Monday, January 27, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (5245-5251)

a week off
Chinese food
being back at high school Bible--moving into Romans 12
clean sheets and blankets on a freshly made bed

the cold of winter air

Head on my shoulder

She stayed home from co-op today and I sat next to her on the couch. She rested her head on my shoulder. We sat like that for a long time. I might have dozed. She might have too. I could hear the wind picking up in big gusts. I sat there with my coat on. And a blanket over me.

"What was your favorite part about being sick?" I asked her.

Silly question.

She smiled.

"Popsicles. And TV," she said.

I had a few favorites too: naps. Toast. And I lost six pounds.

It's always good to find the silver lining.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (5223-5244)

I camped out on the couch on Sunday with blankets and a book. It felt really good to stretch out, and prepare for a nap. I said to Shane, "It has been years since I've napped on a weekend." Thoughts of life before, and the summer hum of his tractor cutting the grass, windows open, fragrant scents. Those were napping weekends. Weekends now in some form or another of disarray--like how the winter break seemed to fly past, and I realized I had not even started a project. This prompted the mad rush to clear out the laundry room (which is still a heap in our school space) so that we could patch and spackle and paint it.

Last Sunday, I wasn't thinking about the laundry room. There may or may not have been a fire burning in the woodstove. I was asleep before I knew it. Woke to the first twinges of body aches and dizziness. No appetite. Extremely tired. Morphing into extreme body aches and chills. I was out.

Thankful for:

blankets on the couch
a book to read

a husband who entertained the kids
back-ups at co-op to fill in for my classes on Monday
a friend to take Lanie to school
and that Erin stayed home with me (her fever spiked Monday afternoon)
that man of mine, who brought home juice and Popsicles and graham crackers for his daughter

Day 2: me; Day 1: Erin

catching up on episodes of Sofia the First and Dora
Erin in my arms
a safe ride home for Shane in the snow
that Lanie is able to fix foods for herself
that she is spared, so far, from flu

neighbors and school friends who offer to get things for us
and having enough
a big ole pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove
feeling improvement on day 4
a cleared driveway

that bed of fluffy covers and pillows
sleep, sleep, sleep

Thursday, January 16, 2014


It was 3 o'clock and I stayed under covers a little while longer, just until I reached that line of sleep or wake. I decided--wake.

Made his lunch.

Fixed a cup of coffee. Then, a bit later, another. Chatted a friend in India. Wrote. Checked Facebook. Finished up post for 66 Books. Fixed eggs and toast. Orange juice. Salted dark chocolate. Champion breakfast.

Erin asked for breakfast. "Do you know what I had yesterday?" She likes her cereal dry sometimes.

Um, yellow 5 and 6? I thought, after reading that book yesterday about soy, milk, GMOs, and artificial everything. 

"Life cereal," I answered instead.

Served it up, with a side of mama guilt. Yellow 5 and yellow 6.

Lanie is upstairs singing. Heater hums and the sky is gray and there is a forecast of flurries. I read a story of a day in the life, and think it would be nice to bake some cookies today. And maybe I could find a tutorial on knitting ... yarn is half off at Joanne's and Michael's. (I have yet to finish the infinity scarf my dad helped me start back at Thanksgiving.)

Erin spreads a blanket across the rug in the school room to make a picnic space to do her math sheets.

History, language arts, math, science, biography on MLK, a grocery run.

A day in the life, indeed.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

January 15

I remember my address from the house I grew up in.

I remember my elementary school best friend's phone number.

I remember an ex-boyfriend's birthday. Which falls the day before a former friend's birthday, so it's like a double dose of wishing I could remember something more useful to life today.

I can't remember much of what I did last weekend, or the weekend before, or what we had for dinner Monday night. I can't even remember what I wore to church on Sunday.

I don't remember phone numbers (except Christy's and Shane's) or many passwords or information I would want to know.

But I remember what today is, because I had written it down, carried over from 2011 into 2012, which then made it to 2013--with sorrow in place of fanfare. So when transferring dates into this year, the reminder sat in its box, where I had to leave it; but like some things, it stays with me.

And I remember, with sadness, and disappointment, and a mix of other feelings too.

On, on.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

And so we baked a pie

Both kids eeewed and crinkled noses at my lunch choice: tuna salad in a pita pocket. I emptied a small can of tuna in a bowl. Diced up some celery. Dumped in a hefty spoon of mayonnaise. And the ultimate nasty, to them anyway, a forkful of sweet relish. It's how my mom always made it. It's what I'm used to. My kids won't touch it.

Schooling through the afternoon, and finally bumping up against the dinner preparation. Lanie wanted an apple pie for tonight's dessert, and I obliged.

