Sunday, December 18, 2011

Daffodil in December



What sweeter music can we bring
Than a carol, for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?
Awake the voice! Awake the string!

Dark and dull night, fly hence away,
And give the honor to this day,
That sees December turned to May.

Why does the chilling winter’s morn
Smile, like a field beset with corn?
Or smell like a meadow newly-shorn,
Thus, on the sudden? Come and see
The cause, why things thus fragrant be:
‘Tis He is born, whose quickening birth
Gives life and luster, public mirth,
To heaven, and the under-earth.

We see him come, and know him ours,
Who, with his sunshine and his showers,
Turns all the patient ground to flowers.
The darling of the world is come,
And fit it is, we find a room
To welcome him. The nobler part
Of all the house here, is the heart.

Which we will give him; and bequeath
This holly, and this ivy wreath,
To do him honour, who’s our King,
And Lord of all this revelling.

What sweeter music can we bring,
Than a carol for to sing
The birth of this our heavenly King?

~~Robert Herrick

Friday, December 9, 2011

when I heard

Yesterday we brought Mo home from her first semester of college. We were in the car for thirteen hours and thirteen hours in the car is a test of endurance. We listened to the audio version of A Christmas Carol for a while and we listened to a lot of music, and toward the end when we were all getting punchy we sang along.

That's when I heard.

She no longer sings like a teenager.

Her voice is a woman's voice.

I heard.

silence

It's weird to return here after such a long silence - a silence that is surely longer than the dates indicate. In some places in me, it's the silence of my whole lifetime.

Silence, I'm thinking this more and more as I get older,

silence carries a lot of weight.

And when it's broken, when it should be broken, it's weighty then too.

But the breaking of particular silences will not happen here, at least as far as I can see. Not that anyone has asked or expected it, at least to my knowledge. So if you're here hoping for a morsel or a tidbit to chew or hold or hold forth or offer onward that ain't happening, my friend.

As much as I love the written word - the shapes of letters and the combinations of them that make each word possible and then the assemblage of words that put together ideas or emotions into paragraphs and poems - as much as I love the rules of grammar and the breaking of those very rules,

as much as I love the written word,

some words are meant to be spoken, and maybe only once. They are offered to the hearing and they are either taken in by that one or the many

or they are not.

And with that, they are gone.

So I guard the many words of my particular silences and choose carefully my hearers.

The hearers of these particulars are not here.


But there is plenty here to be heard, if one cares to stick around and listen.


Monday, October 10, 2011

t-h-r-o-u-g-h

According to my recollection, Mo learned to spell the word 'through' one day in second grade when the teacher had her get down on her knees and crawl underneath a table and out the other side saying these letters,

t - h - r - o - u - g - h

back and forth, under the table, saying the letters.

Clever teacher.

Mo hated learning to read and she hated learning to spell and she pretty much hated school because there was way too much work involved. There is hope for kids like her though. She does love to read now, and from what she tells me, she is loving what she is learning in college. And she is even doing her work - I think.

I had breakfast with a friend this morning, and while we ate I told her about something.

Something I've been t-h-r-o-u-g-h.

I realized at some point during the telling that I am truly on the other side.

It's through. I'm through.

I'm standing on the other side. The knee bruises and rug-burns are almost just memories at this point

and boy, does it feel good to know through.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Weird and Entertaining Conversation at the Local Drugstore



Carlton (the cashier): Do you have a Wellness Card?
Me (the customer): Yeah, can I give you my phone number?
Carlton (straight faced, bored tone): If your husband don't mind.
Me (smiling): Blah-blah-blahhh-blah-blah-blah....
Carlton (all business): Three dollars and sixty four cents.
I give dollars. He gives back some dollars and cents.
Carlton (for the hundredth time today): Thank you. Have a good day.
Me (now laughing): That was funny. You made my day.
Carlton (still straight faced, no emotion): You can tell your husband I made your day.


I have no idea if Carlton knew he was funny or not, but I laughed all the way out of the store, across the parking lot and into my car.

Monday, September 26, 2011

out loud again beginning with 422

grateful all these months
counting out loud again

422. the habit is the goal. repeat. repeat. repeat.
423. tall glasses of cranberry orange juice with lotsa ice.
424. souvenirs. stories.
425. stories are souvenirs.
426. family. family. family. fam.i.ly.

