Sunday, December 25, 2011

Giddy with Christmas!

Christmas has found me, I was faithful that it would, but it didn't really feel like it was coming until today.
 Regardless of my feelings, I knew that it would come, and it has! For that we....


...with wonder

...and great joy!

Merriest of Christmas wishes to you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Summer versus Fall

Last week our science lesson was on the seasons and for a science experiment, we decided to head out into the neighborhood and look for signs.  Teetering on the line, Summer keeps taking one last deep breath.  One day soon however, Autumn is bound to be exhaled.

Our Observations:

Signs that Summer is still here: 
a butterfly fluttering between us
hot sweaty heads beneath bike helmets
skinned knees and elbows
wild blackberries
Signs that Fall is coming:
a few leaves beginning to turn red on the neighbor's sugar maple tree
trumpet geese returning
Apples (and the crabby apples)
the bountiful harvest from our garden
cooler mornings

Snippets of Summer Life

This evening while talking with my son as I put him to bed…
Nathan: Mommy remember that nice thing I did for Gabi
Me: Yes, you are a wonderful big brother
N: Well I’m not going to be able to remember it in another week or maybe more because my brain is gonna be all filled up with school!
                                             ____    ____    ____

I turn around in the kitchen and ask my handsome husband who just returned home sweaty from the gym to please stop drinking from the water bottle he pulled from the fridge. 
“Wow, why? That’s good,” he questions. 
“Of course it is!! Its hummingbird food. You know, sugar and water in solution…”
                                              ____    ____    ____
Riding in the car Gabi asks, “Do I have a sweet tooth?
Me: Yes, you have a very big sweet tooth sweetie.
G: Where is it?
Me: Why do you want to know?
G: I want to eat it!
                                              ____    ____    ____
Summer, you will be missed dearly.  Fall, welcome! You promise more of this, more of us and life all open and raw and real.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Living and remembering

I have cried the ugly cry, more than once today.  I waited to be alone to do it.  I want my kids to learn about 9/11 but I don't want to be the one to teach it to them. I can't do it without sobbing.  I want them to learn with me the names of the heroes of that day.  I want to feel healed and not so raw when I think of it.  Mostly though, I want there not to be loved ones of 2,977 people whose hearts are ripped right out of their chests every year on this day and on all the other days too.

At lunch today I let the kids eat dessert first, chocolate covered strawberries.  My sweet husband, new I would need some sweets over this weekend and he made them for me, after the kids were in bed, so I wouldn't have to share.  I did anyway.  I can't eat quite a dozen all by myself! Since it is rare to even have dessert at any meal in this house the little lips were thrilled with the two chocolate covered juicy morsels placed before them, and they didn't even have to eat their broccoli first. 

Perhaps comfort food isn't the correct answer for healing, but it is a way to cope.  Along with convincing my kids to snuggle me more, which is getting harder in direct proportion with how big they are getting. I'm also coping this year is by writing, it has become my outlet these last few years and yet I haven't yet recorded the events of where I was on that fateful day ten years ago.

I was driving in our explorer, it was just after 7am PST, I had just dropped Adam off at work in Mission Valley and was off to drop the doggies at day care, it was to be a long day for both of us.  Wondering why the radio was off in the first place, I turned up the volume while hitting a few presets because all I heard was chatter and I wanted some music. I heard something about the World Trade Center, I went back, I couldn't get a clear picture from what I was hearing.  Something about a bombing at the WTC, hopefully, I thought they were talking about the previous bombing in 1993. I pulled over and called my Dad. 

He was nearly speechless on the other end, I felt like I had to make him talk, "they're gone, they're... just gone." Was all he could say, I could picture him there watching the TV in our family room, but I could not yet imagine what he meant.  I wanted to jump on a plane and be there with him, but that would have to wait.  "All those people" was all I barely had the breath to whisper, "and the buildings" was his distant response.

I turned around and went back to work with the crazy dogs, I let my husband hug the strength back into my legs.  I had to see it.  The internet was bogged.  Adam went to Costco with a friend and brought a TV back to the office.

