Monday, July 31, 2017


"I'm actually LIKING learning to read," Myra says. From my pillowed beachhead, sprawled horizontal, right foot propped on a pillow tower, I nod, my neck corralled in a quarter of it's normal movement.

"Hmmm," I say.

"It gradually gets funner and funner and FUNNER." She grins as if seeing a sunset, her shoulders risen as to push, push, push the corners of her smile up the white acres of her face.

"Hm," I say.

"Joe is going to reeeeeally like it when he learns to read," she chirps, red hair in curlicue staccatos around arching eyebrows and blue eyes.

Beached in leg surgery's long recovery, I smile the slow long drawling smile that unrolls quietly like afternoon sun, like all the warm comfort of laying in these slow moments.

"You just have to decides to like it, then it gets really fun," she says.

"Yup," I say. She flops on the bed, book in hand, and narrates my recovery in slow and savory sentences.


6223. The children make me breakfast each day after surgery -- fried potatoes, fried garden beans, fresh peas and tomatoes, pour-over coffee and my usual granola on the side.

6224. Four of the children get the flu. They rest far enough away that I stay well.

6225. Craig leaves for camp one day post-op and we fare just fine what with all the delicious food and hours and hours of beloved audio books, the children scattered on or around the bed, sunlight rolling through the window like the river at flood stage.

6226. Just as the kids begin to fatigue in the kitchen, a friend brings us a meal. Another friend offers another meal if we need. Such comfort and kind care in the body of Christ.

6227 Joe plays me countless games of Uno.

6228. Dear friends barbecue burgers and make an old fashioned picnic for our family. We talk all things literature and politics, history and the repeating of history. We nod. Yup. So many things to memorize and take note, bear witness.
6229. Jack receives a new cookbook. Illustrations bloom across the pages, vibrant art.

6230. A new salad bowl finds its way to our home. I christen it with chocolate chip cookies, a new recipe. Blissful results.

6231. We round the two thirds mark in an extensive biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

6232. I turn 39. The perfect day to turn 39, the children give me bouquets of handmade gifts. Craig, and I take an afternoon date. He barbecues two chickens for us. We glide into the evening slow and easy.

6233. I get a polkadot skirt.

6234. I practice the discipline of patience. An antidote. I hold it like an unruly child in my arms until when I least expect it, I find peace resting quietly on my shoulder.

6235. I look deeply into the eyes of my children, pause my reckless work to memorize their faces, and hold still, just stop. So many good moments, they run through my fingers like water.

6236. The kitchen remodel begun, disorder and broken routines, I set myself to be the inventor of good memories in this new set.

Sunday, July 16, 2017


"I guess I should probably be praying to not be so annoy-able," Jane says, "instead of praying that everyone else would stop BEING so annoying."

"Huh," I snicker. "Yup. Me too."

"It's not really that tap-tap-TAPPING is so wrong. Or that Joe or whoever is thinking, I know, this will drive Jane CRAZY, which IS what I think. But they probably just really feel like doing it."

"So true," I say. All these days of praying to become patient and kind and now this.

Conversation turns along unseen curves. How to hear the Lord? We trace this anatomy.

All these millions of disciplines -- Bible reading, devotions, praise, worship, hymns, theology, prayers in secret, thoughts and ideas we train to march in time to, to something. And then there we are left waiting. Just waiting. In the end waiting is the biggest deference of all, the loudest statement, the one that actually bows my heart in complete adoration of Christ. We wait on those we prize. Hm. Proof.

Jane and I trace these turns as if completely blind. Textures of ideas memorized by the invisible hands of the mind.

"It's sort of like we climbed on the slide at the YMCA," she says, "and now we just get to let gravity and God do the rest."

A laugh unbidden climbs out of my mouth. Gravity and God. Indeed. May it be so. May we trust God and all he has put in motion.


6215. We celebrate a birthday in the park with the type of friends that all our children ask to see and always bring peace and joy. Smack dab in the middle of a crazy afternoon, it still does. I marvel at the stillness and slow meaningful celebration.

6216. We visit Craig's grandmother. One hundred two years, white hair and perfectly lovely, she closes her eyes and soaks in Holy, Holy, Holy as Craig, the kids and I sing to her.

6217. Craig, the kids, cousins, and Auntie all head to the farm for raspberry picking. Bliss. Forever memories.

6218. A trip to Trader Joe's and the simple joys of mustard, ketchup, heavy whipping cream, just the essentials.

6219. Jack harvests a few potatoes that dried out and died, then fries them up for Craig and me. They are the creamiest, richest, most smooth and salty morsels. Ever.

