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Thursday, November 30, 2006

random acts of blogness

If you give a mom with ADD a muffin, an employee of the United States Postal Service will likely find it in the mailbox the next day (provided she is a U.S. mom). So too with the thoughts - a million little stories and ideas flit through the brain on an hourly basis. None of them stick around long enough for conflict resolution. Heck, some of them don’t even have the endurance to make it through character introduction. Considering the fact that I believe it is possible my memory is using all of its limited and valuable resources holding onto this potpourri of thoughts, I am going to spew them out on you lovely people in hopes of freeing up some disk space in the old brain.

the rolling chair of doom

Awhile back, we rearranged our office/den to make it more aesthetically pleasing. At first the venture was successful, but eventually (okay, in less than a month) the general messiness returned. But all is not right with the world.

We live in an old house – one of those old houses where you can’t find a truly square corner, where shims and creative molding are a common part of daily life.

My husband is about a foot taller than me, and although we have something like ten computers in this house if you count the laptops, he and I share a computer.

On the surface, it would appear that there would be no possible connection between repainting and rearranging our office, having an old house, and being shorter than my husband. Of course, I learned long ago that surfaces are often misleading.

The chair in the office is set to my husband’s height. I usually curl my legs up next to me or prop them on something anyway, and it is easier than remembering to reset the height on the chair. This means, of course, that my feet just barely brush the ground if I point my toes.

Before we moved things around in here, the desk was on the opposite side of the room. It works better this way except for one thing. Remember that “old house” comment? Old houses sometimes have floors which are less than level.

I have always known God has a sense of humor. After all, we are created in His image, and one of the things which sets us apart from the animal kingdom at large is our ability to find humor in life.

Sometimes, when I am sitting here typing, my chair decides to go on a voyage toward the center of the room. Remember the tall husband? I can’t just put my feet down. Occasionally, I try in vain to pull myself back into position by grabbing onto the desk. I don’t know why I do this. The desk just comes along for the ride.

If, perchance, I have just started getting into the swing of preparing a homeschool lesson, it is almost guaranteed that one of the youngest will attempt to climb onto the chair. I like to think of it as roller coaster training.

And now I’ve gone and stayed up too late to unload any of my other random thoughts.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


All that fuss I made when I hit 50 posts, and I didn't even raise a celebratory twinkie to the magic 100 when sleeping with bread. Woe is me.

I had intended to post something this evening (morning), but the day left before I got the chance.

As the DDR man says, "There's always a tomorrow!"

Monday, November 27, 2006

heels are our friends

sleeping with bread

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought it appropriate to once again visit the realm of gratitude. Having a thankful heart is something which has importance every day, not just on a holiday. Even so, it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

When pondering the question, “For what am I least grateful?” it occurs to me that there are two ways to be ungrateful. At times, that for which I am least grateful is something that I do not like or appreciate – a weakness or a flaw. Today, I will talk about the other side of the issue. Another way to be ungrateful is to take for granted a great blessing. The heels on the loaf are often eschewed, but without them, the end slices would soon become stale. There are elements to my life which are just as essential, just as useful, just as golden, but I don’t often remember that they are a gift to me.

This week, I have spent a lot of time reading, doing puzzles, and generally avoiding responsibility. I haven’t exactly been lying around doing nothing, but I have made sure to take “me time” whenever possible. I began to reflect on my earlier days of motherhood when I had three young children and the husband was working a lot. I couldn’t go anywhere alone. Every minute of the day was spent trying to maintain some level of sanity.

Now, I have three older children to help with the younger three. Now I can run to the grocery store to get milk without having to find six socks and six shoes (and three children). I am able to get the milk and stand in line without hearing screams of, “Mommy can I have ______?” You fill in the blank. I have this enormous blessing of children I can trust, if not to clean the house, at least to care for their siblings with love (or at least minimal abuse). And yet, how often do I look at those blessings and impart to them the true measure of my gratitude? Not often enough.

I have been guilty of taking them for granted, of being ungrateful for a blessed gift, of missing opportunities to let them know how much it means to me.

I have, however, been the most grateful for my children this week as well. Even though much that should be done has fallen by the wayside, I look at these precious monsters and feel awe and thankfulness that I get to be their mother. Each one of them is so unique and wonderful. They aren’t super-children by any means, but they are very much in touch with the something special that makes them who they are. I am grateful that God has given me the ability and desire to really know them as them – not merely as an extension of myself.

There will come a day, in all probability, where none of them live at home with us anymore. Our lives will take separate paths with meeting places along the way. Knowing them will serve me well when those days come.


those were the days

I am old enough to remember a series of Alka Seltzer commercials in which a severely uncomfortable individual would lament, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!"

I can relate.

The strawberry shortcake is gone. S and I finished it off tonight. I shall miss it. I am glad I don't have to stare at it every time I open the fridge.

The turkey leftovers are gone now too. All of the leftovers disappeared just in time to allow me the opportunity to make soup.

Ah soup.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


What can one do when faced with a truly terrible set of words from word beads? Why, write a truly terrible limerick of course. This shouldn't even count since I added 's' to two of the words and only used half rhyme on the last line. Woe is me. Worms should be my daily diet.

