Sunday, October 28, 2012


"There was someone at the pool," Lucy says, "who was wearing a swimsuit that wasn't very private." She sidles up under my elbow. I pull my eyes from the computer and see her nod in time with the words. She tilts her head.

There at my elbow, warm hands, she strokes my arm. "That's because no one taught them to be private," I say, "and cover up their special places." Her eyes round plums, she blinks at me, stares. She mimics the flat line of my eyebrows.

"Probably it won't be as special for when they get married," she concludes and watches the arc of my eyebrows to see if she's right. A small exchange, the landscape of the face communicating all.

"Yep." We blink our eyes in agreement. "That's true."

So simple.

We map the world according to what is special.


3727. We endure the pukin' flu. Miraculously only three of seven get it.

3728. "My tummy actually hurts a little too," Lucy warns, "but not that much," she adds and pulls through strong and healthy.

3729. "Ahhh, no," Myra trots into the kitchen, "Daddy don't want coffee. I'll have it though."

3730. "I have been wearing my jammies all day," Jack observes. "How'd it feel?" I ask. "WARM."

3731. "So what do you want to be when you grow up?" I smile to Myra. "Fine." she says.

3732. "Jude's FUNNY," she narrates about her cousin, "and KIND."

3733. "Do REAL monkeys open their own bananas?" Lucy wants to know.

3734. A seminar, a crusade, an old fashioned revival, my Mom returns safe and fresh from a tiny village in the countryside of Kenya.

3735. I marvel at the tsunami of encouragement and friendship I found missing while she was gone.

3736. Lucy speculates that if you do bad things and are really, REALLY sorry and you are a JEW, Jesus will let you into heaven. I tell her that's not true. "But if you are a Jew and you love Jesus, He will," she says. "Then you are messianic." Thanks Chuck Missler.

3737. My dad compliments my outfit so I wear it two days in a row.

3738. Friday night, I dislodge my temporary crown, our dentist out of town. Over the phone, he tells me how to cement it back.

3739. Sister-in-law invites the kids and me over for Sunday pizza while Craig works.

3740. I knit another 20 rounds on my hexagonal blanket.

3741. October Baby.

3742. Coffee ice cream in little glass bowls scooped full.

3743. Another week, five children, a wonderful husband, and a Savior to hold me.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


"Why do you think the people in line were calling each other names?" Jane queries, knitting sprawled on her lap in the backseat.

I shift the car to park. The night cold and moist, we hesitate for a moment. "I don't know. I didn't really notice," I say. "What were they calling each other?"

"Well," she see-saws, "things like fatty and, and -- um, like I-don't-like-you." She gropes for an approximation.

I glance at the house, porch light incandescent, the evening sky obsidian. "Some people think that's ok," I pause. The words lop out like a pile of logs. "I think it's disrespectful to God," I add, "'cause He made us."

"Oh." We let this set for examination. She knits to the end of the row. I make a note in my journal.

And then, as if on cue, she winds scarf and yarn down into a ball, spears it with the knitting needles. I tug a bag from the passenger seat, socks and leggings a lump at the bottom. We trundle into the oatmeal and cinnamon breath of home, a little more knowledge added to the collection.


3709. "There's a little thing in Pastor Will's class that when you put money in, it makes it go up into Africa," Lucy tells me.

3710. "Everything in the Bible is REAL," she says.

3711. "It's hard to break colored pencils," she confesses later, "but I can break crayons."

3712. My mother sends updates from Kenya each day. I am humbled, down-on-my-knees awestruck by the power and love of Jesus to save. Thousands come to the Crusade. More than a thousand turn to Jesus.

3713. A sister-in-law joins me for laundry and coffee. We look over her beautiful photos and share art and life.

3714. A new friend comes for granola and tea. I am blessed by the sweetness of her love for the Bible, the reverence, the joy.

3715. My dad parses out what he's learning while Mom's away in Kenya and shares it with me.

3716. I worry all week over a doctor appointment that goes well.

3717. I dread visiting the dentist to have a crown re-done. Suddenly it's over, and I'm grateful for the good care.

3718. Jack scrambles to clear his breakfast dishes when I mention it need to be done.

3719. "Boogers, boogers," Myra croons at my elbow, "I like boogers."

