Saturday, July 30, 2011

The wind in my hair

I only remember the first couple of words to this song. If anyone wants to fill in the artist, title ... feel free:

"The wind in my hair, the sand in my shoes, I'm hitting the highway forgetting my blues ..."

At the beach with my man and little people. Afternoon of waves and sand. Ice cream for dinner. Too late at the amusement park: lights, rides, giggles and shrieks.

Erin bolted for the little train to ride around the park, first thing. We rode together. She looked around the park grounds and commented on the ponds, "It's so beautiful."

She couldn't wait to get Shane and Lanie to show them. I love looking at life with a four year old.

Lanie loved the slides and climbing mazes. It was going on 11 p.m. when we left. I don't think we've ever kept them up that late. I slept hard, the best night's sleep in over a week.

Today: hoping to get a healthy lunch, and spending the afternoon at the water park. Grateful for a husband who got me a large coffee and lots of cream and sugar to start off the day.

This is life in the in-between.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The in-between

We moved our things out last Monday. We are staying with Shane's brother until our settlement on the next house, next week. All throughout, I have been humbled by, amazed at God's provision and plan:

  • the urging on our hearts a year ago
  • opened doors and his encouragement
  • for friends who comfort, bolster, pray, and bring juice boxes and snacks
  • for sellers who let us move our things in early and place them in rooms, that she's pulling weeds in the garden, her thoughtful cleaning and explanation of caring for appliances
  • for in-laws who graciously, generously host and care for us
  • free use of a box truck
  • movers who cheerfully placed, assembled and repaired
  • play invitations from friends during the in-between
  • a glimpse into his majesty and a bigger plan

Writing today at 66 Books.

Monday, July 25, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1957-2062)

What soaking-in looks like. A tumbling list of thanks from deep-down places ... my longest list, and still it was hard to stop. Thanks, thanks, right through endings and into beginnings.

purple flowers growing wild along the roadside
ice cold water in a bottle
a play set disassembled
colored Sharpies

cupcake calling cards
multicolor envelopes: two purples, two greens
a fabulous week of VBS before we leave
three hours a day to sit with thoughts
Reggie's open door

ten months of waiting
six weeks of discovering
baggage unclaimed and left behind
faith walks
moments of peace in uncertainty

for all the things I didn't know, He did--in advance
His good in all things
and still, the acute awareness of time ... to number days
times that are in His hands
reminders of the fooling facade of control

bedrooms and thick white blinds
a kitchen I loved
a patio Shane built by himself
a swingset where my kids were rocked to sleep on summer afternoons

a modest vegetable and herb garden, neat and tidy
front garden beds and rounded bushes for a man who likes things orderly
purple coneflower in bloom
nights in front of a big desk, tapping away on a keyboard
walls with inscriptions buried

Dr. Seuss on a school room wall
pink and purple for a little girl
closet forts
a soaking tub for hiding
a kitchen pantry

and the years: Halloween nights and light-up shoes scampering ...doorstep "boo" surprises ... shoveling driveway snow alongside neighbors ... horses at a farmhouse ... pictures of pictures

green and yellow stripes in a closet
a red powder room
sidewalk chalk on the driveway
summer breeze

playing tag in the yard
a line of trees we planted as sticks, growing ... growing
kite flying on windy days
hot air balloons in the sky

to be different
softened, tender heart
the way the willow branches sway fluid in the wind
these weeks of remembering, healing, hoping
a tree branch that holds her, and her long arms that reach

her kids' calls to ours from across the street
open invitations to play
coffee breaks between moms
friendships that come naturally and easily

white tufty blossoms on a crepe myrtle
pavers for a future garden
the fruity hue of summer strawberry jams
the VFD carnival
cotton candy in pink and blue

twisty cones
a Ferris wheel with farmland views
a brave ride rider holding tight on turns
movie night with a friend
Anita's arms embracing David, longtime love

lunch at Wegman's
99-cent spaghetti sauce
leaf spines hunched for summer storms
a box truck
a friend to water plants

Erin's mommy-love songs
Anita's free and generous offers to help
rainbow magnets for the fridge
a place to put things
someone to take us in

enough toilet paper and paper towels to get us through last days
finishing off the fridge
wine in a juice glass
sisters styling hair
burgers on an old grill

