Thursday, December 22, 2011

Midnight Middle Mamas

It’s late and you turn in to a cold bed and fresh magazines.

You wonder why on earth you read more ways to burn fat when the fat you have has gone into hibernation for the long Winter.

And just when you had everything chronicled in your veggie tray in your fridge to plan to shed more pounds by adapting the new improved meals in the magazine you hear it.

“Mom? You come lay with me and talk wiff me?”

And you wonder how on earth a two year old can understand the verse in Judges 8:4 that reads, “FAINT YET PURSUING.”

And you are tired and angry that you snuck a bite or two or three hundred of chocolate cake and something about their sweet asking makes you want to give THEM all the cake their little belly can hold.

So before you can clip another recipe there they are, between you and Dad and try as you might, they want YOU in the middle and not them.

You ask them to shut the door so the light doesn’t shine on your face. They do and then two beady eyes are searching and asking please for the door so they can “see you.”

And on cue the wind catches the door and cracks it and two eyes smile like you had something to do with it opening and lie there satisfied.

For the time being.

One hand under your vanishing pillow is now asleep and so is Daddy and you get excited that you found a good place for your feet that are at this present time touching nobody. One small perk of this squishy situation.

And one snores softly and one whispers to themselves and you smile as you find that you are once again in the middle.

Men’s cologne greets you on the left and Johnsons and Johnsons on the right.

Life is so much about the middle.

You live day in and day out eating middles of sandwiches abandoned, you are in the middle of arguments, settling, praying. You even have the middle of the couch during devotions so the other kids can dangle some part of them off the arms while listening to Dad read.

There are middles of messes to clean when the culprit is hiding somewhere, middles of checkbooks when some has come and some has gone and middles of menus when you thought you had two more cans of tomato soup in the pantry for Wednesday night’s dinner.

And though we fight for the ends, somehow we always gravitate back to the middle.

And as I lie there listening to one steady heartbeat and one fast I think that the middle is not such a bad place to be.

Sure your nightgown will always be twisted and you’ll know to be on guard for feet sliding up, up and up to your face, and you’ll master the art of brushing baby hair off of your cheek with one finger,

But the middle is a good place.

It’s a good place to think and recharge and be thankful for being smothered by ones who love and need you to be, well , in the middle.

And the wind howls and Daddy coughs and the little asks what that was and you tell them it was Daddy and they proceed to touch your neck just to make sure you haven’t moved too far away.

You smile.

As if there was somewhere to move to.

And the chubby fingers move to your cheek for a squeeze and a pat and then to your closed eyelid for a poke or two, or three or four,

And then you move their hand off of your face to their side and shush them again.

And it’s the middle of the night and you slip out of two sleeping beauties to sneak downstairs with a pillow in hand.

It is cold and yours and that makes you happy.

You put another log on the fire and make a cocoon on the couch to blog for a few

About being in the middle.

And as the keys start to fly you hear it

The patter of feet down the stairs

And you walk upstairs to be the middle Mama again.

Which isn’t such a bad place to be

After all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

7 adorable reasons to be jolly this year.....

Our little one spending this Christmas in Heaven...
Anna Lee
And Alayna

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The show must go on........

At a craft show..

My ONLY craft show of the year.

Displaying Chai Tea and Pumpkin Butter and enjoying my sweet husband as he tells passerbys that it is "Deee-licious" and that we eat a gallon of it at home.

Love that man.

And I sit and knit scrubbies and he leaves and I begin to unwrap the life of the woman next to me. She knits a rug while I knit green toole and try not to eat all the key lime hard tack that Joel bought me with his own 5o cents.

Love that man.

And she is sweet and her curls brush her face with a comfortable style. Not too prim, not too lax, just right for conversation that flows and we giggle over needles and things we love to do and how crafting has kept us from snacking at night.

I don't stay surface long.

I always go deep, fast.

Sometimes too fast. :-)

And before I know it I am telling her how much I love prunes and "The Nativity Story" movie.

See what I mean? :-)

And vendors are making hats while I make a scrubbie, yet they think my mound of toile is more impressive and I laugh inside that they are amazing and I am just single crocheting but do you think I will let them know that???? They are making hats for Pete's sake........ I nod to them as they look on in wonder and half yawn out of pretend exhaustion.......

