Monday, December 27, 2010

The Wood Between the Worlds....

In the The Magician's Nephew, the opening book of C.S. Lewis' Narnia series, there is quite a bit of world hopping.

Digory and Polly put on their magic rings and have grand adventures in other worlds.

The place they must go to access these worlds is called "the wood between the worlds." It is a forest filled with pools. Each pool's bottom is a different world. It is still and green and quiet in this wood. The only sound is the sound of the trees growing. There are no birds and no wind. Here, Polly and Digory sit on the shore before their adventures begin. They remember who they are and what their mission is and then they jump into a pool. But first, they mark the pool that takes them home.

This week is always a "wood between the worlds" for me. 2010 lies behind and 2011 beckons before, and I sit on the shore and remember who I am and what my mission is. I mentally follow the trail of where I've come this year and I tentatively, prayerfully, map out the trail of where I want to go.

I vow to explore, be creative and adventurous, but to always mark first the pool that takes me home.

I know there will be many changes this year, I can sense them piling up. But, no matter what changes come in our family, in our country, in our world; we serve the changeless One. Obedience to Him and faith in His Son will always bring us home to relationship with Him. So I have no fear of what lies at the bottom of any given pool, only an anticipation for the experiences before me, only an eagerness to know Him more.

"'One-Two-Three-Go!' said Digory. And they jumped."

Friday, December 24, 2010


It's been quiet around here.
Not the empty, echoing kind of quiet, but the full, expectant kind of quiet. There's music, and there's laughter, and I suppose much of the same noise as usual, but there's also quiet. A peaceful exuberance that delights my heart.
We're all waiting......... but even in the waiting, we're celebrating. We're reaching out our arms to others the way baby Jesus reached out for Mary. We're taking time to cross the desert the way the wise men did. We're rejoicing with the angels. We're pondering with Mary and trusting with Joseph. We are entering into the nativity and we are celebrating.
We can celebrate the beginning of the story because we know the ending............
I like this kind of quiet.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Though outwardly we are wasting away...

The first birthday we celebrated together was his. I gave him some gifts and to my surprise he gave me some back!
I had to object, "It's not my birthday! You shouldn't give me gifts!"
He countered, "But it's a gift to me to get to give you something!"
So he gave. Then and now.
This year on my day of birth he took the day off and gave me what he knew I'd love best, himself. In the midst of a very busy, busy season he left work to give me the gift of time.
I held it to me and appreciated every moment of it.
And yes, I had to change a child's wet bed on my birthday. And yes, someone put the dirty dishes from the dishwasher away and I had to find everything and rewash them. And yes, I acknowledge I'm another year older and still have so much to learn.
And yet.......
How thankful I am for a loving Father who just keeps on giving to me through my family and friends.

"Therefore we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day." 2 Cor. 4:16

Friday, December 3, 2010


Our lives have been busy lately. Business has been hectic, company has been steady, and my mom has been out of her house (and in ours) because of a bathroom remodel that left fumes.

Wednesday night Dave worked all night and mom slept on the couch. I tucked her in about 8:30, after her long work day, and proceeded to my homemaking duties. I steel cut my oats and put them to soak. I put my beans to soak. I walked two miles on the treadmill and read CS Lewis reasoning out natural vs. supernatural in Miracles. I went outside and took care of the dog and unplugged all the Christmas lights. I checked emails, completed my bedtime rituals in the bathroom, and headed upstairs, only pausing to make sure all the doors were locked, candles blown out, and tree unplugged.
Passing through the living room to the stairs I saw my mom sleeping soundly and I paused. It was in the pause I heard it. The undercurrent that I hadn't been able to hear above my noise. The quiet music of delight, the melody of gratitude, that shadows my movements, accompanies my steps. My heart swelled to it. I went over and kissed the blond hair with grey underneath. Then I went upstairs and did the same thing on four other little foreheads, the rhythm still flowing audibly. I wondered how many times Mom had kissed my forehead when I was a little girl. How many years would it be until I would be on Avonlea's couch with her lips caressing my head?

