Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

So, who is the awful daughter who completely forgot to call her dad on his birthday?  Yep, me.  To be fair I thought about it all day long.  It was just that is was 65 degrees and we needed to go outside. Then when we got home I needed to make dinner, clean and do the ever present laundry.


In an attempt to suck make up for my bad behavior here is a retrospective of my father.
Here he is at his first communion.  I won't bore you with a comparison photo but  my brother looks just like. How cute is he?

Elementary school.  His eyes are the best shade of blue and  Maeve's eyes are excellently the same  color.




Here he is in the Five and Dime.  I love this photo but I am not sure why.  I think it is because I love the Five and Dime.  It could be that this is what his shed looks like now. 
Middle School maybe?  Love the tie.  When was the last time a boy wore a tie in a school photo?


My dad and his brother Howard being forced to dress up for something.






My dad and mom at Christmas.  Very dashing in the tux. His Frank Sinatra  impression.

There should be a picture here of my dad with sideburns.  He sported that look through the 70s.  They matched his gray plaid suit.  However, I can't find any and it's late.


Finally here he is in his favorite place - his boat.  We got to go fishing with him last year.  It was the first time the girls had been on his boat.  They still talk about how much fun it was.  From his smile, I think my dad had fun too.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!  
Love you. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Poem for Christmas



A Hymn on the Nativity of My Savior

I sing the birth was born tonight,
The Author both of life and light;
    The angels so did sound it,
And like the ravished shepherds said,
Who saw the light, and were afraid,
    Yet searched, and true they found it.

The Son of God, the eternal King,
That did us all salvation bring,
    And freed the soul from danger;
He whom the whole world could not take,
The Word, which heaven and earth did make,
    Was now laid in a manger.

The Father's wisdom willed it so,
The Son's obedience knew no "No,"
    Both wills were in one stature;
And as that wisdom had decreed,
The Word was now made Flesh indeed,
    And took on Him our nature.

What comfort by Him do we win?
Who made Himself the Prince of sin,
    To make us heirs of glory?
To see this Babe, all innocence,
A Martyr born in our defense,
    Can man forget this story?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Expect the Unexpected





This past weekend we attended our church's children's Christmas musical.  There is nothing like a stage full of school age children singing in shepherd's costumes to restore my faith in humanity.  As a recovering children's ministry professional I understand the gargantuan task of having fifty kids stand on stage quietly, let alone sing and remember their lines.  Kudos to the director who definitely earned a box of wine that night. 


Maeve, Hilde and I all hunkered down in our seats and waited for the show to start.  I am not talking about the actual show.  While that was cute and all the kids did a great job singing. (More kudos to the director and volunteers, all the kids actually did sing well), it is not the planned parts of the musical that we were looking forward to, it was the unexpected things that place on stage that really stole the show.  


For instance the girl with the gigantic bow in her hair on top of her shepherd's headdress.  Nothing says Bethlehem shepherd like a hot pink ribbon bow. 


Then there the was the little boy standing in front of the microphone.  He struggled through the whole performance trying to keep from touching the microphone right in front of him.  I could see him eye the mic, lift his hand and quickly pull it down.   I knew it was just a matter of time.  He made it twenty minutes and then couldn't help himself, he reached out to touch the microphone and poked the mic and grinned mischievously.


Then there were the kids who stood up at the wrong time or sat down when they were supposed to stand up and their friends who elbowed them into the right place.


The obligatory nose picker and the little one who couldn't help but wave over and over the grandparents in the audience. 


Too soft lines, too loud lines, repeated lines and mispronunciations - "Beth-el-ly-HAM" anyone?  and a very overenthusiastic male director dancing behind our seats. made for a memorable evening.

The Piece De Resistance was when the little boy in front row had his shepherd head wrap (sweatband) fall in front of his eyes.  It had been sliding all evening and finally covered his eyes a la a blindfold, right as his speaking came up.  I thought for a minute he would stumble off the front of the stage but he didn't.  He belted out his line twice and wretched the headpiece back in place and then plopped back on his spot on the hay bale.  



