Sleep Apnea

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“The hose of solitude,”

he says

The tube that carries air to lungs

For tired body fast asleep

a-dreaming dreams forgets to breathe

“The hose of solitude”

he says

And so he leaves it lying there

And lays beside me

gasping hard

The man is breathing shallow snores

And now no breath

Long stretch of still

If I can wait

he’s got to breath

I can not take this sleepless night!

The moments pass

Before I dig

With elbow into silent side

The gasp

and now he starts again

He starts right up as my heart jumps

The hose of air

Might it be true

Could mean more left of me and you

Lisa Boyl-Davis

September 7, 2016

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Faded PJ’s

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This morning, through dawn light, sitting in the stillness of my early hour house, eyes yet to focus, I glance along the edging of my soft blue pajamas and I feel a smile creeping now.  Sleepy smile, I feel it spread about my heart and down into my bones.  The fade of pajamas blue hover about me all the day, and I whisper good things under my breath.  Hope that this newest pair of already faded pajamas will become faded, no, just straight ratty.  That they will grow very old until they are ribbons of happy nothing. 

Crisp new pajamas.  I’ve grown to not like them much.  They come to me to be placed in suitcase packed for a hospital every time.  Some of the hospital visits are beautiful.  Baby boy brought home, precious and perfect.  Pajamas that didn’t fit me before, and body too much a mess to wear after.  That pair stayed nice for years. To the hospital for another baby, this time, a perfect tiny daughter.  I’d not remembered to think of pajamas for me. She had arrived before I’d expected, a month early.  Hadn’t packed a thing.  Other than things for her.  Her cotton pink footie-pajamas were washed, folded, held close against my cheek, folded again.  Ready months before.  My friend had thought of me when I had forgotten.  She brought to the hospital a lovely nightgown of soft pink and white, smocked and pleated, buttons down front.  I loved that nightgown.  I wore it year after year.  Don’t remember whatever became of it.  I’m guessing it was loved into shreds and threads as I rocked and fed, made a lap for two babies, a lap for reading and holding and spit up and …. Another baby years later.  And another. Pajamas packed and used until they were no more. 

As of late, pajamas for the suitcase bound for harder hospital stays.  Visits of cuts and drains, blood draws, parts removed, another cancer, another procedure, another and another. 

New pajamas. 

No thank you. 

I want to see how long the fade will keep on fading. 

Will the blue of light seem more white than blue?  I’m hoping so.  I could buy new ones for no particular reason.  And then I wouldn’t be needing another special book for my son on how to build something from nothing.  I wouldn’t be needing running shoes for me, or another hydrangea for my gardener girl, wouldn’t need to save for a night out with my best friend. I’d be too cut off from life to be buying sheet of music to practice with my girls.  I’d be winding down to dead, and I don’t want that. 

I really love how faded these pajamas have gotten.  Their worn down look speaks to how long it’s been since I’ve made a visit to the chopping block.  Long enough to make new fabric old.  Long enough to grow some strength on the legs that wear these pajama pants.  Fabric fades faster than it use to, I think.  Or my machine has more gusto than it use to.  In any case, time has passed without another reason for new pajamas, and I’m hoping my healthy full life thins them down to nothing at all.  I’m hoping.    

The Id of Prime: How to Prevent Destroying the Best Years of Your Life

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It’s a familiar pattern.  Man at the top of his game at work, making the most he will ever make, married to the most beautiful adoring wife, envy of us all decides it’s time to engage in a seedy fling, starts shooting up, embezzles money at work.  Beautiful woman happily married, finding success at work, finally a publishing a book, living in a community of friends who adore her and she decides to have an affair with a teenage druggie down the street, decides to quit work, starts to drink, it’s all over. 

