Sunday, July 3, 2011


"Ok, I have a question for you," Jane and I amble hand in hand. "I really want to know what you think, but it's kind of hard," I offer, "so don't feel like you have to answer right away." Our feet mark time on the street's blacktop.

"Ok," she says. We swing our arms, fingers entwined. We sip cool drinks in plastic cups and stroll home from the pool. Still wet in our swimsuits, the sun warms our skin.

"What have you been learning about God? What has he been teaching you lately?"

"Hmm. That is a hard question." Droplets of water form at the ends of our hair, drip down our backs.

"You don't have to answer right away."

A few strides, "Doing what you mean," she says, "not just what you say." Her drink wobbles sideways as we scuff in gravel at road's edge.


"Sometimes," she says, "I just want to do what you say and not what you mean 'cause then I think it is closer to my way." Her sentence unfurls, rests between us. "And I think I can't get in trouble 'cause I did what you said." We striddle under a huge pine. "But, that's not right."

Pine needles soft under foot, "Wow." We meander on, "That's a good one."

We glide hand in hand. I marvel at how we traipse to the pool, play chicken-airpane-rocket, motor-boat, share the tiny locker room shower, our long hot shower, how we wander home, drip-dry hand in hand, pace out a whole afternoon. We share time. Tentative and quiet, but in the end long streamers of sentences unroll between us. They flex and weave, interweave and entwine. Invisible sinew, tendons, tissue come forth, we weave corpuscles of love, gossamer fibers of affection. They interlace: a silken net to hem us in.


1022. Sunlight on our black couch.

1023. Drawing lessons. Six of us around Mom's square dining table and how we laugh and try to sketch eggs.

1024. How Mom gives us our own sketch books and new pencils and tells us the secrets of drawing.

1025. Coconut bread.

1126. Sidewalk art.

1027. Cousin Erin, another chair around the table on Tuesday at Mom's and how it feels like she's always been there.

1028. Auntie Libby who braves the blusterous day to teach 5 cousins to swim. And how they shiver and shake and take turns with Libby. And how we nearly faint at how much they learn in just two days.

1029. Honey yogurt, plain avocado.

1030. Pork roast cooked to falling apart perfection.

1031. Barbecue sauce.

1032. Broccoli slaw, bleu cheese.

1033. A bucket of ice cream eaten right out of the carton there on the car console, just Jack and me: a date.

1034. 5 peeping chicks.

1035. Fresh eggs -- in November?

1036. Dinner with friends and how we have so many children between us that we need two full tables. And how they welcome us into their stride of life and fill and fill and fill us with love (and Hawaiian chicken sandwiches). How the children talk and talk of that late night of fun.

1037. Grappling tomato plants finally tall enough for staking.

1038. Netting for the strawberries and how the children crawl under it and pick berries with even the slightest blush of red. And how they pile them on oatmeal, how they save them for friends.

1039. Black bread made with potatoes and molasses, coffee and unsweetened chocolate.

1040. Lunch with a friend and how our children squirrel around a patio table to eat PBJ while she serves me field greens with feta and bacon and olive oil dressing inside. The may years of our friendship.

1041. Rosie up crying eight or ten times last night and how I drag my leadened body to her and pat her leg and shush and kiss and tuck blankie in tight.

1042. How us kids gather at the farm anytime someone whispers, fried chicken, and how this time it's a picnic outside and the children run so long and happy through the fields that Jack's eye's swell huge with allergies and we have to bring him down with Loratadine and a shower. How he comes home in one of Gramma's t-shirts and how still we sigh any time we think about that chicken.

1043. Visiting with the sis-in-law I see the least.

1044. How Craig and I stack towers of things to pass on to other people and how each thing breaks us free of our stuff.

1045. A confrontation at the pool and how all those years of my dad modeling strong, graceful confrontation circle back in a flash and everything turns out to be no problem.

1046. Getting to have Cerissa there with me and how she is one determined gal, poised and direct. One of those moments where you get a clear picture of who these people are that are on your team and are so glad.

1047. July -- a little hole in the year where I actually rest and relax and let the days pass in one long slur.

1048. Independence Day 1776.

1049. Warm wind through open windows and doors.

1050. How Lucy traces my face at night before bed.

1051. How Craig is absolutely immovable on matters of decision. And how all this stubbornness turns out to be the cornerstone on which we build everything. Immovable, what a virtue.

holy     experience


Audra said...

Oh, that girl has some wisdom. I will share this with Tommy. =)

Alisa said...

I never want your list of thankfuls to inspire me to dig deep.

Goat said...

I had a fried who, when he had a book he absolutely loved, would not finish it--because the tragedy of it ending was greater for him than not knowing the ending. I hope your blog never ends. I read it the way Dad eats peach shortcake--scraping every last crumb off the plate and then, without reserve, licking it off. Every time. Hoping for seconds.

