Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Look at Me and Love Me

Jonathan docked his little body at the island, his wiggles briefly anchored.

And as he munched on apple snack he briefly realized,

that body being satisfied was not enough.

And this thoughtful young man, looked up at busy mother, and

Thinking this to be his need, he commanded clearly and astutely:

"Mom, look at me and love me!"

And how this mother's heart was arrested! So like a knife, cutting through the fog. And He was there too, burning a message into my heart.

He said "look at me and love me"
Dimple flashing out in need.
His bottom docked at island and
Wiggles briefly anchored.

And apple ceased to crunch,
Small head cocked to the side.
Silence, then commanding words:
"Mom, look at me and love me!"

Arrested was I,
With such desire,
Openly displayed
...And my busy hands were stayed.

To administer love.

And two twinkling crow's feet were
Thrown back to gaze at delighted 4-year-old countenance,
So like a flower turning to face the sun.

And to think. His marvelous attention is arrested in like manner.

The Puzzle

Dropping off the edge of the world
It all came into focus.
Like a smooth talker
Convincing me that the pieces would fall into place.

And they did, for awhile.

Then the hunt began,
And stamped colors jumped out at me
Like so many presents.

I brought them home.
And they made beautiful pictures for me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Ghost of Christmas Present

I met you that Christmas when he and I were new
And heart hungered only for you.
When sun slipped under, eye would not go too
And heart watched restlessly for you.

And when you tapped him on the shoulder
He lost all sense of breath;
The rhythm of it lost, in wonder.

Then the rain began to fall.

And you saved it in a bottle,
And there was no time...
As heart gazed,
And imprinted

Your. exquisite. presence.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Invisible Rock

The substance of it remarked to my heart,
There's another rock, over yonder.
It's shape eluded and all precluded,
As heart dropped into the dark.

And stumbled through a craven view,
Until a pebble did find.

And heart rolled
This perfectly round circle of true,
In the dark...

And knew
That yonder lay

An invisible rock.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Undone by Trees

I think this fool will always view
A tree with eyes anew.

...thanks to this poem. And this is one reason I love poetry! The right poem paints a vivid picture of His "invisible things", and I gasp!

by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
against the Earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Silly Songs and Raspberries

This morning was glorious! My cup was overflowing, and merry streams trickled out on children encased in silly songs and raspberries. We rowed right through morning to-do's and floated into the schoolroom, where peace was displaced, momentarily.

"Does Mommy love you?" I asked, after love was administered.

"No!" Came vehemently, with furrowed brow, and then,

"Yes," and his eyes found mine and he hugged me, tied tight with the strings of silly songs and raspberries...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Last night I went to bed expectantly, only to be awakened at midnight by a husband who was traumatized with leaking pipes and storage stuffing.

"I want that storage area cleaned up tomorrow." His words echoed, perhaps a catalyst for the nightmares which assailed during the wee hours. The layers of decorations, crafts, unsorted videos, and various odds and ends was a recipe for frustration, and though inwardly daunted at this task, I clung to our family motto with tenacity.

Keep. Moving. Forward.

In the midst of school, chores, cleaning and meals, I managed to carve out nearly two hours to sort, stack, stash and chuck all the stuff that hadn't been dealt with at the proper time. And I'm happy to report a navigable, and workable area. Yet how unnecessary has been all of this frustration? All of this stuff, just stuffed into our storage area, with mild thoughts of finding time to "deal" with it later...until one day it becomes a major stumbling block in a time of trouble. Hmmm.

I'm one of those people who will tell you I'm fine when sometimes I'm not, because I think, I've got it sorted, when really, it's been stuffed away. But lately I've realized that an emotional release is really necessary. In fact, if it builds up for a long time, it can become quite, well, "stinky". Emotions were not meant to be encased and set on the counter to ferment like my sourdough or kefir. Especially negative emotions.

"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice." Ephesians 4:31

Surely these will rot the fastest, if left to fester, like a grudge to be nursed. The word nurse means to care for in a way as to provide growth and development. How perspective illuminates! To coddle such a creature as this? Yet the human heart so often chooses the bitter way, as negative emotions are shoved to the back, where they are tasted best. With my children, I like to pretend the bad emotions are something malleable, and squash them into a ball which we then "put away" from us. What freedom!