And more importantly, would I be blond?

I went into my room and started my study of Philippians. A commentary said something about how much we can learn from Paul if we apprentice ourselves to the book of Philippians. Ahhh there's something I can relate to. Apprenticeship is vital in my husband's business. One of his employees is leaving in the spring. Dave wants to hire someone to be apprenticed under him because he is such a good, diligent worker. The better the teacher, the better the apprentice.

I thought of my little Rose. This week I yelled at her in frustration of her repeated request for crackers. I exclaimed, "Rose! I have no gluten-free crackers! Do you understand? I have none to give you!"
She replied, "Well....praise the Lord."

"What did you say?"

"I said what you say, 'Praise the Lord.'"


The song of gratitude that was sung above my cradle haunts my steps. The kisses then, begot kisses now. A lifetime of love taught by God, modeled in parents, siblings, friends, teachers, pastors, and children has resulted in another generation of Christ followers.

Little apprentices learning the business of life in Christ.

I finished my musing and writing and climbed into bed. The melody in my mind softened into a lullaby and I slept to it's tune.

Friday, November 26, 2010


I used to call my parents the "turkey fairies." They'd get up at the crack of dawn and drive to our house and put the turkey in our oven on Thanksgiving. We'd awake hours later to the smell of turkey. We'd come downstairs to a kitchen full of good things and a note in unfamiliar scrawl that read, "With love from the turkey fairies."
Some years Dave and I would leave a Christmas tree on their doorstep tied with a note, "Enjoy! Love the tree fairies!"
I dubbed my mom the "bleach fairy" because every time I went on vacation I'd come home to different colored dish towels.
Anyway the fairy thing got a little out of hand and Dave started wondering what kind of family he married into.
A little late to be wondering that............
The refrigerator door was covered with butcher paper and was an invitation to recognize our blessings. Some of my favorites were "cabbage" (?) and a picture of God touching a mushroom. When questioned Rowan replied, "God can't die so he gets to touch mushrooms." Hmmm....
Avonlea asked the name of this bright red bush. I told her it was actually called a "burning bush." She replied, " God spoke to Moses in the fall...."

The hand-off.

Yes, that's my daughter sword fighting her uncle. Really? She calls him Uncle Bad (Brad) and insists that he does indeed love to watch Veggie Tales and color with her.

They're so scary! When I asked Rosy what she did in Sunday School last week she said, "Oh I just made mean faces at the teachers!"
Mom was a little bit out of it here. At the new Costco grand opening a few days before, she had gotten a free sample of wrinkle cream which she liberally applied Thanksgiving morning. (Doesn't she know the "never try new products on holidays" rule?) Anyway her eyes got weepy and her face flamed up and she found out that the ingredient she didn't recognize was cayenne peppers. She happens to be allergic to those. Whoops!

Avonlea was sick this week and stayed in bed until about 2pm on Thanksgiving. But she made sure to come down and record her thankfulness. The bottom right picture is God and the mushroom.

My favorite story this week involved the infamous duo, Ma Glo and Rowan. Rosy got wet outside so when she went into Ma Glo's house (which is next door) Ma took off her wet pants and put them in the dryer and got her busy frosting a cake. So when Rowan came in several minutes later, soaking wet, Mom ordered that he take off his pants. He replied "NO." She explained that she didn't want him sitting on her furniture wet and that she would just dry them and give them right back. He asserted his rights to keep his pants.

He ended up coming home to me very irritated. He said, "I forgot to put underwear on today! She kept telling me to take off my pants and I didn't know what to do! Could you tell her that she can't just go around telling little boys to take off their pants!"

