Sunday, February 27, 2011

From the Chronicles of Ma Glo

The day started strangely.
I laid in bed while four rambunctious children alternated jumping, yelling, and kissing me. Grant with a Nerf gun and foam missiles turned my peaceful bedroom into a war zone. I opened my mouth to still the uprising and I ended up with a Nerf missile sticking out of it. The kids found this incredibly humorous. Grant had liquid laughter running down his face.
"It was just like the three stooges!"
Dave and I finally evacuated the troops and proceeded with our day.
At breakfast Ma Glo called and told me she'd take a couple kids with her to the store. This, my friends, is grace. For most of you, like myself, do anything short of crime to avoid the stress of taking young children in the grocery store. My mom sacrifices her sanity willingly to give us some time to get stuff done.
The next issue was who got to go with her. Rose was a given. Rowan and Grant both claimed it was their turn. Avonlea turned her big brown eyes on me and said, "I've never gotten to go Mom."
It was true. She stays home dutifully every Saturday and cleans the bathrooms and the floors with me. The balance swayed in her favor. I told her she could go after she finished her work.
Mom, Rose, and Avonlea set off blithely, and I gave them a lunch list.
Three hours later, I called to tell Mom that if they came home and found us all unconscious, it was from food deprivation.
She, however, was in no mood to hear about it. She was still in Whole Foods and had been stressed in the worst way. She told me about it, graphically.
They had gotten to the store to find that she had forgotten her purse at home.
They came home and got it.
Pulling off the freeway, on the way back to the store, a car side-swiped them.
Mom and the driver rolled down their windows and Mom ordered him to pull over on the side of the road. Avonlea claimed that she had been scared but at this point she got excited, "Because I knew there would be a scene!"
The offender turned out to be a 17 year old guy who wasn't paying attention (sound familiar?).
My mom had her full mother-bear nature roused by this time and began with the intimating statement, "Do you know why we're not dead? It's because the blood of Jesus is all over this car!" A feeble apology and a questioning glance at the blue car did not suffice. "Those are my granddaughters in the car! You could have hurt my granddaughters!" Feeble apology. "Are you a Christian?" Answered in the affirmative. "You'd better be if you're going to drive like that!"
There was quite a bit more in this same vein. I'll spare you.
Finally they got to the store and Mom was a walking time bomb of stress and strain. She waited at the deli counter and saw people working on things behind the counter, but no one helped her.
She raised her voice and yelled, "Is anyone going to help me?"
Here is about where Avonlea decided she was content to stay home and clean toilets.
That night at dinner we expressed our gratitude to God for the girls safety and Avonlea added, "And please help that poor boy that hit us."
Maybe we should pray for the deli guy, too.
I have a feisty Mommy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I made Rosy change out of her summer dress this morning.
She was going to play in the snow and thin cotton wasn't going to cut it.
I told her to pick out something else.
She yanked open a huge drawer, square area larger than herself.
It was stuffed from recent outlet store binges.
Her eyes roved the contents and she said, "This isn't enough for me."
I started to laugh at the ludicrousness of her comment, but it choked in my throat.
I thought of some things I've asked for recently.
I thought of my roving eyes and how in so many words I've said it too.
"This isn't enough for me."
Did God manage a chuckle?
I'm so thankful for the reminders that He gives.
So thankful that I'm growing up in Him, part of His family.
I dressed Rose in a red velvet dress with white snow flakes on it, bundled her up and sent her out.
I dressed her appropriately-warm for the falling snow, beautifully-because I love her, and tenderly- because she's my precious little girl.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tide Pools

This morning I sat on a rock jetty pondering tide pools.

It was our last beach morning.

For the last three days I had gone out with the kids, and Ma Nancy or Dave, and combed the beach. I watched wide eyed as the kids ran and yelled and danced. They fed sea gulls. They looked for shells. And they searched tide pools.

I don't know what fascinated me about it this time. We are tide pool frequenters. But I had to sit this morning and soak it in. The beauty of a tide pool.

Grant raised a handful of hermit crabs. Rose screamed joy over a starfish. Avonlea's head stayed bowed in attentive contemplation for minutes on end. Rowan tickled sea "enemies" and giggled as they closed on his finger.

Apparently, these dark holes of stagnant water hold treasure.

The tide which floods with a vengeance deposits rich booty for seekers.

My children are seekers. Am I?

At one point they all huddle over one pool, intent. Behind them is the lighthouse that Dave and I walked towards almost 15 years ago on a college retreat. The walk where Dave told a speechless girl of his love for her. The lighthouse has symbolized our journey, our never-ending walk of love.

Dave says something to the kids and they all look up at the same moment.

All at once, I see the treasure in my tide pool.

The floods which nearly overwhelmed me, were only making a deposit.

