"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."