Sunday, February 27, 2011


"If you mess up everything in your life," I say, "but you say, 'Yes,' to Jesus, it's like you did everything right in my book." Jane hugs my shoulder. We snuggle down in pink fleece, fringe knotted at the edges. "But if you do everything perfect and still say, 'No,' to him, it's like you failed everything."

She rubs her cheek against my arm. "Oh." I smell her hair, kiss the crown of her head. "Can you tell me another story?" she says. "Just do the first one that comes to your head, ok?"

"Hmm, ok." Moses. The ten commandments, a golden calf, thunder, lightening, and glory. Glory. Moses hides his face. All that glory shining out of his face and the people are terrified -- a veil for all the glory. Just a glimpse of God, he's changed unmistakable. Just a glimpse.

Somewhere between the golden calf ground to powder, poured in the drinking water and Moses' face aglow, I hear it. There on bottom bunk, snuggled under denim quilt, Jack. Whispered like wind, "Yes. Yes, Jesus," he says. Yes.

Just a glimpse.


635. Twenty and Ten, twenty French children who hide ten Jewish ones, parents dead by the Nazis.

636. Jane's command, "Read, Momma, READ."

637. Crisp red seedless grapes.

638. A Springbok of parrots, all 500 pieces puzzled together with little kid hands.

639. Salted caramel ice cream sauce and husband by the fire.

640. A book light.

641. Selling clothes and bedding we don't need.

642. How Jack covers me in kisses before and after I tell Daniel in the Lion's Den.

643. How husband refuses to be offended by me. Or anyone.

644. How he secretly tries to make Saturday a sabbath for me and does practically everything for me, except breathe.

645. That salted caramel sauce on cereal.

646. Sourdough cheese crisps.

647. Lulie's remark, "The paper towel sucked up the owie-ness on my finger," when she cuts herself.

649. Cutting coupons while the kids cut flowers out of old magazines.

650. February birthday party for Craig and Rose Emily.

651. Gravelly croup cough almost gone.

652. Bed and warm covers calling my name.

holy     experience

Monday, February 21, 2011


"Momma, Lucy's hanging on the dresser and about to fall off!" Jane and Jack thump bare feet down the hall. "Momma!" they shout.

I follow their bluster, peel little fingers off dresser top.

"What were you doing on here?" I hold Lu dangled mid air. "What were you doing?"

She kicks the air. "I was looking for the MOON."

I buoy piggy-tails up to the window. "See?"

Lulie blinks.

"She thought the moom fell in the yard," Jane pipes from top bunk.

"Yeah, I tot it fell in the yard."

"Oh." We stare at the back fence. "Nope." I swing red jammie-feet into bed. "Here you go." She rubs a jersey edge of blankie on her cheek, sucks thumb.

I snuggle down next to her, and she plops blankie-B on my chest. We pull denim covers under our chins.

"I'm born," Lulie says.


She hugs her shoulders. "Is the Rosie born?"

"Yup. Do you know what born means?"


"It means you popped out."

"Out of Mommy's tummy?"


"Oh." She nuzzles blankie, gives a few sucks on thumb.

"I'm gonna beat you to sleep," she marbles around thumbie.


"I'm gonna beat you to sleep because you aren't suckin' your thumb."

"Oh." I smile, poke her with my elbow. She grins. We lay still and let the night roll in.


608. Lentil soup simmered hot.

609. Coconut milk, rosemary, made-from-scratch stock.

610. Celery, carrots, and onion chopped by Janie, Jack, and Lu while I nurse Rose.

611. Hand-me-downs orbited into bins and sweet, sweet organization.

612. Friend's insistence that it would be fun to help. Fun?!

613. A splashy kitchen apron, all flowers and a pocket with green polka-dot button.

614. A new jacket, the kind momma accidentally shrunk to just my size.

615. Lucy, blanket wadded, "This one is NEWBORN," she says. Newborn-blankie.

616. How she thanks Jesus for DUMPLIN'. And I have to ask and ask before I finally understand she calls her babies, Dumplin'.