It was priceless.  We were laughing all the way home.  I couldn't wait to blog about it.  Hilde had to stop me from snapping a photo of the director while he was swaying back and forth, waving his arms trying to direct the kids from the back of the theater.  She said is would be rude.  Rude, yes but wouldn't you have wanted to see that picture?

Then I started to think about it.  Why is it so funny to see kids be silly on stage?  It is because you can't script the best things in life.  
No matter how much I plan and rehearse life never goes the way I expect. So, to see it happen to someone else on stage is funny.  Better him than me.  


At Christmas time especially things seem to go haywire.  No matter how many lists I make or how many times I review the calendar things never go smoothly.  No one plans to have the water heater leak at the beginning of December or to have an endoscopy on December 23rd.  (Okay I did plan the endoscopy that day but only because I was trying to squeeze it in before the year end and our insurance changes.)


If you had asked me years ago if it were funny to have the nose picker center stage or to have to deal with plumbers while trying to decorate the Christmas tree, I would have said that those things were unacceptable.  It was my Martha Stewart years.  I would stayed up to all hours prepping and making up the lost time.  I would have seen the whole thing as ruined.


Not anymore.  I am learning to live with the unexpected.  I can't say that it is always easy, but I am learning.  I am learning to experience the unexpected events as opportunities not failures.  I am learning to let go of my perfect vision of the holiday in order to be present to my children, who just want to participate.  Nothing has gone according to plan but that's okay, I am in good company.  


Thousands of years ago a girl named Mary was pledged to a man named Joseph.  I am sure they had a vision of how things were supposed to work out.  To me the best part about Mary and Joseph's story is that they learned to expect the unexpected. Life didn't go according the script but it turned out to be more than anyone could have imagined.   

















Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sacramental Sermon of the Day

I stayed home from church today.  I have a head cold.  I figure it is a win-win situation; I got to sleep and my fellow churchgoers don't get my illness.  


I do think church is super important, so I decided to listen to sermon online.  I know, I am such a church geek.  


That aside, I went to one of my favorite places:  New England Chapel    


This is our church in Massachusetts.  (I went to write "Old Church" but really I haven't left it behind.  It is still there and I am just adding new church to my circle of friends.)
They post the sermon audio on the website and I love to listen to them.


I wish I could say I picked this sermon, but I didn't I just went to the last one.  When I started listening, I thought how cool?  Chris is preaching about being the person you are meant to be and how that leads to Thanksgiving.  


So I am stealing posting it here so that I can go get ready for Thanksgiving and make crafts for Christmas and take a nap for that I can get over this cold.  

Chris says it better than I do anyway.  Enjoy.



Generosity - God is a Generous Giver

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Meaning of Food



I talk about Maya Angelou a lot.  She is an inspiration to me as a writer and as a person.  

Here is a link to an recent interview she did with Southern Living.  


She talks about how what we cook and how we eat says something about us.  She knows a lot about people and a lot about food.

As Thanksgiving approaches, it causes me to think of what I want my food to say to the people who eat it.  

What does it say when it is Four O'clock in the afternoon and I have no idea what is for dinner?  What does it say when my children eat quesadillas three days in a row because they are easy and quick?
What does it say that my husband says I only bake when I am taking something to someone else?

What does it say about our relationship when Maeve and I cook cheesecake together and then enjoy the results?  How does Hilde feel when I make a special vegetarian meal she loves rather microwaving beans for her while the rest of us are eating meat?  

How good does it feel to cook all day for people you love and then sit for hours around a table laughing?  (That is a communion like no other.)

Then there are the times when the food speaks actual memories to me.  We had roast beef a few weeks ago and I commented to Hilde that I could never be a vegetarian.  She asked, "Why not?"  I told her because every time I taste roast beef I think of grandpa and all the roast beef dinners I've had in my family.  I can see my dad standing in front of the cutting board slicing the roast and saving the juice.  One taste of salty, rare roast beef and images of family dinners flash through my head.   Then I feel loved.

