Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Sometimes God brings people into your life who speak your language,
the individual dialect of your personality.
Sometimes we birth those people.
Rose knows, in her wisdom of five years, how to interpret me.
She understands the puckered lips, the wide eyes, the slow calm, "Uh-huh."
We talk about fairies and flowers and other things that no one else really cares about.
She makes me laugh like my dad used to make me laugh, with a surprised gasp and then a trill of laughter.
For example, walking home from the antique store on Saturday, we passed a person smoking a cigarette.
"Smoking is bad, right Mommy?"
"Yes darling, smoking is terrible for your body and God wants us to take care of our bodies."
"I know it's bad Mommy, but I think I'm going to do it anyway when I grow up. If you see me could you remind me that I'm not supposed to?"
Gasp. Laugh.

This morning I taught for three hours. I finally finished everyone up except Rowan who was still drawing a bat in his nature book. I slipped off to what would be called my "man cave" were I of a different gender, and started up my computer. I glanced at the clock and saw I had 20 minutes until I needed to make lunch. Perfect. Rose came in with a big smile and a bigger stack of books. Not so perfect.
"I thought you might want to read these to me."
"Rosy, mommy's been reading for three hours, I'm hoarse."
"I'll look at the pictures while I wait for you."

Hmmmm. I began typing but noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was fascinated by a picture in one of her books. I caught a glance of a huge dragon breathing fire at a little boy. I cringed, she's a sensitive soul, like her mommy, and gets nightmares from pretty much everything.
She turned wide eyes to me and said, "WHERE is his mommy!"

I pounced on her then. Holding her close I asked, "What are you going to become Rose?"
She answered, "A ballerweena. Maybe a princess." She caught my eye and said in her naughty voice, "I'm going to be a step-mother."
Gasp. Laugh.

I've never met a child who wanted to be a step mother,
who thought they were probably going to smoke when they grew up,
who wanted to talk to irresponsible mommies about letting their little boys play with dragons.

It's the language of absurdities and shocking statements and gasping laughter.
It's way easier than French.
And I love that in a world full of personalities,
two of us nuts landed here,

Tonight I sang a song as I slid pumpkin chocolate chip cookies off a tray, "Ohhhh don't you know, we belong together, ohhhh."
Big hazel eyes looked up from the cookies and a little voice answered the question I didn't know I was asking, "Yes, I do know."
I know it, too.
We belong, here in this kitchen, in this life,

Monday, September 24, 2012


I grew up in the shadow of a mountain.
The mountains were a protective hedge around our home in Alaska.
They put my little life into perspective; daily.
They were massive and comforting and there.

When I moved down here to the states, I remember someone asking me if I had seen "the mountain."
I responded with my typical grace and sensitivity, "The mountain! You only have one?!"

I traded my mountains and woods for neighborhoods and libraries and parks.
When we were first married, Dave and I would go hiking every weekend.
We continued, even after we both had a baby strapped on our back.
But eventually, our hikes ceased and life became an indoor affair.
I lost some of my perspective.

But this summer, I grew up in the shadow of a mountain.
Yes, it was the mountain; the one and only.
But even in it's singularity it brought me back to something.
It connected me with a home. A home that was never perfect, but was mine nonetheless. A home where a mother and father and sisters and a brother lived. A home where cats paraded and pianos plunked. A home where we were outside more than in, even when the temperature was below freezing.
I am comfortable in nature because it feels like coming home.
That is a great gift, one I don't want to cash in for a house, no matter how lovely the house may be.

We've spent the last two weeks in school and have approximately 34 weeks left.
During these two weeks, I've thought repeatedly of our summer up in the woods, at the cottage.
I watched my children grow there, outside.
I watched as they explored the world God made, the beautiful, breathtaking world.
I saw them dance in the dusk with bats and then fall into bed, dirty and exhausted.

Now, I see them bent over their math books, and I realize that some of my perspective came back this summer.
I want them to be diligent, but I would rather they feel at home in the woods than with a textbook.
I want them to be hard workers but I also desire that they know where to go to be refreshed.
I want them to learn to seek perspective from the mountain.

