Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2007

Who Woulda Thunk It?...Small Scribbles is an Award Winner


Get your mice (mouses?) ready! This post is going to take you all over the Web.

When I wrote Turn-Right Rides a few days ago, I linked it to The Preacher's Wife blog so that other women participating in the I AM Bible Study could read it. This Bible study has actual questions that you are supposed to answer but because I am a triangle and a squiggle I did not answer them. I went off in another direction. (I promise you, Lisa, if I were doing a real life study with you, I would do the same thing.) And because Lisa is a circle and a squiggle (see April 14th) she did not whip off an e-mail that went something like, "Hey! Lady! You did not follow directions! You did not answer one...single...question.Now be banished from my corner of the Blogosphere!" Instead she gave me this:

These are the directions for choosing a Blogger Reflection recipient:

"Give to those who have who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly…

Turn-Right Rides

On Saturday afternoons when I was a kid, we used to pile in the wood-paneled station wagon...three in the front...three (or four) in the middle...and three in the WAAAY back. Looking back, these rides probably preserved my mother's sanity but I did not know it at the time. We just saw them as a break in routine. We would stop fussing and fighting for the hour or so that we meandered through the countryside. Turn-Right Rides we called them. No particular destination in mind. When we came to a stop sign we voted. Left or right? A decision was made and the car pointed in a new direction.

We played the Silo Game. 1 point for white silos. 5 for the blue Harvestors. You could only count the silos on your side of the car. We drove over a bridge with a grated metal surface. The Tickle Bridge. "Everybody put your feet on the floor, we're coming up to the Tickle Bridge." We laughed as the vibrations came through the soles of our sneakers. We held our breath as we crossed long b…

Trust the Force, Luke (or The Further Adventures of Super Crab and Super Turtle)

Yesterday, I touched a little bit on the creativeness of my kids. They seem to be bursting with it. At this very moment John is writing about Were-Chickens and Faith is sculpting a crocodile and its babies. These are surrounded by squiggly clay strips that represent the borders of Egypt.

This slide show created by John and Lauren is Exhibit A into how their minds work. The pictures are infinitely funnier if you realize that the dog in the first photo is evil and is using The Force (think Starwars here) to control the other animals. If you double click on the photos you will see the captions that accompany this work of art. Enjoy.

Decorating Woes

I think of my friend, Dawn, as the Bruce Lee decorator. "Take that! And that! And that! Hiii-Yaw!" Fabric, flowers, paint colors and pictures fall into perfect order at her command.

Me? Notsomuch. My decorating abilities are more like the duel between Merlin and Mad Madam Mim. "Take that! I mean that! OH! That's not what I mean!"

Our one-income budget does not allow for this weakness. I must choose between school books and floral arrangements. My home is comfortable and cozy but you would not be awestruck if you were to walk through the front door. What we lack in beauty we make up for in serenity. This I can attain with music, candles, organization and a structured schedule. It is much easier on the wallet. Oil lamps and the fireplace in the winter make up for the lack of pictures on the walls. The smell of fresh bread and homemade soup might distract your attention from my kitchen table.

We found a large oak table in the newspaper and bought it from a woman who …

Happy Birthday, Tim

My brother Tim and I were born nine years apart to the day. This is a letter I wrote to him recently in commemoration.

There are some things you might not know about the day of your birth and the days leading up to the day of your birth because you were busy developing and being born and stuff. I, however, know a few things because I was eight and then I was nine. These are my memories.

I was an undercover spy when I was eight. I knew where to look for top-secret goods…In Mom’s top dresser drawer. You know the drawer. The one with the Twizzlers and chips, the nightgowns and underwear and all manner of confidential things. That one.