617. Fresh apples, fresh grapes, yellow bananas.

618. Dinner guests that captivate us with stories of gangs and travel, football and gambling, their wide smiles, and belly laughs, and how he says, "Pretty soon I didn't hold back at all and just asked whatever question I wanted." And Christ's love tumbled between the stories and his wife's smile when he remembers their anniversary.

619. A honeydew melon.

620. Strong Daddy-arms that carry croupy-boy out in the cold night.

621. Husband's smile when I make another apron and wear it around. And how he wants to know if it's for always or a Scottish thing or what.

622. How Janie says the apron is outstanding, just outstanding.

623. Jane's grin, front teeth gone.

624. Her braids, her curls, her questions, a million questions a story, like," What sort of face do you think they were making when that happened, Momma?"

625. The simple discipline of sleep. How enough sleep makes everything two clicks nicer.

626. How Jack changes the sheets on his own bed and Jane throws in a load of laundry when she runs out of unders.

627. Still happy about another Rose in the family.

628. Jonathan Swift and the part of Gulliver's Travels where the Liliputians war over how to crack an egg, as in fight a blood-soaked war over how to crack an egg.

629. How Jack tells me that Malkus is the name of the servant whose ear gets cut off by Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane.

630. Mother-in-law dropped by to visit.

631. My friend Emily, pregnant -- a BOY.

632. How Rosie waves bye to Daddy up on an elbow across the room if we forget to prop her up with us at the door.

633. How her daddy chooses to see the best in me.

634. Every day more content.

holy     experience

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Needle

"If you throw Rosie up in the air," Lucy tosses her arms, "Rosie will fly." She wrinkles her chin, "She will fly like an angel."

I nod. She flaps her arms, "Like this."

We sit puddled in afternoon light.

"I sometimes when I'm holding her," Jane says, "I whisper good things in her ear." We smile, blink eyes to each other.

"Me too."

Later it's Girls' Club and we sew on down by the fire.

My machine jumbles. I snap a needle clean off, my last one. "Uh-oh." I snip a snarl of white thread. "Jane, if you give me a needle, I'll pay you back."

We rip open a fresh green pack, slide it in place. "There. Thank-you."

She wheedles around my elbow, watches the needle jump to life. I slip my arm around her waist. The evening seamless, unrolls.

Jane pins her pattern. Lulie licks the polka-dot and terry scraps, pastes them together without pins. "Eww." She grins. We shrug. I trim more strings.

"I just have a good feeling inside because I shared my needle with you, Momma," Jane rests her head on my shoulder. "Daddy's right. You never regret being generous."

I cradle her in the crook of my neck, "Yup."

"I'm so happy I shared my needle with you."

"Me too."

The evening whirls past dinner and into bed.

"Help our whole family to praise God. Just make us praise you," Jack prays.

"And thank-you for Jack and Lucy." Jane says. "Help us to see all the blessings you've provided for us. Amen."



588. Jane leaned on my shoulder.

589. A needle to finish the last six inches of seam

590. Green moss poked up between dead flower stems.

591. Jane dressed up and off to a dance with Grandad.

592. Rose eating a whole half-a-sandwich.

593. A new sister-to-be, another ROSE.

594. A June wedding, my last brother turned husband.

595. Roast carrots, roast onions, roast potatoes, roast beef and cherry crisp. Farm food. The best company and just plain being spoiled.

596. A whole afternoon out with my momma. Coffee, a danish, conversation that trails on from bistro table to grocery isle.

597. A baby shower. Making bright shower gifts. Bibs, leg warmers, ribbons and tags.

598. Husband's hand on my shoulder, "How was your day?" and, "Tell me more." And how the day eases in soft on his broad back.

599. How I pray for strength, and the Lord gives patience; but somehow it turns into strength anyway.

600. Lucy's comment, "I get a day off from my patch. Now I get to be like Jane and Jack," but how she blinks serious when I tell her I'm proud of her patching everyday. Her stalwart, indomitable spirit.

601. How Jack eats peanut-butter-and-jelly crust first to save the soft middle for last.

602. Another boy-cousin birthday party.

603. Rosie almost crawling as she mops my floors with her belly.

604. Baby outfit, marine blue and lime green, stripes, ruffles, and buttons.

605. The soft howl of croup coughs that hasn't turned nasty.

606. The reminder: when you feel most annoyed with your child is when you should draw them the closest.

607. Actually doing it.

holy     experience

Sunday, February 6, 2011


"It took me a while to make it," she says, "because that fabric curls at the edges."