Tomorrow I will wake up at 6:30 am. I'll do some sit-ups and head into the autumn air for a run. I'll walk briskly up a long steep hill (I only run downhill). When I get to the top I'll look out across the gorge and I'll see the lone mount rising out of the mist. I'll thank God for the past it connects me with and the future it offers me. I'll stand for just a moment in the shadow of the mountain.

"Come, let us go up to the
mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths."
Micah 4:2

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Random End of Season Ramblings

It's been along time since I've sat down to write at the computer.
I've been busy.
It's been a distinctly good summer,
but I'm ready to move on into the school year.
The children are antsy and Grumpy Mommy has emerged
to quell them.
They prayed out loud for me while we drove in the car today.
They prayed that I wouldn't be so grumpy. Every one of them sent up a petition.
It was touching.
And it helped for approximately five minutes.
So, hurrah for a schedule around here, where Grumpy Mommy turns into Purring Mommy who resembles the Persian cats (minus the clogged eye ducts).

Here are some pictures of when Dave took the kids camping last week.

These are some reasons that I don't go camping with them. They eat things like crayfish. This time the boys also, creatively, caught water skaters, boiled them, and ate them, too. Yum.

On the way up to the cottage Avonlea decided to read out loud to the kids. Now, our family has never used the term "butt" we say "bum". I'm proper that way. However, I didn't realized that none of our kids even know what that term means. Avonlea is reading a book aloud about a canyon and the word "buttes" figures into the story heavily. She pronounces this "butts". I correct her once. She ignores me. I'm starting to get rather uncomfortable but am unsure of how to proceed. Then she reads the sentence, "So they sat down around the campfire and stared up at all the beautiful, shining, butts." An anatomy conversation followed.

Our time at the cottage was exciting. The pear harvest is beginning and there are workers and trucks and bustle everywhere. Avonlea and Grant were able to help harvest Bartlett's on Sunday. They loved it! The farmers who farm our orchard are wonderful people and they are so good to the kids. Farmer Dave showed the kids how to trap gophers. He took them to one of the traps and showed them the dead gopher, buried it, and then showed them how to reset the trap. This is the equivalent of Heaven to my boys. Rosy however, dubbed Farmer Dave, "Bloody Gopher Man." She was disciplined and she told him sorry, but we can't get the name out of our heads. She has a way with words and I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up naming lipsticks for a living. The boys unburied the dead gopher to show Dave. They then attempted to unearth the poor soul again to show me. I wouldn't have it. No matter, I dreamt of Pet Cemetery all night that night. A crazy jumble of giant gophers, snapping traps, and Bloody Gopher Man.

I've been immersed in the book The Outliers. I'd be immersed in it this minute if it wasn't for the fact that Dave took it and immersed himself. Anyway, it's about the 10,000 hour theory. In short, the idea that if you practice anything for 10,000 hours you will be exceptional at it. So of course I took it and applied it to homeschooling. Most people don't know what they really want to do until they're older. What if you knew at 7 and started racking up the hours while most kids your age were eating water skippers? So....I explained all this to Avonlea, who practices music an hour and a half a day already, and asked her if that was want she wanted to excel at. Her answered picked up my world and shook it like a snow globe. She said, "What I really want to do is get married and be a mommy. I want to home school my children. I want to be like you. So really, I don't need to know anything."

The day after this comment I went out and bought a guitar. The day after that I got CDs that will apparently teach me French while I drive and I can already say "What do you want?" in French, so I suppose it's working. I guess Avonlea's comment made me wonder what I have learned intellectually in the last ten years. Surprisingly little. I haven't pursued knowledge, but it's pursued me. The things I've learned, I've learned for the sake of survival. God's brought the life lessons I've needed when I needed them. So maybe this too, has come at an opportune time. I can spend an hour a night working on French and guitar. At that rate, I'll be exceptional in 27 years, 145 days.

And then, won't you be glad you know me?

I wonder if lipstick naming is lucrative.


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