And I watch people come by and worry that I will NOT be able to give them correct change, and why on earth did Joel leave and why didn't I think to bring the calculator instead of the heap of prunes, and I await the kids and darling husband to rush in and make me look like Mother of the year to these folks.

And they DO rush in, all smiles, coats flying every which way and squeals of delight emminate as each child in order of age figures out that the gracious Lord has positioned Mom's table RIGHT NEXT to the two sweet ladies who make the chocolate treats.

That are not only close but in easily accessible bins and apparently screaming to the kids, only it's like the dog whistle kinda thing and only they can hear it and it will not stop.

Isaac slips behind the table and morphs into the slickest salesman you have ever seen. He must have inherited that from his Father.

He grabs a neck wrap and while he is OOOing and Ahhhing to the lady walking past, he motions to me to go and enjoy looking around. "I got this." he boasts with a wide cheshire grin.

And "got it" he did. He is changing money before I can even figure out how many chocolate pops Alayna has run off with.

The kids scatter like gumballs on a hard floor, mingling, munging (a Grandpa Poor word for touching without permission.....) and manhandling snowmen and wooden toys.

I begin the round-up and before I do I hang up my newly aquired "Mom of the Year" sash on an elementary folding chair.

One of the vendors, a sweet Christian lady makes me an offer while Anna is munging in her direction.... "If you want I will exchange you snowmen for Pumpkin Butter." Hmmmmmm a match made in heaven! So I came home with three adorable large bulky cheery snowman, plus three minis for the girls and one lady will be eating a lot of butter this Winter.

Probably won't get that offer again. Or at least until she finishes eating it all.....

And I am glad she is a Christian because it takes some serious fruit of the Spirit to have patience with Alayna who EXCHANGES her snowman for a NEW SNOWMAN every few minutes from the lady's pile.

After she has slobbered on them kissing them to death.

And the day goes on, and I meet people who tell me their stories, and a local couple we have met come to our table and one of them in talking to me laughs a " showing her teeth smile" and I haven't gotten her to budge in over a year, and I am feeling kinda pert about that and amazed how many people love Pumpkin Butter.

And it is all in a days work.

And I pack my things with a lot less butter in boxes.

And a lot more chocolate in bellies, and hard tack, and no prunes.

And we file out in a clump loud and strong, and laugh our way to the van,

And await next year.

And I am not sure if a craft show is supposed to be such an experience because this is all I know.

All I know is my loud, mischevious family full of chocolate grins, slobbery snowmen and best selling boys.

And I am tired and happy and Hubby offers to take me out to dinner and goes to hug me and I stop him with a grimace and a "I am sweaty from trying to figure out change!" and he laughs, and laughs, and laughs and just keeps on laughing........

And I laugh too.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Missing It.....

Come spend time with me, a little voice said to me.

And I WANTED to.

It had been a while since we spent time just us, together.

But the day was just beginning and I was busy.

Yet I thought and thought and thought about that voice.

I said to myself, “Well he knows my heart.”

And yet I still thought and thought and felt just awful.

How could I just turn away from him?

The sun was bright on my face and it would have been the perfect time,

If it were not for ME complaining that it was not the right time for ME.

And then I thought, what if he stops asking?

What if he grows tired of me putting him off with a thousand “laters?”

Or “tomorrow, I promise,” or “how about we talk while I do the dishes or fold laundry?”

After all something is better than nothing, I reasoned, though I would never accept that kind of “quality time” from Joel in place of us being alone and spending time together.

But I would accept that with him.

Should I have told him I loved him when he asked me to spend time with him?

Would he have believed me by my actions and not just my words?


And I knew I had blown it, like eating brownies after the kids have gone to bed, blown it.


Because my flesh is weak. It has been allowed to feast without restraint. It is lazy and hence I am lazy.

And another little voice, this one different comes now and sweetly asks me if she can have breakfast.

Now, instead of getting out of bed when I was sweetly asked by my Lord, who wanted to spend the quiet of the day with just me alone, I roll out to feed my littles.

