to be silent

but not forever...

preparing our hearts, hands and minds for a sixteen hour journey,
six bundles of joy... big ones and little ones...

to drive through Oregon,
miles of lush forest,
the scent of pine so strong,
we will roll the windows down and breath it in,
and I know one child will exclaim
it smells like Christmas...

past a shimmering blue lake,
filled at the edges with thousands of logs,
and we will make up stories about
dancing on the logs,
not falling into the blue beyond,
except for the one who does,
and she will tell how she swims into the middle of the lake,
and a mermaid appears,
and they dance in the water under the moonlight,
until a boat finds her and brings her back to us,
frantic family waiting,
and she tells us of the mermaid dance,
and she says only her sisters believe her...

We will drive on...
into California,
where I will declare that I am home,
though we still have 8 hours to go,
and we will stop at that over crowded gas station,
in the beautiful town with the name which
is made fun of by the townspeople in absurd ways,
and my husband will buy a souvenir glorifying the mocking,
most likely a sticker that says,
I love Weed, CA...

and I will roll my dark green eyes,
and crumple it up,
throw it away,
and it's okay because he just bought it to get a rise out of me,
and I reacted just as he knew I would...

a couple more hours through the beauty of Northern CA,
then cities begin to appear, 
and these last 5 hours of the drive
I dread.

But eventually we pull off the main highway,
we begin our drive westward towards the coast...
until we see green,
and we know the pacific ocean 
is just beyond...

and I am home.

I will be silent for a week,
I am not as technologically inclined as some...
my computer cannot travel with me, it has to stay where it is
my cell phone is just that, a phone, 
nothing fancy...

and so I tell you now that
on Monday when I would be counting my gifts with ann,
I will be pulling into the driveway of my childhood home,
pouring out tears upon my
mama, step daddy, sister and brother...
I will be living my counting of gifts.

On Wednesday when I would discuss spiritual disciplines with ann,
I will be holding my baby in the beach sand for the first time,
putting my feet in my ice cold, dirty green, but the one I love, ocean,
showing my children the living, beautiful star fish where we walk below the pier,
breathing in the sea air that is a part of me,
and thanking Him for it all.

Thursday, when I would write some imperfect prose along with emily,
I will be composing with my tears,
prose of joy and sadness, 
passing my goodbyes along to friends,
to family,
loading up the van again for a drive,
and we will all write poetry
in our memories,
in our emotions...
until next time.

So my friends,
I am off for a week,
my computer will be silent,
but my mind will be oh so loud...


To use God's wisdom and baked bread

Sweet scents flow from the dingy old oven,
the unmistakable smell of baking bread changing it into a
miracle worker instead of an outdated appliance.
Beautiful music plays softly and I can't help but breath deep,
in awe of this momentary overwhelming of my senses...
The running about of little feet is constant...
through the kitchen, down the hall, out the backdoor, back inside.
and I know this serene sensation cannot last forever,
but for right now,
it is perfection.

And then it comes;
the piercing scream outside,
the two children crying with all they have in them,
thinking if they cry louder, they will look the unsuspecting victim,
their sibling the culprit,
the noise grows,
and they are almost here,
footsteps pounding up the back steps,
on the porch...

A quick prayer leaves my lips,
"Oh Lord, give me wisdom on how to deal with this situation.
Help my words to be gentle, my actions to be filled with love."

In they tromp, loud and angry.
Before I even open my mouth,
one child's yelling subsists, the other's sobbing turns to quiet cries.
I try not to display my shock, while I wonder at the cause for this almost immediate display of self-control.

Young bookworm,
heartache showing through her enormous brown eyes,
answers my question with her own,
" Mmm... mama, what's baking?"

Artist child adds, "It smells so good in here."

I whisper words they love to hear,
opening their pallets to the possibility of delight and immense satisfaction,
telling them I have a few loaves of bread just about ready to come out of the oven.

All chaos completely subsides,
that peace silently crawling back into our house,
they ask if they can have a warm piece with butter.

I take a moment to answer,
my mama disciplinarian self remembering
they were just in the middle of a fight, yet to be dealt with.
Should I deal with it first?
Should I discipline them by not allowing them to have the warm, sweet, fresh from the oven bread?

"Oh Lord, give me wisdom..."

And there it is,
breathing down my neck,
whispering in my ear, songs of a perfect melody,
telling me how to love, how to feed, how to grow.
I need to move on...
feed their stomachs and their souls with a piece of bread,
hug them tightly,
kiss them,
mention nothing of past wrongs.
Somehow I know it will work itself out.

Bread comes out of the oven, we slice it, butter it, sit at the candlelit table and eat.
I'm quiet as I look at these two beauties.

