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Showing posts from 2008

Mary's Lullaby

I have no affinity for sappy extra-biblical Christmas songs that portray baby Jesus in pastels through soft camera lenses. I put those songs in the same category as 99 Cents Stores, teacher’s pins, Christmas lawn inflations, Macdonald’s hamburgers, Hallmark’s religious cards, pink stucco, and baby shower games. I can hardly sing a line of some such songs without whispering some snide remark as a tag-line to the person next to me.

“The Night is dark, with snow descending, Bells gaily chime a festal song!” You must mean cowbells.  And what the heck is a festal? “His Mother bending over him smiles Upon his face sublime.” Until it was burping time  and then he spit up quite a bit,  and it wasn’t sublime “No warm, white covering in the manger To keep the Babe from bitter cold;” What is this? Siberia?  They didn’t have a cloak?!  What about the swaddling clothes?  Heresy! “Only cobwebs for the stranger From rafter high they hang gray and old.” Oh, I see.  They wrapped the baby in cobwebs.  Good thinkin…

Pennies Thus Far

"The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But—and this is the point—who gets excited by a mere penny? If you follow one arrow, if you crouch motionless on a bank to watch a tremulous ripple thrill on the water and are rewarded by the sight of a muskrat kit paddling from its den, will you count that sight a chip of copper only, and go your rueful way? It is a dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won't stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple. What you see is what you get." -Annie Dillard


My homeroom class of thirty-one has begun bringing pennies to class to help me support my World Vision sponsor child, Rocio, from Ecuador. I projected her picture on my LCD screen and told my s…

Hints Thus Far

The following are several things that I've started doing that have helped keep my life simple and sweet.

Hint 1: Keep green onions in a jar of water by the window rather than in a plastic bag at the bottom of your refrigerator. They will last weeks this way. Change water every several days.
Hint 2: If you have citrus trees, make lime and lemon cubes when the fruit drops from the trees faster than you can eat them.
Hint 3: Never chop up just one onion. Chop up several and keep them in the freezer. Be sure to label the onion sizes on the outside of the ziplock bags.
Hint 4: Schedule your dinners for a month. Make a list of all the ingredients you need, and make one major shopping trip each month. Meals are flexible; move them as your plans change.
Hint 5: Decorations need not cost a cent. Collect seed pods, rocks, colorful leaves, berries, and branches to arrange and liven up your home.
Hint 6: Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
Hint 7: If you aren't going to remember something…

The Hummingbirds

The seedpods on the Purple Orchid tree have roasted in the summer sun, split, curled back like ribbon, and fallen onto the asphalt for the cars on Beverly Boulevard to crunch. Philip says a perfect crunch consists of four crackles, which is only possible with a seedpod twisted twice at both ends. Philip derives great satisfaction through crunching these pods: something new I learned about him a year ago when we moved into our new home. The seedpods sprinkled Beverly at that time too; the crape myrtles were blooming; the Whittier hills were brown with dry mustard. Not long after we moved into our house we found a tiny nest in the bushes outside our front door. It looked like a hummingbird’s nest, but I had no way of knowing.

Now, a year latter, I know. Another hummingbird or perhaps the same one has built her nest again in the swaying branches of our crape myrtle. Over our dinners Phil and I have watched her tend her young in between her snacks from the Agapanthus just below her nest.…

Psalms 36

Of Abby

1 Contend, O LORD, with those contending third period students;
be obnoxious to the kids who are so obnoxious to me.
2 Take up detention slips and referrals;
arise and come when the bell rings.
3 Brandish answers
against those who ask stupid questions.
Say to my soul,
"I am the teacher."
4 May those who speak without raising their hands
be disgraced and put to shame;
may those mouths that comment incessantly
be duct taped shut.
5 May they be like accelerated reader books,
driven to the lost and found by the day care teachers;
6 May their dilly dally walking,
drive them straight to the principle’s office.
7 Since they persist to talk without cause
and without cause drown out my own voice,
8 may mass quantities of homework overtake them by surprise—
may their parents give them extra chores,
may they lose their lunch money, to their ruin.
9 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD
and delight in his salvation.
10 My whole being will exclaim,
"Who is like you, O LORD ?

Glorifying Sickness

“She’s back!”

“Hey, we missed you!”

“Feeling better?”

I hadn’t expected to be bombarded by so many warm welcomes from the Granada Heights Friends Church choir after being absent for three weeks due to that terrible, fever, sore throat, vomiting, runny nose flu that’s been frequenting the masses. The choir’s welcomes made my return twice as sweet. I’d missed seeing Micah Cowell, whom Kristy brings every Wednesday practice to coo and gurgle and giggle. I’d missed Brian Trevor’s tangent stories. I missed trying to decipher between meso fortes and meso pianos. And I had missed the sound of our voices working together.

Upon my return I learned that I haven’t been the only one out sick. During our prayer request time I learned that Jack Schwartz permeated a disk in his back. Dotty Stark has officially retired from the choir because of her knees. Gary Myers mother died recently. Gail’s Neil, and the others had been out sick.

Before we bowed our heads to pray I leaned over to Kathy Little and…

Rubber Bands in the Dryer

I have taken to eating one chocolate ball every day after I come home from an exhausting day of work. The balls are wrapped in golden and red aluminum foil, and they sit in a clear jar next to where Philip and I keep our keys. I haven’t liked chocolate since I was six, and I’m not sure I like it now.

There’s a one-legged man who walks down Lambert every morning at 7 am. I see him on my way to work. He has a billowy white beard and looks ever so much like a sailor. He uses crutches.

Rubber bands are invading. I find them on our front porch. I find them beside our trash cans. I find them on the bedroom floor, and I find them in the dryer. They are always in the dryer.

One of the math teachers at Heights Christian Junior High has taken a temporary leave of absences, and the remaining math teachers have taken up his classes while he’s gone. We are all over our heads. Perhaps this is why I’ve taken to eating chocolate balls.

My birthday this year was the best I think I’ve ever had. It was …