Monday, September 19, 2011

gilded


My kindergarten handprint smells of dust years.
A layer of gilt wipes away with the dirt.
Gold clings best around the edges and in pudgy fingers.

The palm though.
The exposed palm does not cling long to paint nor earth.
The palms, mirror lined, release by reflect.





Saturday, August 13, 2011

short on time


Friday, August 5, 2011

in my work clothes

Today was our pick up day for the CSA. Besides the already harvested veggies (and a honeydew melon) in the barn, we were able to harvest for ourselves all the green beans and tomatillos and cherry tomatos we can eat in a week. Well. We were in the field for an hour. Mo and I picked green beans for a while and then she cut some flowers while I dove into the tomato jungle.

Here are some things I thought about or noticed while I was shoulder high in tomato plants. Or shortly thereafter. In no particular order. Except the last one, because it's the big thought.

Tomato plants are prickly and they have a rather appealing unpleasant smell. I don't mind.

My tomato picking jungle neighbors seem to be surprised when I talk to them. I am an introvert, but being out in the dirt and tall prickly plants makes me daring and chatty. Perhaps it has something to do with my teenage detasseling days. Why not have fun? We're all hot and sweaty and dirty. I want to drown out the bees and mosquitoes and celebrate Jackpot! with someone other than myself.

Hey, if you come straight from work, you may want to put a change of shoes in your car. High heels don't work on the farm. I didn't say that out loud, honest. It was one of my nasty judgey thoughts. It's not a short trek to the field and I sure couldn't have walked it in those shoes. And then I saw the mom with the blue shiny dress shirt crouching down to pick green beans and her little maybe four year old girl at the end of the row was all, mommy I'm waiting right here at the end! Ayyy, the time is short mommy. Pick the green beans in your work clothes, I say. Not out loud. And no longer judgey-like.

And this. Ripe cherry tomatoes fall into the harvester's hands. They do. They beg for release and the vine waits for just the slightest bit of pressure as a signal to let go. A nudge really. A swipe. The barest touch. Then release into the harvester's palm. Release and fall. Today I saw so many unharvested tomatoes. When they sit on the vine too long, they burst. They begin to rot on the vine. What looks like Jackpot! is not. It's messy. Disappointing. Waste.

I choose release.

Monday, July 25, 2011

measuring time

I do not remember how old I was when I began measuring time in the refrigerator.

It was summer, I'm sure. It was hot in Iowa, always hot in the summer, always hot, even in the morning. There was cereal for breakfast every day. It was cool, always so cool in the refrigerator, and the milk carton had an expiration date to be trusted.

I noticed the milk would expire on my birthday.

I noticed the milk would expire on Christmas Eve.

I noticed the milk would expire the day after the last day of school.

Three days before my graduation, the day of our wedding, one day after her due date the milk would expire.

Now, it seems, everything in the refrigerator has an expiration date. Bottles, jars, jugs and cans expire and I've grown skeptical of their authority.

But the little girl in me? She still believes the almighty carton.

This morning after my run I craved orange juice. It's hot, so hot this summer, and I ran early today and I desperately wanted to stick my whole entire self in the refrigerator. Instead I settled for as much cooling as I could absorb with the reach for orange juice. I grabbed the carton from the back of the fridge and wondered when I bought it and if it was still good.

I noticed the expiration date.

Is it August already? No. Still July.

But by the time the orange juice expires, Mo will have been at college for exactly one day less than one week.





**Thanks Madeleine, for the title, for the phrase - measuring time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

delooming things

I'm a procrastinator. I love to get things done, yet there is a hitch in my getthingsdone that prevents me from getting around to the getting done of things. The hitch is me.

I'm the problem. Yep, it's definitely me.

I admit it.

One of the scariest things I've learned as a parent is that my kids do or say or think the same actions or words or ideas as me.

Mirrors.

Sometimes that's good, but sometimes it's decidedly disappointing.

I'm a procrastinator and I have passed on my procrastinatorly ways.

Mo has a lot of post-graduation and post-Kenya trip 'thank you' notes to write. This morning we were talking about them and she, or maybe it was Steve, used the word 'looming' to describe them.

