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Showing posts from 2015

Marks on a Rock

I wash the bathroom rug every three weeks or so. Today was that day. It was clean. And then I went to get another load of laundry outside and Rose toddles into the bathroom and wets her pants while standing on the rug. This is progress. She, all on her own, walked to the bathroom and tried to pull down her pants. I’ll soak that spot on the rug and let it dry.  I wish I could see the hopeful progress in all their accidents and acts of rebellion. But some occasions don’t seem to have a hint of hope.  I am trying to get us out the door. I’m making everyone use the bathroom and this alone is something to cry about because Rose hates it when Lee gets to the bathroom first. She cries like someone is beating her and I come to explain that she can use the big toilet while Lee uses the potty chair. She knows this already. We go through the same thing every day five or six times. She’s instantly absorbed in pulling toilet paper off the roll while my hands are busy pulling down her pants

Treasure Gathering

I am a collector of treasures. With my plastic beach bucket and journal of blank pages. And my pathway is strewn with lumps of gold and plates of silver. With emeralds and rubies and sapphires and diamonds and pearls.  The hillsides are encrusted with gems. I need another bucket. I am shoveling the colors and wonder and giggles into my bucket. I am trying to cram these joys into words. Golden leaves, cloudy peeks, stark-naked trees, powdery snow, little mittens, falling flakes, salty jerky, golden grass, frosted trees. Frozen streams, falls, cold fingers, fitful nights, tears, chapped lips, short outings. Coats on, coats off, hats on, hats off, gloves on, gloves off, boots on, boots off.  Lord, help me not to miss the treasures of today because I was looking for something else, something entirely within my expectations of beauty and luxury and wealth and relaxation.

The Alliance

With each change of the seasons and change in the children's abilities, I remember.  Like déjà vu, these wintery days of indoor rough housing, laughter, food, and alliances. There were alliances in my growing up home. Usually between me and the sibling that was providing the most entertainment. When Jonalyn let me enter her queen's bedroom and allowed me to play with her special dolls, she was my benefactress. When Jacob and I allied together to mock Jessica or create some dangerous contraption outside, we were cronies. When Jess willingly participated in whatever activities I planned for us, she was my minion.  But usually it was Jacob and me. We were the closest in age and his protecting big brother personality complimented my adventurous loyal ways. While adulthood reflections of this union have created a nostalgia, nothing has evoked my memories like watching my own children enter into a similar union. Something has clicked in their little developing brains. I think

Vegetable Tom Yum Soup

We've been battling colds around here the last two weeks. This called for some spicy Thai Tom Yum soup, which turned out to be fairly simple to make. I got my recipe off and then tweaked it to fit what supplies I could find. Ingredients: 10 1/2 cups of chicken stock 12 thin slices of ginger 6 kaffir lime leaves (They're lenticular shaped and two are connected together as if strung on a necklace. These are the essence of the soup. Substitutes, such as lime juice can be used, but you'll lose good flavor.) 3 stalks lemon grass, smashed and cut into 1 inch pieces 1-3 Tablespoons of hot chile paste or Sriracha, depending on how hot you like your soup 3 Tablespoons of fish sauce 9 Tablespoons lime juice 1/2 cup of onions, chopped 3 plum (Roma) tomatoes, chopped 1 cup mushrooms, chopped in half 1 1/2 cups chopped bok choy, cabbage, or Chinese cabbage 1 cup thinly sliced carrot 6 sprigs fresh cilantro (for garnish) 6 green onions, t

Halloween (Lumberjacks & Kitties)

A banana was running the Whittier's Spooktacular 5k. Two bananas actually. And a gorilla, Noah's ark, the standard princess-fairy-undead crowd, a six-foot-tall unicorn, a plethora of super heroes, and Thomas the train with his conductor and railroad crossing sign. Halloween morning Phil, the children, and I sat on the brick seat-wall on the corner of Greenleaf and Broadway to watch the runners go by. The runners in first place were without costumes, but then came a high school track team wearing capes and various superheroes keeping a steady pace. Those that followed were obviously participating in the costume contest. Though, I can't imagine Gil Rodriguez and his staff of Sharpstone Realty dressed in their business attire were going to win any prizes. After the race we strolled home for a pancake breakfast made by Phil. Luke joined us for the meal too. The rest of the day we spent in relaxation and preparation for the evening trick-or-treaters. Phil gave Lee

Sacrificing Inward Integrity

Divulgence of the heart, to freely speak my deductions and desires regardless of their affect, is a selfish luxury. To foist my thoughts upon others and to call the speaking of these things honest truth, is no gift.  It is a lack of self-control, a wily tongue gone loose and an inability to value others' ease and dignity. It is giving mastery to my own pressing thoughts and insecure feelings, which, when given power, insist upon being made into gods.  To live this way will surely make all normal relationships disappoint by their imperfect handlings of my divulged heart. If I am to demand so much from life and others, joy may never be grasped. No. If there is to be any grace, then the truth of personal feelings cannot come first. For grace is to forgo being understood for the sake of understanding others. Grace is to act the part of honor, respect, and agreement though my heart would rather wield its wounds and fears as weapons. Grace is to silently sacrifice my deepest longin

