Sunday, February 28, 2010


I remember once when we lived in our old house I came running in the back door, and I dimly but distinctly heard music. Chopin's nocturne in E flat I believe. Tears sprang to my eyes and I wandered into the living room where my sister was seated and said, "I love this house so much I hear music when I enter it!" She looked at me bemused and replied, "I left the stereo on in the bedroom." Ahhh, another moment of romance massacred.
But, thanks to God, I have birthed myself and not my sister. So I have a daughter who spins tales and weaves webs of delight and builds castles in Spain, just like her mommy. (This is the beautiful side of Avonlea and we'll save the gaps it leaves in her memory and common sense for another post (again, just like her mommy)). She dreams large scale and so I don't have the opportunity of fulfilling many of her dreams. (For instance she asked if she could spend her 10th birthday in England). But on Friday Dave and I told her that after two years of longing she could take harp lessons. I found a teacher and a harp rental shop, everything was go. She gasped her thanks and went to clean the kitchen (if you could call it that, this being one of the gaps). When I came in later she looked at me and said, "I'm not saying much because my heart is in my throat." Which put my heart in my throat, so we just looked our love.
This year, one of my goals, was to encourage my children's passions. I have spent the last several months talking to them and listening to them and trying to find how I could best help them develop their interests and deepen their loves. It has been eye-opening to say the least. Some of their passions are utterly foreign to me and others are beloved. But either way, I want them to know they have my sympathy and assistance. With God's help, I will never tell them that I turned the stereo on. Let the romance of passion be immortal!

PS I really love my sister.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Portrait of a Lady

I sang on worship team today. On the mornings I sing, mom always comes up and helps Dave with the kids. This morning was no different except that she had hair issues and was six minutes late. Dave, saw her coming up the driveway and decided to teach her a lesson in punctuality. So he yelled long and loud. She froze and then bounded up the stairs like a rabbit, three at a time! To her dismay she found Dave collapsed on the stairs, in hysterics. He's naughty, but there it is. She is somehow always on hand to help at any crisis. Always with her arms out, hands open, willing.
-I know, because I live next door to her, that she is constantly praying and fasting for her four children and ten grandchildren.
-I know that she's had a life of formidable disappointments but that her faith in Christ is steadfast.
-I know that her generous nature sometimes gets her in trouble (when she gave the beggar a handful of Chuck E Cheese tokens by accident).
-I know that she thinks nothing of throwing others out of dangers way and taking the brunt herself.
-I know she likes to think that she's Jewish because they dance and light candles alot.
-I know that she collects things at an alarming rate (we may have to add on to her house to accommodate this new silver fetish (thank you Aunt Karen)).
-What I don't know is why in the world I was so blessed to be born to such a woman.
I recently finished the book The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. I loved it. I loved the long words, the sweep of European loveliness, the rustle of century old traditions and values, but most of all I loved Isabel Archer the heroine. I loved her because she was "a spirit set apart" which is the same trait I love in my mother. My mother, through Christ, is truly the heroine of her story. I am so grateful to be in the same book.
Thank you God for Mom!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I lay awake night after night in the hide-a-bed at the beach house. Contemplative. Painfully aware that my insomnia is a collision of soul plates; fault lines of destruction. Mortality seems utterly tangible. The consistency of the ocean's waves, the never-failing pulse of earth, only serve to highlight my own inconsistency, my own failing. "What if's" linger and tease. "What if" the people who helped my husband save the children from the wave that surprised them, had not been there? "What if" Rose had not been holding her breath when Dave grabbed her as she floated by in the water? "What if" Dave had not gotten to Rowan before another wave came (he was pinned under a log). "What if" that stranger had not grabbed Grant who was the furthest out? "What if" God had not been so merciful?
These beautiful babes given are held with an open hand. And yet I shudder. I thrashed it out, night after night. Who do these children belong to? They belong to God. What do I believe about God? I believe He is Love itself and that all His acts are according to His love. Can I trust Him with my children? I can trust Him utterly, He loves them more than I ever could. Will I trust Him? Ahhh, here is the fault line where ruptures occur. Will I trust.....
The peace settles in as I reflect. "He will not let your foot slip-He who watches over you will not slumber..." (Psalm 121:3) So He's awake too... and He's speaking. "Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them." (Psalms 119:140) It's true, time and again God's promises have proven sustainable as I've put my trust in them. I remember the times I've wrapped my fingers around God's blessings; holding them selfishly hidden in fear and pride. I'd peek at the jewel to find it coal in my palm, a blessing thwarted with distrust. May it not be so with my children. I pry the fingers back, thrust the hands upward. I will trust because I believe.
As I sat down tonight to write, this post was not in my mind at all. I meant to write about the humorous events of the weekend. Mom sitting in the tea room wearing a feather boa and big hat. Rowan rocking out on the "air guitar" and the fact that I ate about 4 pounds of taffy. But here is my heart, blood turned ink. Fear turned freedom.
"I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." (Psalms 119:32)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I love telling people that Dave and I met, "on a street corner in London" because it's true, but it's also romantic. We were stopping over in London for a few days on our way to Bible college in the Lake District. Bible College in a castle. I love that chance (or God) had it that I should go out with the "Portland group" to Hard Rock Cafe and Buckingham Palace one September evening. Walking home from Buckingham Palace, I had two choices of pedestrian companions. I chose Dave first. I matched his stride, smiled my most charming smile, and appealed to his wit. An angler couldn't have cast a more perfect line, but he didn't bite. I saw him swim glibly by, a silver flash in the moonlight, with apparently no interest in the bait. The second pedestrian proved more appreciative.