Looming.

Looming things.

Things loom.

I have a lot of things to deloom. The procrastinator in me detests the to-do lists but the artist in me is intrigued by the possibilites of delooming.

Simplicity.

Negative space.

Peace.

These things await those who master the art of delooming.

Today is my Delooming Day. I'll delight in every little thing that gets undone.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

the card

I walked into the church kitchen just as one woman handed it to the woman beside her. It's easy to tell when the card isn't intended for you. The transition is smooth, the pen is taken up and the writing gets written, and the card moves through sets of hands until you take your turn. When you're the card's intended though, conspiracy is immediate. Unspoken. A turned shoulder shields it from view. It's placed behind her back on the countertop. Maybe it's forgotten in the last gulps of coffee as the children arrive for another day of VBS.

This card was.

Forgotten.

The shoulders and the backs walked away with their now empty hands and their thoughtful hearts and remembered not the card on the countertop in the church kitchen, on my birthday.

Later I went back to the kitchen for some something needed by the crafty kids in the craft room, and there it was. Intended for me, this card. I considered peeking.

Later.

Later the card would be put into my hands by the ones who took the time to write, those who were glad I was born.

But later never came and the card ended up who knows where and my feelings were just the teensiest bit hurt that day. And the next. I decided sometime that week that being upset over a card wasn't worth the trouble.

I adored those women. Something got forgotten, but I wasn't forgotten. I didn't get to read their words, but I got to read their eyes, their actions, their spoken words. That was good enough. Still, there was a bit of a sting that eventually faded.

And I too, even I, forgot the card.

I hadn't thought about it for years. It happened two moves ago, three churches ago, but the other day I was talking with someone about how no matter where we live VBS seems to always coincide with my birthday. Somewhere in that thought process I remembered the card.

Later a question hit me.

Who found the card?

That day, the next day, someday someone found the card that was intended for me and never delivered to me.

But maybe they thought I carelessly, thoughtlessly left it behind.

Walked away.

Friday, June 24, 2011

spent

A month or so of lasts. Hoopla. Some firsts. Milestone upon milestone.

Whirlwind.

Whirl.

Then quiet.

Survived.



No.

No, we enjoyed.

Joy!

We faked competence. We asked. We learned.

We smiled. She smiled.

Now we have a graduate. Now we have an adult child.

Yesterday she left for two weeks in Kenya. In sevenish weeks she will go off to college.

Away.

I feel a bit like a deflated balloon. One that spent the last month or so flying around the room as its insides made a staccato escape. One that had a slow leak and was unaware of the gradual loss of tension, shape, volume. I'm not sure which balloon I am. Maybe both. The result is the same.

Limp. Useless. Spent.

I am believing this is normal.

I've been assured it is.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Smiley Gratefuls

415. She graduated.
416. She smiled and smiled and smiled.
417. We smiled that much.
418. So many generous, thoughtful, unexpected kindnesses to her. To us.
419. Girls in white dresses.
420. More traditions understood.
421. Progression, transition. expectation.

Friday, June 3, 2011

pak choi and swiss chard and rad - ishes!


We've joined a CSA - Snipes Farm.

Yesterday we got our first distribution.




Tonight Mo and I made bruschetta with pea greens, Swiss chard, an onion, and basil from our share. We also got radishes, pak choi, 1/2 head of lettuce, broccoli, and we took the potatoes because our partner offered to keep the beet.

Along with the perishable food, there was potential food - a pepper plant which I planted last night. I am the keeper of the pepper! I hope it survives and produces at least two of them. While I was planting the pepper, I discovered some teeny tiny volunteer cherry tomato plants that came up from the frostbitten tomatos I left on the vine last fall. More potential.

FYI - Pea greens taste like peas. Swiss chard tastes a bit (ok...a lot) like dirt, but it is a nice dirt flavor.

I have no idea what to do with pak choi.

And here is the slightly researched but mostly based on instinct recipe.