Debbie said...

I love the chalk art but I especially love your attitude of gratitude for the simple blessings from God. So glad to visit you for the first time as I linked over from Ann's.


Southern Gal said...

Your girl is growing in grace and knowledge. A list of summery goodness!

Ashley Haupt said...

Beautiful marriage of photos, writing, and story. :)

Stefanie Brown said...

What a lovely list! God is so good!

Melissa said...

This week's list makes me sigh with contentment, all caught up in summer and dear relationships.

Stephani said...

All of this out of your little girl's soul! Sigh. A shame that we expect so little out of our young people. Your girl shows us there is a fountain flowing deep and wide within them. They get so much more than we think they do. What you share here on this blog has to teach others a lot about parenting. I don't have young children in my charge, but when I read your posts, I think, I would want to be a parent like that. Thanks for your inspiring words and for sharing your family.

emily wierenga said...

this sharing time... this is all that matters, bethany. you teach me so much about what it means to be a mother. and i love that lucy traces your face at night. and how immovable your husband...

ps. wonderful photos

Pig Woman said...

Amazing post Bethany. I had to reread it several times. Enjoyed it more each time.

You have CHICKENS?????!!!! I have wanted chickens for so long!

Are you keeping them in your backyard? I have been reading about backyard chicken keeping. I think I will have to move so I can do it.

If you ever want, I have a magazine that shows you how to make nappys for house chickens. Ya. Chicken diapers. Ha!

Daniel and Cerissa said...

Ahhh... that was a good one :)

Craig and Bethany said...

Hahaha-ha! Nappies for chickens?! Hee-hee. I'm completely curious. Although, I'm pretty certain Craig would shake his head at this city-girl wife of his if I told him diapers for chickens existed. What else is in that magazine? You should definitely bring it the next time we see you.

We have the little peepers inside for now. I think at 8 or 10 weeks they will go outside to the hen house Craig is going to build. And they do great outside year round here! We did actually have a couple of them pass on Sunday night though -- no clue why. Apparently, chicks sometimes just do that. So Craig bough a few more.

Man they are cute. One of the kids got a stuffed chickie and set it down in front of the cage to keep them company after the two died. Later, when Craig went to check on them, for about half a second he thought a chick had escaped before he realized it was a toy. Hee-hee.

Anyhoo, the ones we got are supposed to be the sweetest ones for pets and great layers too. Yippie! You'll have to come over for fresh eggs this winter. :)

So happy you enjoyed the post. All of you!

Pig Woman said...

The chicken nappies are in the April/May issue of Mary Janes Farm magazine. Maybe they have something online about them. I will bring it next time we see you though. It also shows how to take an old metal crib and transform it into your decorative indoor coop. :) There is another magazine I just picked up last week called "Chickens" by Hobby Farms. I haven't gotten into it very deep yet, but it looks like there are some interesting articles. I will see if they still have copies here and send you one if they do. It has lots of pictures of chicken coops you can build in it.

Craig and Bethany said...

Oh, awesome! (You are too sweet!) Both magazines sound completely interesting. I'm amazed at all the different ways of creating a coop. I can't wait to explore all the options. I'm enjoying learning about the social order that chickens establish too. We definitely have the phrases "hen pecked" and " pecking order" for a reason. They have a whole system and hierarchy that is pretty sophisticated. The whole adventure should prove interesting.

Craig and Bethany said...

Too bad you would have to move to have chickens. Are they not allowed, or are you nervous about predators? As long as we don't have a rooster we can keep a few in town here. Animals love you so much; I bet you'd have the sweetest brood.

Pig Woman said...

We do have predators here, but I think I could protect them. I will put nappies on them and bring them in the house if I have to. It is indeed the anti-chicken covenant that is the problem. But I have already named them. Lucy Locket, Sally Henny Penny, and Little Liza Jane. Have you named yours yet? S & O have a graduation photo date with Rosie in mid August. Expect me.

Craig and Bethany said...

Oh, perfect names! Ya we were naming them, but then got a little tentative when we had the two die. Since we hadn't totally settled on names, and they all look alike we're not really sure which passed. But in any case, yours are the most fabulous names I've ever heard. Seriously, way better than Peanutbutter and such. Ya, I'm still holding out for cute names like yours.

And I'm so happy Rose gets to do S & O's pics!! I'd hire her in a heartbeat. She's positively gifted at capturing the person not just the picture. Can't wait to see you all! Our little hennies should be exploring the outdoors some by then... :)

Leslie said...

I was surfing blogs today and have now quoted you twice. LOVE the "hole in the year" description of July.