Triple Kiss Optional

We were Methodist when I was a little girl.
I have to confess that I'm drawn to stained glass, pews and hymnbooks.
There's something in me that perks up at lit candles, swaying robes and liturgy.

The Apostle's Creed, for example, seems like a balm to my soul, and I remember
as a kid really listening, head cocked and eyes squinting,  
and later fervently reciting with the adults 
the list of exactly what we were all willing to go the mat over. 
The camaraderie found in group recitation is very powerfully applied 
within the context of the teachings of the Church, I believe.

In any case, I miss those things.
Especially on 'high church' days like Easter.

(a single tuft of sunlit grass)

Now I'm wishing I had taught my family to use the Easter morning greeting:
and the response
"Truly, He is Risen!"
The triple kiss not required, but enjoyable.

So I'll send it out to you, and I'll include a messy triple kiss 
both before AND after the greeting:

Christ is Risen!

more Apostle's Creed
and here.
Just one more here.
And Oh My Word - this!



am going to 
that I saw 
the last icicle of the season 
melt yesterday morning.


Dad's Private Box

Jeremy stiffened his back and headed in the direction of his father's study, concealing his Super Secret Agent Extraction Tool in his stubby, grubby hand. If he could walk there without being stopped by his mother or spotted by his baby sister, he'd have a chance to finally use it on the green metal file box. The one his dad called "private"—his Private Box.

"Don't touch this box, Jeremy - it's PRIVATE."

His black hair bristled with excitement and tension, and he was annoyed to feel it bouncing like a rooster tail on the back of his head. His mother didn't notice how he squirmed with embarrassment every time she and the barber discussed what to do with the stubborn hank of hair that sprouted from the crown of his head. His father said it showed boyish manliness. Although he wasn't sure what that meant, he liked how it sounded, and now he felt ready to execute a daring, maybe even a manly, plan. While his mother was in the garden and his sister asleep in her playpen, he would open the Private Box and look inside for himself.

He walked through the parlor, down the hall, and slipped silently into the study. Returning the door to its usual almost-closed position, he approached the Private Box. Using the tool he'd made from a discarded paper clip, Jeremy slid the key from its hiding place under the paper label. Then he shoved the bit of wire into his pocket and put his sweaty hands to the task of turning the key and pushing the latch in the right direction at the same time. His mother's feet on the porch steps urged him—hurryhurryhurry—to take only the briefest look in the box before making an escape. Finally pressing the latch button in the correct direction, he threw back the lid to the sound of his mother's voice, 
"Jeremy ...?"



My grandma had a pussy willow bush. 
She loved it because it bore one of the first signs of spring every year, 
 catkins as soft as a new kitten's fur.
Branches were cut and brought into the house, almost as a celebration.
But my grandpa hated it because it blocked his view of the barn.
Every now and then he'd cut it way back, so he could see the barn better.
Oh and you know how she hated that!
I got my bush, now more like a tree, from my dear mother-in-law 
- a rooted branch from her own.
Seems like she's always had one here or there on their property. 
And it seems like I might remember a few go arounds about 'over trimming' hers, too.
What's with men and over trimming?
Every year, I watch its branches for a sign of spring, 
searching for those downy buds.

This year, I also spotted this random bonus item:



Over the weekend, I went out in the garden to peek around for new life.
 I don't know where these crocus came from. 
A gift from the wild chipmunk tribe, probably.
You know they dig bulbs and bury them elsewhere, right?
So sorry if these look familiar but seem 
to be missing from your flowerbeds.
Maybe we're getting a little Chipmunk Payback for all the early morning 
wake-ups they've inflicted on us over the years. 
Just outside our bedroom window:
Spring begins at 7:02 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Don't miss it!


Get Your Name Tag

When we used to take our first graders on a zoo field trip, the name tags were an important 
part of the preparation. Arranging chaperones, lunches, permission slips, admission, buses, 
zoo demonstrations ... all that yes - but the name tags were Really Important. And if one of those kiddos wandered away it would've been a disaster of epic proportions for a new teacher. 
So name tags were near the top of the list. 
We tried to make them something the kids would want to wear 
so they wouldn't peel it off or hang it around a fence post. 
Sometimes the tags were themed by group. 
For example, the 'Lion Group' had lion shaped tags and were supposed to visit the lions and come back 
with a fact about lions to share with the class. Who knew if that would really happen?
 Let's just say that every parent who volunteers to chaperone should not really be a chaperone. 
Once I found a group of my students in the aquarium, and they weren't searching for 
fun fish facts to share over bag lunches. The moms were sitting on the entry benches 
while the kids raced around (and around and around) the circular pathway through the displays. 
If you think they were just having a little break for only a moment - stop it right now. 
Those kids were sweaty and shouting with joy, while the other zoo patrons were highly annoyed. 
Their name tags were completely askew. 

In my reading this morning, the scripture seemed to describe a name tag we will receive and wear in heaven.
Like a glorious field trip, maybe? 
Since we might need to be reminded where we are and whose we are -
"... to the one who conquers ... 
I will write on him the name of my God, 
and the name of the city of my God, 
... and my own new name."
(Notice that OUR names will not be on that heavenly name tag. Neither was that information a
 necessary part of our zoo tags. The child knew his own name, but the school name and my name
 needed to be on every tag for certain.) 
I'm glad the name tag described in Revelation 3 is not removable, peel-able or likely to be torn.
Just in case I'm found shouting with joy and racing around (and around and around) the new city, 
my new name tag will never be askew.



Betty wiped her hands on her favorite calendar dish towel and absently wondered if she should toss it in the laundry bin. It had been a busy day, crammed full of preparations for the family dinner  taking place in just two hours. The pork chops were marinating, the potatoes were boiling along  and she had enough time to ice the cake before chasing her husband down for a quick pre-party conference. She slung the dishcloth over her shoulder and opened the basement door to listen. If the washer had finished its cycle, she could pop her favorite blouse in the dryer and be wearing it when her sister arrived. Her sister! Betty stared down into the cool, silent dimness, her hand unconsciously clutching the towel as anticipation battled uncertainty, and hope surged through her chest once more.

Buy Betty's butterfly dishcloth here.