Monday, May 28, 2012


"I'm gonna make it happen," Janie looks up from her math, eyebrows arched, bike ride pending.

Across the table, I sweep a rag over honey dribbles. "Yeah?" I scoop a triangle of crust into my hand, pinch the last of sandwich crumbs into the rag.

She nods. "I'm the type of person," she says, "that doesn't just hope something happens. I make it happen."

I fold the rag in half, capture the last lunch debris. "Yep. That sounds like you." I tilt my head, catch her eye. She smiles. "Better get busy," I say and turn heel into the kitchen.

I shake the rag into the sink, spray it out, flop it over the faucet. Make it happen. Oh, that girl. I spray out the rag, flop it over the faucet. Eyebrows up and shoulders back, that Jane. I breathe a sigh of relief that I made her stay and finish.


3144. "You always feel better when you tell the truth," Jane tells Lucy.

3145. I ask Jack, "What's your plan big guy?" and he answers, "Just watching you."

3146. I'm emptying the dishwasher," Jack says, "to say thank-you for washing the dishes."

3147. Re-reading Drive by Daniel Pink.

3148. Jane's salutation as I head out for a run, "You're doing awesome, Mom."

3149. Lucy explains, "I can tell my friends about Jesus by I LOVE JESUS. Dat how you tell people about Jesus -- you LOVE him.

3150. We finish planting the new vegetable garden, and I see Craig's handprints down the rows where it said, "Firm soil lightly," on the back of the package.

3151. Smoked pork shoulder.

3152. Trader Joe's Everyday Spice.

3153. A birthday party for Dad and Peter and the concentric rings of encouragement.

3154. A whole cd of professional pics of baby Joe.

3155. Jack thinking more on babies, "The new baby started out about as small as a germ."

3156. We follow the Exergy Bike Tour over the internet with the kids.

3157. I comment that Craig is always doing things to bless our family and Jane responds, "Maybe what I should do is take the money out of my wallet and go and put it on a pile of Daddy's change."

3158. I mention the cucumbers are getting wind-whipped, and Craig and Jack cover them with buckets, a brick on top of each to stay put.

3159. A cream cheese Danish and coffee with cream.

3160. Jane taps my elbow, "Mom, you know Myra is laying by the baby 'protecting' him?" She makes quotes in the air with her fingers.

3161. A morning with Rachelle and the twins.

3162. Pistachio bread.

3163. "It's a nut called a statue," Lucy explains.

3164. "When you get a lot of food in you it makes your feet grow too," she adds.

3165. A sweater, aloe green, shirt, cobalt blue.

3166. I thank Jane for serving our family so much and she replies, "Oh, it doesn't seem like that much to me. I could do way more." And she does.

3167. A graduation party for a dear friend who survived two brain tumors. Every one of us leaves more loved and filled up than when we came.

3168. Lucy's says it was adorably bad that we were late for church when she means it was horribly bad.

3169. The book of Romans and the repetition of reading it over and over -- soaking it up.

3170. Craig's patience endurance in doing good.

3171. Learning to lead with strength and humility, a rock our children can rest on.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


"We've got a lot of dishes." I balance a stack of white soup bowls, spoons protruding. I wobble them into the sink around mugs and silverware.

"Why? Why have we got a lot of dishes?" Jack retrieves another bowl from the table, slides around my elbow, sets it down. "Why, Mom?"

"'Cause we do," I say. I blast split pea soup off the bowls one at a time, little boy a pendulum around my elbow.

"Why?" He sloshes two green glasses next to the bowl. Between a staccato of whys, I slide each bowl into dishwasher. "Why, Mom?"

"Because the Lord has blessed us," I say, "with a lot of children."

He pauses, butter dish in hand. "Yeah," he says, "and 'cause you and Daddy laid together in that special way quite a bit."

"Yep," I chuckle. He thumps another plastic cup onto the counter and skips out to gather the last of the silverware. So around dinner dishes, we frame in another important idea in the world.


3123. I set the timer for 5 minutes then let the children run WILD through the house. They jump off the hearth and ottomans, the kitchen bench. When I ask Jack how he liked it all he can do is HUG me.

