Wednesday, April 30, 2008

so not cool.

it never rains but that it pours. sh*t. how's that for a change of pace.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

too beautiful for me

Sometimes I am surrounded.

Just out of my reach, they lay heavy
Floating
Ideas and sensations
Things without words
That make my pen feeble and
Speechless.

If only
I could find the language for
Things without words
I know that Truth would be spoken
And beauty beheld.

But
Maybe
Some things are most beautiful in their
Absence
Some Truths are only known by our
Unknowing.

I will sit very still
These heavy things making me light
Floating
Soaking in my unknowing
At peace with absence
And my feeble pen.

Monday, April 28, 2008

living upside down

somehow jennifer lopez's song, "my love don't cost a thing", got stuck in my head yesterday. and i go to thinking about it - and i think she's half right. no one's love should cost to be recieved - we shouldn't have to earn it, or deserve it, or bribe someone for it. love should be given freely. but i think she missed, and we miss, a very important truth. Love costs a lot to give. real Love costs the giver. not money - not like love requires gold and diamonds, tho the jewelry industry would like you to think so - but it costs us in becoming vulnerable & transparent to another human being. it costs time and self-sacrifice and service to the other. it costs sleepless nights over shared pain; we pay the price of continuing to move forward when we don't want to; when our ego's are hurt and our pride is damaged. it costs a death to self that is continual and sometimes painful - our selves don't die easily. it costs self-denial, and we are taught nothing in this culture more strongly than "why deny yourself? get what you want." in the words of the luxury car commercial, "it's not more than you need, it's just more than you're used to".

maybe this is why we don't easily give Love. it seems, at first blush, to put us at a disadvantage. it is expensive, and it asks us to put ourselves at the end of the line, rather than push our way up to the front. but this is 'kingdom upside down' kind of living. this is how we were intended to be. and i can tell you from personal experience that it is not easy. not remotely. but it can transform me when i let it...and to tell you the truth, it's not often that i let it. sometimes, you get lucky and the cost is small compared to the return. but even when it's not, i believe that trying to be who we are intended to be, what we are intended to be, has an impact that goes beyond today, beyond here and now. and so even if the cost is great, i want to learn how to live Love. i am willing to live upside down. i hope.

Friday, April 25, 2008

the rewards of lawn work...



... also known as "the glories of spring"! Curtis is out raking and mowing the top half of our back lawn, and so far i've been called outside three times. first, to see a snake shed hanging out of our new granite retaining wall - proof to relieve kyra's fear that all our friendly rat snakes were homeless when we replaced the wooden one. second, a beautiful, tiny & perfect baby turtle! so small, so pristine - we all clamored for a chance to hold it. (i'm SO glad he saw it and it didn't get mowed!) lastly, a giant wolf spider, whose egg sack was mid hatch - still attached to it's back, with tiny grey spiderlings (?) clinging to her back. there is no end to the glories of nature, found from it's grandest sunsets to it's tiniest, perfect creature. bravo, God. bravo.

holllaaahhhh!

(my little brother says that once any kind of urban slang - ie: peeps - hits my vocabulary, it looses all it's 'street cred'. i'm sure he's right - but i'm gonna hollaaaahhh anyway!)

today, i want to give a shout out to two women in my life - women who, when i'm around them, just make me joyful. merely being in their presence is delightful.

the first is my friend, tenea, who happened to cut my hair yesterday. it was the most purely joyful haircut i've ever gotten. :) the very heart of her bubbles up with laughter & yet also, in sort of mysterious ways, peace. she has a beautiful spirit (and if you need a hair cut, i highly recommend it!) she is full of life and faith, and every time i talk to her i wish i could stay and talk to her more. she is simply delightful to be around!

the second is my friend deirdre. she has the most open heart - you can read it on her face. in spite of the journey she's had to walk, she is always looking for the positive - not in a naive way, but in a genuine way. she gives me crap when i start a pity party, reeling off the beautiful things in my life, but does it without making feel lectured or like she's shaking her finger at me. it just comes naturally to her. i am secretly coming to count on her joy to bouy me up!

i feel like once, long, long ago, i was someone who made other people happy just to be around. i seem to have lost that somewhere along my way. these spectacular women make me want to find it again. thanks, girls.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

another "fruit bowl"

my upstairs hallway. between the girls rooms.