She fingers lime polka-dots and aqua stripes. She thrusts a rag-tag rectangle in my hand, edges meandered and tortile, "Here."

Red cherries on the back, "A bookmark, thanks." I say. "I really like it."

"It has an extra spot on the front." She points to a square of chartreuse. "This morning when you said you needed a bookmark for you Bible I thought, 'You're not gonna have to wait long for that.'" She grins.

I smooth it flat between my hands. "I like the colors you picked. You always know what I will like." I smile at her eyes. She blinks.

Side by side we snip and sew and the evening swoops in gentle. For moments we enter the other world where we tread as women, shoulder to shoulder.


568. A baby tooth, in a tiny glass jar.

569. Bookmark, lime dots, blue stripes, cherries red.

570. A gallery opening, my children begging, "Lift me up one more time, so I can see, Momma."

571. Jane's confession, "I don't like to go to the gallery openings to eat the food, I actually like to look at the art."

572. How Jane awards rumpled green ribbons from a St. Paddy's Day Fun Run to Jack and Lulie when they clean their room.

573. How Lulie tells me over and over that she made a BLUE friend at church.

574. Baby leg warmers from ladies' knee socks. Brown and blue and pink stripe.

575. How Rosie shakes her head, "Na-na-na," when I try and try to feed her green beans. And how she finally eats 'em, 14 bites.

576. How Jack bear-hug-balances Rose and blue blankie in the corner of the couch.

577. 9 velcro diapers converted to snaps.

578. Azure cashmere on the thrift store rack felted and re-invented with celery green snaps and ruffles.

579. Husband's deep voice and blue eyes when I whine, "At least I wasn't being as mean as I could have been," and he blinks all serious, "It shall be credited to your account," he says, and I bust into laughs instead of frowns.

580. More peach pie. Lentils soup with coconut milk and rosemary. Soft bread. Vegetables with bleu cheese. Family around the table. Craig, another birthday older. The children belting Happy Birthday and blowing his candles for him.

581. Watching my mother lead under great pressure.

582. Memorizing her.

583. More of the house swept into place.

584. How Jane gets up four times through the night to check the clock the night before Grandad takes her to breakfast.

585. How I snuggle a few extra moments each night with a different child, and how they keep track and count down the evenings to their long-tuck-in for bed.

586. Floss and clean teeth.

587. Each day a little stronger, little tougher, little less easily offended.

holy     experience

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


"Momma. Lulu made the microwave start buzzing." Jane plunks down the stairs. I stoke the fire. "I think she was trying to warm up her rice bag," Jane adds.

"Just open it 'til I get up there, ok?"

"Ok." She runs upstairs. Her feet thump on the wooden steps.

I pause to roll Rosie to her back, poke her ribs, swaddle her with a fresh orange diaper. I kiss her tummy. She laughs, waves Lincoln Logs at me. "Thank-you," I say. Jane trundles back downstairs, and we do the sign language for thank-you over and over. Rosie just waves, smiles.

We linger until lunch is late.

Rosie in one arm, blankie in the other, I head for her room. A short night's sleep and the stairs seem deep. I squish Rosie's cheek against mine. When I round the corner to nestle her in the almost too small cradle, I don't see it at first. Lulie.

There, squeezed like a snail in a shell, sound asleep, Lulie -- in the cradle. Suddenly, I remember: the microwave and the rice bag. Like Eve in the garden Lulie's hidden and covered herself -- with her blankie.

I switch my babies and scoop Lu and blankie up on my hip. "Honey, were you scared?"

She nods. I sway. "Were you hiding from me."

"Uh." She watches me out of the corner of her eye.

I hug her to me. "Honey, remember the truth will make me happy." I pause. "What happened?"

Tiny steps of truth, we unravel her fears.

"See," I say. "the truth makes me happy. Next time you should run and tell me. And don't you feel better too?"

She nods.

"The truth makes you happy TOO." We cuddle and sway and banish the power of secrets between us.