I saw it. I still couldn't believe it.  I saw it and saw it as we all did and I still couldn't fathom it.  I knew people who worked in and around there and are still alive!  ALIVE.  But weeks later one told me she still hadn't smiled.  The buildings are symbols of freedom, the media kept telling me, that's why they picked them to attack, to harm our economy.  I couldn't understand, none of us can, even still.

I couldn't see them as just buildings.  They were living and breathing, because of the lives that they sheltered and protected day after day.  I saw them the way I saw all the other buildings that housed my friends, family, coworkers, school mates and strangers, the buildings were symbols of life.  They were a product of human invention and housed the frailness of this human condition, that can come to an end so tragically.

Healing, I've now realized, doesn't mean the pain is gone or even that the tears stop falling, it means living and finding a redemptive kind of hope from what I see in others.  People sharing the stories of heroes in planes and buildings and families.  In how they keep going on despite the loss, devastation and grief.

Ten years, for such a defining moment in a lifetime is but a blink.  Years before, I would get angry at San Diego and Boise news media for not showing enough of the 9/11 coverage.  I almost wanted to relive it, each year for fear that the pain would fade into memory.  It will not.  I will always, clearly remember the sleepless nights, the weeks of silence and tears.  The signs in grand central station, even two months later.  The candles and pictures on the firehouse, the people. They will always be in my heart.
An inspiring family from my home town shares their story. I can't watch all the stories, this year I just watched this one.  I will cry with them and live and play with my family.  I will remember, while creating new memories.  Maybe before dinner, we'll have dessert first too, because we are alive and grateful to be so.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Waist line

Hands pruning in luke-warm dishwater, scrubbing a pan from three meals before, I can feel the joy.  The squeals from outside by the pool pull my gaze from tomato plants taller than my firstborn to the owners of the squeals.

I see them, splashing and kicking and laughing. I really see. Past the sun streaming through glass jars, the dishwater splashed windows, there is the truth, the wonder and the beauty.  Joyous!

Letting go. It is what I needed to do to find joy, stop searching.  Joy isn't something that can be put on from the outside, it only can well up from the innermost place. I've been calling this the 'summer of fun' because of the fun we've been having. Really, for me, it's the summer of joy.

We've given up bedtime for riding bikes, chores for crafts, stress for time at the city pool.  The spontaneous factor has been kicked up - usually this just kills me, I need a plan - but picnics and drives and playing and memories are well worth it.

I say: yes to playing with playdoh, even though I know the crumbly mess, painting, beads and stair sledding. Yes, I'll drop me and help you make a fort, read a book, do a puzzle, fill the swimming pool.

Halfway done, this sunny, delightful time, I feel like a warm sticky bun just pulled out and smothered in goo.  I smile more. Life goes slowly and quickly and it's always good and I can see that.

My goals for these months quickly changed from staying ahead for school in the fall to: crafts, fun, love and grace. Grace is such a little, huge word.  It is where I am learning to give what isn't deserved. First, really, I am accepting what I don't. Receiving. Giving. Really the same thing? As soon as I get a glimpse of understanding, it flees. I am grateful for the glimpse.

Not to give the illusion of perfection, there have been more of those extra-tired-over-the-top tantrums around here. Apparently, three year olds need not sleep in after seeing the previous 11pm. They become cranky and dramatic, who knew. *wink*

We are real and hurting and we hurt each other and we heal and forgive and are certainly not perfect.  These moments, I see them teaching me a greater love, a greater patience, a greater need for compassion and an unfathomable amount of grace.

I feel myself waist deep in summer, but fully immersed.  Different from that awkward feeling of waist high in the swimming pool, squealing, until we just plunge the top half down.  Giving all the nerves at the edge of the skin the same sensation, it's all they know now, the pool water, I'm not hesitant any more.  It feels ok now to be splashed, I am used to it.

