knitting ruler.

6067. More thrifted books and a white mixing bowl.

6068. The kids take over pizza night, and we have it twice in one week.

6069. I make hot chocolate three times this week.

6070. I run into a friend at Trader Joe's, and we compare notes on life's sadnesses.

6071. Craig mows the lawn, and it looks like a soft carpet.

6072. The kids help him on an extra event for church.

6073. I find another A.W. Tozer book.

6074. "Don't you know my love language?" Jack says to Lucy. "Its giving people things." he plops a square of chocolate next to my lunch plate.

6075. This baby seems pounds bigger these past days. I can't imagine another 10 weeks of growing and stretching. I watch, amused, tired. Store clerks comment that I MUST be due any day.

6076. Patience, gentleness, I find the adage true that these gems are not easily mined.

6077. I set my mind to grow in ways that make space for more kind-hearted gentleness and genuine patience. May they mark the fall this year.

Sunday, September 4, 2016


"Lucy said that Joe's cursing," Jane calls from the kitchen, the children a tornado of cleaning, Craig just about to leave for church without them.

"What'd he say?" I call back.

"HURRY, we're not gonna make it!" she relays.

"Ahhh," I say. Jane pokes her head around the corner, shrugs.

"I guess that's one person's definition of cursing," she says.

"I guess so," I say. We grin, the joke a ping-pong ball bouncing between us.


6054. After much searching we find the perfect grain mill to replace our broken one. Pristine condition, LOW price, and buckets of grain to go with it -- it's like a miracle.

6055. We take a road trip to pick it up. Joe perennially comments on all the deer we see, herds and herds of them: actually cows.

6054. After more bathroom stops than you can count, we decide to go back to our old plan: no water until we get home.

6055. I confirm the age old truth: 12 dried apricots in one sitting is WAY TOO MANY.

6056. A Trader Joe's run: chocolate, peanut butter cups, kale, and pure Castile soap.

6057. Betsy releases Jack's praying mantis. I find it -- landed on my neck and scream.

6058. Craig drives home from El Paso, TX in 31 hours with a suburban to fit our soon to be bigger family. We all breathe a huge sigh of relief.

6059. Lucy explains to me that she always though idiotic meant weird. A couple of things she said recently suddenly have more context.

6060. My cousin Claire marries her sweetheart.

6061. The garden explodes in tomatoes. The children rapture with bliss.

6062. Betsy takes note of the new school routines and concludes pencils are the special-est toys of all.

6063. I stay home from church after the dried apricot incident, but the day ends solidly, heart bowed in worship to the Lord.