Saturday, December 30, 2006

To Catch A Chicken

I made my way through the front room of our house to the kitchen when suddenly I heard a rustling outside the room window.
Wind? I wondered. It has been a very windy and rainy month, but through today it was calm.
I glanced to the window and looked at what could have been causing that racket.
"Bang! Bang! Bang! Screeeeech!"
A bird! It was huge. I saw a blur of it fall below the window sill.
As I looked for a flashlight, Glory made her way to the window, as did our kids.
"It's a chicken!" she said loudly.
A chicken? What in the world..?
Our neighborhood is known for the presence of eagles or hawks, not chickens. This was something I had to see.
I went outside, and sure enough, the reddish-brown chicken was flapping away, tangled in our rhododendron bush by our window. Gently, I reached down for the poor bird, talking in soothing tones as I did. It fluttered away from me, going deeper into the bush.
Glory came out with a flashlight and gloves.
Glory grew up on a farm where she was in charge of the chicken chores. Surely she'd know what to do, I thought. I asked her for her expert opinion.
"Do I grab him by the legs or what?"
"Yeah, you can, but you have to be careful," she replied.
Glory handed me the gloves so as to not get my hands scratched. She manned the flashlight. Cautiously, I pulled away the branches and revealed the quiet cluck, probably scared to death.
As I grabbed it around its body, the chicken seemed to wail or scream, calling for help from anything within a mile...or two.
I pulled the frightened beast close to me and stroked its little head, telling him/her it was going to be OK. The chicken calmed down.
Then we promptly took him inside.
We were hungry.
No, no, we looked around and figured it was one of our neighbor's chickens we have seen in their yard. Glory and I took the bird to the neighbor and knocked on the door. After the customary greeting, I got down to business.
"Is this your chicken?" I asked.
He seemed befuddled, dumbfounded or something. He stammered out a yes, and asked where we found him. We told Jarod the harrowing story. We all had a little chuckle. Gingerly, Jarod took his chicken to the garage. We shook hands and bid each other goodnight.
Glory and I congratulated ourselves for saving the bird, and we thanked God that we could help that chicken.
For some reason, I felt like crying.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Reflecting and waiting

It will be a quiet Christmas at the Haven.

That's fine by us.

There will be the kids with their gifts. Holiday treats will abound. We'll watch a few movies, probably over and over and over again.

And we'll likely think about this year that has passed. And what a year it has been, filled with sadness, excitement and adventure: my grandfather died in January; our brother-in-law passed away in the winter; Glory, our little boy and I too a trip to Texas in April; and we enjoyed an eventful excursion to the wind-swept canola fields of Saskatchewan that ended in the Cascades spectacularly 60 miles from home when our van lost its transmission. Yes, we've had our share of memories.

Now we're in a hold pattern.

It seems that the watchword for the fall has been "wait." And wait we have: waiting for our house to sell, now going on three months; waiting too see if I still had a job while the powers that be crunched the numbers to determine if it could afford me; waiting for changes in our church family.

And now waiting for our littlest addition to arrive in the spring.

We've been given closure on some issues but we're still waiting for answers on others. I still have my job, which is good for everyone. Our church is holding service in a hotel conference room, but that's been good for many reasons. Our house hasn't sold despite being shown nearly two dozen times, but that, too, has been good because it forces us to keep the house clean and appreciate that we even have a place to call home. And when the baby comes, he will have a warm place to nestle with his mother.

With waiting comes expectations, and we're expecting great things to come in 2007. We have our plans and dreams, but, powerless at this point to bring them to pass, we're just waiting and praying, wanting to be on the same page with the One who ultimately determines whether we can indeed have them.

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'"
-- James 4:15.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mr. Trash's Christmas

From the day that we moved into our house our little girl has been intrigued by the Waste Management trucks. She loves to stand by our window or sit on the front step waiting to see how they collect our garbage and take it away. Week after week she would do this. She had her second birthday, then her third, but almost without fail she would watch this scene unfold every Tuesday.

The guy who picks it all up has pretty much been the same guy. He noticed our shy little waif, usually still clad in pyjammas, and started waving at her. She would run away from the window or just stand there with her fingertips tucked between her lips. It would be a bold step, then, when one day she raised her little hand up just slightly and attempted a wave back. This brought a beaming smile from "Mr. Trash" as he had come to be called. Not long after, she would smile back as she waved a little more confidently each time.

She knew the sound of the trucks, she knew when a substitute driver was there, and she would be upset if she missed it altogether from sleeping in or just not being near enough to the window.

So, today, she had a very special job that she knew was hers alone to do. Bill had picked up a gift card from Starbucks, and I tucked some candy canes and chocolates into a little sack, then attached a card and a bow. Our little elf got dressed and stood with her hand ready to open the door at any time. She heard the truck, she walked up to Mr. Trash as bravely as I've ever seen her, and handed him his little gift. He said something sweet to her, then he was gone.

And this mommy has never been prouder.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Happy Birthday

It has come to my attention that there is a birthday girl in our midst.

I have been priviledged to know Trinka since August 2003. We have been at MeetChristians longer than we have been blogging, which is a long time.

This fine lady is a woman of excellence in all areas of her life. Reading her blog is challenging and motivating every time. I love her insight and wisdom and hope to know her for a long time to come.

Have a fabulous birthday, Trinka, and God's blessings for another year!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Names -- Where the behinds are

Our precocious three-year-old wanted to play Barbies and stuffies with me yesterday. With the weather here of late, I have had more time than usual on my hands to get into our children's world. That's been fun. And Educational.

She was playing with her large plastic white stallion. I had the pink "My Little Pony" pony. As the little pony, I asked the stallion's name.

"He doesn't have a name," our girl said.

"How come," I asked.

"Because he doesn't have a name on his bum," she replied.

I paused.


"He doesn't have a name on his bum," she said again, matter of factly.

She showed me. True enough, there are characters printed right on the underside of each toy. Barbie has a name. So does the My Little Pony. A little, ugly lizard we found on the street last year has a name, too.

But not the stallion.

If only identifying real-life people and animals were that simple.