To be here, waist high in summer, yet fully covered in its amazing blessings.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

See What a Morning (by Keith and Kristyn Getty

See, what a morning, gloriously bright,
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
Folded the grave-clothes, tomb filled with light,
As the angels announce, "Christ is risen!"
See God's salvation plan,
Wrought in love, borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping, "Where is He laid?"
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb;
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name;
It's the Master, the Lord raised to life again!
The voice that spans the years,
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us,
Will sound till He appears,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty.
Honor and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow'r and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

'Easter Eggs Hiding in the Grass" By, the boy
May you find child-like joy today!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thanks for the dirty!

Thank God for dirty dishes; They have a tale to tell.
While others may go hungry, We’re eating very well.
With home, health, and happiness, I shouldn’t want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence, God’s been very good to us.
Author Unknown

It's always about perspective for me .

#275.  This day and this song

276. dove cooing on my rooftop
277. kids listening to mysteries
278. "one more chapter, please"
279.  holding on tight

280. dirty dishes
281. cruchy apples
282. lazy saturdays
283. flowers on the window sill
284. their beauty between me and last years tomato skeltons

285. the work of the garden
286. buds bulging on branches
287. blossoms emerging
288. growing boy flipping quesadillas
289. voices singing together
290. goose bumps
291. sunny day at the park
292. socks peeled off discarded
293. the sound of flip-flops from the back yard
294. teeth - loose or not

295. kisses on hot foreheads
296. thermometers
297. hot lips kissing my cheek
298. prayers for healing
299. ibuprofen easing the heat
300. eyes releasing to sleep healing
301. little girls skirts
302.dirty laundry
303. closets and drawers
304.  realizing that growing bodies are still humbly small
305. husbands offers of help
306. serving one another
307. pile of artwork at the end of the dining room table

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Revisiting this from last year, this Easter week, healing continuing, more each day. Written March 31, 2010....

Most of us know the drill. After a windy, cold, wet winter our flower beds need a bit of a face lift. Crispy dull leaves, thrown around by wintry winds, caught beneath their budding branches, bushes begin to show signs of new life. Tiny green leaves eventually bursting forth in the warm spring sunshine.

So too, our minds and hearts can use a de-cluttering. A time to rid our hearts of the disarray that we hold onto which keeps us unnecessarily in bondage. Allowing ourselves freedom from the burdens that are too horrible to mention but to a select few on this earth. Ours are hearts that have these places, like the bases of my bushes, the burdens and guilt can get stuck there going seemingly unnoticed. Dull, in the dreary dark we cling instead of letting them go, completely letting Jesus pay that price for us - for it all, yes, even what we dare not mention.

As I put on last year’s well worn gloves (they ripped up a fair share of sod a year ago) I note the damage and think about buying a new pair. These are my gloves; my fingers know them, each finger hugged by the worn leather. They are known. They are mine. A new pair, certainly unknown, needed none the less.

So too is life with these burdens, I've held them all so long. I know them well, I own them, and I even chose them. Letting myself be forgiven for them? I don't know for sure what life will look like if I lay them all down at the foot of the cross. Is Jesus really big enough for all that? He really did become sin, He who knew no sin, for me. For me, for this! Yes! For this! Yes, my head knows, why will my heart not let it go? Why will my own heart not forgive?

As I work, filling a box with crisp leaves, the smells bring me back to autumn for a moment. The dying. The death. Appropriate for this Easter week. I turn my face to the sunshine while putting a handful of leaves in the box and a warm smile crosses my face and goes deep into my soul.

I know that I must let these burdens die with Jesus, there on the cross. The price. Oh so costly. Paid by the One who didn't deserve it. First the death, but after the death of autumn and the cold, endless winter, a celebration of life and resurrection!

I begin pulling out grasses and rearranging the rock border, man the grass roots go on forever. I follow the root for as far as I can and it seems never to end.  Finally it breaks in my hand and I leave it, knowing in a few more weeks I'll have to pull it again.