But, hey, what about the positive emotions? Joy, love, and so on. Shout it out, right? How many times have I lacked the velocity to express loving and encouraging thoughts to others? Somehow the spark of His glory that comes with these thoughts is lost when they are saved for later. They don't fester, they fizzle. I remember many times sitting in church, thinking, wow, that was an amazing teaching. I should really go and tell this brother how he exhorted my heart. And the rarity of such a thing has suddenly struck me! Surely such a light will be stifled under the bowl of procrastination.

The Psalmist seems to always have an exhortation containing the word "shout". Let them shout for joy...shout unto God with the voice of triumph....let thy saints shout for joy. And when was the last time I shouted? Probably when practicing Taekwondo with the children this morning. Ki-hap! So maybe I'll try something new tomorrow....when we kneel in our little circle, I will stop shushing everyone, and instead encourage shouting! (In praise and thanksgiving of course :-))

Much better to shout than to stuff. Ah, the release! Many times it is tempting to bring the "stuff" to bear on husband, coming home with his own pressures still lingering. Yet we all know that's not a good idea! So instead, I've got to re-roll an old groove. You know the one....where we take those little odds and ends straight to His transporter, and exchange them for peace, before they fall on some unsuspecting innocent!

I tried to write a beautiful poem, but this rap is all that came out [wry grin]...I guess there is always next week ;-).

Stuff it in stuff it down stuff it all around,
And one day stuffing topples you to the ground.
When expected least,
This rotten beast,
Locks eyes with the skies
Of a hovering yeast.

Sort it now sort it then sort this burden out,
Bring it to Him, with a great big shout,
When an ounce it weighs,
Before an egg it lays,
And cracks out with a sprout
Spreading rank malaise.

Take it up, take it over, take it upon,
This wrap of His, He would have us to don,
Having been made meet,
We sit at his feet,
No pain, no strain,
The rest is O So Sweet!

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Friday, November 26, 2010

tree art

i really wanted to write a poem today. about a Thanksgiving tree. but when we tried to string the lights we discovered small branches on the bottom and big ones on top and i barreled into the present with a stomp, as branches flew out of the tree onto floor order.

abandoned by all but two stalwart tree artists, I guided the branches into a mathematically perfect tree and stretched out each arm ready to receive. then i giggled and thought perhaps the tree should have been left as it was, decorated to be a robot or some such thing. maybe next year.

then the little and the not-so-little hands placed the ornaments and this is where I must find my place to come in, in harmony, as keLi so beautifully exhorted. sometimes my heart despairs about the things that I do that have not meaning. like I want my tree to be ALIVE! and just like the substance of things unseen is the most precious thing, the things placed in these reaching arms can be precious, because it is precious to him.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Turkeys, Stuffing, and Immersion

We drove down Lincoln Drive on the way to Taekwondo. What met our eyes brought disappointment to me, and excitement to the kids. Lighted wreaths and candles illuminated the drab drive, while darkening my brows.

Was Thanksgiving to be ignored once again? Were we to travel at light speed from fabulous fall to Christmas with nary a turkey to gobble in between?

My daughter rescued me when she pointed out the blown-up turkey in a yard up ahead. He was large, round, colorful, and cartoonish, but O, how my eyes lingered there! As his brown body smiled and swayed in chubby contentment, I was infected, and my peevish concerns evaporated. At least for that moment.

On Monday I made the decision. Store-bought stuffing was not an option for me this year. (Nourishing decisions have become easier to make over the years.) So I began the familiar process of making bread, with one inconvenient addition: I mixed 15 cups of the flour into five cups of warmed buttermilk, and left it to soak for twelve hours. Yesterday morning, the final three cups of flour were combined with the yeast, honey, water, oil & salt and then carefully mixed in with the soaking dough. Really, it was just a matter of retraining; the soaking of the flour is only slightly more time-consuming than my prior routine.