  • a purple badminton racket
  • a pair of tights
  • plastic glasses with no lenses
  • clogs
  • meg's hospital bracelet "souvineir"
  • 'cat fancy' magazine (my mom subscribed them to it)
  • 3 hard cover books (kyra's)
  • 5 beads
  • a half deflated balloon.

a better mother than i would tidy those things up. but i can't be bothered.... on the WAY PLUS side, kyra did all the laundry yesterday. three loads! she asked if she could learn how, and who am i to say no to inquiring minds of the next generation?!?!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

full recovery

i am beyond delighted to report that my "15 - 20 kleenex every morning" meg seems to have reached a full recovery! she can breath! hooray! her adenoid surgery has been wildly successful - allowing her to drink through straws, chew with her mouth closed, sleep without snoring, and above all, get through a day without my hearing voice, "megan, blow your nose", 50 times! hooray! i am so thankful.

also thankful for:
  • my mom
  • my friends
  • curtis & the girls
  • my marriage - going strong after nearly 14 years
  • cloudy, grey, warm & rainy days
  • envirosax (!)
  • bird feeders
  • holidae
  • God - who is amazingly faithful to me in the midst of my unfaithfulness
  • a strong & healthy body
  • frogs, snakes & lizards
  • naps
  • tea
  • good books & public libraries
  • the work-out dvd
  • spring
  • peaceful mornings
  • massages
  • dishwashers
  • email

i could go on, but for your sake, i'll stop....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

more from jean pierre

"because they do not know how to make use of God's action, many people (fill their lives with other ways) to try and reach holiness. all these could be useful if they were ordained by God, but they are harmful when they hinder the simple, straightforward union of the soul with God. Jesus is our master to whom we do not pay enough attention. he speaks to every heart and utters the word of life, the essential word for each of us, but we do not hear it. we would like to know what he has said to other people, yet we do not listen to what we says to us." (emphasis mine)

this resonates with me. i run around, trying to squeeze myself into what God has revealed to the people around me like trying to fit into someone else's dress, the whole time never thinking that if i just slowed down and let myself hang out with him for a while, my heart would hear it's own "word of life" - one that would be infinitely more fulfilling and meaningful. also, too, that all the books i read and things i do can be totally useless to my relationship with Jesus if they take the place of just being with him. eep...

Monday, April 21, 2008

my brothers, the nuts.

all three of them. although in the best ways... i think. in degenerative order:

ben and kari are very seriously headed toward moving to indonesia with their kids. that's not totally nuts, i know. especially as it would be for him to work in the area of his phD & gifts... but it ain't moving to boise, idaho, either. (but how fun will it be to go visit them!?)

mark told me to pick a day, any day, and he is going to send me whatever is on woot.com that day. just for kicks and giggles. yesterday, woot sold a $4 screwdriver. two weeks ago it was a $265 dyson vacuum cleaner. i picked may 1st (my mom's birthday)...hopefully it will be a lucky day! (c'mon, ipod dock!)

vincent - ahhhh, vincent. just got a second job! we are stunned at his sudden produtivity! and the new job is..... (drumroll, please!)..... teaching writing and poetry to prisoners in his local medium security prison! i mean, if anyone could do it, vincent could... but ... oh. my. gosh. nuts.

but what can i say - i love 'em. nothing i can do about that. and since we're all swimming in the same gene pool, who knows but that the next crazy move will be mine...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

jimmy buffet was right

life does look better under a blue sky broken only by waving palms with their clusters of green shelled coconuts. truly. i spent three entire days (for the most part) on a lounge chair beside a blue pool, under a blue sky with brilliant green palms and a good friend beside me. i read 3 1/2 books, dipped my feet in the pool when i got too hot, and watched the families with kids thinking to myself, "ahhhhh - so nice to be here alone". i met up with a old friend from florida for an hour one afternoon, but other than that, there was no agenda, no plan, nowhere to go, and nothing to do. pure, unadulterated bliss. i couldn't live a whole life of nothing under the palms of south florida, but three days of it was totally sweet.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

necessity is the mother of invention


every day it is the job of one of The Girls to scoop the cat litter and sweep the floor. and every morning that is her day, meg puts on her giant clogs (thoughtfully brought back from holland by shanna & andrew) to do her job without getting grit on her feet. clever girl. loud girl.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

greed

i have no occasions upcoming, nothing worth celebrating. yet i am unintentionally compiling in the back of my mind a list of things i want. *sigh*