I aknowledge that though these roots may not seem to end, God's love indeed has no end. Never. Always there, always pouring it out into my heart. I am the only one that cuts it off to me, He will always give it. I will have to accept it. Is it possible to replace these burdens with love? How on earth can I let myself, my wretched self be loved by God? Even more so, knowing how much God loves me, how can I not love myself? Not a selfish love but a love of someone that God made who has a purpose and who is special. Me. I am special in the eyes of God. I am loved by God. A bud forming right there, a sign, healing is beginning.

The sun is warming my back as I work and makes my dull mommy hair shine as it hangs beside my face. Pulling more weeds I stack a rock pile of random stones.

The Son, who rose victorious, can shine an even greater light in my heart. He has conquered this life and rose victorious. He alone can heal these wounds and in the (now year and) four months since I have given them up to Him, miracles have happened. Miracles. I couldn't do in years what He has now begun.

My mind wanders as I make my way down the bed; suddenly I look at the progress I've made in such a short time. This chore last year was endless because it hadn't been done the two years prior. I guess some things get overlooked during pregnancy and with a small baby. (Just a few!) I remember how demanding this was last year both physically and time consuming. Grateful, I am amazed with how well it is going and how much better it begins to look rather quickly.

At this commencing of my journey really forgiving, really loving, really giving it all up, I am encouraged to think that as the years go by, continually laying all my burdens down the healing will continue. Each year, each week, each minute that passes means it will become easier and more wonderful to live life forgiven. Breaking the bondage. Truly knowing that life is worth the living because of the Son. The Son who shines his love on even me.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Collecting Love

Packing boxes yesterday, my daughter walks in grinning ear to ear, "Here mommy! It's for you, a beautiful flower!"


She's happy to have something to give.

Her brother follows a moment later, with hands full of yellow love.  Again, I can see the warm emotion, he too is happy to have something to give.  Over and over, for some time, in and out.  Running fast, tripping a time or two. Short legs returning over and over to give, freely, happily....truly joy-ful.

Gift Love Joy

Sparkly eyes giving love, in the form of a weed.   Isn't that weed me?  I can be a weed, so broken and despised but only through love am I turned around right.  Used for love, me, a simple weed.

Love transforms
(Written Sunday, March 27)

We've been away, visiting family and return now, full of thanks and love.
The list from our 12 day gallivant...

158. gazing at the waning gibbous moon following the car window
159. heavy eyelids allowing sleep
160. purple mountains majesty

 161. snow gleaming mountains
162. desert highlands and sagebrush
163. all living plants leaning with the wind
164. husband driving endlessly
165. dozing in the long sunshine
166. The Cricket in Times Square speeding the journey along

167. clouds blanketing mountains

 168. rocks
169. The Solid Rock

170. rocks making a line of shade for ants
 171. humming bird calling
172. kids going on a hummingbird hunt
173. bare feet on sun speckled cement
174. anxious smiles
175. grandma hugs
176. dim sum
177. grandma laughs
178. mercy me, the generous mr love well on repeat
179. dancing all silly with kids
180. snack breaks

181. dandelions, snugly together

182. generous smiles
183. parks
184. sun warming jeans and toes
185. flip-flops
186. thump of a baseball into it's mitt home
187. father and son playing ball
188. husbands smirk
189. leaves, speaking in the wind
190. wheels round rolling
191. strong muscles
192. cardboard boxes
193. hand cream
194. little boy, late night snuggles
195. overtired kids keeping emotions in check
196. backs, vertebrae many and one in a spine strong
197. girls swinging legs
198. unpacking, finding a place for grandma things
199. kids snuggling with grandma
200. moms grateful for children
201. moms hugging sons
202. air mattresses
203. freeways, wide and open
204. peaceful drives, kids occupied
205. brothers greeting
206. birthday parties
207. family gathering
208. children exploring the unfamiliar
209. salads with apple and tangerine
210. eucalyptus trees
211. family opening their homes
212. generosity
213. Aunts
214. fun and games
215. afternoon relaxing in gorgeous backyard
216. hummingbirds darting