Then again, I'm glad it's not.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

“All the way home I’ll be warm…”

On Saturday morning we woke up to a soft layer of snow on the ground and lightly dusting the evergreens around our home. It didn’t last nearly as long as Elizabeth would have liked. She is the most snowsick teen I know. She prays for snow every autumn and carefully examines every bit of sleet that hits the ground on colder fall days. This day it had turned to rain and by late afternoon she had gone on a tirade as only 13 year old girls can. Her eyes – that already have an eerie unknown color - were crackling. It wasn’t pretty.

Sunday after church we had some friends coming over for Thanksgiving Leftovers Lunch. It’s a sort of ceremonial event where we finally consume the rest of the turkey, gravy, stuffing, and other seasonal delicacies with friends to help us. Elizabeth kept glancing outside in hopes of catching any stray flakes falling into our yard. She was entertaining her friends as best she could but I knew her heart was elsewhere in the stratosphere of ice crystals and clouds. The sky responded and by the time the light had begun to dim there was enough snow on the ground for the kids to make a modest snowman and throw several snowballs at each other. Our porch was quickly laden with snow packed gloves, hats, coats and shoes. That night Elizabeth fell asleep under four layers of blankets and sleeping bags with the curtains drawn and the window opened widely letting the chilly air caress her face as she slept. Bill stepped in and closed the window tightly and pulled the curtains shut.

Our bedroom alarm sounded Monday morning and we opened our eyes to a magical winter wonderland of thick snow and crusty ice on the pavement. I lazily implored Bill to stay home from work. He scoffed at the idea of this minor skiff impeding his ability to navigate his way to the office. I understood well his thinking: he’s a Colorado native and quite skilled at winter driving. However, not all the drivers are as skilled as he. I checked wsdot and sure enough there were spinouts reported and some roads were closed. After considering this for a few moments and placing a call to his director - who also told him about the spinouts and road closures – Bill decided he would not be going to work.

We all stayed warm and cozy inside all morning and part of the afternoon. While the schools were closed, homeschool was still up and running. Periodically Elizabeth would ask, “Can I be done?” to which we replied consistently, “Not until you’re done.” I baked cookies while Murron and Ulie played with plush toys and Barbie dolls. Bill worked around the house. We were all biding our time, really, until the wind slowed and the snow cleared a bit before we decided to head out and make the most of it.

After Ulie awoke from his nap we all donned our warmest clothes and grabbed a sliding saucer and took to the hill. It’s just a little hill but it has enough slope to get up a nice speed. We all took our turns and eventually Ulie had had enough so I bundled him up, walked back home, and put on the kettle of water for cocoa. Not long afterward Bill and the girls followed. Murron’s rosy cold cheeks told me how she had thoroughly enjoyed herself and would have stayed longer if her dad and sister weren’t coming home.

Elizabeth looked every bit serene and thoughtful. Perhaps hoping she could have stayed longer as well. Maybe wondering how many more days of snow-filled fun she would have this winter. Or savoring this special moment in time when she was in her element with God’s blessing of the flakes, mounds, dustings, and drifts of snow.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Weekend To Remember Marriage Conference

We finally did it.

We planned, prepared, and prayed for Bill and I to get away for a childfree weekend. The idea was to go to a marriage conference because, as you might have read, our marital bliss is in jeopardy. We wanted to spend the time with some friends who were like-minded - minus the marriage in jeopardy part. As some friends who have attended similar conferences have attested, the sessions are fantastic, the leaders are experts in their field and NEVER argue or disagree in the privacy of their homes, and the people who attend spend wonderful romantic moments frolicking on surf-swept sandy beaches. Surely this was the medicine that Bill and I needed.

As our friends discovered, however, the conference was sold out. AAaacckkk!!! Didn't they realize that WE were teetering on the edge of despair and doom? Wouldn't they make a tiny exception because of our looming demise? Hadn't they room for two huddled spirits seeking safety and refuge in the embrace of their wisdom? We were distraught. Could anyone hear our pleas for help and hope?

Yes, oh, YES!!!

Mark and Karen heard our pitiful cries and intervened as only two friends could.

They booked a suite at a resort and we made arrangements for our children to be cared for by Rudi and Geneva . Then we packed for three days and two nights of desperately necessary coupletime...


We had fun, laughed, cried, bared our souls, ate five star gourmet dishes prepared by someone else, and God was present in ALL. From conversations in the hot tub to walks along the beach reading Psalm 148, we were being carefully and delicately connected and we know we are incomparably better for it.

So...we're thinking maybe next weekend...perhaps???


Sunday, November 05, 2006


Sleepy times at our house sometimes drag on far longer than they should. Between prayers, kisses, bathroom visits and teeth brushings, this can go on for an hour, complete with nagging comments from Glory and me and telling the kids to hurry it up.

But, sometimes little statements from our kidlets tend to douse the fires of frustration.

Eldest child, while brushing her teeth, saw her 3 1/2 year-old sister tromping into the bathroom, again!

"Go to bed. I'll be there in a minute," she asserted, with toothbrush in her mouth.

"I have to go potty!" our toddler cried.

"What number, one or two?" oldest sister asked.

"What?" she asked, having no idea what her sister was asking.

"What number, one or two?" she asked again.

There was a slight pause.

"Four!" our little one responded.

Yikes! Both Glory and I, while listening to this from the dining room, started laughing.

"No," our teen said. "One or two?"

"Two," our little girl said, still clueless, but playing along with her sister's question.

She didn't go number two.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's Over And I Didn't Even Know It.

Bill and I are getting a divorce.

I had no idea!

And neither did he!!!

While he was at the gym, yesterday, an associate that he knows was asking him how things are going. They made a little small talk. Then she blindsided him with this question:

"So, how is the divorce going?"

Bill was stunned.

"We're not getting a divorce," he replied.

But still he was doubtful. Was I telling him everything? Did he miss something? Would I speak to him about this?

He called me and said, "I have a serious question."

"How serious?" I asked, playfully.

"Oh, quite serious," he replied, gravely.

"What's the question?" I inquired.

"Are we getting a divorce?" He asked, sternly.

"Not that I know of. Are we?" I returned.

"No..." he answered and proceded to tell me of his encounter.

So, last night we told our home fellowship group about it which stunned them as well.

No one knew except the lady at the gym.

Maybe I need to work out more often, and visit with that lady. She seems to know some things.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Vanity, vanity. All is vanity

It's that time of year again. That time when all the politicians are out in force making appearances at places you never see them at any other time of year trying to convince you that they care.

