Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hope

As we drove home from a friend's house this afternoon we were held up by a flagger. The kids watched the big trucks dig and rip and tear into dirt and asphalt. As the man turned the sign to the "slow" side and we began to crawl, Avonlea remarked, "Wow! That was a real destruction zone!"
I smiled and was about to correct with a "Con, Avonlea, construction," but the words stuck tight in my throat and I looked again. She was exactly right. The beauty, tranquility, ease, that had been on the tree shadowed road were gone. They were destroyed and all we saw were the wounds gaping. Destruction.
I think back over these past weeks, about the bad news and bad situations that surround us right now. All I see is destruction and I weep for what was. But God is in the construction business. He is able to create life and beauty from nothing, from chaos, from destruction.
I'll wager that those workers today knew exactly what they were doing. And what looked to me like senseless destruction was merely the first stages of creation. The ground work of wonders. The foundation for miracles. A reason to hope that something better is on the way......

Monday, July 26, 2010

Deviations


My steps slowed as I approached the wash line. Then they stopped altogether.
"What in the world?"

We had our first swim lessons this morning. All four of the kids swam. I sat on the bench, solo. Anyway, we were running late and so I asked Avonlea and Grant to run the sheets down to the clothes line and hang them up. I threw on a, "Be sure they're not touching the ground!"

Four hours later I walk down armed with another load of sheets and find that the first load still isn't dry. Taking my caution very seriously they wrapped the sheets around the line, cinnamon-roll like. No white wonders waving in the wind, just various sized albino wasp nests. The Gordian knot might possibly have been harder to unravel, but I have my doubts.

You may remember that in December of last year I had a piano lodged in my kitchen for quite a while. Convenient if you get the itch to play chopsticks while making chinese, but in all other ways, quite a bother. We had another piano incident this weekend. Our friends down the street decided to buy a piano that was for sale in front of a house. So they called and asked if Dave could come help them move it. It was on wheels. Dave went to help the guy, and the gal and her kids came over to hang out. While we were discussing contentment our husbands were rolling a piano down the street, that is, until the wheels burned off. I should of guessed that would happen because the very same thing happened to my luggage wheels in London. Anyway the piano sat on the sidewalk for about 24 hours and then was rescued.

Some things you just have to try to know that they aren't going to work out. Laundry can't be dried rolled up on the line. Pianos are heavy and hard to move and sometimes they end up in crazy places. Our lives are lived, in part, by trial and error. Circumstances happen, information is vague, there are gaps. But isn't that what keeps things interesting? Somehow, my soul delights in the unexpected, the laundry hives, the stray piano, the deviations of mundane.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fragile


I suppose this could sound vain, but I like to see my own reflection in my children's eyes. It reminds me, time and again, how they will reflect what they see. As much of Jesus as my children see in me, I will see reflected in them.

I had a traumatic animal incident today which I won't expand on, but yes, it involved a car. When I was talking to my sister about it she said, "Oh just like the birds!" Now, I hate to be reminded of the birds. But I told her, quite honestly that I think about those birds often. In a sense, those birds affected my parenting profoundly.

When I was about 10 I found a nest of baby birds that had fallen out of a tree. There were probably only 5 of them but they were running around so fast, so terrified, it looked like there were three times as many. I saw them from a distance and my heart yearned to help them. I would pick them up, put them back in the nest, put the nest in the tree, and spend the rest of my days bringing worms, if need be. I was full of compassion for those birds. I ran to the broken nest and tried to grab the first one. Before I realized what was happening, one had darted under my up-raised foot and when I put it back down, I stepped on the bird. I killed it. Anguish. I backed away. Number 2, gone. I couldn't see anything at this point because I was crying so hard. But I'm pretty sure I stepped on most of those babies.

When I brought my beautiful little girl home from the hospital ten years ago I remembered how fragile life really is. How easy it would be for the best intentions to turn into tragic mistakes. How easy it is to step ignorantly and crush. How compassion can somehow be twisted into pain-infliction. I still ache over those little birds and I cannot fathom the intensity of an ache over a child. So I try to step lightly and to look closely and I realize that only Jesus can truly rescue, but He lets us help. Isn't that just like Him?

This last week has been very busy and emotionally charged. On Saturday morning I went to the pool to register the kids for swim lessons. Our house guests kept the older kids so I just had Posy. So little and lithe, holding my hand and talking about her lavender dress. We waited in line for about 15 minutes, she stood patiently at my side as I brooded over my troubles. Suddenly I realized it had been days since I had been close enough to see myself in her eyes. I had been so enwrapped in my own pain I had withdrawn from her. I knelt down and looked at her, looked deep and long. Her smile spread across her face and she spoke three words that took my breath away, "I missed you."