And I will feed them, but how much more could I feed them of that food that will last after yet another bowl of oatmeal has gone.


And I pour oatmeal and sigh, and begin another day, knowing I had missed out on something sweet.

Because I was lazy.

And I am not saying that if you miss your appointment with the Lord in the wee hours of the morning you are sinning.

I AM saying that when He calls and you put him off, you are missing it.

Missing what is really important.

More important than your sewing project, your one hour of good morning sleep, your book, or and early dinner.

I know that the Lord is grieved when we do not spend time with him, just you and him.

He IS jealous over us with a godly jealousy.

And I think of Joel eating out with his friends and how long it has been since we have gone anywhere alone.

Just us enjoying being together.

I miss him.

Do I miss the Lord?

Do I treat him like a friend who left us a message wanting to “catch up” and we put off that phone call, not because we do not like the friend, but there is JUST SO MUCH to do and SO MUCH catching up to do.

It is easier to just try to see if it will magically go away?


And I wash oatmeal bowls, and I make shopping lists,

And I am sorry.

And I say, “Lord, I am yours. I am your servant. You bought me. YOU lifted my feet out of the miry clay. YOU know my dowsitting my uprising, and you alone understand my thought afar off. Meet again with me today. I love you. I love you more than anything and more than anyone.”

And the sun hits my Bible just so on the chair in the living room and I know I need to get some of that “living water” and pile some littles on my lap….

Do you have a date with God friends?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Grape jam hilariousness....

I am a fan of jam.

Always have been, always have been.

Jam and bread of some kind or fashion deserve each other.

Like Barak and Michele……only in a good way.

Nothing says, “Hello Day,” like toast with jam and tea.

I know, I’m not even English.

And I like jam so much that I have come to cringe and such expressions as, “Boy I am really in a jam,” and it is “Jam packed.”

However being in jam does sound lovely and sometimes you would think that my two year old swam in it after our ritual lunch of pbj.

And my jam jars are pretty packed so as to not waste jam or space for that matter.

I have not been offended by the phrase, “You got yourself in a real pickle,” YET, though the more I enjoy the bread and butter ones we canned a few months ago, I am getting a little unfond of it.

And red squiggle I personally think that “unfond” should be a word.

Yeah, it’s been a while since I have gotten out of the house, but stick with me and you’ll get a good laugh somewhere in here I promise!

So with all these things in mind, we fast forward to family devotions.

Good times.

The kids gathered round Joel and I, Joel going through the Old Testament, reading names like, “Dodo” and “Puah . “

Uh, yeah that’s in there….. go see for yourself.

And I am supposed to listen with the clan and NOT laugh.


So….. on we go through Judges and we land on Sampson tonight.

And just as my tired mind was beginning to wander off to my shopping list…… hey at least I am truthful!

My ear caught something about the regulations put before Sampson’s Mom and Dad.

Apparently at our house Sampson was not to eat any fruit of the vine.

And that might possibly be the way the story goes at YOUR house with YOUR kids, but wait! There’s more….

Dear husband who worked an 11 hour shift is getting weary and as he describes to the wee ones what the “fruit of the vine” entails he slips something in there that erupted spontaneous internal laughs from someone who will remain anonymous who just may be typing this….

He said, “The fruit of the vine was grape juice, wine and…… grape jelly.”

Ok even now I just die laughing………..

My eyebrows raised, my dimples shone and the giggles were as stifled as they can possibly be.


Poor Sampson.

Whatever did his Mom pack in his school lunches anyhow???

No wonder he rebelled and gave away his secrets…… I mean a man can only go so long with out a crustless pbj with crunchy peanut butter and grape jelly.

And the even funnier thing is that the kids actually looked like they felt sorry for him, as if he had to abide by rules that they themselves could never follow…. LOL

And I will say that the grape jelly touch added such twenty first century-ness to the Old Testament.

And we prayed and brushed teeth and sent the troops to bed and I turned to sweet exhausted hubby and smiled,

“Grape jelly, huh?”

And he gave me the, don’t even go there smile and we all turned in for the night.

But you can be sure that Hubby’s lunch will NOT contain something tomorrow.

Yep. Grape jelly.