Pea Greens and Swiss Chard Bruschetta

Pea greens, a large handful
Swiss chard, several leaves
Basil, a couple large leaves
Garlic, 2 cloves, pressed for the topping and 1 clove, pressed for the bread
Tomato or two
Onion, 1/2 small
Olive oil, 1 T for the topping and several T for the bread
Balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp
Lemon juice, 1 tsp
Salt
Pepper

Chop the pea greens, swiss chard, a couple of basil leaves, press a couple cloves of garlic, chop some tomato and onion. Add about a tablespoon of olive oil and about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar - but the ratios I saw on other recipes were sometimes 1-1, so if you like vinegar don't be stingy. One of us doesn't like vinegar, so we went light. Add about a tsp of lemon juice, some salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Brush the bread with an olive oil/garlic mixture and toast at 425 for about 2 minutes.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Pickle Years

I remember the pickle years. There were only a few of them. I was a small girl.

*****


Pony tailed, kool-aid mustached, mosquito bitten, dirty heeled, stubbed toed.

Crowded, in the way, too many questions, not a help.

Watcher. Budding observer.

Sweaty mommy. Her harvest. Hurry. Cucumbers. Dill.

Jars. Pots. Steam. Smell. Pop.


*****

We've joined a CSA this summer. I wanted to do it for years. We're sharing a share with another family. Our first pick up date is Thursday. Thinking about green and growing things reminded me of the backyard garden of my childhood, vine warmed tomatos, REAL baby carrots, cut chunks of peppers spread out on cookie sheets in the freezer, masking tape date labels...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Previously Unwritten (with some new) Gratefuls

Many previously unwritten, but not unnoted:

405. Mo's college decision made.
406. Spring sprung... sprang. Whatever. Spring exploded.
407. El's orchestra trip to France and Monaco.
408. Lasts...some snuck by and some were celebrated and a few more are to come.
409. Mo's quiet way of serving without expecting anything in return.
410. El's taking charge of the family boo boo's and her fascination with healing, anatomy, biology, life.
411. Mo is 18 years old! 18 - A legal adult who can take herself to the doctor and sign her own documents and other stuff that I delight in discovering and then telling her to do it herself.
412. Prom hoopla.
413. New appreciation for some mature, established relationships.
414. Encouragement.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Allergy World

Welcome to Allergy World, where all your favorite allergens meet you at the gate...

Allergy World has something for everyone: from the fast-paced Staccato Sneezo to the leisurely Eye Burner, our rides are designed to capture your attention in any season. Spend your morning on the Cough'nWheeze, your afternoon with ItchyThroat or The Incessant Dripping, and your evening on the old standby Iknowitbugsyoubut I'msufferinghere.

Enhance your experience by taking a side trip to our very own EczemaNation and don't forget to grab some Miserabilia to share with friends and family!

Once you've discovered Allergy World, you'll return year after year. Guaranteed.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

it is senioritis

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Best Mother's Day Gift Ever

Several years ago my Mother’s Day gift made me jump up and down. I even squealed and clapped my hands.

I felt special. Important. Appreciated. Thrilled. Yes, I was thrilled!

The gift wasn’t jewelry, perfume, or flowers. It wasn’t a day at the spa. It wasn’t breakfast in bed, a picnic lunch on the beach or dinner at a nice restaurant.

That year, I asked for a specific gift. Steve thought I was joking at first. He raised his eyebrows. I said it again. Again with the eyebrows. I assured him that this was all I wanted. Truly...

-----

The rest of the story is here.

Today I blogged at Northampton Patch. Actually, I wrote this last week and then I hemmed and I hawed, I stalled, I almost backed out and then I came to the conclusion that it really isn't a big deal if my neighbors and my kids' classmates and their parents see my run on sentences and lazy grammar and excessive use of commas and the word 'and'.

Want your voice to be heard? Want to see if there's a blogger in your neighborhood? Now that I pressed 'submit', I do.

I started following Patch months ago when I found a link to an article (with video!) about our girls' winter choral and orchestra concert. It's a great source for local news and events.

See if there's a Patch in your community.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

stand

I am walking on a desert highway beside Steve. We're in the midst of a crowd of people walking the same highway, all walking in the same direction and there is not a car in sight. Just people. We're walking with purpose, but slowly. We're tired, but not trudging. I am outside of myself, as it is in the way of dreams, and yet I am also myself. It's a familiar place, also the way of dreams. The conscious me wonders maybe then, or maybe wonders in the memory of the dream. Did I see this place in a movie? Did I see it from a car window? I don't know. It all - the dream, the setting - has the feel of familiarity, of significance, and perhaps that's why I'm reminded of it on occasion for twenty years or more.

