"Do you know what is my favorite part?" Lucy scritch-scratches colors on a sheet of paper. She peels the cerulean blue a bit more.
"What?" I say.
"The part that is burning that God made for the Devil," she says. Sprawled tummy-down on the rug, a shoebox of crayons sidled up next to her, Lu rubs blues and reds into the lumpy soft paper, a smudge of yellow, a swipe of orange.
"Hell?" I frown. Settled into the old black couch, Joe under an arm, feet propped on the coffee table, I watch Lucy.
"Yeah." She scruffs out more flaxen yellow, scarlet, tangerine. They warble and twist, a collision of hues. I wonder about her bad dreams, the scary people that say they will cut off her toes, the ones that chase her until she wakes up and comes to me in the middle of the night -- to pray.
"I hope Great-Grampa turns to Jesus before we all go dead," she blurts. "Because when we die, Jesus will check our hearts to see if we love God, and if we don't, we are on the Devil's team."
I watch her stroke more blue onto that paper. "Yep." I wonder if she's remembering how I had said Hell is made for the Devil and his angels.
She pauses, glances at me from the corner of her eye. "Can you not be loud for a minute?"
Lost in my thoughts, I draw Joe a little closer, gaze at Lu. She tucks her chin, squeezes shut her eyes. Seconds unroll.
"Ok. You can be loud now. I was praying for someone to turn to God." She smooths on more cerulean. "For Great-Grampa." She bobbles her head, raises her brows, "Maybe God is talking to Great-Grampa. Right. Now."
I nod, picture Grampa back in Montana, middle of the morning, that big library of a house.
The soft rustle of crayons on paper on carpet lulls with each stroke. Shush-shush. Lucy holds the crayon all wrong, brushes on more apricot and golden sand yellow. Shush-shush-shush. She cocks her head, chews her lip.
"Do you think I should cut out this part that is God and hug him?" She jab a corner of the paper.
Hug him. "Sure."
"Or the Bible?" she says and pokes another corner. She looks up, contemplates out the picture window, the miles of green, staccatos of orange zinnia, an old gray fence.
"You might hug the Bible," I say.
"Yeah." She nods, brushes her finger over the crayon wax. "Buh-Buh-Bible," she says and fiddles on more cerise.
Bible, God, Hell, it all weaves together. And so we talk theology and try to figure out how to hug God.
3586. "Is there anything else I can do to please you now that I cleared the table?" Jane rings in the new week.
3587. "When you're done do you want to study the grasshopper?" Jack asks at breakfast.
3588. "My next grasshopper I want to call Grass Gordon," Jack chatters. "They're real eaters. They're mostly eating all the time. Lucy, what's 1 + 2? I need you to know 'cause that's how many grasshoppers we have."
3589. "I just like to feed them and hold them and take care of them," he says.
3590. "I have slepten with one of the grasshoppers," he confesses. "I just put him under the covers. That's how much I like them."
3591. Craig takes an afternoon golfing with my dad.
3592. A grasshopper escapes in the house. "I was just trying to hold him," Lucy explains.
3593. "Mom, are you an optimist or a pessimist?" Jack asks.
3594. "Wobber, wobber, I see the wobber," Myra shouts at a cat in the garden,"by the 'matoes."
3595. Tuesday at Mom's. The weekly rhythm. Taco soup and cheddar cheese, prayer. A fermata. We miss the girls that can't come.
3596. "Mommy, wanna know what we do?" Lucy asks. "We tell the truth, that's what we do."
3597. Lucy watches me put on mascara, "What does that do? Make your eyes smell good?"
3598. "Ugh. Myra spilled my coffee," I grouse. "Well, that will take the pee smell out of the house," Jane consoles.
3599. We gather in prayer for a dear friend in unending pain, a medical mystery. Craig prays. The children watch and copy, make paper airplane notes, and carry in their hearts the image of their father on bended knee.
3600. We enjoy the treat of family pictures. Up in the woods amongst vintage furniture, antique trunks, couches, an old pick-up truck, quilts, glassy pond, love unfurls, the life of our party. Rose captures the love.
3601. We carpool on the mini-roadtrip to our photo shoot. Chit-chat, pizza, Pepsi, and every seat of the suburban filled.
3602. Buckets in hand we plod home from the plum orchard, laden.
3603. Dinner on the farm topped off with swatsbin pie all anise sweet.
3604. I practice more lessons on patience -- poorly. I compare notes with Mom. We zero in on the antidote: prayer. Pray for more patience. So simple. And since love is patient, it's really like praying for love.
3605. "Laugh," Myra commands. "Mom, laugh. Ha-ha-ha," she demonstrates, "Mom laugh. Watch me." Joe stops nursing to watch the spectacle.
3606. Craig's brother brings over fresh deer sausage to share with us.
3607. "Since my grasshopper wasn't even moving at nap time today, that probably means he was napping," Lucy fills me in. "My little child, my grasshopper child," she says.
3608. My little child. I pray to nourish my little children this week. And I pray to bless and serve my husband.