One snowy afternoon in January 1977, my sleuthing turned up a home pregnancy test. I knew a few things about pregnancy tests by the time I was eight. I determined that this one was positive. I just couldn’t decide if this test was for a baby to come or for one of the previous six who were now running around the house. You know how Mom saves things. Turns out i…

The Becoming One

I have been wrestling with God this week. This has a predictable ending. I won't leave you in suspense. He pinned me firmly to the mat and held me there until I cried "Uncle!" It took a few days.

On Wednesday, I wrote this:

Famine and Psalm 33

I am starving
For companionship,
And conversation.
Hungry for meaning,
For purpose.
Will faith disintegrate
To dust under the enormity of this weight?
Carried at length
With no end in sight.
But God says
His eyes are on those who fear him
Who hope in His unfailing love
He will keep my spirit alive in this present famine.
He promises.
And so it is true.

I could not bring myself to post it then because I was still wrestling. Still nursing self-pity. Still lobbying for my rights. God is gracious. He did not grind my weak frame to dust and laugh "BUAA HAA HAA!" in a deep scary voice. Instead He lifted me up and dusted me off. He renewed my strength as I was reading Luke Chapter 11 in preparation for going through it with the kids. While readin…


The house is just beginning to stir. I balance a load of laundry on one hip and tiptoe toward the laundry room. I pass Claire on my way. She is dressed and rummaging in the pantry in search of a pre-breakfast snack. My early morning girl. Lauren, still cozy under her covers, turns the pages of The Indian in the Cupboard. I peek in on her but she doesn't notice. Faith sits up in bed and pushes tangled curls aside. She dangles her legs over the side of the bed and rubs her eyes. The sun pushes through the curtains and makes patches of light on her feet and on the floor.

I pause at the boys' door and scan for dirty laundry. The room is dark. The sun will not make its way to this side of the house until the afternoon. John's stack of midnight reading and his flashlight are in a heap. I pick up a shirt and a pair of shorts and add them to my basket. John and Charlie are sound asleep. John sprawls on his back tangled up in his red fleece blanket. His arms and long legs stretch ou…

A Laughing Afternoon

It's four o'clock. The school debris is tucked swiftly into the drawers and shelves that hold these things. The kids hurry the way kids do when they are working toward a goal that is their own.

John rubs sunblock over his nose. Faith helps him reach the hard to reach places on his back. Lauren pulls swim trunks up around Charlie's middle. She threads his arms into floaties. Claire recently graduated from her floaty suit into a big kid swimsuit and I have graduated to one with a skirt. Time marches on.

By the time I slather on my sunblock, the small tribe has assembled itself outside the gate to the pool. They wait for the go ahead. When they see me, John produces the gate key from a secret pocket in his shorts. The group swells through the gate with shrieks of delight. The sun shines in a cloudless sky and lights the pool with its late afternoon glow. Splashes from the slide and diving board shatter the smooth surface of the water.

Charlie grabs my leg, "Get my swim nood…

Father's Day in Tanzania

My Dad is on a plane at this very moment winging over continents and oceans. My brother, Alex, waits for that plane to touchdown on Tanzanian soil.

Alex has been serving in the Peace Corps since September 2005. He works at a college at the base of Mount Kilamanjaro. His main assignment has been to set up and maintain a computer lab for the college.

Alex is a wonderful writer able to convey the beauty and frustration of living and working among the Tanzanians. He has written about the joys of transportation, about having his camera stolen, about a stay in the hospital. He recorded a story of a student who managed to fill the power source to three or four computers with water and in Alex's words, "wash the life out of them." His most heartbreaking story took place when he was a passenger on a bus. The bus knocked over a charcoal stove and a pan of hot oil onto a child. The next time I am tempted to get frustrated with an emergency room here, I will remember that in Tanzania …

We Are Going Under Cover

We got a creepy phone call from a creepy person that we have known for way too long, today. It reminded me that we know a creepy person who might "discover" this blog. (If you type all of our names into Google we come out as the first six sites listed. This kind of scared me as the creepy person knows all seven of our names.)

