"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This life, 30 years in the Making

Those eyes -
have taken in 30 years worth of beauty, 30 years of images that cannot be erased.

Those feet -
that have moved you through 30 years worth of moments, traveled you through ruin and grace.

Those hands -
that have picked 30 years worth of songs on that old guitar, 30 years of grasping hands with your ancestry, dirt through fingers of the land of who you are.

Those lips -
that have whispered 30 years of broken prayers and petitions, 30 years of hymns set to your own music pass by its gates.

That soul -
harbors in it 30 years of hard fought lessons. 30 years of betrayal, redemption, majesty, pain.

Those years -
 30 in the making...have led you to this place. This moment. This man.

~ ~ ~

Today, I celebrate a man for whom I cannot express the depths of my love for. 

Never has there been a person who feels so intricately woven into my very being than my brother.

Perhaps it is because from my first breath, he has stood over me, protecting.

Or perhaps it is because since my first step I raced to keep up with his gate.

Perhaps it is because of the secrets we shared tucked away on lazy afternoons of our childhood.

Perhaps it is because I still feel his hand warm in mine as we lowered our beacon of life into the ground.

Or perhaps from the adolescent competitions I tried desperately to win, to prove my worth.

Perhaps it's because as I clutched my first born son to my breast, we locked eyes and he knew my truth - I didn't know what the hell I was doing.

Perhaps it's because as my children's shadows grow long on summer sidewalks, I feel the sun beat on the crown of his and my hair, walking between the lake and cabin, spilling cat tail seeds into the wind.

Perhaps it is because he challenges me to find myself, picks me out of self doubt, striving to give room for the soul he unwaveringly believes to be strong and true.

Perhaps it's in the now, over a glass of wine and toasted french bread, when we share our own communion and whispered confessions that taste bitter and raw, the salt tears of redemption.

Perhaps it's how my arms feel right around his middle, with our backs turned, shoulders in, heads bent together to weather these life storms.

Perhaps it is all of this, and none of this, except that;

He is in my blood. My bones.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

This week's word: Grateful

I am grateful for our small old house bending and creaking to hold in our family.

I am grateful for game day rivalry.  brother pitted against brother, civil war epic proportions.

I am also grateful that of that football rivalry, my husband's team was victorious...afterall, I have to live with the man.

I am grateful for the grace in which my mother-in-law and husband prepare food in the kitchen. Conferring softly over steaming lids of dishes  smelling of warmth and home.

I am grateful for using my mother's plates to hold the meal, a true blending of family efforts.

I am grateful to have more bodies to share the day with than seats at my table.  I am grateful that at 30 years old, my brother and I rejoined the kids table.

I am grateful for the blessing of the meal being given by my 5 year old that made my mama heart sing. Why do grownups even try to pray, when it is said so much better through the honest, simple prayer of a child.

I am grateful that after the dishes were put aside, the uncles carryied my laughing children back and forth to "jail" for the better part of an hour, while I just...sat. And smiled.

I am grateful that for a pause, the house felt empty after everyone left, for I knew then that it had been full, and it had been good.

But mostly, I am grateful to the life that has led us to the meal.  The shared love, heartache, dreams that we have traveled together.  For that I will give thanks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What's in a name

I took great pains when choosing my children's names.  To me a name is more than a passing fad, more even than a name you can picture saying every day.

I feel a name is a one word benediction, a calling into form a spirit into life.

The Bible is full of examples of God moving in the lives of His children - charging them with their strength traits, re-naming them to a new purpose.  As I read, I can't help but yearn for this re-naming from the Spirit, an intimate anointing from the Creator.

While lingering on this, I hear Him say,

"but I have re-named you. I continue to guide you to repurpose of life.

First, you were called daughter, sister, and friend.  You grew into these names.  You learned to trust, learned to depend, learned to listen, learned the discipline of loyalty.

You have since been named wife.  In this has been growth, a need to discard selfish ways, to bend but not break, to speak love into one who has called you to himself.

This purpose has made way to your name of Mother. No greater name has been given, no greater challenge than to love others more than yourself. In this name you will learn devotion, strength, humility and grace." 

I carry with me the re-naming of the Spirit.  And even still, I carry names He has called me always, whispered into my deepest self. Names that pacify my longings, my lonely depths of despair...for he calls me 


"...for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine."  - Isaiah 43:1

Monday, November 21, 2011

what to get the girl who has everything, and what to give to those who have none

I came home for seeing Les Miserables with my mom to this beautiful sight... my daughter who had a little bit of a hard time with mama being gone, and missing her night time routine, so daddy and she set down to the making of the "List"... so far my darling daughter is wishing for these things this year:

1. Screaming gorilla
2.  Pretend Asteroid

She might be dissapointed, but at least all of her immediate needs are being met.

But then, these too are my children, my sisters:

Christmas lists are the last thing from their minds.  Won't you please read the story Here about how some fabulous women are raising money by putting their children's art and hands to help raise money for this cause by donating the proceeds of these super cute Christmas Cards

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cornucopia of Crap

(Warning: Not for the faint of heart...this post contains real life pictures of my ain't pretty, but it's loved.)