There once was an ad-man stochastic
Testing slogans for waistbands elastic,
“Though ancient they be
Circumscription is free,
Acronyms merely subject to taxes.”

by the way, he got fired...

words for the week were as follows:

Thursday, November 23, 2006


I am not a superstitious person, but I do have a favorite number. It stems back to my high school days, my first crush, and varsity jackets. That number is 1122. It always brings a smile to my face when I just happen to look at the clock, and that hour stares back at me. Such bliss, then, this evening when at 11:22 on 11/22, while putting the last bit of shortening into the pie crust batter, I was fortunate enough to look at the clock.

Do I for one moment believe that this will send good things my way? No. But I do think I will have a better day for it. My disposition, after all, is a rather strong influence on the way I look at those things which do occur.

So my hallway is full of paint cans and things I need to clean up. So the children have left collapsed cardboard boxes throughout the house which were not put away after their fort was disassembled. So my inlaws will likely be stopping by at some point in the early part of tomorrow. So I never got around to bathing the children, and two of them are sick. So what? I have a smile on my face because of some silly little number, and that will help me to remember to look at everything with the slightest touch of humor.

I can always throw the kids in an assembly line shower in the AM. I can toss a blanket over all of the offending mess and call it seasonal decoration. I can hand my father-in-law his homemade apple pie and be sure of getting compliments at least for that. And hey, if it really gets crazy around here, I can always reassemble the fort and hide inside of it until they go home.

And then it is off to my sister's, so I don't even have to cook. Give thanks.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Okay, so I guess I killed my self-imposed goal of writing something daily. Yesterday was one of those days. Off in a foggy blah-world, I read some blogs, painted some trim, cooked some food, acted as a taxi, and basically felt a simmering sense of foreboding. When I get like that, I seem to have a complete inability to express myself in any way. I guess it's good, then, that I fell asleep on the couch before 11 PM (anyone who knows me will find this nothing short of miraculous). It would have been nice to make it to my bed, or at least have drowsed with pillow and blanket, but I'll take it.

Today, the pink one is coughing - not occasionally, but constantly. Sometimes it seems that the biggest thing my children learn in church is how to pick up cold germs. I guess this isn't that surprising since they are homeschooled, and Sundays are when they spend the largest amount of time closeted in a germ-breeding ground with their peers.

As you can probably tell, I still have nothing to write about, so I shall go pick up the paint brush and start on the second coat.

Monday, November 20, 2006

If you can’t untie a knot roll, you might as well eat it whole

Monday. Today is Monday. It is a day in which I am supposed to be accomplishing much. It is a gray afternoon with a chill in the air – the kind of day which is good for self-examination, or brooding.

When I started this whole sleeping with bread thing, I determined, at least for the first go-round, to work through each of the questions. I have made it through eight of them and only one is left – one I have been avoiding. It’s all about freedom. And when I ask myself when I have felt the most and least free, two definite pictures come to mind. The soul-flying freedom of running barefoot over grassy hillsides with a forest line looming and the sound of a gentle rocky stream in the distance is the picture of freedom. Imprisonment is represented by the image of a girl, sitting in a chair in the dark corner of a crowded room immobilized by her fears.

Fear. I have always been good at fear. Though I know in the deepest part of me that God is holding me in His protective shadow, fears persevere. Though I read and logically understand those scriptures dealing with fear, the words do not always reach beyond my logic and into my heart. Over the past week, I have felt the least free every time I have turned my back on those things I should do and say simply because of fear. One particularly silly example of this would be my messy closet. You see, it is the time of year when mice sometimes come into houses. Shortly after moving into this house, we discovered that mice had been an issue here for years. We got them under control, but there is fear.

The house we rented years ago in the country was so infested with mice that you could hear them running above the suspended ceiling every night; you could reach in the drawer for an oven mitt and startle a mouse from his acquisition of pot-holder fluff bedding. Let me clarify. I am not afraid of mice (though I don’t like them to be in my house). What I fear is something jumping out or moving suddenly when I am not expecting it. Couple this with the fact that no one in this house is neat, and clothing tends to be dropped onto the floor of the closet when knocked from the hangers while searching for something to wear, add in a dash of “we must save all cardboard boxes until we know the product functions well and we intend to keep it” and you get the breeding ground for fear. But then, sometimes I think I lean on my fear as a security blanket, a familiar friend, and an excuse to avoid responsibility.

Ironically, I chose this example out of fear as well. My other fears are too raw at the moment, and revealing them yields the fear of rejection. Even the silly mouse thing brings that about (and btw, we have only seen one mouse so far this year, and the cat took care of that). What will you think of me if you know that *gasp* rodents have been known to enter my house at some time in the past? And there, I suppose, is the core of the matter. I worry too much what people think. Chains that bind. Hindrance of freedom.

