Friday, September 26, 2014

They Are Different

We were in the car--the four of us. The car is Abigail's favorite place to ask deep, meaningful questions and Simon's favorite place to make noise to a captive audience.

Abigail: I wonder.
And before she could get out her wondering.
Simon:  I never wonder.

It is true. I don't think I can remember a time when he has wondered. Or a time she hasn't.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Our Stories and His Story

I taught the middle school Sunday school class a few years ago. I love middle schoolers, once I remember that there is nothing I can do to make them like me. And once I've been there long enough for them to know that I like them anyway. I have a pet peeve, or two, about Sunday school that I attempt to rectify as a teacher.

The stories. The Bible is full of stories and so often they are sanitized and told and read in church voice. All the blood and guts, fear and elation, and adventure with the God of the universe who wants to live with us is read in monotone, "holy" voice. I sorta hate it, so when I teach we talk about the gore and the celebration in detail. It is why I teach middle school and not pre-school. (Though my little boy thrills at the blood and guts.)

And the thinking. Jesus taught with stories. His listeners were expected to hear not just the words and not just the story but the point of the story. They were supposed to wrestle with their hearts and their minds and their Lord to figure out why He told the story and what they were to learn about Him and themselves.
So, my Sunday school students quickly became aware of the fact that we weren't going to be newscasters in our study of Scripture and that we were going to study the Word. And they were going to go on the journey themselves.

It just goes to reason, then, that my children get the same treatment. We are going to wrestle in this family with our hearts and with our minds and with the Lord and prayerfully come out changed.

So when Abigail inserted her dilemma--feeling that God was neglecting her request--into our evening prolonging bedtime. I asked a question instead of shooing her away which was my desire, and bedtime was rescheduled. She struggles with being bossy. Indeed she, it would seem, wants to run the world. She has been bothered by this tendency even going so far as to ask her friends to help her by pointing out when she is being too bossy. She shared that she had asked God for self-control so she would not be too bossy, and He hadn't helped her.

My heart broke for her, but I felt a little nudge. Why is she being bossy?

Because if everyone doesn't know the rules, something terrible will happen. Because if everyone isn't getting along and playing together, something terrible will happen. Because the stress caused by conflict, even if she isn't directly involved, among her friends makes her miserable.

And a light shown in the darkness of our previous advice to her. Her bossiness isn't a self-control issue. Her bossiness comes from fear. And fear comes from dis-belief. She is afraid that her world will fall apart (and no one will catch her).

So we talk some more. She is allowed to stop trying to control the bossy and she is allowed to ask for more belief. Isn't that what the dad does when he is terrified that his son's life is slipping through his fingers, "Lord, help my unbelief."?  And she is can be sure that He is delighted to answer such a prayer. A prayer asking for more of HIM in her.

And we would never have gotten to the heart of the issue without listening to her story, nor would we have had an answer without listening to His stories.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Farmer's Wife

Dear Stuart, and Ralph,

I love you for what you are. I especially understand your disgust, Ralph, toward the misconceptions about mice. I am happy to live and let live. It is fine that you use our shed as a winter haven. I am even OK with your use of the small crawl-space. The larger crawl space is negotiable.

But, when you use our vacation as a time to frolic through my silverware drawer, mark the knife drawer as your own, and leave your dropping in my ice cream scoop, you have taken my hospitable, live-and-let-live attitude for granted. You have not just teetered on the very edge of the line. You have catapulted yourself over into territory that I will fight for.

Be warned, the farmer's wife has moved in. I will trap you. I will poison you. I will cut off your tails with a carving knife to reclaim the acceptable level of sanitary In my kitchen. You will be forced to retreat or die.

Generally peacefully coexisting wife of a comedic engineer.

PS: To insure the continued existence of your genetic line and the return of the generally peacefully coexisting wife of a comedic engineer, pack your bags and return to the smallest crawlspace, the shed or the many holes in the yard.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Some of Our Summer

In a collage.

We're finding our home and our rhythm. And it is good.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Yogurt Is A Semi-Solid

Half-gallon, raw milk.
Store-brand container

Refrigerator. . .

