Sunday, June 25, 2017


"Lord, make us stronger," Jane prays. A spruce, gargantuan stake half down the lawn, covers us with cool shadow. We pause, small in it's elephantine height.

"Hmm," I sigh, an eyes-open-prayer between us.

"Don't make the task easier," she says. "Make us bigger to handle it. Amen."

Amen settles, a invisible barrier, a hush.

"Amen," I whisper.


"Here, we better hurry outside," I say. "Everyone is waiting for us."

"Oh," Joe says, urgency absent from his face.

"Huh?" Jack motions over his shoulder, forehead creased, "What?"

"Hurry, come on, we have to get out there," I motion toward a door at the front of the offices. "Tell the girls to hurry up in the bathrooms," I say.

Jack jaunts two or three steps to the back and calls to them. Hand lightly on Joes neck, I steer him forward.

Finally we emerge in blinking bright sunlight out the front door, a small assembly gathered around the organic farm tour guide.

"Wow," I say, children gathered beneath my elbows like feathers. "That was an adventure." Myra nods, emphatic. Jack sloughs a grin in farmer fashion. "That road, wow," I say. Six miles of the lowest grade dirt road, drained and washed away to ruts that could swallow our whole car. "I wasn't sure we were going to make it," I say.

"I was gripping the handles on the booster with both hands," Jack says.

"I was actually praying to God," Myra says.

"A chance to be brave," I say.

"Yep," Jane says.

And yet a retreat ensues. There on that windblown mountain top of a farm, we let the hours scroll by like braille on our finger tips.

Later Jane leans in and tells me, "Ya know," she says. "It was actually so spiritually relaxing there. It was a chance to be brave and a chance to get away from this inferno." She nods toward the living room, but I see the giant pine out front, and see it's more than the room. It's all the hard assignments.

We nod, quiet observation a bond between us.


6292. Rotisserie chicken. And twice in one week.

6293. A last minute field trip to a lavender farm.

6294. Dear friends join us for dinner on the lawn and Badminton. Gems of friendship.

6295. We take evening walks as a family.

6296. We mow the lawn and weed the gardens and harvest the first row of radishes.

6297. I save up to buy something special, have it bought out from under me, and then find a different treasure I like more.

6298. Craig finds a new used bbq to be our oven until the kitchen is remodeled.

6299. One by one we settle into patterns of joy. Sometimes it's the hard work of choosing happiness. Other times, and more often than I would even hope, small moments of joy find us and we take them by the hand and enjoy them.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Just Plain Life

"Seems like Betsy's main objective is to go as slow as possible and look at eEEeverything," Jane says.

"Yup," I say. We tritt-trott past a neighbor's shag green lawn, humidity and the smell of dirt wafting off of it, Betsy lagging behind her hand, the one in Jane's grasp.

"And I pull and pull, but pretty soon, I'm going slow too," Jane says.

"Yep," I say, Jane's arm extended back like a fishing line.

"And then I give a tug and she catches up no problem." Jane shakes her head, affection at the corners of her eyes.

"Hmm," I say. "Yup." Sunday afternoon, a walk. We just walk together. Everything else folds into the steps.


"If I was really scared," Myra says, "know who I would go to?" Her face leaner than even six weeks ago, I look into blue eyes too large for the average face. She blinks at me.

"Who?" I say.

"You," she says, "or Daddy."

"Hmm," I say, her red hair a wild racket around her face.

"Or Jack," she says, "'cause he's really nice and really strong."

"Hmm. He IS really nice," I say.

"Yeah," she says, " SO nice."

"What do you like about him?"

"Well, lots of things," she says. "He's always so excited about his garden. And he shows me stuff." She blinks, pauses. "And he likes to play." A smile ripples over her face. Drawn at the corners of her mouth, it moves upward over her eyebrows. "And when Lucy plays tag," she says, "he's on my team."

"Hmm," I say. "He is really nice."

"I don't know why," she says, "I just really like him."