But why? Why go to all the trouble of soaking the flour? Well, according to my research, there is something called phytic acid which is found in the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains. Phytic acid is the principle form of storage for phosphorous. There are two problems with phytic acid. The first is that important minerals, like calcium and magnesium, adhere to phytic acid, and when they do so, they become insoluble and unable to be absorbed in the intestines. The second problem is that phytic acid is itself unable to be absorbed due to our lack of an enzyme called phytase.

This is where the soak comes in. When nuts, seeds and grains are soaked, the phytic acid is broken down, and the minerals are once more bioavailable. When they are soaked in an acidic medium, such as buttermilk, kefir or yogurt, the breakdown is much more effective. To rephrase: soaking removes the binding power of phytic acid (aka the anti-nutrient), which would suck away life-giving minerals necessary for all body-functions.

My need hit me then, square between the eyes. I needed a good soak. And certainly not in buttermilk. Songs began to flit through my mind...

"It's beginning to ra-ai-ain, hear the voice of the Father..." and

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, like the fra-grance after the ra-ai-ain...".

Just as the minerals needed for all body functions were bound in the phytic acid, the peace, needed to guard my mind in Christ Jesus, was bound in the peevish acid of unthankfulness. And surely there is only one solution.

Suddenly Elise's Heavy Laden tree took on new meaning for me. There is a poem stirring here....the applause is almost deafening!

But first, the soak.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Better Resurrection

Most of my kids have "The Caterpillar" by Christina G. Rosetti memorized. How surprised I was to find this poem from the very same author, in a poetry devotional a few years back. It touched a chord in me, as I had been in the desert for quite some time, and the tears spilled freely.

Truly, I'm still there. And my heart still cries out with Christina.


by: Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

I have no wit, no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numb'd too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
I lift mine eyes, but dimm'd with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is in the falling leaf:
O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,
My harvest dwindled to a husk:
Truly my life is void and brief
And tedious in the barren dusk;
My life is like a frozen thing,
No bud nor greenness can I see:
Yet rise it shall--the sap of Spring;
O Jesus, rise in me.

My life is like a broken bowl,
A broken bowl that cannot hold
One drop of water for my soul
Or cordial in the searching cold;
Cast in the fire the perish'd thing;
Melt and remould it, till it be
A royal cup for Him, my King:
O Jesus, drink of me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Death Hoped

This morning I awoke to the crack of a rifle. And, rolling right along, I noticed the thump of the dogs tail, more subdued than usual, and how she peed with alacrity. And the trees! When had the masses of orange-brown delight turned into dead sticks stretching, reaching to reclaim their former glory? And this was the backdrop for my crisp Romaine, attached to the hope of fresh salad next to yesterday's turkey.

Fall has always been my favorite season, because of the stunning colors; the beauty. It is enough to shake the introspection right out of this branch. I have to see! To live outside of myself. Emily Dickinson writes "because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me." For some reason her mind and the mind of Dylan Thomas are intertwined for me right now. It is as though this awesome beauty is one last 'hurrah'! Or a burning against the dying; a refusal to go gently "into that good night."

My children have skeletons hanging downstairs on the bulletin board. It's part of our homeschool project to make the human body out of paper. So far, my four-year-old is the biggest fan. He simply adores cutting and pasting and putting stuff together. Typical, eh? Well, we've moved on and begun creating the digestive system, starting with the face. And without fail, each child decided to put their face on their skeleton. They look rather comical, hanging there. My oldest daughter drew hair around her face before she cut it out, and it looks a little eerie to see it resting against the clavicle. And what is time? Surely it is slipping through our fingers. But it is not lost.

The leaf who falls like rain upon the wind
Has left a bud that winter can't rescind
The flower withers, falling from the sun
Yet sinks or scatters...newness is begun

The creature left with nothing to exhale
Installed another; death cannot prevail
In deep, or nest, in grass or in the womb
Unfolding from the shadows of the tomb.

The patterns from His hand they always tell
Of who us through the cycle will impel
The threads allotted treasures to be sought
Wonder life to brimming will be fraught!