I have to be so careful with the fragile things in this life. The trusts, the relationships, the children, the feelings. And maybe stepping in haste is not really much different than not stepping at all. We can wound with silence as well as with words. So I will walk with caution, but I will walk, and I pray that I will never forget to look.....deep and long.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Epic


Our heroine sets forth
determined eyes of brown
fixed on the horizon
where smoke sinister
mingles with morning mist
to slay the dragon
for the children's sake
is her mission
and the errand's weight
settles her in her saddle;
stabilizes against tempting winds
that whisper defeat.
She soon reaches her destination
(because the dragons we fight are never far)
and finds the beast uncurling it's shiny scales
Scales that rip into childish hearts with sarcasm and irritation
It unfurls it's razor sharp claws
Claws that deflate childish joy with one sharp touch of criticism
It roars it's fire-breathing roar of selfishness
A roar of fire that razes all desires but it's own and deafens childish ears to truth
So our heroine armed with
the Sword of the Spirit and
the Shield of Faith
does battle with the dragon
and the field is soon strewn
with angry actions atrophied
and wanton words that weren't.
Dusk finds her victorious
the scales, claws, and roar that could;
didn't.
And the children sleep,
unharmed; whole.
Peace reigns unmolested.
Our heroine washes her wounds
in the Word
and retires early
knowing tomorrow she must set forth
eyes fixed on the horizon
where smoke sinister
mingles with morning mist
because our dragons are never far
and the fight must be fought again
and again
for the children's sake.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Redefining Rest

One of my favorite parenting privileges is listening to my children define words. The meanings they attach to vocabulary is often insightful and humorous.
For example a small Avonlea defined obedience to the cat, "Obedience means you have to do what I say because I'm taller than you."

So today the three youngest swim in the pool and I watch them; my mind swims in it's own pool of obligations and responsibility.
And I think, Okay, 5-day club next week, 2 weeks of swim lessons, basketball camp, trip to Alaska.......this is going to take me way into August. What about school preparations for next year? When am I going to REST!
Grant's words coincide with mine, "Okay! Now rest!"
All movement in the pool stops and my mind pauses with it.
Posy has her eyes closed.
Grant instructs, "No Rose, rest doesn't mean you curl up with your teddy bear and go to sleep. Rest means you go with the current."
What did he say?
"When I yell 'rest', it means you just relax and let the current take you."
Ahhh rest aptly defined by an 8 year old. I need to quit fighting valiantly against the flow and relax into 5 day club and swim lessons and basketball camp. I realize that this is the only summer I will ever have with a 3,4,8,and 10 year old and I don't want to spend it going against the current, or curled up asleep with my teddy bear. I want to spend it with them, enjoying the things that bring them joy because that is true rest, trusting that where God has us right now, is just where we're supposed to be.
Okay! Now rest!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cherries

I'm pretty sure that if I were Eve, and the naughty tree happened to be a rainier cherry tree, we'd be in the same sinful predicament.
I love them.
White meat protected by dusky red skin. I eat one with both hands, wrapped, like I'm playing a harmonica.
My mother buys them for me. My husband buys them for me. My friend brings me a bag home from her farm. Too bad my birthday's not in July.
On my wedding morn I soaked in a bubble bath with a bowl of cherries. It was quite romantic.
I look forward to this time every year and I get, really, unutterable joy from cherries.
Can anything be more poignant than a bowl of cherries?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

La Pine....Where a kid can be a kid

After a fun-filled week of VBC...I needed a rest. Dave's parent's cabin always provides that...


.... for me. The kids however get a bundle of old-fashioned fun. Sack races.........
and ferris wheels. Rowan got a batting helmet free at a garage sale and wore it everywhere causing people to pity him his head injury.

Train rides....


and watermelon eating contests. Dave didn't stand a chance even though he had many more teeth than the La Pine competitors.

The High Desert Museum boasts a living history area complete with laundry lessons. Thank God for modern technology!

There were hours spent playing outside, target practice,

and riding the ATV or as Rowan calls it, the GPS.

Every day ends like this, dirty and tired. Isn't that what being a kid is all about?


Rowan wanted to tell me about his ATV ride with Daddy where he saw mountain lion tracks. He is so expressive....I wonder were he gets that?

video
I absorbed two and a half good books and got lots of rest. LaPine is such a blessing. Thanks J and N!

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