The reasons given are many:

He’s afraid of responsibility 

She wants to sabotage her life because of guilt that it’s going so well

He wasn’t respected enough by his wife 

She could never get over harm done to her as a child 

His testosterone made him do it 

Her hormones were out of whack 

And what I say to that is “Why now?”  Why didn’t his wife’s disrespect cause him to act this way two years ago?  Why didn’t her painful past kick in long ago? His fear of responsibility cause him to steal at work, to use drugs, to cheat before now? 

The safest people in the world seem to be unsure of themselves.  Awkward teenagers, trying to understand where they sit at the table of life.  Young adults struggling to get through college.    People at any age who have not made it in life.  Aging folks who have lost..  Had their heart broken.  Buried a parent.  Been abandoned by a spouse.  Lost a child to drugs.  Lost a job.  Been through bankruptcy.  12 step boot camp en route to sobriety.  These people unsure of life itself seem to be the ones much less apt to do harsh things to others in their journey up the proverbial ladder.  It is my view that the id is most commonly enlarged at prime.  At the place in life where things are going the best.  I am amazing, I will protect this amazing persona of myself, and others better see me this way.  If they don’t I will throw it all away. 

Brene Brown’s research shows that wholehearted people, those people who do the best in life, are the ones who embrace their own vulnerability, and with an authentic style of living, share their real selves with others around them.  Which really is the best antidote to the Id of Prime.  Much different from the need to convince others that I’m OK in my quest to belong, I set out to develop a habitual view on myself starting young that embraces me as flawed and valuable even-though.  When I embrace my flaws, and let you know mine, I am inviting you to own and state yours, and together we can care for each other as imperfect, challenging each other along the way, to garnish strength from the other when I need it, which is all the time. 

When I am in a state of awkward insecurity, why would I be more authentic and vulnerable?  Simply put, in my reaching for answers, I am in the position of teachability.   To be teachable is to be vulnerable.  I am saying there is something you know that I don’t know.  And this makes me much safer than the position of ‘I have all the answers and you should be lucky to be in my presence’. 

The self made culture celebrates the exact opposite of teachability and neediness.  Regardless of how brazen we are to proclaim ‘I’ve got it’, this is not reality.  Like it or not, we are needy.  Consider getting through college.  Say we earn our way through college by getting good grades, 100% scholarship.  Someone in a dark room surrounded by stacks of papers, using red pen, sweat and coffee is also getting you through college.  Someone wearing hairnet and gloves is making food in a cafeteria.  Someone is cleaning the toilet, furnishing toilet paper to the stalls, applying bleach as needed, lysol, elbow-grease.  We are our brothers keepers.  We are not islands. 

Working in an Emergency Room for 19 years, one dynamic showed itself over and over.  Didn’t matter if I was dealing with a brilliant Microsoft manager, a rich elderly banker, a well known pastor or a street drug user.  He or she open and vulnerable over time with some close loved ones was the winner.  Sometimes the ‘professionals’ were the ones in real trouble.  They had face to save, a reputation to maintain.  Would rather crack then look like a mess.  Every human being goes through crisis.  We may think we will skirt crisis by keeping distance,  not ‘bothering’ anyone with our problems.  Eventually we come to the end of ourselves, and those of us who have been real with others are the ones to get better.  On the other hand, isolated we can find ourselves pulled under by relatively small setbacks, because we are lacking skills of teachability, flexibility (able to flex even thought it puts me in a poor light), vulnerability and authenticity.

The id of prime. 

An avoidable destruction of me as I practice:

a heart position of reaching toward learning from someone who knows more then me

practice honestly with myself about my weaknesses and deficits

choose to not fake who I am with you

reject the prideful prison of self protection

These practices set us up for deep abiding relationship, whether it be in marriage, with our kids, in the workplace, with our bodies.  Id of prime that walks away from it all is walking away from pretend.  It’s not walking away from intimacy real and raw and deep. Let the best years of our lives honor The God who knew what I was about and gave the prime of his life for my eternity anyway.