Care about what?

Themselves! That's the answer.

OK, not that I'm vain. Of course not!

But there I was at the local gym, trying hard like I do to get my thick body looking thin. I've been trying hard for a looong time now. I end the day (every day) asking Glory if I'm making progress. I just want to know. I'm not vain.

Anyway, this isn't about me.

So while sweating on the treadmill a couple of weeks ago I noticed a new face that looked somewhat familiar. I smiled a nonverbal hello and went on sweating. The next day he was there again. And then the next day, and the next. I then realized that he was one of the district court judges who's up for reelection.

My guess, judging by his physique, is he doesn't need to be there. I do! What's he doing there?

What's he doing there?

Getting votes!!

Election day is two weeks from today.

He'll get reelected. Lots of business owners, lawyers, teachers, county employees, etc., go to the same gym.

This judge is smart.

But, still, he's vain, unlike me.


Monday, October 16, 2006


Okay, fine!

Here it is for all of you who have been whining about our blog:

We have our house up for sale and we have a contingent offer on a house that's closer to work and church and most of our friends. It's a little nervewracking and we're a little impatient but still trusting that this is the right thing to do.

We are busy, but because of having to keep our po-dunk telephone line open we just don't crank up the dial-up as often as we normally have. We're not Luddites, yet, but it's starting to feel very house-on-the-prairie-ish in these parts.

We are having our fourth baby the end of April. That means that Glory has to be very discriminating in how her energy is spent. Things are looking good, though, and the baby's heartbeat is strong and steady.

So, that's it. When there's more to share, like house sale news, ultrasound news, etc. we'll get it posted...alrighty?

B and G

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"NO, no,no,no,no,no!! Close this..."

...So she said to me when, after a couple months of silence from Bill and Glory, Bill tried to publish a blog.

Glory then directed Bill to the Blogger button, had him press it, and then, as if by magic, the appropriate page sprang to view. As if by magic.

Did I write, "as if by magic?"

"This is really cool," Bill thought to himself. "What will they think of next?"

It was an appropriate question.

Linus McSpadden, a rogue programmer associated with the Blogger site, already had in mind his next evil and malicious plan: publishing tools for Bloggers that required only speech. "Let us do away with typing altogether!!" he shouted from his computer terminal. "Bwahaaaaahaaaaa! Bwaaahaaaaa (cough)..."

No one heard him, for he was alone. He could not stop coughing and ended up choking to death.

"You're silly," Glory told Bill, as Bill typed away.

And so Bill remained quiet.

The clock on his computer read 9:58 p.m.

"But clocks don't read, silly," Glory said snidely.

"There is no such thing as the written language 'silly,'" Bill retorted. "And what do you mean by snidely? What's a snide?"

"Duhhh!" Glory chided. "The man in Dr. Suess' story about the pale green pants with nobody inside them, hid out in a field of Snide and got brickles in his britches. Everyone knows that."

Glory laughed like a crazy woman and went to get some cashews. Bill got bored.

They went to bed.

Glory snored.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Questions and rope swings

"Where's Dad?" our three-year-old exclaimed as she tromped through the house. She then saw me on the couch putting on my running shoes in our living room. "Oh, Daddy."
"Hi," I said.
She looked at my shoes. "Are you going to the van?"
"No, Baby," I said, lacing up my shoes.
She looked at the TV for a second then turned back to me. "Are you going to work?"
"No, sweetie."
There was a longer pause this time. Looking down at the floor she asked her question with a tinge of sarcasm mixed with sadness.
"Are you going home?"
I looked in her eyes and wanted to laugh and cry. "Baby, I am home."
"Oh," she replied.
Before I could remind her for the umpteenth time that we are home and that our house is our home, my eight-month-old squawked in the front room on Glory's lap.
On to the next subject.
"Oh! It's Baby," my toddler said.
"Where is he?" I asked.
"In the front room," was her quick reply.
With my shoes tightly laced, I started heading out to the garage to use the Nordic Track. Little girl quickly followed behind and strapped in to a rope she uses to swing.
Glide, glide, push, swing, Daddy-push-me, went on for a half hour to the beat of 1980-ish Bryan Duncan.
No more questions needed. Just time with Daddy in the garage. And that was fine by me.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Daily Routines

This morning I am taking an hour's rest from what has become a morning ritual. I have become more diligent than ever before in taking care of housework early in the day. I throw open our bedroom curtains and tie them back to let in the daylight. I make up our bed and get all the lumps out. Then I pick up whatever might be on the floor and toss it into the laundry hamper. Next I move into the bathroom and wipe out our sinks, swish out the toilet and pick up the floor. In the kitchen I put any dishes left over from breakfast into the dishwasher and sweep the floor (today I will mop). Lastly I vacuum the carpeted areas and straighten out cushions and throw blankets.

Spiritually my routine isn't much different, which doesn't surprise me. I open my morning devotional to let God's light shine into my sleepy thoughts. In prayer I get out all the lumps of resistance to His direction and surrender my tasks to Him. With His help I see what things need to be cleared from my path so I can do what He asks without hindrance. I clean up and scrub out any attitudes that would render my efforts to serve my family as fruitless. Finally I serve my family with a ready heart and create an atmosphere where they might also come to a closer relationship to Jesus.

Unlike housecleaning, however, the order of my day in spending time in prayer and devotion is important if I am to be open and available to what God wants me to do. It's like the teacup that looks clean and pretty on the outside but has been left dirty and unwashed on the inside. There are things that need to be taken care of if I'm to be of use to anyone.

You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy...First wash the inside of the cup, and then the outside will become clean, too. Matthew 23:25-26 (NLT)


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3,...

Being a homeschooler I have the opportunity to observe how Elizabeth prepares for and takes tests. Most of the time she's ready and able to do her absolute best. Other days, well, she's not. So, after the tears are dried (she's a girl, after all), more reviewing, and better preparation, she retakes the test and always does me proud.

On Friday my daily devotional from Proverbs 31 spoke to me about preparing for the tests that come our way. Whenever God teaches us His truths and brings us into further understanding of His will, the tests follow closely after. We've been given the lesson and now we must put our learning to practice. Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don't. But we know that the lessons will surely come as will the tests.

