Monday, June 25, 2012


"Momma says we should give our first crops to other people, Lucy." Jack hitches the refrigerator door open. He reaches between a tub of yogurt and the pot of last night's stew to pluck up a tiny baggie of strawberries. "Now we can share it with Logan and Thad," he says. He unzips the little baggie and squeezes in two mostly ripe berries no bigger than thimbles.

Lulie nods, "Ok."

Jack squibbles the baggie shut and sets it on the yogurt tub. He whirls the fridge closed with one hand. "There," he says. "Come on, Lucy." He skitters out the back door like a tricycle on two wheels.

"Wait for me, Jack." She bobs out the back, a buoy on his heels.

The door clicks shut and I sigh. Joe again in the crook of my arm, me moored on the little black couch, I watch the children spin my words into worlds.


3246. Jane makes a friendship bracelet. "It doesn't really look very interesting," she comments, "but it is -- like knitting." She weaves an indigo string into place. "If there's enough string in here for two," she adds, "I want to make one for you, Momma."

3247. "Some people leave a lot of food on their plate," Lucy notices. I tell her they shouldn't, and she responds, "Yeah, else they'll maybe DIE."

3248. "Lucy, why are you taking so long washing your hands?" I holler to the bathroom. "I want to wash up around my armpit," she shouts back.

3249. We dry a load of jeans in the dryer, all the buttons and zippers rattle and jangle. "Is that one of Jane's tooths in the dryer?" she wants to know.

3250. "Why did you try making hotdogs?" she asks me later. "It's a lot how I wanted it," she adds, "and a little how I didn't."

3251. She tastes dinner and drawls, "It's ADORABLY too spicy."

3252. She loop 'round the kitchen, through the laundry, into the living room and calls, "I did my extra-cizing five-minutes-a-hour. Mommy, mommy, I did it nine-minutes-a-hour now."

3253. We take the kids to a wedding, the kind where the bride and groom embody pure joy, the kind where the bride and groom have waited and saved themselves for their day. Purity. All seven of us lined up in a pew, we let the children watch, see the real thing.

3254. We eat salmon-melts down on the farm.

3255. The kids practice shooting cans filled with water. They all miss the target except for Lucy, her eye patch still on.

3256. Trader Joe's mini peanut butter cups.

3257. White balsamic vinegar, cold pressed olive oil.

3258. Mom and I visit Rosie's new apartment and soak in all the artful touches.

3259. Hand-me-down shirts.

3260. Myra holds my hand during worship on Sunday and strokes my arm.

3261. The cousins mount their posse of bikes and weave in and out of neighborhood driveways. Cerissa and I visit and enjoy our friendship.

3262. Queso bbq burrito, mango salsa on top.

3263. Grilled carrots with cumin and coriander.

3264. Craig takes note on the kinds of questions I love to be asked and then asks me.

3265. The comfort of complete agreement on a few controversial topics.

3266. I remember again how to stand tall, square my shoulder, and take the day in stride.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


"Done. Done. Momma all done." Myra bellows from the bathroom.

I sigh. Anchored to the couch nursing Joe, I stroke his cheek.

"He is just sooo cute," Lulie croons over him, a rocking ship at elbow.

"Forgive me?" Myra blusters from the hallway. "Momma, forgive me? All. Done."

"Just wait, I'm nursing Joe. Just hold on." I sigh again, look at my watch. Little piglet is so hungry. Lucy waggles his arm. I pull him close.


"Ok." I sigh.

Lucy pulls her head out from under my elbow, slides off the couch, and turns her big eyes to me, "I know," she says, "I know how we could make the emergency go away," she tilts her head. "Everybody could just scream," she says. She blinks.

I laugh. I shake my head and laugh. "Oh, Lucy." She grins, plops on the ottoman at my feet. "Just a minute, Myra." I smile into Lucy's eyes, rock Joe in the crook of my arm, and hope Myra made it to the potty.

So we grab the loose ends and weave them into our morning. Another moment all newborn and wailing lands in our lap.


3221. Craig gives Lucy a sip of Sprite. "This pop is FUZZY," she says.

3222. I hear Jack come in the back door, two fresh eggs in hand. "Thank-you, Lord," he whispers.

3223. The kids and I peel hard-boiled eggs. We gather around the sink and clunk and peel, rinse and check for shell. I fry bacon. We visit over our day.

3224. We sit under the overhang of the house and watch a thunderstorm pass by.

3225. Algae green scarf with flopping fringe, blushing pink scarf, lilac shirt.

3226. I sing Jesus Loves Me to quiet Joe. I pat his back and sing it again and again all off key and perfect. Jack slips in beside me and sings along.

3227. Jane runs around town with Gramma then has a date down on the farm.

3228. She picks wildflowers up on Tekoa Mountain with Grampa.

3229. I trounce Craig in two games of Canasta before he skunks me in the third. We laugh and eat popcorn, drink coffee, run the afternoon long.