Until the soul of man would gasp in awe
To realize that death has lost her claw
Seeing her from on the other side
Even though with her you still abide.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I just made cookie dough. To eat. I said to my husband: "I am sure that the reason I am not dead is because I ate cookie dough so much growing up." Perhaps you understand my reasoning - I scoff at salmonella! Because so much of life is "touch not, taste not, handle not." Here, we'll take it. We'll eliminate the risks, so that you can live in safety.

But they didn't tell us the truth. There is a reason that God has chosen to let the tares grow up with the wheat. Kill the tares, kill the wheat. Mow down the just with the unjust. And so, need I say? We like it raw. Milk. Eggs. Sometimes meat.

Once we visited a public pool nearby. The sound of whistles greeted us as we approached, and continued to agitate throughout our stay. At one point I was standing in the wrong place. I remained unaware despite the whistles blowing around my ears. Their very constancy rendered them null and void, as they shreaked through me transparently. After this I began to say "no" less often to my kids.

Change is hard and ruts are deep, but miracles do happen. I want

To roll and give
And jostle and spill
Ignoring bygone cups unfilled

To turn and hear
And smile ... attend
Evading grooves long penned

And when laughter tips the scales
In the wholeness of reality
Then they will surely know
i am free.

....Only because He has made me so. One of my favorite movies is Luther. And for some reason, I am thinking of this line, which always jumps out at me: "All my life, I have seen a world that hates evil more than it loves good." O, the WAY we see! And Paul says, "Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." Speak to me. Change the WAY I see.

Friday, October 22, 2010


NOTE: Are you familiar with Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll? If so, and if you've ever been assailed with laundry woes, then hopefully you will find this parody entertaining. I had a blast writing it! And if you've the time to think, there is a lot of hidden meaning here.

Twas Thursday, and the piles of clothes
Did lie and slow her in the way.
All flimsy were they, yet the droves;
Assailed her weakly, with dismay.

"Beware the smelly habits daughter!
The sloth would bite and try to snatch!
Beware the drub-grub bird and shun...
The furious dander-patch!"

She took her basket in her hand:
Long time the attirome foe she brought --
Then rested she by the frum-bum tree
And sat awhile in ought.

And as in tuffwish ought she stewed,
The styles arose, and without frame,
Came drifting through neuralgy wood,
And doubled as they came...

One-two! One-two! And queue and queue!
The wash machete went swish and shwack!
She left the dread, and with ahead,
She went triumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwash?
Come to me arms audacious girl!
O virtuous day! Woo-hoo! Hooray!"
She giggled with a twirl.

Twas Thursday, and the piles of clothes
Did lie and slow her in the way.
All flimsy were they, yet the droves;
Assailed her weekly, with dismay.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Coconut Dream

It came true last week. Just before the trial of sickness began in earnest. And no, this is not about our new dog. Believe me, this smells much better!

I had been dreaming of going to Global Foods ever since I purchased Serene Allison's Rejuvenate Your Life: Recipes for Energy. I'd read here and there about young coconuts; especially in regard to making kefir from the water of young coconuts. But I'd not heard about the delectable, creamy, scoopable flesh of the young coconut until reading Serene's recipe book. And about the myriad of health benefits associated with coconut water. There were other things I wanted from Global Foods, like Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a tin (so as not to be rancid), and tahini, but the coconuts were my main motivator.

So we drove for an hour and fifteen minutes on Monday to get to this marvelous market. It was truly a smorgasbord of many foreign and unusual foods. As you walk in the door, you pass a large chocolate section with all of the quality chocolate you would find at a regular grocery store, plus all of the foreign chocolate you can imagine! I lingered here as long as I dared with five children in tow.

