Saturday, October 30, 2010

Retreat














I know where the stone walkway lies hidden beneath fall's cover. The smell of autumn clings to my jacket, still. Erin picks up leaves and chases Lanie. Lanie laughs in protest through the crunch, crunch. Brick, slate, stone. The fragrance of a woodsy retreat. Garden gnome, little bunny, iron gate. Father holds hands as they balance on a fallen tree. Trails, hideaways, arboreal awnings. I look up, up at the tallest treetops, late morning light breaking through. And I don't mind the air is cold.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Joy, joy, joy

Decaf hazelnut to hydrate. Cinnamon Roll and Holiday Blend (with extra cream) to warm the bones. Banana chocolate chip bread cooling on the counter. Last-minute dusting to ready the house for a showing this morning. A trip to the zoo for a school field trip, carpooling with friends. Kids still sleeping. This mom enjoying morning quiet time, and in my heart a dancing joy, joy, joy for grace.

Writing today at 66 Books.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coffee time

Lanie playing, strolling a doll around, cell phone in backpack, "laptop" at the end of the desk near mine. She goes to an imaginary counter and says, "Coffee time! A butterscotch coffee please."

Imaginary grabbing and slurping. She looks at me and says, "We drink coffee here."

Yes. We do.

Monday, October 25, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1065-1099)

This week is a blur of thankfulness:

full moon, Smencils, homeschooling, a strong willed girl, our pediatrician taking time to visit us in the hospital, Gatorade, Boo buckets, rustling leaves, cards in the mailbox, parent beds on the hospital floor, God in the whisper, a friend willing to step in to advocate, hot coffee, mommy masks, results, grape popsicles, clean clothes, glue pictures with leaves and crayon wrappers, friends who called and prayed for Lanie, cinnamon roll French toast made with love for breakfast, someone to fill in for me on 66 Books while I was at the hospital, two friends to handle delicate matters, gentle speakers, chocolate frosted donuts with sprinkles, a healthy child, being home, leftover taco salad, dishes placed his way in the dishwasher, a lunch box on the counter top, volunteering at the academy, fall, pumpkin scented candles, risking love, disarming fear, hand lotion.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Child's play

When we had a yard sale this summer, Lanie and Erin reenacted yard sales with dolls and My Little Ponies. They sold stuff and bargained and got lemonade.

When we put our house on the market, Lanie and Erin packed and moved ponies around, visiting different places where the ponies might live.

When Lanie got a spy kit for her birthday and the kids watched a spy movie, Shane and I knew that ponies would be reenacting scenes from the movie ... Special Agent Rainbow Dash and Special Agent Pinkie Pie. And that's pretty much what happened. (I loved how she wrote me a love note in "invisible" ink: I Love Mommy.)

After Lanie's ordeal this week, and being home safe and sound, I was vacuuming the floor and walked past the kids' playroom to see Lanie cradling a doll. "She's going to the doctor," she told me.

And then we went home

A week of doctor prescribed home treatments, to no avail.

"You need to take her to the emergency room," he told me.

Arrived with Lanie to a city hospital because that's where The Specialists are. 

"She has to be admitted," they said.

And it went from bad to worse: restraining her, I.V. line, nose tube--the images, feelings and sounds of that quite likely burned into our memories forever--and me wearing the Mommy Mask so she wouldn't see my heart breaking, my voice speaking encouragement to ward off the warble that wanted to win, my eyes ferociously fighting tears to not form.

She was situated in her room at 1 a.m., and begged me not to leave at 7 a.m. when I had to move my car from the ER lot.

"I will be back soon!" I told her.

Nightmarish all of it, but for her: where did she go in her mind? A safe place? A dark place? Her words from earlier in the week, "I don't feel God is here."--and I recognized the awful loneliness that comes when fear attacks the sacred places. Her voice, now, so weak. She was exhausted from no sleep, and the constant poking and prodding. Hospital treatments seeming ineffective after such a positive start.

The Specialists came in and we had a long talk and agreed on next steps. Time ticked in limbo. My hope waned and wanted to buckle under my own fear load. Then, without even the opportunity to implement any next steps, X-rays showed improvements. A proposed two-day stay became 24 hours.

Nose tube removed and all that tape peeled off. The I.V. would be next to come off. And she looks at me and said of the princess band-aid covering the prick of a blood draw from that morning, "I sure hope they don't take this band-aid off. It's really going to hurt!" After all she had experienced--the band-aid?! I laughed.

"When I get this off, I'm going to cuddle you!" Lanie told me, pointing to the I.V. in her arm.

A purple popsicle, and she was a new kid. Street clothes on. We walked to the car under a full-ish moon and she told me repeatedly how it all felt and how awful it was--the relief in her voice it was over. And then we went home. Music on and we sang out loud into the night--all praise.

Home to find a special letter in the mail box from her best friend. A breakfast delivered to us in the fridge from Marshall's mom. Our day covered in prayer. Greeted with warm welcome from Shane and Erin (homecoming pictures she worked on, her words to me after not seeing me: "Mommy, don't die."), all of us girls cuddled in a heap on the couch, staying up late to watch cartoons, not wanting to let go of each other. Yawns taking over and sleep winning. It felt so good to settle Lanie into a comfy bed, in her own room.