Late at night, as I prepare for sleep and hear the not so gentle snores of my husband, fears want to come at me. But, even though I am still so bound by my fears – both unrealistic and well-founded – I can see evidence that I have learned to rely more on God through the years. I can now sometimes speak up when I feel strongly about something. I can talk to people I do not know, but the evidence is never clearer than in the still hours of darkness. God gave me a husband who exudes a very certain aura of protection. God also gave me a small portion of wisdom. So, last night after I startled awake (having fallen asleep on the couch), when I climbed into my bed, I remembered the headphones. Music, sweet music, especially worship music has, over the past week, become a healing balm (even more than ever before).

When have I felt the most free? The answer is quite simple. Freedom - soul-soaring, sunlight-dappled, pastoral landscaped freedom - has reached out to me through the power of prayer and worship.

After all, God is bigger than the Bogey man.



I can feel it looming - the desire to withdraw into my shell and hide away from overwhelming feeling.

I am fighting against it by forcing myself to write daily, but I think I have identified the root cause this time.

I have a post brewing. Maybe it will end up being something I write only to myself. I am avoiding it. I have all sorts of good reasons for so doing, not the least of which is the snail's pace at which I type.

Why is it that there are times when I feel so separate and insecure?

Still, the letters bleed onto the page from the motion of my fingers - words with so little meaning and direction.

Tomorrow is Monday. I'm not ready for it. Still, I'll face it square in the face and attempt to do more than survive it.

A side note: The BJ's express lane is apparently labeled as such because the service is so slow that it gives you plenty of time to express your dissatisfaction.

A note from N on the whiteboard:
There are 10 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't.

See that, I managed an entirely ignorable post.

Taking a bow as the hook pulls me fiercely from the stage.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Bound and determined to do the word beads assignment, though I feel like writing absolutely nothing, I reach for a thread of ingenuity. Nothing. I can’t find the rhythm in my thoughts. Even recalling the dream I had last night yields no tidbits of interesting blogability. I guess I will have to admit it now; my completion of the assignment is inconceivable. So instead, I will open a vintage bottle of wine and sulk. Or I would, if I had any wine.

words for the week of Nov 12-18th (nothing like the last minute) were:

Friday, November 17, 2006

brownies and brownie points

We never made the cake. It turned, instead, into a busy-ish evening of shopping for some and season-ending football party for others. Still, we managed to gather together for pre-made brownies as I re-introduced the children to their brother. We sang a rousing and intentionally off-key rendition of Happy Birthday then wrapped things up for the night.

In other news, my ability to tell my children that Arizona does not observe daylight savings time led to the following conversation (which will be filed under Useful Ammunition in the old memory books):

N: You only know that because you have an internet friend in Arizona.

M: No, Mom knows that because she knows EVERYTHING...just like our dad.

N: Nope, Mom knows everything. Dad just has a wireless earpiece so Mom can feed him the answers. Otherwise he would only be right 96.6% of the time.

T&J: Mom knows everything!

R: Yeah!

I can conveniently forget that they all laughed after that little interchange.

Thank you, God, that life carries on after loss.

nine years

I’m reading a book called The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. I haven’t decided whether I like it yet, but I do know it has been the catalyst for strong emotion on my part. Within the first two sentences, I found myself tensing up for the inevitable disaster. A woman, going into labor during a snowstorm, no good could come of this.

The axe fell – differently than I expected, but with at least as much heartache. I threw the book to the side and refused to pick it up again for a month. However, it kept calling to me. The other day, I picked it up again. Reading is going slowly. There are times when I find myself near tears. Other times I want to scream in anger. Still other times I just want to make one of the main characters understand. Don’t try to bury the grief! It needs to be lived!

Nine years, and grief changes. I was planning to write a post and have it ready at 12:01 AM. I slept through the hour. On November 17, at 12:01 AM in 1997, my precious Caleb was born asleep. He had died in my womb mere hours before. In that first week, grief was so searing that the slightest touch from “the real world” was like acid – fire to the soft tissue of emotion. That immediate all-consuming grief had to be set aside to care for my living children – mirrored, if you will, by the tossing of the book.

Over the first year, it seeped into every day with sudden pangs. The sight of a pregnant woman, running into someone I hadn’t seen for awhile, a TV commercial – anything really, could suddenly bring the same intensity to the surface. Mourning isn’t over because the world goes back to normal. Mourning doesn’t come to a halt because people who don’t understand think you are dwelling too long, nor should it.

As the years passed, the grief didn’t depart, it simply changed form. Less frequent are the times in which it is all-consuming. While I can still see that immense pain in my mind’s eye, I no longer feel it. That is not to say that pain doesn’t come. It sneaks up sometimes and takes me by surprise. It moves me to greater worry at times when those close to me are pregnant (as now). It gives me clarity and familiarity when someone else experiences a loss. It gives a depth to my being that might otherwise be absent.

But today, so far, I am not sad. A sweet melancholy of remembrance floods me. I choose to take today to remember the brief time we did have together. Will this keep me from sadness, this resolve? No. And if sadness wants to come to me, that is okay, and right, and I will welcome it.

As I looked through old pictures yesterday from before the digital age, a single photograph of Caleb fell out from among the rest. I don’t know how it got there. The rest of the photos and memorabilia are in a special memory box, pulled down when the need to touch the physical reminders of him is strong – dusty now.

