Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Here


We close the blinds together every night.  With Anna perched on my hip, I pull the cord and make a "biiipp" sound.  On the second or third cord tug, she joins her with her baby voice, trying to emulate my silly noises.

We make our way from the southern windows to the western ones, and we're met by a glorious sunset.  The sun settles down into it's slumber every evening, and yet for all its regularity, I am no less astonished.  Was this what Moses felt when the bush torched up right in front of his face, the presence of God so palpable and awesome?  And I'm no Moses, but this sky is all torched up, and I see God through the slats of the blinds, and I can't stop looking.  

I set Anna on the couch and fumble for Aaron's Bible on the coffee table.  Is it Psalm 19?  Yes.  I read the words out loud, and my voice chokes.  Anna, she doesn't know what Mama's doing or why we aren't closing the rest of the blinds, but these moments, piled up, they will teach her to see the nearness of God and to sing the language of praise.

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Its rising is from one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.


There is nothing hidden from the sun, and there is nothing hidden from its Maker.

Sunk deep in wet laundry and crusted food on the floor and mornings that come too soon, another day of doing what needs to be done and bone tired at the end - He can feel hidden from us, you know?  Look about and the feeling gnaws harder.  Another bomb in Africa, mobs and gas in a wounded Midwest town, a sobbing mother holding her hungry child, the fearsome powers of the world growing, swelling. 

And I am just going about my business, closing the blinds as the winter darkness presses down...

But it's all the moments that are holy, 

and He traverses with us into all the mundane and all the crazy,

and all of the time He is nearer than we could fathom, 

and our God is beautiful and holy and gracious and so, so good, 

and sometimes, 

it takes a sunset to remember.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Anna's Roundup

If you want to know how to spend your days doing only the coolest and best things, look no further. The cutest 14 month old in the world has a few ideas up her sleeve, and she's willing to share.

 1. Go down slides backwards on your belly.   You know, anything to show off your big diaper bum at the best angle.

 2.  Anytime the dishwasher is open, drop whatever you are doing and check it out at once.  If a big person closes it before you complete your advance, you'll have to bang on the door and wail. Because of course the dishwasher is the only thing that completes your existence.


3.  During the interim periods of your day, walk around the house carrying a small handkerchief or cloth napkin.  Clutch it tightly.  Whatever you do, people, don't lose the handkerchief!!!

4.  Schedule those cry breaks.  Don't worry, you don't have to explain yourself.  Just act like the only thing you can say is "ba ba ba."  


5.  Playground again!  There's never a good reason to leave a playground.  Ever.  Just try to come up with a good one.  Even if you only want to sit on the lowest step the whole time, it's clearly a million times better than sitting on anything at your house.  



6.  Listen.  They're gonna tell you learning how to use a spoon is important.  Pfffft.  I say it's highly overrated.  Hands forever!


7.  At the end of the day, sucker someone into reading the hippo book.  (Go for grandmas first, I always say.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Glory, Winter, and Thoughts on Turnips

On Mondays, I work at the courthouse, which is two blocks away from our house.  Needless to say, I walk to work, especially since parking on our city square is limited to two hours, and the city employee who marks tires also writes tickets with unflagging enthusiasm.  

If you were to walk home with me, you would see the set of a small, rural town - cracked sidewalks, weeds growing in the line where the curb meets asphalt, power lines dipping to and fro across the street, low-slung cement block buildings where cars are sold and restaurants operated.  The empty cavern of the old Hallmark building yawns through plate glass windows.  The tan apartments wear black doors and one lonely white door on the end, as though someone never got around to painting it.

Last night, on my way home at 5:00, the center of the western sky was a flaming circle, smudged out from the horizon in gradations of yellow and orange.  It was glowing above streets I would not always call beautiful.  Blazing light and hope over things the hands of men have laid and built.  

Just a sunset.  But, in that moment, a message so bold.  The glory of God is everywhere.  This world decaying and fading isn't beyond His reach.  No, it's very much still His, every inch of it.  His light busts through the seams of heaven and onto the blue canvas of our dusk, and He says,

This world is mine yet.  

