Back in Hoyleton a friend and I used to wonder at our incredible amount of unfinished conversations.  We’d be talking about something, which often led to another topic, so we’d talk about that.  A child might come to us needing a drink, so we’d pause the conversation, get the drink, which would usually spark another conversation.  We’d start on that and a baby would wake from a nap needing to nurse, so you’d go get the baby and sit down to nurse, which usually led to a conversation on sleep or breastfeeding.

By the time the conversation was over, it was almost like having seven thousand mason jars on the table in front of you with their lids off.  There was still so much left in each one of the jars, so much more we could go on and on and on to say, but now it was time for all the lids to go back on.  This has to be something like what the kids would feel when told it was time to pick up all their toys that had, during these conversations, filled either one of our living room’s with the obvious evidence children had been there.

As a person in those days, there was something over-the-moon incredible in the oft-absent joy of adult conversation, so much so, that it seems a betrayal of cosmic kindness to include a “but” in this sentence, but–for it would be untrue to not say it–there was also something tragically awful in the arousal of a sleeping soul and awakened desires that could never be satisfied. An emptiness settles in the realization those jars will never be empty.  No matter how many hours you have to talk, the time will never be enough.

I don’t want to end on a negative note.  Sometimes all you can do is sit with the feeling, give it a name, perhaps a word to express it, and then move on to the next step, another bench beside the lake, with the geese flying over the path of leaves leading home.


mild pre-springs

The yellow school bus rolls by around three in the afternoon and with it comes not even the faintest whisper of temptation.  The Fed Ex truck, the UPS driver, the big yellow school bus, all of these are but regular passersby in this–our distant country community.

Precipitation today is not as remarkable as the water and skies.  Snows and recent rains had sent the lake to eclipse the shore.  My husband took notice, and subsequent action, as the higher waters gave reason for alarm.  Hmm, he wondered.  Is the overflow clogged?

Indeed, it was, but not anymore.

The kids and I continue in our tasks of daily learning.  The recent bursts of natural color give rise to the quiet inner joy and inspiration. Fishing poles are being prepped as I type, and already I have caught the first glimpse of boys’ swimming trunks.  “This year, Mom, we will set a new record.”  They are eager to jump toward our May 1st tradition.  The time I let them wade is brief, tempered by the knowledge one is fighting a cough.  

“Boys, it’s too cold”.

I am still their mother.

And you can’t rush the spring.

the mandolin rain

It bothers me that every time I go to write, “I” is the main word that wants to go first.

“I went to the store this evening…”

“I have no idea how I find myself listening to the most random songs…”

“I saw a girl dancing in the parking lot tonight…”

This book, The Artist’s Way, talks about making a habit of writing three handwritten pages every morning.  The author calls the exercise “the morning pages”.  For a while I was doing it in the early early morning, and my one rule for writing was “You cannot start the morning pages with “I””.  It was very hard to do and it still is.

The point of the morning pages is to get your other thoughts out of the way.  You’re supposed to write whatever comes to mind.  There were several things that came out that surprised me, and one time I wrote twelve front and back pages.  It turned out to be the most restorative writing session in several years.  It felt incomplete when I stopped, like there was so much more that could’ve been said, and yet, there was peace at the end.

I saw a girl dancing in the parking lot tonight.  I’d just pulled into the parking lot, and was about to pull the keys out of the ignition, when Madonna’s song “Holiday” came on the radio.  It was like I was literally being pulled out of my van by an outside force. I thought to myself, “THIS!  Why don’t I exercise like THIS every day??? There would be no dread, no excuses, no regret for neglect. I would never know anything other than joy.”

That very moment, a young girl somewhere around the age of eighteen or nineteen, came spinning into view as she danced across the parking lot to her boyfriend’s car.  I’m assuming it was a boyfriend, for she looked to young and too new to be married.  They seemed as though they were swift and in a hurry, thought that was, on second thought, their everyday speed.  He was happy.  She was happy.  I was happy watching them.


sister and martha

(Republished because the first time the end was cut off-one of those technological difficulties I haven’t figured out as I use my phone and my computer when writing a blog. One to upload pictures and the other to type with…)

It’s true I’ve been running a low-grade temperature for days, but the truest of truths is that I wanted to be alone.  Everyone else went to Wednesday night church, the second evening service in the season of Lent. Not long after my sister started texting me, and somehow we got to talking about Mary and Martha.

Following the minor hospitality fiasco at their house, Jesus told Martha Mary had chosen the better portion.  Rather than Martha-ing away for the guests, it seems as though then it would be better to be a “Mary”.  Though I’ve always identified with Mary more than Martha–certain I would be the one sitting at his feet–I never liked the unequal leveling of the sisters. It isn’t right for Jesus to love Mary more.

But Jesus doesn’t love Mary more than He loves Martha. In John 11:5, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”  Jesus loved Martha, and Mary isn’t even named! For reasons unstated, when the two sisters hear the news Jesus is coming, Mary stays home, remaining seated.  Martha leaves the house to go meet Him.

It is Martha then who gets the longest dialogue with Jesus, and I believe, speaks some of the strongest, most faith-filled words in the entire Bible.

Martha returns to her sister, and only after hearing Jesus is here and asking for her does she rise up quickly to go and find Him.  In John 11:31, perhaps we get the answer now why Mary hadn’t gone before, “When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to weep there.”

Not long after that Jesus wept, too,

prompting then the Jews to say,

“See how He loved him!”



Isn’t it blessed and wonderful, friends?

Truly Jesus loves us all!


on walking again

There was a warmth in the afternoon air yesterday.  You needed a coat, and gloves, and a scarf, but those additions were sufficient, and the cold was not cold enough to reach your skin through your clothes.  It was warm enough, however, to slowly melt the snows.

I’ve been telling myself I would get to moving more once the warm weather comes. December, January, and February have passed, and the first day of Lent seemed good enough as any to do at least one of the things that tends to go missing in the winter.

It’s the weather, I’m sure. Two days now I have cried for no reason.  Too many aspects of life are not ideal.  Not enough sun.  Not enough movement.  Not enough friendship and human interaction.

There isn’t the loneliness here that there used to be there.  What it is, instead, is an abundance of solitude.  It’s any reader’s, and writer’s, any introvert’s dream world.  I’m trying just to “own” this blessed and peculiar passing season of life, to use the time wisely for myself and my family, and to let the time have it’s needed impact on my being.

I keep hoping that these decades of homemaking will make me into somebody different. I want to come away with useful skills and ways to serve the greater good.  A month ago I started working (very) part-time as a cook. Camp was short on help, and when my husband suggested I consider it, I was simultaneously amused (Ha!!!) and intrigued.

You know what I’ve discovered???  In fifteen years of feeding a family–I’ve learned some things!  I know how to grocery shop, I know how to make soup, I know how to make a bread basket look pretty with a colored cloth napkin.  Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day to prepare and cooking breakfast for other people is something I LOVE doing.

It’s snowing again today and it’s good to be home.  March snow is not the same December snow.  While one is the promise of goodness to come, the other is a signal to keep keeping on. It’s not that I want winter to leave–I love snow–it’s just that I’m ready to feel the sun shine again, to get some natural outdoor exercise, and to get started on my herb garden.