Yes, they looked at me like I was crazy. 

But it is true.  Food is always connected to people or a place.  We don't call it Comfort Food for nothing.  It comforts us because of the memories associated with it.

So when I prepare Turkey, green been casserole, carrot souffle, pearl opinions, broccoli with cheese sauce, sweet potatoes and maybe even strawberry pretzel Salad.  I will be thinking of my family, my husband and my friends, with whom I have shared Thanksgivings.   

I will think of all the conversations, all the laughter and all the love that the food represents.   I will remind my children of all the people we have had at our table and say things like:


" Let's make Miss Shoshana's carrot souffle."  "Do you remember when the Allen's came to Thanksgiving?"  "If we save some turkey we can make grandpa's turkey soup."  "Dad makes the best pumpkin pie."


And we will ooh and ah as we recall the delicious food and we will be hit with pangs of sadness as we think of people far away.   We will make new friends and share in new Oklahoma traditions (probably involving football).  


Food, memories and friendship all entwined.


And I will be grateful for it all.     

Friday, November 11, 2011

Subtitles Part Two



This subtitle re-evaluation was harder than I thought it would be.   It has opened a whole bunch of thoughts for me about my intentions for this blog.  It also comes at a time when I am trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  As if a mother and blogger and home manager are somehow not enough.


One of the thoughts that floated by me and I finally pinned down is "Mission Drift".  I was listening to the great story of the Oklahoma City Infant Crisis Center and the speaker said, "We tried that but we realized it was mission drift."  When I heard that word, I thought. "That's exactly what I am experiencing - mission drift!" 


Mission drift is when you start out wanting to focus on one thing and a whole bunch of other good things come along and you want to add them too because they are such good things.   Then things get tough to juggle and nothing is getting done really well  because you have strayed from your original intent; you have drifted from your mission.    This is the story of my life and most recently of my blog.


Do I want to share with the cute antics of my super amazing daughters?  Well, yes but really NO.  The point of this blog is not a mere journal.  I really do have a purpose, I promise.   


My intention, my mission, my goal, with every post is to use my life as a word picture for how God works through motherhood.  Sometimes it's pretty but a lot of times it's not; but everything when looked through the filter of grace is a chance to see holiness.  A chance to be a little more holy and whole.  


My suspicion of mission drift was confirmed, when Daniel said something like, "Well, it's not like you see God in breakfast."  To which I replied, "Oh but I DO!  That is exactly the point!" Somehow, I wasn't very good at communicating that to him.



You see, that's my gift.  I see God everywhere and in everything that ordinary life dishes out.  Especially in my home.  I want to show you how to see Him too.  I want moms to be in awe of the things that happen when we pay attention. I want people to look at me, and honestly I want me to look at me, and think being a mom is most important job in the world and more then enough.  In fact, more than I can ask for or imagine. 


So, to that end this new subtitle adventure has helped me re-focus, clarify and tidy my intentions.   I think I finally found one that fits.  Here it is:


Declaring the miracles in ordinary motherhood.


Here's why I chose it:  


I loved the idea of high purpose but to be a high purpose means someone has a low purpose and I don't think any one's job is a less than mine.  


I wanted to make a strong point - that's what I do best, teach.  So I wanted to be a little more forceful than just "discover" or "exploring".   (Thanks Ellen for reminding me that this sets me apart!)


Then I searched the trusty, old Merriam's again for a word that mean "point to" because that's what I want.  I realized that "Declare" means to point to and also this, "To make know (something abstract) through outward signs."  That's pretty much a synonym for Sacrament.  How cool is that?!   (Thanks Cheryl for that suggestion.)


What I want to point out is the MIRACLE in EVERYDAY, ORDINARY LIFE because that's when and where miracles take place.


So that's what I came up with.  What do you think?







Sunday, November 6, 2011

Subtitles

I started this blog two years ago.  When I did I came up with the name and then copied a dictionary entry for the word sacrament and pasted it as a subtitle.  I thought it was self explanatory.  