We're walking with people we've never met and no one is talking, yet there is communion. There is no soundtrack. There is silence. The me outside of me sees the road and the people as moving from the left to the right, then sees an explosion directly in front of me, which is to the left of the dream me. Everyone is aware of the soundless explosion, the iconic mushroom cloud fills my sight and I am now the dream me. The explosion is far away, but I fall to my knees along with the people.

The mushroom cloud expands. I see me on my knees, the forward motion of falling puts me slightly in front of Steve. I see that he does not fall. He stands watching.

The me on my knees, aware of his upright presence behind, wishes I had his courage. I wish to stand with him and then the dream ends.

____


I am in Haiti, holding a sleeping toddler after the feeding of a hundred or more, and the children run about and the music blares and I stand in response to the words. She, movement and dancing, smiles some words about this song and I say out loud how can you not respond.

I stand and I sway and I pat a fully clothed diaperless bottom.

This is no dream.

____


We learn about Seder from one who spends his life in knowing tradition and I hear as if for the first time about looking back and looking forward and repentance and joy. And there is communion and I wait for joy. There is a woman and a guitar and a song of response.

It is the same song. Of course it is.

How can I not respond?

I stand.

____

Days of Elijah
by Robin Mark

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the Word of the Lord
And these are the days of Your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored
And though these are days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord

Behold He comes riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call
Lift your voice it's the year of Jubilee
Out of Zion's hill salvation comes

And these are the days of Ezekiel
The dry bones becoming as flesh
And these are the days of Your servant David
Rebuilding a temple of praise
And these are the days of the harvest
The fields are as white in your world
And we are Your laborers in Your vineyard
Declaring the Word of the Lord

Behold He comes riding on the clouds
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call
Lift your voice it's the year of Jubilee
Out of Zion's hill salvation comes

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The White Way of Delight


State Street in spring.

"But they shouldn't call that lovely place the Avenue. There is no meaning in a name like that. They should call it--let me see--the White Way of Delight. Isn't that a nice imaginative name? When I don't like the name of a place or a person I always imagine a new one and always think of them so. There was a girl at the asylum whose name was Hepzibah Jenkins, but I always imagined her as Rosalia DeVere. Other people may call that place the Avenue, but I shall always call it the White Way of Delight." -- L.M. Montgomery

Thank you, Anne.


Monday, March 28, 2011

going

She is going.

Yes, we knew this before she was born. She was there in me all safe and warm and then one day she was outta there and in the world. And she, our little RiahBear, was less safe and less warm but still pretty warm and safe.

With us.

And we knew for all these years that she would be here with us for a while and then she would leave. Someday she would leave and it was our job and our pleasure to teach her what we can teach her and it is our dream that she will go out there and do whatever she's here to do while being whoever and however and wherever she is intended to be.

So she will go.

She knows there is more to learn and it's away from here and it may get cold and sometimes it might be unsafe there, and if not this there then the next there, and still she knows she must go.

Because warm and safe were just the beginning, not the goal.

And so Moriah is going.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

obvi



Who needs urban dictionary? I have El.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The B Side

I learned this past week that Johnny Preston died. He was the artist who performed the classic song Running Bear.




Running Bear is one of the songs I associate with my childhood and my teenage years because it was on our jukebox. Here's a bit from a blog post in which I talked about our jukebox:

" I got a couple of slots to myself. I remember listening to Blondie's Heart of Glass and some Loverboy too. It was fun to hang out with my friends and listen to my records with that thumpin' jukebox bass.

The jukebox taught me to love the Moody Blues' Nights in White Satin, The Beatles' Twist and Shout, and Willie Nelson singing Blue Skies. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about it. I spent many nights playing with candles, eating peanuts while my parents played cards with their friends, and letting the lyrics take me places.