For this reason, we are going under cover. I thought about just using initials or weird nicknames like Aragorn and the Terminator but that would make story telling less fluid. So we will have aliases. I will be Kate. Oh wait, I am Kate. I will still be Kate. I will be married to Stuart. My children will be John, Lauren, Faith, Claire and that order. The kids had a great time choosing what they would like their names to be. Hope this doesn't throw you for too much of a loop. And yes, this means deleting a portion of the post about our names. This is sad because it is one of my favorites.

What If

What if you're right?
And he was just another nice guy
What if you're right?
What if it's true?
They say the cross will only make a fool of you
And what if it's true?

The kids and I were coming home from the library yesterday after story hour.
Lauren asked, as she always does, "Will you turn on some music, Mama?
I flipped on the radio. Nicole Nordeman joined us and performed What If for an audience of six. I sang along with her but not very well because I always get a lump in my throat over the lyrics.

What if he takes his place in history
With all the prophets and the kings
Who taught us love and came in peace
But then the story ends
What then?

She sings my story in these words. In college, I let go of my childhood faith and embraced tolerance and enlightenment. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha...all equal...all historical figures. I saw spiritual people as basically good...all on the path to eternal bliss.

What if you dig
Way down deeper than your simple-minded friends
What if you dig

Me and Judas

The kids and I have been reading through the Gospel of Luke. The gospels are full of the Bible stories that I have known since childhood. It is so easy for me to read through them without really thinking about what I am reading. I have been asking God to teach me more than the obvious as we work our way through the chapters. I have been asking Him to show me how these familiar stories are relevant to the very minute I am living in.

We read and discussed Luke Chapter 9 between slurping bites of Ramen Noodles and grapefruit this afternoon. A sticky meal. In verse one, Jesus gives all twelve disciples power and authority to drive out demons, cure diseases, and to share what they had been learning from Him. All twelve. Judas included. Judas who later turned informant. Judas who pocketed the amount of money one would receive for selling a slave when he sold information on Jesus' whereabouts.

How could he do this? Judas had seen Jesus raise people from the dead, teach and heal crowds that…

The History of this Blog (not that it's been around long enough to have a history)

The land of the blog is a culture that takes some time to absorb. There is a hefty learning curve involved in becoming a proficient speaker of Blogese. Good blogs attract readers who write comments and real friendships develop from comment comaraderie. Kind of like pen pals from the days of old but with a sense of immediacy to it.

There are millions of blogs and a writer has to be creative in attracting a readership beyond close friends and family. One of the ways that blog sites do this is by hosting "interviews" (in Blogese: "memes") on their site. They write out a list of questions and any blogger who cares to answer the questions can link back to their site. I have seen a few of these but none particularly interested me...until yesterday. I came across on hosted by Chilihead .(Yes, you read that right. Chilihead. I'm sure there is a story in there somewhere.) I found questions listed there encouraging bloggers to share the history of their blog. I'm not …

A Name by Any Other Name Still Means One of Us

The neighbor down the street has three grandkids visiting her this week. We have a pool. And Game Cube. And five kids of our own. We are seeing a lot of the grandkids.

Grandkid One and Two have "Yes, ma'am" down to a tee, excellent manners and immediate obedience. Grandkid Three? Not real strong in the obedience department...or the manners...or the honesty department. I have learned something about dealing with kids who spend a good amount of time at my house. I make them toe the line from day one. This kid is learning that he can't pull the wool over my eyes and I won't cut him any slack. He does not know who he's messing with, buddy!

He also doesn't know my name or any of the kids' names or Stuart's. He came to the door at 8:30 yesterday morning. "I want to play Game Cube with that big kid. What have you got to drink?"

"The big kid's name is John and he's still asleep. If you are thirsty you can get a glass out of the cupboar…

Inky the Clown

Stuart wants to take a year off, sell everything we own and sail around the world before the kids leave home. Seriously. He's been trying to sell me on this for fifteen years. So far, I'm not buying. My idea of an adventure would be to travel from library to library and read my way across America.