I assured him she would get a good talking to. She did. She is humbled and contrite and will be kept in line with cayenne pepper.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends! I'm so thankful for you all! God bless you as you praise Him for His gifts!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blessings Dance Down

I have bad teeth. Some women can look at their husbands from across the room and get pregnant, I can look at candy from across the room and get a cavity.
I sat in the dentist's chair on Monday, unbecoming glasses on, plastic wedge crammed in my molars, and I tried to imagine that I was in Hawaii. I have a fairly decent imagination, but I admit, I struggled to feel the warmth.
And then it happened, he jolted on a nerve that was not quite numb, and I thought, "Thank you God for Novocain!" Fast on it's heels came, "Thank you God for insurance that will pay for this." Then, "Thank you God for a gentle dentist who knows what he's doing."
The Pain prompted Praise.

I came home from my appointment and stepped out of my car. The wind was blowing hundreds of leaves off our big oak and maple. My face and hands reached up towards the myriads of blessings falling, fallen, down. I feasted my eyes on their beautiful dance.
Death giving way to Beauty.

This is the life we live. The pain and death resurrected, reclaimed for praise and beauty.

The precious moments we don't deserve.......
The laughter that was birthed from sorrow..........

The friendships bathed in grace...........

Creating, like Him, order from chaos.............

The path strewn with the beauty of sacrifice............
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess his name." Heb. 13:15

Sunday, November 14, 2010

If she ever doubts my love...

If this little girl ever doubts my love for her in the years to come...........
I'll show her some pictures.....
Of my basement wall, 20 feet of which is decorated in pen wielded by her little hand....

Or her bedroom wall which was beautifully wallpapered until she decided to occupy herself with unwrapping the wall....

Or my vanity bench on which she tested all my lipstick colors (Rowan deserves some credit here also)....

Or my border going downstairs that she picks on the way....

Or the sharpie on precious old wood...

Or the fact that I teach six little girls ballet in the basement because she loves to dance.
If she ever doubts my love I can show her tangible evidence that my love was unconditional, patient, and forgiving (generally). I can show her the china she broke, the books she shredded, the clothes she stained and note the fact that we kept her anyway.
We kept her and loved her.
I have evidence.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


"Her children arise and call her blessed.....a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
Prov. 31

My mom turned 70 on Sunday.
The other day I found a brief something that I wrote about my mom and her influence in my life:

I can still feel the shag rug under my knees, a nostalgic symbol of the 1970s sanctified. I knelt beside my mom at the coffee table and accepted Christ.
My mom also had four kids whom she chose to homeschool for much of our education. She worked full time at the hospital. She was married to an emotionally detached man. She was poor. She was alone in Alaska with no extended family, no support team. She was bereft of everything except the one thing that matters exclusively; Christ. So what she had, she gave, and it changed my life forever. She never questioned whether it was enough, it was Christ, and He is everything.
By His grace He has never left me. It is good to realize my inadequacy because it makes His competence so obvious. Sometimes the things I have get in the way of giving my children what is truly essential. It is when I know I really have nothing at all that I have the most. It is when I stand on the rock with the grandeur of Alaska surrounding me that I realize I have nothing to give my children except the Rock on which I stand.
How can I thank God enough for the woman who's given me everything?
"Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Prov. 31

Thursday, November 4, 2010

House o' Dreams

A little girl in a trailer court mentally constructs a big white house. She picks out wallpaper and hangs pictures in the gallery of dreams. And when life looms sordid and stained she mentally retreats into her "castle in Spain" and lives a perfect life.
Because if you have the perfect house the perfect life can't be far away.
And didn't even GOD want a home, an elaborate one at that?
Because of the grace of God, I ended up with a loving husband who likes victorian homes and is partial to the color white. So unlike many other dreams, this one came true.

When we were in Hawaii, Mom watched the five persian cats that let us live here. She was distraught with the fact that Lancelot had gotten out and stayed out all night. Four days after we got home we found fleas on the cats, on all of them. If you had been a spectator outside our house you would have been amused. I screamed, "Throw them outside!" We have four doors on the main floor and several of them opened at once and cats came shooting out. The house literally exploded cats. I vacuumed furiously all evening and muttered something about, "whitened sepulchers."