"I want this apple pie recipe in my cookbook," she told me. "And your recipe for banana chocolate chip bread. And even your black bean soup recipe. Even though I don't like it, maybe one day I will."

I laughed.

"You better get started on it sometime in the next three years," she told me. "I'm going to be grown up soon."

I know.

"Why don't you mix this up for me?" and I handed her the bowl with the sugars and spices to stir and shimmy over the chopped apples in the crust.

Erin rounded the corner and wanted to help. I let her paint the egg whites over the pie top.

"Next time can you do three slits instead of an X?" she asked. "Or maybe a heart."

Painting, painting.

I wished I had my camera nearby. But the kitchen lighting isn't the best on a day like today: chilly and gray drizzly. Perfect day for an apple pie.

Monday, January 13, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (5205-5222)

a roaring fire
library trips
Erin reading to herself on the couch
a delicious salad
a warm bedroom

moments stepping into heads and hearts of friends (Jennifer, Karen)
opportunities to help
the cashier who offered to hug Erin
great worship at church
asking a neighbor to join me the next day

her yes (and her son's)
camera 1
the visitors' snack and chat afterward
how it's not about the cookies
(and she saw it)

the drummer
and how he has inspired me for years

Friday, January 10, 2014

Of chocolate and Cherry Coke and quiet places

We were parking in a lot when we heard on the radio a DJ asking, "What makes you happy?"

Her coworker said, "Chocolate."

Erin and I laughed.

"That's a weird answer," Lanie said.

"It makes sense to me," Erin answered.

"I kinda get it too," I said.

Just getting over a bout of change--that struggling urge for different. I bought two different hair color kits last fall around my birthday--when I wanted a change. I ended up doing the regular color and saved the new one for another time. Then just before Christmas, I got fed up with the roots and decided to color my hair. I had that new one in the closet. I took it out and colored my hair.

"Mom!" Lanie said--because there's always a child in the bathroom when a mom wants privacy. "Your hair!"

"I know," I said. "It's dark." But I hadn't even seen it yet because I was towel drying it.

"No, it's red!"

"What?" I looked in the mirror and it was dark. But then I ran my fingers through it, exposing it to light, and it was red.

"Oh. No."

I sent Shane a text: I'm sorry for what I just did to my hair.

It looked like I poured Cherry Coke over myself. I know people who pay to get their hair like that, and it's great for them. But this totally. wasn't. me. And then commenced the whole thinking of change, and the amusement of this situation.

On the phone with Christy. No, I'm not crying.

Shane came home and I took off the hat I was wearing.

"It's not that bad," he said.

"It's not that bad meaning you don't mind looking at this for the next four weeks, or it's not that bad but I should fix it?" I asked.

"Fix it," he said.

Then I became black walnut with sparse ash highlights. (I really love it!)

Erica asked if I took a selfie in the bathroom. No, I didn't. Erin took it. But the bathroom was the room with the most light.

So maybe in the process of change, we sometimes don't look like we want to, but then get to a place that makes the effort worthwhile.


I am finding that living wholehearted isn't necessarily joyous, that it can be heavy-hearted. It's taken me to quiet places, weighty places, prayerful places. It's made me feel powerless, ineffective, and awkward (and this is only ten days in).

This has been a quiet week of getting back into routines, curling up in inside warmth, and discovering the key to slowing time (to be fully in the moment).

Her favorite book at the library

Monday, January 6, 2014

One thousand gifts and still counting (5176-5204)

a drive by the canal
a welcome sign on the other side of the bridge
their smiles and waves at the front door when we pulled up
lunch with Marshall (and his mom and sisters)
lights in a wine bottle

shining at me on my counter
a good friend who leaves me feeling encouraged and rested
two fires burning
that song on the radio that made me laugh out loud at the timing

a movie with Denise
running into Shana
shopping at Wegmans with a friend
muffins for breakfast
and good coffee

for a fabulous end to Bible reading in a year
and a great beginning for 2014
for easy reasons to live wholehearted
celebrating after a friend gets her ears pierced

and the ones that will stretch me
prayers answered

fireworks at the new year
this life
the woods
January birthdays
big salads in big bowls

skate days
a great friend for many years, Friday skate

heat in the upstairs
my big girl growing up
and the closeness we can share

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One word

Its antonym is half-hearted. Lukewarm. Tepid.

I know too many people who live like this--and not even in their faith life, but their every day. They have influenced my thinking so much in 2013, that I decided I wanted to live different(ly).

Single-minded. Ardent. Avid. Eager. Enthusiastic. Excited. Exuberant. Fervent. Genuine. Heart-felt. Hearty. Whole-souled.


Marked by earnest commitment. (Following through. Reliable. Trustworthy.)

Completely and sincerely devoted, determined or enthusiastic. (Real. Present. Whole-souled.)