Saturday, January 29, 2011


It's been an aging week.
Not a week in which I aged alot but...
A week in which I realized how much I've aged.
My sister became a grandma this week...
My mother became a GREAT grandma this week...
Making me Great Aunt Annie...which sounds like something out of a horror movie.

Rowan got angry at me on Thursday for denying him jelly beans.
He stomped out of the kitchen and muttered, "Big old mommy!"
One minute he's swearing to die by my side, the next he's casting my age up to me under the influence of jelly bean depredation.

A dear friend knit me a shawl for Christmas. I modeled it for my husband and he said I looked just like his kindergarten teacher in it. I dimpled for a moment, and then I asked, "Not your Kindergarten teacher that was 80?"
"No, she was only 70."

I was haunted by dreams last night. Reams of reels of my past, and in every single one, I was young. Now I realize that I am comparatively young. However, 17 was twenty years ago....and I liked 17.

We went to a wedding today. The slide show at the end always swells my heart to overflow. They were just babies! Who's letting these babies get married! It dawned on me that one day it will be our family pictures flashing over the years.
Avonlea in her Raggedy Ann costume.
Grant's toothless grin at six.
Rowan and Rose snuggled up with the cat.
We knew no one at the reception except the bride and groom, and they were busy. So I sat and I thought and a little Rowan came and laid his head on my lap. He spoke my heart, they happened to be words that we heard in a song on the radio as we drove there, but they were still my heart.
"It happens in a flash, mom."

And I thought of my little flower girl, my niece, who just yesterday sauntered up the aisle before me, and is now a mommy.
Making my sister a grandma...
Making my mom a Great grandma...
Making me Great Aunt Annie...

Which actually kinda has a nice alliterative ring to it.
I suppose I'll grow used to it after a while...
Or maybe, it will happen in a flash.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Battle

Rowan coerced me to watch his playmobile guys battle. One army was arranged on the Egyptian pyramid, the other on the Roman Colosseum. I wanted to object on the premise of the actual distance of these structures not being conducive to physical battle, but I held my tongue. Yes, I am a good mother.

I watched each bullet, each spear thrown, each playmobile guy topple dead, and the battle progressed. Just as I had my fill of gore, the war was pronounced over, and everyone was dead. Rowan looked at me with eyes full of fun, brimming with satisfaction (what satisfies like a good battle?), and asked the breathless question, "Mommy, do you want to see the treasure they were fighting over?"


He brought out a chest that had been hidden away in the pyramid. He opened it and exceeded all my expectations. I sat there mute.

"It's the children mommy. The playmobile children are the treasure."

I managed to say something and left the room. I sought quiet because there was a truth there that needed to sink in. Those words needed to permeate past the layer of mommy watching her boy playing, through into soul.

I've known for a long time that we are in a battle. As Christians we battle. As parents we battle. I've watched my sister battle for her children. I've seen the grime of the trenches on her face. Heard the horror of combat in her voice. Seen the hope of victory in her eyes. Conversations with her have led me to kneel, to ask, what? What, Lord, can I do now to battle? My kids are all young. The war, is less obvious. It's over there, beyond those hills, I only see the smoke, hear the cannons occasionally. What, Lord, can I do now to battle?

He answered that question. Just because the battle is unseen doesn't mean it's any less real. So I fast and I earnest. And the battle rages and there are times I get a terrifying peek at what I'm battling against.

And I have learned that the best way to battle is on the offensive.

"...I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." (Matt. 16:18) Gates are not weapons. They are fortifications, making us, the church, the aggressors. Aggressively we battle against the darkness that reaches out to claim our children. And the battle we engage in now, counts. It counts for the now and it counts for the future.

I can testify to this.

And we wake up prepared to do battle. We put on the armor of God, " that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground..." (Eph 5:13)

We keep our eyes peeled for danger. "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them." (Matt. 7: 15,16)

Sometimes the wolves are very cleverly disguised indeed.
Sometimes battling for my children is battling against myself.
My selfishness wraps a sheep's cloak around itself and indulges, to the detriment of my children. The fruit gives it away and I do battle and the Lord wins.

And He always will. "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 15:57)

Now that's a battle I can enjoy with Rowan-like pleasure. Because what satisfies more than a good battle? A good battle that's already won.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

An Unlikely Trio

She started my day with a laugh.

I had to ask her, for the thousandth time, "How did you get so cute Rose?"

She replied solemnly, "It was just an accident mommy."

Tonight I went up to kiss her, and spider-like, she wove herself into my arms. "Tell me about Jack and the Beanstalk mommy!"

I cradled her, my last baby, and began, "Once upon a time...."

She interrupted, right around the golden hen, "Mommy, I see the light in your eyes."

"It's just a reflection of the lamp lovey, listen......"

Yes, the light shining through me, this love and joy, is just a reflection of a much greater light. When your long limbs make it impossible for me to cradle you any more, the God whose light I reflect, will cradle, and His stories will be much more original than mine.