But I never could like that song Forever in Blue Jeans. Neil Diamond freaked me out. "

Occasionally I get the urge to make a list of all the records I can remember from the Jukebox. I'd like to make an iTunes Jukebox folder and hear them again in some sort of context. So rather than brush off the urge again, I'm starting here and now. I guess it'll be a work in progress. I'm not sure I'll be able to find out what was on the B side of some of the songs, but I know I'll recognize it if I see it.

Sometimes the B sides got played as much as the A sides. Some of them I can't remember at all.

Beatles - Twist and Shout / There's a Place
Blondie - Heart of Glass / The Tide is High
Buddy Holly - Every Day / Peggy Sue
The Doors - Light my Fire / ?
Doug Kershaw - Natural Man / Mama Said Yeah
Joe Tex - Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman) / I Mess up Everything I Get my Hands on
Johnny Preston - Running Bear / Cradle of Love
Loverboy - Turn Me Loose / Prissy Prissy
Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin / Tuesday Afternoon
Neil Diamond - Forever in Blue Jeans / Remember Me
Neil Young - Heart of Gold / Sugar Mountain
The Platters - Great Pretender / ?
Willie Nelson - Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain / Bandera
Willie Nelson - Blue Skies / Georgia on my Mind

And one song with so much profanity that I just can't bring myself to list it here. But if you know the one that has to do with a truck and rodeo and being the teensiest bit angry, well, that's the one.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

bound to come some troubles gratefuls

396. a glimpse of her heart
397. give and take
398. liberal use of the backspace key
399. those things said
400. headway
401. deliberate guilt free me time
402. friend gifts
403. consolation
404. finding He's there


Monday, February 28, 2011

one foot on the gas and the other on the brake

My car's been making this noise since just after Christmas. It's an intermittent noise that only starts up after driving for approximately 20 minutes. It starts quietly, and then grows into a horrible alien howl. It only does it when my foot is on the gas or when I'm coasting. It will stop if I touch the brake. It will stop if I turn left or bear left around a curve. Sometimes it will stop (or start up again) when I hit a pothole in the road.

We took the car in for repair a couple weeks ago and they charged us $28 to tell us that they couldn't replicate the problem. But the problem is getting worse and it's pretty embarrassing to drive around in the car and I've started to wonder if the wheel is going to fall off or the bottom drop out or if I my hearing may be permanently damaged in the upper ranges.

So yesterday I was in the car with Mo and the howl commenced and with that my nerves began jangling and with that I kind of jerked the car left and right while doing some quick brake tapping - which she found ridiculous and so did I. I said maybe I should just drive with one foot on the brake and one on the gas. So we laughed a little which helped the nerves some and it reminded me of a story.

I have some funny driving stories that involve my mom and her driving, but I'm only going to tell one now because I've limited this whole 'chuck' thing to 30 minutes and we're almost there, believe it or not.

My mom drove with one foot on the gas and one on the brakes. That's how she learned and that's what she did the rest of her life. Now, I didn't notice until I became a driving expert after one day of driver's ed class at school. (I have lots of driver's ed stories too, but I suppose that they will have to wait now too. Hey this 'chuck' thing is working! (For me anyway. Ha ha, doupble parentheses and I left in a typo! Yay! Exclamations everywhere!)) I told her she wasn't supposed to do that - one foot on the brake and one on the gas, remember? I got a bit off track and needed to remind us where we're going. She wasn't supposed to drive like that. It's unsafe.

She told me too bad. Too bad, she wasn't gonna change. And she didn't.

Yesterday I realized that I do that. I do a lot of things with one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas. Old habits, even dangerous ones are hard to break. Or brake. Tee hee.

37 minutes of 'chuck'.

chuck

My sister-in-law worked a brief stint in the local elementary school cafeteria. I don't think she liked that job much. My immediate family got something lasting from her time there though. It's the word 'chuck'. As in,

"There was chuck today."

That means someone threw up in the cafeteria.

***

I can't seem to settle down to write anything lately. I'm distracted by the details of my life and when I sit down to write, I edit and restate and reword until I'm weary and walk away. And I've said nothing.

I've decided that in order to try to get past this, I'm going to spend some time 'chucking' on this blog. I'm not going to stew about the right word or the right grammar, or punctuation, or dangling prepositions or too many commas or run on sentences with typos.

