4.13.2017

The One That Made It


Last spring we bought two young dogwoods trees, a white and a pink.  
I hatched a scheme to create a garden entryway to the back part of our little Kentucky acre.
All I needed was a well-aged, blue-painted door ...
... and a pair of dogwood saplings, which we easily found at Lowes.

But as it turned out, young dogwood trees are like pretzel thins for whitetails—irresistible. 
SO the entryway dogwoods got gnoshed to bits over the winter.
But the extra one we planted close to the house—as an afterthought—made it.
Maybe deer don't care to munch so close to an outdoor grill?

SIDE NOTE:
While I was out taking these photos last night, 
helicoptering over stiff blooms as my men grilled burgers nearby, 
an unexpected hymn bubbled up and hummed past my lips.

Summer and winter ...
Pardon for sin ...
All I have needed ...
Peace that endures.

I know I'm not the only one in this crowd with an anxious heart. 
Am I?
It's hard to rejoice when life keeps piling on. 
Like a child left at the nursery desk, I 
nervously bite my lip and wonder when situations 
are going to get better. Just how long will it be until my 
Elder Brother shows up and puts everything in order?

That's when those old hymns drift back, bringing truth and comfort along for the ride. 




3.29.2017

Peony Bush Believers

The peonies are waving their scrawny, red shoots around in the clammy, spring air.
Our Second Son always associated these with his birthday. As soon as the shoots 
broke free from the winter earth, we'd say, "It's almost your birthday!"
Even though the blooms that would open on his 
birthday were still a couple months away. 

Isn't that what spring is all about, anyway? 
HOPE
Unashamed, unreasonable, crazy-talk kind of hope.
Who would ever believe these weak-looking stems would 
become a bush and bear glorious blooms?
No one reasonable, that's for sure. 
Starry-eyed dreamers, only. 
Just all of us
Each of us has seen the fulfillment of this insane hope 
year after year. So we don't wring our hands and wonder. There's no fretting 
about failure. Everyone knows what miracle is being wrought out there, 
and joyfully anticipates this -
If only this sort of certainty could be experienced in our faith lives, too.
After all, how much more reliable is the Father God than a peony bush?
Should we stand vigil over His word and wonder if it will really bear fruit 
as promised and wring worried hands? Why fret failure in the night hours
when His mercy and grace have been obvious year after year?

Where are the starry-eyed dreamers, the peony-bush believers,
 who anticipate the miracles to come and the beauty yet to be born? 

Let it be just all of us.

Verses here.







3.14.2017

Library Day



In elementary school, my favorite day was Thursday,
because it was Library Day. 
I could hardly wait to enter the small library at the end of the upstairs 
hallway, past the water fountain, next to the double doors.

It didn't matter that the librarian, Mrs. R., had a nasty temper. 
Oh, I noticed her saggy scowl deepen as we filed into her domain, 
but I knew her anger wouldn't lash in my direction. 

Mrs. R. took no notice of the nerdy girl with too-large glasses 
engrossed in selecting her next Nancy Drew adventure

The lumpish mole between her eyebrows quivered and protruded 
as she pounded tables and flung periodicals at naughty boys—
Mrs. R. did dislike those grade-school boys. 
I identified.
So while she tossed plastic chairs and whoever sat in them, 
I opened books and trained Big Red with Danny or wandered the dump 
with the Boxcar Children, searching for barely-chipped china plates.

The hoofbeats of the Black Stallion, the King of the Wind, and their Island counterpart
drowned out the rantings of that long-ago, rural-Kentucky librarian. 

And really, what could be more riveting than Miss Hickory's dark relationship 
with the squirrel?
Not much ...


I wonder if you remember your earliest librarian. 
Did she teach you to love reading or 
did you learn to love reading in spite of her?
Which books were your favorite childhood escapes?
I'd love to know.


2.07.2017

The Rest of the Story


When your kids are little, you hold a (somewhat) omniscient position. 
You know their lives down to the smallest detail —
This one loves trips to the zoo to see the elephant,
 and that one sobs like the heartbroken inside a drive-through car wash
You know who squeezed all the toothpaste into the garbage can, 
and you know who will tattle at the first opportunity.
You plan where to go, what to wear, and what time to arrive. 
Whatever happens within the family, you're usually able to answer the 
basic questions—who did what, when, where, and how.


Until they grow up, and you learn you were all wrong about the omniscient thing. 
All wrong ... is that really any surprise? 
It is the overarching theme of parenthood ...
My husband and I have recently been introduced to "The Rest Of The Story." 


It's a little like being handed the extended version of a movie you've seen a thousand times. 
Those moments when your grown children reveal extra bits of information, 
adding vibrant, and often hilarious, texture to stale, familiar scenes. 
With any chance of consequences long, long gone, "The Rest Of The Story" 
conversations have been rolling around my dinner table lately.
We usually end up saying something like:
Aha! THAT'S what happened to my brand-new hammer. 
Oh! Now I know why the neighbor always seemed so angry. 
I wondered how the dog got up there!

1.18.2017

Windowsill Victories


I need something to grow—especially in January.

These eyes of mine  need  to watch the slow greening of a bulb and 
the little-by-little, day-by-day emergence of life


And when those roots power down, even enough to lift the unsuspecting bulb 
up and out of the soil ... somehow a tiny bit of the victory belongs to me too.

My kitchen window is populated with post-holiday, clearance bulbs  
each coming to life at the appropriate time and at the perfect pace.
I'll keep you posted on the small victories occurring in my kitchen window.

Are you growing anything in the bleakness of January?
Send a photo and share the joy!

1.05.2017

Snow Designs


“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, 
that it kisses them so gently? 
And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says
‘Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.’” 
― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass


 "The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. 
You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, 
and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?"  - J. B. Priestley


"Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; 
no matter how deep the stain of your sins, 
as freshly fallen snow."  -  Isaiah 1:18


The intricate design of the humble snowflake never ceases to astound me. 
My photos can't do justice to these crazy-amazing bits of beauty that fall 
from heaven like miniature gifts and promptly melt 
away—how unbelievably lavish!
Numb fingers and a runny nose were small prices to pay for 
seeing such holy artistry up close.

Did you get out in the snow today?