Wednesday, January 30, 2013


our first week of homeschool, letter S /s/ Sun led the way; our biblical concept was Jesus is the light of the world. the science of suns, stars, and universes, the shakily drawn S, and the hysterically loud sibilance of /ssssss/ as in snakes....
week two segued with M /m/ Moon: I am the light of the world. flashlights and mirrors may not have honed the concept in a week, but the boys loved the light saber aspect plenty.
a semester since those early weeks, and we have more or less found our daily rhythm (well, i try, anyway) or at least accepted what happens (or not). i teach these lessons, some more prepared than others, some more obviously understood, and this week's H /h/ Horse teaches I will obey right away.
except i don't, always. and i asked shea if he did, and he said no, not always. we are so alike, he and i.
we took a break for late evening errands, and the sun had already pinked its way to purple shadows, and we drove the long way down ivy instead of around it, bump-bump-bumping over speed bumps and stopping every other crossing at the red hexagon commands. (we obey traffic laws under their pretense of protection. and our father who gives good gifts to his children, does he not provide ultimate safety?) thudding over last speed bump and stop-crossing through the last stop sign, the rest of the road should have been straight and smooth, but we stopped again at the uncovered man-hole, surrounded by those wooden hinged a-frames with reflectors at the top. shea wanted to know why a red light was shining at us, and i explained to him it was a reflector bouncing my headlights back toward us. with no hesitation he responded, "so our headlights are like Jesus, and we're like the reklector, right, mama?" 
my heart squeezed ever so tightly as i take in all the bigness of his question and understanding of our weeks-ago lessons, and i say, "yes, baby, just like that."

linking for the first time in months to a place near to my heart, at emily's imperfect prose w/ others.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where (i am)

where am i?

i'm buried under the laundry, and the dishes, and the fears of mothering well, you know the kind--it holds a standard and tells you not to fear; you'll never make it even close.
but sometimes i see past it all (not past the piles of folded clothes, ever) and believe, for moments at a time, that I AM enough, and certainly my little boys turn to me in all their clamor and sticky hands,
and though there is an undoing in mothering, there is a putting together again in the being needed.

i am needed; it buries.

i'm hidden behind homeschooling, teaching /m/ and /p/ and trying not to yawn my way through child sounding out words. i peer out in mild jealousy at starbucks mother in yoga clothes, who've actually been to yoga and look limber and trim, and i drink my cold coffee with my wrinkled yoga pants, and think, if they went to public school, then maybe i'd 
but it's not true. i wouldn't. i'm still carrying all this weight "post-baby" (*the weight of the world is love) and it's okay, sometimes. i have a friend who wishes her belly would stretch taut and scar with the growth inside. she wears her scars in her heart instead, and smiles while she waits. i'm learning.

my hair grows long like insecurity, and i pierced my nose to say i'm tough. these are my inconsistencies, and they serve to shield when i feel insubstantial. the parts of me that want to write books, or poetry, even blogposts... she's here, but she skirts to the margins of the everyday. every day rises with its needs, and the she- separate- from- the- rest, she lingers like a wallflower waiting to be asked to the dance.

so, i don't know if i'm here.

i know where i am, and here feels far away.

but my there needs me here, too, so perhaps i can try again? we'll see. 

(*the weight of the world is love by allen ginsberg)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fill the universe

juniors and seniors spoke
and the earth could have stood still
(he told me his heart did, for a minute):
a dad long-forgotten out of neglect and
and a son who name-embraced through
they spoke of minutia, the things that fill the universe
like tears and laughter
birth and decay

twin name-bearers, how do they seem now?
like a weed overgrowing the beautiful things
or like the lone dandelion offering sunny hope?

they don't know yet

Saturday, July 14, 2012

10 books that changed me

sarah says you can feel a person out by looking over the titles on someone's bookshelves. i agree wholeheartedly (and spy when i visit a home for the first time--whom of my friends shall i see? which new friends might i make?)
emily talks of the shadow these books make on our souls, and truly, i can feel the thumbprint of many characters, turns of phrases, and book covers in my heart. 
i've been reading as long as i can remember: ravenously, i learned about washing your hair, rinsing, and repeating, or the ingredients in toothpaste tubes, every game of cross-worded cereal boxes. i don't remember a time without the power of words in me. shy school-girl who found solace in books and played out her favorite stories when not reading them. books have been the grid of my life, and it's hard to narrow down to just a few, but here are 10 pieces of literature that changed, shaped, or defined me at some point. 

i was in 8th grade with Ms Shipley, and she read to us for the last 15 minutes of every class. i could not wait for the story, was devastated when the book was over, and immediately immersed in the new book before she'd gotten far at all. and then she read The Little Prince by Antoine de St.-Exupery, and i cried inside when it was over. i can't think of any book previous to this experience which moved inside of me so much a whole new universe had unlocked itself. the whimsy, the adult-child-understanding, everything about this book makes it a top-tenner every list.  i still cry when i put this book down, its words memorized, certain images forever implanted in my mind.

the next several books all came to me in my college years, and they've been a part of me since. i met my first real, christan girlfriend who sharpened me and loved on me and gave me A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. This is a lovestory with two dimensions; the first between a man and a woman, and the second about falling in love with the Savior. there is romance, heartbreak,love as service, and the everlasting Story of redemption and mercy. (this book also gave me my first glance into apologetics because of the letter exchange between van and c.s. lewis.)
in the same year my bible study leader grinned wildly while i timidly asked, "i know i'm a christian, and i believe that i am saved, but what does grace mean?" that was my year of grace, and she gifted me with her tattered and well-loved copy of The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. i think i truly became a believer at its close, and have worn ragamuffin's name ever since. 

