Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mom Is A Nut

Apparently I referred to Larry the tomato in this post and my daughter was horrified. It seems no such character exists. Bob is the tomato and Larry is the cucumber and I am the erring mother.

Last weekend, as Dave worked on the tree house, he met mom's new neighbor.
This neighbor is the owner of the house. He had been using it as a rental but decided to live in it for two years before selling it to avoid capital gains.
Mom had been at a Shebrews conference last weekend (this, my friends, is a Hebrew conference for women). She returned home on Sunday night and asked what had been going on.
I gave her a brief recount of Rosy's latest mischief and then thought she might like to know about her new neighbor. For those of you who know me well, it will not surprise you to learn that I mixed up a word when repeating the details.
So I casually said, "Yeah, he's just living there for two years to avoid capital punishment."
I began to have an inkling that I might have said something wrong right about when mom screamed, "Am I living next door to a murderer!"
I was hard put to reassure her because I was laughing too hard.

Today, a friend asked, "Have you always been this close to your mom?"
And I had to say no.
I remember the incident, long ago, at someone's house in Alaska, when mom accidentally sprayed peppermint breath spray in her eye. The screams and frantic rinsing that followed were rather, well, embarrassing.
I wasn't laughing then.
I remember the rouge that she'd wear. The big red dots she'd put on her cheeks and then frantically rub together until she resembled Larry the tomato. The Sunday morning when she forgot to rub the dots together and went to church looking like an escaped clown. We kids didn't tell her, we just slowly slid down to the other end of the pew. I believe the pastor enlightened her as he made his rounds of greeting.
I wasn't laughing then.
Somehow, as a child, those silly little episodes took my eyes off the important things.
She's still silly.
But now I know how brave and loving and loyal she is too.
I know, somewhat, how self-sacrificing and intelligent and generous she is.
And the sad thing is,
I still wouldn't tell her that her rouge isn't rubbed in.
But I probably wouldn't slide down the pew,
because I've learned to laugh.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

No Zoom Required

Life with Dave is up close and personal.
He doesn't believe in wearing gloves to garden or using a zoom lens when you can just go there.
So he takes me up to Mt. Hood for his birthday. Literally, up to Mt. Hood. 6,000 feet up.
And we sit quiet in the silence of the mountain and the contrast from our normal lives is astounding.
Because our lives are LOUD.
Four noisy children in a noisy neighborhood with a phone ringing off the hook business and constant traffic of friends and relatives coming and going and coming again.
With each new decibel of noise we smile wry at each other and turn down the hearing aids and keep going.
And on nights when the kids are re-enacting World War 2, and two females cats are in heat and broadcasting it to all the male cats in the vicinity and the males are responding with yowls that shake the marrow, and the neighbors are screaming at each other, and someone is practicing the piano in the living room, and the fire station down the hill is responding to a crisis, we muffle the hearing aids under the covers and pray for sanity.

So to sit in the silence of a mountain is nothing short of phenomenal.
I forgot that there existed such quiet in the world.
I forgot that to get down to the bare bones of things, one must be quiet.
I forgot that all the senses affect one another and that to be quiet alters my sight as well as my hearing.
So my husband, of a decade and a half, and I sit in the shadow of the mountain and don't speak.
We barely breath.
And the quiet is peace.
We carry the peace home to our noisy lives and try to live
in the shadow of the mountain.

"In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength."
Isaiah 30:15

Monday, August 8, 2011


I paced the floor the morning I woke up in labor for the first time.I paced and I prayed for the life that was on the verge of coming.

Our family has been sick continually for almost 2 months now. We've had everything from staph to strep to stomach flu.
I am weary.
Weary of medicating, weary of changing sheets, weary of being patient with short tempers and fevers. Weary of the bother of it all. It seems the more weary I get the more selfish I allow myself to become. Tears of self pity are in abundance as I say the hollow words to my husband, "I'm tired." Sob.

Last week we held a five day club at our house. I really didn't want to, I felt the energy level of it was beyond me. But my children knew that there are changes going on with the government housing across the street from us and it's very likely that all the people that are there right now, won't be there next year.
"It might be their last chance to hear about Jesus mommy." Avonlea's words rankled.
She was right.