Today, kids playing, coffee brewing, sun shining--just like always. But inside our skins, we are all changed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1054-1064)

1054. Softgels
1055. Yellow leaves on the fern-y tree
1056. Balloons
1057. A picture of two best buds from when they were in kindergarten, and a word in silver (that was more like gold) across the bottom: friends
1058. For the mom who understood the tears in my eyes
1059. Saturday mornings with Reggie
1060. A drive toward the horizon as dawn swells
1061. Laundry
1062. A good soup
1063. A prayer answered (Denise got a job! And it was the one she really wanted!)
1064. Books in the mail

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Corn chowder

I made Corn Chowder yesterday and had two bowls of it. I'm excited there was more left over for today. The recipe is over here at The Pioneer Woman. It calls for green chilies and two chipotle peppers. I only used one, but it didn't give any real heat. I will definitely use two next time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Eight

She has reminded me daily since my own birthday that her day is coming. Last night, in my arms, I looked down into her beautiful blues and remembered holding her for the very first time.

"I held you in my arms for nearly the entire first six weeks of your life," I remembered. Shane nodded.

"You never put me down?" she asked.

"Not for long."

"You wanted Mommy for everything," Shane added. "You'd run right past me to get to her if you got hurt."

"I guess I was your favorite!" I whispered loudly, in jest.

"And I'm your favorite, right Mom?" she returned.

"Now what do you think the right answer to that would be?" I replied, as a mother of two.

"Yes!"

And while she would correct me to say she's not officially eight until 5:59 p.m.:

Happy birthday to my favorite eight year old in the whole world!

Monday, October 11, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1040-1053)

An autumn breeze through nearly spent leaves.
Monkey bars.
Good directions.
An evening house showing.
Free drink refills.
Friends who peel back hands to show me a glimpse of their heart.
Bluest skies.
Lower grocery bills.
Remembering Chuck, Mary and Michel. A touching graveside tribute. An honor to have entered their lives.
Hugs to hurting hearts.
A sleep-in Sunday.
Shane parroting my words to speak gently.
Introverts.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Boo monkey bars

I was at a park yesterday morning with the girls. We met up with a mom and her daughter for some play time. Such a beautiful fall morning. Crisp air. Bluest skies. Cool enough for a jacket. Wind blowing through aging leaves. Loved it all. It was such a great day, I never imagined my next decision would wreck me.

I saw the monkey bars and decided to give them a whirl.

"Can you do monkey bars?" I asked the mom.

"When I was little," she said, laughing.

"I couldn't even do them when I was little!" I said. But for some reason, trying to do them at forty-one seemed like a great idea. So I grabbed on.

"I would probably do better with some momentum," I mused, hanging on the first rung. But I didn't swing my body. I didn't want calloused hands. I reached for the second rung. Ugh. Then the third. Blech. I dropped.

"Every time I see those shows where people face extreme situations--like climbing a mountainside cliff or some other daredevil act of survival--I realize what a goner I am," I said. The monkey bars just confirmed it. Hanging onto a rescue rope dangling from a helicopter over the ocean? Forget it. I  might as well just wave them on, Go rescue someone else!

"I say we get some weight lifting gloves to protect our hands and start monkey bar training!" I ventured. "Come on! We can do this!" I speak in exclamation points sometimes.

She probably thinks I'm a nut.

Before bed, I could feel my chest muscles protesting. Today, they are screaming a bit louder, joined by shoulders and upper back. And my hands are calloused--at only three rungs in. Wrecked by the monkey bars. Ugh.

Early to rise

Shane walked into the office this morning to tell me goodbye at 4 a.m. He spies my coffee cup. "You just had a full cup!"

Um. Yeah. And it's FOUR A.M. I think that certainly justifies a second!

On my third cup now, post published and a song in my heart. Happy Friday!

Writing today over at 66 Books. Where the coffee is especially satisfying savoring words before sunrise.

Monday, October 4, 2010

One thousand gifts and still counting (1019-1039)

1019. Things that disappear.
1020. Friends who pray boldly.
1021. Colorful envelopes in my mailbox and the birthday wishes tucked inside.
1022. Coffee with a neighbor.
1023. Rainy days.
1024. Hugs from a friend in an aisle at the grocery store.
1025. Fall.
1026. Sweaters and socks.
1027. Verses in my inbox.
1028. An airplane swooping low over treelines and farm fields.
1029. A Saturday afternoon nap on the couch ...
1030. with windows open ...
1031. and kids playing quietly.
1032. Running barefoot in the grass--fast!
1033. Discovering how good 1/2 and 1/2 is in coffee. Enjoying to the last drop.
1034. Kisses for kisses. The chocolate kind to the kid kind.
1035. A long sleeve shirt.
1036. Long shadows.
1037. Celebrating 70 years. Happy birthday, Anita!
1038. Growing pains, still.
1039. Ends worth grieving.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Jesus.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It makes me want to dance

A munchkin voice singing out into the evening,

"All I know is God loves me, and it makes me want to dance!"

Over. And over.

I got up from my chair and peeked around the corner to see Erin seated at the piano bench, tapping away on keys. I soaked in the moment. She turned to me, and with a glowing face and bright smile said, "Did you hear my beautiful song?"

Yes. I did.

Erin Reese-y Rooster. With her cockadoodle doo; silly bands; stuffed animals; Noonoo blankets (one tattered, one new); her love of wake-up couch cuddles; My Little Ponies; Uno Attack player; The Fib lover; cars in a line to make traffic; reading books perfect for little hands; picture drawing; alphabet magnet frames around pictures on the fridge; her love of chocolate (she gets that from me); copy cat; animal lover; outgoing friend; thinking of others; bottom shaker; tootie girl; cuddle bug.

I hear your beautiful song, and I know that God loves you. And it makes me want to dance.