Fast forward to Valentine's Day at the castle. I have met four beautiful princesses and we love being naughty. A male friend hides us all in the closet in the men's dorm room. The "game" is that the guy who knows we're in there will ask the other guys what they think of us without them knowing we're there. Scandalous, I know. Many guys got asked many questions that night and half the answers made us indignant and the other half made us laugh. But when we finally escaped, (we hadn't thought about how we were going to get out without them seeing us) we all agreed on one thing. We liked Dave. He was the only one who weighed his answers. The only one who said nothing unkind or too kind.

Fast forward to Valentine's Day 2010. I have two beautiful princesses and two handsome princes. I don't live in a castle but I'm a daughter of the King nonetheless, and I am married to one who weighs his answers. When God spoke to him and said, "Will you do as I ask, and invite that headstrong, artless, mirthful girl to spend life with you?" Dave said "yes" and I got the shock of my life. (I'm pretty sure Dave's shock was considerable as well.) We revel in the fact that God chose us for each other. I certainly didn't "catch" him on my own merits, although he is much more appreciative of my bait now!

Thank you God for my husband!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


We all, I believe, have bouts of insanity (some of us are more bouty than others). Friday, for instance. My snotty kids (noses not personality) made it impossible for the friends we had invited over to come over. So I had to come up with Friday fun off the cuff. What do you think I suggested? A walk? A movie? How about a wall mural? As the cat ran through the bowl of paint and careened through the house, the sanity questions arose.
But it turned out lovely and the babes had fun! But we still had time to about we walk downtown and get Grant's hair cut and then tour the antique store. This too, went well, until the walk home. The hill in front on my house could be labeled "the Bermuda hill" or "the Camas triangle" or something like that for strange things have happened on it. Injury aplenty. Out-of-control bikers careening through our fence, etc. Rose met her fate there Friday; face first. Knot on head, teeth sunk into tongue, blood, screaming.

I went to find some medicine, after I cleaned her up, and came back to Rowan doctoring her. She looked like most people do after spending time with Rowan.

Really, when it comes down to all this excitement or a movie, is there really any choice? Stories are made because we choose to make them. Given the choice I choose insanity.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Grant is 8!

The loving little voice arrested me as I walked out of his room last night.

"You're the best mommy in the world." Sigh. "There just couldn't be a mommy better than you."

"And you're the best Grant."

I wander out into the hall and leave him drifting off to sleep in a cacoon of down. I ask myself the question I've been asking for eight years now; what did I do to deserve this child? The same answer echoes down the eight year long corridor; absolutely nothing, he is a gift from God.

Grant is sensitive, affirming, frog-obsessed, faithful, and funny.

He speaks life into me.

At 3, Grant got out of bed and came downstairs to hug me again at bedtime. He gave me a big hug and kiss and said, "Mommy you're just a comfortable shirt!"

At 4, Grant got into bed with me and stroked my face and said, "You're a good little mommy...and always very curious!"

At 5, "I'm going to marry you when I grow up."
"I'm already married to daddy honey."
Long pause, "Who do you think will die first?"

At 6, "Mommy you always smell like tea. That's because you're Anne of Green Gables."

At 7, "Mommy, God really appreciates you."

"You're one of the good guys mommy."

"You're full of laughter mommy."

"Mommy I love you so much I'm afraid you're going to explode with my love!"

It was a realistic concern. Every day these love words pour forth and I am so blessed and so thankful for Grant.


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