*  *  *

Today, the temperatures dropped into the 30s, and anyone who mentions the weather will inevitably say, "Did you know they're calling for snow on Saturday?"  It feels like blustery winter blew in today and is not going to leave for a long time.  I miss the fireplace from our old house so much this year.  I can't figure out how our current house, built in 1928, doesn't have a fireplace.  My daydreams often wander to lovely brick chimneys with wood-burning inserts.  

But, meanwhile, Anna and I layer up with boot socks and cardigans.  I am teaching her to love the cardigan from an early age.  It seems only right.  


Cardigans and food just might be my coping mechanisms for a winter with no fireplace.  I baked lemon blackberry scones this morning (if you try them, only bake for 15 minutes).  


I'm making acorn squash curry tonight, and for our life group which comes over at 7, an apple gallette.  With the last little bit of the pumpkin spice candle sputtering, we'll make the most of this winter gig.  
*  *  *

Turnips.  They were more of a garden experiment than anything.  Aaron was perplexed when I showed him the seed packet.   I was a little perplexed too, to be perfectly honest.  But who can plum the mysteries of the gardener's heart?  I just wanted to plant turnips.  They did AMAZING.  We have more than we could eat or freeze.  So far, I've offered them to a couple friends with no success, and this is what I want to know...why are turnips scorned?  They're pretty and when you roast them with olive oil, they're awfully tasty.   

So what do you say, are we going to bring turnips back? 


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Five Things


Sometimes, all the small, incredible things my husband does on a regular basis pile up in my heart, and I feel like I could burst for how lucky I am.

Sometimes, instead, the things he is not great at (writing flowery epistles declaring his undying love and affection for me being one) pile up in my heart, and I feel quite sorry for myself that I didn't happen to marry a man with the poetry of Byron in his heart.

Since I'm a feeler, I flop back and forth between these two extremes quite often.  Possibly even in the same day.

All of the time, it is good to focus on truth, yes?  And the truth is, that while Aaron doesn't write me a ton of poignant love letters, neither do I give him nearly as many backrubs as he would like.  The more important truth is, that while we're both faltering lovers, we've covenanted to the Lord and each other to stay the course and figure out how to falter less, love more, and head toward Jesus through it all.  

That being said, I want to share five things my husband does that are amazing.

1.  He takes care of the important, mundane details of life that my dreamer brain forgets to attend to.  Case in point.  This morning he texted me, "I'm going to schedule all of our eye appointments, coolio?"  The fact that he said coolio at the end is the best part.  He knows that if I read a text just about eye appointments blah blah blah, I might never respond.  But put coolio at the end, and bam, my interest is perked.

2.  He loves Anna and is so good with her.  After giving me a kiss, the very first thing he does when he gets home is pick up Anna.  He'll play with her, read to her, wrestle with her.  He changes poopy diapers (we never fight over whose turn it is because he just does it), he gives her baths, he clips her fingernails.  He is Superman disguised as Daddy.

3.  He reads the Word every morning before he goes to work.  He's not even a morning person, but he gets up a few minutes early to read a bit and pray.  To watch the man who is leading our family humble himself before God every morning?  Well, there are few things that are more attractive, let's just put it that way.

4.  He's very intuitive with housework needs and helps without my asking.  Sometimes, he does all the laundry in a week.  Other nights, he does the dishes.  Without fail, he'll ask me if I need help with dinner, and he doesn't seem to mind that I've made him the resident chopper.  "Yes, can you chop this carrot?  Onion?  Celery?  Potato?  Meat?  All the things because I hate chopping???"

5.  He is a generous friend.  I was laughing the other night because it seems that Aaron is the go-to person for a lot of people in their time of need.   Flat tire?  Stranded at the airport?  Need help cutting wood or building a table?  I think it says a lot about his character that people know they can ask him for help, and he will help quickly and gladly.

This is my guy.  He is faithful, steady, and kind.  Not Lord Byron, but that guy was a creep anyway.

For me, a huge key to marriage contentment is this - to spend more time dwelling on the gracious gift that my husband is instead of mourning for the things undone.

Aaron Christopher, thank you for your love.  You are the best kind of coolio.