Monday, August 30, 2010

A verse a day...

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

"In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-for he grants sleep to those he loves." Psalm 127:2
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up." Ecc. 4:9,10

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Galatians 5: 22,23

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." Psalm 126: 3

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." Psalm 16: 6

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" Isaiah 30:21

"The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death." Proverbs 14:27

"Ask it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matt. 7:7

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Shallows

I know that those of you who don't know me well and read my musings must think I'm a little crazy. I go from posts about pianos parked on sidewalks to wrestling with angels to mating cats at an alarming rate. And that's kinda me. I swim in the depths and revel in them and then I come up to the surface for air and find that very enjoyable as well.
So I emerged today and found laughter waiting for me.
Dave's birthday was a day to thank God for the blessing of a wonderful husband and father.
My sister and the kids' cousin, Summer, came for a visit. I think Summer is getting to old for dancing (however I'm not sure how that's possible because I'm not too old for dancing).
Rowan fell asleep like this and I found it very amusing.

Posy's face makes me laugh. She's wistful and naughty and little.

Here is what's been cracking me up lately. Our cat's fur was matted so we decided to...

Shave him. Doesn't he look hilarious. He's frightfully self-conscious which makes it even more funny.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Except thou bless me....

Genesis 32:24-26
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till day break. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak."
But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

These verses have always intrigued me. Wasn't Jacob the little guy who "stayed among the tents" while his big brother went hunting? Wasn't he the son-in-law that fled terrified, with his wives and belongings, from his father-in-law? Where did he get the audacity to wrestle with an angel of God and demand blessing?

I just finished the book Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. Isak's real name was Karen Blixen-Finecke and she was a Danish baroness. Upon her marriage to her cousin in 1914 the family gave them a huge coffee plantation in Kenya (I got a few vases and some picture frames???!!!). After 7 years of farming her husband left her and moved back home. She stayed on alone 10 more years until the plummet of coffee prices left her bankrupt. This little spunky baroness stayed and fought and ruled. Her writing is intriguing and full of literary allusions, she wrote the following about the farmer's fear of drought:

"But it happens in the middle of the rainy season that in the evening the stars show themselves through the thinning clouds; then he stands outside his house and stares up, as if hanging himself on the the sky to milk down more rain. He cries to the sky: 'Give me enough and more than enough. My heart is bared to thee now, and I will not let thee go except thou bless me. Drown me if you like, but kill me not with caprices....'."

There it is again....that audacity!
That determination to lay your life on the line for the blessing.
How bad do I want the blessing?
Bad enough to limp the rest of my life?
Bad enough to drown in the wake of it?
Bad enough to wrestle with my own sin and selfishness and seek God unabashedly?

Yes. That bad.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I find it humorous that five days after I write a sentimental post about mom and Rowan, he took their intimacy to a new level.
He was missing for quite a while this morning and that usually means he's down at grandma's being fed cookies at 8 in the morning. So I called my mom and asked if she had seen him. She said no, but she'd been in the shower, and the back door had been locked.
Now locks mean little more than a challenge to Rowan as Dave found out several months ago, when he got out of the shower to find all means of covering himself gone.
I finally found a gleeful Rowan who told me that he had gone up to mom's house and found it locked. He came back to our house, found the key to her house and let himself in (did I mention he was armed with his rifle?). To his annoyance the bathroom door was locked so he just hid and waited for her... with his rifle. According to him, he watched her walk around in her towel until I called, then he beat it for the door when she went for the phone.
Mom was scandalized and I told her, "If you have any sense of privacy at your house, it's an illusion."
Rowan was thoroughly pleased with himself and told me with twinkly eyes, "Don't worry mommy, the towel covered most of her."
Really, there are some things I'd rather not know............

Sunday, August 15, 2010


There is no birth without the death of something. I realized this for the first time on my wedding day. A new life of marriage and maturity and independence was given birth to as I crossed the threshold. But there stood my family, who had loved and laughed with me for 22 years, I was no longer theirs, and the pain of it took my breath away. But only for a moment. At that moment I understood, to gain anything, we must lose something.

Fast forward 8 years.

Rowan was born 3 months before my Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The first time, of many, that I walked down the long, sterile hospital corridor, Rowan was with me. I held him tightly in front of me, shield-like, as I walked past the moans, the sobs, the breathing and beeping and voices. When we got to the room I offered him to Mom. He was the only thing I had to offer. Hope personified.

Dad was sent home to Mom's care and we visited and tried to encourage. Through months of exhaustion and emotions and monitoring, I would come and share and be. And I would bring this babe who would inevitably reach fat arms for my Mother. He seemed to know that he could somehow, somewhat, alleviate the suffering. And he did.

So there is this love between them, this child that thrived in her arms as her husband weakened.

And this is life, the joy and the sorrow and the death and the birth, all jumbled into one Holy mess. The pain of it takes my breath away on a daily basis. But only for a moment because..."the lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Rev. 7:17) forever is on the way, and death, after all, is really only birth in disguise.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


My parents were both teachers, in Pennsylvania first, then later in the bush of Alaska.

My brother is a Professor at Penn State.
My older sister teaches in a christian school in Oregon.
My little sister is getting her Masters in library science.

It's just in my blood. Like varicose veins.... only better. This beautiful job of shaping and helping and learning and teaching all mixed up together.