The Hunt for A Perfect Valentine Gift

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Valentines Weekend.  I can’t find the right gift for Adored Husband.  He’s the friend I’ve been married to almost 25 years now.  Can’t come up with the very thing that would let him know how much he means to me.  It’s not that it’s been perfect between us.  No that’s not it at all.  But when I really need him, all that’s put aside.

Thyroid cancer has been the latest bump in our road.  Just stabilized from the breast cancer that threw our world a year ago.  Right when I’m getting my new line of work in place. When our 6th grader is trying hard not to bomb classes.  When so much is happening for Adored Husband at work he needs to be there 24/7.  When his health is not that great, and needs extra exercise and rest and….

And he takes me to the dozens of appointments, rough edges and all.  Grills the Dr’s to make sure they haven’t missed something.  He can’t bear to have me cut up for no good reason.  He kisses me goodbye as they move stretcher down hall to tiny surgical room where everyone is joking and I’m just the thing on the bed to work on, but to the guy they left down the hall, I’m the pain in his chest, the hot tears moving down his face.  I’m out, and when I wake up, am sick and he’s there. 

He’s there when behind the surgical site I hemorrhage and swell huge, pain surging from a controlled 4 to a 9, passing out they tilt head back fast, throbbing.  Calls are made to contact the surgeon.  After a time he leans down and whispers a prayer in my ear and they rush me off to yet another surgery. 

He’s there again when I’m taken back.  I’m groggy and sick and vomiting.  I don’t remember much but him being there beside me.  He sleeps with me in bed, propped up high, no way for his comfort – the hospital has no cot, no recliner – is on stand by, every space and bed filled to the gills and so he sleeps beside me. 

Days and nights they blend together.  Feeling brave decide to walk.  I walk, my hand holds on to his arm.  He walks too fast, and then slows down.  Making jokes that I will be taking Mt. Hood soon. 

Another day another night, he stays close by.  An allergic reaction to Morphine.  White cold warning that I will soon be passing out, I throw up and he is there. 

IV sites they blow, one by one… and finally a pic line that hurts deep every time they pump me with more, he stays near by, and believes me when I say it hurts.

The throbbing shocks… feels like I’m hooked up to electric chair.  I ask him if he can feel the shock too, when he holds my hand.  He can’t. 

Some days, when I get stronger, I talk him into going for the children, napping at home a bit, collecting his strength, and each time he returns, even late enough a security guard has to let him in.  Nights of little sleeping, and still he stays.

He falls apart first day back, at nothing that mattered at all.  He is sorry.  It takes me a while to remind myself he’s worn under and needs to recuperate. It’s his turn to know I’m close by.

Strength returns, and Valentines Day approaches, I think cards are not the best representation.  Neither are flowers. Because no gift is messy, not raw enough to symbolize real love.  I think I’ll give him a kiss. 

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Not Knowing

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Today a friend commented after having told her how I’m doing, “So, no changes,huh?” That is so depressing to me. At the moment, I’m setting up a counseling business because the last office I set up made me no money in 6 months. Will this one be a waste of time too, although I have a book keeper now trying to help me keep paperwork straight? As we speak, we are packing up a daughter for college. We are preparing to put the younger two in school, we are asked to decided whether we want to move to Salt Lake now, or in January, or Charleston now or later or stay here. As for staying here, we are told we can’t refinance unless we raise our house payments by a TON, and that our house has to be finished, which we haven’t been able to manage yet. Dealing with Adored Husband mentally teetering on the brink of crazy and genius as he always does when he’s inventing – the thing he does for a living.