Clicking through the greater blog community, I have been seeing all of these fabulous "easy" decoration ideas for Thanksgiving...and the more I click, the more I chuckle to myself...

NOT actual picture of my on friend, read on...

See, as beautiful as these ideas are, if I had to be truthful, I just don't care that much.  Sure, I'm at a different season of my life: one full of barbies, discarded socks, and piles of school papers...but I could be more organized than I am, but as is abundantly clear by the state of my house, I am not.

My biggest Thanksgiving decor tip is this: Raid your kids backpack, for all his Thanksgiving/autumnal artwork...half hazardly display around the dining room and grin wildly as people exclaim "Oh look! Owen has decorated this room so beautifully!"...  The real key to this decor is to bribe said child with extra whipped cream on his pumpkin pie to keep quiet about his not decorating a thing.

Here are the top ten things my family and I will be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

1.  The table being cleared off long enough to fit a full family at it to eat a meal

actual table...

2. Jammies with coffee and cocoa watching the Macy's Parade.

3.  A day unplugged from electronics...well...that probably won't happen entirely, but less.  (After all the Packers play that day!)

4.  My children eating something not in nugget form.

5.  If we can find two matching socks in under 20 minutes.
alas, matching wasn't even in the cards this morning..

clearly, matching jammies is too much for my tinies to ask for

6.  My husband and mother-in-law that will knock the food out amazingly.
                        (I belong at the kids table, I don't pretend otherwise)

7. Our house smelling of food odors that doesn't send us sniffing under couches and in cushon cracks looking for its origins.

8. Having a house filled with a cornucopia of crap; my bountiful harvest that consists of mounds of dirty laundry and dirty dishes... but it's our crap, and we are truly blessed.

9.  If I can keep clothes on my daughter for the whole day.  Heck, I'll settle for a whole meal.

not staged...but, if you know Ava, you knew that already.

10.  Bodies of the people that mean the most to me gathered around in one place.  Flesh contact with those that make my soul sing...really, is there anything more important to be thankful for?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Merry Band of Misfits

Five minute Friday:Grow

We were all packed in on bleacher seating,
knees twisted at precarious angles, and restraining little sister legs, swinging the full of the bounce that being a fresh 3 years into life can hold.

It's cold now, so there are mounds of jackets slipping from shoulders and through the cracks. Within minutes the heat begins to rise from stagment grown-ups.

In tromps the first child, and with that, every parent is straining to get a glimpse of their child walk through the gym door.

What a sight these kindergartners are: some with jeans, sweatshirts, white pockets protruding....others in full Christmas dress display, black shoes glistening in florescent light.  Their hair still holds the fresh colic of sleep, but their face radiates the hope of generations to come.

As they tear into their medley of "head and shoulders knees and toes" and "this light of mine", I watch in awe as the first child I bore stands before me, quite outside of my protection, showing me the skills he has honed while he's disappeared from me 8 hrs a day. 

Soaking in this merry band of misfits: some sing too loud, others none at all, sneaker tongues hanging out, the undershirt of the sweatered selves came loose on the playground... seeing how very proud they were to give us the gift of song, and how amazingly happy we as family were to witness their growth, to rejoice in their joined voices.  They were as sure of our love of them, and their worth as we were in our pride of their growth, their accomplishment.

I realized then, that heaven must look a lot like this...

A merry band of misfits: not looking at plain sight like a likely group of contemporaries; some dressed in sweats, holes in their jeans, stains on their shirts; others dressed in formal wear and hair done just so.  Some who have lived their lives a little too loudly, others not loudly enough...but all beaming with pride to sing for our makers, and the assurance of our worth.  And oh, how He must laugh with delight at our own songs, our growth.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

from whence I came

I come from red clay mountains, birch trees dipped in the boundary waters, and the echoes of Whisper Lake.

I’m from Big League Chew and Red Hots too, from next to the ice-cream case, taxidermy proudly displayed.

I come from baby grands with broken keys, and cheap guitars played rich with love.

From peanut butter kisses and midnight cheese crackers, rocked back to sleep in a shroud of raven hair.

I come from the echo of shuffling cards,  13 beds packed tight on cement floors, doughnuts sweet decadence dancing in air.

I come from dead-end streets, refrigerator box forts, basement theatres, and a parsonage turned home.

I come from women who were sure in their strength and from men who wept while singing carols.

I come from pot-luck dinners, cold casseroles, Godly instruction seasoned by the taste of Werther originals.

From PhD’s earned at night school, 4am paper routes to buy braces, coffee and burnt toast.

I come from whispering out into the wind as a storm rolls in, from those 2 tiny bodies splashing in the lake at sunset.

I’m from picking berries and mosquito bites, tucked deep beneath the pines,

From miles traveled ~ the world unfolded in the back of a station wagon.

I come from a little pine church built on miners’ tithes, strong hands that held me as his hymns made flight to heaven.

I’m from Norwegian lilts that made my childhood dance, and from the graves that I’ve stood over.