3720. We attend a birthday party of where friends feel like family.

3721. Craig's mom drops by to say hi.

3722. My dad calls for tips on pie making.

3723. Jane and I take a date. I try to be more fun.

3724. We enjoy Sunday lunch with new friends.

3725. "So you think that this trouble would all go away if I just tried to be more fun?" I clatter down the stairs and poke my head around the corner. Craig nods. I grin. Ok.

3726. Another week skitters to motion, and I get to start by being more fun.

***We just received word that the youngest son of a dear friend in Kenya has died of Malaria. Please join us in prayer for them.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


"Want me to wash TWO carrots," Jack lopes into the kitchen, "in case you want one on our date?" Smudgy fingers, he holds up two tail ends of carrots, soil smirched on knees and elbows, smutched across his forehead. Carrot harvest.


He scrubs the little nubs with an old vegetable brush. He swipes them dry, holds them up. "Look, it looks like a cross." He palms them, shoves the orange jewels down to the bottom of his pocket. Then we leave, and the pocket swallows his whole hand while he digs them out.

"Here ya, go Mom." He rubs a piece of lint off the tangerine root.

I crunch the coral sugar root, candy down my throat. "Mmm. I can't believe how good these are. Thanks, Jack."

We sail off. "What I did," he says, "is I sneaked some coupons for ice cream in my wallet in case we might want some."

I smile. We gaze out our respective windows, me the windshield, he the backseat window. "Oh. Thanks." Matter-of-fact, we let he moment unroll as if these things didn't need a lot of fuss.

"Mommy, how much are the drinks at Starbucks?"

"A lot." I prop my arms over the steering wheel, marvel at the quiet between each sentence, at the simple cadence of conversation.

"How much?" I can feel the arch of his eyebrows behind me.

"Some of them four dollars," I say.

"Oh," he nods, "I've got seven dollars. And forty cents. And a couple of pennies."

We let that rest as if the matter were settled. Seven dollars. Forty cents. A couple of pennies. Enough.

And so it is, the boy heart rises to be like his father and provide.


3672. "Lets have a drawing contest and see who can draw the best bee's nest," Jack tolls.

3673. "You peed in them? Again? Your pants? Go. get. them. I want to see the pee." I frown and watch Myra trot down the hall. "When you say that," Jane shakes her head, "what scares me is that she runs to her room, not the washer."

3674. "Mom, I need to show you something in here that I think is poopy," Lucy calls from the bedroom.

3675. "I like Joe's toes," Myra says and squeezes a baby toe.

3676. "How 'bout every Saturday is Organization Day," Jane offers.

3677. Myra wipes her face with the kitchen rag. "Ma," she says, "I'm, getting the boogers out a my eye."

3678. We eat heirloom tomato salad, fresh mozzarella, and blackberry pie at Mom's. We sip coffee and pray for her trip to Kenya, the crusade, the people.

3679. Almond chocolate bark.

3680. Our children learn the first question you ask when you meet a new kid: Is you mom home so my mom can meet her?

3681. We continue to study Revelation: the title deed of the earth, the scroll, the Lamb as He had been slain, Ruth, Boaz, the kinsman redeemer. "This is sort of weird," Janie says, "how it all fits together piece to piece to piece."

3682. "I don't really like clothes," Lucy confesses. "I just like going naked."

3683. Jane interrupts homework. "Mommy, would you turn Pandora on 'cause Jack's singing is -- annoying. Unfortunately his singing is not as good as the people on Pandora."

3684. "I got faster at math," she says. "Yesterday I could only do one of these problems in one breath. Now I can do one and a half."

3685. "This one's my dagger," Myra says and stabs the air with a teal blue 19 gauge knitting needle.

3686. "Joey kind a poops like animals," Jack nods, "'cause he poops wherever he is." He pokes Joe's baby belly. "But when he's older he won't."

3687. "Our family does not want crumbs on the floor," I punctuate with a frown. Lucy widens her eyes. "But the Devil does?" she says. "My clean up my mess," Myra adds.

3688. A neighbor brings over hand-me-down shoes for Myra.

3689. Pizza pie, a rainbow of salads, peach pie, laughter to make your cheeks ache.

3690. Finally, we completely organize all the kids' drawers. "Thank-you that we have enough clothes that we could even make a mess," Jane prays. "I know that in some countries that would not be possible."