  • envirosax - a tidy little bag of 5 lightweight, portable, and waterproof shopping bags. Each one holds the equivalent of two supermarket plastic bags thanks to reinforced seams.
  • the new john mayer cd - which is not out yet, but the new single 'say' reinforces that i heart his music, and can't wait for the cd.
  • the rumored to be in production new whitney houston cd. now that bobby brown is gone, i believe she can make music again....
  • a really good ipod speaker dock
  • alicia keys tickets. only $106 for the cheap seats. *sigh*
  • kirk franklin tickets - but he's not coming anywhere near here. *sigh*
  • a cook. someone who will come and make supper for me. and then do the dishes.

with the possible exception of the envirosax. not one of those things is a "need". i am quick enough to shake my fist at the culture of excess, and look at me. *sigh* greedy greedy greedy.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

don't ask.

trust me.

Monday, April 14, 2008

if you have children...

go read this... lookydaddy.com ... honestly, i just laughed til i cried. the second page had some very funny stuff on it. if you don't have kids, don't worry about it. but seriously. til i cried.

thought for the day

well, the girl who "had a fraction of her head removed" - as kyra has begun calling the adenoid surgery - is back to school today, happy as a clam. no complications over the weekend (hooray!) and we are in the home stretch of antibiotics, et al. yay!

i am going to florida this week! hooray! i am super excited! i am all about the warm, as you know... and i'm going with a great friend, so it should be glorious. *aaaahhhhhh*

i'm rereading a little book called 'abandonment to divine providence' which is basically a collection of letters/writings from a 16th century french priest, that focus on - strangely enough - being abandoned to whatever God has for you...and how that attitude of abandon is all we need to become truly holy. i am having recent trouble abandoning myself, so i picked it up again. it's full of wisdom & ideas that are worth thinking about, and here is one for you today...it's my longtime favorite in the whole book:

"my dear souls, you are seeking for secret ways of belonging to God, but there is only one: making use of whatever he offers you. ... there is no need for you to understand the lessons (His will) has taught others, nor to repeat them cleverly. you will be taught matters which are for you alone." - jean pierre de caussade

Saturday, April 12, 2008

meg update...

(this from an email i sent out yesterday)

Well – here I sit, with a sleepy and sore (and drugged) meg laying on the couch across from me. she did very well, and the doctors and nurses all commented on her maturity and beauty. (truly!) the most astonishing thing about this moment, (aside from the fact that meg is actually awake and not speaking), is that she is breathing out of her nose – already! The doctor said that her adenoids were even larger than she anticipated (and unusually large for a girl her age, which is when they should start to recede in size), and so the surgery covered more surface than expected, and it could take up to 10 days for the swelling to resolve itself and for us to see an improvement. But here the two of us are, and she is breathing with her mouth closed while she sucks on a chocolate! This is exactly what we were hoping for, and why we chose to go ahead with the surgery. With her mouth closed, I suddenly see how beautiful Megan’s lips are… it’s been such a long time since I saw them closed! I am seriously verklempt over here! :) We have 72 hours of recovery & rest, but if all goes well, she’ll be back to school Monday.

Also, while they were dealing with the breathing tube & tongue depressors, one of her troublesome loose teeth was “accidentally” (as far as meg knows) pulled, and so now the tooth fairy gets to come, too! I was about to make her a dentist appt. to have that tooth pulled, so this is a bonus!

Thanks for all your thoughts & prayers!

