Thursday, April 26, 2012


We drove out to the cottage on Saturday. It was a glorious day. We passed a popular hiking trail and I saw a sight that brought a wry smile to my face. It was a red pick-up with a teen age girl and boy in the back. They were obviously not siblings, if you get my drift. The warm sun beat down on their entwined bodies and rapt faces. They were in love, and there was this clear circle around them and their red pick-up.
The wry smile had to do with what I saw when I brought my gaze back inside the mini van. At my feet laid a dog who had under gone a mastectomy the week before. Yes, Winnie-the-Pooch has breast cancer. One breast has been removed, but apparently she has seven more to go.
Immediately to my left was my husband. Sweet, loving man who recently told me I was whining. Which was not true. I was stating facts, simply stating facts. Some facts can not be stated with a smile. Fact.
Behind and between us was a Persian cat in labor. Yes, that too, you read correctly. On Thursday we had a Traumatic Delivery of the Himalayan cat during Spanish class. The story is long and involved and ate my entire day and ended, by the grace of God, in the delivery of one dead kitten and four live ones.

We mated Guinevere with an orange and white cat. Hmmm.....

Anyway, Jane, the Persian, decided I didn't have enough stress the day before and went into labor on Friday afternoon. She delivered a deformed kitten (for the record it was also black and white). She continued in labor for so long that we decided not to waste our lives sitting and staring at her cervix, but to just pack her up and take her up to the cottage with us.

Hence, the Persian in labor.

On top of the menagerie, there were four children in different stages of consciousness, some drooling others merely jerking.

Perceive the motivation for the wry smile yet?

As I looked around, I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. Having a family is so much fun. Really. Nothing you could offer could entice me to go back to red pick-up days. Really.

At the cottage this week, this was confirmed. My eldest daughter, turned 12.

We forgot to pack candles and made do with sticking matches in the cake.

She and her friends had a lovely day of wading in the brook and running through the orchard and playing dolls. They are beautiful, healthy, loving girls.

Jane gave Avonlea a birthday present and delivered the rest of her kittens in the doll house room.

The rest of the week we just enjoyed the beauty around us. We worked hard stacking wood and clearing trails. We found nature full of surprises.

The new wheel barrow was a big hit.

Weapons are always entertaining.

So I laugh to think Dave and I were once a red pick-up pair. We've morphed into a minivan stuffed with animals and kids and drool and laughter. And I'm so glad.

Having a family is so much fun.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rose is Five and has Hair

This is Rosy and Bridgette.

When Rose turned one, we took her to the American Girl store to pick out a baby. Picking out, at one, means grabbing one and slobbering all over it. She slobbered on this one. Dave named her Bridgette. We joked at the time that Bridgette and Rose looked like twins. Bald heads, bitty nose, blue eyes.
Bridgette gets kissed at night and tucked in next to her mother Rose. Bridgette gets all the perks that come with being the baby's baby.
The night before my baby turned five I went into her room to kiss her before bed. She was already asleep, black fringe laying on white cheeks. I kissed her and Bridgette and then I had a bitter thought. They don't look alike any more. Rosy's eyes are green. The cartilage of her nose has taken definite form. She has hair.

I couldn't help it. The tears started, splashing all over Rose and Bridgette. I kissed them one more time and went to bed, they were only a little damp.
I don't usually cry at birthdays...but when your last baby turns 5.....

Daddy and his girl.

Birthday kisses!

My Rose!

I love happy kids!

By morning my tears were gone and the day was spent celebrating life! After all, it's pure joy to watch Rose matter what, I'll always have Bridgette.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Remembering the Debt

Two years ago, I told the Easter story to the kids. When I got to the part of the resurrection I said "But He didn't stay dead did He?"
Rowan looked up, hazel eyes a-sparkle and said, "NO! And THAT is the Big Surprise!"
I stared at him for a minute. Yes, it was a big surprise. No one expected that ending. Not His mother. Not His disciples. It was a massive earth shaking surprise.
But to me, it's just the end of a well known, well loved story. I lost the surprise of it in the familiarity.

This year, I thought about what I wanted to impress upon the kids at Easter. And it was that same idea, Jesus is full of surprises. Faith is surprising. Perusing Hebrews 11 lately leaves me speechless at how crazy faith is.  Build a massive boat no where near water? Sacrifice the only son, the one that God had promised would be heir? Walk through the Red Sea?
I make a rational decision and I call it faith. But it's not. It's a rational decision, well thought out, well prayed over. The things God has asked me to do by faith are crazy to my rational mind. It's not that God is not rational, it's just that He's full of surprises. Surprises that are way outside of our understanding.

So today, the day before Easter, we took the kids downtown to Portland to have lunch. It was a big surprise. We had a gift card to PF Changs and we used it, had an excellent lunch and talked about the surprise of the resurrection. Dave gave the waiter the gift card and we left him to finish up the bill while we headed to Powell's.
Well Dave was in for a surprise, because the gift card was unactivated and had a 0$ balance. Ouch. Dave took care of it and found me in Powell's and told me what happened.
As we walked back to the car I processed. What if we didn't have the money to pay for that meal? We walked past homeless people holding signs, and I wondered, what if we had consumed something we couldn't pay for?
And so it is, I can't pay for this life. I can't pay for my sins. I can't pay for an eternal home. But God can, and He did. In my rational mind, this makes no sense to me. Why would He do this for me? But when I look at it through faith, I see the debt, I see the payment. and I'm so thankful. So surprised!

"Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law." (Rom. 13:8)

I have talked to two friends today who reached out to others this weekend to share the joy and surprise of God's grace. Yes. It's accepting His grace by faith and turning around and offering it to others. Telling them that even though their gift card is useless, their bill is covered. Paid. That we understand how they feel cause we were on the street begging and God intervened and paid our debt. That Jesus is the definition of "surprise" and faith is not faith if you can wrap your brain around it.

I think I just preached a sermon and I'm really sorry about that. I got carried away. May you have a blessed Easter full of the surprise of Jesus!


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