Next we perused the produce section, which was huge! I asked the produce-man where to find young coconuts, and he directed me to the third table down. I am ashamed to admit that I still couldn't find the coconuts! The annoyed man had to show me personally, because I didn't know what a young coconut looked like. It isn't brown, hairy or round, which are all adjectives I associate with the word "coconut". The young coconut is actually green, but for the market it has been carved, and so it is an off-white color. It is shaped like a rounded pyramid house, and covered with plastic wrap. I put five of them in the cart. They were $1.89 apiece and $1.00 for the older, semi-moldy ones. I "hurried" through the rest of the store, with only a slight detour at what I've dubbed "the wall of coffee". Each aisle was labeled with countries, and it was hard to find what I wanted when I had to locate personnel for each item on my list! Laborously, I located the Extra Virgin Olive Oil (first cold press) in a tin, tahini, and Nori sheets. The store apparently did not carry Nama Shoyu (a natural soy sauce). The bulk nuts were reasonably priced and I picked up some walnuts and cashews to make crispy nuts. We hurried home, with yours truly dreaming of the Coconut Cream shake I was going to make with my young coconuts.

Well, it was that night when Rebekah (my eight-year-old) began to be sick with some sort of stomach virus. My coconuts stayed in the fridge, forgotten, as I began to care for her and juggle school, new puppy and nursing her back to health. When she continued to lose fluids for 2 days, I immediately thought of the young coconuts. I already knew that the coconut was very good for you, but as I began to investigate, I was truly amazed at the astonishing properties of the young coconut. The water inside the coconut is the most sterile available from a natural source. It is actually used as a blood plasma substitude in third world countries, known as the Coconut IV, because it's makeup is nearly identical to our blood plasma. It is full of minerals and the most natural electrolyte beverage available (much better than Gatorade). So naturally, I wanted to rehydrate my sick daughter with this wonderful beverage.

But first, I had to get the water out. Fortunately, Serene Allison's book had instructions for opening the coconut in a non-frustrating manner. First, I sawed off the top of the coconut with a good, serrated knife. The sawn-off part resembled a spinnable toy top. Then I was rescued by my over-protective husband from a flimsy knife, as I stabbed a hole in the newly flattened top of the young coconut. I wiggled the knife around until I had a sizable hole, and then poured off the coconut water. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of water I obtained from one coconut. It was surely more than 2 cups.

The next part required a bit of strength and again a good, solid, sharp knife. I turned the coconut on it's side and carved a circle, the size of which a spoon can enter to scoop out the tender coconut flesh from inside the coconut. My 'circle' was really more of a triangle. I first scooped the flesh from the bottom, using just enough force to scrape the white flesh and not too much of the darker rind underneath. Then, I turned the spoon over and scooped from the top, removing the flesh from the upper third of the inside of the coconut. I scooped it all out into a bowl and removed any larger portions of the rind still attached to the flesh. The coconut flesh was moist and slightly sweet with a subtle, tropical flavor. Nathan and I both loved the coconut water also, as it has a sweet, mild flavor which does not scream "coconut!"

Well, imagine my surprise when my daughter, whose sense of smell had been elevated to super-sensory, was apalled at the coconut water! She truly did not like it all. I am happy to report that I forced her to drink some on that first day, and she was able to hold it down for quite a while, so I'm sure that it was helpful to her rehydration, but I was truly disappointed to encounter reluctance in the face of such a gift! However, I've not given up hope. I think that she may change her mind in the face of some of the delicious smoothies coming her way.

So far we've made 2 coconut smoothies. The first was Coconut Cream, from Serene Allison's book. It was truly a delight, containing the coconut flesh, water, vanilla, maple syrup. The second was my own concoction, with coconut flesh, kefir, lime juice, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mmmmm-Mmmm! It was a delight! I was motivated by the much-loved muppet song chorus line: "put de lime in de coconut, and drink 'em both up."

The coconut dream, it seems, has only just begun. I just found three more ways to open a young coconut, and I've got 3 more in the fridge ;-). I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Smell of Dog

My ear was familiar,
But my nose a stranger -
Until our newest member came.

In the water she went,
And bubbles abound,
But woe is me - she smells the same!

I write in response to my recognition of the smell of Coco. Truly I had been unfamiliar with this odor until our little (for now) English Mastiff came home from vacation with us. She is a delight in every way. We've already trained her to potty outside and she is cute as can be. However, if it looks like a dog, and it sounds like a dog, and it acts like a dog, then it is very likely that it smells like a dog ;-). Recognition brings delight :-).
[caption id="attachment_250" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="The newest member of our family."][/caption]