3124. Craig points out the veins in his hand and Lucy chuckles, "Oh. Brains."

3125. Myra runs through the house with a sticky note stuck in her hair.

3126. Lucy gets Pop Rocks for her birthday and keeps calling them Pop Drops.

3127. Jack and Lucy help each other with their Spanish.

3128. I make the economy version of split pea soup, and Jack exclaims, "That smells TOO GOOD, Momma. YOU are a good cook."

3129. Jane's assessment, "I seem to get stung every year. I get stung more than anyone. I don't know, maybe it's because I'm not very aware."

3130. Jack confesses to turning the heat up to 83 degrees Fahrenheit.

3131. He tries to enlighten Myra, "Myra, what are farts?"

3132. Lucy examines the baby's ears, "Why do you think the baby has clean ears? Mine are dirty."

3133. She trots in from out back, "Mom, can I have a wet wipe to make sure all the poop is off my feet?"

3134. Then she watches Jack and Jane get paid for their jobs. "Sometimes I don't bring my wallet," she says, "because I don't have any money. One time I tried to make some paper money with white paper."

3135. Joe SMILES on purpose at me when I clap his hands together.

3136. Our friends invite us to see their newborn horse, not even a day old. Lucy and Myra enthusiastically pet their chihuahua/daschund and exclaim, "I petted a baby horse!"

3137. We have planting day at our house and get the first third of the vegetable garden planted.

3138. A dear neighbor gives us a bag of shoes for Myra.

3139. All the neighborhood kids ride bikes, make figure eights through the driveways, while the grown-ups talk and laugh and night falls.

3140. Uncle Dan helps Jack learn to ride his bike with no training wheels.

3141. Homemade chocolate sauce made with browned butter.

3142. More sleep at night.

3143. Less impatience all day.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Like That

"And I found out she does homeschool," Jane chirps. I gather laundry from the bedrooms. I kick a pair of footie jammies and the remains of Sunday's clothes over the hardwoods out into the living room. Jane gathers socks and unders that trail behind.

"Oh, that's nice," I say.  She plops on the leather ottoman pushed to the side for our laundry arena.

"She was being nice," Janie adds, "even to this kid that was being a PILL as if she loved him the same as she loved everyone else." I pause. She nudges another sock into the pile of whites. "I wanna be more like that," she says.

Like that. I'm surprised she can notice.

And so we divide the laundry into lumbering barges and set sail for the washer each load threaded to the next with conversation.


3093. How I go to comfort Myra in the middle of the night and she traces my earring with her finger.

3094. How she pats my shoulder when Joe cries, "Up there, up there," she says.

3095. Lucy's announcement, "Did you know I have a hard time going to sleep without sucking my thumb?"

3096. Jane's observation, "Sometimes people that treat other people wrongly have been treated wrongly themselves."

3097. And how Auntie Rosie calls and Jane says, "Can we ask Auntie Rosie to dinner? Auntie Rosie is just such a pleasure to be around."

3098. How we clean out some of my old books from my parents house and Lucy prays, "Jesus, thank-you that Grammie gave us about a hundred books. And I don't think she has even read any of them."

3099. How Myra has a near success pooping in the toilet and Craig fields the ensuing clean-up.

3100. Barbecued burgers, bleu cheese and barbecue sauce, classic Lays, slaw and cream puffs -- mmmmMMm.

3101. The annual Mother-Daughter-Tea in Craig's home town -- generation after generation gathered around banquet tables in the old country church.

3102. How my sister-in-law's sister happens to be in town because of a death in their family and comes too.

3103. Myra snuggled asleep in my arms while the guest speakers talk.

3104. Lemon pie with a layer of whip cream.

3105. Learning to know what I think before I speak and when say it.

3106. Lucy's birthday party and how the night rolls out one conversation seamed to the next and how my dad and Craig's dad carry on about fishing and golf and have Great-Grammie laughing and laughing.

3107. Notes and gifts given with love.

3108. Fresh bark in the perennial beds.

3109. Raspberry starts from down on the farm.

3110. Learning again that with our children, compliance is not the same as devotion and how to make each work for the other.

