Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunlight on the water

"The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe." Joanna Macy

we made it to church for the first time in ages. it's been a month of sundays, to be exact. and in that time the graduation/advancement service happened, and i think subconsciously one of the reasons we didn't go was because we were so afraid shea would not handle the change well. he looks just like his father, but his heart is molded like his mama's, and we both cringe against the unknown. his tender little heart has grown to love routine and sameness, and the one sunday a while back his teacher wasn't there, he couldn't even stay in the classroom; how would he handle a new class and possibly new peers and definitely a new teacher?
beautifully, it seems.
easily, and smilingly.
it appears i did not have enough faith in him.
we also came on the last day of an apologetic series, this one on the god of the universe and the theory of intelligent design, on a cosmic and biological level. it takes faith to believe that kind of stuff.
i'm reading eat, pray, love this weekend. haven't seen the movie yet, and i bought the book for .50 at goodwill. it's been hard to stop for dinner and cleaning, and i feel like i want to read her prose forever. and this is with my cynicism built-in already. i guess i'm easy when it comes to a good story and better writing, but even that takes a kind of faith, no?

ms. gilbert writes on the subject of faith, and i found myself nodding, agreeing, appreciating, despite the fact that we know very different Gods:
if we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be... a prudent insurance policy. i'm not interested in the insurance industry. i'm tired of being a skeptic, i'm irritated by spiritual prudence and i feel bored and parched by empirical debate.  i don't want to hear it anymore. i couldn't care less about evidence and proof and assurances. i just want God. i want God inside of me. i want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water.
 i fully hear this heart-cry, and i weep tears for the breeze that pimples my skin in love, draws my breath in a hallelujah, the same breath that so easily turns to voice raised or fear-speaking. i know the desire to have God so fully present you have to see through him to see me, as i once read on a christian board online.
so today, instead, i continue the counting, numbering and naming my blessings, claiming each little breath of daily divinity, little morsels given til i realize i'm feasting on Him all day long.

131. reminder that he is Lord of heaven and earth, sung in many voices
132. for texas skies, bluer and wider than any i've known before
133. for a week, so much cooler, for chance to be outside enjoyably
134. for my scientific husband who helps me to see the beauty in the rational
135. and for his acknowledging that i help him to see with beauty-faith
136. for shea, unperturbed in sunday school, for a heart that loves to give
137. for connor, who has had many successes this week in obeying and discipline
138. for avery, little one, who makes all the rest of us smile wide and long
139. for friendly chat with online friend
140. for whole saturday morning spent with sister
141. and we bought books at that! so many books for very little money (goodwill has a clearance? who knew?!)
142. for faithful hands of doctors caring for other sister experiencing ongoing contractions, too early
143. for those little twin girls staying put, growing as much as they can
144. for husband to finally get some rest, and a positive word from his job/boss
145. for sunlight that shimmers on water
146. and the faith it takes to see the hand that created it all
147. and his grace, inside of me, alive
joining with ann and others today to count our way towards a thousand blessings.

holy experience

Friday, August 27, 2010


i was always so tired then, as swollen belly usually dictates, and i'd lean my head against the cool, smooth tile, letting the hot, hot water do its job. i could have stayed in there for hours; one showerhead pouring love on my lower back, the other rinsing my hair, long and tangled down to my waist, a new wide rivulet running down my side and thigh. he feared i stayed in there too long, not because i wasted so much water, but for the temperature rising (he'd read all the books, too), my skin bleating red protest.

i miss that shower. miss especially the stone bench and the luxury of several faucetheads, and most of all the little window that let so much light in but none out. it was summer, so it would rain often, and i remember feeling the magic of being showered on but watching rain splatter the earth. it was sumptuous, like grace or the believing in unicorns.

there is grace in this space, not ours, yet home-the chance to rinse off at all, or a wriggling little babe at my feet, splashing reverent, soapy bubbles, or one of those 30 minute drown-the-world sessions while he takes over out there.  there is no window to see the rain, no strategically placed jets of water, but there is still wonder in the washing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


he'd say, "let's tickle the old ivories," and we'd sit, he and i, cramped on the creaky piano stool he built himself, hymnal splayed between. his finger pads would fly, crescendo up the scale, warm-up. p. 52 waits with shaped notes--diamond, heart, circle--old-time methods for old-time songs, and a rugged cross stands solo. i sing, feeble, sweet, unsure, but happy and believing.

there were other times i remember happiness- walking down to his shop, viennese cafe smoking pale white tendrils against winter smells of sawdust and vicious cold, my hand burning around the mug.