3230. We celebrate 12 years of marriage. We go to the Olive Garden for tradition's sake. When our server suggests the key is to marry the one you love, Craig responds, "Yeah, and love the one you marry."

3231. Lucy congratulates us on our "university".

3232. I get to shop for anniversary and Father's Day gifts with my mom. We talk and laugh and map out all things important. We compare notes. I ask for advice. And when we talk about trials she says the thing to remember is that they are worth it.

3233. Worth it. I remember writing this on a piece of terra cotta pot last summer right before we discovered we were pregnant with Joe. Worth it, yes, so worth it.

3234. I ask Jane to help Lucy wash her hair and find Lu decked out with goggles for the job.

3235. Lucy prays, "And Jesus, thank-you that God is never out of us. Amen."

3236. Two new button-down shirts for Craig and picture frames for family photos.

3237. Craig stakes fifty tomatoes by hand. The last few he shimmies up with rebar.

3238. The kids help me re-arrange our collection of striped rocks into stepping stones through the vegetable garden.

3239. I plan Father's Day surprises for Craig. I call my dad. Craig calls his. I reflect on the wide footprint of faith my dad has left in my life, indelible. I marvel at how I watch him still to see the rim of faith in the next seasons.

3240. I discipline myself to sleep more.

3241. I stop to enjoy this season where all things go slow.

3242. I watch for opportunities to tell the children that their contributions to our family are important and appreciated.

3243. We begin to teach the kids to obey each other. I'm surprised at how they become less demanding instead of more and how the olders swell with love and protection for the youngers.

3244. We pray for wisdom leading our children and find the Lord gives more love for each other and strength and courage to stay the course.

3245. Craig makes me laugh every day. It feels so good to laugh.

Monday, June 11, 2012


"Jack, go sit on my bed." My back to the computer, I look over at Jack.

"What Momma?" He blinks, meets my gaze from the corner of his eye. Eyebrows up, again he blinks.

"Go sit on my bed." I watch him out of the top of my eyes, wrinkle my forehead.

His neck stiff like a marionette he nods, "Ok."

I turn back to RedBox and un-pause a movie trailer. It rumbles on. Craig calls. I place a movie order for date night.

I put a white coffee cup in the dishwasher. In my mind's eye I see it again, Jack peeking around the corner.  I wipe a dried puddle of coffee off the counter, click the dishwasher shut. I walk to the bedroom and replay again how he looked at me out of the corner of his eyes.

"Jack," tears drip crooked streaks down his cheeks. I sit down next to him. "Jack, do you remember when you found out that a house can burn down?"

I hold my eyebrows up. He nods. "Yeah." Another tear darts down his cheek.

"And how terrible that felt, and you just wished you didn't know?" I watch blue veins in the iris of his eyes sharp and distinct, each eye a lake of tears. He nods again. "But Mommy and Daddy were able to handle it because it was a grown-up idea?"

"Yeah," he nods.

I wrinkle my forehead, "Do you know why I don't want you to watch those snippets on the computer?"


"Those snippets have grown-up ideas in them that will make you feel terrible like that."


"I want to protect you from ideas like that." I stare into his unblinking gaze. "Honey, I was checking to find a good movie for Mommy and Daddy to watch, and I don't know which ones will have grown-up ideas in them like that until I check."


"When you grow up you'll be able to handle grown-up ideas," I slide my arm around his shoulders. "But you know I still have to protect myself," I add, "from other ideas, bad ideas. And you will too." I squeeze him close. He snuffs, leans his head on me.

"One question," he blubbers, still wrangling a squall of emotion.

"What?" I strain to cipher his words.

"One question, how do you get those ideas out once they are in your head?" He rounds his eyes into perfect blue moons.

I tilt my head, lean close. "Well, the truth is," I say, "you can't. You just have to learn to live with them." We let that sit for a minute. "That's why we want to protect you," I say into those big moons of eyes. He blinks the last gully-washer of tears down his cheeks, then chatters on about silly string and how much paper money he has in his wallet.

The moment closes up into an invisible seam, another seed of knowledge sown inside.


3197. Jack announces, "I'm gonna start saving my money, Mom, for a really LONG time until I'm OLD like you."

3198. Craig's mom nurtures up an army of tomato plants for me. Craig helps me tuck fifty-three tomatoes into the fresh dirt.

3199. We talk politics and Jane prays, "Lord Jesus, please help them to know who to vote for. Please whisper who they should vote for in their ear."

3200. I sit with Jane while she paints a stained glass window. "I'm trying to make it look like I know what I'm doing, " she says, "but I don't."

3201. I tell her she's doing such a good job, and she looks up. "You have good ideas too," she says and snaps my arm.

3202. Craig makes egg-on-toast Saturday morning. I brew coffee. "Coffee is a masterpiece for you," he says.

3203. I serve a big scoop of garbanzos to each of the children at dinner. A strict warning of saying nothing bad about dinner, Lucy nods. "I'm pretending dat I like these," she says.