When people read: "Sacrament...An action or object of ecclesiastical origin that serves to express or increase devotion"  I thought they would understand that I see motherhood as something sacred and that my life as a mother increases my devotion to both my family and to God.  

Well, I guess it wasn't as clear as I thought.  Daniel in particular is asking for some clarification.  He hates "church" talk and apparently my subtitle is too churchy.   He doesn't really understand what I mean when I say "sacrament" or "ecclesiastical",  Go figure. 

I am going to ignore the fact that he has had these feelings for two years and is just getting around to telling me maybe I could be a little more succinct.  (Thanks for helping me start strong, honey.)  

I am also going to give his male IT brain the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe he isn't the only one that doesn't quite get it.  I will also refrain from pointing out that maybe male, computer geeks aren't my target audience.  

I will ignore all these variables and make an effort to appease my husband and work on a new subtitle.  

Maybe in the course of helping Daniel I just might make my blog a little more approachable for everyone.  To that end I have come up with some new subtitles.   Here there are:

Sacramental Mothering:
Viewing motherhood as a spiritual journey.
Seeing God in ordinary days.
Seeing Jesus in my family and being Jesus to my family.
Letting Motherhood form my soul. 
Living the higher purpose in motherhood.
Reclaiming motherhood as a spiritual act.
Making every day  sacred. 


That's what I have so far.   Please vote on your favorite.  I would love to hear what makes sense to you and why.  

I do want moms - and male computer geeks - to read what I write and be encouraged that inside every day is a miracle, we just have discover it.

Hmmm, that sounds like a good subtitle. 


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Quote of the Day

Marriage is not a simple love affair; it's a complex life entanglement.  
-So Beautiful, Leonard Sweet 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Prayings

A few weeks ago, while we were eating breakfast together, Maeve told me she had fallen asleep during her "prayings".  She then woke up in the middle of the night and tried to finish praying.  She fell back to sleep and then woke up at 4am and tried to pray then and finally finished her prayings when she woke up at 7:30am.


I love her story for lots of reasons.  First, my daughter never ceases to amaze me.  I love sitting and conversing while we eat breakfast alone.  This is usually my only alone time with Maeve because Hilde is a late sleeper (A seriously late sleeper).  Even though I am not always awake enough to enjoy these conversations, this is also the only part of the day Maeve talks with no inhibition.  I don't know what it is about the morning but Maeve is W-I-D-E  A-W-A-K-E and wants to chat, chat, chat.  Somewhere around my second cup of coffee, I catch up. Even though it's early, I am glad that Maeve wants to talk in the morning. 


I also love this story because Maeve has prayings.  The fact that she talks to God and expects an answer and listens makes my heart sing.  I want her to have a relationship with God that is all her own and not programmed by me.  Her praying at 4am is definitely an indication of this.  I was not up at 4am praying.


Then there is the fact that she didn't really seem to care that she fell asleep while praying.  No stress about having to get it right, it is just a conversation she was having.


Then she woke up and tried again.  No fear of failure, no resignation, she just picked up where she left off and started again.  When she fell asleep again, she tried again.  Perseverance in the middle of the night.


I love that she woke up praying.  There is something very beautiful about the rhythm of  falling asleep praying and waking up praying. 
Then the story reminds me of the bible verse, "Pray without ceasing."  How lovely to drift off to sleep in conversation with God and to wake up present to Him.  It is a good pattern for life.


Three times she prayed, fell asleep, got up and listened.  Just like the story of Samuel in the temple.  Samuel had grown up in the temple.  One night he was sleeping and God chose to speak directly to him for the first time. At first, Samuel thinks it is Eli the head priest calling. After the third time Eli realizes it is God speaking and tells Samuel to say, "I am listening God, speak to your servant." Eli helps Samuel interpret the voice.   


The story doesn't end so well for Eli, so that is where my analogy ends.  


However, I hope that while the coffee is un-knotting my brain, I help Maeve interpret her prayings.
  






   image by Ashleigh Bayer

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A conversation from the back seat.