Bill spent a wonderful day with another friend at a men's retreat where he was challenged and motivated in his walk with God. Today our pastor spoke directly from Job and shared how it applies to us. On the drive home Bill appeared tense and as we talked it became very apparent that he was bracing himself for the test that was sure to come. He was considering how well he prepared for it and what the result of his test would be. I love this man who is so teachable and honest before God. We pray that we truly learn what God teaches so that we are ready when the tests come.

"How can I prepare?"

1. Report to class regularly.
- Read your Bible.
- Learn what the Scripture means and how it applies to your life.
- Memorize.

2. Use Study Hall wisely.
- Waiting for the answer to come is not down time - it is the study hall of life.
- While in the 'wait' room or 'study hall' prepare and practice for the next tests. What we do while we wait determines the outcome of our test.

3. Get tutoring in areas of weakness.
- Pray, developing a deep relationship with Jesus, the Teacher.
- Listen until you hear the answers to your questions.

4. Practice whenever possible.
- Review regularly what you learn.
- Study groups are necessary for accountability and success.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006


"Ulie's crying, " Bill remarked sleepily at 6:55 a.m.

It was already well past sunrise and we could hear the sound of plastic trash bin bottoms scraping against the driveways. Bill got out of bed and trekked beyond the other side of our room, past the front room, across the dining room, and through part of the living room to Ulie's room.

Ulie's room. Burgundy curtains block out most of the sunlight. His crib is tucked into a corner. His little table with metal basket style drawers sits closeby. Quackums, Love Monkey, and other fuzzy friends are there with him. A small twin bed is available for a parent/child sleepover if necessary. Mom made sure of it.

Both Elizabeth and Murron made the transition to their own rooms at approximately the same age. A few nights of adjustment was all they needed and they settled in to their own quarters like good little troops. All my questions of, "What if I don't hear him crying?" or "Is he going to be warm enough?" have already been answered by his older sisters. Ulie will be fine.

Will I be fine? Knowing this is just the beginning of letting him go, yes, I will be fine. I will be fine when he stays with a babysitter for the first time. When he has his first sleepover I will remain intact. When he leaves for a weekend or more doing whatever God calls him to do I will live. And when he is gone from here although part of me will go with him, God will gather me close to Himself, cradle my heart, and soothe me to peaceful unworried rest.


Monday, April 24, 2006

What's That Smell?

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Now that it’s getting into the 2nd week since we’ve been back from Texas, I know this blog is past due. The truth is, I neglected to keep a journal of the days’ happenings so I really don’t have the head start a written record would have provided. Nonetheless, as I think about our trip, the things that I recall the most are the smells. Being a perfume addict (I had at one time 30+ fragrances in my collection, not including body sprays or bath splashes) I remember scents easily, and aromas trigger my memory in ways that sometimes even photographs do not.

It was moderately early when we all grabbed a quick breakfast of fresh toasted bread and loaded up into our van to take the girls to our friends’ house. The sun was already out and we could hear the muffled highway traffic through the trees and houses in our community. The air was crisp and laden with the frosty smell of chilled wet grass and leaves. More than our natural surroundings, though, our excitement and anticipation permeated the atmosphere.

After dropping the girls off we arrived at the hotel early enough to enjoy a steaming cup of aromatic coffee courtesy of the hotel where we were to catch our shuttle to the airport. A lady sitting on the other side of a large coffee table in the lobby noticed Ulie and started chatting with us right away. There is just something about babies that invites complete strangers into your world to talk about their own children, their hopes and dreams, and their lives. She shared how she wanted to live in the quaint little island of Friday Harbor but was taking care of her aging parents. Having been to the island I could easily recall the salty air and musty smell of soil that never really gets dry at all. She talked about a couple who wanted to be buried on the island and while the wife was battling cancer they would pack a picnic and dine al fresco where their bodies would eventually be laid to rest. As she shared how she had also purchased her own burial plot there I could almost smell the freshly turned peat and crushed rose petals from graveside services I had attended in the past.

Our shuttle had arrived and we stood in line amid travelers taking their last carcinogenic puffs from their camels. Hating the smell I hoped none of it would linger on my clothes too long. We boarded the shuttle and when I snuggled in close to Bill his cologne cleared the smoke out of my nostrils. I sniffed in his Drakkar deeply and smelled it again, albeit mingled with parfum de bebe, when I cuddled Ulie close to my face. There wasn’t anything exceptional to note about checking in baggage and boarding the plane. Just the expected shuffle of bodies and carry-ons and the blast of jet fuel fumes seeping through the cracks in the walkway to the aircraft. We learned quickly that the lady that shared our row of seats is a Christian and we talked at length about Bible studies and churches. A few hours into the flight the unexpected happened: the flight attendant handed her a large envelope and a small jewelry box. Having caught the writing on the envelope it said “Happy Anniversary” She carefully opened the envelope and I could see that she was savoring every perfectly penned line knowing that, although Hallmark prints quality cards, the thoughts and feelings were coming from her husband’s heart. She carefully wiped at moist eyes then opened the jewel box to find a beautiful white gold heart pendant encrusted with diamonds. I asked how many years and she responded like a young bride, “We’ve been married 18 years but we’ve known each other for 22 years.” I asked where her husband was and she pointed to where he was sitting. Then I commented that she was showing a great deal more restraint than I would and she giggled. Her floral perfume floated along the aisle as she got up from her seat, reached into her own carry-on, found a large envelope and handed it to him. The husband then got up from his seat and they both made their way to the back of the plane to be more private. Just moments later the same flight attendant brought two champagne flutes and two champagne bottles to their little anniversary celebration 32,000 feet above the ground. I am sure they were flying much higher than that.

Later, as a passing comment, we talked about roses, which I love the most of all flowers, and she hinted that perhaps I could help revive her roses. It would be nice to do since I am anxious to see what her particular choices would smell like once they are in bloom. Sweet and spicy or fruity and flowery. She handed us an unopened bottle of champagne and said it was for our own little getaway. We exchanged addresses and once the plane had landed in Dallas we went our separate ways.

“Texas stinks!” I blurted out to Bill as we walked through the airport terminal. “Does Texas always smell like this?” He assured me that it did and I wasn’t imagining it. In trying to describe it, I would have to say it smelled a mixture of old clothes, dusty ranches, muddy ponds, and overcooked peppers. There is history in Texas to be sure so it didn’t surprise me that it would pervade the air around us. Before we boarded another plane to Austin we met a couple who were also planning to attend the same conference that Bill was attending. In a matter of minutes Julie and I discovered our shared faith in God and since she wasn’t actually part of the conference either we exchanged the names of our respective hotels and determined to meet up one of the days.