3691. The kids reflect on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. "I think you shouldn't dress up like a boy," Jane says. "You shouldn't fight if you don't know what end of a sword you are using," Lucy adds. "I think you shouldn't steal stuff unless you ask," Jack says.

3692. "I was gonna sword fight with knotting needles with Jack," Jane confesses, "and thought, I probably should be working."

3693. We have our Thursday Writer's Workshop. "The word combination that you want to be a sentence isn't a sentence because it doesn't have a verb," Jane says.

3694. We circle up for the vice-presidential debate.

3695. "I understood very little," Jane comments on the debate, "but I could tell just by the way he was talking, he is very confident."

3696. "Mom, "Lucy croons, "can I pick Joe up into my arms and hold him up and when I feel like I'm gonna drop him, put him back on the ground?"

3697. "I love you bigger than the sky," I tell Myra. "I love you bigger than a mouse," she replies, "really big one mouse."

3698. Jack explains the fall of man, "Like this is half of the lie: Your eyes will be opened and you will be like God. Your eyes will be opened but not like God."

3699. "You already spilled two times" I tell Myra. "One, two. Two times." Her face lights up, "Hold my horses, mom?"

3700. Lucy slaps our hefty dinner table. "If everybody helped," she says, "we probably could tip this table over."

3701. "Hey Jack," I overhear in the kitchen, "can you help me with the milk? Thanks. That was a test. You got an A+ on it."

3702. Burgers and Canasta with Pete and Rosie.

3703. "Hey Momma, wanna get up? I made you eggs," Jane greets me this morning.

3704. "Sorry. Forgive me pinch you?" Myra says to Lucy.

3705. I finish grades for progress reports.

3706. My mother safely lands in Nairobi, Kenya with the Spring of Hope team. Now en route to Adiedo, I pray of the coming seminar and crusade.

3707. I reflect on God's provision through my husband and swell with gratitude for his hard work.

3708. I ruminate on the obvious: There is enough time in each day for the things Jesus wants me to do. I just have to determine what those are.

Monday, October 8, 2012


"Do you think there is a spoon inside of you that stirs everything you eat?" Lucy asks. Tall in the booster seat, her wide-set eyes blink-blink in the rearview mirror.

"No, I think your stomach just sort of squishes it all together." I press on the break. We ease like a sigh up to the corner. I squint into the sun, the heavy air orange with dust particulate. I swing wide; we zip off.

"I want to marry someone from Africa," she announces. She stares out the passenger window. Her eyes follow oncoming traffic, a blue four-door, a yellow jeep, another white suburban.

"Why is that?"

""Cause, I know they are not in our family." We pass under a grid of power lines, enormous gray turrets laced together over wheat fields now stubble. "And maybe one of them is named Craig. And maybe I will change my name to Bethany. And then there will be two Craig and Bethanys." She nods her head, wrinkles her chin and forehead in tandem. "Yeah."

I watch her mimic the grown-up tilt of her head. "You're sweet, Lucy."

The wheat fields pendulate by, snarled yellow, radiant brown, more golden stubble, then blooming soil.

"Why does it look like we are lost?" she chirps. "I better eat a piece of chocolate. I don't think I can finish all this chocolate."

She chatters. We glide along. Broad strokes of turns swoop like wings. Silence idles and purrs.

"Do you think there is little bones in your lips?" she says.

"No. Do you?"

"Yeah," she nods, does that dip of chin, "'cause God put bones all over our body." Blink-blink, those wide-set eyes.

Open fields wind into the trellis grid of shops and stores, street lights, a symphony of traffic. I clatter over a curb and park mostly straight.

"Come on." I lug her door open, the wind a gambol across our faces, tendrils of hair blown every direction at once.

"I know how to make a baby," she blurts while I unbuckle her seatbelt. "You have to take a little of the mommy and a little of the daddy." She slides onto the footboard, hops down. "So if the daddy is dead, you can't have another baby."

"Here, let's hold hands." And then we skip, hand in hand, tra-la-la, the snap of the wind rosy on our cheeks: to the baby store.