…they that wait upon the Lord WILL renew their strength…

I’m told to keep moving forward. To act as if I’m going to put the kids in local school. As if I will have a dozen paying clients in my new office in a week, moving forward.. not knowing – yet moving forward. I don’t do that well, which means I’m not doing well. Last year – today – I had a breast removed in an effort to keep cancer from spreading through me. That was the day I wondered if the cancer was taking me or moving on. I had to adjust to one on, one off. The crisis gone, why does life feel so off and so hard and so confusing? I don’t know. All I know is that I love to see my kids learn and grow. I love to work with clients, even when I’m not getting paid. I love my friends in WA, and my house. I love the mountains in Salt Lake, and the sunshine. I don’t love anything about Charleston because it’s too far from my kids… but if I was forced to, I’d learn to love life there as well. I love my guy, always curious about life  – despite his swings. And so I toss the stress back at God…. and move forward, not knowing.  Teetering forward, haltingly forward, hoping as I move along that God will direct these stressed out steps of not knowing.

Watching You

Holding onto giant warm hand with cold hand small, we walk, he and I, out the door into a hot summer morning, kind of slow we go, to little old Honda green. And make our way blue sky day to hospital waiting. Twenty-one years ago today. Crazy. Back then life was all about me and Adored Husband. Our educational goals. Me and my uncomfortable body, stretched beyond a beauty bump. He and his sunburned ears from too many hours on hot roof. Me and my sleep, he and his sleep. Me and my feelings about he and his feelings. We and our dreams for the future. You were part of those dreams, but they were still my dreams about me and Dad how you’d fit into them.

Then a morning passed, and an early afternoon, and here you were, as beautiful as they get. Tiny and all intact. And here I was, could not take eyes off you. Any little thing you might have ever wanted or needed was offered before you asked for it. Dad couldn’t take his eyes off you, either! We hardly slept, days on end – just sat in dark of night watching you sleep, watching you eat, watching you watch us. That’s about the time Dad starting saying “He have ourselves some 24 hour entertainment!” We were just ridicules over you. We couldn’t help it. The way you recognized Dad’s voice the first moment we spent with you, as he said some words to you, and you turned and looked right at him. How in the world had we been blessed with such a child?

Days and months went by. Every little eye sparkle, little soft sounds you made, we didn’t want to forget your baby ways. You could not roll or crawl yet, but I’d lay you on your side, and roll a soft blue ball to you, and no mistaking it.. you used your hand to roll the ball back to me. Three months you were, and rolling a ball back and forth to me on the soft blue carpet of the travel trailer floor where we lived. Oliver the cat made you chuckle deep in your chest, which made Dad and I howl with laughter. We’d always stop what we were doing when the cat came your way to listen to you do your hilarious gleeful chuckle at Oliver.

It was hard to hear you at night when you woke up and wanted fed because you were not a bawler. You made your request for whatever you wanted in a quiet way. Onetime Dad and I almost took you to the doctor because you cried for maybe 30 minutes, we had never heard you do that before. Later we realized we’d had you out and about too long, and you had just gotten over-exhausted.

When you were 9 months old, Sis was on her way. I was very nauseated. And now I was worried about having another baby. How could I possibly love the next baby like I had loved you? Shocking, but it was not a problem. When she arrived, I was sleepless and smitten all over again. A gorgeous beauty girl, taking our breath away, her own little person, and so strikingly lovely. More night and day watching, not wanting to miss a thing. You were an amazing big brother. It took years for you two to start scraping at each other. I think it was middle school. And by the time high school came along, you were back to what you had always been. A very supportive brother to your sister. Working for hours with her on tennis and encouraging her to hang out with you while you played golf, one hole after another, taking her into following you hole after hole, until you’d managed 18 holes on Lobo Ridge.

Baby All Mr. Business arrived, another beautiful baby we couldn’t keep our eyes off, – 10 years apart you boys are, and yet you were gracious about the age difference and from the time he was very young, found things the two of you could enjoy together. When you left for college, I thought All Mr. Business would adjust quicker than he has. We are going on three years, and he still cries at night sometimes, missing the brother who shared his room every night all his life, talking into the darkness they did, talking their boy talk, and now your bed is covered with an 11 year old’s stockpile of air-soft, cap, cross-bow, water, sling and other such weaponry, and no brother, and sometimes the sting of it makes for salty-wet tears pushed back with fist.