Nope. I'm gonna 'chuck'. Maybe I'll go back and edit later. Get outta the way.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gratefuls for today

392. Dog dreaming in sunshine patch.
393. The Heavens are Telling (automobile version) - One girl sings oboe and the other girl sings soprano and when they are not in the car with me I still hear them.
394. Found time.
395. These hard things.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

blotched but scoured

I spent time in a house of mourning today.


It's hard. Every time, it's hard.


Another friend is a widow. Too young to be a widow, and yet, when is one old enough to be a widow? Another fatherless child. A child who had a sick dad for half his few years. A child whose sweet baby face belies his questions and experience.


I was reminded of a passage the pastor mentioned at my mom's funeral. I cannot number the times I've read this. Though I know it's true, it's still hard to understand. And that's okay. Today I've switched back and forth between these versions, comparing them. Interesting, the differences between the two essentially say the same thing.


Blotched. Scoured. Invested. Rebuked.

Let me stick to it. For the better.


Ecclesiastes 7:1-8 (New International Version)

1 A good name is better than fine perfume,

and the day of death better than the day of birth.

2 It is better to go to a house of mourning

than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
the living should take this to heart.


3 Frustration is better than laughter,
because a sad face is good for the heart.


4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.


5 It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person
than to listen to the song of fools.


6 Like the crackling of thorns under the pot,
so is the laughter of fools.
This too is meaningless.


7 Extortion turns a wise person into a fool,

and a bribe corrupts the heart.


8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning,

and patience is better than pride.


Ecclesiastes 7:1-8 (The Message)

1 A good reputation is better than a fat bank account.

Your death date tells more than your birth date.


2 You learn more at a funeral than at a feast—

After all, that's where we'll end up. We might discover

something from it.


3 Crying is better than laughing.

It blotches the face but it scours the heart.


4 Sages invest themselves in hurt and grieving.

Fools waste their lives in fun and games.


5 You'll get more from the rebuke of a sage

Than from the song and dance of fools.


6 The giggles of fools are like the crackling of twigs

Under the cooking pot. And like smoke.


7 Brutality stupefies even the wise

And destroys the strongest heart.


8 Endings are better than beginnings.

Sticking to it is better than standing out.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Grateful Sentences

391. Sentences. They seem to have flown away. Someday they will return and speak for me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A shovelful of gratefuls

Oh, the snow! It's a blowy snowy winter. In my humble opinion, there's too much snow. Each individual flake seems insignificant, yet they add up to piles
and piles
and piles.

The wind, with the most aggression I've seen in twelve winters here, tirelessly shifts the piles to flakes again, only to pile them somewhere else
and somewhere else
and somewhere else.

I bend so I will be able to lift my own shovelful of winter.
Scrape.
Scoop.

I stand to measure the weight of it, and as I twist to finish my own version of snowpile rearrangement, I count gratefuls in snowflakes or clumps. Too many individuals are unseen, but the impression made with each single act of bending
and scraping
and scooping
leads to building mountains
and mountains
and mountains.

I bend again.

377. Someone who could make a difference intervened for Mo.
378. El's wisdom teeth extracted without complications.
379. A restful break from routine.
380. Seeds shaped like birds in flight.
381. Her grasp of freedom, of independence, of responsibility.
382. Friends who hear my heart.
383. Steve making my coffee first.
384. Shopping by appointment.
385. Unexpected gifts.
386. A game we can enjoy as a family.
387. Laughter.
388. Praying out of a bad dream.
389. Pondering and repondering this:

It is winter... but go out on a winter day and stop at the first tree you see. Here and there on the bare boughs you will find a tiny knot and within it, plaited, folded, crumpled or coiled, lies the glory of the leaves to come. They are all there covered up, for God has many thoughts over his baby buds and many plans for toning down the light that might draw them out before their time... --Lilias Trotter

390. Pondering and repondering this:

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (The Message)

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it.



Thursday, January 6, 2011

drama doesn't work anymore

I got a lovely new pair of glasses. The frames are dark as the blackest night, with a diamond star on each side...

Has anyone ever gotten used to progressive lenses?

Am I the only one who has the barest sliver of the world in focus?

Must I endure this sore neck from turning my head

just so

for the

next

two

years?



--Me, as Anne of Green Gables, at 45