Nine years, and I have changed. The eldest of my younger three has begun asking questions about the brother who died. It is strange to answer those questions with the benefit of elapsed time. I have only answered them before from the throes of tears in a hidden doorway. I have only explained while attempting to be strong in the midst of my own anguish.

Today, we will make a cake. We will sing Happy Birthday to a child who has wisdom greater than our own – a child who is no longer a child – a child who holds the hand of Jesus.

Happy Birthday Caleb – until we meet again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

the days of wine and roses

I remember when I used to work outside of the home. Granted, I barely remember it since I haven’t done it for sixteen years, but it’s still there in the dusty files toward the left corner of my right temporal lobe. I fired the housekeeper years ago during budget cuts. In those working days, I remember getting up and taking a shower then getting dressed and ready in a leisurely fashion.

Today, I was excited by the prospect of getting a shower. The husband was home, and I had grand illusions of actually de-griming at a snail’s pace. Laundry and childcare did get in the way of my schedule, but eventually I headed to the bathroom for a few minutes’ steamy solace.

Interruption #1 (husband): Knock knock knock?
Him: What are you doing?
Me: Taking a shower.
Him: (pause) Oh.

Interruption #2-#8
T: Mommy, what are you doing?
Me: Taking a shower.
T: Oh (sound of running sink water)

R: Hi mommy. What doin?
Me: Taking a shower.
R: Oh (continuing sound of running water)

T: Are you washing your hair?
Me: Yup
T: I’m playing with a boat.
Me: Oh

(sound of splashing water)

T: R, look, the car is trying to get the man.
R: My boat!

T: Let’s make bubbles.
R: Mommy, my shirt wet!

Dog: Woof (loosly translated: “Mommy, what are you doing?”)
Me: Now this is getting ridiculous.

R: Mommy, you naked.
Me: Yes honey, I usually am when I take a shower.
R: Oh.

I give up.

loose screw bin

Remember the saga of the keys? I was planning on posting last night a sequel to that journey. Instead, I opted to stay up much too late IMing with two dear friends. Just as I sat down to write today, the husband came home from work, at 10 in the morning. It appears he got today and tomorrow off to compensate for working so many hours last week. He wouldn’t have had to go in today if someone had remembered to email him that the meeting was cancelled, but heck, everyone likes to spend three hours on the train for no reason, don’t they? Anyway, since he tends to frown upon me spending my time doing such frivolous things as typing drivel into the computer when there are 37 or so loads of laundry waiting to be done, I figured I’d put it off until later.

We all know that when a story first pops into the head it is usually in perfect form. It itches to be told. However, the longer something like that is tabled, the less entertaining it seems. I am having trouble mustering energy to post.


Yeah, that’s been a problem of mine for years. Now I feel I have to go through with it just because I mentioned it. Simply to assuage the arguments raging in my brain, I will comply, but only as a snippet. There’s far too much other random nonsense floating around in my imagination to concentrate solely on one subject (this could most likely be translated as, “Have you ever been checked for adult ADD?”).

So anyway, those keys:

Yesterday, I was trying to run out the door to go to my mother’s house with the kids. When it isn’t football or baseball season, we try to get over there on a weekly basis. I may have been procrastinating a bit since I knew she wanted us to help her move living room furniture (to see how it looked). I have a feeling we will be doing that for the next several visits. I noticed my keys had fallen deep into the bag I use as a diaper bag/purse/assorted carry-all. I decided that it would be best to remove them from this precarious location so as not to have a repeat of the key incident. My family never lets go of an old joke, you see. I placed the keys on top of the bag (or thought I did), but was then reminded of something else I had to do before leaving. Once all of the children were shod and jacketed, I returned to the bag. I carried it past my husband and S into the dining room. As I set it down on the table, I muttered, “Where are my keys?” to the delight of everyone. S and the dh seemed particularly entertained by my predicament.

As I retraced my steps, almost positive of where I had left them, S could barely contain his giggles. It was around this time that I connected with the more astute side of my being (a side which has been in hiding for some few weeks now). They were laughing just a little too hard. Yes, you guessed it. S had taken my keys and was hiding them about his person with my husband’s full knowledge and cooperation. I ask you, is that a fair and loving thing to do a woman approaching middle age?

Other nonsense:

I find myself wondering if the dog has a brain tumor. Basically, I might as well stop wondering. If it is that which is causing the seizures and not epilepsy, I will only find out by him passing away. The husband is not of a mind to do a CAT scan or MRI on a dog. Most likely he has just been finding new ways to throw his medicine up after swallowing, but the seizure activity has increased substantially lately. If I call the vet about it, they will just increase the meds. I honestly don’t think that will do the trick, since he seems to have seizures in clusters no matter what the level (he was on higher levels last year ).

Will my voice be strong enough to teach the children over the sounds of construction tomorrow (the side benefit of my man being home)? Will the force of my personality be strong enough to keep them focused when there is something interesting going on? Okay, I can answer that one in the negative. These kids of mine can be distracted by a commercial for genital herpes medication; there’s no way I will get 100% of them when Dad is home.

Will I remember my priorities and spend my typing time designing an official looking transcript for S tomorrow instead of satisfying my basic social needs? Nah, I doubt it – especially since it is still in the procrastinatable stage (for another 24 hours at least).