I wind up my tale, "So the beanstalk fell down, down, down, and the giant landed far away in another country."

"And he died mommy. He went up to Heaven to be with the big bad wolf and Pa Greg."

She ended my day with a laugh.

And this is life, sandwiched between laughter......

Cradled and loved in reflected light......

Delighting in the story......

Friday, January 14, 2011


We've lived in this house for eight years and I've never been in the attic. I suppose if I had to give a reason for this, I'd say because it's where dead things are buried. Things that we no longer use. The plastic coffin of baby Avonlea's stuffed lambies. Bins labeled "nostalgic" that no one will ever look in till I'm dead and their only comments will be, "why in the world was this nostalgic?" They won't know the story that consecrated it. But mostly, I think of the tombs of yearbooks, newspaper clippings, and journals of a girl that's long been laid to rest.

But Wednesday night it happened. Dave and all the kids were up there organizing Christmas stuff and I stifled my morbidness and climbed the ladder. I saw the relics of other houses; stools, pictures, and tables. I saw all the bins of clothes, some to my horror, mislabeled. And there, appropriately in the corner, were.....the remains. With much fear and trembling I took two boxes down with me. Avonlea and Grant were interested and I was curious myself, was I really as bad as I remembered?

I showed them my few childhood treasures, things that evoked all kinds of memories. Trophies, medals, banners, things that had stories dripping off them. I told what I could. Then it was bedtime and Dave put them down so I could finish the raiding. I read some journals, letters, poetry, and even college papers. I winced, I choked back tears for this wayward sinful child. I made the decision to cremate the remains.

The next day I was on the treadmill, walking briskly towards a new year's resolution. I was reading C.S. Lewis' Miracles. This book works out my brain while the treadmill works my body. Lewis was trying to differentiate between what our imagination conjures up and what our mind knows. For instance, if you were to say "attic" to me, I'd see my stack of journals and waylaid trophies. However, mentally, I'd know this wasn't the definition of "attic". An attic is a storage area under the eaves that is usually unfinished and primitive. We do this all the time. If we're not thinking critically we can mistake the image in our head for the actual definition.

People do this with miracles. They hear the word and get a mental image of Jesus raising Lazarus or feeding the 5,000 or something similar during his earthly ministry. Or perhaps Noah's ark or Jonah's aquatic adventures come into our minds. These were absolutely miracles....but those aren't the definition of miracle, just examples. Lewis defines a miracle as, "an interference with nature by a supernatural power."

It hit me last night as I walked by the boxes, stacked, ready to be taken back up to the crypt.

I am a miracle!

God interfered with the natural way my life was headed by supernatural power. I am miraculously saved by His grace! That corpse of my old life lay there because of His supernatural interference in my life. When I think critically, guided by the definition of miracles, I can see them all around me. The changed lives of my friends, my husband, my children. The altered outcomes of anxious situations. Things that in all rights should have ended tragically, but ended joyfully. Miracles!

I see many more trips to the attic in my future. There is much that needs to be sorted and weeded out and I am not afraid to do it. I am a new creation cleaning out the old cocoon and thanking God for resurrection!

"In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." Romans 6:11

Saturday, January 8, 2011


After the last post, I went upstairs exhausted by my transparency. I turned off the lights and jumped into bed. I did not however meet the soft flannel sheet I had anticipated. I landed on a magna-doodle (this may not be the technical name). Light back on. The magna-doodle had a sketch of a little boy and a mama, both with abnormally large bellybuttons, holding hands. Underneath was written, "I love you Mom. You are such a good mother." Accompanying this was a chocolate coin and a piece of paper echoing the magna-doodle sentiments.

I grinned and went to get a piece of paper out of my desk to return the compliment. I opened an unused drawer and found paper and a little book. The book was a 365 day booklet of questions. I had given it to my dad ten years ago. I asked him, to answer a question a day, so that Grant could have a keepsake of the grandpa he was named after. I put this book away after my dad's funeral 4 1/2 years ago.

I couldn't help but open it. I couldn't help but laugh. For example, I opened to....

June 23, Did you ever go skinny-dipping?
"I can not remember doing that. I did walk across the creek in my bare feet."

June 1, Tell about a strange person that lived in your town.
"Bad eye Salutsky -all I know- he was bad."

April 26, Did you ever take anything that wasn't yours?
"Get behind me Satan."