or, that summer: his beat-up blue ford, truckbed ready for haulin' and workin', us 3 girls squished inside the cab. we were at the paradoxical age of 12: still young enough to gobble greedily the mountain dews and m&ms and old enough to begin experimenting with eyeshadow and furtive glances to see if any of the workers noticed us.
summers and winters end, and the world is changed after.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesdays are for perfection

oh, today has been lovely, and such a gift. my husband was supposed to leave today for the rest of the week, but he won't leave til tomorrow, giving us one more day and evening to spend with him, and he allowed me extra and much-needed time to sleep in this morning.
we've also gotten a break from the scorching heat, and so i took the boys to the park for the first time in ages. all three played so beautifully and well together, i was kind of amazed to be honest! i got knitting time in, and while it was hot enough for sweat to bead on my lip, it was so breezy i didn't mind in the least.
warm sun
cool breeze
knitting rhythm
quiet park
boy giggles shared
littlest so happy to join in the play
oldest so willing to share
and middlest all smiles

we truly had a lovely day today, so fitting to join with suzannah today!
so much shouting, so much laughter

Sunday, August 22, 2010

As good as a feast

when the weekend has been long and un-doing, the very best antidote is to remember, and count, the good gifts. so today i join ann at the gratitude community, and choose to give praise.

121. a girlfriend in the trenches with me, she starting her homeschooling this week, and i soon after. that we are co-journers, and hold hands across the way. she blesses me immensely.
122. e.e. cummings and sister-love who calls to read her favorite lines.
123. a tight week, but "enough is as good as a feast" (and hat-tip to above mentioned friend for sharing the wisdom of mary poppins with me)
124. a week of internal chaos and feeling out of sorts, out of control, and one tiny, insignificant project completed
125. hard words to hear, meant in love, so as to better me
126. forgiveness given
127. forgiving
128. salty tears running down but no accompanying migraine-blessed relief from this pain
129. my restless heart-that it would point me to the rest-Giver
130. "the year(s) the locusts have eaten" being replenished.

holy experience

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


my body feels weightless-rare-i cut and glide effortlessly graceful, amazed at the buoyancy. i float, drifting, water reflects sky reflects dreams, and i swim to forget the land's many tasks.
i never even knew how to swim properly til age 24, and i asked her if she'd teach me before i had to go.
(i am running away.)
her skin is wrinkled in fine lines, but brown and sinewy strong; mine is freckled,pale, and curvy-soft. she's an excellent swimmer, powerful.
i can't imagine her running away from anything.

every day, i treasure our hour together; i wonder what fall will be like when i can't swim with her anymore, when i won't have to see him again. i wonder if the breathing above water will be any easier than the snorkeling choking breath below. arm sweeps a waving arc, legs flutter kick, and i'm not sure if swimming's any easier than running.

(a tale of heartbreak, of love lost to a boy and being afraid of losing his mother's love, which i have not. this is like the prequel to my love story to my beautiful rickey, but a definite glimpse into my heart's ways, namely how easy it is to be afraid or want to run.)
linking with emily today.

Throwing away the pinch pots

i worked at a montessori school that year, my first post-college job, my first to feel like a grown up, despite being surrounded by little children. maybe because of it.
i assisted jodi, who taught me a lot that year, mostly about being true to yourself and how to listen with your soul. children and broken hearts need this the most, and i was both that year.

she was a potter, and taught a little slab work for art projects and end-of-year gifts. i knew instantly that i was made to love or appreciate pots, maybe make them one day, too.

many years later, i still have ever only attempted three bowls on the wheel, and i crumpled my first tiny pinch pots back into the pile for making slip. i shrugged off my disappointment and simmered in my own quiet perfectionism, vowing to buy the beautiful works of others.

i still struggle with perfectionism.
i like to quote the verse that says He will complete the good work started, but i often fail to live by it.
i see my oldest son, so sure and sensitive both; i see in him a demand for excellence, of himself and of his younger brothers.
i see my tiny middle man, so sunny and spirited, crumpling under two year old inabilities.

it is my turn to stop throwing away the pinch pots.
you hear the sermons reminding us we're all clay. the reverend asks, "now, if you're going to be clay in His hands anyway, wouldn't you rather be soft and pliable? wouldn't you rather be moldable than be stiff and unbendable, forcing him to break you?" it's a clever question, and one that gives pause. but the truth is, bisqued and glazed with our own hard hearts, or supple under the assumption we're so good, we are still in need of the Potter's grace.
grace-based parenting is the hardest thing i've ever done. i'm not so good at giving grace to myself but i want my boys to be excellent at it. i'm not so good at keeping unwarranted anger down, but i want my boys to feel loved and secure.
on a day of stormy tempers and breaking molars and sibling rivalry, i feel the need for grace in-dwelling. so today i sing the best chorus from one of the best songs*, and we dance.
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

writing on the spiritual practices of parenting this week with ann and *singing the song worlds apart by jars of clay.