I unwrap each baby. She vacillates dollies from hand to hand, pats their back sides, squeezes their heads, flops them over her shoulder.

"Ooo, this one is really cute. I like this one."

I reassemble the packaging. We pay for baby, climb in the car.

"Do you think her name should be Violet?" her voice soft like a kiss. "How 'bout we call her Lu, little baby Lu." As we trace the roads home, I memorize the soft unfolding of her voice. "It's Lu Anna. And her very last name is Little Baby."

Lu Anna Little Baby. Silence settles, a down comforter of a hush tucked up under our chins.

She buckles her baby into Joey's carseat, and we rest, love tucked up under our chins.


3637. Rosie blogs about our photo shoot.

3638. Furnace fixed.

3639. Chimney swept.

3640.We continue reading Corrie ten Boom and stumble across: How should a Christian act when evil was in power? "Just keep persevering," Jane says. "If I die, I die. And if I don't die, I don't die," Jack says. "That's so true," Janie adds, "the only safe place is to be where God wants you."

3641. "The people who built the tower of Babel," Janie says, "were trying to say: I'm gonna disobey You and still get to live with You."

3642. "The Tower of Bable was probably a ziggurat," I tell her. "A cigarette?" she says.

3643. "Do they milk horses?" Jack wants to know. "Have you ever sawn a horse with horns?"

3644. "What's your baby's name?" I ask Myra. "Myra's Baby," she says.

3645. "Mommy, I smack a spider," she says, fly swatter sidled up to her cheek.

3646. "I wish I could smell this verse and taste it," Jane says. "That would mean that I could memorize it faster."

3647. "What is that?" Jack comments on my chicken dinner. "What it is," Jane says, "is something from the hands of Mommy that is really good."

3648. "God is REAL in our dreams," Lucy tells me. "One person is always REAL, and it is God."

3649. "You gotta love people even if you don't like them," she adds.

3650. We read the story of Jonah and the children add commentary: God never gives up. He can do anything. He's stronger than anything. He loves all people.

3651. We ask what they noticed about Jonah: He disobeys. He wants to do things that are easy.

3652. "I want to be a mom like you," Lu says.

3653. I ask Lu about her bad dreams and how she hasn't come and got me in the middle of the night for a while. "Yeah," she says, "'cause I know that God loves us. And I know he is taking care of us."

3654. "I found a little green thing that I think is a worm egg," Jack says. "And I put it in a bucket and put worms in it so that if it pops out they can nurse it."

3655. "I don't know that they nurse when they pop out of the egg," Jane questions, "but maybe."

3656. Myra bounds up and kisses my leg.

3657. Jane explains her journal. "Jesus cares about the churches. I didn't know that. I thought he was just like, huh. But He's like you're doing a good job. Try to do better."

3658. The kids unroll pillows and blankets, snacks and puzzles to watch the presidential debate. Myra climbs on my lap to kiss Joey.

3659. I ask Myra her baby's name again. "Mine," she says.

3660. Lucy falls off the step stool. Jack rushes over to hug her.

3661. I check on Joe and find baby Lu propped on his belly.

3662. "I hope God lets Great-Grammie stay alive until she's one-thousand," Lucy says.

3663. "Mommy, I like your mouf," Myra says. "I like your cheeks. I like this one cheek." She traces my face when I tuck her in.

3664. Groceries. Trader Joes, Costco, even little extras like coconut oil, fancy cheese and dark chocolate.

3665. Another gallery opening. I show the kids how great paintings will move your eye over the whole canvas through the use of color, shape, and pattern. They laugh and point out the path.

3666. Craig saves the day as Myra *almost* makes it to the galley bathroom in time. A dear friend tells me her replacement outfit is adorable.

3667. I stop to consider: in one week my momma will be in Kenya. I feel the weight of this.

3668. We trounce to the farm with cousins and siblings. Bbq burgers, homemade buns, cranberry salad, potstickers, garden bounty, family encircles the farm table. The laughter sounds like a bubbling brook.

3669. The children fold up all their clothes and trade in for winter duds.

3670. A quote from T. Keller, "True joy is not found by controlling your environment but by controlling your allegiances."

3671. And A.W. Tozer, "The only thing you need to be ashamed of is sin."