Sunday, August 14, 2011


"Momma, would you talk to Daddy that way in front of anyone?" Jane bonks a hard boiled egg on the counter, furrows her brow, and picks the shell away in pieces.

"No." We stand elbow to elbow. I smooth my fingers over the spongy white of my peeled egg. "I only talk about the things that really bother me in front of the people I trust."

"Oh." She steps over to the sink, swishes her egg clean in the water, feels for any debris left behind.

"I wouldn't want people to get the wrong idea," I add, "and think bad about Daddy when he's not. You know what I mean?"

"Uh-huh." She nods.

I rub my fingers over the prickly skin of a cucumber fresh from the garden. I slice it up the middle, quarter it into long spears. She bonks more eggs and picks them clean. I chop the cucumber into tiny cubes, hew chives, slice tomatoes, pineapple. The afternoon assembles itself into a salad and a row of hard boiled eggs. In my mind, I pour the whole conversation with Craig through a sieve of seven-year-old ears.

"Did you hear how I was being really ungrateful that Daddy was trying to talk to me?" I ask.

"Yeah." She makes her way to rinse another fresh peeled egg, slides it in next to the others. And though she hardly says a thing, I know she's ordering every word I say, lining them up like the fresh peeled eggs.

And so, when I hear Craig's flip flops cadence down the hardwoods, I call, "Hey, Craig!" And he comes, and I weave confession and gratitude into a blanket to catch us.


1202. Lucy's wet footprints on the driveway.

1203. Purple polish on three-year-old toes.

1204. Lulie's prayer, "Jesus, I pray that you will help all the people not to die in Hell. And I pray that you will help Momma mot to die in Hell. And I pray that you will help all the kids not to die in Hell. Amen." And Daddy? He's already a saint to us.

1205. How Craig and I hold hands together to make our children maintain a baseline obedience. And how in the end we all end up enjoying each other as a result.

1206. How we read together before bed. "See the next one? It says, Shoe Salesman for God," I say. "That guy is a shoe salesman for God. He sells shoes." And how Jack rolls over on his pillow and comments, "Pretty big shoes."

1207. Learning to lead by asking questions not just issuing commands.

1208. Jane's prayer, "Jesus, I pray that Sophie would choose you -- if she hasn't thought to choose you that she would. And I pray that Olivia would choose you and Claire and their parents. And I pray that everyone would choose you. I pray that that person who is going around our neighborhood stealing things will choose you. Amen."

1209. How Jack finds a penny on the washer and asks, "Can I have it for my college money?"

1210. Craig's faith, "Well Lord, not our will, but your will." And the blanket of peace he pulls up under our chins.

1211. How Lucy grins at me with a fist full of mint. "Open your mouf," she says.

1212. How a rendition of The Firey Furnace ends with Lucy squeezed into the old fireplace, Sunday dress not withstanding, and how we somehow salvage the outfit and smudgy face.

1213. How when I look in on the chickens, I catch Jack drinking out of the hummingbird feeder before he's really gotten good at it.

1214. A new screen door.

1215. Lava rocks for making artisan bread.

1216. Jack's commentary to me, "Everyday I like you more and more and MORE. I can't believe how much I like you." He grins and hops and then pokes the air, "But I like GOD more than I like you."

1217. Jane's request, "Jesus, please help us to get as poor as we have to to help the Africans. Amen."

1218. My cousins come to visit from over the mountains and how the loop of family closes for a moment, and we enjoy our friendship.

1219. Cherries picked fresh off Great-Grammie's old tree. And how Craig's dad just backs the pick-up there under the tree and loads the buckets.

1220. A new book of memory work.

1221. Magazine with a recipe entitled: Blueberry French Toast Casserole.

1222. Niece who babysits for us. And how Jane tells us later, "Ellin told me that she doesn't really babysit for the money. She does it because she loves to babysit." And how it makes her worth a million bucks to us.

1223. Lunch out with my dad's office and friends of his and how all the family and friends weave such interesting conversation. How humbling it is to be around so many wise people who treat you like an equal.

1124. Craig's avocado sprouted and forming leaves.

1225. Learning to do the next good thing in front of me and not think too much about the rest.

holy     experience


Alisa said...

Today I am going to work on "doing the next good thing in front of me and not worry about the rest." Thanks for the encouragement. I ALWAYS look forward to your posts.

HopeUnbroken said...

i am inspired by the transparency in your household. you encourage me toward confession and honesty with my own kids.
i love #1217---that's a giver you are raising there :-)
and #1225---sometimes we just need to DO, and leave the details up to God. what a timely reminder for me.
thank you, as always, for your sweet post. i would be highly disappointed if you missed a week!

Stephani said...

I see pieces of heaven in this post!

Christina said...

I so love #1217! From the mouth of babes:) Beautiful pictures and great list. I enjoyed my visit here today:)

Goat said...

Maintaining a baseline of obedience. So much in those words to ponder. The largess of that comment covers just about every aspect of a well-lived life.

Love you.

Ashley Haupt said...

I love that this gratitude list is full to the brim of deep reflection, digging joy out by the roots. Beautiful and inspiring.

Ostriches Look Funny said...

beautiful, honest, and encouraging. What a blessing to read this!

Melissa said...

#1212: The. Best.

(It makes me think of Jo & her sisters in Little Women. ;)

Meredith said...

Have you ever read something, or experienced something that drew you so completely into the presence of the Father that you had chills, and your heart ached from the beauty of it?

That's how I felt, reading this post.
It has deeply moved me.

And your skill with the camera...every aspect -
it was like an oasis.

Thank you.
I will be retuning.

Meredith @ My Journey to Authenticity

Audra said...

Yay for purple polish...thinkin' I need to touch mine up a bit :)

Keisha Valentina said...

#1217... Wow.
The things they say speak so much to me.

And how did you get a avocado pit to sprout like that? Please, do tell!

Craig and Bethany said...

Oh, the avocado! It's quite amazing. You just poke toothpicks in at four places around the middle of the pit. Then you submerge the bottom half in water in a bowl. The toothpicks support it so it can rest without touching the bottom of the bowl but still be in the water. Then you wait and wait, and one day it splits open vertically and puts down roots. Then a long time later it sprouts up a step and leaves! Right now ours is about 6 inches tall and has several leaves! It's good to do two or more at a time as they cannot self-polinate should they ever get big enough to bloom. :) I bet you and Malia would have a ball sprouting.

Pierre BOYER said...

I particulary love the first picture...
Greetings from France,


Nacole said...

hi Bethany,

im over here from Ann's. i cried and had a broken heart, reading your very vulnerable words today--thank you for being so transparent and honest so that we (i) can be prodded and moved toward change.

i always love the entire list, and so i have several faves today:

#1204--prayer for mama--i so relate. yes, Daddy is the angel in our home too ;)

#1205 because marriage should always be the most important thing--and you reminded me of this.

#1207 this shows true humility--a beautiful heart

#1208, 1210, and 1212 because your family is so beautiful (yes, a little like "Little Women") and inspires me toward godliness

and #1225 because i desperately need to learn this...and it stuns me into reality, reading, so thanks for saying it


Keisha Valentina said...

Thank you for the avocado tips!!!

Nacole said...

hi again, Bethany,

just wanted to let you know with all of the chatter about the Little Women in your post, that it is such a neat coincidence that a blogger-friend and i were talking about the very same thing a couple weeks ago, and she said "definitely do a post on Little Women!" reading the beautiful writing about your children inspires me. so i wrote the post--if you like, you can view it here:

blessings to you and your family!


Brandee Shafer said...

I lovvvve your children's prayers!!!!!