Will Batman and Robin get free from the swinging pendulum of fire? Will the Joker and Catwoman put an end to our dynamic duo once and for all? Tune in tomorrow: same bat time, same bat channel….

Monday, November 13, 2006

the whole loaf

Sleeping with Bread

Sometimes adolescence seems like nothing more than a futile search for connectedness. The entire goal in life is to find others whose magnets attract our own. After marriage and family, the need for connectedness is just as strong.

Connection is also something you don’t always realize you have until it is gone. Over the past two weeks, this bronchitis has made me much less present than I would normally be. Every moment, I felt separate from everything that was going on around me. People could interact with me, and I would just foggily stare (most likely with mouth agape and required drool). I can honestly say that I felt less than connected to the family as a whole. I was glad that no one else was suffering with me, but I felt very much like I was just a member of the audience.

And yet…

Yes, it is true, family is stronger than Kleenex. Even though I felt separate, I was still Mom. I remained Wife. My family didn’t turn their backs on me simply because I was physically and emotionally incapable of being the entire person I usually am. Connections didn’t cease.

Sometimes, when we are going through hardship and feel disconnected, when some major trial pushes us to the outer edges of humanity and we feel like an observer of the world instead of a participant, we believe we have no connection. That lie often speaks to us in our sorrow.

And yet…

God the father looks upon us with arms outstretched. We are still Child.

It’s too bad we are often so fond of shoving cotton in our ears.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

dank yew bewy mush

Today I am thankful for a nose that cannot smell.

Why, you might ask?

1. Cat killed bird and left it on the back porch as a present to mama.

2. No one else stepped up to the plate.

3. I have been too tired to wash anything in the kitchen all weekend.

4. No one else stepped up to the plate.

5. Not all children in this house are potty trained.

6. Said children’s bowels have had very productive weekends.

7. No one else stepped up to the plate.

8. Dog has had four seizures in the last 36 hours (which are accompanied by loss of bowel and bladder control and a very special seizure smell).

9. No one else stepped up to the plate.

10. I…ummm…left clothes in the washer all weekend again…

11. Yeah, you know….

Methinks I should take advantage of this situation and clean with bleach (something I normally can’t do because of my odor sensitivities). Then again, that would require energy which I do not have.

By the way, if anyone wants to volunteer to come do about sixteen loads of laundry, wash three loads of dishes, and homeschool my children tomorrow, I am accepting applications. I’ll happily sign over my normal paycheck to you in compensation.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

what’s in a name?

a “who am I” in disguise.

I almost signed my name on a comment today. I do it regularly. You might ask why I am so adamantly opposed to letting my name spill forth upon the page. You might not. Perhaps you assume that it is due to privacy and all that jazz. I suppose that would, in part, be true.

My name is hardly common. If I did say my name, even without stating a location, I would be easier to find than your average Jane Doe. I don’t really care for my own privacy in that way. Heck, being stalked might add a little variety to my life (yes I AM kidding), but I do want to protect the privacy of my kids and my family. Privacy of another form might come into play, though.

The nature of the blogbeast is such that one can sway easily between spouting silliness and revealing some of the deepest concerns of the heart – sometimes even those that would not easily be shared with the people who cohabitate. Anonymity makes confession that much easier. The curtain of the confessional, the pseudonym given to the advice columnist, the slightly drunken revelations to the tender of the bar – all of these attest to that fact.

So, while I might not mention my name herein, I do reveal at least a portion of the truth about me, who and what I am. And yet, intentionally at times and others quite by accident, there are large voids left in the picture – A Rembrandt self-portrait missing more than just an ear.

My dear cyber-friend Mary recently answered a “who am I” challenge. Forgive me for forgetting where she originally found the challenge and for not looking up the actual post. My lucidity at the moment is tenuous at best and I fear a search for those facts might send me right back into my muddle-headed stupor. I had averred at the time that I thought I might accept that challenge. Then, as is so often the case, I procrastinated. Considering the length of these introductory words, you might note that I am still procrastinating to a great degree.

Ah tangents! This makes me wonder if I should take the procrastination as a sign that I should perhaps refrain from turning this into a post about who I am. Maybe I should continue to hide behind my veil of secrecy and leave my enigmatic image the only one you will see. Or maybe not.

I am who I am. A mother first some might say. I am not sure that has been true lately.

The past in me, the part which communes with nature (and can be felt if you listen to the Rich Mullins song “The Color Green” - lyrics below), is a very major part of who I am on the inside, even though the closest I come to communing with nature these days is to accidentally catch a glimpse of the sunset while picking up doggy landmines.

The desire to play with words and have intelligent or trivial conversations with people I care about through the written word – this is a major part of me. This is also a part that is at least moderately satisfied through the internet since my dear husband is not a lover of the written word.

The small child within, holding her arms out to a world and wanting to find comfort, is a slice of my psyche. It is a sliver I fight against since I know that the void I am seeking to fill can truly only be filled by God. And yet, He created me with this longing to touch and be touched on a deeper level.