Instead there will be a note telling him that today we will abide by Sampson’s nazarite vow.

Today there will be no grape jelly, no grape juice and certainly no grape wine.

Today there will be strawberry jam.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Buttered Noodles and Barely Friends

Buttered noodles late into the night here in Humphrey.

And there is just something about butter.

And noodles.

Butter loosens everything up and makes it so much more appetizing.

I am sure you have heard the analogy about a woman’s brain being like a plate of noodles?

Or one looooong noodle actually.

One long noodle beginning at birth and carrying all the happiness and worries and blessings and scars from life as we have lived it, weaving everything into present day so you can be making buttered noodles at 10 on a Monday night and be able to still recall moments from your childhood before the butter melts.

Amazing really.

Though we try, we do not categorize things. We just meld everything together into our noodle of living.

Good and bad sit together on our plate of heaping pasta called our memory.

Recently I read someone’s blog who quite poetically spoke about not closing the door to friendship.

We have all been there.

Time and distance or past hurt have separated you for some reason or another and you are a hair’s breadth away from not only closing the door, but duck tapping and pad locking it shut.

For keeps.

Some friendships surprise you.

The door grows cobwebs, the hinges are just about rusted through and you have given up hope. You don’t say much about it or do much about it, you kindov ease away from it and prepare to forget it.

And then it happens. Just a note in passing, just four words, just a lifetime of memories and good times that come flooding back in moments buttering everything and loosening up what was tight and awkward.

“Just thinkin’ about you.”

And a sweet breeze catches the cobwebs and wide the door to your friendship swings and your heart soars with new hope.

I have been the one to send the note, and I have been the one to receive it.

I have been blessed to push the door open and blessed when it swings of its own accord.

Where are you with a friend?

Tonight I was a recipient of one of those notes. Unexpected.

From my sister.

I am the third in a string of girls. One smart, one distant and one loud.

I will leave you to choose which one I was and still am.

And it seemed like we were always our own forces, my sister and I.

Never headed in the same direction, never meeting in the middle, never understanding the other or what was happening in their life.

So we ran silent.

My heart begged for her acceptance. Years passed and many tears and pleas and “why don’t you like me’s” finally turned into, “have it your way.”

And I could have cared less about the door to our friendship.

It was in the cellar of an old house and an old life.

I was grown up now and needed to find my own way without her.

And more years would go by and I would find myself remembering her birthday and her favorite candy and wanted to reach out but almost forgot how.

Perhaps the past just bled too far into the future to try to remedy things. Let the sleeping dog lie.

Yet I always still wanted her to love me.

I wanted her to like who I had become.

Still more years would pass before I would even try to find the doorknob.

And then I became so brokenhearted. I remembered that our years are so fleeting, so brief, soon gone. I didn’t want something to happen to her or I and she not know that deep down, though hidden, I loved her.

I liked her.

So I would tell her here and there.

Family gatherings and such.

I stared sitting closer, listening more and talking less, until one day before she was to go in for surgery, I went to see her just to pray over her. Pray with her, face to face.

And I left her and wept on the long drive home.

Because I love her.

Because I missed her.

Because she is my sister, my own flesh and blood friend and no matter where a door is hidden it can never be removed. Though closed there will always be a crack of light reminding me that it is still there if I would take the time to open it.

And then tonight, unexpected, swinging the door open for me to see was a note.

She loves me.

And it fell on me like water to a thirsty soul.

And it filled cracks that I forgot that I had.

And I wrote her back…..

Telling her that I love her too.

There is little as sweet as renewing an old friendship.

Find a door.

Send a note.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Christmas in October?

It is late. Very late here in Humphrey.

And sweet husband and littles are sleeping unaware of the many thoughts keeping me up at such and hour of the night….. er morning.

Tonight I decided to wind down by watching a movie. I am not even sure how we acquired it to tell you the truth, but it was brought in from the garage and I thought I’d dust the jacket off and give it a whirl while I wound down tonight.

It was “The Nativity Story”

I flipped through the opening credits with my usual, “trying to recreate Bible stories” cynicism and thought I would stick in out a half hour and then turn it off.