Lanie and Kaelyn holding hands--very good friends
Erin and Becca--head-to-head chats
VBS movie updates while she bounces on a hoppity ball
old, country back roads, new to me
for slow, easy seasons that nourish now in the crunch

air conditioning
last library runs
a cat in the sunshine, tail tapping
a green light--go!
12 rolls of packing tape

last boxes, packed, sealed, moved
walls bare
the lock box off the door
a key in my hand for just a few more days
the ache in goodbye

coffee cake and card, hand-delivered from Becky
a box of munchkins for my kids from Chrisi
a full truck (and the playset fit!)
color fading, the stripping out of things that made it home
a swim invitation

friends I'll miss
and that they'll miss me back

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Note to self: another use for mason jars

A substantial part of my kitchen is packed up, the mason jars boxed yesterday with the canning tools. I might not get around to making all the jams I wanted to make this summer. Considering pineapple, peach or plum at this point. 

Luckily, I found this link again. Pies in mason jars. So if I don't get around to making jam, I will make pie.

Did you know Pottery Barn makes a mason jar drink dispenser? Now you do.

Monday, July 18, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1930-1956)

"How do I wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to losses and crushed dreams and all that empties me out?" Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.

1930. the last full moon view from the windows of this house before we move.
1931. neighbors on a scavenger hunt
1932. their buckets of rocks
1933. cooler temps
1934. a breeze on the back steps
1935. rosemary transplanted
1936. last swings
1937. last slides
1938. cookies in the freezer
1939. resilience in Him
1940. that tears are caught
1941. her breath like orange gummy butterflies
1942. a little blue shirt that matches the sky
1943. the sound of wind through leaves
1944. a hug to a stranger
1945. her story pouring out, my ears catching
1946. swimming at David and Anita's
1947. his great granddaughter Tessa
1948. instant best-friendship between Tessa and Lanie
1949. so many books, packed
1950. a box of coffee pods in the mail
1951. a library book run and full tote
1952. fireworks at night
1953. a frog on the patio
1954. a redbone coonhound named Casey
1955. picking wild red raspberries in the woods
1956. the soaking-in of last days at a place called home

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Lanie brought down her DS to show me some pictures she had taken. She opens the albums and the DS plays a sweet little background tune. I see the world through an eight-year-old's eyes. Pictures of her, self-portraits with silly smiles, or serious face, or fancy hair styles. Pictures of sisters. Pictures with friends huddled into a camera's focus, a moment captured, a glimpse of what's important.

She continues to go through photos, showing me what matters. We get to her room.

"I took some pictures of my room," she said. I sense her working through the transition. "It's so pretty."

I feel time's hands slip around my neck, squeezing. I inhale sharply.

She's snapped picture after picture of pink and purple: the princess lamp on her nightstand, a room name plaque spelling Elaine, a spotted chair, the wire letters across a wall with staggering L A N I E, the little fort she made in her closet, dolls in a row.

The music plays whimsy and I feel a weight smothering. The weight of goodbye. The weight of time fleeing. The weight of hopes and dreams stunted and moved, or packed away.

I'm really no good at good-bye.

I breathe and smile and rub her back. And there it is: the picture of her new room--dark blue and Spiderman until we redecorate. And there it is, the brick fireplace in the new schoolroom. She's moving on too, snapping pictures of the next place when we were there last week during inspections.

The music plays on. The weight starts to lift.

Friday, July 15, 2011

While drinking a mug of chocolate macaroon coffee

Reggie explained the walking wounded and how we find one another. That as we see the vulnerabilities, the need and wounds in ourselves, we can see them in others too. We recognize each other by the scars. Sometimes, we avoid each other by the scars.
Writing today at 66 Books.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Circa 1990

Emailed a friend of the vicious purge going on here. Packing up clothes for donations: army fatigues used during my 30th birthday paintball party, jeans from my college days that I am only kidding myself about that I'll get back into.

My friend LOL'd in response. I believe her exact words were:

"Girl, you made me laugh out loud.  I know for a FACT that any jeans from my college days would be totally NOT in fashion right now, so I don't even want to KNOW what style yours were that you were hanging onto!"

So I know she'll appreciate this photo of me. Note the very Julia Roberts hair style, the head band, and the over-sized wire rim glasses. Back then, I was rockin' it.

Several bags later, I'm wondering why I didn't downsize years ago. However, I did keep one pair of jeans.

The farmer's friend

This neighborhood is built on farmland. I remember meeting the farmer and his wife, whose farmhouse was two streets away. It was a novelty to walk with Lanie down the road and feed the horses (Mona and Fritz). I don't recognize the horses there now.