After dropping Maeve off at gymnastics this afternoon, Hilde and I saw a Ford Flex. 

Me: Hilde, I love that car.

Hilde:  It’s too boxy mom.  You are not boxy, you are more octagonal.

Me:  What?

Hilde:  Your natural shape is an octagon.

Me:  It is?!

Hilde:  Yes.

Me:  Hmmm.  What shape are you?

Hilde:  I am circle.  Maeve is either a triangle or a square.

Me:  Why are you a circle?

Hilde:  Because I am smooth.

Me:  Smooth, huh?

Me:  What shape is Maeve, again?

Hilde:  Either a triangle or a rectangle.

Me: Why? Oh wait, I get that one. 
(Maeve is definitely an equilateral triangle or a square.  That girl is all right angles.  She is the T-square of our family.)

Me: So why am I an octagon?

Hilde:  I don’t know you just are.  It’s just your shape. 

Me:  Hmmm, an octagon, really?

Hilde: Really.

(I am still wondering why Hilde thinks I am an octagon.  For the record, I think she is referring to the shape of my soul.  My body needs work, but I not octagon shaped.
The possibilities are now running around in my head.  Does Hilde think I am octagon because I have many sides?  Does this mean I do too much?  Does she think I am all over the place?  Why do I think that an octagon leans towards busyness?  Maybe it just means I have lots of angles.   Why does this have to have a deeper meaning?  Why can’t I just let an octagon be an octagon?  This is driving me crazy.  Why does my ten year old daughter think I am octagon?  I need to know.  I need to know because maybe it will help me understand who my kids think I am.  Maybe it will help me be a better person or a better version of me.  What if knowing why I am an octagon is some kind of missing link to unlock a vital piece of self-understanding?)

On the way back to get Maeve two hours later, I was still thinking about being an octagon.  So, I continued the conversation.

Me:  What shape is dad?

Hilde: I’ve never thought about it.

(Why?  Why have you never thought about what shape your father is, but you are so sure your mother is an octagon?!)

Hilde: I guess he is mix between a circle and rectangle. 

Me:  What would that be? A crescent?

Hilde: Sure. Why are you still thinking about this?

Me:  Just wondering.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Poem of the Day

Completely lifted from NPR's Writer's Almanac. Enjoy.

The Word

by Tony Hoagland

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between "green thread"
and "broccoli," you find
that you have penciled "sunlight."

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Great Post

This is an awesome, sentimental, totally sacramental post from Iris this morning.

Love the idea of using turning a wedding gown into baptismal gown.



Maeve and Hilde have both expressed interests in parts of my wedding dress. Hilde loves the roses on the shoulder while Maeve hates the roses but loves the beading. I would gladly hack it up for them to use and then make all these sentimental things with the leftovers.

Where did I put that sewing machine? I am going to need to practice.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thought for the Day


It is by very function of our being, not our doing, that we are the beloved of God. And so we become the love of God, blessing those He loves.
Anne Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quote of the day from Mother Teresa

"We are called to be contemplative in the heart of the world - by seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, everywhere, all the time, and His hand in every happening; seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor."

....And in the lady who cut me off this morning, only to then crawl into the turn lane.

....And in the husband who doesn't know where the linen closet is and needs me to provide him with a washcloth.

....And in the two entirely different ailments plaguing my house.

....And in the little girl who devoured a double shot cupcake at 4pm before either of us realized the coffee content of said dessert. We realized the content at 1am.

....And in the laundry that needs to be done again, even though there is still a basket a clean clothes that need to be put away.

....And in the lady who performed the mammogram yesterday asking repeatedly if I was alright, when i just wanted to be done.

....And in salted caramel coffee mixed with decaf as I begin to detox from my coffee addiction.

....And in blueberry pancakes that used the last blueberries before they wasted.

....And for slow mornings with no where to go and all the time in the world to listen to today's recitation on "How our beans are growing".

....And for very strange weather years. Record snows, tornadoes, record heat and now freak East Coast earthquakes.