I love libraries. My favorite two are on opposite coasts...the Warwick Public Library in Rhode Island and the Corvallis-Benton County Library in Oregon. Both are hunormous structures with rooms of quality children's books. My least favorite library in the whole country is The PadlockThe Hamilton CountyBicentennial Library in Hixson, Tennessee. You could read all of their outdated children's books in about a week. None of these places have Miss Jane though. She is the children's librarian at the little library in the center of town...the best children's librarian there is.

I was on the phone with my sister, Sarah, recently. She was filling out entry forms while we talked…

Leaving the Nest

I looked out the window this morning to see a male red-bellied woodpecker feeding seeds to what appeared to be a female. "Oh good,"I thought. "Something to post in my sidebar under the Through the Kitchen Window heading. How romantic." But the drama continued and turned into fodder for this post.

A moment later, I realized that the Will You be my Honey? season is long gone. By now, aviary males and females have met, mated and reproduced. This woodpecker was feeding a baby... a gargantuan baby. The baby was the same size as his father. I watched him drop two or three more sunflower seeds into the impatient young one's mouth. Then, because he was the father, he did not hover for a second longer than necessary. He flew off and left the little black-headed baby to fend for himself.

The red-bellied baby clung to the fence and peered at the seed trays below. He wore a puzzled expression. He boosted himself down into the tray of corn kernels and wrapped his beak around …

Living With Ghosts

The children were dressed in identical orange shirts today. Stuart came home from work with his arms loaded with pool supplies. They swarmed around him like a wildfire and sounded cries of "Papa's home! Papa's home!" The fire disbanded into individual flames who went back to their play. Stuart set down his packages on the floor. He sat down on a stool at the kitchen table. I joined him...happy to see him. He was still carrying an invisible of the heart... and as we sat there he set that down too.

"I had a dream about Renee (an old girlfriend) Friday night. We were walking down a long hallway towards each other. We met in the middle of the hall and talked for a few minutes. It seemed so real."

He woke up shortly after but her spectre remained on his mind. He tried to ignore her to no avail. He tried to push her away with kisses. I was left breathless... and clueless... but still she remained in the room.

"My boss wanted to send me to Dallas on…

Play-together Friends

There is one good paragraph in the book, Why Epossumondas Has No Hair on His Tail. Just one. It is this:

Skunk and Epossumondas were waving friends, not play-together friends. So they waved, and Skunk pranced on by, swishing her thick black-and-white tail.

I like these words because I have many waving friends here. They glide by in their cars and wave. They wave from their pews at church. They wave from their porches. I have not yet discovered a good play-together friend in this small town.

I've been getting tired of the waving. I opened an invitation in my inbox recently to visit with play-together friends. I packed my bag and headed east for a blitz visit.

There were hugs when I walked in the door. Hugs hello to friends and hugs goodbye to family. There was joy at seeing familiar faces and a longing for those who could not escape family responsibilites to knit their hearts and stories together with ours.

The hours we had to visit were few. We wasted no time with small talk. Each of u…

A Sparkly Place

Claire is a planner. She found out on Christmas Day that we would be going to Disney in March. She immediately got out her suitcase and had that baby packed down to the toothbrush in ten minutes. We unpacked her pajamas every night at bedtime for three months. Nothing puts that girl into high gear like a road trip.

She is excited today because we are headed to Atlanta. Claire packs her clothes. She packs our snacks. She packs our books and buckles her younger brother in the car. They wait while the rest of us gather our stuff together and haul it out to the Suburban.

We pull out of our driveway, turn left onto the highway and drive five minutes. Five minutes!

"Mom. Mom. Has it been an hour yet?"

"Claire! You can practically see the house!"

"Is it time for lunch?" The kid is eternally hungry.

"Claire! We just ate lunch five minutes ago."

"Can I have some juice?"

"Let's save it for a little while because if you have juice we'll have…