Once inside our hotel we were greeted by a complimentary snack of a small package of Oreo cookies and a bottle of water. Crisp white damask linens graced the bed and a supple leather chair stood ready at the desk for any writing we intended to do. It smelled clean, perfect, and restful. Amid airing out our freshly laundered clothing, taking our showers, and enjoying our room service meals it began to smell like our room. Our home away from home. I like that about staying at a hotel longer than just one night, in this case three nights. The next day Bill and I walked to a restaurant for lunch. The air was hot and dry and the air was thick with the odor of sun-baked pavement and cement sidewalks. The buildings looked old and I wondered what stories they would tell of this city. Once back inside our hotel, Bill having returned to his sessions at the conference, I called Julie and we arranged to meet the following day.

Julie and her husband were staying at the historic Driskill hotel, a place where state politics were discussed among the politicians themselves. A section of the hotel was undergoing some work so occasionally the smell of broken plaster and sawdust would find its way into the lobby where a cleaning lady was diligently polishing the curved dark stone pillars with a citrus-scented solution. Rich Victorian carpeting accented the deep velvet and oiled leather furnished seating area where I waited for my companion for the day. Again I realized how an adorable baby can melt even the most guarded and reserved of Texas gentry, this time a distinctly southern Belle who told me in a soft melodic drawl, “What a sweet baby!” We chatted briefly about her son being a Governor’s page for a day before she left to meet her husband. Julie showed up shortly thereafter and we took a walk to a Starbucks. She and her husband live near Seattle so it was a natural choice for us to sit and talk among other sippers enjoying their aromatic beverages before we walked to the capitol building. The streets were alive with restaurant smells and freshly blooming flowers as we blended with other pedestrians walking to their various destinations. As for Julie and I we simply enjoyed each other’s company far from home and sharing our lives if only for a day. Even though we talked about the Alamo, and some American history, our fellowship was sweet and fragrant with the love of our Lord who graciously arranged for us to meet and fellowship with each other.

That evening as I shared the day’s events with Bill I realized that God had breathed a fresh sweet life into me and into our marriage. The next day Bill, Ulie, and I walked back to the capitol building to take a few pictures and talk about going home. I love seeing Bill in places where his knowledge of history is met with the exact locations where history unfolded. He loves seeing me in new territory where I gather and collect images and impressions like artifacts to use in my writing or my art. And before we boarded the plane to go home I made sure to inhale the bouquet of our experience deeply.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

This Just In!!!

I know I said I would blog about our trip to Texas, and I will. But what is a prouder-than-punch Momma to do when her evening nursing session with the baby is interrupted by a Pictionary Jr. board and these incredibly talented and inspired flower images???

If this is her work at 3 years old, I KNOW my hands are going to be full in homeschooling her...and soon!

Wish me luck and say some prayers!


Friday, April 07, 2006

Travelling Companions

Tonight I must ensure that all five of us are packed and ready for the weekend and beyond. Our girls will be staying with our friends while Bill, Ulie and I catch a shuttle to the airport. There the three of us board a plane to Dallas, Texas then hop over to Austin. Bill has a conference and Ulie and I are along for the ride and the change of scenery. And, of course, to keep Bill company.

It's my first time in Texas, though, so I'm sure we'll have a blog to tell of it, later.

Kick up yer boots!


Friday, March 31, 2006

He Is Asleep

It is very late. After the last little sucking motions of his tongue I know. All my efforts to soothe, console, and lull have been met with sweet success.

I carefully lift his little head out of the crook of my arm which is now practically numb. I tuck soft folds of bedding beside his little tummy, Then I tighten my abdomen to lift myself off the mattress without jostling the sleeping infant. I can finally get ready for bed.

After completing my hygiene routine I tread softly back into our bedroom. I quietly slip the covers from Bill’s side of the bed and begin to slither between Bill and our slumbering baby. I am stealthy as I become like the air between the bed linens and my husband’s body. It is not unlike disarming a missile. Or, as Bill artfully describes it, like a hot dog rolling itself into a closed bun. No matter, I am relieved when my gymnastics are over and I am nestled against my husband’s shoulder and our son is still asleep.

I want to celebrate my victory. I want to talk until the wee hours of the morning. I want to listen to guitar instrumentals. I want to kiss a little…or a lot! I raise my head off Bill’s shoulder and look at his gentle peaceful face. The reality hits me like a cold shower.

He is asleep.


Monday, March 27, 2006

Called To Service

Today, I am feeling reckless so I will abandon all dignity and composure and tell you the truth: I like attention. I like to be seen and applauded for whatever I happen to say or do. I am a shameless entertainer and I take extreme pleasure in self-promotion.

So it takes me by surprise when God provides me with opportunities to visibly serve. Why, I think, would God choose such an irrepresible performer like me to serve in a public manner? It would seem that sometimes He lets us shine for Him and this week He has given me plenty of opportunities; some are temporary and others are long-term. But it does make me wonder if there's a catch. Almost immediately I know the answer: of course there is.

It's humility. Like a pane of glass in the sunlight, the reflected image is more visible when the glass is purer and the light is brighter. Likewise humilty is essential for us to disappear and reflect the image of Jesus.

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus . . .” (Philippians 2:3-5).


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Waiting For Him

This morning I was blessed with Bill's lingering presence as he didn't have to leave our house until later than usual. We shared banana bread, coffee, and devotions before he finally pried himself away from my pleas of, "Come home early..."

It isn't always like this, though. Most mornings our home is much quieter when he leaves for work. Most mornings are like this...

He doesn't wake me when he gets up to have his shower. I am still asleep. He dresses for work noiselessly while I dream my last dreams. I don't hear him leave our room to get coffee and grab a little breakfast. I only hear him when his hand touches the doorknob to our bedroom door.

He comes back into our room and wakes me gently. He says, "I have to go to work, Honey." Sleepily I kiss him before he leaves. Then I listen. I listen to his footsteps through the house. I listen to the door open and close. I listen to the engine start. I listen to him drive away.