3111. Lucy's prayer, "And Jesus, thank-you Emma told on me when I tried to get Myra to nurse on me."

3112. Jane's observation, "That guy looked really old so he probably doesn't have very good eyes so it's good we didn't honk at him," as we pass a slow driver.

3113. How when I burp Joe on my shoulder he turns his face to my cheek.

3114. How I confess I've wrongly accused Lucy of loosing Jack's flip-flop and Lucy grins. "Eventually I may be right," she says.

3115. How Myra mimes the whole story when Craig tells me Myra and Lucy collapsed the lounge chair out back.

3116. Lawn chairs with cushions.

3117. Teal bathroom rugs.

3118. Craig's confidence when I crumble under pressure, "I'd rather be around you when you're mad then anyone else when they're happy." And how I keep replaying that when everyone needs everything all at once.

3119. Learning again that sometimes just making a decision is more important than picking the perfect thing.

3120. How the staff at our favorite Mexican restaurant bought us dinner for Mother's Day.

3121. How Joe whinnies like a horse when I pick him up.

3122. Gathering up the reigns of each day and praying the Lord teaches me to steer.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


"How are you gonna handle it when you don't FEEL like doing your job?" I ask.

"I'm gonna do it as if I love it," Jane says, "because I'm gonna love getting money." She, hops on one foot, all gangly legs and knobby knees. Suited up in running shorts and bare feet she take a lap around the living room rug. "I hope I get it. I hope I get it. I hope I get it," she chants.

"The times I don't want to do the job I'm just gonna do it," Jack pipes up.

A paying job. We told them that most of the jobs around here are not paying jobs, that the'd have to interview for the paying jobs to see who would get them. And if you default on your job, job and paycheck go to someone else. So here we are, the big competition, our first paying job: washing diapers.

"I'm looking at you," Jane points to Jack, "thinking, I love you, but I hope I get the job. And you're looking at me and thinking, I love you, but I hope I get the job."

"Yeah," Jack shrugs, "well, and we could help each other buy stuff."

"Hey Momma," Jane sits on the arm of the couch, "let me tell you what I want to do." She tilts her head, curls a wild shawl around her. "I want to use the money to go on dates with you and Daddy."

"And we could get DONUTS," Jack adds. "Mommy, with my money I want to go on dates with you."

And so from my executive seat on the living room couch, I nurse baby Joe and interview for staff positions. It's a wonderful job.


3071. Roasted carrots, mandrin oranges, avocados and cilantro -- the perfect salad.

3072. Jane's observation that a friend of ours is learning to lead AND to follow. "That's what makes a good person," she says.

3073. How in the middle of everyone talking at once she turns to me, "Momma, I'm just trying to make them feel heard."

3074. How she confesses, "Everyone always hopes Daddy's giving out stuff 'cause he's just an old softie. At least that's what Momma says."

3075. Her summation, "Momma has eyes in the back of her head and can see through walls. Logan says his mom can see through walls 'cause if he ever does anything naughty she always KNOWS."

3076. Jack making conversation, "Do you like being the queen of this castle, Mom?"

3077. Lucy making conversation, "Momma, I know what you should do. Brush your teeth at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they will be as white as snow."

3078. How she blinks at my feet and wonders, "When will I get big feet like you?"

3079. And her hope, "Maybe when I'm four I can shoot a rifle and a pistol."

3079. How I take Jack on a date and he comments, "They are playing weird music in this store."

3080. Egg salad on toast, corn salsa on top.

3081. Chocolate ganache cut in tiny pieces to last for several nights.

3082. Chocolate chips, chocolate covered raisins.

3083. How when we don't take the kids shopping for Myra's birthday presents they wrap up some of their own stuff for her.

3084. Myra TWO.

3085. A birthday party, family gathered and how we're teaching our children that family loves them most, more than friends, more than anyone.

3086. Cooking my first ham.

3087. Gifts given with love.

3088. Caesar salad.

3089. Cheesecake with strawberries.

3090. A perfectly clean house, as refreshing as a long, long sigh. And the husband who did it all for me.

3091. How when he carries me like that I can picture how Jesus carries me all the time.

3092. Being carried all the time.