Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Imagine this all year round

Never thought I would spend Valentine's Day partying with the preschoolers. But never say never. If you'd care for a laughable detour (which will probably attract all sorts of weirdos searching for naughty words on Google), the funniest thing happened with those preschoolers. Please forgive me if you are easily offended. One little boy could not remember my name and another earnest little boy tried to help him, "Riley, it's Mrs. Weiner. It's Mrs. Weiner, Mrs. Weiner. Mrs. Weiner, Riley!" I promise, he said it at least four times before I could high tail it to the block station and offer a correction.

Now, where were we?

Ahem. The day of Love. Yes.

We're actually celebrating in grand style tomorrow, on our day off. Aaron is planning that, and it will be delightful, but who needs grandeur when I have midnight slow dances to Van Morrison and a silly precious message recorded on a CD and 2 dollar roses from the Aldi clearance bucket and a man who reads C. S. Lewis while I waste my time on here? What's that quote from Anne Shirley when she finally reveals to Gil that she loves him, not Roy, and has loved him all along? Oh hang this post, it is doomed to digression, and excuse me while I go net that quote...

Ah, yes, here it is. Anne of the Island, chapter XLI - "I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want you...sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more 'scope for imagination' without them."

This is our Valentine's Day, thrown on the potter's wheel of scoped imagination and deep love and small pocketbook.

Hot pink roses and

twinkly spontaneous garlands and

strawberry cream cheese cupcakes and

homemade peppermint patties and

oatmeal honey soap and

little valentines tucked in brown paper bags

and I pray there's love enough in these walls to swell up loud and clear even when it's not dressed in red and pink, and I pray that kindness and goodwill curl up tight in the small unphotographed things, and I pray that this is the script 365 days and not just a one-week, hyped-up, glitz-and-glamour February showing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This Good Story

We are reading through the Bible chronologically, which is an adventure I have never embarked upon before. I've almost made it to the Promised Land; I'm in Deuteronomy. I can't say enough cool things about a chronological reading of God's story--it brings forth His sovereignty and purpose in a way I have never seen before. I'm a bird, perched in the thin, white pages of the NIV, and the tree-top view makes me want to shout robustly: I will always trust you, God! But, in present time, in the life before it's history, I'm an ant, and limited vision makes it wickedly hard to trust sometimes.

Deuteronomy 6-8 is the backdrop for these thoughts. Moses is instructing the people on belief and action, on who they see God as and how they should live as His people.

I see it so clearly in the story of the Israelites: the absurdity of their unbelief and disobedience laid out next to their magnificent, awe-ful God, the Deliverer and the Giver. Yet the ridiculous transfers, a drawing traced into my own book. The same ugly, heavy strokes of those adulterous people are pressed upon my pages. Couldn't they see? I mourn as I leaf the log of the desert-hemmed people. The call of a Holy God, affectionate and loving to a race He plucked out of obscurity and little. The turned back of a nation, reading His kindness as harm and His way of life as path of death.

But who's to say the observer of my life could not utter the same? Can't she see? The thing which she names bad, no it is Good, and the hard thing she skirts the edge of, it is for her Best, and the grocery budget she frets over because there are always so many people to feed, it is her manna, for is their cupboard ever empty? She grumbles against this land, these frustrating circumstances, and if she would just take off those heirloom Israelite glasses, spectacles of fear and doubt and mulishness, what would she see?

The cry of Moses to the throng is the beckoning for me too--here, now, Tuesday of normal that could be holy.

Do not forget the Lord your God.

By His hand He has brought you.

Do not dare to think any of this: the car, the house, the clothes not even shabby or threadbare, the husband, is the fruit of your own labor.

It is all from Him and the heart that builds its nest next to His throne finds that it is more than enough.

The story is good, Israel.

The story is good, Lara.

Trust and believe.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What do you do with a snow day?

A blizzard came to town, a bona fide blizzard. For a whole day, the snow blew and drifted, and each time I passed by the window 'twas with a wish for more. (I took back my wish when I thought of you, Dad!) 20 inches in the end, and I can not ever remember this place with more.

We've had a cracklin' fine fire. In the fireplace, not atop the stove. We've read: Aaron sinking his imagination deep in C.S. Lewis' space trilogy and me trilling along with the lighter work of Jan Karon. (Does anyone else want to move to Mitford?)

We tried to build an igloo. The success was minimal. We couldn't agree on the particulars of the roof, and I was cold, and what had seemed like such a fun idea, a memory in the making, rapidly turned not so fun. Boo. But amends were made over dinner soup.

We played ice-hockey. That was fun. No complicated engineering there.

Aaron shoveled the equivalent of Manhattan with a shovel left by the old owners of our house.

I made enough baked goods for everyone living in Manhattan.

We moved four pieces of furniture out of our bedroom so that we could slide our bed into various and contorted positions. Experimentation is sometimes necessary to discover what one innately senses. Our bed fits in one and one place only.

To this snow day turned snow week, I say: let's have a rendezvous again. Next winter? When an excuse to be a homebody comes knocking, I won't leave him on the front stoop. I do so like imposed hermit-hood. Now if only we could find Pops a job other than postman...