217. hawks returning and leaving their nest
218. pine trees
219. an Aunt reading books to eager kids

220. uncle and husband chatting computer language
221. sister-in-laws
222. remembering how to drive in CA traffic
223. sand

224. beach rocks gathered by strong husband hands
225. each rock it's own color
226. kids racing with waves

227. little girl, hesitant at first, feeling safe in the shallow swells

228. little boy jumping and screaming with delight through the waves
229. mama eyes, watching with delight
230. Great Aunts and Uncles
231. sleep coming to small eyelids
232. city streets
233. parking meters
234. "your mom and I got married up on that rooftop"
235. seals, sprawling on jagged rocks for sleep
236. seals, awkwardly moving on sand
237. seals, gracefully swimming
238. fish tacos
239. smelling the sea breeze
240. just being together
241. dirty laundry bag (smelling like the ocean)
242. choked up good-byes
243. favorite drive up the coast
244. reconnecting
245. HOT spring cali day
246. walking in Santa Barbara
247. "this is where your dad and I met each other"
248. ice cream on the pier

249. holding hands

250. carrying the one with the tiny legs

251. little one snuggling face into my shoulder, hugging tight
252. Hugging my Gram!
253. comfort in old memories while making new ones
254. kids pulling out old favorite books for Great Gram to read 'Stop That Ball' 'The Big Red Pajama Wagon' 'Keeko'

255. Gram's smile

256. "Good morning God, this is your day. I am your child, show me your way."
257. More Aunts, Uncles and cousins - more family together
258. glass of wine, chatting with the gals
259. clam chowder
260. juicy strawberries
261. lemons

262. kids finding new games (and the willing participants)
263. cousins playing card war
264. making up
265. tire swing
266. deer staring at us, right out the window, for a very long minute
267. orange juice, fresh sqeezed
268. sunsets
269. rolling coastal hills, green from rain
270. surfers entertaining
271. tears welling, driving away
272. lips turning upward at memories
273. 14 hours in the car together
274. home in our own beds

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Full thanks

Motherhood is a thankless job. We are told that. I played victim to it this morning, cleaning spilled (rice) milk, a squished banana segment and crumbs of shredded wheat. The milk, still seeping through the crack in the table leaf, the thought comes: who is thankless?

If I find myself complaining about cleaning after these pudgy, clumsy fingers, I cannot be thankful for them at the same time. If I find myself feeling pity-ful then can I at the same moment be filled with gratitude for this gift of the day, the life, the Light?

Obviously not, I have to learn to choose the thanksgiving for myself. The thanks for the sunny person, attached to fingers that find cups so slippery. The thanksgiving that I am healthy enough to be the one cleaning up and that the little fingers are healing and healthy enough to be making the messes in the fist place.

They do help with a fair share around here and are always grateful when I save legos from the roaring vacuum. I used to say, "their smiles are thanks enough." Of course they are! Now my thoughts lean my heart to say - my smile of gratefulness is what is enough.

Last weeks list...
106. Rain drops pitter, patter 107. Day dreaming eyes out the window 108. Watching raindrops hit puddles on pavement 109. Patterns of circles, polka dots, created by rain drop waves 110. Listening and boy dancing to the rhythmic pounding, drip, drip drop. 111. Little boy voice sing, song, "sneaky e makes a say it's name. Sneaky e is famous!" 112. duck, duck and goose 113. Running in circles, until dizziness overcomes 114. Dizzying haze tickle fight 115. Filling up our 'heart tanks' with hugs and snuggles 116. Oven baking, extra heat escaping, warming. 117. Whole wheat, ground goodness 118. Freezers, to hold my brown bananas until I'm ready 119. Banana muffins, crumbly and sweet 120. Fingers through soft, short hair at bedtime 121. Dishwasher thumping methodically downstairs 121. Band-aids to cover the evidence of hurt 122. Giggles, while peeling off the band-aid strips 123. Taking time to watch the ducks 124. Independent boy, making himself breakfast 125. Jello, sweet, peachy, goes down easy 126. The boys, healthy, dressed, holding down the fort 127. The girls, pale, snuggling under blankets 128. Bathrobes 129. Applesauce, fruit from last years harvest 130. Robins chirping 131. Tulips faithfully pushing the hard earth away 132. Little girls big, purposeful skips 133. Feeling better 134. Warming wet, towel covered arms with firm, quick strokes 135. Brave little girl, watching stitches get snipped 136. One tiny lip quavering for only a moment 137. A smile and talking to the nurse about favorite princesses 138. A tea party to celebrate no more stitches 139. Camel's 'hump' park 140. walks with friends 141. climbing trees 142. first scraped knees and scratches telling spring is arriving 143. SPRING! playing game after game of sequence on a Saturday afternoon 145. huckleberry pancakes 146. kids sharing memories of foraging for huckleberries last summer 147. Husband, who just knows how