And I suppose since I've been harping (no pun intended) on my children's passions I should share one of my own. I love to teach. I love the planning, the organizing, the accumulating, the interaction. My husband looked at me when I said this once and replied, "you know you're not normal don't you." My friends, passionate people are often misunderstood.
I feel a little shy about writing too much about home-schooling here because that isn't the purpose of Dusk. little ones and I decided to share a blog dedicated to the passion of home-schooling. Avonlea and Grant are going to post their writing assignments which usually make me laugh (and sometimes cry). And I am going to try to answer the questions that I find myself asked.....often.
Our blog is titled Starlet School. Our verse is Phil. 2:14-16, you know the one you always squirm when you hear, about not complaining so that you can become stars that hold out the word of LIFE. Well, we are certainly not stars yet, but when tadpoles grow legs but still have a tail they are called froglets (I know I'm mixing passions at an alarming rate, forgive me) therefore we decided that we were starlets. Hence, Starlet School. What a beautiful opportunity it is to train our children to hold out the word of LIFE. We have true, amazing, abundant life and this is the heart of passionate teaching, to put our children in contact with the throbbing heartbeat of that LIFE. The Giver of all passion. Passion Defined.
So........get ready for some fun!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Like coming out of a stuffy room into a cool night.
Like seeing your mother's face again after a long absence.
Like coming home.
I breathe the Alaskan air and some soul pocket of drought is filled; watered. The mountains glisten their blue sheen. The quaking aspen wave their many-handed welcome. Every way I turn, a memory winks at me. I search faces walking by and realize I'm looking for their childish counter-parts, the friends I had 20 years ago. I forget that I am grown up; that these next to me are my offspring. Page, my best friend of 20 years, and I talk late into the night, forgetting the baby will wake us at dawn. I forget the now and remember the then.

This is the tree out at Beluga that Amy and I almost set on fire. The kids love to hear the story of a windy night and a bon-fire gone bad. They love to touch the black marks and know their mommy and auntie were responsible for the desecration.

My beloved friend Page is well equipped for so many things in life. However....there was no tea kettle or pot to be found so I had to brew my tea in a vase.
One of my favorite places to go in Alaska is Potter's Marsh, a wilderness boardwalk. In the autumn all the green grass is golden and it's reminiscent of Heaven. I walk along it and hum, "it is well with my soul" because it always is well here.

We celebrated Page's birthday at Red Robin. Isn't she cute?

Grant and Isaiah celebrated with her.

Avonlea and Grant love the huge chocolate fountain at the candy store. Isn't that tempting?

I was able to see two of the little girls I nannied. I love them and I love the laughter we always share.

Page's little woman is sweet and funny and happy-go-lucky. She's so like her mama.

I was in a summertime production called the Music Machine for many (nine?) years. We were able to go see the show and it brought so much forgotten joy. I had to stop myself from jumping up on stage a couple times!

All that fun in 48 hours. And the soul pocket filled and the drought ended.......for a year or two anyway.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

She still bolts........

Once upon a time, when I lived in the tower of a castle in England...........
So begins many a bedtime story, and the main characters are always the same...........
The five laughing girls, full to the brim with the beauty of life, and over-flowing in random, often naughty, ways..........
Johannah was the southern belle, the beautiful blond, the master of manners. We nick-named her Rose, because she was one. When Avonlea asked if she could name her baby sister Rose, I agreed without hesitation, because the name was already beloved.
But back to the castle in England.........
Johannah was probably the least naughty of us girls just because she hadn't much practice. We'd be knee deep in oh, raiding the pantry, for instance, and the second she heard a sound she was off. Wild hair flying, legs pumping, etc. We'd smother our laughter and call her back, "Johannah, no one's coming! Come back!" It came to be known as the "Johannah bolt" and her conscience never did get calloused.
So 15 long years later....she brings her husband and baby girl and visits us. We drink tea and talk the years into moments, God-like, and laugh.
I say "bummer" and she says "brutal".
She's always diplomatic, "Oh anything's fine for dinner. Don't you feel like chicken? Maybe with pasta and parmesan?"
Her darling girl fits right in with my crowd. They form a new core.

I gave her daughter her first tutu and teacup.
Johannah's Rose's Godmother.

And the castle magic continues through the generations of story lovers.

And as we walked up the lavender lined path to my home I felt a rush of wind behind me. Turning I saw Johannah, hair flying, legs pumping, etc. I looked questions and she replied, "Bees!"
Ahhh, she still bolts my friends.
Years, between friends, are a matter of minutes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Passion #2

Boys and their frogs...........

You've heard of swimming with the dolphins....this is swimming with the frogs.....

Sit Fatty. (I didn't name him).

Medium size frogs in their aquarium.

I was going to post a short clip of Avonlea playing her harp...but I realized that I haven't related any one's passion pursuits but hers! So....we have Grant....eight years old and passionate about frogs. Yes, frogs. He has loved them for years, carried them around in his pocket, fed them by hand, caught thousands of bugs to feed them, and lost many, changing the ecosystem of Camas forever. So this year, being my year of encouraging my children's passions, we set up three aquariums. One really big one for his huge frog that they found camping in the gorge. (Dave and the kids were camping, not the frog.)

Then we went to a local park with a marshy pond. They waded in and got about 25 tadpoles and some froglets. Watching them grow was almost as fun for me as it was for him, they're so cute. They filled aquarium number 2.

We also received about 8 medium sized frogs from sympathetic grandparents. Those frogs reside in aquarium number 3.

He also has an aquatic frog, from a friend, in a groovy aquarium up in his room.

All that equals........lots of frogs of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. It also equals a very happy little boy who is learning to create natural environments, to study what he loves, to work hard cleaning cages and finding food, and to find endless enjoyment in God's creation. He also has an area of expertise now which has given him confidence. He's introduced countless adults and kids to the wonders of frogs, "do you want to hold one?"

Grant has always liked frogs, but in coming along beside him and determining to delight in what delights him, his passion was validated. I don't know how long this passion will last, but it won't outlast my passion for him and the things he loves.


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