Friday, April 11, 2008

i'm a survivor!

i think children are well adapted to survival, even if dropped off in the middle of the forest. they are natural scavengers. i sat on my back deck last night and the girls played around me as i chilled on my reclining deck chair (God bless the person who invented that!), and i was alternately amused and amazed. meg, fashioning a spoon by pulling the stem end of a leaf through the face of another another leaf, just enough for it to be held in a concave curl; kyra, running a sturdy stick through the rings of the swingset to suspend a bucket of clean water (for "stew"); collecting dry sticks for firewood, covering their "drinking" water with a cloth so it stays clean overnight, pulling up the wild chives & onions that grow in our yard to "eat", dividing tasks and "chores" so everyone is pulling their weight... i mean, i'm not saying i'm going to abandon them in a forest somewhere and see how it goes, i'm just saying that they're much more instinctive survivors than say, the grown-ups on 'survivor'. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

why today?

today might be the first legitimate day of beautiful weather here... the sun on my yard illuminates the emerald leaves, half-sized and stretching themselves out more each day, the birds flit past windows and across lawns, and there's not a cloud in the carolina blue sky. and i am going to spend the bulk of today in the hospital ... sigh. for reasons that escape me, meg has 2 separate pre-op appointments this afternoon, and i will miss this glorious day. of course, meg is worth it, and there will be many more beautiful days to come... but there's something about wanting to sit on my porch all day in the fresh sunshine that i can't shake this morning. i'll definitely have to spend the morning outside!

happy day to you all!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

green eggs & ham?


i can tell it's spring - my windshield was green this morning, and my red truck was definitely tinged green. the puddles are all rimmed with green powder, and after walking the dog today, the calves of my sweats were green from ankle to knee, just from walking on a paved path! pollen is in the air, apparently. :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

back to the real world

... where my mom isn't cooking my meals, and no one is going to clean the bathrooms if i don't. *sigh* vacation must be over...

meg is getting her adenoids taken out on friday - that's the biggest news around these parts. she has chronic trouble breathing through her nose, and although she's been on 3 different adult rx allergy medications, (sometimes at the same time!), they are no noticable help. so, out those suckers come! even she is excited, hoping to find relief. poor kid...

in joyous news, durham is greening up! leaves and grass and even my lilies are making their spring appearance! hooray! a bright yellow goldfinch on my feeder, a bunny on the neighbors lawn in the dim evening light, and moths around the porch light. *ahhhhh* i love the warm.

and best of all, curtis did our taxes today! hooray! he is taking a well deserved nap. kudos to you, curtis.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

surprising finds!

now i wish so much i had remembered my camera!! yesterday we went for a walk on the beach, after a night of rain, wind and pounding surf. you never know what's going to come up in surf like that, and the wind had become much softer and the air warm, so off we went. and we found...
  • a THREE FOOT shark!! surrounded by seagulls, missing it's eye's and being torn open at the gills, but otherwise flawless! i was stunned to see it up on the shore. we think it may have been a baby blue shark, or even a baby white one...very very cool.


  • 30 - 40 portuguese man of war jellyfish! some of them were clearly still alive, raising their "sails" every time a wave pushed them in, so kyra took a giant broken conch shell and would scoop them up and hurl them into the ocean until they got far enough out to ride the waves and disappear. very cool. very persistent girl!



  • a sea slug! ew! very cool - very heavy! it curled away from me when i poked it, so i hurled it into the surf with my very best overhand outfielder throw. (it went far... i have a great arm.) :)

  • dozens of round, spidery crabs, all of which megan collected in her own giant, broken conch (of which there were hundreds that would have been as big as my head if they were whole!)

  • A SCOTCH BONNET! for FOUR YEARS every time we've been to the beach i have scoured for an unbroken one of these shells! unfortunately, their dome is very fragile and i've only ever found bits of them. until yesterday! when some of the most violent surf i've ever seen pushed an unbroken scotch bonnet right up to my feet. i screamed like a little kid!

  • an united states armed forces ID from 1983 for pvt-1 tracy l. stevens. astonishing. i wonder what happened to him... i tried to google him, but came up empty. i guess i'll send it to the army and politely ask? it'd been laminated, so even his picture is still clear... amazing.

it was a great day. full of the sort of stuff you always hope to come across scouring the sand.