when i had to read A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving for homework, i simply marveled at my english lit major that allowed me to laugh and cry and simply read beautiful words over and over. but with each re-reading of this poignant novel i am more appreciative of the complexity of irving's world and use of language. i read this in a class discussing christ-types, and owen is that but much, much more. 

i could list each of c.s. lewis's works here, as i took an entire philosophy course on him, but i will share my most-most favorite and sadly under-read novel by the famed author. Till We Have Faces is a retelling of the cupid and psyche myth as a pagan story about sacred love. in this haunting book i see myself everywhere, from the main character's fist-shaking at the gods/God to the love between sisters and mentors. if i were locked away on a deserted island, this would be the only book i'd take.

i'm a fiction girl through and through, but the memoir by dave eggers A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is a story of tragedy told in a cheeky manner full of self-deprecation and irreverence, while at the same time uplifting Good and making the urbane heroic. egger's parents die within 32 days of each other and he and his older siblings care for and raise their youngest sibling, and so it is a story of love and childhood as much as it is about the larger world around them dealing with the largest issues we all face. speaking of cheeky: i'm going to be sly and tell you to read They Shall Know our Velocity and What is the What, also by dave eggers. the first is incredibly fast paced (spend a vast amount of money on other people in a short amount of time) and the second is incredibly deep (a narration of a Lost Boy of Sudan and his struggles and victories both in africa and the US.)

Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz is a lot like Harry Potter was for me--everyone was reading it/them, so i refused to be, you know, trendy. and then i read anyway. blue like jazz opened up this part of me that i had been afraid to express, namely that my faith could ask questions both of myself and of my God, as well as the Church, and that i could be richer for the inquiry. i read blue like jazz and mourned the loss of spirtual community that i'd had in my college years and also made me eager for more like-minded comrades-in-arms. the book itself is so richly written that i found myself reading passages aloud when simply underlining them wasn't enough.

not exactly a book, but i'd be remiss if i neglected to mention the work of e.e. cummings. the fact that i don't have excerpts of his poetry tattooed all over my body is smply a matter of time. :)  i have long since eschewed capitalizing in my own writng, but he gives me much more than grammatcal freedom; i yearn and ache at the beauty in his love poetry and stylized language. 

if you don't enjoy reading plays, then this one won't be for you, but Translations by Brian Friel was magical for me.  encompassing my love of all things irish, love stories, and whimsical use of language, translations also explores the effects of colonization (in geography, society, and yes, language).  i'm still to this day haunted by reading the lover's exchange of their feelings, both written in english but presented as with a language barrier--one speaks gaelic and one speaks english, but feelings speak themselves out-loud anyway. truly, truly magical.  

for my last choice, i couldn't choose between two contemporary novels, so i offer The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein and The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.  The former is from a dog's perspective and is simultaneous outlandishly fun and humorous to thought-provokingly deep and tragic. i loved the reading of every single page of this book. and no title has ever been more evocative of the treasure inside than elegance. i think truly, it is one of the most elegantly written novels i've read. it tells the story of a concierge, a 12 year old girl, and a japanese gentleman, whose lives intertwine to tell a story so rich you savor every surprise and indulge in the incredibly intelligent writing.  

enjoy this little glimpse at the books on the shelves of my heart and indeed my home. i'll read these again and again! have you read any of these? would you recommend anything else?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How longing is yellow

i never knew, til that day, reading her words.
just a blip, but it screamed in my ears.
no, it didn't. but it did make my stomach leap a little
like ridng a roller coaster and the unexpected
thrill of suddenly going down
(just kiddng. i hate that part. no thrill)
"but it's true,"
i thought.
that ache in the pit of my stomache:
the smear of crushed dandelions on my fingers,
the creamy tart of homemade lemon curd
(even w/ some of the eggwhites showing their slip
like how i never could seem to keep mine
from peeking out of easter hemlines).
or the catch in my throat when i hear that line from that song:
the limpid curls of cressida's crown,
the flickering spark of butane lighters,
(i miss that smell, a little- not a lot, just enough).
 all this yellow melancholy,
dropping like the petals
(he loves me falls with just as much oomph
as he loves me NOT--
i believe this now. i didn't then.)

Saturday, June 30, 2012


we had VBS. then last week we had 5-day club. these have to be intrinsically good becuase the gospel is shared, but they wore me out like nobody's business.
and so i woke up on thursday a little earlier than usual (i'm a sleeping in kind of mama, and i have mostly sleeping in kind of boys), with just one awake, and i almost didn't know what to do.
but i did what any sane mom would do: i made coffee in the christmas present keurig, poured my creamer and sugar in, stirred til it swirled, and i took a hot sip of coffee.  such a small pleasure to be such a languishing victory.
i wish i could say i read my bible or prayed beyond the popcorn prayers i've been offering when certain people enter my mind, but i did sit, quietly before the clamor of three more boys came in offering dream recounting, diapers needing changes, and breakfast served right up.

the rest of the coffee usually swirls to tepid, and by then the day is too hot to care anymore, but for 30 minutes i enveloped the warm silence.

i'm late in joining, but michelle is having a graceful summer series. join us?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Where the wild things exist

a mother i don't know
told her daughter to save
in her world
for the


there is no
as wild
and reckless
as love

(i don't think)

but some people

and weed them

i have

(i think)

is my heart
to hold all the
tame, calm creatures
as well as
the wild that exists
in darker forests,
higher mountains,
eery oceans,
and vaster plains
than i'll

to love a wild thing
is a secret

linking for the first time in a long time with emily and a whole wild community of imperfection