....And for the daughter whose 1 Corinthians 13 copy work puts it all back in perspective.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mr. Fluffy Pants, Kitty and the Twins - a post for my husband

Do you believe in karma? I don't actually believe in karma but after these past few months maybe I should.

You see we have begun to notice something very strange in our new neighborhood. We have just moved moved half way across the country from our old home in Rhode Island. In some ways it is very different. In other ways it is freakishly similar.

It turns out that the new house came accessorized with cats. Not just one cat that stays in his yard but several cats that like to visit us often.




First there is is Kitty. He is our most regular cat. I think he thinks that our yard is his home away from home. He will often sleep on our patio or stone wall at our front door. He lets Maeve and Hilde hold him and will stay all day in our back yard.

Then there is Mr. Fluffy Pants. He is an orange tabby who lives in the house behind us. He is very cute and cuddly. He does not like other cats though and will often come and try to scare away Kitty from our yard. Maeve and Hilde think he is mean.

Then there is Fraidy Cat. He belongs to the people next door. He loves to visit with other cats but is slightly socially challenged, so he will often be found creeping across our yard making his way across the street to say hi to the Siamese twins. Like a 12 year old boy who doesn't know how to talk to girls.

The Twins are two Siamese who live across the street. They like to hide in our bushes and wait for a bird to come along.

The last cat is Cara's cat. He lives directly across the street and just comes to sit on the lawn and chat with his other cat friends.

It seems like our yard is kind of a country club for the neighborhood cats. This would be freakish enough as it is but in our case it is downright unsettling.

Why you ask? We seem to attract cats. Every house we live in we have stray cats come to visit.

However, Daniel hates cats. Really, really, really, really hates cats.

He hates cats in a vendetta kind of way.

Over the years it has become like a Godfather saga. Cats come into the yard and Daniel rails. He spends way too much energy trying to figure out how to get rid of them.

If you ever hear him say, "I am going to take you to Warwick." run, it's code.

This cat scenario has repeated itself in every house we have owned. Like a feline version of Groundhog Day. We move in, the cats begin to torment my husband. He gets angry and plots revenge.

It does seem to have escalated. I mean who else has six cats come into their yard on a regular basis? It also does seem to be a case study for karma. This is what happens when you are mean to cats, you get more cats.

So far Daniel has tried to ignore the parade of cats in the yard. Hilde and Maeve love having them. We are kind of like grandparents in the pet world. We get to play with them and then they go home to their parents.

I wish Daniel would see it that way. He doesn't.

Karma aside maybe there is a spiritual lesson here. God could be trying to teach Daniel patience. Maybe God sent the cats to teach Daniel to move out of his comfort zone and learn to love an animal.

Or quite possibly maybe these cats are here to teach Daniel to let some things go and live in the mystery.

If I had to guess it would be that. Life is too short to wonder why cats pick us. It is a mystery. My kids love them and I don't have take care of them. That makes three of us happy.

Maybe Daniel will catch up soon.

I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rain - a list.

A huge line of thunderstorms is moving across our area. It is 10am and so dark outside it seems like 10pm.

Things to be thankful for on a rainy day in OKC:

  • I love thunderstorms and so does Maeve. We have had a great morning of storm watching.
  • Hilde is still sleeping. If it stays this dark, she may sleep until noon. She needs a good long sleep, she has been really tired lately.
  • Rain means that I can turn off my sprinkler system for a few days and save a few pennies.
  • It also means I don't have to worry so much about dry, cracked house foundations. One less anxiety for the day.
  • It is only 70 degree outside right now. That is 30 degrees cooler than it will be tomorrow and 40 degrees cooler than Sunday was.
  • Cooler temps mean my brain may still be functioning at 4pm, instead of being melted like it has been.
  • My AC is getting a much deserved rest. It has been plugging away, almost constantly since Memorial Day.
  • It is almost like having a snow day. We can't go anywhere, no one else it out but we don't have to shovel.
  • I can hear the ranchers, construction workers, landscapers, and all the other outside workers sighing with relief.