Monday, March 14, 2011


The other day my daughter and I were in a public restroom, she looks up at me and in a very demanding (and altogether too grown sounding) voice says, "I've told you fifty times that I want to rip the toilet paper."

I'm still a work in progress too.

The past week of entries on my list.

52.  ooooohing and aaaaaahing over a baby much newer than mine.
53. Tiny baby socks, how they like to wiggle down to show off cute toes.
54.  My funny kids, big brother saying, "She's so cute, I can hardly take my eyes off her."  Sister says, "She is just so cute, I can hardly stand her."
55.  long sister chats, laughter.
56.  husband, singing over soapy pots, scrubbing
57. Six year old reading words I haven't taught him.
58. silky, smooth, gold fabric
59.  the hum of a sewing machine
60. the strong, slender thread plodding away, over and over
61. Pretty new pillows to make me smile
62. God's character traits looked at with new eyes
63. Friends to hold dear and how we safely hold each other
64. Trust.
65. Purple cabbage, beautiful purple and white trimmed slivers, tangy bites
66. Carrot, citrus, cabbage, ginger juice - tastes of freshness.
67. cabbage pulp turning dishwater a soft periwinkle blue
68. husbands hands faithfully chopping onions and garlic
69. the end of last years tomato harvest simmering, melding
70. pasta sauce, spattered back splash
71. smell of pasta sauce from ceiling to floor
72. ear to ear boy grins
73. imaginations, wild west meets Dora the explorer
74. little boy staying in character - it's fun having a sheriff around

75. an especially chatty day with that sheriff/boy.
76. Sheriffs only rule, penned himself, "Your rules are you shall come to my palace if you need anything."
77. The 'sneaky letters' (silent e's)
78. pineapple, perfectly yellow, sugar sweet and golden tart.
79. my beautiful sister, knowing just what I need and getting me pretty sticky notes!
80. the calm during the storm
81. tiny body sprawled on mine, giving away stress to take on sleep.
82. Novocaine, modern emergency medicine
83. sutures holding the broken back together
84. ice cream, sprinkles and cupcakes with pink frosting
85. netflix veggie-tales marathon
86. long rests, snuggles and kisses
87. forgiveness
88. tiniest freckles on 6yo nose
89. vulnerability of friends
90. "I spy, my little eye, something yellow."
91. Colors of beautiful flowers, brightening up the days

92. recipient adoring flowers, holding them close, moving from room to room wherever she goes
93. knitting needles for flag poles

94. waffles, puffy, crunchy pockets for sticky sweet syrup
95. baptism
96. "Neither life nor death shall ever From the Lord His children sever; Unto them His grace He showeth, And their sorrows all He knoweth."
97. washing a pinky wound, praying for healing for the wounds not seen
98. spinning hair, dizzying
99. painting, mixing color after color

100. masterpiece after masterpiece, right at my kitchen table

101. boy colors of fruit - fruits of the spirit, he calls it

102. skype, kids able to read to grandparents and see smiling faces
103. healing beginning 

104.  using her right hand again
105. being special