Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Life Lesson #65

No matter how tempting or refreshing the ice crystals in the deep freeze appear, choosing to try to lick them off while Mama is searching for supper is a ill planned and rather painful idea.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No Boogers for Me

As if our week was not long enough already, we had scheduled the estate auction for D's grandma for this Sunday.  So after returning home on Thursday from my folks', we headed out Saturday night to help with that.  Best part?  (Other than crossing one more thing off of the to-do list.)

At the gas station on the way home...

Kenson:  Can we go in and get something?

Me:  No.  I'm going to go in and maybe I'll bring you something back.

Kenson:  Like?

Me:  Like boogers?

Kenson:  (Said with utmost seriousness and a fair amount of contemplation)  Um, not for me.  I eat real food.  Maybe for Conleigh though.  She eats boogers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It's an expanse of endless sky, stretched and pulled blue, a particular shade that has no name except for maybe "wide open blue."   It's clean and clear and just blue, a blue that causes the fleeting thought that perhaps God Himself has eyes that color and that by glancing at the sky you have just looked Him square in the eye and lived to tell about it.  Eyes flecked by a few white clouds that for the moment are still as still can be, no movement until hot meets cold and a summer storm rolls in.  The blue runs out as the green rises up.  Tall green prairie grass, even taller corn, lacy alfalfa with tiny purple flowers.  It's all green now but when the summer rains go and the fall arrives, the green will turn to streaks of sandy brown and pale yellow and an earthy autumn gold.  The hills and flat and sky and space are oddly healing, like taking in a deep breath or letting out a really good sigh.

It's driving home on Highway 2, death still fresh and raw.  Phone rings and it's the friend who faithfully stayed on the night that would never end, wanting to bring groceries to your empty refrigerator.  It's a phone call to a neighbor who has already mowed the grass and started on the plans for the harvest that will need to be done in a few months, the corn that will demand to be picked, caring not that he who planted it is gone.  It's finishing the last few miles to the home place with tears and then spotting the dirt lane road to the house, an unfamiliar vehicle parked at the place where the asphalt ends. Questioning looks and arched eyebrows, followed by nodding heads as the church pianist emerges from her car with ham and lemonade and bread.

Into the house where the muddy brown and orange calico cat lets go of her catness and practically leaps in laps, the loneliness of the last few months evident in her actions.  Friends and neighbors and family in and out, in and out.  Garden fresh tomatoes, homemade cinnamon rolls, cakes and brownies, round loaves of golden bread, spiced apples and cucumber salad in the hands of farm wives and school secretaries.  Words that are not empty but full of sincerity.  "If you need anything, you call."  'Now there might be some times where some things around here just get done without you asking and we hope that's okay."  "You call me, even if it's 2 in the morning."  The sense that the best love is practical and purpose-filled not just flowery sentiments.

The love of God revealed by the people created by God.  Love pushed down and poured out, overflowing and spilling over.  Servant hearts that hold tiny pieces of the God Man, even if the heart itself is unaware of the steady pursuit of that God.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gripping Hope

Living this out...

My dad has been sick with an assortment of things for the last few months. He literally has been in the hospital every day since the middle of July. Much of the problems surrounded his digestive tract where he had had a surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and had sections of his intestines removed as they were inflamed from the stress of the tumor. After weeks of not being able to eat, the doctors finally saw an abcess in the area where they had resectioned his intestines. They were hopeful it would repair itself but after he got sicker and sicker, they opted for a surgery to removed the abcess. The surgery proved to be difficult and he lost a lot of blood during it. He was taken to the ICU where the loss of blood caused his blood pressure to be unstable. It never restabilized. This morning, around 2 a.m., my dad just couldn't keep up anymore.

Oh such heartache for my kids who were blessed with a grandpa who loved them in delightful ways like bringing doughnuts to them for breakfast or taking them in his pick up to go feed the cows. And oh such heartache for my dear Mama who just finds herself wishing for a few more moments that weren't enveloped within the walls of the hospital.

So much heartache because he loved much and was loved in return.

Lamentations 3:19-27 (The Message)

19-21I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there's one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
22-24God's loyal love couldn't have run out,
his merciful love couldn't have dried up.
They're created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He's all I've got left.
25-27God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It's a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It's a good thing when you're young
to stick it out through the hard times.

We keep a grip on hope, believing that God's love has not run out, that His faithfulness is new each morning.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Resting in God

It has been hard to write here.  (If you haven't noticed...)  With all that has gone on this summer, from being gone to starting the summer with D's grandma being sick and then her funeral, to my dad's diagnosis of cancer and subsequent hospital stays, I have just felt drained.  It is one of those things where all of it seems to permeate every part of your life and you are tired emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally.  Your kids sense the tone of life and respond accordingly.  And even when you are home, you find yourself just wanting to do nothing, to invest in mindless pursuits.  Like the Internet.  Or tv.  Or rereading Harry Potter 6 and 7 in a span of like 4 days.