Then it begins. I tend to the house. I care for our baby. I get breakfast for our toddler. I get our oldest daughter started on homeschooling. I get the bed made. I call him to ask him what he’s doing. I straighten up the dining area. I make lunch for our kids.

I do some laundry. I call a friend or two. I keep our baby happy. I hug our toddler before she takes a nap. I visit with our oldest. I call him to ask what he'd like for dinner. I clean the living room. I play some music.

I am busy. Not so much with tasks, chores, and projects. My mind is busy with memories of being with him. I am thinking about him throughout all I do. My heart is busy with emotion, passion, and longing. Because the truth of the matter is, I am not really busy doing anything. I am a homemaker only secondary to what I am truly occupied with. When he comes home from work and asks me what I have done all day, I must tell him the truth. Nothing else has demanded my attention as much as this. I was waiting for him.

As a believer of Jesus, no matter what else I do with my days, I'm waiting for Him, too.


Friday, March 10, 2006


As expected, when I arrived in Seattle the first face I saw was Elizabeth's and she lit up like 4th of July fireworks when I smiled and opened my arm - the one not holding Ulie - and hugged her close to me. I heard Bill call out, "Come back, Murmur!" then I saw her bouncing toward him and I saw her smile at me. I stooped down to squeeze her a little before she wiggled out of my grasp. When I saw Bill I felt a warm rush like the aroma of banana nut bread coming out of the oven.

I was home.

I think I could live anywhere on earth with my husband and children and, foreign or not, I would be home.

We talked as we waited for my baggage to make its appearance on the carousel then Bill handed me a vente coffee from Starbucks. I couldn't take my eyes off him, it felt so nice to see his smile and hear his laugh again. How perfectly sweet and comforting.

I'm sure this is almost exactly what getting to Heaven is going to be like.


Saturday, March 04, 2006


For the past week I have been solo parenting while Glory has been seeing family. Now, I think I do this pretty well: the house always is clean, the dishes always are done and there isn't laundry to do. I am sure that if it were necessary I could garner many awards at being house husband.

But the other day when I was checking in with Glory she remarked: "So the house is clean but it's lonely..."

Yep. That is true. Lonely it is.

Oh sure, I have had fun with the kids. We've made paper airplanes. We played Bear Bowling (We stood markers on their ends on the squares of our tile floor and then bowled them over with stuffed bears -- or launched them into the markers from across the living room. Way cool!) And we cooked different meals together.

But we've done it alone. And that stinks.

Good thing that our days of flying solo are over. And when we do have to go it alone for a while, we can take some comfort in knowing that it doesn't last long.

Just one more day!


Sunday, February 05, 2006

A Touch Of Class From A Trailer Park

It all started when a 12 year old girl offered to collect the mail and brought in a small cardboard package. It was a recent win and purchase from EBay, a bottle of cologne that a 15 year-old girl from 1986 wore at her sister's wedding. It was at that wedding that she was a bridesmaid for the very first time and received her first kiss from a handsome blonde with chapped lips. As Glory, the now 35 year-old woman, dabbed perfumed fingertips at her pulse-points, took a lint roller to her black knit skirt and expertly removed cat hair, she secretly wished that Bill, the man who was taking her out on the town this evening, was that boy from the past. She wouldn't have noticed chapped lips if it was.

The door opened and the trusted babysitter walked in as Glory, the young mother was finishing a quick nursing session with the baby. A few hurried instructions and suggested activities were discussed then Bill and Glory, the happy couple, walked out and shut the door to their double-wide trailer. The excited wife opened the sliding door to the 7 passenger van and strapped the infant into his carseat amid the tinny clatter of empty aluminum soda cans. She tossed a sack of Bill's gym clothes into the back seat and settled herself, and the dinner that she prepared for a new mother and father, in for the drive into the nearby city. Bill thought they'd never get away.

When they arrived into the downtown district the sky was already overcast. Glory was glad for her blue sweater as Bill got out of the van to cash in a portion of his coin collection for the restaurant meal. It didn't take him long and he was smiling when he started up the van and pulled away from the curb. They had to make a second stop to a couple of new parents and deliver a promised meal. That done, with the rain accompanying their van ride to the restaurant, Bill and Glory talked about past birthday dinners, anniversaries, and other special times eating out. These were happy memories, despite varying degrees of food quality and service. Upon arriving at the out-of-place restaurant where they had made their reservation, Bill and Glory kissed and walked quickly through the rain to the door framed by Grecian columns and exotic-looking plants. Often billed as a pizza place in a logging town whose upper-crust eateries include The Iron Skillet and The Pizza Factory, Rhodes truly is more than what it seems.

The hostess met Bill and Glory at the front. She seemed to know that it was this couple who had made reservations before they said they had them. Perhaps it was the baby in his Blue's Clues outfit. No one else was in the restaurant except a salt-and-pepper haired man who appeared to be snoozing in one of the front booths. The anniversary couple found out later that he was the owner and chef just catching a few winks before the arrival of the dinner crowd.

It is a four-star restaurant that belies its environment. Framed pictures of Greece graced the walls and silk plants were strategically placed to buffer dinner-time conversation. A fountain with a small carved statue of a woman atop it was the central focus of the room.

Subtle lighting invited Bill and Glory to a booth especially prepared for them. Glory quickly learned that it was too small to make nursing possible, so they moved themselves to a table especially prepared for them. The waitress asked them if they were ready to order long before they had a chance to look over the menu of the untried foreign dishes. Soon, however, orders were made: Glory with her Greek plate graced with roasted lamb, Spanakopita and Tzatziki sauce with pita wedges and Greek olives; and Bill with his Moussaka and Hummus with pita wedges and Greek olives. The chef was awake.

They started things off with a Greek salad for Glory and a cup of lemon chicken soup for Bill. Then came the main dishes. The flavors danced a lively Syrtos in their mouths, the saltiness of Feta cheese and Greek olives, the zest of lemon, and the pungency of garlic celebrated together in one delightful bite after the other. Greek rap music from the restaurant speakers accompanied this joyful party of the palate.

While not physically full, they were sated and overwhelmed by the variety of flavors, smells and textures. Yet, they were anxious to complete their meal with the traditional dessert of Baklava, which was not unfamiliar to them. As hoped for, the honey-sweetened and nut-filled pastry livened their palates again for a culinary grand finale.