holy experience

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An ode to motherhood


no one tells you how mothering splays your insides open,
like that frog in 6th grade science, stretched and pinned,
girls ewwing and boys high-fiving.
no one shares how inside you're all knotted up,
wondering when you will be normal again,
when you'll wake up and the dream is a happy one.
sure, they tell you "children are your heart walking around on the outside"
but you didn't think they actually meant it.
and they are.
you can peel back the looking at him as if he's an alien
and underneath you find all your childhood insecurity.
or, you see yourself as you want to be seen,
those mommy comparisons starving you to death.
you see how vulnerable you both are and how strong you both will be
always the conditional
til one day, you hit a stride you never saw coming and
you think to yourself
i love this gig, screeching mike, poor acoustics, tough audience and all

this is a slightly edited repost from my create tab (which i'm now actually working on removing after incorporating them into posts because i don't like the way they're all tucked away in the raw like that!). please join us over at suzannah's!

so much shouting, so much laughter

Monday, August 16, 2010

Birthday blessings

30 has been really fun so far, even if i'm only a day into this birthyear! i've been looking forward to the third decade, not dreading it, and that doesn't seem to be the norm somehow. i think more age, wisdom, and maturity are all good things, and i feel grateful to still be in this earth-suit to learn yet.

counting, again, His good gifts:

holy experience

101. for the miracle of birth, and life
102. to be the miracle that is a triplet
103. for two sisters so different, us so complete
104. for love that spans distance and space
105. for the simplest gifts, words and calls and reminders of being loved
106. for package from mom: treasured photographs of us while young; i thought these were lost to me forever
107. for hearing birth story again, and details
108. for womb-twin to know me inside out like she does
109. for the privilege of knowing her the same
110. for lavish little boy hugs and kisses and shy, embarrassed renditions of "happy birthday"
111. for twenty pages of colorings, all mine
112. for time away-insanity!-to ride roller coasters, the conquering of fear (ok, so conquer is not quite the word, but to do something you wouldn't normally makes for a very memorable birthday!)
113. for Sprinkles cupcakes (key lime. delicious)
114. and more happy birthdays sung
115. that life goes on, even still, with more laundry and dishes and the dailyness of home-making
116. that i have a home, not just a house, full of love and laughter and good food
117. that i have a companion, lover, friend, soulmate in him
118. that i still need breaking, that though skin is mud, heart is stone sometimes. that the breaking reminds he is faithful to complete the good work started.
119. He considers me a good work. i am good.
120. that He alone is perfect Love.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


thank you, friends, for all the encouragement you sent me this past week. i was so tired and so drained from the mental challenges of journeying towards reconciliation with my mom and being caught up in family dynamics. but then i remember A) no family is perfect and B) even "normal" families have these kinds of issues from time to time.

this week i needed a break from my computer, although it was forced on me, as my pc isn't working! but i've taken the time to just dwell and be in the moment, and only good things ever come of that.

so tomorrow i turn thirty (or "thurdy" as my fellow southerners say), and i'm happy. i have an amazing husband and 3 gorgeous little boys, and i will be with my sister who loves me more than life. i am blessed.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Goodness, like a fetter

i am not the only one who's ever hidden under
the sin of fig leaves, hiding when i could be Known.

today i struggle with self-sufficiency and my way is best. if it were up to me, i'd run away and hide instead of allowing the shadow of a Friend fall low and lovely, asking, "where are you?"

i am not the only one to tread endless desert waves
pining for the shackles of egypt.

hardness is easier than forgiveness, and it's too easy to choose a thousand days over the one.
it was easier, before, when there was quiet. we didn't say a single word for five years, and as hard as that was, this talking is hurting my heart in an awful kind of way.

i, too, have chosen to run away from ninevah
for fear He might be right, dole Grace.

i went, but with heavy heart. heart is heavy, still.

i have also struggled with doing what i hate
and hating what i do, the inner fight.

i have felt the rage bubbling up again, it seemed i'd made such strides. i am tired of spewing my anger and fear and disappointment all over again, one step forward, five back.