When Butterfly, yet another precious dolly for not missing one thing came along, you were 16. An awkward age for dealing with a baby sister at home, and though that be the case, the two of you could not be more alike. She is the female version of you. Always in trouble for being too happy, bouncing through her day, hardily annoying her careful brother working hard on some project, she hearing little of what in going on around her for the busy thoughts she is engaged in, flinging, skipping, bounding with her happy self around the world of five while he screeches at her to JUST STOPPPPP IT!!!! She hurts, I mean aches with sadness when we drive away from Montana goodbyes. The hysterical sobs of parting are just a fraction of how much she loves you and misses you being home to follow you everywhere, ride shoulders around Seattle on damp foggy Christmas night, chatter your ear off, share your time and “just a little taste” of your coffee.  She has Sis this summer, it was been a treasure as they have roomed together again as always, have told Alonna Grace stories, shared the closet space and laughter a few months.

This weekend we squished ourselves into the Prius, five of us, to come see you.  See your apartment, see you hike up a mountain.  Watch you show us how to hammock, watch you drive a golf ball to as far as can be driven, still sleepless for the sake of watching the wonder of our kids. Twenty-one years ago, life circled around my life and Dad’s life. Today after dinner we sneak out door, monopoly game in motion, we hope kids don’t notice:) Giant warm hand holds cold hand small and round the loop we walk, hashing and rehashing ways to transport selves from here to where you are.

Mom

 

 

Collectables

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OK, it’s lame, but I collected key chains when I was a kid. I really had no need for a key chain. I owned nothing worth locking up. But I did have a need to be all grown up, and for some reason had the idea that if one were to be anybody at all, one would have a collection of some sort. I noticed most everybody collected, and made a great big deal out of the collection by placing it on display. Spoons on a special wall mounted holder, dolls, music boxes, pine cones, tea cups, snow globes, caps, fossils, buttermilk cartons, even antique barb wire. So thinking I needed a collection myself, I set out to collect key chains. My most treasured key chain was from Hawaii. It was shaped like a flip flop, out of the same materiel, and blue:) Not sure who gave it to me, but I really treasured the thing. I must have showed it to a dozen people. As new keychains were added with the years, and as one ring then another rusted shut, I began to wonder what I’d do with 8 or 10 nearly unusable key chains – so decided to toss them.

I thought I’d outgrown collections. Then I married and set up house. The bug bit again. This time, a grown up version of the same. Tea Sets. Yesterday I was getting ready for a party and was pulling pieces out of my hutch. I got to thinking about collections – I’d started the tea set collection but at set number two realized I did not wish to have dozens of pots and cups and sugar bowls that all provided the same service. I instead decided to collect beautiful people, and treasures that reminded me of them. As I looked at the contents of the hutch, it struck me I’d done just what I set out to do.

There, handsome as ever were and Mr. and Mrs. Spring Chick in top hat and tails for him and all loveliness for her. Tiny painted ceramics that a friend hand made to set atop tower of goodies for our wedding reception almost 24 years ago. I collected Cheri when we were children. Our parents met before they were married, college days. Somehow our lives weaved in and out, some years loosing touch, other years living in the same community. She and I were college girls in the same town at the same time, hanging out, talking wee hours into the night about who knows what. Years later, each in different parts of the country, we found a way into each others lives again. Now a week doesn’t feel like a week if we haven’t, over the phone, prayed together, had a good laugh, shared something raw, or real or creative. I view Cheri as my educated friend and my friend of the arts. When she is not painting or writing, she is forever reading on a topic new to me. I love to hunt for new ways of understanding life and people, and so back and forth we share what we learn, and challenge each other toward the practice of stretching old ways of doing and thinking, emotional and spiritual palates sisters, I think:)