Many years ago, Mr. H., the farmer, died. I talked to his wife at the funeral home. She told me how they had hoped that families who lived in the community would be happy here. That's what they wanted. A sweet woman. And I remembered how her husband would drive around in a golf cart and offer to take me out to shoot at the raccoons in the trees. I never did. I remembered he had a friend who'd come through the neighborhood, how those two used to go out together all the time. They seemed like brothers.

When Mr. H died, his friend came through the neighborhood regularly to check on the wife. And one day Mrs. H died. The farmer's friend still came into the neighborhood to check on the horses and the house. Once I was at the street when he drove by. He rolled down the window to say hello to me. I touched his hand and expressed sympathy over his close losses.

Years have passed, and his white truck is a familiar sight. Even on these country roads, I recognize him and we exchange a wave in passing, or a hello if it's in the neighborhood. On Saturday, he pulled into my driveway with his wife while I was having a yard sale.

"Come to say goodbye?" I asked. We move in two weeks.

"Why are you leaving? Where are you going?" he said.

We talked and I told him how we're moving to the woods, looking for a change. I looked into his friendly face and felt the tears well in my eyes. We hugged and talked.

"All the pretty ones are leaving," he said. I smiled.

He wished us well and hugged me tight before he left. And I realized afterward, I didn't know his name. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1903-1929)

country roads
tootie girls in the back seat giggling
farm field smells grossing them out

no hurry
a busy yard sale
an old man's hug goodbye
tears that come quickly
emptied rooms

sunny skies
a fifteen-minute nap
Hello Kitty boots, gifted to Erin
chocolate in the freezer

shady drives and dappled light
a box of brownie mix
and a reason to bake them
good septic fields
familiar faces at the library

a good last sip in the coffee mug when I thought it was empty
baby bunnies on the patio
found Leapster cartridges
downsizing closets
a dining room set: sold

Linda's hug and "love you"
my dad
blue sundress with polka dots and how her eyes glow

Friday, July 8, 2011

The pink notebook

She handed me a pink notebook with the photocopies on healing past wounds. I looked forward to reading it. I thought surely with time and hindsight, these exercises would be easy. They weren’t. It was easy to write down the offenses committed against me. But then I was to record my sinful response. I didn’t understand. Was being hurt sinful? Was getting mad sinful? It didn’t make any sense. I closed the notebook and put it away for years.

Writing today at 66 Books.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

That kind of love

She comes up behind me, grabs tight to the middle and sinks her fingers in deep. A kiss on the hip and a grunt in the squeeze.

I hug her back and kiss the top of her head.

"I love you a hundred-million-thousand-zero times," she tells me.

I squat down to her eye level and she reaches out to me, little hands gently moving hair out of my face.

"I love you too," I tell her.

"Whenever I see you, I want to squeeze you and kiss you because I love you," she says.

"I know that kind of love," I tell her. Our eyes meet and hold. "I feel it too."

Monday, July 4, 2011

One thousand gifts and still counting (1878-1902)

blue skies
piano music
a hug between friends: the picture of Lanie and Ben dated 2006

quick breads
a place that feels like home
the acute awareness of time
memories that break me

thoughts that consume a child's mind
first things to do when we move
kids on the playset
opportunities for hospitality

friends over one last time
a fireworks display
an evening breeze
baby bunnies in my garden, my girls intently watching them

chocolate chip/white chip cookies
lasts: the last Father's day, Fourth of July, dinner parties, play dates in this home
little kicky feet treading water in the pool
her tired slump just minutes after getting buckled for home

a solar powered light my dad made for me
Shane's thoughts that put so much in perspective, so grateful for him


My very good friend David is an artist. I've known him for nearly twenty years. We spent the afternoon at this house today. His basement is a lovely studio where he displays his artwork: sculpture, painting, sketching. Lanie and I talked about his work when we got home.

"He's so good. I'm not that good," she said.

"Well, I've known David a really long time ... almost twenty years ... and for as long as I've known him, he keeps working at art," I said.

"Yes, but he does sculpture and I don't have that special clay," she said. "I only use snow and Play-doh."

I love her.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Step in and stop

A harvest season and overflowing banks. God tells them to step in and stop. I try to imagine what it all looked like: the people, the water, the priests preparing to step out ahead, the air of anticipation and expectation, the presence of God making a way.

Writing today at 66 Books.