God Speak

Hoot, hoot, the eerie sound echoes in the straight up hours of morning, the black stillness of early, the hoot calls to me.  Owl has not been around in years.. maybe six or eight.  I remember hearing Owl when All Mr. Business was a baby.  Then it has been 10 years since I can remember his distinct strange calls.  And this day, beginning hours, is one year from the day Dad died, surrounded by family, there to see him off to a better place.  Dad loved most of all the world of the wild.  And wild animals top of list.  His camera and eye were all he needed to be off on adventure and engrossed for hours, sometimes days or months.  I can’t imagine what he’s taking in now, in a land of endless possibilities, no challenges to prevent him from the beauty God created.  He left behind Mom, after nearly 49 years together.  She has been so strong, going through all necessary steps to heal from the hole in her heart.  But she knows this life is not all that is.  Owl calls again.  God is not limited.  He speaks in many ways – maybe even by way of  a once in 10 year owl call.  Owl calls – and I remember the treasure one man found in God’s Wild Creatures.         



A Warming Chill

Morning wakes me up, but still.  Too quiet.  Breathe deep and slow, sinking back into unconsciousness before another day begins.  Perfect silence is interrupted by “thud”, and frantic feet flying one direction, then the other on the floor above my head.  I now lay worried.  It sounds as though Butterfly has slipped out of bed and is needing to get to the bathroom but not managing to get there.  Guilty for not rousing myself, but still I pull the quilt tight under my chin and soak in a last chance at rest before the whirlwind of a day begins.  Then I realize it’s not one set of feet, but two, wildly flying about – loud happy voices waft through the house.  Adored husband rolls toward me, reading my thoughts.  “It snowed” he says.  “SNOWED?!” I say sitting straight up in bed.  Snow!!!  Forever 10, nothing makes me happier than for life to come to a screeching halt by ice and snow, kids outdoors most of the day, sliding up and down the hill, happy whoops, back inside for warming up, out again, finding yet another set of dry gloves before more fun is to be had.  I don’t get out much, but stay busy wiping up puddles made by little boots and soppy snow pants, making hot drinks and soup, and more puddle management.

Our neighborhood is a bit stodgy.  We keep to ourselves mostly.  That is, until snow falls.  Snow extracts people, transforms them – loud and happy, until the temperature rises, steals away the white, and once again the neighbors disappear to busy and alone.  But while the snow is here, it tugs at us until we are milling about and everywhere.  People with sleds, snow boards, skis found buried in far reaches of attics and closets.  Crunching across snow, through drifts, up icy patches.  Hearty fires, S’mores, kids old and young flying past each other down, down – screams.  A quick roll to avoid the corner of a house, fence line, or human.  Loud grunting exertion righting ones self once again to march up steep and ice – for another chance at hurling downward.

Life is that way.  So backwards.  So upside down.  Like the way it takes cold to make us warm.  Sometimes takes hard times to make us soft, pain to make us strong.  Comfort can isolate.  I hear ten year old All Mr.Business’ heavy boots at the door.  Sparkling hazel eyes show me the glories of wounds incurred on the snow hill.  Raw ice burns on side of chin from a wild crash with another body hurling downward.  It burns and he’s proud and he’s off for more.  And it starts to snow once again as darkness moves in.  The rare sounds of happy fun continue late into the night in a cold we are all so in need of.  





Early Christmas together, four days few.  Full and wonderful, and now, Goodbye son. Goodbye to hearing you from across the room out-playing your sisters Spotify tunes – respective lap tops. Goodbye to thoughts deep and random and passionate. To shirts and shoes, earphones, books all stacked up and gum wrappings. Goodbye, adventures with your little brother out the door and into ice air to golf on frosty green.  Back home, the telling of impossible strokes the 10 year old has managed.  To shoulder rides packing Butterfly through the lights of downtown, the rest of us trudging behind as you take us to to experience the wonders of Seattle Coffee. Goodbye to you and Sis working on the latest software for drawing on laptop.  Goodbye whirlwind of togetherness.