The woman who consciously closes the door to strong emotion to keep from feeling broken-hearted over the loss of deep passion once upon a time, the woman who chooses to feel content with stability and familiarity, she is part of me as well.

The crazy kid who wants to splatter-paint walls and run off to other states and countries on the spur of the moment, she is also me, but I don’t let her come out and play anymore – too many people are depending on me to be the grown-up.

The part of me who reached out long ago to a God who had been reaching out to me for much longer is perhaps the very definition of me. And yet, to many, that would bring about a very narrow image. No creature of God is simple. If you doubt that, try to name and number every variety of insect you have ever seen; stop and notice the differences in two trees of the same name; examine the lines on the knuckles of every person you meet this week. Such detail goes deeper than the skin.

Who am I? I am a graceful tree, a roly-poly bug, a three-toed sloth, and (according to one silly internet quiz) an angry spork-flinging plaid wildebeest. I am the part of me inside of you.

*those lyrics

The Color Green by Rich Mullins

And the moon is a sliver of silver
Like a shaving that fell on the floor of a Carpenter's shop
And every house must have it's builder
And I awoke in the house of God
Where the windows are mornings and evenings
Stretched from the sun
Across the sky north to south
And on my way to early meeting
I heard the rocks crying out
I heard the rocks crying out

Be praised for all Your tenderness by these works of Your hands
Suns that rise and rains that fall to bless and bring to life Your land
Look down upon this winter wheat and be glad that You have made
Blue for the sky and the color green that fills these fields with praise

And the wrens have returned and they're nesting
In the hollow of that oak where his heart once had been
And he lifts up his arms in a blessing for being born again
And the streams are all swollen with winter
Winter unfrozen and free to run away now
And I'm amazed when I remember
Who it was that built this house
And with the rocks I cry out

Be praised for all Your tenderness by these works of Your hands
Suns that rise and rains that fall to bless and bring to life Your land
Look down upon this winter wheat and be glad that You have made
Blue for the sky and the color green

Be praised for all Your tenderness by these works of Your hands
Suns that rise and rains that fall to bless and bring to life Your land
Look down upon this winter wheat and be glad that You have made
Blue for the sky and the color green that fills these fields with praise

Friday, November 10, 2006

dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones

Just a quick health update:

I do have bronchitis which might explain my inability to concentrate and exert energy.

The follow-up with the rheumatologist was yesterday and the MRI showed no actual joint damage, but plenty of tendon inflammation on just about every tendon in my foot and ankle. He couldn't give me a definite on what is causing this, but has narrowed it down to about five possibilities. So, I get to go on long term meds and go back in February.

On a completely unrelated note, I know it's warm today, but I saw a guy riding his Harley down a major road in nothing but shorts and a helmet (yes, he was barefoot). I guess he is trying to get that last bit of tanning in before winter arrives....


Yes, I am "borrowing" ideas from Mary yet again. This one is called "word beads," and the assignment is to string together five words into a sentence, paragraph, story, or poem - just like she did here. The words were as follows:
Steal, Ghetto, Myrtle, Unregulated, and Ligament. My humble attempt follows.

External Beauty

The trailing myrtle vines
of your tenuous control
over me
wind slowly

Designed to steal the rhythm
of my heart
and leave nothing
but unregulated pulsing

My injured soul is left
a ghetto
where hope and protection
are but a myth

The ligament binding us
knows nothing of truth
or love
only manipulation.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

general bee-fuddlement

Being the good mom, I took N to work today, as usual. It is absolutely gorgeous outside today (70-ish, sunny, and bright), so I had both windows open. As I stopped at a stoplight, I looked to the side and noticed a yellow-jacket, lured from his nest by the warmth, walking along the rim of the car window. I reached for the window controls, but too late.

Sir Wasp continued into the car and made the short flight to the steering wheel. I continued driving, keeping one eye on the road, and one on those stinging hindquarters. He (or she, more likely) made the circuit of the steering wheel then began exploring the back side just out of my sightline.

Knowing that my trip was a relatively short one, I decided to continue on, but I steadfastly kept my hand in the exact same spot on the wheel – determined to make one-handed turns if need be. As I neared the house, the wasp was inexplicably lured to the shininess of my keys, dangling from the ignition. Hmmmm, if I waited him out and just sat in the car until he moved, how long would it be before I could enter the house? Would he wear me down?

He hopped back onto the steering wheel. At this point, I began tapping the wheel with the key about an inch behind him in an attempt to lead him toward the open door of the car. My theory was that I would rather deal with it at the time then re-enter the car later with no clear idea of where he might be hiding. My plan was going well too until he decided to turn around and climb onto the key which was tapping.

“Aha!” thought I. “Now I may exit the car and set him free to roam the colored leaves!”

It couldn’t be so simple. He began crawling toward my hand on the extended key. Fortunately, when I reflexively launched the keys into the air, they came to rest on the street just outside the door.