Several days later we moved Grant's big frog inside. We gave it twenty-five big crickets to eat. We were a little alarmed to find that the crickets could escape, and did. I suppose it didn't matter so much when they were on the front porch, but in my basement, it mattered. I began to wonder if the plagues were repeating themselves.

I began to think about how different my house looked on the outside, to what it really was on the inside. Because aside from insects, there are other infestations in this house. There is sin, because this house is inhabited by sinful people. No amount of vacuuming will fix this.

Admittedly, I'm a writher. Meaning, I have these 3AM moments where I lay writhing in silent shame, or misery, or anger, as the case may be. My faults and failings dance the conga before my eyes and I ask, "how could I have ___?" How could I? As if, normally, I'm exceptional, and those failing are few and incomprehensible. My thinking here is being renewed.

It should never be, "how could I?" but "how couldn't I?" because that answer leads to Christ. My flesh is what is it is, utterly sinful and selfish, and nothing I do should surprise me very much. BUT I am being renewed, in knowledge, in the image of my Creator.
I am eager for that work.

Brother Lawrence's words inspire:
"When I fail in my duty I simply admit my faults, saying to God, 'I shall never do otherwise if you leave me to myself. It is You who must stop my falling and it is You who must amend that which is amiss.' After such praying I allow myself no further uneasiness about my faults."

I am learning to shrug my shoulders at 3AM. To say yes, that was me in my flesh but here I am laying in the arms of Christ. I am His. I am a work in progress, just like my house.
I understand now that the little girl in the trailer court was dreaming of perfection. A life of quiet and peace, a life with no misunderstandings, no hurt feelings, no bad choices. A life of coordinating furniture and a mommy who spoke sweet and soft. A life of beautiful friendships and an ideal marriage and diaperless children who wiped themselves.
"But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears." I Cor 13:10
I realize now that I was longing for Heaven. The homes we build here are only temporary and I'm pretty sure that as much as I love this house, I'll be happy to trade it in for the one that's being prepared.
"In my Father's house are many room; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:2,3

And that, will be home. No fleas. No vacuuming. No writhing. Home with Jesus. Home.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In which we become disallusioned...

My daughter wrote a somewhat amazing story last night. She wrote it "for adults with children 3-11."
My goal in homeschooling is to put Christ first in every thing we do. I am obviously failing. She showed very clearly how she views my priority list. She also very aptly described what happens when my priorities get off. The title says it all:

Tea Is First
by Avonlea
For Adults with children 3-11

When you get up to teach your children math, chemistry, and other school books, does your mind wander? Do you long for a cup of tea? If so, put whatever you're doing down, get up and brew your favorite tea. When you come back down this will probably be what happened:
Preschool: "Mommy!" (relief)
Kindergarten: "I need help."
1st grade: "I can't do this."
2nd grade: "I don't understand."
3rd grade: "What?"
4th grade: "Mmmmm?"
5th grade (me): "Can I have a cup of tea?"

If so, quietly put down your cup and say the first letters of their names. This will amaze them and quiet them hopefully.

NOTE: Next time have tea first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Point made. Hint taken. I leave the room for my tea and chaos ensues. If I stay put, there is peace and maybe I won't have to subdue them by saying the first letters of their names!

Avonlea wrote me a poem a few nights ago with the couplet;

"I love to kiss your lips,
even when they're not smiling."

She certainly has a gift for getting to the root of things........and of loving me anyway.