I see wonders when I look.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


To make a long story short....we have more cats than we know what to do with.
We started out with Ivanhoe, a Ragdoll breed. We loved having a big fluffy cat around so....Dave and I decided to breed Persian cats. Avonlea and Grant would be responsible for the care of the cats/kittens, and they would get the sale money to put toward college.
We bought a calico Persian (Lancelot) to be the male stud.
Lancelot, unfortunately had a defective jaw which was pronounced hereditary. He was not a good stud. We had him fixed and kept our eyes open.
Six months later we found Lewis, a Turkish Van Persian. Dave fell in love with him and we brought home a new stud.
Now all we needed was a woman. We found a cattery on Craigslist and went for a peek. We impulsively came home with two females, Guinevere and Jane. Let the kittens begin!

Lewis was kept in a cage (it was roomy) in the basement and whenever the girls would go into heat, we'd throw them in. After a year we have yet to have kittens and Lewis has been labeled, "infertile."
We now have five cats and our children have no college plans.

The three males have taken up residency outdoors.
They look lovely out in the snow this morning. Picturesque.
Life doesn't always work out just the way we planned. As I have previously stated, "life is a broken banana." In this is infertile cats...really fluffy infertile cats.
But those fluffy infertile cats happen to be my children's best friends.
We sift through the frustration and find the joy.
After all........there's nothing like a purring cat in the night......
(Unless, of course, it was a pregnant purring cat....)

Monday, February 14, 2011


He crawls into bed at 4am.
He had been out doing pole lights for 8 hours in the cold and rain.
The shock of his frozen body entering the bed chills me awake.
I put my hand out, the cold goes through me with a jolt.
I scoot closer and wrap myself round, wishing I was bigger (not a common wish for me).
I offer the warmth and comfort that he, this hard working man, provided.
He's asleep almost instantly.
Only a mumbled, "I'm so cold," escapes before he's gone.
I try to will him some of my warmth and take some of his cold.
It's a puny small exchange for all he's given me.
This man who goes out in the night and lights up dark spots.
This man who has explored every crevice in my heart and illuminated any shadows.
This man who has led our marriage to the foot of the cross.
This warmth is so little, but I gladly give it.
I fall asleep radiating love.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Sacred State

In the sacred state between sleep and consciousness, reality hones.
The essential moments come into sharp focus and the unessential moments become nothing, a mist that clears in a moment.
This is what I see/hear in the sacred state..
Grant's voice singing to himself, over and over, "I'll never know how much it cost, to see my sin upon that cross....I'll never know how much it cost, to see my sin upon that cross. I'll never know..."
A coyote still and watchful poised by the roadside illuminated by the moon.
Rosy's screams over finding a lady-bug. "Ahhhhhh, but I like it! Ahhhhhh, but I like it!"
Me, laying down laughing at her. Joy echoing through the house.
My husband giving the neighbors a bag of M & Ms from Costco because he loves.
Avonlea at the piano singing Phantom of the Opera.
Listening to my friend on the phone, feeling with her words, loving her dearly.
Rowan's eyes squinting into little slits of laughter, proclaiming his heritage of joy.
My drive home in the dark, crying over God's love for us. Thanking Him for what I can never earn or deserve.
These realities are what's left of 24 hours spent. The interest on the deposit.
What's left when the laundry shrinks, and the dishes chip, and water evaporates.
What's eternal,

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bloody Ballet Slippers

I had just washed the sheets.

She decided to tuck herself in during quiet time.

Bladder full.

She woke up and realized she soaked the work of my morning with urine.

She hid.

I found and comforted and put the sheets back in the washer.

I gave her a banana.

I went to Avonlea's room to see if she had finished sewing the elastic on my ballet slippers for me. I needed them for lessons tomorrow.

She had sewed on one strap. In three days. It was done wrong and badly. She was reading a book. A book that she had read a dozen times before.

I picked up the slippers, threaded a needle, and began the painful process which really can't be called sewing. I hit my finger more than the elastic and the blood started to run.

Rose came up crying, "Mommy my banana broke in half! I can't eat it!"

Normally I would have comforted.

Under the circumstances I replied, "Get used to it Rose. Life is broken bananas. Life is dreams broken in half. That's life. That's normal and if you refuse to take it as it comes, you starve." I looked down through the mist in my eyes and saw the blood running all over the pink leather, and I said, "Life is bloody ballet shoes."

I can remember excruciating hours as a girl on my pointe shoes. I would unwind the sheep wool around my bloody toes after long rehersals. If too much blood had dried onto the wool I would have to soak my foot in water to get it off. I would look at the few toe nails I had left and think, why am I doing this to myself? I was pretty sure I was never going to be a professional ballerina. What was the point of all this training and discipline?

I've taught many, many little girls how to dance. At a dance studio in Portland, at Friday School, and in my home. It's given me so much pleasure and joy. I have been able to teach my own little girls and their little friends. The joy now is worth more than the pain then.

I finished sewing and my fingers looked like some rare form of porous coral. I said a few words to my big daughter on what trust and responsibility means. I went downstairs to find my little daughter eating a broken banana and evidently enjoying it despite it's brokenness.