"Yup," I say.

"Yeah," she says. 'I'm gonna go see what he's doing."


The years tic on, tiny increments of time, pennies of time. The uneventful stroll down the street, the game of tag out back, this is where it happens. Such small installments, and then one day we wake up memorized and loved, the embodiment of those penny deposits.


6287. Craig and I celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. The children make us breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We talk gardens and plan the bean trellis. We visit a greenhouse, the nine of us. Then then Craig and I take a thrifting date. We talk less than I ever imagined we would, but we understand each other more. Devotion blooms. We settle under its wings.

6288. We tear grass out of a garden bed, weed the 500 square foot vegetable garden, plant miscellaneous annuals, and build the bean trellis. Saturday unfolds in gentle steps, each one time together.

6289. We take a walk Sunday afternoon. I spend the evening playing badminton with Jack, Betsy, and Myra.

6290. End of the year testing finished, we plan a summer liturgy. We weave chores, disciplines, and pleasures into routine.

6291. And life goes on, the clippity-clop of everyday things. Devotion in the small things. We work to live out faithfulness.

Monday, June 12, 2017

"Jesus, Jesus," Betsy croones. I watch her from my bedroom just down the hall. She reaches through George's crib and holds his hand. He chirps. "Jesus, Jesus," she sings, jesting at Jesus Loves Me. She pulls a clumped wad from her elbow, blankie, and pushes it through the bars. "Jesus, Jesus, Georgie."

There moored on my bed, the smooth blue quilt an ocean of comfort, I watch her watch George. It's grace, a small grace, and enough.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Just Joking

"Sometimes the other kids are like: Just JOKING. When their talking and trying to be funny," Jane says. She screws up her face, one shoulder drawn in a shrug. Our morning run done, once again, we lull in conversation, coast like marbles, our legs effortless glides, residual momentum ebbing as we near our driveway.

"Yeah," I say, our strides slowing in tandem as we pass the behemoth silver-gray pine holding down our yard.

"And I'm like: GUYS, if it were a JOKE, you wouldn't have to say JUST JOKING."

"So TRUE," I say, the corner of my mouth curled to match her shurg.

"In Proverbs it says if you have to say JUST JOKING," she continues, "You're a LIAR, worse than a FOOL." She arches her eyebrows, just barely shakes her head. "A liar."

"Huh," I say and suddenly there before my eyes, all those sophomoric attempts at humor, the embarrassing and horrifying attempts at town jester, the budding gyrations of each child trying to BE funny.  "So true, Jane." All that grasping punctured with a proverb.

Just be. And there we are, the two of us, just being together. A bond stronger than humor encircles us.

Later, as I page through my day a quote from CS Lewis comes to mind:

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”

And so the day carries on in merriment.


6275. A friend brings us a basket of organic apples, watermelon, and chocolate. It's dew from heaven and we enjoy every drop.

6276. A new scarf. Blue, all the azure, cornflower, and cerulean you can weave into a scarf, white accents, perfectly soft.

6277. Swimwear. The kids match the lovely weather with swimsuits and sprinklers.

6278. Craig's Grammie turns 102.

6279. Time in the yard with friends. Swings, chickens, garden plants make all the props you would ever need. "Now let's talk about Jesus," one of them says as the adults visit half listening to childish play.

6280. We set up yard games and spend the weekend just being with the kids, let the weekend unroll as if we were really spending every moment.

6281. Jack and Jane make lemon bars from scratch, even squeeze their own lemons.

6282. I teach Lucy how to brush her hair out all silky smooth.

6283. I get the chance to pray with a couple of different people, the world paused, we bow our wills to Jesus. It's like stilling a storm.

6284. I let loose of some things I need to sell. Freedom ensues.

6285. Craig clears and plants 100 square feet full of potatoes.

6286.  Mostly, the days unfold full of flaws and missteps, but the music just keeps on. The tempo pulses on as if it could carry the whole song, as if just playing the next note were enough.