Filling waffle holes
Son's favorite way
Reach in

Container deforms



Dog spotted
Fridge fouled

Dog hates yogurt
(I am aggravated at dog for yogurt snobbery)

Yogurt is a semi-solid
It won't be sopped
It won't be picked
It is alive

Rummage in sink
Return yogurt to deforming container

Hot water runs
Half-gallon raw milk
Homemade yogurt into sewage system

Liquid left
Grout stream beds
Wipe, wipe, wipe

Raw whole-milk
Slime trails

Under fridge

Pull out
Mouse poop
Turd on my finger
Good enough

Cold waffles
Peaches in pockets
No yogurt
Ever again?

P.S. Because mouse poop in my house is not normal, I feel the need to add the disclaimer that this house spent the winter-empty-on the market. Mice moved in and found behind the fridge a good place to live. The cats are working on the issue. Apparently they need help. The yogurt showed me the problem. It is after-all full of living things.

Monday, June 16, 2014

I Almost Said "No."

It was a Saturday morning I was getting ready to go to the opening day of the St. Joseph Farmer's Market. I was hurrying everyone through a late breakfast slightly annoyed that it was late and that Abigail had not made breakfast (a self-declared responsibility). I was looking forward to a morning alone talking with farmers, hopefully, sneaking a peek of Bound for Freedom, and hitting Target for a baby shower gift. Alone as in by myself.

But she wanted to go, desperately wanted to go with me. Asking for a mommy-date, promising not to whine, not to pout, not to beg. Mostly because I didn't want to be a mean ol' mommy that early in the morning. I didn't say no.

I wanted to go alone, to think my own thoughts, to reacquaint myself with this little town on the edge of Lake Michigan.

Instead, I walked the streets of St. Joe with new eyes. With a hand in mine and all sorts of excitement beside me. With little peeks into the heart and mind of the little girl whose life is intertwined with mine. I saw delight when we found hot chocolate mix free from child labor worries. I heard oooohs and ahhhhs over every puppy, every baby and nearly every craft we passed. I shared smells and sights and conversation and the morning with that little hand in mine attached to a growing every taller body sheathed in a mismatch even I couldn't come up with carrying a heart, mind, and soul that leaves me achingly in love, and desperate for the proper thanks for the Giver.

Thankfully, I remembered my sunglasses. No one had to see the tears--deep gratitude--as I realized that what I had been dreaming of and praying for was coming true before my eyes and I almost said, "No."

Monday, June 2, 2014


It has been nearly a year. I've been overwhelmed, and tired, and absent. I was praying for something to give. Some sort of space in the day that was mine. A house on the market. A job hunting husband in a job he hated with a two-hour/day commute. I was smothering.

We exhausted all the job possibilities in the area. No one wanted to buy our house. We were not at home in church.

Frustrated Chris mentioned seeing if Whirlpool (his employer during college and for a 5 year stint  previously) was hiring. I, scared to think that maybe this was the give (scared to hope that we could come back), looked. There were several possibilities.

The process was either achingly slow in order for us to say we truly did exhaust all the possibilities or so fast we couldn't keep up.

Something gave. And we are here in Southwest Michigan, tucked close to the lake in a little neighborhood with lots of children. We've been here a month, the children and I permanently, Chris slightly longer. The boxes are unpacked. Our house feeling like ours. We returned to the church we attended, or who attended us, when we were here before.

It is different than I imagined, this returning. My memories of here stop seven years ago, but life went on without us. People stayed and left and changed. We changed. It isn't as easy as I had imagined though I knew it wouldn't be. My heart wasn't convinced, I'm finding.

I went to a baby shower yesterday for a lady I didn't know till I got to the shower. It is how the ABF (Sunday school) operates, has always operated. I, telling our story led one to believe that coming here was a decision we had to convince ourselves of, resign ourselves to, but MI is always a good idea.

I prayed that something (I didn't know what or how. I didn't care.) would give. I can still see myself and feel myself begging for that, so desperately. This was the give. And I'm thankful for the gift.