They came pouring into the yard on Monday afternoon to be welcomed by the friendly staff of Child Evangelism Fellowship.
And I felt again, acutely, the pangs of labor.
I began a circuit around the main floor, praying audibly, pacing relentlessly.
I paced and prayed for the lives that were coming.
For the precious spiritual birth of the children.
As I prayed for others, my weariness slipped quietly away, melting like snow in the sunlight.
Newness for me as well.

I remembered again, that "His yoke is easy and His burden is light," and that storing treasures in Heaven, is a work of intensity. Passion. But when I get caught up in the work, or the passion, or the intensity of the work, I miss the joy of being caught up in Him. Seeing the bigness of Jesus working in our neighborhood, reminded me of the littleness of me. The work is too heavy for me alone. Certainly I am too frail to bear up under the demands of many illnesses, or neighborhood evangelism, but He is not, and I was not made to be alone.

I watched the hope of Christ growing in the eyes of the children, and I was renewed.

"He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" (Rev. 21:5)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where men wear skirts....

No I am not referring to California.

I am referencing Scotland and I suppose they would be offended at the term "skirts." They wear kilts.
In case you didn't know...Scottish pride is alive and well in Washington. I know because I spent a day at the Highland Festival in Enumclaw, Washington.
It was loud.
Bagpipes and drums were a popular choice of instrument. No one seemed to be playing them in unison, just random men in kilts and knee socks walking around blowing.
Very interesting.
Perhaps you are wondering if I am trying to get in touch with my Scottish heritage. I do not have any.
Mom had them look up several genealogies because she thinks a Jewish tribe migrated up there at some point. They broke it very gently to her that Lictenwallner was not a Scottish name and did not have a tartan. Not even an ugly tartan.
We went to this event for the sake of Avonlea. She competed with her harp for the first time.

She won first place in the festival beginner competition.
She went on to the finals to win first place also.
She did excellent.
However, she would have won regardless, because she was the only beginning harpist there.
This, my friends, is called anticlimactic.
After the competition, they had what is called a "harp circle" where a group of harpists go around the circle and play, one at a time, a Scottish air.
My younger children, who are so uncultured as to not appreciate 3 hours of harp music, aborted with Dave for the kennels.

Avonlea, Mom, Grant, me, and a bunch of guys and girls in skirts, sat in the shade of a tent and listened enchanted to amazing music.
The wind whispered, the bagpipes droned in the distance, Grant dozed with his head on my lap (it wasn't until he awoke that I saw the pool of drool on my linen skirt), it was truly magical.
My daughter's teacher, played and sang with her sister, and they were delightful, evoking laughter and tears in quick succession.
To think, I would have never known this Scottish beauty if I hadn't come!

As delightful as it was, the children were done after one day, so we decided to head up to Seattle and spend the morning at Pike's Place Market before we went home.
I tried to explain to the kids on the way, that they would probably see quite a few weird people in downtown Seattle.
Grant interrupted with, "Weirder than a bunch of guys in skirts?"
Good point.
However when Rowan saw the man with his head back, balancing a guitar on his chin while he played  a harmonica and twirled a hula hoop around his waist, he declared, "I found the weirdo!"

We headed a bit further north after the market and went to the brand new Seattle American Girl store.
My American girls were in doll heaven and my boys found REI.

My mother managed to get lost in the mall....for a really long time. She finally realized that her cell phone was on silence. Dave said he felt like he had five children.
When we finally got everyone rounded up and in the car I asked her what in the world she had been doing that whole time.
She replied, very innocently, "I just ran through Coldwater Creek and a few other...."
Grant interrupted in disgust, "You were running through a cold creek and we were just sitting there waiting for you!"
Definitely time to go home. Too many countries in too short a time. Too many interesting people to process. Time to go on back to reality, where the Jews are in Israel, and men either balance guitars or do hula hoops, where Coldwater Creek is a store, and where men wear pants.


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