I come from this land, these people, a blood and bone foundation poured deep…

For I am the memory keeper.

(I was first inspired to fill out my own "Where I'm from" after reading Sarah's at Emerging Mummy and you can track the format back to this form: "Where I'm From" template by George Ella Lyons  while I was a little more loose with mine, I love this and could spend years and pages coming up with countless renditions.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Great {Un}Expectation

Five minute Friday: Unexpected


don't let this sleeping face fool you...

From birth my daughter has brought with her a zeal for the unexpected...

                cord wrapped around her neck four times,

                                to the wailing and insufficient eating

(that caused the staff to ask if she was experiencing "withdrawals" of  some postpartum horror, trying to explain, no, I was not on any drugs...)

My son had been relatively easy, and he remains to be.  He lives in his head, he's sensitive, loyal...his little brain works a lot like mine.  So, I thought (the lover of control that I am) that I had this down.

Then, Ava danced into my life,

                  full of fits,

                                 refusing to be alone,

                                                sharp tongue,

                                                                 brazen in her own strength.   

She also carries with her

                the world's best laugh,

                                best kisses (because she makes you work for them),

                                                fantastic artistic taste,

                                                                the freedom to break out in dance, wherever she is.

She has been placed in my life to teach me the joy of the unexpected. To stop, right where I am to experience this life I have been given.  The beauty in the immediate world around me, not just what I am striving to become, what I wish to accomplish. Right here. Right now. Immediate beauty.

Daily, moment by moment, she gives me the opportunity to choose to love well, as opposed to love easy, by what comes most naturally to me.

Ava, the meaning of her name is "Little Bird",
she teaches me to let go, and fly.

How she came out of her room to be dressed for the day...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In these small hours

It's the deep of the night,
the moon cradles us in her belly.

your breath still shines of the baby you were,
while your knobby knees tell of the boy you've become.

Our voices rise and fall in time with our heroes,
stories weaved in air, lift and transport us.

Your fingers, sticky sweet from jam and lincoln logs,
rub the gold plated pages of the tales we're tucked into.

We lean into each other under the swell of stars,
sustained by these small hours.

Monday, November 7, 2011

You're Invited: pj's required

It was a stay home weekend for the kids and I.  Ava and I left home just long enough to grab some groceries and a movie on Saturday, and the rest of the time was spent in flannel pants, thick old socks and hoodies.

I am finishing one of my classes for school, so in between snuggling and reading One Thousand Gifts (I am aware of being tardy to this reading party, but still glad that I came!),I was also working on a paper that's due.  So, while I'm working, the kids are forced to play a little more independently, then throw in daylight savings, and by five o'clock, we were all coming out of our skin a bit.

That's when our dog Layla, finally settling in to even tempered middle-dog age, got a puppy burst, and caught herself a rabbit.  I shriek (as I don't do 'dead' well), and rap on the sliding glass door, of course, inadvertently drawing both kids attention directly where I didn't want it. I took a breath, and explained out that Layla was doing what God designed her to do, and that what happened is another thing that He designed.
This conversation lead to my five year old Owen asking for me to "read from God's words how He created everything for purpose"...

and there, around a sticky table, we were the church, with milk glass rings and left over taco fixings, our communion.

After dinner to get our minds off of Layla's bunny breath, we decide to throw a smashing un-birthday party: cake, sprinkles...the works

Our delight only swelled and turned into a fabulous living room dance party; and in between our peeling laughter, bed heads tipped back in happiness, souls soaring - I got it. 

This - this is the great feast we've been invited to; and the state He invites us in.

So Jesus, we're a coming - stale breath, socks with holes, flannel pants and all...because this joy sustains.  I don't want to miss it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fabulous Music ~ Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons

If you are in search of some amazing music made by some amazing no further. 

 My talented brother and beautiful friend Adriel Harris make, in my opinion, some of the best there is...

perfect for cozy nights in, preparing for winter...take a listen:

Cory Chisel (with Adriel Harris) - In The Deep End - Upstairs at United from United Record Pressing on Vimeo.

to find out more of what they're up to:!/corychisel

Friday, November 4, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Memories of simple grace

This week's word: Remember

We're in the flurry of life ~ coats zipped, seat belts clicked, overnight bags are in Grandma's car.

We walk back inside momentarily dazed at our "two-ness" and stand uncertain.

then, I catch your eyes and I see him there, my 16 year old crush...

my smile creeps wide, and our old friendship falls back in.

during dinner we speak of dreams and places yet to discover,
not unlike  our days of yore when we dreamt of this life we've now built.

in the dark movie theatre I watch the movie screen play over your face,

I hope you see when you look at me,
our life's love,
 dancing with simple grace.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

As I enter here...

my mother's womb, full as the rich soil
lay heavy with ripened crop

along her path leaves burning red,
that match the birthing blood

bending, ebbing road and body
rock her to a rhythm of her own

 the boundary waters hurry past
as her current brings forth life

the raven with its sharp, strong cry
echo my own deep drawing of first breath last darkened hands that work the land,
now work the outline of my face.

(shared now with dversepoets)