There were plenty of leftovers, which the waitress promptly packaged for the trip home. By this time, the chef, who was back at his booth bed while Bill and Glory were dining, was again busy in the kitchen preparing dishes for the growing crowd. Bill paid the waitress $50 and told her to keep the change. Glory noticed the chef in the back and caught his attention. He smiled and waved the happy couple goodnight as they thanked him for his unforgettable performance.

A drive in the rain to a vacant ballpark to talk and feed the baby followed. Then a drive through this logging town to see where other restaurants once flourished, and back home to the smell of chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven, baked by the babysitter and a 12-year-old rounded out this anniversary evening. But not before a nervous Bill checked to make sure the tarp on the roof was still keeping out the pouring rain.

Bill and Glory
Four years and counting

Monday, January 30, 2006


"Honey, come here." I called from the kitchen.

Bill walked into the room and followed my gaze to the skylight in our ceiling.

"Do you see that?" I asked.

"Yeah...did that just start?" Bill asked.

"I think so." I responded.

It had been overcast in the morning then the rain started to fall, first in sprinkles then increasing to sheets of wind-driven rain. I had watched as the transparent waves landed on the pavement like a colossal irrigation system had been turned on. Now it was dark and the relentless splatters were only heard on our rooftop.

Bill found a pen and marked the parameter of what was a wet spot on our ceiling. Time passed and when we saw that the spot was growing too quickly to leave alone I cringed as Bill announced that he would have to put a tarpaulin over the flashing above the skylight.

"Will you need my help?" I offered.

"Yes, I will." Bill affirmed.

Bill brought out the ladder while I dressed in grunge-gear anticipating plenty of yuck. The yuck was definitely there as I watched Bill cross our yard that was now a bog and dig the tarp and some fence posts that we hoped would hold the tarp down. I waited for him to climb up the ladder and then I started handing him the posts.

"Should I come up there?" I asked with faltering bravery.

"No." was Bill's firm reply.

He's so protective, I thought.

The wind was racing at 7 miles per hour, leaving us to feel as though we were working amid 37 degrees F. The raindrops hit our faces at gravity defying angles.

"I need more posts." Bill yelled from the rooftop.

I made the short journey across our lawn thinking about how many times I have braved storms with this man. More than I would have expected to in the four years we have been married. Of course, in Washington, there are storms a plenty, both figurative and literal.

"This tarp won't stay down, I need my weights." Bill decided.

I went into the garage and brought his 10 lb weights, two of them, exactly the same as our son's weight. But even that wasn't enough as he sent me back to retrieve his 25 lb weights. They were heavy but, again, I considered how often I lugged my schoolbooks across campus or toted our kids around in my arms. I held the weights against my chest as I brought them to Bill.

Just as I handed him the first 25 lb weight the lights in our house and on the homes around us went off. Bill described a blue light that flashed to the south of the community then also went dark. Our kids were inside our house but my husband was on the roof in this storm and he needed to get finished quickly before anything worse happened.

"Do you want me to help you?" I asked again, taking his hand.

"No!" he yelled, "Get me the other weight, I have to get down fast."

I can trust this man, I thought as I handed him the other weight and the lights came on again. I helped him down the ladder by holding his foot and placing it on the steps. Then we hurried inside where our kids were visibly shaken but otherwise fine.

Later on the power went out, again. We were all inside, we had plenty of candles, yet I still worried about the kids and our home.

I am on the roof, I am in the house, and I am taking care of you.

God, you are so protective.

Yes, and I won't ask you to do anything that is impossible without Me.

I can trust You.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Planes, trains, and, well, you get the idea

The problem with taking the plane most anywhere is that it's largely uneventful. Why is that a problem? Because it doesn't give us the chance to experience hair-raising adventures or miss connections that offer opportunities of character building.

Let me stress the character building part.

I took the plane to visit my grandpa. For the first time in my air traveling life I got the middle seat. Nothing unusual there, really, except the lady sitting to my left was praying the rosary for about 20 minutes before we finally got to crusing altitude. She talked to Mary longer than she did me. The guy on the other side of me had nothing to say at all, my comments to him answered only with a smile and a nod. I got a lot of puzzles done.

After five days in Colorado, I took Amtrak to California. The train leaving Colorado was an hour late, and by the time I pulled in to Sacramento I was more than eight hours late, thanks to a freight train derailment near the California-Nevada state line. A curator from a train museum in Sacramento who got on board in Reno started telling us about the history of Donner Pass and the railway, and promised that he would narrate the trip all the way to Sacramento. But after we sat on the mountain for several hours, he stopped talking. Funny, I never heard another story. He either fell asleep or got off the train somewhere.

When we pulled into Sacramento at about 11 p.m., an uncle I hadn't seen in more than 20 years and my grandma were waiting for me. Grandma had planned on having a nice dinner and a family reunion of sorts. Alas, all that became of that was 45 minutes of catching up and a paper bag care package of barbequed pork, pasta salad, bread and brownies courtesy of Grandma and cousins Susan and Cindy. Grandma was tired and had to go home to sleep. She said she normally went to bed at 9 p.m.

True to form, Amtrak was more than an hour late pulling out of Sacramento to take me north and to home. The train died somewhere in the Sierras. The conductor didn't bother to tell us what was going on. We just guessed something was wrong when the train stopped and, later, the power went out.

Mudslides prevented us from going past Portland, which was fine because by that time we were more than six hours late. More than one passenger threatened to never ride Amtrak again, and felt the need to make the threat over and over and over again.

Buses took us to Seattle. A cab took me to the Greyhound station. While there, the security guard told a rabbi to stop spitting on the floor, and showed the nearest exit to a stalker of a young Oriental woman. I then caught a bus for my last hour home, and pulled in at about 2:30 a.m.

Lessons learned:
1. Flying is faster.
2. Ignore Amtrak's schedule. It doesn't matter, anyway.
3. When in coach, don't expect the conductor to tell you anything.
4. If you want rail history, read a book.
5. When at the bus depot in Seattle, watch where you step and carry mace.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Perchance to Dream...

My grandfather died this day at 4:30 a.m. He was 93 years old. He wanted to die. In fact, he couldn't wait to get it over with.