..... so today i'm feeling fettered, bound to the one who loves me most, and i who would wander because it gets so hard. there are lies being told from brother to sister and from mother to another, and i think i will get lost in all the webs. i want to quit. i'm so tired. sexual abuse is awful, but there have been so many years since then, and i'm actually numb to so much of that, but THIS, the aftermath of youngest sister getting healing for the first time, and the family that is slowly tearing away bit by bit. i don't know what i'm doing anymore.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A time as this

i talked to my mama yesterday and i wanted to cry and scream and let violent out after.

she has cut off youngest sister, the one who's held on the longest for all the wrong reasons, but who was always there hurting and dying inside, holding onto her mama because she was afraid if she let go, she'd slip off the edge. and now that mother says she can't handle youngest, that she sees Another Woman, and i want to scream and let go and run to hold sister.

i talk to surrogate-mama, meg, and she tries to soothe and pray comfort into my heart, but i don't know if i can listen.

she reminds me of the story of esther, how since we know the rest of the story, the ending, when the king storms from the room, it makes sense. but it didn't make sense to esther; was he running because she admitted Jewess, or running because of evil planned? and, too, we see the power of a mighty God when mordecai whispers, "for such a time as this," but all esther could have felt was fear, uncertain footing in a palace not hers, the weight of a people crushing her soul.

i wear my sister's weight heavy, but what if for a time like this one my own relationship with my mom is patching while sister's breaks away, for life? for her time to heal, for emotional space to be raw and real?

God knows the rest of the story; i often can't see past teh very words of yesterdays to allow todays and tomorrows to look any different. yet i am not author, and it is not my vision alone. i can't often sift sense out of this mess, and yet this is one piece of the whole tapestry, the one where the ending is the same as it has ever been.

today i'm writing with Ann and others, choosing to walk with Him, for i know no other way.

holy experience

there is also change in our family's lives on the horizon. many decisions need to be made, and there is not a lot of time. help us pray for clarity and peace?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


i heard the plinking and dinging
and wondered, but didn't go
heard shuffling and rustling
thought i should check it out
and found
little monkey
all blue eyes and
yellow hair
sitting on counter
he found the bag of
secret candy

he cried seeing me spy him

i would have been angry
and snapped
and crunched little boy fear
into pinking skin

i said, "shhhh.
would you like some candy in a little bowl?
why don't you get down from here
and let's clean up
this little mess,
here, now, don't cry."

and i smiled
over tussled hair,
arms wrapped tight around
little boy

and i know that
i'm loved just like this.

linking up with suzannah today. join us?

so much shouting, so much laughter

Monday, August 2, 2010

Beautiful, beautiful

this morning we took him to the airport-another trip, another week of travel; he drove there, actually, and we switched after kisses and hugs and swift prayer pleasestaysafe,comebackquickly and i buckle back in, towards home.

i notice immediately the seat is in the wrong place, shift it upright, notice side mirrors are now off. i'm almost home when i realize that i kept straining my neck to see out of the rearview mirror. a simple, effortless adjustment and the reality of how just the right shift in a mirror affects the drive.

if i'd let Him shift my reflection so easily.

christian radio serenades us, and i happily hear two favorites, back-to-back. we played beautiful one at our wedding, as covenant reminder of a Savior that woos his Bride. i sang loudly to the Beautiful one who has captured my heart. next up we heard my newest favorite song, beautiful beautiful; the lyrics hold me tightly the entire song.

i've been there: the darkness interrupted with brightest light. it adjusts my vision, my reflection.

lately i've been all over the board with my emotions-felt lost, scared, angry red, broken, disappointed, but learning peace, grace, learning to see through a proper lens, too. it is a good and necessary reminder that He is perfect, and He breaks me more Beautiful than i've ever been.

so today, with mirror adjusted rightly, i join over at ann's gratitude community and i continue to count the gifts.

84. the Beautiful One who loves me and breathes life and grace
85. being reminded that i, too, am beautiful, in song
86. and from elizabeth
87. for little boy in backseat sing-screaming the lyrics to beautiful, beautiful, that he, too may know how gorgeous he is!
88. for songs that make me ache for sister-time
89. for husband who allowed me time away from home
90. and time to work in home
91. and who travels long, works long to love us in action
92. for friends who lift up and encourage
93. and puppy silliness to show God's humor!
94. for contentment in marriage
95. and friend who just got married
96. for crepe myrtle--the only flashes of color surviving texas heat right now
97. for warm, home-baked loaves
98. and for 3 lbs lost towards my goal!
99. for a counselor who has helped me start to love myself
100. for Grace

holy experience