"Hey, are you guys praying?" Jane pokes her head around the Jack's bed post.
"No. We're just snuggling." I squeeze Jack. He pats my hands.
"I gotta tell you something." Janie's cheeks round with grin, "I just brushed my teeth with SOAP." Grin unleashes.
"Oh, no." I chortle in Jack's hair, "How was it?"
Mile-wide grin, "FUN." Her bottom lip flaps as she says, fun. We titter and tehee, split, peal, and giggle. Soap. Fun.
We settle: stories. Egyptian slaves, the escape, the Red Sea, Pharaoh's army, quail, manna, Mt. Sanai. Our evening weaves. The saga unrolls.
We eddy over Moses' tabernacle, the sacrifices. The blood. Blood. Everywhere. A stinky, sticky, ensanguined, mess. Butchered animals. All day long.
The children snug down under fleece covers. I remember how Jane once asked if we would have to sacrifice our dog if we were naughty back then.
"What kind of an animal would you have to kill if you lied?" Jane queries from top bunk.
I pause. "I don't know." We let that set.
"Was it a camel?" I can hear her furrowed brow even in the dark.
"No. I don't know what it was."
"Oh." We mull this over. Cogitate. Steep. We never see anything die these days.
Our story twines and twists. Then it's the cross and Jesus. They picture the details: how they whipped the skin off his back; how they jammed the wreath of thorns on his head; how they nailed through the wrist and ankle; how pinned there, splayed by pain, he suffocated. And still, his last breath, "TETELESTAI." It is FINISHED. Paid in FULL. Finished.
They take it in.
A small detail. A soldier pierces Jesus' side -- makes sure he's dead.
"When he stabbed Jesus on the cross," Jane wants to know, "how did he not get blood on the handle?" And there it is again, the blood, all that blood.
As I tell the stories, I wonder how I ever missed all that blood. I musta just been reading the words.
700. Lulie washes her hands with soap and a pebble-sixed blob of toothpaste, just to make sure.
701. Momma's suggestion, "Try thyme," and how baked potato soup bloomed creamy and salty and twang.
702. Tuesday with Ceris and Libby and Momma.
703. How Jane reads to the gaggle of cousins and comments, "Logan is a good listener. He just sat by me the whole time and asked questions on every page."
704. Lands' End winter clearance -- fall wardrobe for the Jane and Jack.
705. A laundry accident with borax and bleach and powdered white detergent, only one thing ruined. I think.
706. Wet bag I sewed myself (thanks Ceris) in spring green and ocean blue.
707. Mason jar with dark chocolate chunks.
708. How when I dumped half the jar in Sears, Jane and I plopped all the pieces back in the jar before the 10 sec. rule wore off.
709. How I shared my favorite olives and sourdough cheese crackers at dinner just to practice sharing. And how it was hard and exhilarating.
710. Salted chocolate. The kind that has little crunches of salt. The kind that husband brings home when you have a bad day.
711. First week of Rockie's cast half over.
712. Spaghetti and pumpkin pie birthday on the farm for freckled nephew.
713. Wrestling match we all tromp off to and how nephew wins two out of three.
714. How Jack pops up after praying at lunch, "I was bowing down," he says.
715. How they listen to the stories of Daniel over and over and OVER again.
716. Jane's grin and missing teeth when she gets a dinosaur out of the Goodie Basket for Jack.
717. Selling stuff, so liberating. And money for next year's school books.
718. Jane reading Dick and Jane for fun.
719. Endurance. And the will to go on. The will to finish.
720. How husband tells me, "Think of who you want to be, then decide what you should do."
721. How he hugs me when I'm angry, and I decide I don't want to be that angry person.
722. TETELESTAI. Salvation.