Tea anyone?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sunday Surprise

On the Sundays that I sing, it seems something always happens.
I'm gone by 6:45 am so Dave gets everyone dressed and to church on time, brings them home, they eat lunch at mom's, and then he puts them down for naps or quiet time. I come home at about 1:30 after singing three services and going grocery shopping.
Somehow in this lapse of time something always happens.
This Sunday when I came home I was pleased to find that Dave had waited for me to have lunch with them. While we were eating he dropped the news.
"So the window in Rose's room is broken."
"Broken? As in cracked?"
"No as in shattered."
"What? Is she okay? How did she do it?"
"Actually I broke it.....with my bottom."
This was a very hard sentence to wrap my tired brain around. I inquired vaguely how one goes about breaking windows with their bottoms.
Dave explained that Rosy gave him grief while he was trying to dress her. She kept darting away naked ,singing, "I'm nakey!" He finally managed to grab her, and he bent down quickly and energetically to put her panties on, and in the process shoved his entire bottom through the 100 year old window.
Rose is living with her blind down and I'm laughing at my amazing husband who never fails to surprise me!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

He's Five and I'm Still Alive

When Avonlea turned five she asked if she could go to Disneyland, this being one of all children's inalienable rights, we said yes. Being the short-sighted people we are, Dave and I went one step further and said that all our children could pick where they wanted to go on their fifth birthday. We just kinda assumed that they would all want to go to Disneyland. So, we were caught off guard a bit when a year and a half later Grant turned five and told us he wanted to go to Hawaii. Hmmm.....
And I was a little more than concerned when Rowan's fifth birthday approached and he was heavily leaning toward taking us all to Nevada. Now...I have nothing against Nevada, but Rowan's sole attraction to it was it's shape outlined on his placemat, and that's almost impossible to actually experience. So....we encouraged him to think about other Hawaii.
So motivated by the fact that he loves the ocean, and by the knowledge that his three pretty cousins live there, he consented.
We gave him a police uniform for his present and he made several citizen's arrests. He blew his whistle at all the crosswalks when it was time to go. He lingered by police cars, vowing to save all his birthday money so that he could buy one when he grew bigger.

I am a blessed woman. I love these boys.


His birthday dinner was at the cheesecake factory in Waikiki with his cousins.

This birthday marks so much more than just the passage of time and the acknowledgement of physical growth. Rowan gave his heart to Jesus this year and I've witnessed with my own eyes the Spirit's work in his life. He's learned to think before speaking, to pray for others, to check his anger by counting to ten, to ask questions and ponder answers. He's become a helpful son and a caring brother. He still gets into mischief, he still sighs when his will is thwarted, but he's learning, and so am I.
I'm so thankful for Rowan.
I'm so thankful I didn't have to go to Nevada.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Potty Talk

If you've known me very long, you know that I hate poop. Hate it. I hated changing my babies diapers and potty trained them at an absurdly young age. Yet, I know that it happens, that it is a natural, normal function, and I deal with it. However, I do not enjoy it, nor do I find it humorous in any way.
Crass joking is a sure fire way to get a very dirty look from me. Part of the reason I dislike that type of joking is because it seems to perpetuate itself. It's easy to begin, hard to stop, and very quickly gets out of hand. Because of this, it's not allowed in our home. However, with four children and several dozens of other children that come in and out of this home, it sometimes very innocently happens.
For example, Dave was telling the kids a story about when he and his friend Jake got a frisbee and some apricots stolen from them. The point of the story was that people are more important than things and they prayed that whoever took them would be blessed by them. Dave said, "Yeah, we just imagined a couple of bums at the park playing frisbee and eating apricots." His conclusion was met with down cast eyes and silence. Finally Rowan said, "Don't be crass Daddy." Dave looked at me in bewilderment. I started laughing because I realized that the only definition of "bum" that they knew was "bottom, rear, etc." I told him to tell it again and try saying "hobo" instead! Grant was visibly relieved that Daddy wasn't being gross but said he was going to have trouble getting the picture of, "bums catching frisbees in their cracks," out of his head.