I flew in to Colorado on Tuesday. My cousin picked me up and took me to the hospital. When I got to the room, one of my uncles was watching as the doctor told Grandpa that they could put a tube down his throat to keep him fed. Grandpa, mustering strength and defiantly stating as loudly as he could through the oxygen mask, "Absolutely not!"

Grandpa has spent every day since Dec. 9 on his back in that hospital. He spent a great deal of time in the hospital in November, then in a rehab facility to help heal his pneumonia-scarred lungs, home for a day or two, but then back to where his earthly existence would come to an end.

My uncle called me last Sunday to tell me that Grandpa was going. I spent the next few hours trying to find a way to get here. Glory finally found a flight that was affordable, but only if I went one way. So Tuesday morning I flew over here, hoping, praying, that I would get to talk with (not to) Grandpa one last time.

Resigned to the fact that his ancient patient was ready to go, the doctor nodded, patted Grandpa on the chest and left. I then went to Grandpa's side. He turned his eyes to mine and lifted his right hand to take mine. "How ya doin', Bill?" Grandpa asked me in a strained whisper through his mask, the "s-s-s-s-t" of the oxygen drowning out the clarity of his voice. I gave him a hug and told him I was glad to see him. We talked as long as he was able, him asking me how life was going my way. I told him Glory and the kids were doing well. I told him I loved him. He didn't say anything but looked at me. The night before I heard him say on the phone muffled through the mask, "I love you, too," so I didn't need to hear it again.

After a little pause, Grandpa turned to me, looked at me and asked, "How much you weigh now?"

"A lot less than the last time you saw me, Grandpa," I replied.

He chuckled and turned back to the TV that was on playing some mindless show that I know he could care less about.

We sat in silence for a while. Just being by his side was all I needed.

I am one of the younger grandkids, the 11th of 18. Then there are more great and great-great grandkids. But my grandparents have told me that I was like another one of their kids. There are a few of us grandkids that have a claim to that status. For me, in '94, after getting out of the Air Force, Grandma and Grandpa asked me to live with them as I went back to college on the GI Bill. For four years I stayed with them, mowing their lawn and doing other things, trying to earn my keep in exchange for free room and board. In my third year, I told them I would look for my own place. They would have none of that and asked I stay, even though I was hardly there, what with my job, working at the college newspaper, going to classes and getting involved in campus and church activities. But the fact that I was there anyway was enough for them.

They saw me graduate with honors, saw me leave to work at a paper 90 miles away, and saw me gain a little weight as I entered a sedentary lifestyle for a bit while writing. (Grandpa started then quizzing me about my weight when I would see him.) They saw me on New Year's morning 2001 at about 1 a.m., when, after having the traditional dinner of corned beef and cabbage, toasting in the new year with sparkling cider, I left them for what I thought then was the last time. I left three days later to work at a paper on the east coast. They couldn't be at Glory's and my wedding but they wanted to, Grandpa said to me the following year. He just couldn't travel that far anymore, Grandpa told me. He was carrying around an oxygen tank then. Although he quit smoking in 1980, and although he seared his lungs in a fire in the early '70s, the damage still remained in him. It was catching up with him, finally.

My family and I saw him last in on Thanksgiving 2003. He looked so old and frail then. We played Rook, the traditional family card game. We learned that year that for probably 20 years we have been playing the game wrong. I believe one of my uncles finally read the rules. Well, we weren't going to change. And we haven't. The other night in the hospital we were playing Rook the same way we've always played it.

Grandpa and I shared an interest in coins. We used to spend hours on his bed, inspecting his coins from around the South Pacific and even ration tokens from the '30s. On Tuesday I showed him a silver proof set I bought in '99 I brought with me in case I had to cash it in to finance my train trip back to Washington. He took the coin holder in his frail shaking hands and looked closely at the shiny state quarters now more than 10 times their value when I first bought them. "I have a bunch of quarters," Grandpa said raspily. He handed them back and we sat in silence for a little bit longer. Then he uttered his last verbal communication with me.

"How much did you say you weighed again?"

"2-1-5, Grandpa," I nearly yelled in his almost deaf ears.

"2 - 2, 215?"

"Yep," I replied. He chuckled again and fell silent, our time together over. Over the next couple of days I would watch him drift further and further into himself, but then brighten, if just briefly, when others, like my sister, a few cousins and others who had raced to his side to have their final conversation with him. In between times, he would raise his arm to glance at his gold Timex as if he were wondering when he was checking out. He would do that a few more times even with his eyes closed. Then he stopped moving altogether, his breathing becoming shallower and shallower. Then, he was gone.

I planned to take the family to Colorado this spring. We still might. Grandpa won't be there but Grandma remains, so the link to my elders still is taut. I'm selfish, but I want it to be that way for a while longer.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Sleeping Babes: epilogue

Bill got a ride to the airport early this morning so it was Elizabeth's turn to snuggle with me and Ulie. She's all of 12 years old but, goodness, can she squirm and wiggle!

More on Bill's airplane ride and air travel, later...


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Sleeping Babes

Our world was still blanketed in a quiet shade of dark when I awoke with Bill who was taking his brother to the airport. It is an uncommon thing for me to rise before the sun so, while I wanted to stay up to keep time with my husband, I was eager to return to the warmth and comfort of our bed. After all, we had busy days from Christmas until now and I had yet to reclaim my right to sleep in. It was my time, or so I thought.

Elizabeth wanted to take advantage of a ride into Seattle with her dad and uncle so she was also awake. Murron, however, was still rubbing sleepy eyes and clumsily draping her well loved fleece blankie around her little frame. When everyone had departed I scooped her into my arms and toted her into our bed.

Ulie was waiting for us, sleeping swaddled in his own blanket, puffing little breaths into the air. I didn't want to disturb his infant dreams but I needed to make room for Murron. As I eased us both under the covers I felt Murron's little body squirm and wiggle into a comfortable position before she relented to another round of slumber. I heard Ulie's deep sigh before he resumed his former pattern of breathing.

Just before I also fell asleep I found myself surrounded by a gentle and sweet sense of calm. My littlest ones were asleep beside me, their warm bodies drawing heat from my own, their breaths shallow and restful, and their tiny heartbeats pitter-pattering just barely above the sound of silence. It was a moment of awe and understanding.

How we must bless our Father above when we draw close to Him, curl into His arms, and rest.