When last I saw him, Sir Wasp was walking up the street. I couldn’t tell if his thumb was outstretched in search of a ride back home.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

all things me-ish

And, shamelessly stolen from jouette

I am: careful to always remain at least slightly enigmatical
I miss: the carefree passion of youth
I long: to touch the deeper side of myself and to be the kind of parent/wife/person I know I can be
I wish: I could muster the slightest bit of motivation
I feel: extremely disjointed
I drove: my husband up the wall for the 6,276th consecutive day today
I want: a personal chef, maid service, and tutorial team for a month who will promptly cease to exist in the natural world after servicing me and mine so they will never be able to tell anyone just how sloppy and disorganized I really am.
I fear: many of those in my life would stop liking me if they REALLY knew me
I might: someday actually attempt publication
I discussed: a secret with my BFF
I am excited for: that secret
I am sad to: say that I still haven’t found any motivation even though my logical mind can point out at least 3,000 reasons I should have it
I like: reality TV, reading, and spending quiet time near trees
I plan: every conversation and action out in my head before having it/doing it, but rarely do anything according to those plans when the time comes
I disregarded: the alarm clock this morning
I witnessed: several armed robberies in my lifetime
I enjoy: reading blogs, reasearching miscellaneous tidbits of information on the net, and hugging my children.
I hate: concise and unfair judgment based upon a small amount of information
I played: spider solitaire for far too many hours on more than one occasion
I love: the feel of early autumn and mid springtime on the closed-eye cheeks of memory
I went: hiking around a local reservoir under the starry sky with someone special many times in my youth
I will: learn to forgive myself for being less than perfect
I kiss: warm bellies every night at bedtime
I have: more blessings than I deserve
I did: this exercise during an hour when both my kids and husband were at home and awake, and I don’t even feel guilty for it!

pillow talk

There is a picture hanging on the wall of my daughter's room. The amazing thing about this picture is that my mother had it for quite some time and decided to give it to me when I had a girl. It is a picture of a little girl holding a basket of flowers and standing in the middle of a wildflower field. She looks just like my daughter - so much so that it is eerie.

Tonight, after the bedtime song was sung (she only got one song tonight, but it was the essential "Jesus Loves Me" complete with signing, so she didn't throw too much of a fit), we had the following conversation:

R: Dis my woom?

Me: yes, this is your room.

R: You wike my woom?

Me: Yes I do.

R: Me wike my woom! Dat my picshur.

Me: Yes it is.

R: Dat my me in picshur. Me pwincess. Me have big fwowers. My pick fwowers for me mommy.

I can't say I've ever enjoyed the gift of flowers quite so much before.

Monday, November 06, 2006

lumpy drop biscuits

I’m going to attempt to reach the deeper aspects of thought today through sleeping with bread, but I cannot promise success. I am still experiencing great muddle-headedness. My husband would say, “Yes, and the difference would be?”

Perhaps today is the perfect day to examine times when I have felt whole and those in which I have known myself to be fragmented. Taking a cue from Mary’s SWB post, I am not going to restrict myself simply to the past week for this one.

As far as fragmentation, I would have to award a tie for first place. The two times in my life that have caused me to stop and view the pieces of myself strewn across eternities were both major influences on my life and who I have become. They both involved loss: the heart-wrenching loss of control when someone I cared about was hurting, and the unimaginable pain of losing my son.

When the man I loved went through trauma many years ago, as I watched it happen, not knowing what to do, terrified that I was simply making mistake after mistake, the pain I felt for him tore my soul into kite ribbons and sent them flying in a gale. Nothing I had experienced up to that point in my life had ever made me so fully dependent upon God – nothing else was left to lean on. Yet, ironically, I also turned away from acting in a godly fashion even as I relied completely on His strength to keep my naked soul in His incubating warmth.

When my son died mere hours before he was born, I needed the knowledge of that earlier loss to help me understand I could survive. I needed the cries and requirements of my living children to pull the few remaining shards of my broken self together. I needed the arms of God to help me know He cried with me and for me, and I was not alone – that no matter how far the fragments were scattered, they were all within His grasp. It was a time that had to be stepped through from second to second – anything longer was too great a burden to bear. Gradually, those seconds stretched into moments, hours, days, and eventually years. Many of the pieces returned to me in different form than they had existed before, but somehow the puzzle still fit together.

Wholeness, strangely, has also come to me through loss, but loss of a different kind. My body was swollen with the impending reality of my first child. When I lost him as a part of me, and he became fully himself, the moment he emerged from me, and I was a parent for the very first time, I felt more whole than I had ever felt in my life. Suddenly I saw the nature of things with a clarity alien to this temporal world. I inhaled the knowledge that I had aligned with my purpose. I knew love like I had never known love – more deeply understood the enormity of God’s love for me. Isn’t that what it means to be whole?

What I need to take away from this self-study today is a reminder to never take the great gift of love I have been given for granted. Every breath, every smile, every pair of grumpy eyebrows is a lesson, is a touch, is a visceral reminder of the astounding uniqueness that is my life.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

evil, wicked, mean, and nasty

That's what I tell my kids I am every time they complain about me saying, "No."

But right now, I really am. I have a cold which I thought was the tail end of a different cold, but it looks like the dang thing had a chance to mutate or we picked up another one. I guess we are making up for the fact that last year was a pretty healthy one.