Friday, July 29, 2011

Poem for the Day

I am trying to compose a blog about my husband. He is feeling a little left out and pointed out that I haven't blogged about him in while. While I am trying to compose my thoughts, enjoy this poem. It is from NPR's Writer's Almanac. It reminds me of my husband and my dad although I am pretty certain that neither of them has found poetry in small engine repair. At least not consciously that is.


Prayer for the Small Engine Repairman

by Charles W. Pratt

Our Sundays are given voice
By the small engine repairman,
Whose fingers, stubby and black,
Know our mowers and tractors,
Chainsaws, rototillers,
Each plug, gasket and valve
And all the vital fluids.
Thanks to him our lawns
Are even, our gardens vibrant,
Our maples pruned for swings,
The underbrush whacked away.
"What's broke can always be fixed
If I can find the parts,"
He says as he loosens a nut,
Exposes the carburetor,
Tinkers and tunes until
To the slightest pull on the cord
The engine at once concurs.
Let him come into our homes,
Let him discipline our children,
Console and counsel our mates,
Adjust the gap of our passions,
The mix of our humors: lay hands
On the small engine of our days.

Overheard from the loft this afternoon

"How beautiful, a Spanish flamenco dancer turned princess!"

"I am going to marry a cowboy and live in Texas."

"Do you have any medical training?"


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ten

My baby turned ten yesterday. No more single digit children. My parents have ten grandchildren. They are all now over a decade old.

The transition from infant to girl flew by. Ten years, I blinked and when I opened my eyes a decade was gone.

Ten years ago a little girl arrived at 1:55am on a Tuesday morning. I wanted to sleep but she was ready to enter the world. She continued to cry and not let me sleep for the next six months. She wouldn't sleep through the night without me for another seven years.

Hilde loves to snuggle and given the chance would still sleep as close to me as possible. This means no sleep for me, so she doesn't get the chance unless we are on vacation.

Hilde is my peacemaker. She would rather be kind than right.

Hilde loves animals. This is a tragedy because her sister, mother and father are allergic to most animals and Hilde is allergic to none. She wants to be a veterinarian and if she can conquer math, I am sure she will be.

Hilde only wears skirts and dresses. The only pair of pants she owns are riding pants. She only wears them because her love of horses is greater than her hatred of pants. She points out that in the "olden days" girls did everything in skirts and so can she.

Hilde loves jewelry and she loves to window shop. This birthday her special experience was shopping at fancy and fun stores in OKC. I think Daniel was glad he didn't have to go and I think Hilde was glad dad wasn't there to say things like, "That is a ridiculous waste of money." Instead she got to ooh and aah over things we couldn't afford and it was fun for the three Perrin girls to peruse.

Hilde loves music. She plays violin and she hums and sings all the time. If she is not humming or singing she is talking because she is my extrovert and she needs to be with people and talk things over out loud. I wonder where she gets that?

Hilde also loves to read my blog. She thinks it is good. This is why I keep her around. She has asked me twice if I have blogged about her birthday yet.

Hilde loves poetry. She decided a few years ago to begin to memorizing different pieces. Her favorite and first memorization was Hope is a Thing with Feathers. It fits Hilde perfectly.

Apparently, when Maeve turned ten I gave her a card with a poem. Hilde reminded me that she needed a poem for her birthday this year. You get a poem when you turn ten.

Here is Hilde's birthday poem. It is by Christina Rossetti:

A Birthday by Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird

Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;

My heart is like an apple-tree

Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;

My heart is like a rainbow shell

That paddles in a halcyon sea;

My heart is gladder than all these

Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of silk and down;

Hang it with vair and purple dyes;

Carve it in doves and pomegranates,

And peacocks with a hundred eyes;

Work it in gold and silver grapes,

In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;

Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love is come to me.

A classic poem for a classic little girl.

Happy Birthday Hilde girl.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Have you met Iris?

According to the name of my blog, you can guess that I strive to bring a certain sense of greater purpose to motherhood. I think too often people, mostly moms ourselves, forget what an transformational role we have.

