Archive for June, 2007

Time Keeps on Slipping (slipping, slipping)

It’s Wednesday.
I painted.
It’s still raining.
Did anyone notice that I painted?
Yep.
All day.
While it lightninged and thundered and insane little girls giggled insanely.
And they fought some too.
Some?
Hah!
Quite a bit, actually.
What did I paint?
Not the blue wallpaper.
Sadie’s room came first.
We settled on white.
White is boring.
But we’re going to do red accents everywhere.
I hate boring.
Tomorrow will not be so boring though.
We’ll do the red stuff then.
At least it’s done.
And it’s still raining.
It has rained for way longer than forty days and forty nights.
Grrrrrrrrr.
But at least the mud pit where our trampoline used to be
is mostly grass now.
And that’s the end of my Wednesday post.

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Good Times

I’ve got a pretty good feeling about this week. I know most people hate Mondays, but I always wake up full of hope about the new beginning and all the great things that I’m going to get done. About Wednesday is when reality sets in and I realize I’ll never get it all done. But right now, it’s still Monday and I feel pretty good. We had a wonderful reunion with old friends last night. Nicole was in town (Nicole, who traveled around Eastern Europe with us last year – better known as Pilgrim on this blog). She brought her friend Allison and Father Brian and Father Benjamin to my house last night. I actually knew Brian when I was little. His family was in the church that my dad pastored in Northern California. Now he’s an Anglican priest. It was really a wonderful evening. We all shared our talents with one another and talked and ate a lot. What more could you ask for? I even finally got the opportunity that I have been waiting for to make homemade Tiramisu. I was not disappointed either. It was so good, I got up this morning and had it for breakfast, with coffee. Does anyone have a problem with that? I also started a really good book. It’s the novel I’ve been waiting for. The one I can’t stop thinking about and I want to spend every second reading. If it’s still good when I get a little farther into it, I’ll let you know what it’s called.

Here are some pictures from our wonderful evening last night:

My nephew, Seth, showed everyone his incredible talent of cuteness
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My sweet daughter, Sadie, eyeing the tiramisu and white chocolate raspberry parfait
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Allison, Nicole and Brian sang an amazing three-voice latin song – how I wish you could hear what we heard
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Grace and my dad enjoyed the beautiful music
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Mom hamboned, much to everyone’s delight
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This was probably the highlight of the evening for me. Two of my daughters, singing a duet in beautiful harmony. I was really proud of them.
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Chris and I sang too, in front of the blue-flowered wallpaper that never goes away
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Father Benjamin sang us a song from his native Puerto Rico and got choked up with emotion, thinking about his beautiful land
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I think Seth was pretty blown away by all the talent (and yes, that’s a toy potty he’s playing with)
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My beautiful mommy-to-be (again!) Marisela, and my beautiful friend Carlee, had a nice talk by an orange wall – how I wish that blue-flowered wallpaper would turn orange
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Grace demonstrated her “falling straight” abilities – I never tire of this
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And her newly acquired handstanding skills
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Seth declared the evening a huge success
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I hope the rest of you can join us next time. I think it’s about time for another blarty.

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Jimmy Crack Corn

I got a sunburn and I don’t care. It might peel and I don’t care. I decided today that my little space heater* that I love so much just can’t come close to comparing to the sun. I laid there, soaking in the rays, feeling like even my insides were burning up and I thought, “Man, this is the life.” I honestly think that my eyeballs were burning, even though they were completely covered by my eyelids. And guess what? I don’t care! I love Vitamin D! Maybe I really needed it today. I don’t know, but it felt GOOD. And I wasn’t laying out there to get tan either, in case anybody’s wondering. I gave up on that pipe dream years ago. See, my legs have this built-in shield that’s better than any sunscreen. It’s like an SPF 550. It’s so thick, that I’m sure it would repel the Starship Enterprise if that thing were ever to try to make an attack on my legs. Nothing can get through my white leg shield. No, I laid there because it felt good to feel the heat seep in and around and through every cell in my body. The heat went in and the stress went out. Ahhhhhhh…….

While I laid there, I heard happy screams and splashes and funny games. One of them went exactly like this:

(Imagine the biggest little-girl megaphone voice that you can)

“Welcome…..to the crowd…..of the fight!
The really……….big…………fight!
In this corner………………Sadie Linebarger!
And in this corner………..Grace Wickle Chickle!
Rah-oar!!!!!!!!!!”

Then big, flexing muscles, pouncing, splashing, giggles and screams. Ahhhhhhhh…….

