The Dream

It was one of those mornings where I was only too happy to get up and out of bed; that meant the events I had just experienced were only a dream. I might go so far as to call it a nightmare…
I was alone at the beach, seemingly on a vacation. As I settled in to my hotel room, I realized I left Kenan at home. (I must have planned to bring him, since he was still nursing.) No matter, I thought, he can take bottles and I have a lot of milk frozen at home. As I went out and about, trying to enjoy myself, I further realized that I had left my phone at home, so that Luke or anyone else would be unable to contact me that way. When I got back to my hotel, the person at the front desk handed me what looked like our library receipts, line upon line of phone messages she had taken from callers for me, most likely Luke and whoever was taking care of Kenan. At that moment, too, I realized I didn’t bring my pump, and to purchase one here would be outrageously expensive. These feelings of helplessness, loneliness, and stupidity washed over me like the waves outside the hotel. How would I ever be able to enjoy this place?
I woke up full, maternally speaking and emotionally, pondering this dream. We are planning a trip to Nashville soon, just Luke, Kenan, and me, and the circumstances of this are similar to what should have been in my dream. Only in my dream I was alone. It was as if I was in a wonderful place but couldn’t enjoy it because two very important and vital people were not there, and I was cut off from connecting with them.
I got to thinking about lost people, how no matter the beauty surrounding them right now they ultimately are cut off from any real connection with anything that matters, with people, with God. This is the second such ‘vision’ I have had lately that has helped me see lost people from a better perspective.
The first was a heavy thought- what is it like to be lost? If you knew you were lost, you wouldn’t leave your house in the morning, maybe not even your bed, for fear you might meet your death in a random accident. What is it like to be you?
This dream is similar, in that it carries such a heaviness, such a burden. Ephesians 2:12- “You lived in this world without God and without hope.”
Makes me want to do more to share the Good News with those around me.

Folding, Food, Fellowship

Just changed the laundry, and set a timer for ninety minutes. If I do this one simple thing, it is a wonder how much more laundry I get done in a day! Of course, there is the mountain of clean clothes surrounding me right now, needing folded. The train seems always to stop somewhere short of its destination around here. The folding WILL get done this time, however, along with every other undone thing in the front of the house- we have company coming. Yesterday was Aliyah’s 13th birthday, and she wanted to have the grandparents over to celebrate. Earlier this year I started asking her if she wanted to have/do something special for this birthday, like a bat mitzvah or ‘celebrating womanhood’ tea or something, and she decided she didn’t. I can’t say I am not relieved. If she would have wanted something big, we would have had to repeat it in similarity four more times. I can’t fathom what ten weddings are going to look like. Don’t even ask me.
Yesterday when we got home from Bright Lights, I put some spaghetti sauce on to simmer. When Luke got home, he was carrying groceries, among them a pail of ice cream. He suggested we have pizza and save the spaghetti for tonight, when the grandparents come over. This would have worked out better if he ordered the pizza, because I wound up ordering the wrong thing and we paid a lot for my mistake. Sometimes I wish I could be something other than Luke’s ‘yes man’. If I would have removed myself from the situation and made him order the pizza, or better yet, said we were going to have spaghetti and that’s that…but no. Oh, well. Spaghetti sauce is always better the next day, anyway. And, this is chic- I only have two pounds of spaghetti noodles, so I will pop in a box of penne to boil, too, and it will be even more like Olive Garden here tonight! Voila!
I am reading a series of missionary stories currently, and the one I just finished was about a couple in New Guinea who were interned by the Japanese during WWII. It was a very sad book. On Sunday, my friend Dolores from church gave me a couple of books to read- one was about a lady who had an unplanned pregnancy and the other was called Dorie: The Girl Nobody Wanted. The first book I read and could see why Dolores recommended it so highly; Dolores ministers at our local crisis pregnancy center, and life topics are near and dear to her. But the other book I started reading, and almost couldn’t continue, it was so heart wrenching. Honestly, between screwing up the pizza order and reading about this poor orphan girl that only ever asked for someone to love her and only got beatings instead, I was one depressed person last night. I had to put on some Chris Tomlin and sing along to be roused out of my mood.
I did pick it up again, today. It is getting better! The interesting thing is that Doris has just heard a missionary speak, one of the ones interned with the couple I just read the missionary book about! What are the odds, really, of just having read about Darlene Deibler in one book, only to pick up another and read about her there, too! Extraordinary!