When you go, there’s a hollow space – a deadness in the place. Sis stays another couple weeks, then she too will be gone and far. No piano echoing through house, no one to shop with, her bedroom floor even vacated and alone. No Sis and Butterfly dancing and reading and painting. No Sis to help 10 year old Mr. All Business work a project for school.  I’ll have to say Goodbye all over again.  I swear I loose years off my life each time I say goodbye, tear washed face, pounding chest… and hurting.

I prayed – whole life through – each of you would grow to be independent and strong, give more then take, and serve the Lord with all you are.  So now your’re flying away, back to home sweet school, back to your job at the local Alzheimer’s Unit, working as a nurses aid.  “Good night” you say to confused resident you tuck into bed. “Don’t let the bed bugs bite. And if they do, kick ’em black and blue.”  A chuckle and the light grows dim. Back to Chemistry, midnight mud hot springs, hikes in 0′ below snow.  Back to all we ever dreamed for you.

I HATE goodbyes – those grand aches of goodness. Goodbye.

Responsive Reading

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
 and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary’s Reaction to the News She Would be an unwed pregnant teenage Mother of God

Luke 1:46-55

New Living Translation (NLT)


The Christmas Spirit

With malice toward none;

With charity for all;

With firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right,

Let us strive on to finish the work we are in; 

To bind up the nation’s wounds;

To care for him who shall have borne the battle;

And for his widow,

And his orphan –

To do all which may achieve and cherish

a just and lasting peace among ourselves 

And with all nations.

                                                                       Abraham Lincoln


All is still. Girls asleep in their room, Son and Dog snoozing in boys room.  Adored Husband still sleeping.  Think I’ll turn the Christmas lights on and clean house.  Shall I start from front door and make my way round to the kitchen, or start with the kitchen, get some things brewing, baking, then make my way to the front door?  Leave shiny floor in my wake? Or shall I start up the stairs with our bedroom, all piled high with too many loads of clean clothes needing home sweet drawer and closet?  What about the windows.  Shall I try to wash windows in the dark?  The oven, the fridge and microwave?  The tile grout, the bathroom deep clean?  The walls…shall I whitewash wall messes?  Shall I take all shoes with signs of winter mud underneath and beat the sordid clumps, beat souls together out the door, strong and loud.  Shall I rush about yanking sheets off beds, pile high for more work and still more, panicked I can’t make the house the beauty I want forever for to be?  No.  I’ll not go there.  They sleep in sheets, the ones I love.  Asleep in happy dreams and together.  I shall light candles here and there.  Slow and nice I move. Move past candles through the happy dance of beauty making.

Christmas Candle


Holy Underthings

The drive to Nordstroms to meet with the plastic part fitter, I’m a mess.  Want to go alone, but find no way of doing so.  Butterfly is along, chatting happily from back seat, asking me random questions.  “What are we doing after we go to the mall, Mom?  Are we going back home?  Is Sis going to be home by then?”  Our college beauty-girl is coming home for Christmas break.  I meet her at the airport tonight.  She hasn’t been home in months, and the house is all a buzz. The kids and I put everything together just right, but day before college beauty-girl arrives I fall apart and cry the entire day.  I have put off getting a prosthetic four months now.  I want more than anything to have a Merry Christmas with our kids.  I’m so lousy at faking.

Grey drizzle, wipers going, butterfly and I make our way down the interstate corridor.  We play Christmas Music.  It’s hard singing with a throat lump.  She is still chattering as we make our way out of car, Butterfly and I.  We are in the store, weaving through the bustle of the season, the escalator up, up toward sparkling Christmas trees.

Another bit of a walk and we are in the lingerie department.  There’s a line.  I wait behind one beautiful lady after another.  I think I’m the only one here today not buying lace and satin because I’m lovely enough to show off for my man.  I hate the gouge in my chest, numb and not belonging.  No matter how much Adored Husband tells me every day he finds me beautiful, I feel like trash. Butterfly’s warm hand swings mine.