As we drove home with the air conditioner blasting all of our new freckles, I glanced at the guy driving beside me. He was about fifty, with an old sun visor that used to be white sitting on top of his grey hair. His bony, bronze, weathered arm hung out the window of his pick-up truck that used to be white while his other arm rested easily on the steering wheel. Every once in a while, the arm that was hanging out the window would come inside the truck long enough for him to take a puff on the cigarette that was dangling from his fingers. He looked for all the world like he was thinking, “Man, this is the life.” I felt a great camaraderie with this guy as we drove south together on Plano Road, with the bright Texas sky stretching out forever before us.

Ahhhhhhhhhh……………………

* I really feel like I should add a post script here to inform everybody that in spite of my sunburn and in spite of the fact that it’s 95 degrees outside and I was in it most of the day, I’ve got my space heater blasting away at my feet under my desk while I’m typing this blog post. I believe I might have a problem. And I don’t care. Ahhhhhhhhh……………..

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Wade, Swim or Flounder

Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children
Wade in the water
God’s a-gonna trouble the water

Summer is upon us.
The heat is on outside and the deep freeze is on inside.
The grass is green and tall because of all the rain.
The water that I’m wading in is murky at best.
One wrong step and I’m instantly over my head.
But here I go…

Callie left for camp yesterday.
She went to youth group at the church down the street.
Made a friend, signed up for camp.
She’s gone.
She’ll come back changed, I’m sure.
But she was changing anyway, so I wonder if I’ll recognize it.
She’s surpassing me.

Sadie’s been doing a lot of mulling lately.
She’s convinced that we can’t understand what it is to be her.
I think she’s right.
But not because she’s the middle child.
Just because she’s her.
The way she thinks is taller than me.
And I haven’t been here before.
But we’re interacting.

Grace is still Grace.
I believe that I have been here before.
Only it’s more smiley this time.
Or maybe my eyes are better.
Or maybe I’m delusional.
The way she is at her gymnastics lesson is a joy to watch.
Finally, a place to get all her bounciness out.
I wonder what’s next?

Here I go.

Let’s swim!

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Processing While Holding On

I watched two movies yesterday. The first was in the morning, at home, on my DVD player, with my husband, while the kids played in another room. I hadn’t seen Apocalypto in the theater, but Chris had and he really wanted me to see it. I know why now. It was amazing. I know that Mel Gibson has gotten a lot of criticism for making such incredibly violent movies, and believe me, this was definitely the most violence I’ve ever seen in a movie, but I still think it will go on my mental list of favorite movies ever. Besides, graphic violence is an easily solved problem for me: I just close my eyes. It’s instinctive. I can’t help it. I don’t think I could even will myself to watch if I tried. Something awful starts to happen and my eyes just automatically close without my brain even telling them to. And the couple times that I accidentally watched something terrible that I didn’t want to see, I would yell at Chris and he would apologize, as though it was his fault. He’s a good man. And it was a really good movie. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard at the ending of a movie. I was sobbing-crying. That’s how I know it was a good movie. It will stick with me.

Then last night, we got to go out on a date. Just Chris and me, while my parents watched the kids. We had dinner at a nice restaurant, outside on the patio, in a swanky part of town, and then went to a completely sold-out showing of Ocean’s Thirteen. It was enjoyable – I giggled the whole way through it. But the conversations going on all around us as we walked out of the theater were really amazing to me: “That was better than the second, but not as good as the first…” “Nothing could ever be as good as that first one…” “Well, at least it was better than the second…”

What I really want to know is do people REALLY remember the first and second Ocean’s movies? I saw them all too. I liked them all. Giggling equals like to me and I remember giggling through Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, AND Thirteen. I couldn’t tell you a thing about the plot or what made any one better than any other though. Even the one I just saw last night. Basically some really likeable (and good-looking) crooks pulled off another deal thingy. Is my memory really that much worse than everybody else’s? Maybe it is. If so, maybe it’s a blessing. It helps me never to compare. I just am where I am, trying to enjoy whatever I’m doing, for whatever it’s worth. Sometimes I don’t succeed but mostly I do, I think.

I like that I can go out on a date with this guy that I love and still think. Neither of us are really big talkers. Yesterday, I just needed some time to process. Sometimes it’s hard to process in a crowded, swanky place. My senses go on overload and my mental gears can’t keep up. I notice the people and the way they dress and I hear all their conversations and I see little tiny girls who can’t be any older than my Callie and they’re dressed better than me, carrying purses better than mine, with their little skinny legs and twelve-year-old actions making it all seem a little freaky. And I feel scared for my kids. And we sit at a table where we hear every word of the five forty-something women next to us, with their perfect hair and perfect bodies, while they talk about diets and exercise and aging parents and teenage kids… and it gets really hard for me to tune it all out. And I feel scared for my future. But somewhere in there, we got our own conversation in about things that were making us sad and what we thought of life as we know it and where we hope to end up one day and a miracle happened when the processing turned to talking: the world around us faded away. It was nice.