Just beyond Spring Chicks sit some lovely peach glass. The way light refracts on the cuts, a gleam that warms me, is like the beautiful lady who gave the set to me. I collected Naomi one summer when I was 18 and she probably in her late forties. She was a pastors wife, mother of four, her oldest already finished with high school, her youngest three or four. She lived across the street from where I was staying. That summer I spent on Long Island with my cousins Cindy and Charlie who had to catch the train to work each day. On long hot afternoons Naomi would come by, little shadow just beyond her Momma, asking if I’d like to go walking. I’m not sure what an 18 year old and 40 something Mom of four could find to talk about, but in any case we become adored friends. Age and life season mattered not a scrap with us.  Naomi had family on the west coast, so when I hugged her goodbye before heading out for the bus station home, she told me she’d stay in touch. And she did. Many times I’d get the call Naomi was on her way out for family time and hoped we could meet. Each visit, we’d find a few minutes to take a walk. Our talks were just as before. No time was wasted to pretense. When her teenagers were struggling, her husband was moved to yet another church, her Dad in the process of dying, yet still so hard on her mother. Naomi worked to see the good side of people while telling the truth about her situation. She embodied what it meant to experience and tell the truth of life, at the same time make good choices about her feelings. Hurting, loving, forgiving and good to the bone. She listened through my ramblings. What would I planned to take in school, how much I hurt from this, or was ecstatic about that. She and I shared honestly and loved deeply. One day another call. Naomi and her husband had been traveling home a late night from a wedding. It had been raining. Beyond the details – she died along the road. Though Naomi is gone, she is still in my collection. Collectable friends I keep forever.

Blue and white china spreads across a better part of the hutch. A 14 piece set I happened upon at a church rummage sale years ago. Bought it from a sad woman who had just been divorced. The china was a wedding gift from her ex. He didn’t want her anymore, he wanted somebody new – so the dishes had to go. Heavy in my hand, and beneath sheen are drawings of home spun belonging. Beautiful blue on white homes and farms blur between faces, one then another and another I have known – each discarded for someone new. Years, sometimes 20 or more, tossed aside for the rush. Old love is so much work. Who wants it? The chase, the catch, the passion. A drug induced high – not a sketch of house for two, snow covered roof, edges rough, colors fading and oh so random the way real love looks.

Relationships deep and lasting require self honesty, vulnerability with the other – drudging side by side through the slights, disrespect, the hurts and selfishness. Through the wounds of you and the scars of me, hurting the other sometimes with no intention. Working, working still more. The humbling task of counseling, wearing thin tired prayer knees, whatever it takes for trust to form again into comfortable, longing love. No shame for the soul whose spouse has decided to go. Who can stop an intoxicated fix when laziness for the care of the other as been expanding for decades.

Blue and white memories of dinners around table, savory steam from bubbling gravy, warm rolls, salad tossed, little eyes looking on. Will dinner tonight find Dad loving Mom? Mom smirking at Dad? Cold as ice this time, will it be? Might we breathe easy, eat hardily and laugh? Or will food lodge – hard to swallow and hurt? Blue and White Currier and Ives reminds me there are aching little hearts at stake.

I collected a Man I want to keep. A man I want to get to know for the new man he is today. I don’t know today’s husband. But I want to. I want to fall in love with him all over again. Who needs a chase. Everyday’s a mystery when marriage comes to us in this way. Forever love calms and paints all things blue and white when ground under feet shifts about – shoving aside what we have known. Love hunts for all things salvageable related to he and me. I sweat to work on growth for me as powerfully as I want he and me to be whole and sound. To work and work and work is my gift to the man I collected 24 years ago, and my gift to our love children. The passing of time we’ve taken on together. Giant warm hand still holding cold hand half it’s size. This simple treasure worth far more than a momentary fix. I like blue and white hoarding space in my hutch the way love sprawls out beyond ourselves.

