Friday, June 29, 2012


Papi lets the kids paint the bathroom in his studio. They like to do it. And there is some beautiful story in "the process" that I will have to come back and tell - some story about painting over time, as you grow - some story about how the wide, flailing stokes that leave heavy drops of wasted paint on the floor provide the backdrop for the finer, more graceful lines of a mind and body that has had more time to get used to life here. But no story today. Just pictures of happy kids leaving their mark.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In Celebration of Dads

In celebration of men who - by biology, adoption, or circumstance - choose to love bravely and find themselves Fathers . . .

A few things we like about Dad:

I love playing with him
We play Tic-Tac-Toe
I like eating with my Daddy
He makes crepes with yogurt inside
I like his sunglasses
He likes to go bear hunting, remember the Bear Hunt book?
We put on our bathing suits on the trampoline and he sprays us with the water hose

I love that my Daddy is strong
I love that he lets me have more of his cookie that he ate
The other thing I like about Daddy is that he holds the slide while we slide
I love about Daddy is that he found a great place to drive the remote control car
I love about Daddy that he helps me build a Lego car

I love you because you are the best Dad in the world
I love it when you take us to the Skate Park
It was super fun when you took us to the pool
I love you a lot because you are always rubbing my back
You make the best crepes ever
I like it when you read Little House on the Prairie

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Public Schooling

Can you read this fine piece of 1st grade writing? (double click on the image to make it bigger)

I am sure you knew that it says: "ABC! ABC! ABC! Whow! I like my ABC. I am going to say forever ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. How I say my ABC. Next time will you say to."

That's what I thought too. But not on the first read.

Be Still or How I Heard My Heartbeat in My Ear

This morning was Day 4 for me of working through a prayer journal that my mom gave me for Mother’s Day even though I am not her mother. Mother’s Day was not four days ago, which proves, as if it needed proving, that spending time in prayer does not come easy for me. The book, Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying With My Pen, by Rachel Hackenberg, suggested this morning that I read Psalm 46 and then set a timer for ten minutes to truly be still and know that God is God. Since it is Day 4, and like any good student, I am still eager to complete the lessons with A+ effort, I set my watch, folded my legs to appear more yoga-like, and closed my eyed.

And nearly panicked.

Ten minutes of holding still and knowing that God is God suddenly seemed impossible. What if he wasn’t going to speak to me? What if he was and I didn’t like what he said? What if my mind wandered?

It did.

I tried to take deep breaths and relax, but was totally consumed by the sound of my heartbeat in my ear, which I think was I could hear because it is so plugged up. Then I thought about post-nasal drip. And whether or not I would get a chance to exercise today. And whether or not I would wash my hair. And whether or not I would let it drip dry. My thoughts roamed slowly around in depressingly unspiritual loops. Yoga pants versus jeans. Post-nasal drip. The pattern of my bedspread. A small thought about knowing that God is God. Breathing. Stiffness in my neck. Weeds. Wind. Post-nasal drip. Wondering how much time was left. Hair washing, again. The time I wore my yoga pants inside out and backwards half a day without noticing and swore then and there to go back to the land of zippers, buttons and self-respect.

The timer went off and I picked up my journal. And wrote this: “Sorry, God. I feel like I just wasted your time.” But that is just the thing. Thinking that I wasted God’s time is hubris. It means I still think that time is mine to waste – that I own it, even in its misuse. I did not waste God’s time, because Big-T Time is not mine. It belongs to God. Thinking about the “unproductiveness” of my roaming mind, is still thinking about Me, is still a rating of my performance, which is a convoluted form of conceit and time-ownership. Ten minutes of quiet, thinking about God being God, is not about Me. And that, I think, may be the whole point, at least today.

I do want to learn to clear my mind. I do want to learn to pray and hold still and think about things other than washing my hair. But even if I do learn how to hold still, how to be in the presence of God without talking, I will never own time. Because I am not God. And somehow that feels comforting.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Morning Light

I came around the corner to find Peanut sitting at the kitchen table eating her breakfast with her eyes pinched shut. “Your baby is missing, Mama.” She announced. She was so sure of the total darkness registering in her brain, despite the sunlight filling the window, backlighting her bedhead and transforming the plastic gaudy flower tablecloth into a sheet of glowing white. Her face was scrunched so that the whole of it seems to be folding into itself at the eye sockets, pulling her mouth into a happy grimace showing her baby teeth.

Kind of like this:

This hasn’t been my best parenting week. There are a few choice moments of me responding very, very, very badly to the tiresome quirks of the oldest I would rather forget forever. Like Peanut, I would like to scrunch my face and announce my disappearance. Truthfully.

This morning a timely word came with all the promise of a little silver box with silky matching ribbon. It came by way of A Year With Dietrich Bonhoeffer which I picked up earlier this week at the local used books store. This morning, Mr. Bonhoeffer pointed me towards Proverbs 4:18: “The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter till full day.” I whispered a little thanks for the reminder that my best days, my closest likeness to the character of Christ, are yet to come. The moments when I most closely resemble the love, patience, and wisdom of God are not lost somewhere in my past. I haven’t missed it. I haven’t squandered all of himself that he longs to give. He calls me to new mercies every morning, to a discipline of prayer, a closeness to his Word. And like the morning, my life holds promise for more light, more warmth, more movement toward the heart of God.