Thursday, December 26, 2013

because wine

I had planned to take the week off from chores. It's Christmas, after all. Or it was. Like I care: anything to NOT do chores, amiright?!

I scanned the floor with Blake earlier today, searching for the ball bearings to a small maze he'd inadvertently opened and spilled, and I saw much more than I bargained for, but I reminded myself: Christmas. Be strong. Wear slippers.

Vesper finished lunch before me, so I let her out of the high chair, opened a magazine, and tucked into my own meal. About twenty minutes later, I looked down at her, leaning her head contentedly on my leg, and saw a sizable puddle around her. And numerous dots and puddles elsewhere. Her idea of fun these days is taking a mouthful from her sippy cup and slowly dribbling it out over her chin and clothes. Most of the time, we let her suffer in her damp clothing because while we'd prefer she NOT do this, it's not a big deal with water. The juice I had given her after a meal of bananas and cheese is an entirely different story. Why juice? Well, bananas and cheese. I wanted her to poop sometime in the next three days. Why bananas and cheese? Well, she vigorously defied anything else. Why defiance? If you have to even ask that, you've clearly not spent enough time with an 18-month-old.

And why can I observe all of this with a benevolent - dare I say indulgent? - smile upon my face? Check the post title again. It will make sense now.
A previously unshared photo from 2008. You're welcome.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Last year was ten, and I didn't feel like saying anything about it online. This year is eleven and I'm more emotional, probably because grief is weird. And because I'm feeling heavily for those in fresh grief around me. And because each year that passes makes little Blake ever more an echo of his father.

I have a harder time imagining what things would be like if big Blake were alive and an easier time just missing him as a person. I still find myself occasionally surprised by someone who looks like him in passing, or caught by a memory, long buried, that bubbles up and brings a wave of sweet tenderness with barely any sting.

Then I go to an elementary Christmas program, and every year, it makes me cry. Every year, I sit and stream tears with a sincere smile on my face, my heart aching for what big Blake is missing. I don't know what he knows, and I don't presume that a life of brokenness here on earth is more compelling to gaze upon than the very presence of God in heaven... and it doesn't really matter. He's missing out. He's missing nothing. Both are true.

I have the privilege of speaking to a Bible study in a few months, on the topic of "A Heart Restored." Perhaps that is lending to my feelings this December 22, as what I will say and how I will say it have been on my heart and mind. Something has changed in the last year, and it's subtle, but important: Rather than telling my story and including God, I can talk about God by telling others my story. His sovereignty comforts me more and more, rather than being an unknown terror. My understanding of His ways is not really greater, but my trust in them has grown by leaps and bounds.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Snow is coming down in buckets here in Billings, and we're taking our family photo today in the hopes that I'll get to send Valentines now that the opportunity for Christmas cards is largely past. Vesper is raiding my purse for mints while Blake read Psalm 23 aloud in order to earn another 30 minutes on the iPad. Rob is helping Dad work wood for our dining room table. Mom and I will probably play some mahjong at some point.

Happy anniversary to me, married just before Christmas eleven years ago, still carrying a torch for the love I lost, still madly in love with the husband I have. Life is beautiful, and I'm grateful for all of it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

this is my tribe

From a time in August when nearly all of my immediate family was together in Coeur d'Alene. I found it written on a slip of paper in a forgotten book. Because of the sheer number of people (both small and tall) involved, I've listed names and kids' ages for more context.

Lane: No more calling "poopface" at the table.
Maddox (4): OK! I understand that!

Grammie: Hey, Sawyer! How's it going?!

Sawyer (3): (indignantly) Maddox won't play with me! I only just called him an idiot last night!

Reese: Maddox is outside with the hose.
Lane: Uh, NO, he's NOT.
Mason, Smith, Addie, & Blake: Uh...
Lane: I mean, I know that he IS, but he should NOT BE.

Lane: I got this steak just for you. I even massaged it, Mom. Just for you.
Bing: Well, there's a word picture. My wife, the meat massager.