6220. I plug away on the chores of life and convince myself that the three drawers I cleaned out of the desk are better than none at all and all the slow attention to waiting a good investment.

6221. In the middle of seven audio books, I relish them all.

6222. I prepare for a surgery on bad veins in my legs. Elated that the painful condition can be remedied, I dread/anticipate the procedure.

6223. I begin to think of waiting as a currency to be spent, a song sung without words, a free-fall proof of love. Let it be so.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Desk

"You cleaning out the desk?" Jane says. Crouched over a bin of hand-me-down shoes, I look up at her too-tall twelve-year-old self perched there in the stairwell making her even taller. I smile, the sloppy grin of tired endurance.

"Yep," I say. "I finally cleaned out a drawer."

"Huh," she says. 

There at the shoe bin, stapler and office supplies sprawled at the perimeter, I wonder how life can be such an intertwining of circles -- shoe bin, sewing table at my wrist, book with the torn dust cover leaned against bin, three-hole-punch littering tiny white dots at bin's edge. And somewhere there up the stairs, the old herculean desk I'm trying to empty and sell, tasks shattering down, thunder claps of urgency.

"I finally decided I just need to clean out a drawer a day," I say. "I've been so over whelmed I just can't even start."

"Yeah," she says, "better to just do a drawer a day than to do nothing at all and keep reproaching yourself."

"Yes," I say. "Just, YES. I can't seem to get a purchase on it, so -- a drawer a day."

"Good job, Mom."

"Hmm. Thanks, honey." We smile, that softness that releases crinkles at the corners of the eyes. And then we sigh, but really it's more like the very beginning of the next breath, and it's long and deep and patient endurance fills in all the cracks.


6309. We celebrate the birthday of our country and all the blood shed on our behalf with lovely picnics and family and friends.

6310. I steal away one lunch hour to meed a friend and visit as if heaven itself had opened to to invite us in.

6311. Craig and I enjoy a lovely dinner with a local pastor and his wife.

6212. I catch coffee and errands with my momma, errands really just another word for long streamers of conversation cast across the morning according to whatever the mood will lead. We both end up with wonderful finds at an estate sale.

6213. A dear, dear friend from college visits us with her mother and two children. She brings all the fixings to turn our pleasant picnic into a jaunty feast we will long remember. The children play, and we visit as if 20 years had not passed between us.

6214. I find breadcrumbs of encouragement in each conversations and more as I visit with the children and better yet with Craig. Somehow nourishment fills all the cracks and even burdens and urgencies fail to crush me with their weight.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


"Here," Joe says. He flutters a green lettuce leaf on the sling-back lawn chair. Lettuce, from his garden, "Here," he says.

"Oh," I say. I turn in the rotisserie sun and glance squinted eyes at the lace leaf. "Thanks," I say.

"Yeah," he says.

I pluck winglike green between finger and thumb and crunch the chartreuse stem as it hits my teeth. Bitter. As if the waters of the deep have let loose, sour astringent wriggles rootlike fissures in my mouth.

"Wow that is bitter," I say. "Yikes. Here." I pull it from my lips, the broken stem still a mixture of lime, peacock, and beryl.

"Oh," he says. My hand upraised, he scoops the lettuce from my fingers, and completing a circle, places it in his mouth. "Mmm," he says.

"Does it taste bitter to you?" I say.

"Only a little bit," he says. "The rest is good."

"Oh," I say, the daybreak of his face more radiant than sky.

"I think I might make a salad later," he says.

"Oh," I say again. A salad later. This. Just this. Maybe I'll make a salad later. May all my trials always only ever be a salad later.


6300. Hot summer greets us the way I always remember it, crinklingly hot where sprinklers splash with only stupendously cold water.

6301. We get the wrinkles ironed out of our insurance policy.

6302. Jane and I take an adventure, the two of us trying new things.

6303. I meet one of my life heros, the brave Dr. Suzanne Humphries. It's like talking to an old friend. "Mom," Jane says as we walk away, "she seems like someone that we would be friends with if she lived here."

6304. I catch up on sleep by acquiring a headache that eclipses half of two days.

6305. I listen to more of CS Lewis' The Problem Of Pain and then just sink back into the logic of it all.

6306. A friend stops by to retrieve her sunglasses, and we visit.

6307. Face cream, a simple luxury that feels like a universe.

6308. Sunday settles like quiet mist. I can't wait to fall into bed.