I put on my bloody ballet slippers, and danced.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Farewell to Neverland

When Grant lost his first tooth he let out a wail of anguish. "I'm not Peter Pan anymore!"

(In case you forgot, one of Peter's charms was that he still had all his "little pearls.")

I've been known to say things to Grant like, "If you grow up any more you are going to get a big spanking."
And, "Maybe if we got you a really heavy hat to wear all the time, you'd stay little."
And my heart breaking, "Why, why do you have to grow up!"

This is Grant's birthday week and he was awful. Naughty, disobedient, sassy. I prayed, I enlisted friends to pray, I reasoned with him. Nada.

Finally, he cracked. "I just don't want to grow up! It's so easy to be good when you're little, but it gets harder and harder as you get older! I just want to be your little boy again."

We prayed together and I left bewildered. How in the world do you make growing up appealing?

The morning of his birthday, it happened. The scales fell from my eyes. I was struggling to open the bottle of vanilla and he saw me. "Could I try it Mom?" I almost resisted, he's just a little guy. But I handed it to him and turned to grab the next ingredient. He handed it back....opened. I saw the man emerging. The loving, helpful, good man.
Later that day I sat him down and I said, "Grant, I can't wait for you to grow up."

He looked at me and recoiled, "What makes you say that?"

I answered softly, with years of mother-love dripping from my voice, "Because you are going to be a good man. You are going to be a strong man who protects his family, who stands up for the weak, who seeks God and finds Him."

Grant's head went down, "Do you think so Mommy?"

"I know it."

I transitioned from tugging on the leash to running ahead and beckoning him to catch up with me.

I gave Peter Pan permission to leave Neverland.


I've always had a thing about doors.
It's the poetic image of moving though a barrier to get somewhere new.
Doors to let in.
Doors to go out.
I don't always walk through doors blithely.
Perhaps this stems from several traumatic door episodes.

Episode 1. Alaska. I was a young girl who heard a sound at the house door and assumed it was my mother coming home. I jerked the door open and found myself face to face with a moose. I closed the door quickly. Later, I fed it a carrot.

Episode 2. Alaska again. The cat was pawing at the sliding glass door and I let it in. I failed to see the live baby bird in it's mouth. The mother bird entered with the cat and the baby and there was a regular TOMMY SHAW. By the end of this episode I was sobbing, but managed to get every animal out of the house alive (thank you for helping Amy). The cat wouldn't speak to me for days.

Episode 3. Springfield, OR. I was at my sister's house and I stuck my head out the door to check on the dog. When I closed the door and turned around, my sister and all four of her kids started screaming. It seemed a huge preying mantis had lit on my head when I stuck it outside. I did what any sensible person (who everyone is screaming at and who doesn't know why only that it somehow involves her head because that is where they're looking) would do. I wiped my head on my niece's chair. It was rather traumatic for all involved.

Episode 4. This current home. My first day alone with 3 children. Little Rowan was 5 days old. Avonlea and Grant went outside to get some fresh air mid afternoon. I opened the door to let them come in, baby Rowan in arms, and urged Grant to hurry as he climbed up the ivy. When he was about 2 steps from the door he began screaming. I yanked him inside and pulled down his pants, as this was the area he was grasping. He had stepped in a bee hive. Bees went wild in our entry way. I tried to shield little Rowan. I tried to call Dave for help but threw the phone when I was stung on the hand. Brave little Avonlea almost beat me to death with the zipper of her coat trying to get all the bees off of me. Needless to say....traumatic.

So you see why I sometimes hesitate?
Why my hand pauses?
Why I love the poetry of opening the barrier, but sometimes find the result not poetic enough?

I co-owned a business for a few years called Door #1. It was an abstinence awareness venture. We spoke in high schools and youth groups on the importance of abstinence. I came up with the name Door #1 because I could tell them what would most likely happen should they choose abstinence. Any other door was a risk. Door #2 could be an STD. Door #3 an unplanned pregnancy. You just had no guarantees. Except abstinence.

Now in life I don't really have this choice. I can't abstain from opening doors and no door is mantis proof. However, I pray Matthew 7:7 over my boys at night, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. for everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
Last summer we decided to go on a trip to Prince Edward Island in the fall. We planned our route and looked up houses to rent. We bought our tickets. We went to bed that night full of excitement for our trip. Somewhere around 2am I woke up with the distinct feeling that someone was saying something to me. I listened and I heard, "You didn't even ask me." We hadn't knocked. We put our hand on the knob of a door that could have opened to a moose, or worse. We prayed about it (Dave had the same conviction before I said anything about it) and we knew we were not to go.

So although I hesitate, pause with my hand cupping the knob, it's not out of fear.
For if He says open, I will.
True, there are no guarantees, except one.
That God's grace is sufficient for me, no matter what is behind the door.
And really, what could be more poetic than that?


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