“May I help you” says another gorgeous lady.  “I have an appointment” I say.  She rushes to the back room and in time Kind Eyes greet me.  “Hi” She takes my hand, tells me her name.  She smiles and talks to Butterfly.  We walk past the panties and satin gowns, down a narrow hall of mirrored doors, walls papered in flowers, soft carpet.  Christmas tunes playing as key unlocks room at end to the right.  We pass through the door. In the fitting room there are the preliminaries.  The measures.  The questions.  Cat rarely gets my tongue.  I can’t find much to say.  Slow at answering Kind Eyes questions.

I sit there in a fluffy overly turquoise robe and wait a while longer as she rushes away only to return with the loveliest girlie things I’ve seen in a long time.  Beautiful things.  Things I had thought would never be part of my life again.  The prosthetic is completely hidden.  I can’t stop looking.  I look like me.  I feel the shock.  It warms me.  I turn to look at her.  She’s busy loosening each, one by one, from their hangers.  Even the hangers are pretty.  Somehow industrial undergarments are all I can imagine will hold a prosthetic.  These are nothing of the kind.  No-one can ever tell from sight I’m missing a breast, that I’m wearing an engineered pillow that fits in a pocket.

This lady probably doesn’t know it, but she works for God.  Her calling is holy.  I think of the designers of these bras.  They must be God’s agents, too.  The engineers who make the best prosthetic they can, thinking of everything from comfort to heat transfer – ministers, all of them.

The song playing overhead  “… till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”  I leave the holy place of lingerie, Butterfly and I.  We weave past the sparkling Christmas trees, down the escalator and out into the grey.  “…a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, la, la, de, daah….”

Space Junk

Tomorrow I get a prosthetic.  A strange fake thing that is suppose to look real, feel real, make me look normal. I hate it already and I don’t even have it.  I want to hurl it as far as my lame girl throw is able.  I want to see if the damn thing skips on water.  Can it knock a branch clean off a sturdy tree?  I want to know if it can smash a window, a lot of windows.  Maybe go through one window at the back of the house and keep right on going until it flies through the window at the other end of the house.  Fling the thing far away until it takes to orbiting the planet with the rest of the space junk.

Plastic nauseates me.  When girls grow up, we seem all very much alike until we mature a bit… and eventually part ways over plastic.


Some girls to the land of stuffed bras, fake nails, 6” heels, pasted lashes, hair spray stiff. The rest of us might try awhile to improve ourselves with the many aids, but finally hate the confinement so much we give in to the realization that we are one of the plain girls that’ll have to do.

I know folks with a missing foot or arm are thankful for the prosthetic that enables them to be who they are, and move about, but how does a fake breast help me at all?  I can’t wear it swimming.  I’ve read stories of those out for a swim seeing the embarrassing thing float by. Can’t run with it.  Can’t sleep better with it.  Just a spiteful reminder of what’s gone each time I put it on and take it off.

But tomorrow I get the prosthetic.  I can’t stop the flood of tears that surprise me.  My gut aches with the sobbing.  I’m so angry.  I can’t sop up the mess fast as it comes.  Strange, but deep down I feel like getting this fake breast tomorrow seals the deal.  Like it’s an agreement with the insurance agency that I’ll have my breast taken off and kept off permanently.

So that’s it.  Every personal medical crisis I’ve experienced in my life has been resolved over time.  Never before have I had a medical loss for good.

Not just the loss of my breast, forever gone, but the loss of how I do life.  Carefree and wind blown in my own comfortable skin.

Slide22 (2)

I’ll wear a prosthetic for the sake of everybody else.  People have the right to go out and about and not run into a one breasted woman.  I guess it’s final.  I do need one. Dresses will never fit right, nor coats nor bras without.  It’s not a replacement of what once was part of me.  It’s clothing filler.  That’s all.  And besides, it just might do on a dull afternoon as a discus.


Perfect Excess

You can’t light too many candles.

Can’t sit on edge of the bed too long and hear your sons’ amazing thoughts on worms that eat dead cats.

Can’t overdo the music and movies and stops under mistletoe.

Don’t forget you can’t overdo sitting quietly, early dark of evening, under the lit tree playing Chinese Checkers – reading stories – coloring pictures with little hands.

Can’t overdo slow and listen and love.


This weekend, overdo it.