Saturday, March 30, 2013


Spring has unseasonably delayed its Memphian arrival this year. We have had a sprinkling of sunny days and warm temperatures, but mostly, it has been several months of days painted with a little-varying pallete of grey, wet and cold.

Drip, drip, goes the sky, making mud of the fresh mulch and soothing the parched winter ground that still retains its brittle shroud. Drip, drip goes the sky, while impossible metal weights soar loudly, unseen behind mute cloudcover

Bubbles form on the tops of puddles and tiny sidewalk potholes fill with mirrors. Sodden and lackluster, leafless and brown. Yet. There is a whisper of new life in the damp air.

The air feels cool on bare arms, but not biting, and closer observation of leafless branches reveal blushing buds and a mist of greening fists push their way up from dirt and twig, soon to unfurl. Life is whispering to the deadened. Wet is quenching the dry. Warm is melting the gloomy chill.

Spring is coming.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Today's prompt (from Five Minute Friday) is Remember. When I think backwards, I find stacks of memory pictures. Still images, sound bytes and short movements, smells, flavors and sounds, more like scratch and sniff stickers than a live action film.

I started to remember, intending to stop in five minutes, but a paper cut required a band aid, a cousin called, and then a song came on and Ryan decided we needed to have a dance party. Needless to say, five minutes came and went. But I like looking back, much like I enjoy flipping through old photo albums. Some memories hold mere images, but others evoke more. So I will write today, for longer than five minutes, and attempt to capture some of these memories that waft through my musings. I invite you to look through them with me, this stack of Polaroid thought.

I look down. I see a belly button, bare toes and a diaper. I look up, I see a little wooden table, with big wooden blocks, heaped on top. Both handmade and gifted by Daddy. I am two.

A circle in a culdesac, with three tall trees. A pink bike that I ride in a loop, townhomes and parked cars enclosing my route. Stopping by my Dad, we begin to talk. There on the blacktop, in summer shorts, he asked "If you were to go to heaven today, and an angel stopped you at the gate and said 'Why should I let you in?' what would you say?" We talked about grace. We talked about salvation. Dad snagged a moment from the ordinary and left me with a memory. I am six.

A new house. A new backyard. A whole acre of fresh space, a widened horizon of imagination and excitement. A croquet game, a badmitton tourniment. Sword fights and manhunts, tree climbing and falling out of hammocks. A husband and horse, both made out of a tree, a baby made out of a sock, pies and salad made out of mud and leaves. Snow forts on a hill, a thorny trek to a creek in the woods. Scenes from my childhood flash by like crisp leaves falling to the earth. I am nine, and then I am ten.

A heart pang. Self aware and insecure for the first time. The first crush ends badly. Sitting in a closet, I cry quietly. With clothes hanging over my head and a door blocking all the light, I began to question myself, my value and my relationships. That year I entered new circle of peers and encountered "popularity" and "fashion." Tentatively, I began to wade through the unending query of "who am I?" It all started there, the slow, messy climb into maturity. I am in seventh grade.

A dark room, late at night, with hot tears rolling down my cheeks. This heart pang is much deeper, and it cuts me to the quick. This one changes my life. I stretch my hands up towards my Father and open them wide. "I give you my heart." I whisper. And I found that He was holding my hand, and I entwined my fingers with His. Together we stepped out, truly united for the first time. I am eighteen.

A small white box, glowing on my screen in the early morning. It was raining that day, but I didn't know it yet, down in my basement bedroom. Black text flicked in conversation between me and a long time acquaintance newly turned friend. Heart pounding and cheeks blooming, we found that we felt the same, and saw the Lord pointing in the same direction. Together we jumped, and our futures became linked. Nine months later, he got down on one knee, in the grass of my parent's lawn, and asked me a question. I hear crickets and the air is warm and smells of spring. He put a ring on my finger, I first see it glinting by candle light. I said through a drippy face, "Absolutely!" and the commitment was made, there under a canopy of branches. I am nineteen.

"What God has joined together, let no man separate." And then, in front of all our dearest friends, we kiss for the first time. Moist lips, we almost trip, causing a ripple of laughter. I am his and he is mine. I feel the warmth of the new summer sun, and hear the chirping of birds. A journey, begun months before, starting afresh. I am twenty.

She lay in my arms, nine months later, breathing her first breath into my sweaty chest. I remember a tiny face, blinking in bewilderment, and a wet wrinkly body, warm in my arms. A child was born, but so was a mother. I can still see those eyes, reflecting mine. The rest of that day is a blur, but that first minute, I will never forget. I am twenty one.

Summer sunlight, filters through leaves. I look down and see bright green pants, and on them lie a tiny black haired baby. She is round and quiet, looking intently at nothing a few inches above her head. She is waking up to the wide world all about us, and I am waking up to the world of her. She is two months old.

A year ago, I look back, and watch my dark, empty porch disappear around a corner. I have not seen it since. We followed the Lord as He led us, and found ourselves on a different porch, far away from that first one. I loved our porch there, and I have come to love our stoop here. The sunlight shifts differently on each. There, through leaves and branches, here bright, full and hot...

The past has melted into my present. Tomorrow has become today, and I watch a three year old walk past, tugging at the waistband of bright underwear that is to wide for her slim waist. I hear the trickle of rain outside, and feel the rumble of a manchild under my ribs. What will imprint itself as memory from these todays?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sleep at Thirty Seven (Almost!) Weeks: An annoyingly whiny post about Pregnancy

I felt cranky this morning, standing up onto a swollen ankle, waddling off to the bathroom. Heavy, hungry and achy, and ready for The Big Day. This is who I am these mornings.