3204.  A perfect haircut from my friend Barbi.

3205. I cuddle Joe in Cerissa's kitchen while the cousin and cousins of cousins romp through the house and yard and Barbi does beauty parlor for my mom and Ceris too.

3206. Barbi, Linda and I babysit all 12 cousins so Cerissa can race to the ER.

3207. The ER visit turns out ok.

3208. Lucy goes on a date with Gramma. She tells tale after tale of all the fun.

3209. We ace two well-child-exams in flying colors.

3210. A summer shirt, green like new blades of grass.

3211. A trip downtown, coffee, cream cheese danish.

3212. All the years of weaving conversation with my mom and how we draw up the laces each week.

3213. A pony pack of love-lies-bleeding from the farm.

3214. Peanut butter cookies.

3215. Jack's new book, Uncle Wiggly's Airship.

3216. Jane hugs my mom then me and comments, "Momma, you're squishier than Grammie."

3217. "I listen to people talk," she says on our date, "then I grab ideas and hang onto them."

3218. Another gallery opening -- a colorist, the work in vibrant pastel -- all five kids enjoy the night, Craig and I too.

3219. I read a timely book on parenting and recall again the importance of obedience, how it is a platform for heart change. I ponder how to train our children's minds and lead their hearts.

3220. I thank the Lord again for placing us under Craig's authority and protection.

Monday, June 4, 2012


"Why do they do that?" Jane gestures to a headless mannequin donned in neon pink sports bra.

I look up from a rack of running clothes, spot the mannequin. "Oh, I know. I don't know why they do that," I say. We stare for a moment. I would never let her run around Old Navy in her unders. I frown. She furrows her brow.

"It's like they're saying, 'Here is someone who will show you their privates,'" she says. I blink. She shakes her head.

"I know," I stammer. "I hate that."

We look away from the plastic woman with no head and shop as if she weren't there. But in the back of my mind I wonder how we haven't seen this before.


3172. I confess to my mom that I stole Lorna Doone Shortbread cookies from the pantry in '87 and feel the freedom.

3173. Lucy watches me clap Joe's hands together. He smiles. "Usually when I make my baby clap," she says, "he makes a snarly face."

3174. Myra tells me her baby's name is Turkey.

3175. Jane makes a blankie for Jack to take to Gramma's house.

3176. Jack has a Gramma date down on the farm.

3177. While he is gone the girls mope around the house. "Momma," Jane says, "Jack makes everything fun. It's like having 10 people gone."

3178. We mourn the death of my mom's doggie, Punkin. "Wouldn't it be awesome if Jesus raised Punkin from the dead?" Jane asks. And the children keep praying that he will.

3179. Jane jumps from stone to stone in the garden. Her hair swings long around her shoulders.

3180. "How is God going to bring good out of this?" Jane asks about Punkin's death.

3181. I feel sad about Punkin and Craig tells me, "It's a good reminder. Every time one of us goes out that door it could be the last time you see them."

3182. Lucy tells me Jane is making swords downstairs. Jack tells me she's making crosses. "'Cause God is our weapon," he says, "In God we trust."

3183. Craig and his dad take Jane, Jack, and Lucy fishing. They come home with ten trout.

3184. Craig's Grammie turns 97.

3185. I get time to visit with my mom. We talk and listen and trace the silhouette of all things important. At the end she hugs me tight. "I've hugged you like that since you were a little girl," she says, and I feel it, all the years bunched up behind us.

3186. Trader Joe's corn salsa -- on practically everything.

3187. Dipping sauce -- plain yogurt, garlic, lime, and salt.

3188. Janie's observation, "One thing Momma -- whatever happens, God will take care of us," after she labors over a decision.

3189. Time playing with cousins -- hours riding bikes, eons of pretend fighting the bad guys, memories laid down in the slow passing of childhood.

3190. Cookie dough dip made with chickpeas and dates and dark chocolate chips.

3191. Hard boiled eggs with rice vinegar and salt and pepper.

3192. Cottage cheese.

3193. Craig lets me sleep in on Saturday and carves a hollow in the afternoon for me to nap. All the while he patiently encourages me, nourishes me with kindness and one late night conversation.

3194. We pack away all the winter clothes and get out the summer clothes. When the mountains of laundry clear away, we rearrange the living room and dining room. The house feels fresh.

3195. I watch Craig discipline the kids. Even when they get in trouble, they know he loves them. It's palpable and thick. Strength under control -- it turns their hearts.

3196. I learn a little more each day how to string the moments together. I do the important things -- pray everyday, meet the eyes of my children when I speak to them, kiss my husband when he gets home --  and let the rest rush by in a deluge around my ankles.