The reality is motherhood is a mixed bag. There are days where you can see the greater purpose and go to bed loving your kids and believing that all is right with the world; at least your corner of it.

Some days life as a mother in modern society is bewildering and keeping up with the right way to raise children can be daunting and downright exhausting. So many things to manage, your head is spinning.

Then there are days when you just want to say F**** this, I hear corporate American and boarding school calling.

On these days, every day really, I turn to my friend Iris. (She's not really a friend, but a friend in Facebook world and I would like to think we would be friends is we met.)

The Bearded Iris, is another mom blog and she explores the purpose motherhood from an *ahem* entirely different angle.

Iris blogs about motherhood, personal hygiene, homemaking, etcetera with a certain Je nais se quoi. Which is French for the the woman has cojones and is hysterically funny.

Iris notices the potty humor in mothering. She says things everyone wants to say out loud. When I read her blog, I laugh at loud and laugh uncontrollably. More than once I have been laughing so hard my children have noticed and wanted to read what was so funny. Iris is NOT child appropriate, so I usually slam down the laptop so they can't read over my shoulder until the laughing ceases.

I have also been caught laughing hours and days later about a post and had to explain why I was giggling in the grocery store. I can no longer walk down the ethnic hair aisle in Target without laughing.

I read Iris and you should too. I can't promise it will make you a better person but it will make you a funnier person. Motherhood needs funny people. We have a big job and we all need a laugh.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lordy, Lordy Look Who's Forty

I celebrated a milestone birthday recently. It took my forever in blog years to write about it because I was waiting for something profound to say. I waited and waited and waited and nothing.

Here's what happened:

I celebrated with great friends and family and a True Grit showdown.

(The original John Wayne or the Cohen Brothers, Jeff Bridges version? My honest answer: both were good. I will have to say that John Wayne, was well, John Wayne and Jeff Bridges was actually an amazing Rooster Cogburn. The new version is much darker than the original. The old version is a classic.)

I enjoyed several restaurant dinners with sparkling conversation and was surrounded by children I adore.

It doesn't really get any better than that.

I realized I didn't have time to be retrospective because I was busy with life. I still had to do laundry, clean, get the girls to activities, feed everyone, go to the grocery and pay bills.

Maybe when I am fifty, I will plan to take a break and be purposefully reflective. Trying to take a break at forty doesn't seem like the responsible thing to do. There is too much stuff to do.

Anyway, this is what I settled on. I love my life. My kids amaze me. I am more the person I was created to be now than any year before. Forty isn't as bad as I imagined and as they say in Lake Wobegon, "It could be worse."



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Busy girls

As summer rolls on, our schedule consists of bursts of outside activities (gymnastics, dance, violin) and then stretches inside the house hiding from the heat. It has been 100 degrees or more consistently for over a month. Yuck. It's kind of like how we lived in New England in February except with excessive perspiration.

Luckily, I have resourceful girls. While in hibernation they have been reading. Yes, actually books in their hands. This afternoon for hours it was silent as both girls were lost in their books. It was so silent, I wanted to take a picture. I didn't for fear it would break the lovely silence. Instead I joined them and we all read for a long time. Ahh.

They are also growing things.

These are the bean spouts from VBS a month ago still going strong.







They also make things. Maeve has made earrings and Hilde made a bobble head doll out of Sculpey. I have pictures of neither because they were both gifts.

Today, Hilde sewed this:

This is the tooth fairy pillow she was inspired to make.
She used the sewing machine this time (we finally un-boxed it), usually she sews by hand.

They also have screen time. They use the computer to play a very intricate horse game, where they breed and train horses. I often hear, "My foal was born today, I need a name." and other horse-people language that I don't understand because, well, I don't speak horse-people language. (What's the difference between a bay and chestnut again? They're both brown, right?)

I realized tonight after they had gone to bed what a unique thing it is to have two girls who can occupy themselves, get along and create things. Most parents are going bonkers, counting the days until school is back in session.

Me, I am wandering around my house amazed and very grateful.