“I’m Sorry, That Just Ain’t Right”

These words were uttered by my husband tonight after we got home from the fair.

Here’s the back story. Last year, Aliyah planted some sunflowers in our garden, and entered one or two, can’t remember, in the fair. She won a ribbon, and a check for $2 that I still have because she does not have a bank account yet and it was easier to pay her the dinero than ‘cosign’ the back of the check. This was her first experience entering something in the fair, and it wasn’t without its drama- the flowers have to be in a water bottle, and we didn’t have one, so that was us pulling up to the BP right beforehand to buy a bottle of water. Good thing it was only .99.

Fast forward to this year- We didn’t have much of a garden. Luke bought some tomatoes and peppers and lettuce, but we let the weeds take over and most of it was lost. I forgot to even buy sunflower seeds, and Aliyah took this bravely. There’s always next year.

Then, long about the first of the month, a few sprouts come up among the weedy garden that look an awful lot like sunflowers. We joked among ourselves that if they bloomed in time, we could still make the fair. The first one, the biggest and nicest looking bloom, came out last week, and its head began to droop on Tuesday. Oh, well, we thought, let’s see what the others do. And they bloomed! Just in time! The only problem with them was they both were really small, more like daisies than sunflowers. If we didn’t know they were sunflowers, it would be hard to tell.

Still, off we went to Bellville Thursday afternoon, with the daisies in tow. We had managed to find one old water bottle in the van, and on the way Aliyah noticed it might be leaking, so that was us pulling up the the BP again, purchasing two bottles of water this time for these floral entries.

All weekend we have been conjecturing the odds of Aliyah pulling out a win on one of these flowers. It would make a person almost feel guilty to accept prize money for something she did nothing to create. But only almost, as she owes me $2 for the bottles of water.

We returned tonight to see if she had indeed won. I was at the back of our entourage so I missed the look on Luke’s face when they got to Aliyah’s flowers and he saw the first place ribbon under its water bottle. Wow!

Great year at the Bellville Street Fair. Next year we’re going to pick flowers out of the ditches on the way there and sweep up some ribbons.


Losing And Winning


Home from the fair. I’m waiting for a laundry load to finish, so it is time to put my feet up with some hot cocoa. We had a great night walking around and taking in the Bellville Street Fair, aka World’s Fair.
We were able to park pretty close to the action, and walked in where the rides and food vendors began. It is funny how I operate now as a mom; the first thing I thought of when we stepped onto the ‘midway’ was “since we are so close to the restrooms, let’s go!” And we did. Then, we walked through the Merchant Tent. One of the first booths was Aliyah’s friend Sophie, who with her family’s help has developed a paracord survivor bracelet business- too cute. They are calling their company SoLo, the first two letters of her and her sister’s names. Luke joked that Aliyah would be across from her in the merchant tent next year, underselling her wares with her AlSa business. Sounds like a cross between Amway and Avon.
Back at the animal tents I noticed a kid toss something on the ground that looked like a carrot, or a small knobby sweet potato. When we walked by a bit later, I realized the object was one of those models of a human fetus that RPS, our local crisis pregnancy center, was sharing at their table. I couldn’t let the little guy stay there on the ground, so I returned it to the RPS table. I tried not to spend too much time in thought about what happened or condemn the children who threw it; no need to ‘read into’ their actions like it meant more than just kids being kids.
Coming out of the animal tents, I realized Kenan had lost his binky. I decided to retrace my steps, hoping to find it as I didn’t know where the other one was at home. And, hoping I wouldn’t find it in a pile of manure.
I walked all the way back to where we had been talking with Sadie, Sophie’s mom, in the merchant tent, and there it was! I was really glad to find it on relatively ‘clean’ pavement!
We walked down to hear the high school marching band, only to show up just as they were breaking ranks and going home. Oh, well. Looking forward to tomorrow’s main stage event- The Buckeye Country Cloggers! We have video of the kids dancing along with them last year. Such fun.
While there we run into a lot of people we know from church, and when we saw one couple, we stopped for a while to talk to them. We were standing next to the kiddie carousel, and some of the kids were watching the kids ride and asking if they could go. I could easily answer, “we aren’t going to ride any rides tonight” but that really meant “we aren’t going to ride any rides any night” since Luke thinks it is creepy how all these rides fold up to trailer size and get carted away from these fairs. And, I guess someone just died on a fair ride. Not happening to us.
From the carousel we continued on to the fire house, where Aliyah’s sunflower entries were. There were many cute vegetable and flower entries, and we moseyed up and down the two aisles. As we crossed the midway to head to the library, Luke noticed Caleb, age 6, wasn’t with us. What a gripping fear that was- it was not the most crowded night of the fair being only Wednesday, but still in that moment I looked around me thinking, so many people! Where could he be? I hurried to the fire house- no Caleb. Came back to tell Luke- he bolted back up the midway looking for him. I went back by the fire house, then down the midway. Came back to the kids, started the midway in the other direction, breathing my prayers, in and out, in and out. A couple of things came to mind:
-give him wisdom to know what to do
-surround him and protect him
As the kids and I started down the midway the second time, I glanced back to see Luke, hand in hand with Caleb. Such a beautiful sight! Luke herded us all into the alley, and explained how he found him. Seems Caleb stayed at the carousel, not noticing we had moved on to the fire house. He then circled the ride, looking for us, when a police officer must have noticed him and asked him if he was lost. The details are a little sketchy from here on because Caleb says ‘he forgets’ what was said, but apparently a man from our church, Abe, was also standing nearby and recognized Caleb. When Abe saw Luke looking for Caleb, he came running and led Luke back to Caleb and the officer. I’m totally making cookies tomorrow for Abe and the Bellville Police Department! I think it is interesting how the LORD answered both my prayers, before I even knew to pray them. We didn’t know he was lost until we’d left the fire house, and he would have been with the police officer long before then. Thank You, God!
Aliyah also entered three photos in the fair, and two of them won ribbons. When I saw that one of the winners was the one of Caleb at Kingwood Center, tears came to my eyes. So strange how he again has been the one we lose, but also the subject of a winning work of art.100_7050