I climb into bed every night, ready and thankful. But 3 minutes in, the tossing begins. On my right, my bones and baby seem to settle a little more comfortably, but inevitably, an ache will form and then I must hoist my dense self over to the left. Why does rolling and shifting hurt so bad? Back and forth, readjusting pillows, untangling the blankets and trying to stretch without crushing either my vena cava or my infant. Sleep comes, however, and its solid. Until I am awoken by a sharp stab as my inhabitant shifts, and I realize, I must get out of bed and hobble to the bathroom. On the way, my abdomen tightens in a mild contraction, adding greater urgency to my plod down the short hall. Relieved, but stiff all over, I make my way blearily back to bed. I choose to lay back down on the side that is the least sweaty, and I fall back asleep for the next two hours. And repeat, all night, with the occasional grumpy "HONEY! can you roll over?" to my sleeping husband. (I know he appreciates this immensely.)

And then morning comes, and I sit up, ravenous. I feel my littlest one wake up with me and squirm into place, and I feel the bond of mutual general discomfort... Because really, warm and snug as he is, how comfortable can you get, floating upside down in a bubble, with your knees and feet in your face, with your head lodged solidly in a pelvis? I rub the back that pushes firmly from within and murmur to myself and him, "just a few more weeks little one." 

Thankful for a healthy little boy, and for this body that is doing amazing things. Thankful for his wiggly growing body, and my ever stretching, ever swelling, tired one. Thankful for no complications and months of exciting development. Thankful that the time to hold him in my arms has almost arrived.

Thankful too for the bubbly burst of chipper that climbs into my bed and pokes me in the face till I arise to make toast. Crank and grump have a hard time standing up against "Mama, I just love you. Thank you for this toast!" Oh how she woos.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Yellow Front Door

It taunts me today, that yellow front door. It opens on a happy, bright house, full of pretty things. It opens into spaces full of life and living. Color. Creativity. Fresh and inviting. It speaks of new, but whispers of happy tradition and an established sense of itself. Sunny nature surrounds this little oasis of a house, safe and open, ready for unstable toddles and youthful dashes. Green things abound, health and homegrown goodness wait under leaves, tended by curious youngsters. It is a dream. A dream of cheery almost perfection. A dream of plenty and enough to share. A dream of convenient comfort and pretty. A dream of Yellow. And it taunts me with discontent today.

Yellow innocently suggests that I have needs. It whispers that I am not already in possession of "best" and "enough." It says " not today, possibly never, and until then, unsatisfactory." In its piousness, it even implies that a deeper spiritual content awaits only the arrival of more. And this morning I listened. I sighed and ached and shed a tear of impatient pining.

Then. Then the Lord said, "Not yellow, but Gold. I want you to be Gold. Yellow is pretty but pale. It speaks of happy, but not joy. It laughs with enough, but does not glow with Satisfaction. I want you to be Gold.

I want you to shimmer with My presence. I want your home to exude creativity and beauty, not because you live there but because I live there. I don't want your children to laugh and run and explore and grow because they have space and comfort, but because they are full of the Life that only I can give. I want your bodies to be filled with health, not because you have produced freshness and fatness from your soil, but because I have provided your daily bread, and because you have learned to live with simplicity and strengthening exertion. I want you to have Gold, Ruth, not yellow. And when you look in My eyes, you will find that it is already piled in lavish, lovely heaps all about you. When you look at Me, you will find more than Enough. When you look at Me, you will find Satisfaction."

And so I am walking out of that pretty, non existent house, and shutting that yellow front door. I will instead walk through another set of doors, my doors, and into my home. The one where the Lord has put me Today. Into the spaces He has filled with Himself. And in those rooms I will find Satisfaction, because in those rooms I will find Him.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary

Linking up for Five Minute Friday today, with the word Ordinary. Click the link to find out what it is all about. Then I invite you to join me for five unedited minutes, and write.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.
- See more at:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.
- See more at:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community.
- See more at:

When I think about ordinary, I think about days like today, people like me. I think of grey skies and slow mornings that don't really seem to be heading towards anything important or specific. I think of changing diapers and washing dishes, and looking in the mirror and going "Oh, hello. You look tired and you should probably shower at some point today." I think about that late naptime moment where she is a little cranky and I am too, and I snap at her unlovingly, really not for any reason other than I forgot to have patience, and I feel confronted with the depth of my own ordinary. Dinners that involve frozen pizza and nothing else, unmade beds and a car that stalls on the way to the grocery store. Ordinary.

But when I reflect on my ordinary, I can't help but be overwhelmed by the incredible amount of extraordinary that fills those moments.

I am privileged to spend 100% of every day with my healthy, happy (usually) child. My Child. My Daughter. She is extraordinary.

I live in a house. By many estimations, it is small and un exciting, but it is walls, roof, indoor plumbing and climate control that most of the people in this world will never experience or imagine.

I have dishes to wash, because they got dirty when we ate food off of them. Food. Plenty. No longer hungry.

I look in the mirror and see such staggering ordinary, and yet somehow, that ordinary is Loved with an Everlasting Love. Somehow He looked at this pile of Not Much and said "Beautifully and wonderfully made. I will die for her."


Five Minute Friday