November 7, Did you ever see a President or a Vice-President in person?
"Today is Gloria's birthday. Happy Birthday Gloria."
You can see the quirkiness we loved and tolerated in turn. Grant has many of his grandpa's quirks but he also inherited something else....a love for his mommy. My dad loved his mother so much so that my mother felt moving to Alaska soon after they were married would be in the best interests of everyone. So I have come to cherish this in Grant and accept it as hereditary. He asked me at five, repeatedly, to marry him. I replied by rote, that I was already married to daddy. Once after a pause, he ventured, "Who do you think is going to die first?" That's just the way he is.
But it's surprised me these last few months to find that Rowan is also developing this trait. It may possibly come from watching Grant. His little heart is turning to me with new depths of devotion. Last night while we sat in front of the fire, Avonlea read out loud to us, and Rowan snuggled close. His hand found the back of my neck and he pulled my ear to his mouth and whispered, "Mommy, if you die on the road, I'm going to lie down next to you and die too. I never want to be apart from you."
I have a premonition that both of my sons will live far away with their wives and that it will be in the best interests for all involved. Honestly, I wouldn't trade this son-love for anything in the world. If they learn to transfer it to a woman, some gal is going to be very cherished. If they learn to transfer it to God, watch out.

So even now, I think ahead, but I also savor. Who wouldn't? There won't always be magna-doodles in my bed and a boy's love is a precious thing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Silent and....Sweet?

I've been trying not to complain lately, but the truth is....I'm so much more interesting when I vent. I'm slowly learning to hold my tongue and it's very say the least. Tonight for example....I was at worship team practice and a new guy asked me a question. An obvious question I felt, he asked, "Do you like this sort of thing?" Being inclined towards transparency, I looked at him not altogether kindly. (Why would I be there singing for hours on a Thursday night if I didn't like it????) Anyway, he replied (to my look), "Well I don't really know you at all. We've never had a conversation." I so so so wanted to say, "Oh well I can just tell you that I'm really nice. And cute. And I'm funny. And I like to sing which is why I'm at church for hours on a Thursday night." BUT I DIDN'T. I said nothing...several times over.

When Avonlea informed me on Monday that she forgot how to multiply and divide over Christmas break, and as a finishing stroke told me it was my fault because I gave them three weeks off instead of two (!!!!!!!!!!!!) I thought of several things I could utter. BUT I DIDN'T. I said nothing...several times over.

When my mother told me my new coat looked too small............

I could go on.

And I will. There are two situations frustrating me right now.

Situation One: I am trying not to drink tea because the caffeine is bothering me. I don't like the taste of decaffeinated tea and I'm not fond of herbals. I miss floating through my house with my tea cup in my hand. I miss the sweet tasting warmth of tea. I miss the unmistakable air of a tea party that pervades and enlivens my life. I feel ugly without a tea cup. Is this too much information?

Situation Two: We have five Persian cats. Three of them have been mating for a YEAR and we have yet to have kittens. The vet suggested a gene specialist in Portland take a look at them. Do people really do that? All this mating with no reward! The yowls and stances that jar me.....for nothing (in my opinion, I'm sure Lewis would argue this). Every time one of these furry felines walk by I cringe, hope deferred personified.

All this without a husband here to soothe and comfort! Dave is working long hard hours and I miss him. And I suppose that is why I'm sitting here talking to a computer.
This probably isn't healthy.
I vented and now I will go saying nothing.........several times over.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

She can laugh......

So my plans for this week, the wood between the worlds, was to organize (the above picture is my efforts in the boys' room), ponder, and prepare. INSTEAD.........Dave and the boys headed to LaPine for some snow time with Pa and Ma and I got a week of GIRLS!!!!!!
I must admit....I went a little wild. We went shopping every day. I ate cookies for breakfast. I let Rose get her ears pierced. I bought Avonlea make-up. I let Avonlea stay up till midnight and we read poetry, did our hair, and drank sparkling cider out of goblets. I stayed in bed till 10am. I took Rose to the build-a-bear store and let her indulge. We rode the carousel. We watched Anne of Green Gables. We went out for dinner. Need I go on..........
How much fun we've had, just being the GIRLS! We've bonded and laughed and ushered in a loving, accepting, delightful new year.

This week, I also finished reading The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery Volume 4. We know now, that the beloved author of Anne of Green Gables was a very depressed woman. Everyone back then would have known it had they been able to read her journals. They are utterly heartbreaking.
"At times I am filled with such a terror of the future that I cannot face it."
"I am a prisoner with no hope of release."
"He is the only thing I have to comfort me." She is referring to her cat.
My mind kept comparing her words with the words of Proverbs 31. The contrast was stark.
"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." (vs 25)
"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." (vs 26
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." (vs 30)
And as I romp and play with my girls this week I ponder these things in my heart. And when we snuggle up and watch Anne of Green Gables and little Rose turns to me and asks, "Does Anne (pronounced "On") love Jesus Mommy?" I cringe and tell her that "On" is just pretend, it's just a story. And as delightful as Anne is, she's not the role model I want for my girls.
I want them to be women who fear the LORD. I want them to never be afraid of tomorrow because He will never leave us or forsake us. I want them to throw inhibitions to the wind and walk courageously forth as the girls He has made them.
And I want them to laugh, joyously, at the days to come.


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