Then today, Rowan was cutting pieces of a hen out to glue on his paper. I said, "okay Rowan, let's glue on your body now." The room became intensely silent. I looked up and my eyes caught Rose's shocked expression as she said, "Mommy, Rowan's potty is glued on!?" ("potty" is the term we use to refer to "privates")
I explained that I used a "b" for body and that we were creating the little red hen, but that comment started the downfall. A few wings later, Avonlea said, "Mommy I just read something SO interesting can I read it to you?" I was still up to my beak in glue but absently agreed. She proceeded, "Wood chucks breed 20-40 times a minute." I put the glue on the desk. "Really." She continued, "Yeah, but even more when they're excited!" My mind whirled. I knew about rabbits of course, but I had never heard about woodchucks and what the heck did she mean by excited? She goes on, "Yeah but if they're really relaxed they can just do it like once every five minutes." And we've been trying to have kittens for a year! How much do wood chucks go for? My mind is reeling in possibilities. Avonlea looked at my open mouth gaze and said, "Mom, I said breathe."
"Ohhhhhhhh breathe."
See what I mean about things going downhill quickly. Later today, at ballet class, one of my little dancers had stomach issues and the red flags of her condition were waving wildly, so to speak. Every time we leaned forward in our stretch the room reverberated with cannon accent.
And I had to laugh.

(Please note the distinction between a cute little tooter in pink tulle and a big hairy man cutting loose the bonds of propriety.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I tend to travel with one goal in mind. God often has a different one. After a brief tussle I give in and take what He has to offer, and it's always an adventure.

Dave came home from Dallas on Sunday after an exhausting trip moving his friend there. We flew to Hawaii on Monday morning. Dave also got sick that day. Tuesday he got a terrible sunburn. I mentally constructed a post entitled, "When Paradise Isn't".
I sat at the beach for hours and hours, and at night when Dave and the kids went to bed at seven, I stared into the darkness and thought, and thought, and thought.

I thought about this life I lead and I evaluated how much of it is lived for self as opposed to what is lived for God. I thought about all the beautiful scenery before me and how it is a reflection of the God who created it. I thought about my favorite scenery of all, my family. They can stand in front of anything and make it beautiful.

I couldn't help but think about old Hawaii, what it would have looked like, smelled like, sounded like. I could look at the highway and imagine it away, and picture instead an old trail through the wind blown grasses, the roar of breakers unceasing, the heady scent of flowers.

I thought about family and friends, and those I consider both. My children's wealth of cousins is a great joy to me.

I thought about a woman's role in ministry after her baby/pregnancy days are done. I thrashed out the desire all women have, to be used in ministry, and their insecurity how best to pursue that.

I thought about my marriage and how my world turns upside down when my husband ails. It is so much easier to face life with his loving, giving heart by my side. When he was in his tired/sick/sunburned fog, I could barely face the day, even in Hawaii. My prayers were half moan, half battle-hymn, and I prayed much.

On Saturday, 5 l-o-n-g days later, he started feeling better. My smile returned. The vertical line between my eyebrows disappeared. I stopped thinking quite so much.

I had different adventures in mind for this trip. But God took me to a place where I could think, pray, reflect on His creation, and ponder my place in His work. I had my sister-in-law and my husband (the last 5 days) to stimulate thought and His beauty to stimulate praise.

And really, it came down to what it always does, all roads of thought landed me at the same destination; that in Him, I have everything I need. That when I seek I always find, when I knock the door is opened. Sometimes I'm just asked to knock in unexpected places. Like Hawaii.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Joy in the Morning

(Grant was doing a photography assignment today and caught Rose and I reading Teaching the Trivium)

I woke up this morning and put on joy as a garment.

Dave and I were up and down until 4:30AM last night. We were waiting for someone who was coming over, waiting for someone who needed us. I finally fell asleep from 4:30AM to 7:30 AM and awoke groggy and selfish.