And as we left the mall, walking into the crowded parking lot, with the lights and the noise and the valet parkers running everywhere and horns honking and the teenagers drawing attention to themselves, my husband took my hand and we made our way to our car. I was so grateful for that hand. I felt like I was holding on to that hand for dear life. And as I was lost in my thoughts about the day, the thought occurred to me that Chris was probably lost in thoughts of his own. And I wondered what they were. But I didn’t ask. I know he’ll tell me when they’re ready to be spoken out loud.

And when we got to my mom and dad’s to pick up the girls, I looked through the window by the front door and saw Callie and Sadie playing a game of Monopoly and Grace, making some Father’s Day cards. Regular kids in regular clothes, doing regular kid things at the home of their grandparents, who love them. And I wasn’t scared anymore. I was home.

It was a good day.

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Conversations with Grace

Grace, crying and holding out her porcelain bunny with the ear broken off: “I was just dropping this to see if it would break and it DID! (Wail!)”

Me (incredulous): “You were dropping it to SEE if it would break?”

Grace: “Yeah, but I didn’t mean to! (Wail!)”

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Chris, singing a lullaby to Grace as she was falling asleep last night: “Hush-a-bye, don’t you cry, go to sleep, my little baby…”

Grace, smiling sweetly and letting her eyes close: “Hmmmmm…..”

Chris: “When you wake, you shall have all the pretty little ponies…”

Grace, coming fully awake, pointing her finger in Chris’ face: “Hold it right there. That doesn’t make any sense. How can I have ponies when I wake up? We don’t HAVE any ponies.”

Nobody’s pulling the wool over her eyes. I love my Grace.

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Contemplations

It’s been a hard couple of weeks. I feel sluggery. I can’t find my full strength to make it through each day and so I just slug my way through. Tonight, I spent a couple hours sitting outside in my back yard, looking at my peach and apple trees. There wasn’t really much noise in the twilight, which was nice. No lawnmowers, no dogs barking, no kids playing. Just me and my sluggery thoughts, looking at those trees and contemplating.

That peach tree produces so much fruit every year that I almost hate it. I can never quite figure out what to do with all the peaches. And I’m always afraid that the weight of the fruit while it’s growing is actually going to kill the tree. It’s got to be the pregnant-est peach tree I’ve ever known. Year after year. By the time the fruit is ripe and ready to be picked, the branches are weighed down so heavily that they are almost touching the ground. Every year, after picking the peaches, we take a chainsaw and hack that poor tree so much that I become afraid that we’ve killed it and it will never produce again. But no, it just can’t be hacked too much, apparently.

And then there’s the apple tree…. I’ve never really spent a lot of time with that apple tree. It’s a weird apple tree, to tell you the truth. It’s not straight up and down, for one thing. It looks like it’s survived hurricane-force winds and stayed that way. Its branches don’t make any sense either. They don’t grow out from the trunk. They grow kind of inward and then get all twisted and gnarled as they try to work their way through one another. It’s not beautiful at all. And it usually produces a few, sickly-looking apples, which mostly get ignored. But you should see the apples that are growing this year. Bright green, perfectly round, blemish-less apples. Hundreds of them on every twisted branch. I think it’s even pregnant-er than the peach tree, if that’s possible.

Sometimes I miss my people who are scattered all over the world so much that it feels like my heart will burst. I’ve got this life here though and so here I am. I wake up every day and I build and tear down and try to find beauty where I can and make it where I can’t and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and then I go back to bed. Sometimes I’m not really sure where I’ve come from or where I’m going and the world keeps turning in spite of me and I keep coming and going anyway. Sometimes I sit and look at my trees and try to figure stuff out. I see creation, which points to the Creator, which I will never figure out, but my heart keeps tugging me toward Him anyway.

And somehow, I’ve got these kids that are growing up so beautifully even though they came from this gnarled and twisted tree. And I’ve got this love, that feels like pain, that propels me to keep going. And I’ve got this hope, that comes from a promise, that there’s more than just this sluggery-ness and so I go while I wait for the more, even though I don’t know where I’m going or how long I’ll wait.

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