Into The Couch

Last spring, Luke shot a coyote that was in our yard. Just because he can, he skinned the animal and saved the hide, tail and skull. He buried the skull for a few months, hoping the bugs would ‘clean it’ to the bone. He dug it up last week, and I was surprised at how good it looked, for a dog skull. Luke wanted it even brighter, so he put it to soak in hydrochloric acid for a few days. The skull started out in a black trash bag, but was then moved to marinate in one of my loaf pans (yes, I was pretty grossed out by this). It sat out on the dining table overnight, and when Luke was leaving the next day, I asked him to please move it before he left. On to a corner of a buffet the skull was brought, with a wall of glass jars and boxes of macaroni to stand guard. As if anyone would want to touch this nasty brew.
So, yesterday, Luke pulled out the skull to look over, and discovered to his great dismay some of its teeth were missing. This was a puzzle- nobody mature enough to realize that wasn’t a weird loaf of bread in that dish would have gone near it, so we started by interrogating the very young.
Mama: Adon, did you take a tooth from the skull?
Adon (age 2): Yah.
Mama: Where is the tooth now? Is it back in your room?
Adon: Yah.
I had us all look under the beds in the kids’ rooms, just in case Adon really did put a tooth back there, but it just didn’t seem likely, since we had vacuumed the bedrooms that morning. I glanced at the couch, thinking perhaps that might be a good hiding place for a tooth. Pulling out the cushions and kneeling on them, I got to work digging in the belly of our couch, pulling out all manner of small items. From hair pretties, LEGOs, pencils, pens, scissors, marbles, grass to game pieces, there was a rich treasure hunting to be had. I did find a tooth, but it was Sam’s shark tooth that had come off a necklace. One thing surprised and gratified me that I didn’t find in the couch: not a single math manipulative! I have tried very hard not to lose any of those blocks, and I don’t think I have. They have even survived a move from Marion to here! Something I was surprised to find: a dollar or more worth of change! There were at least three quarters, quite a few pennies, and more silver. I have heard it said the average home has $90 tucked away in it as lost money, but I figure our house is the exception. We can spend our money as fast as we make it, but I guess there could be the occasional quarter fall out of the purse or pocket in to the couch belly. Sam was walking around today, boasting that he now had two dollars and some cents, “but a dollar five of that is couch money.”
Where were the teeth? Luke remembered later that the skull started out in the black trash bag, and once he fished it out of the trash and looked inside, voila! All four missing teeth. He was happy.