Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Audiobook

"That is SO loud," I say. "It is GRATING on my ears." Furrow deep between my eyebrows, I reach over Jane and turn the audiobook down, staccato obvious in my arm.

The nine of us folded like origami into the Suburban, Jane and I sit elbow to elbow in the front seat, she between Craig and me.

"Here, let me just turn it up," Jane say. Before I can crane my neck enough to bore that furrow into her, she's clicked it up a quarter turn.

"WHat?" I say. "WHY did you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Turn it up."

"It was hard to hear," she says.

"But I said NOT to."

"No, you said it was loud and turned it down, so I asked to turn it up."

"No, you didn't," I say, my scarf and sweater suddenly weltering rags dampening my neck.

"Yeah, I did," she says.

"No," I say, "you said, here let me turn it up."

"Oh," she says.

"Why would you do that?" Exasperation bloomed into something like a room without very much air, me leaning into some sort of winning move, I deepen that furrow as if my whole face could pivot around those eyebrows.

"Well," she finally says, "I guess it's because you are normally so good at reading my mind."

"Huh," I say. "Well, there's that." A grin, ticklish at the corner of my mouth, pull, pull, pulls those eyebrows loose and consummates into an all out laugh. "I guess you're not in trouble," I say. And something shared lets loose between us, slack, as if a tether has just grown both longer and stronger.

Longer and stronger. This seems to be the order of the day. Something adult begins to stand up inside of her as if this lovely child were just the breathtaking shell of a magnificent something. I await, abated breath, and pray to honor the passing of this season.


6345. We take a trip to the ocean. A holiday at the sea. The memories page out like stories from our favorite books. The peace and comfort of family and extended family nourish us body, mind and soul. 17 children, 10 adults, and 5 days, we weave the fabric of family.

6246. Craig nearly completes the new greenhouse. 800 baby plants grow, grow, grow up toward the sky.

6247. We make the long, long drive to the ocean and enjoy the time of no expectations. We unroll the hours at the slow pace of ones whose schedules rarely leave time to just sit. Just. Sit. The slowness speaks peace.

6248. I work daily to cultivate kindness and gentleness in my replies. I note that hurrying makes me mean. I work to right this wrong, grow strength where I am weak. Be kind always. This is not too tall an order. I meditate on this truth.

6249. I note that when I take the time to apologize when I fall short all other things bother me less. Contentment finds me. Endurance and self-discipline sidle up inside of me.

6250. I pray to be diligent and attentive, never missing a moment or detail that God has appointed to me. Let the obedience and beauty ensue.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Resurrection Day

"We are cased up in vehicles of clay, and converse together as if we were in different coaches with the blinds close drawn around. We see the carriage, and the voice tells us that we have a friend within; but we shall know each other better, when death shall open the coach doors, and hand out the company successively, and lead them into the glorious apartments which the Lord has appointed to be the common residence of them that love him. What an assembly will there be! What a constellation of glory, when each individual shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of their father! No sins, sorrows, temptations; no veils, clouds, or prejudices, shall interrupt us then."

~John Newton (wrote Amazing Grace 1779)

So grateful for the precious gift of salvation from my risen Savior.

"And Jesus, thank-you for Daddy that he is stern and kind. We love you, Jesus. Amen." Jane prays. She spools out gratitude for each member of our family and ends on Daddy. And so we close out the best day of the year, the day we celebrate our risen Savior. 



Salvation, the unspeakable gift there in our laps. I am undone with gratitude.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Date

"Here, just a minute," I say, "I have to throw this away." Suburban door yawned open, there in the driveway, I scoop two candy wrappers out of the door trough. "You get in," I call. I flutter the wrappers into the trash can.

"Ok," Jane says.

I slip in behind the wheel, she in the passenger seat. Belts snapped, the cottony quiet of no other children clambering for attention, I draw an extra long breath and sigh long and trailing.

"Ya know," Jane says, "when you read your Bible in the morning it makes the in-between moments in the day feel peaceful, like when you're just sitting and waiting."