Young brown eyed bookworm softly breaks the silence. "Josiah, I'm sorry for bossing you around."

Artist child responds, "Sorry for pushing you sissy."

Eating of sweet bread continues, silence lingers and peace reigns.
I smile and say nothing, remembering the perfect melody.
All forgotten, we eat a few more slices of bread, then pull out a game to play.

As we play and laugh,
I think how, left to my own ways,
these two would probably be sitting alone on their beds right now,
still upset, still angry.
So much better than my self-directed, blurry visioned, hasty own ways,
is God's wisdom,
and because of it,
here we sat together,
enjoying each other,
the two of them having fixed things on their own.

Thank you Lord for your wisdom and patience. Thank you for helping me not to parent in my own "wisdom". Thank you for bread to bake.

This is an edited repost,linking with ann today...

holy experience


To keep going

**Though written on Monday, I am linking it with Emily's imperfect prose...**

Peace is replaced by chaos in a split second and it seems to take an army to find the way back.
This is my home, and today this peace is interrupted by a shrill cry coming from sandy hair, deep blue eyed six year-old boy.

He is my artist child and with pencil in hand he creates a beauty I cannot describe.
He is my sensitive artist and all things touch him deeply,
with the largest display of emotion
over the minutest mistake...

and he just doesn't understand why he can't make the line perfectly straight,
though no one sees the curve in it but him,
and when the eyes are too round,
and he has erased for the tenth time,
he wails cries that should be reserved for the most devastating of moments...

he cries and wants to give up because it's just not right,
to him,
but to us, we see an amazing piece of artwork,
and don't understand what needs to be different...
but his eyes see it.

We cannot let him give up,
his passion,
his talent,
his source of gladness and frustration...
but he doesn't
and he
the more...
and I think of how God must feel
when I get so frustrated because I am failing
at something
and want to give up...

because I do all the time,
I just can't get it right,
and He just smiles at me,
and holds me,
and loves me,
He loves when I try,
and my mistakes,
He doesn't even see them...

so I see both sides,
and I know what it is to be the sensitive one,
and I know what it is to be the loving parent,
and I want him to see,
he just needs to keep going...

because when we,
in His image,
attempt to do
in His name,
He magnifies
our attempts
with His beauty

To sigh

Scrambling for something to write, for words to speak my heart,
unable to think after this weekend which emotionally did me in...

and I just cannot put words down
creating, writing, the last thing on my mind,
though I sit and ponder
and try to bring flow, try to bring beauty, try to bring thought
to you today...

nothing but mush...
but I know I can count...
and maybe it will help...

101 little princess on my lap, wanting nothing but mama
102 the smile baby gives mama
103 sounds of joy ringing throughout my house
104 knowing everything will pass,
105 knowing He is in control
106 today

holy experience


To plant seeds...

I haven't a thing to say to her, and I try not to look at her, but my eyes keep gazing in her direction.
She is girl who is hurting in so many ways,
and I am woman who was girl hurting,
and I have overcome through Him who gives me strength,
and she can be too,
but my mouth won't open
and my feet won't move,
plastered into the sidewalk
like the horrible statue of Puck in the downtown center,
all I can do is stare...

I see me in her,
that long ago, attention hungry, willing to do anything to get people to notice me girl,
and it tears me up inside something fierce,
when I see myself,
and know what is happening,
and I know the Answer,
but I don't think I can give it,
because I know I wouldn't have taken it.

And it all comes back...
the shaking hands,
the empty stomach,
the tears and the ache and everything I wrote and
everything I did.

And I remember the Peace 
which surpasses all understanding,
how it stilled my hands,
filled my stomach
and caused that ache to cease...

And I long to give it to
girl dressed in black who
wears sorrow on her face the way most girls her age wear makeup,
but I see those who tried to give it to me,
who only pushed me further away...

and I recall the one,
the woman with children,
all smiling and laughing those beautiful smiles and sweet laughs,
and I remember thinking she would glare at me with eyes
that said,
why must you sit there, why do my children have to see you, why can't you just go away
and she would walk as far away from sad, life-hating girl as possible,
the way most mothers with their little ones did.

But then, she didn't.
Holding love together while she held her children's hands,
walking right in front of me,
so close I could touch them with my scarred hands,
she smiled at me,
real, caring, love-sending smile,
and staring in my eyes spoke words which woke my dying soul,
"Beautiful day, isn't it?"

And though she didn't give me life that day,
she was planting seeds which would be watered one day by someone else,
and would begin to sprout into this beautiful mess of a tangled but still growing garden
that I am...

I walk right by her,
silent girl crying out louder than all the noise this downtown makes,
holding hands with two of my little gifts,
and I find her eyes, dark and full of pain,
and I smile at her,
hoping to transfer love with this smile,
and I say to her,
"Beautiful day, isn't it?"