Top Ten Toys for Little Boys

1. PVC pipes: these work like giant tinker toys. Glue them together to make golf clubs or handle-bar swings. They can be also be any manner of make-believe tool. 2. Ropes & Swings: hammocks, climbing towers, pretend hoses, pulley systems, Tarzan vines, etc. 3. Mattresses, Pillows, Cushions, & Blankets: think forts, trampolines, giant human sandwiches, stepping stones, hideaways, obstacle courses etc. 4. Blocks: cities, streets, animal cages, towers, etc. 5. Tinkertoys: guns, tools, car-controls, aircrafts, animals, etc. 6. Boxes: boxes! 7. Legos: just about anything. Use large legos until toddlers aren't at risk of eating them. 8. Ice blocks: freeze little animals inside and let boys break them open with hammers. 9. Dirt & Sand: shovels, buckets, sieves, rakes, cups, dump trucks, or excavators.

Battle Speech of the Materfamilias

Daughters of America, of the world. My Sisters. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come, when the courage of women fails, when we forsake our men and break all bonds of grace, but it is not this day! An hour of false martyrdom and shirked duties when the age of femininity comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight!  We are glad now that we see the facts with no veil of false pretense about them, to fight thus for the ultimate peace of the family and for the value of our men: for the way of humility in both great and small and the privilege of women everywhere to choose gratitude in their way of life and of obedience. May it not be that the spirit of men and our families will be defended by the skill and devotion of women? There never has been, I suppose, in all the world, in all the history of war, such an opportunity for femininity. Helen of Troy, Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great, all fall back into the past—no

The Great Story in the Forever Afterwards

I’d love to know how what I do has affected others. I’d love to hear how some letter that I wrote to someone gave them the courage to text an old childhood friend. And that childhood friend might have been praying for a sign about whether to take a particular job or not. And this seemingly random phone call prompted them to stay put in their current job, discontent as they might have been. And as a result of staying put, they met their future spouse and led half a dozen people to the Lord. It’d be nice to know. But I realize that I’d be tempted to give myself credit for this wonderfully synchronized chain of events, or perhaps think the eloquence of my writing was the source of the power to make such influential changes, when in fact my letter might have only kept that certain someone from their usual TV show and because the TV show was skipped they decided to sort through old family photos and in the photos was a picture of the aforementioned childhood friend. The driving act

Oh Girl!

She’s bubblegum and butterflies and ruffles and kittens. Who knew that God made such girly girls! She gazes up at me before we go out and points at my accessories one by one.  Then beaded necklaces go over her head and she poses coyly in front of a mirror.  She walks like she knows that she is a doll.  Delighting in her pink skirts in motion and the brush of her curls on her cheeks. And she waves at strangers even if they don’t see her.  And practices “Hello,” and “Good Morning,”  while holding a toy car to her ear like a phone. She requests that I acknowledge her troubles. “Hurting,” she says a nd once I repeat, she goes on with her play. And though I don't ask, she feels for my wounds too. She mothers her doll, chants ditties while clapping. Like a cat she sits on my books while I'm trying to read.  And she climbs into the driver’s seat to rotate the wheel and tap the center with one tiny finger while saying, “Beep! Beep!” She wants to

Comstock Inc.

Occasionally during company breakfast meetings, wild zebras will appear on the wall. Sometimes they are on the ceiling too. And sometimes the bowls of cream of wheat catch on fire and we have to spray them out with our sprayers. Sometimes there's a death. The cause is uncertain. Debris from the ceiling crashing on our heads or big thunder banging someone in the eyeball. At any rate and despite all odds, we finish our breakfast. Our insurance rates are sure to go up soon. We've spent a lot of time at home this summer making prototypes of potentially multi-million dollar products. We've made tow-truck trains, squirter-cars, anti-tornado-police-stations, snake homes, automobile control panels, orange soups, and screw tacos. Unfortunately nothing seems to make it to production because a cracker-dial or wrecking ball or stomper or big claw smashes everything all to pieces. It's rather unlucky. When destruction is evidently the song of the day and the furniture starts

Eternally Examining

O, that all of life could be a vacation, a breakfast of bacon and eggs and pots of tea at 11 am. A leisure stroll down the beach among tide pools where depressions in the rock cradle a cornucopia of textures and colors. And I with my journal have nothing calling upon my attentions but the beauty in these still pools left behind by the receding tide. O, that I could study these pools of life and discover the names of all the creatures within. What are their names? What do they eat? What do they do when the tide comes rolling in over their heads, pulling and pushing like a tug-o-war of water. Hello, limpets upon limpet. Hello, crab with the beady eyes hiding in the crevice between the purple spiked urchins.  Do you know about the waves crashing nearby, little crab? Do you know that we humans up here are frolicking in the same water that brings you lunch. Yes, we are. We just made sport of it. I don't suppose you do that do you? Alas, I cannot study you little crab