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.


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