"Yes," I say. And she smiles, a gentle rolling-hill of a smile. "That's so true," I say.

"It's just peaceful," she says, "not like from a drug, but peaceful." She spreads her hands as if to trace that peace horizon. "It's not like the hard things are smaller," she says, "but it's like you are bigger."

"Huh," I say, nudged up against that peace.

Bigger. And bigger too, that quiet rest there between us, between the words, between each breath. Nourishment, a communion of quiet, we breathe, just breathe, there in the warm afternoon sun.


6335. Craig roughs in greenhouse walls and plans the kitchen remodel all in his free time.

6336. Dan and Cerissa come over in the middle of date night to help.

6337. Jack continues to cook delicious pastries in the roaster over. It will be strange (and wonderful!) to have a working oven, one day, not too far off.

6338. Two friends loan me wraps, the beautiful luxurious kind, to play with with wrapping George.

6339. We meet up with old friends for afternoon dessert.

6340. Joe turns five.

6340. Monday afternoon, resplendent sun, we play with friends in the backyard, chickens out, swings up, mamas visiting amidst chatter and chirps.

6342. Peanut butter, walnuts, seaweed, treats and staples.

6343. The children while away out hours and hours in the fort out front playing with cousins.

6344. A new basketball finds its way to the kids.

6345. And somewhere in the middle of it all, I realize I am distracted, busy, and unseeing. I pray to stop and see, really see each child, my husband, and the arresting miracle of each day.

Sunday, April 2, 2017


"I think she looked into it," I say. "I'm not really sure. I'm just guessing by other things she has said."

"Oh," Jane says. It's a damp lunch hour, the two of us slipped out for a run. Wet gray, high-hung clouds, still no sun, the air licking across our faces, we run.

"I didn't really want to ask," I say.

"Oh," she says.

"Just didn't seem my place."

"Deception," she says, "it's like the worst thing in the world."

"Yeah," I say, the quiet roll of our tennis shoes over wet blacktop an invisible heartbeat between us.

"It's like using the truth to tell a lie," she says.

"Yes," I say. "It. Is." I turn this over in my mind. The truth. Thinking you have the truth is the greatest barrier to you finding it. Or it can be.

This time, marking out miles together, we map the world, trace that red thread of truth, see it go subterraneous, and watch for it to reemerge.

Miles and minutes marked out, condensed and timeless, we suddenly reemerge at home. The route come full circle, there we are. Time, compressed down to a molecule of air, had floated between us, unseen and unspooling. Then without warning we are suddenly home.

"Time," she says, "it's the most expensive thing. It's like there's never enough to do everything you would like to do."

"Yup," I say. Never enough. And there behind us, whir-whir-whir, time unspooling, unwinding, looping around us. Like stationary pinpoints it cascades over us like a waterfall.


6326. Thrifting yields a new quilt for our bed. Like a wing of faint blue it settles on our bed.

6327. We continue to treasure hunt books for the library. A visit to the bin store, the last stop for thrifted goods before they are burned, Mom and I treasure hunt. Whoopee!

6328. I continue to make friends at church. I marvel that this liturgy of friend making follows us our entire life.

6329. A friend with 11 children invites me, our 7 children, and another mom and kids over to play. So many children and yet such a peaceful time.

6330. Jack, now out of wrestling, splashes into Saturday with gusto. Cinnamon rolls, eggs, fresh jam, a pan of brownies, another pan of blondies, he's a baking bonanza, and he's still fresh to work in the yard and spend hours outside playing with cousins.

6331. "Basketball, for those that aren't very good, is really just a game of chance," Jane says.

6332. I try my hand at making a baby wrap. "Before we know it," Jane says, "you'll have a loom and some sort of spinning wheel."

6332. Craig continues to plan and build the greenhouse for flats of fast sprouting plants. We sit down together and plan the cornerstones of our spring schedule.

6333. And somewhere in there I squeeze in a few rows of knitting. It's not everyday, though I wish it were, but it's many days and enough.

6334. As we work to organize and care for what God's given us, we quiet ourselves to contentment. Somehow it's always there, just below the surface, if we only look.