One piece of crystal sits in my hutch. The candy dish was a wedding gift from a friend who never made it. I collected Lavon much the way I’d collected Cheri…. Mom and Dad had known her and her ex before college… lifelong friends. She was Mom and Dad’s age. Her son, I really adored. Auto accident and he was gone when he was 16 and I just 8. Lavon survived but marred by the passing of her son.  She had firm opinions on the best and proper way for everything. When Adored Fiancee and I wanted to have an early morning wedding in a field of wildflowers, she was the one who told us we’d have to have an afternoon wedding in a church. I listened to her. She was only days away from meeting Jesus, cancer had helped itself to her and was gaining. Not the warm and fuzzy kind of friend, but a loyal one, and always welcoming. She had been through more than most people I know, and had managed to know her dignity, and the dignity of others. She taught me to hold my head high, or to try anyhow, no matter what. She’s another piece of my collection I’m storing where moth and rust can not decay.

Made in the Czech Republic, the white on white tea set to me is the prettiest I’ve ever seen. Aunt Ruth sent me money as a birthday gift one year to “buy something for you this time, not the kids”. I had hunted for months for just the right tea set, driving up and down the corridor, seeing many lovely sets but nothing I couldn’t live without. One day during a lunch break, peering through the hospital gift shop window, needing a distraction to get my mind off the sordid horrors of what was waiting for me in the ER, I was overtaken by tea set white, grand in every way, and all this time just down the hall and up the escalator, perched in window and waiting for me to take home.

Aunt Ruth was thoughtful. I stop and scoop mail out of box at end of day, sight of hand written address moves about in my chest – though she’s been gone a long time now, still the first thought is that it’s from her. She was one who kept in touch, by letter, gift, phone call, even email. Aunt Ruth is one of my collection I miss as much now as I did when she first passed, and it’s been many years. It’s one thing to be a little girl and have a thoughtful Aunt stay in touch. It’s quite another to have that aunt become a confidant and friend, one woman to another. She had the best kind of humor. Working the dailiness of life into hilarity. As ways of communicating changed, she changed with them. Back and forth we’d email simple nothings of our day, dull details flavored with a random witty crack to warm up grind of life. It seems so fitting that the most elegant of all china in my hutch came from her. The kind of elegance I admire. Solid and simple, yet grand. That was Aunt Ruth.

The other tea set I have is a beauty. It’s all flowers and butterflies. The colors eclectic, patterns mixing and matching each other. Such a bubbly set. It was given me one Christmas by my sister Becky. She’s the gift giving sister in the family. If I had decided to collect 20 tea sets, she would have made sure to help me in the endeavor. Christmas boxes mailed from across the country, filled with thoughtful gifts for the family. Any time I go for a visit, she sends me away with clothes and quilt makings, books and candles. I remember, chin in hands, elbows hard into brown shag carpet, resting there as I watched her at work turning yarn into hats for everyone she decided needed one that childhood winter. Butterflies on cup and pot reminds me of the way my sister sees things. She tells me often things are meant to be used, not hidden away for preservation. She also is forever reminding me to slow down and just take life in. Now I’m not sure she manages slow down herself very well, as her nickname as a kid was “Road Runner”, so I can take the advise from her as one who understands having a million interesting projects and friends and thoughts and not enough time to take them all in, rather than from a naturally routine-ish plodder who hasn’t a clue. Butterflies on cup, one of many reminders of my impressive collection of beautiful people. Salt and Pepper Shaker hunted down at a thrift store by All Mr. Business. White crochet bowls by one of the neighbors tuned treasured friend. A set of yellow painted birds from a precious friend I collected in the nursery at church long ago.  Hand carved Russian stack dolls from a college room mate turned sister (and auntie to our children).  Tiny spoon plate made for me by my College Girl. My hutch holds a fraction of the hundreds, maybe thousands of reminders of love from the beautiful people I’ve collected over my lifetime. Pictures hand drawn by all of my children, quilted wall hangings, homemade dresses for my daughters, gift books, silverware, house and dinning table made by Adored Husband, letters, recipes, poems, songs, towels, plants, and endless hours of listening and care that have been given me by the beautiful people in my life. Come to think of it, I do like collecting after all.