But the thing was, as much as I wanted to lay there and grovel....I couldn't. These God-words kept whispering, "a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (Isa. 61:3) and "the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Neh. 8:10)

And I put it on, pulled it to me and slipped into it. The joy of the Lord fit perfectly.

All the mornings, of all the days, of all the weeks, of all the months, of this summer and fall, I've sought each morning to turn my eyes to Him first thing, to spend time in His presence immediately. And this morning, when I struggled to gain perspective, He was there, reaching down the hand that I needed, putting out my garment for the day. He found me soul-naked and He dressed me.

The things that greet me today, whether it be my mother screaming into my answering machine that there's a snake in her kitchen "a real one" (as if that pitch could have been obtained through a plastic one), or a note to Santa on my desk asking for a baby because the asker has given up on asking God for one, or another close-call in my tiara, or a drama of sharpie meets Persian rug acted out by Rose, whatever comes.....

I am dressed for the occasion.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Weight

It's startling, really. How little we know when we become parents. Who knew these beautiful, lusty-lunged babies would turn into people?

Who knew that little limbs would stretch and my gumby child become a young woman, a young man?

They grow and I grow, but I'm still not the perfect mom and sometimes I get angry at my children because they make that very apparent.
Today was a normal day for me. I had to be at the church at 7:15AM to sing on worship team. I got sick (stomach) at 6:40AM. I finally ran out the door at 7:05AM, drove like the dickens, and ran into church....leaving the parking lights on. Second service I realized what I'd done and that the battery was now dead. I peeked into Rose's class on the way to find Dave for help, and wondered briefly why her dress was too small and on backwards (Dave dressed her).
Dave said he'd jump the car for me and I stood up on stage third service and sang while the doors were open in the back and my husband was jumping the car right in front of the church. Kinda made worship difficult. I died several small deaths as I saw people stopping to talk to him and I imagined I could hear him saying, "Yeah my wife left the lights on again! At least she didn't put diesel in the gas tank this time."
Then I started thinking about Rose in her backward dress. One time when Dave dressed her for church I picked her up from class and she was wearing hot pink sequined high heels from the dress-up box. When questioned Dave replied, "How was I supposed to know those weren't her shoes?" So all nursery and toddler helpers in the church know that I'm a less than ideal mom.

By the time I got home to mom's house after church I felt like an utter failure. I laid down on her couch and closed my eyes.

One by one my children came. They didn't say much, just laid right on top of me.

There's a story in the Bible, about Elisha I believe, who laid on a dead boy and breathed life back into him. That was how I felt laying there. Like God was breathing His life back into me.

They were heavy and they reminded me that my responsibility is weighty but completely do-able with the help of God.

Under their weight, I fell asleep. A deep, healing sleep, that revived and restored my ability to laugh at myself and my drama.

When I awoke, they had flown, their laughter floated to me through the garden.
I'll never be a perfect mom, but it appears I am loved regardless, and I am so thankful.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


The world revolves, the autumn progresses, and our schedule bulges around the waist familiarly.

This morning the Sunday School classes at church all moved their students to the next grade. Posy moved to 3/4's, Rowan to Preschool, etc. I took Rowan to his new classroom and he was instantly surrounded by teachers, "What's your name?" "Does he have any allergies?" "I think I had him in VBC class." Unfamiliar voices, unfamiliar faces. Rowan silent. Persistent voice with pen in hand, waiting, "What's your first name?" Silence. Rowan turns his head slowly towards me, his face is blank, utterly expressionless, "What's my first name again mommy?"

I say it and break the spell, "Rowan, your name's Rowan."

A smile engulfs his words, "Oh that's right!"

The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.

Dave's blanked up on me a couple of times. One time was when we passed the Canadian border to attend Mike and Chrissy's wedding. Dave didn't expect to be closely questioned by border patrol, so he was caught off guard, and he went blank. The check-guard asked him who was with him, it was just Avonlea and I in the back seat, and I waited for him to say so. Silence. Finally he turned his head and looked at us with the same face I saw on Rowan, I whispered, "Your wife and your daughter." He smiled and relayed the info. We were told to pull over for further inspection!