I heard this Kari Jobe song awhile back but had kind of forgotten about it until this morning when I sat down to do my quiet time and opted to listen to some Youtube worship videos.  I love the mental picture that it paints of God.  A Father.  A friend.  An intimate lover.

"I wanna sit at your feet, drink the cup from your hand.  Lay back against you and breathe.  Feel your heart beat.  Your love is so deep.  It's more than I can stand.  It's overwhelming."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Preschool, Here We Come!

First day of preschool today at our new school  (Old preschool is affiliated with our school system and the school/preschool have a policy of not allowing children to attend preschool if they are kindergarten eligible which Kenson is so we needed to make alternate arrangements this year.)  Both were excited and have been begging to go back ever since D's classes started back up.  I have been eyeing today with the thoughts of "3 hours of quiet!"  (And yes I will miss them but this summer has been a bit intense; it's time for some changes in routine.)  At our old preschool, breakfast was provided so I am definitely missing that this year.  We have to leave by 7:30 to get the kids and D to school on time which is plenty early when you have two preschoolers who have to get ready and get breakfast.  (Plus mine have a tendency to operate on Haitian time and are not always motivated to do things quickly.)  I think I'm going to need to rethink our breakfast options on school mornings so that I'm not relying on PopTarts and granola bars, which I would rather not feed my kids on a daily basis if I can help it.  At any rate, here are their smiling faces...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Ode To Glen, the Walmart Cat

Our Wal-mart has an alley cat that likes to hang out in the parking lot.  I suppose someone feeds him/her so he/she thinks it's a pretty swell deal.  I mean what's not to like about hot asphalt and literally hundreds of car tires that are at least 3 times your size.

My kids have noticed the cat a couple of times but awhile ago when we were there, Conleigh stopped while getting into the van and turned towards the cat, thinking she could pet him.  I took the usual Mom route of "we don't pet animals we don't know." which of course meant she insisted that she knew him.   Being the foolish mom that I am, I went down the "if you know him,  you should know his name" path.  Which meant I just gave her a chance to prove she knew him by telling me his name....

"It's Glen, Mama.  His name is Glen.  Bye bye, Glen."

Glen?   Seriously, where did she come up with that one?  I don't think we even know a Glen.

D had the honors of taking her to Wal-mart a few days after the naming of the cat.  And of course she immediately wanted to know if Glen was there.

Fast forward to today and a grocery shopping trip to Wal-mart.  As we stepped out of the van, Kenson sidles up to me, grabs my hand, and wants to know if we'd see Glen the cat..

And then tonight at supper, D was sharing about a new neighbor whose name is Lynn.  "Lynn?  Like Glen?"  "Ooh Lynn...Glen...That rhymes."  "Lynn.  Glen.  Hen.  That all rhymes!"

So perhaps I should just be thankful that Glen the cat is useful for teaching pre reading skills like onset and rime?  Or maybe just that I talked Conleigh out of petting a very mangy looking tabby cat who was probably snaggletoothed and fleabitten and that she hasn't asked to pet him again?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where Children Sleep

Just came across this photo essay which I love.  Photos of where children all over the world sleep.  I love that it is simple.  There aren't a lot of words to pollute your feelings, just photos.  And there isn't necessarily an air that living a certain way is best.  It's more of an encouragement to consider how our children's bedrooms influence how they live their lives.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Birthday Number 5

While we are still dealing with more family drama (ie my dad having a heart attack two weeks ago, then having stomach issues and being hospitalized since last week), we did manage to eek out a dinosaur birthday cake for somebody who is about to turn five.  Kenson's birthday wishes were 1.  a dinosaur cake  2.  go to Grandma and Grandpa's to eat  3.  a fire truck toy.  The kids were especially excited about the chocolate rocks I bought to go with the dinosaur.  And Kenson really wanted to eat his head.

We were hoping my dad would be out of the hospital by today and that was in the works even yet this morning but then an upset stomach nixed that plan.  So we celebrated with Grandma, Grandma 2, Aunt Sheree and Uncle Time, Alissa, Quinn and Breanna while poor Grandpa sat in the hospital 30 minutes away.  We'll go see him tomorrow.  Too bad he can't even enjoy a piece of cake.

Lastly, I suppose the real question is why does five seem so much older than four?  Oh my, how unbabylike 5 is.  Now it's on to loosing teeth and reading and counting to 100.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Sunday afternoon

After having piles upon piles of fabric and stacks of patterns, I finally got around to actually making something.  I've been intending to make Conleigh some cute little skirts so that was what I did.  Pretty easy pattern that would have gone together much better if I weren't tired.  I kept pinning things together wrong sides together which is not the way to make much of anything.  I did have to call my mom once for help but actually I figured out my question mostly on my own once I started talking to her about it.

At some point, I'll add this as a custom order on my etsy shop where you will be able to pick your own colors and patterns and create a one of a kind twirly skirt.  But that would require me finding a few more fabric selections.  At any rate, I think it would make a great gift for any little girl.