It seems lately I am pleasantly surprised.

Now if you know me I love history and especially delight in getting a peek into life, home life of any era far removed from my own and if you REALLY know me, than you know that I would scrap my Kitchen Aid and front loader for a mortar and pestle and threshing my own wheat.

I know, but that is me.

I guess I am a purest???

I digress….

When not caught up in the goat’s milk cheese making and olive harvesting, I began to await the moment when the angel appeared to Mary.

I figured that it would go right along with the cheese making….


And to my amazement the angel had short hair and wasn’t strung up by tight rope wire.

And from that moment on I was hooked into the story.

And silly as it was, I secretly wanted Mary to stay with her Cousin Elizabeth.

I knew that it would be hard for Mary, no one would understand and Joseph…. Whew what would he say and worse yet, what kind of a look would her parents give her?????

And crazy as it is, and knowing the end of the story as I do, I still felt this way and squirmed in my bed watching it unfold.

And then it hits me.


MARY. A woman chosen by God and practically forgotten by us.

And by “us” I mean, “anyone not professing themselves to be Catholic.”

And in leaning so far away from worshiping her, we have plum forgotten her and all that she endured to bring to pass God’s greatest gift to man.

And I felt sorry for her.

I felt sorry that I had forgotten.

And then the tears began to fall with each taunting look or mention of the law and what it required for such a woman in such a position.

And in my forgetfulness of the story I watch and in my mind beg God to somehow spare her.

And Joseph receives confirmation and my heart can begin beating again.

I roll over forgetting the late hour and losing myself in this incredible journey.

The look in his eyes for a woman not even touched by him just melts me.

And they journey over 100 miles in her last stages of expectancy.

And I am on the edge of my bed and my one arm keeps falling asleep and I keep getting closer and closer to the computer screen half afraid I will miss something and half not wanting to wake my sweet husband oblivious to my late hour supposed “winding down.”

I see the Magi meet with Harrod…… my stomach knots. HE WILL GET HIM. He will get Jesus, I just know it. Why on earth did they give him such information, I fume!

And Jesus is born and shepherds hear a message and come and see him and I just want them all to leave her alone so I can just stare at this scene for a while.

And there it is. The Christmas card scene in full splendor.

Wasn’t it just today (now YESTERDAY) that I was looking at prospective Christmas card ideas? Liking some and wanting to get a move on so as to send them out EARLY this year and shock everyone? Wasn’t I just bemoaning the fact that the really nice ones just cost so much and we have too many friends and not enough stamps and I will just have to save for better ones at a later time?

And there it was right in front of me, and I felt shameful that I tried to put a price tag on God becoming flesh for all mankind.

(and yes I wrote that fast but then stopped and read it again still unable to wrap my little brain around that…)

And there are no crazy renditions of “Mary did you know?” thankfully.

There are just shepherds and magi and all of them looking at this baby like I am and the lot of us are all tearing up.

And my heart is caught in my throat and I knew I should have left the box of Kleenex upstairs and I wipe my nose on my sleeve like I do when something really moves me and I loose all sense of lady-like-ness.

And almost to my shock, the Magi decided not to tell Harrod, and the angel moves Joseph to move his family away and all is well.

And it ends and I am half relieved and half wanting a movie for everyday of Christ’s life to just watch and glean from .

And it hits me that I have 6 sleeping littles that need to hear this story.

Not the Christmas story book, not a cute poem from their English books, and not from someone else’s Christmas card who was too cheap to buy the good ones and send them to us.

They need to hear it, in their hearts, feel it, grab onto it and never let it go.

That God left heaven for them and became flesh for them and died for them and ever lives to intercede for them.

They need to weep and see how hard it was for Mary and how Joseph trusted and how God protected and how wise men believed and were moved and how shepherds rejoiced….

Because someone had come to save them.

Because someone has come to save my littles.

And I cannot hardly wait on the sunrise to meet them and tell them, and cry and hug them and give them the same, “it is almost like He JUST came” feeling that I have right now at two in the morning, under the stars on the couch.

It is more than a story.

It is our story.

It’s personal.

And it breathes hope into my weary soul on a Saturday morning in October.

Good morning friends.