Sunday, June 26, 2011

Love Strokes

How does your spouse say “I love you”? Can you recognize it when he does? 

Briz showed up at the pool 10 minutes after the girls and I arrived. They little ones in their psychedelic suits run up and down the stairs to race down the water slides. He sits down beside me, an odd sight in his cowboy hat amidst the tattooed and oiled tanning bodies crowding the pool. “Are you going to swim laps with me?” Good idea, but I didn't bring my suit and just planned to read and write while my little ones got their fill. “Will you wave at me once in awhile?” I ask.

“Every time my arm goes up really high, I'm saying hi and I love you. “ I reexamine my manuscript. The sun fades the words and I strain to desipher. I look up. I see it. “I love you.” 

Back to work, I download pictures. Twenty minutes later.... I love you still.  His rhythm pulses as he glides back and forth through the water. Almost an hour has past. I look up. He is loving me across the pool. Continuously. First one arm rises in salute, then another. Its like breathing to him... this love he has for me. 


I didn't know I was dry in my brain. I thought I still had miles to go. Miles of care, therapy, and structure to offer my people. But Jodi asked me last minute to join her at her house in Idaho for a little R&R with my girls. I can get Ladybug out of school! We can go! The younger two can feel like they have a summer that is not just Ladybug therapy. 

Ooops.   Ladybug cannot go.  Do I stay home?  I HATE to have a vacation without her.  But I decide that her behavior cannot punish the rest of us.  Three girls join six other girls to fill the small house in Paris with giggles, nail polish, and fun.  

Life slowed down enough for me to hear my brain.  Without thinking of how to therapy each moment, my mental and emotional joints loosened and I laughed... really laughed.  

Volleyball.  Darling if you Love me... Smile.... Bear Lake.   Round and round on the merry go round.  Morning and Evening Walks.  Crafts.  Movies.  Night Terrors.   Late night talk therapy.  Sunburns.  Mosquitoes.  Ice Cream.  Montpelier Library.  Good Times.  The best of times.  Summer memories

Friday, June 24, 2011

Princess Festival

Hundreds of miniature princesses self consciously trotted through the gates with their mommies in tow into a magical land.  College aged princes and princesses swarmed the garden.  As each passed, they looked at each small one.  "Good day princess Sunshine"  they said as they doffed their hats or curtsied.  "Every girl is a princess even if they don't know it.  Huh Mom. "

The prince from Snow White invited us to watch as they enacted their adventure.  Sunshine watched open mouthed as Snow White teaches her step mother that beauty is more than mirror deep.

We move on to meet other princesses, other adventures.  Sunshine writes letters to servicemen as Princesses are appreciative.

She ties quilts for orphans in Hati because princesses take care of others.  She makes hair bows for children in foster care.

Cinderella asked if any of the little princesses in attendance could teach her how to tidy up so she could go to the ball.  Sunshine answered stong int he affirmative.  When the stepmother asked if she knew who the beautiful maiden was that the prince was dancing with, she told her and mentioned that she should not be so rude.

The $30 entrance fee went fully into water and wells for Africa.  My princess was enchanted.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Only 12 fishes and 5 loaves of bread for hundreds.
A dead friend, grieving women at the tomb of Lazarus.
A last supper portion of bread and wine as a final good-bye strength for those you love.
Thorns to tear the delicate flesh of the face and neck, thick nails to crush and sear, weight, too heavy to bear.

All preceded by thanksgiving.  Not after, when all turned out well, but before when all looked darkest.  

Jesus gave thanks ... and then. 

Gratitude precedes the miracle - salvation.

My camera was the lens to record God's gifts, great and small.  My keyboard became the pen to offer thanks for my days.  But the inner lens became clouded, unable to take in light.  "When your eye is clear, your whole body is filled with light."  The beautiful world that still existed went unseen, unappreciated.  

Therefore, the list of 1000 gifts. 

4.  Sun warming my shoulders.
10.  White capped mountains against a blue sky.
20.  Diamond drops of life causing laughter.

24.  Broadway on the lawn.

28.  Chalk that fills a concrete square.

My camera and fingers will open the lens again and like Adam, I will name.  And in naming my blessings, I create. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

You are Not Alone

Our home is full of hurt people right now.  It's all just part of living in a fallen and wicked world.

The pain is palpable.  I see shame and self loathing on one little face as she hides behind the sofa.  I see her seek for reassurance that she is still worthy and loved as she asks to play the game she gave up years ago, the one where I shop at a baby store till I find just the right one at the end and take her home. 
I hear it in anothers voice as they ask, "Is heaven full of nice people?  I don't think I'll be going there. Heavenly Father isn't helping me right now.  I keep asking to be nicer to my mom but he's not helping me."

I see it in my other one as she bravely tries so hard to be and seem perfect... so afraid to make a mistake to add to the burden of the household that she cannot bring herself to admit any wrong doing.  

I see it in the glazed eyes of a loving caretaker and breadwinner who escapes to fantasy or tennis at night to escape the pain of wanting above all to protect and care for his family.  How could an enemy have crept in and sabotaged his best efforts?  How can he fight and protect against the shadows that have struck?   

I feel it in my heart as I woodenly move through the day, facing a glass mountain on which progress seems improbable, crying for loss of innocence,and the pain of impotence.

No doubt about it.  Things are tough. Sickeningly, achingly tough. 

A few miles away, Jodi is praying, "Father Help my friend!  Help her family!  Can't you send something?  Can't you send someone?"  In silence, her heart hears the answer, "I've sent them my Son."

A quick trip to Seagull Book Store, a ribbon to symbolize the gift, and a note on the back.  She knocked on our door.

"This is a moveable picture.  Right now move it everywhere you go - from room to room so you will always remember you are NOT ALONE!  I've brought a small one for each of your girls.  Are they still up?"

I had been  in the process of the nightly snuggle down and all were waiting in their beds.  

We sit on the edge of each bed.   Jodi tearfully delivers a personalized message about her friend, also known as the healer.  She tells Sunshine how he loves her freckles, her blue eyes and her fastness.  (Her new shoes make her run even faster).  She testifies to Ladybug about his power to forgive and erase.  She shares with Little Mother his willingness to accept imperfection and heal our family. 

I find myself leaning toward the picture arms outstretched just a bit, hoping, longing for a hug.

She tearfully turns to hug me as she exits.  "I didn't know what to give you.  I didn't know what to bring, so I just brought him." 

Well his company has been most welcome.  My throat has eased it's constriction, my stomach has unclenched, and each little girl went to sleep looking at their older wiser stronger older brother who has the power to see us all through this storm.  Thank you Jodi for inviting such a wonderful friend to give counsel and comfort when you could not.