 

Amelia

Charred Noodles with Cheese

I Kiss Better THAN I COOK

I’m jarred into the moment with a shrillness of a blaring fire alarm.  Holding my ears, I rush through the kitchen, switch the burner off, grab billowing pan off stove, rush toward the back door to the deck.  This is not a rare event.  It’s at least a weekly one.  I can’t say I hate cooking.  I just like to cook occasionally.  I won’t say I’m a pyromaniac, no that’s not it.  I’d rather say I love to learn and think and write, and kids and husbands have to eat so often.  If I’m ever to think deeply, put something down in writing, struggle over an idea, it will get in the way of cooking.  So when I found this sign, I decided to proudly post the truth:)  The sign is me, not only because I can be forgetful about meals themselves, but because I’m lacking nothing in the way of hugs and kisses to whatever kid or husband will take them!  For the record, our fridge is always stocked with pre-made salad I put together, a pot of chili, home made bread (that’s Adored Husbands nightly ritual), nut and crasin packs, pre-boiled eggs, often a pot of soup.  The freezer almost always has pre-made smoothies, corn dogs… you get the idea.  It’s not that the family goes hungry.  It’s just that spending 10 hours a day in the kitchen gets on my nerves.

There are ideas that float around Christian Circles  -opinions sent through the “A Goldy Christian Woman would …” grid.  Ideas that sometimes stand my hair on end, because they are ideas, not God Speak, and dump a whole lot of guilt on people for no good reason.  Ideas such as a Godly Women will set aside who she for what the family needs “for a season”  until kids leave the home, because time flies by.  That particular idea is partially true for families who have 2 children, two years apart.  However the idea lacks any validity at all for families who have many children, or families whose children are spaced out! – And anyone who knows are kids will agree we have spaced out kids:)… (OK, the acorn doesn’t fall far from the trees – plural.)  We had our first (College Boy) when I was 26.  I will be 60 when Butterfly heads off to college.  Thirty-four years to be exact.  That’s not a season, it’s one year short of 3 and a half decades – and during my prime.  I don’t ever think it’s Godly to be selfish and so centered on what I enjoy that I ignore or neglect my kids and husband, however there is a fine line between caring for my family and loosing myself.  If I don’t at times write, sing, climb a mountain, think a deep thought and express it, take a photo, write some more, I’m just a walking shell – a robot Mother, not myself.  I’ve tried putting me on hold for years at a time, wondering why I’d eat for pleasure rather than fuel, struggle with a sense of meaninglessness, and experience frustration at the feeling of being a failure when it comes to being a mother.   To be honest, I have never been able to come close to competing when it comes to birthday party events, volunteering at school, even keeping the house straight with the world all day every day.  Age has given me the gift of easy does it…,  it’s becoming clear that Mom’s come in all forms – even somewhat intellectual and bookish at times.  Some Moms thrive on casseroles and wrapping gifts perfectly.  Some can make casseroles and wrap gifts, but the tasks drain them rather than give them a sense of accomplishment.  Just as some Dads will coach their kids sports, others may teach their child how to trade stock, how to pull an engine or how to think about Western Civilization.  People are unique… that’s Mothers, too.  When I embrace who I am, my children start to embrace who they are, their sense of value further develops, they become better servants, care for others on a deeper level by the development of their own esteem.  Okay, I shouldn’t be burning up dinner once a week.  This is true.  The important thing is that no matter what has me deep in thought, I’ll not run out of hugs and kisses – well, not permanently, anyway:)  My family might survive on peanut butter and jelly a long time, but wouldn’t last long without love.

Amelia

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)

                                                                    Amelia