As much as Rowan is just like Dave he is also just like me. I never blank about my name or any other answer that I can glibly give, but I blank about who I am in Christ. I'm caught off-guard by a question, a situation, and I'm silent....or not. I give a reaction where a Christ-child should have given compassion, or prayer, or truth. I forget my name and later when the moment has passed, I remember, and I writhe.

Life will inevitably hold those moments, I just pray I learn to look up sooner and soul-whisper, "What's my name again?"

Because when I do, He always breaks the spell with His answer, "You're Annie, and you're a child of Mine."

May my blankness, my lack, be only an opportunity for Him to fill and write His name on me, and through me, on others.

PS Wearing my tiara also helps me remember who I am. It is very difficult to yell at your children with a tiara on. Unfortunately I forgot I had it on last week and I wore it to the library. I kept marveling at how friendly our community was, because everyone was smiling at me! Sigh.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Soul Eyes Blink

I woke my family up at 4am on Friday. On purpose. We had a plane to catch at 6:40am. Anyone who knows me knows by now that I pack last minute and usually forget several necessities, which we manage to live without, proving that they weren't actually necessities. It's part of the fun. Rose wearing Rowan's underwear the whole trip didn't spoil her enjoyment of our time a bit. Avonlea was intensely happy that I forgot the hairbrush (yes, again).

We flew to San Diego because Dave was helping with the Luis Palau Festival there. We drove directly there from the airport so that he could help with set up. I hung out with the kids at the playground, steps from the beach. Even with the four a.m. wake-up, the kids were jubilant and played hard. I tried to look around me and take in the beauty, but it was difficult. I'm used to grey skies and muted colors. Here, was turquoise water, a brilliant blue sky, golden sand, bright, hot sun, emerald grass, and bushes afire with profusions of flowers. The colors blew me away.

The festival the next day drew about 50,000 people. People from all walks of life, all ages. Colorful people. We watched the bmx shows, skateboarding, freestyle motocross, puppet shows, etc. There were games and concerts and everywhere, Jesus preached. Christ proclaimed. The little girls next to us at the puppet show raised their hands to accept Christ. The stage filled with people committing or re-committing their lives after a biker gave his testimony. Churches of all denominations had volunteered to help respond to people and the volunteers were as colorful as the crowd.
The people had the same effect on me as the scenery did the day before. I could barely take it blinkingly in. The beauty of this world, the beauty of God's people. Eye-poppingly different, but never drab.

We were able to spend a day with Capernwray friends. Dave and Mike had been roommates, and they prayed together for their future wives. Chrissy and I had been involved in scandalous doings and pranks together, we prayed we wouldn't get caught.
Our kindred children.

Rosy is now asking me to get her hair like Emma's. Maybe for Christmas?

When the three busy days of festival and friends were over, I turned my gaze back to my own troop and it's captain. Again the sheer vibrancy of their colors took my breath away. These wonderful, witty blessings from God are eye-blinkingly bright.
The second night in our condo on the beach Dave and Avonlea were playing tag. He chased her far down the shore, and as he closed in, she turned and dove into an open sliding glass door, thinking it was ours. It wasn't. Dave was in hysterics on the beach but the laughter subsided in concern when she didn't come back out. Avonlea had run into someone else's living room and found a bald guy watching TV. She proceeded to hang out, wondering what this bald guy was doing in our room. Finally the guy stuck his head out the door and saw Dave, "Is she yours?" he asked. Dave ushered away a little girl colored very red.
We laughed together and saw the brightness of this life. The turquoise of laughter, the brilliant blue of friendship, the golden blessing of family, the bright, hot light of Christ, the emerald jewel of creation, and bushes afire with the goodness of God.
The colors blow me away.


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