Evidence of meanness: I felt like walking out on my poor, dear husband simply because he gave me a look. You know the looks. This was one of the "You are blowing things out of proportion. Get a handle on yourself" looks. I hate that look - especially when I can very clearly and logically reason out why I am acting a certain way. Then again, cold logic is not always so reasonable.

Since I have the typical muddle-headedness that comes with clogged sinuses and reduced oxygen intake, I am going to stop writing. Lord knows what might make its way to the page in my current state.

mixed feelings

Football is over for the season. We lost tonight, taking us out of the playoffs. Unfortunately, the game was colored by some severely bad calls on the part of the officials, but I really think we probably would have lost anyway.

Part of me is sad about the loss, but(dare I admit it?) another part is breathing an enormous sigh of relief. Our schedule has been insane lately. It will be nice to have one less thing to worry about. Still, even though it means warmer fingers and toes, I feel guilty. Then again, I've always been extra good at guilt.

Could you pass the hot chocolate, please?

Friday, November 03, 2006

the incredible speaking woman

When will I learn to check for ingredients BEFORE starting a recipe? Obviously I didn't learn it today as I had to run out to the store mid-muffin making for milk (try saying that five times fast). As I placed the milk into my cart, a rapidly speaking woman began talking in my general direction about her hopes for having enough money to pay for her groceries. Here I had another "I should have known better" moment when I said with a smile, "You should never go grocery shopping hungry!"

I was rewarded with the following (at speeds formerly unattainable by human lips):

"I am hungry too, I was just thinking that I was going to go home and eat all of this at one time. Do you do that too? Do you want to go home and eat everything when you go to the store hungry? That's really funny. I shouldn't go shopping hungry. I remember one time I was so hungry..."

At this point, having finished my shopping, I did start to walk away. Obviously, she didn't need me for the conversation as it continued even after I was out of her sight and standing in line. A few minutes later, she was standing behind me in line. The monologue continued.

Due to the unfortunate fact that the cashier rang something up wrong and keys were needed to process a void, I got to learn much more. She apparently has such a great fondness for Suburban ginger ale that she has been out shopping for it at 3 AM. I wasn't aware that they had changed the labels. I learned the inner workings of her life with husband. I learned that she is afraid to drive on the roads in Los Angeles (which will serve me well next time I travel cross-country with her). I learned that she is sicker to her stomach than she ever remembers being and has been throwing up all day (oh joy, thank you for breathing all over me).

And now I draw a blank and have no clue how to end this post.

Hit delete!


You'll be sorry!

I'm always sorry.

Well fine then!


Thursday, November 02, 2006

shiver me timbers

What is it about aging which makes you feel colder in fall and winter and hotter in spring and summer than when you were a kid? I guess it has to be circulation. It couldn't have anything to do with lack of insulating body fat since I have MORE of that now.

Why does it matter? Well, it is supposed to be in the low 30s around here Saturday night. The boy's game doesn't start until 8PM. I don't know what made me think I was unselfish enough for this mothering gig!

chemistry 101

You know those days where you find yourself rummaging through the medicine cabinet in search of just the right combination of drugs that would knock the kids out without harming them - as a preemptive measure to prevent anyone from serving time for causing vicious bodily damage? Yeah, one of those. But, just as I unearthed the goggles and lovingly fondled my mortar and pestle, things improved. Okay, so my house looks like the aftermath of a tsunami, but there’s nothing unique about that.

I often swear I am going to videotape some of these horrendously noisy, bicker filled days. I know a time will come where things will be so quiet around here that I will miss even that craziness. Besides, I am sure there would be humor involved after enough time had passed.

Recently, the dear husband was transferring some of our family videos to the computer. He happened upon one Christmas. You see, several years ago (like 10), we gave up the practice of trying to get group shots of our kids. There is a comedic tale of a busy photographer, a pregnant mom with three young boys, and a wobbly table leg behind this decision. It wasn’t very funny at the time. For a few years after that experience, we would take a few minutes of video of the kids in hopes of getting one frame to capture in which all of the kidlets were at least looking in the same direction. This particular video was one of those from way back in the days when we just had four. It goes on for about 15 minutes. It is a comedy of errors. I make the girl scout promise that there was not one single frame in those entire fifteen minutes which bore an acceptable image.

For some reason, I have been toying with the idea of actually attempting a professional group shot of them all this year. Perhaps it is because my oldest is getting so close to the age of fleeing the nest. Perhaps I am growing weak from constant mother-in-law nagging about the fact that she has pictures of all of her step children and grandchildren, but no recent ones of us. Perhaps I drank too much lead-filled city water.

Speaking of water, what is wrong with my cat? And where can I find slides for the microscope? These things are related, you know. We forgot to close the pool this year. I am not sure that is really the right term, since the pool has seen better days, and it is possible we are just going to rip the thing down and replace it. Right now, it is filled with lovely dark green water. My cat, who will not drink from his own water bowl, gingerly climbs down the ladder and drinks from this slimy reservoir of single-celled life. Still, I’m not about to empty the thing when I have a child who is taking Biology this year – thus the need for slides.

And of course, biology leads into chemistry, which brings us back to where we started – all tangents excused.