Walking away,
whispering prayers for her,
let these seeds be watered and grow...


To make lemonade

Words swirl around in my head with nowhere to rest, to land.
Endless ideas and thoughts that want to burst forth
and my mind, my heart and my language
just cannot find the way to express them.

My heart is sugar,
my mind water
and my words are lemons,
in three separate containers,
incapable of meeting to make lemonade...

alone my heart is sweet,
my mind refreshing
but my words are sour,
thus the sweet and refreshing are hidden away inside
while I pour out sour drinks
to the thirsty who listen...

and their thirst is not quenched,
and my words are useless...

What then?
Do I refrain from speaking, writing and using words
for fear of giving a dose of raw lemon
to my listeners?
When my listeners are my children,
how much lemon can they handle?
When they are you, my friends,
how much lemon will you put up with?

Or do I desperately search for a way
to reconcile this sugar, water and lemon,
to give sweet lemonade to my
precious children,
my encouraging friends?

to wait

And, behold, the LORD passed by, 
and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, 
and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; 
but the LORD was not in the wind: 
and after the wind an earthquake; 
but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
 12And after the earthquake a fire; 
but the LORD was not in the fire: 
and after the fire a still small voice.

1 Kings 19:11-12
A hush had fallen over the house,
children tucked into beds, 
I sitting, praying, nursing the littlest...

sounds of nature creeping in through the window,
husband preparing his things for the next day of long work,
peace settling in...

Climbing into bed beside me, 
kissing the cheek of the nursing babe,
the cheek of the mama, his words soft and perfect...

"keep on loving me, keep on trusting me."
And the unexpected voicing of those words unleashes emotions from my tired mama soul,
"I do, I do... but I don't understand this season in our lives... what do you see that I don't?"

His gentleness continues as he speaks words I need to hear,
"I don't see anything,  I just know we are where we are supposed to be at this time, 
doing what we need to be doing..."

"Yes, but...  it's so hard..." 
And it is so hard, not knowing the next steps, just trusting God is working everything out,
and thinking the rest must be just around the bend, but getting around that bend and seeing another storm...

Momentary silence, then... 
thunder shakes the house, i shake along with it letting out a quick gasp, and I am not used to this thunder...
it comes often, but my beach-front california girl self will not become complacent to this frequent washington rumbling...

Return to silence and stillness, 
the sounds of baby swallowing his mama love milk,  
and husband's love rolls off his tongue with words that spread a soothing ointment over me...

"remember when elijah was waiting for God?  and you remember He was not in the earthquake or the fire,
He was in the still small voice..  and i know, we all remember He was in the still small voice, 
but what people tend to forget is...

before the still small voice,
there was an earthquake
and there was a fire."

words resonate and i think they would knock me down if i were standing, and yes,
there was an earthquake and a fire,
and then came the still small voice,

and here I am in the fire, 
and the still small voice WILL COME...
and i will wait.
holy experience


to step out of the darkness

darkness tries to hunt me down...

Daily, I feel the shadows lurking behind me, reaching out...

they grasp at my arms, my legs, my heart...

it wisps through my hair and breathes on my neck

As I rise before the sun, darkness is waiting for me, beckoning me to return to the land of dreams...

when children are bickering and my gentleness breaks, darkness hovers over desperate to lure me in...

folding piles of laundry, a just finished book comes into mind, a book which told me that my laundry-folding, diaper-changing life is stifling my soul, keeping my real life locked up, and I fight the urge to believe that which I know is not true, but darkness lurks around the corner whispering those book words, daring me to think them...

when hard worker, loving provider, gift to me from He who knows me best, is working so late and the children have to go to bed without their tender daddy kisses, darkness caresses me...

and my mind wanders back into long ago days when my children were only known to God and my husband was a mystery to me,

and I am curious to know if darkness was hunting me down even then...

I see the days of friendship bracelets and sleepovers, 

I cannot find myself in them...

and then I see the darkness, 

darkness in human form,

and I cannot find myself because this is myself, 

the darkness consuming me...

And I remember in the me-darkness days how I longed for love, for acceptance, for justification, 

the me-darkness sought with pain and turmoil things which are only attainable in the Light...

but I can't see the Light, I don't even know the Light is there...

the darkness is so consuming it has blinded me.  

Back to my days of love-giving, life-imparting, child-holding, 

back to my days of seeking the good of others...

knowing the darkness follows me, knowing the darkness wants to consume me again, knowing...

and, despite my failings, despite my misgivings, despite who I am, He will not let the darkness overtake me, for now I do know...

46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, 
so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.
John 12:46 nlt