"Jane come here, I caught a grasshopper," Jack bellows down the lane.
Jane, feet jammed into Lucy's black flip-flops, toes curled over the front, heel off the back, breaks into a run.
"It sounds like popcorn when it hops," he whoops and holds an old cookie bucket above his head. "It sounds like popcorn!"
Jane lopes up to the clear pail. Puffing for breath, she leans her face down, peers around an old cookie label. Eye to eye with the hopper, "Wow."
"I might draw it when I get home." he says.
We nod, trot home.
Mighty, he names the grasshopper Mighty and gives him a fresh handful of grass every morning. The little pail migrates from table to coffee table, kitchen counter, bedroom dresser.
"Mom, I think grasshoppers have only one big jumping leg," he announces as I nestle onto the old black couch and gather Joe up to nurse.
"Here, let me see." I hold the old cookie bucket above my head. Huh, Mighty's only got one back leg.
"Mom, wanna hold my grasshopper?" he blusters. "It's actually kind of fun having a grasshopper." He plops a rust-red footstool next to the couch. Elbows on his knees, he raises his eyebrows, "Mighty was the only name I really wanted." He nods, tilts his head.
"Is he mighty?" I say.
"Yeah, like I am mighty." He flexes his arms for me, then taps the lid. "I made three little breathing holes for him. I just used a pencil." He holds the bucket up to his face. "He's actually kind of fun to hold," he offers again.
I smile. Craig ambles into the living room. "What do you have to say for yourself?" he jaunts.
"Are you talking about Mighty?" Jack twists sideways on the stool. "Looks like Mighty's eating. I'll set him down." Little boy settles Mighty on a stack of books atop the coffee table, "He can still eat when I'm holding him," Jack adds, "but," he shrugs and pops up off the stool, bends down face to face with Mighty. "He's trying to climb the wall. He usually gets up a little way and then he falls."
We furrow our brows and watch little Mighty.
Nod and shrug, shrug and nod, Jack fills the night with commentary. Mostly I gaze at his blue eyes. Matter-of-fact and blinking in time with each detail, I watch him memorize the little hopper.
Memory. We memorize what we love.
3552. Jane helps me make lunch. "I hear them out there," she nods to Jack, Lu, and Myra out on the back lawn, "and I think, 'Oh, no, now what mischief are they into?'"
3553. Lucy canters inside. "Wanna know what that SHOT noise out there was?" she says and holds up a ziploc bag. "I popped this bag."
3554. My cousin comes to dinner. We make egg salad sandwiches together, sip coffee, and visit the night away in long strings of conversation. Craig and I tell her our love story and sigh at how it's still so good.
3555. Lucy scuffs out to wave at Craig, grass fragments already snarled in her pigtails.
3556. Salad and prayer and the hot afternoon sun, we linger around Mom's kitchen table.
3557. Dear friends and I wade another few chapters deeper in Revelation. We marvel at how it ripples all through the rest of the Bible.
3558. We forget Myra's blankie at Dad and Mom's. When we drive back, Dad fires it through the open window like a rocket. The children chortle.
3559. Myra squishes my face between her hands, kisses the top of my nose. "Mom, I love you hair," she says.
3560. Myra peels an orange herself and carries it dripping out to wave at Craig.
3561. Jack rambles around the house, his giraffe pillow-pet on a leash at his side.
3562. "Jesus, thank-you Daddy funny. Amen," Myra prays.
3563. I stir flour into bread. "Did you put the EAST in," Jack asks.
3564. We take an afternoon walk, "Stop, stop," Myra insists. "My bawtum stuck." She tries to explain and rearranges her unders.
3565. Egg salad, cucumber salad, green leaf cranberry salad, basil tomatoes, and little smokies, Dad and Mom join us for dinner.
3566. Jane props a baby doll in her lap while she eats breakfast.
3567. She writes a paragraph on how she loves her toy pony so much that the pony seems REAL.
3568. Burgers, brownies, tag, hide-n-seek, and miles of conversation, friends come for dinner.
3569. "Guess who is my favorite," Lucy says as we clean up lunch. "Jesus?" I say. "God," she answers, "'Cause he made Jesus alive again, so I think he is the strongest."
3570. Jane finishes her schoolwork before the whole day has wasted away. "I finally realized: there's no way around it," she says, "you have to do your schoolwork. Playing hooky doesn't really work."
3571. We take a trip to the county fair with dear friends, a whole troop of kids between us. We land home the middle of the afternoon and nap. Oh bliss.
3572. We read more Tales of the Kingdom. I try to explain how Jesus gives us each different gifts, special things we are good at. "I know what mine is," Janie says, "READING." I explain that Jesus's gifts are much bigger and sweeter even than reading and at the same time marvel at what a gift it is to be so rich in reading.
3573. Mom and I pray for revival in this land starting the only place revivals can start: our own hearts.
3574. Craig and the kids pick two buckets of yellow plums on the farm.
3575. We harvest sweet corn and carrots from the garden.
3576. I start Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.
3577. An answer to prayer: I find an earring I lost pressed into the rug by my bed.
3578. Craig's mom sends home a hand knitted blue blanket for Joey.
3579. A fresh pack of moleskin journals, black this time.
3580. Myra keeps calling Jack's grasshopper, Froggy.
3581. I hear a quote by C. Missler. "The secret to a happy life is to learn to delight in duty... Work is a form of prayer."
3582. Lucy lingers in the kitchen as I spread peanut butter for sandwiches. "You're nice," she blurts.
3583. She runs her fingers over my shoulders as she skips in from outside.
3584. I force myself to slow down and look into the eyes of each of our children, memorize that infinitesimal pause before they speak.
3585. I remember again how much I enjoy them. We dillydally and lallygag, saunter and dawdle, let gladness grow up between us. Mighty. We memorize it.