Saturday, June 11

Order in My Universe

Do I go on and on about cleaning my house? It seems like it to me. Perhaps, because I am making such an effort to foster a thankful heart, I try to see the good side to the things that easily frustrate and upset me. I really am grateful to have a house for my family. It is a good house, and a good home. I am thankful to have all the comforts we enjoy here, and I am glad that our life is blessed with plenty.

Sometimes, though, it would be nice if all that blessing and plenty cleaned and organized itself.

In the last two days, we put the finishing touches on a perfectly clean and orderly living room. It has been in various stages of disarray for weeks and weeks. Now, I find myself wandering in there just to sit and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Have you noticed how people are drawn to order and cleanliness? It's amazing and interesting. Even my super-energetic toddler calms down and hangs around in the clean room.

I am grateful for "order in my Universe". This is a phrase I borrowed from my sister-in-law. I love it, and have borrowed it for my own use. It is certainly applicable to my life. Of course, my Universe may never be all in order, all at once. But I will settle for pockets of order here and there. Maybe just one little solar system here and there. I am grateful for a place to sit and put my feet up and rest for a bit...and then go back to the tasks at hand.

What are you blessed with today?

Friday, June 10

Back-and-Forth Cow

Once, I heard the folktale of the Back-and-Forth Cow: two families, as neighbors, both have milk cows. Then one cow dies and that family falls on hard times. The other family gives their cow to the first to help out the neighbor. Some time later, their situations are reversed, and the second family gives the cow back to the first. Over the years, they give the cow back and forth to each other, blessing the lives of both families in times of need, the end.

That phrase, "the back-and-forth cow", has become part of my lexicon, and it is a good description for my relationship with more than a few of my friends.

One such friend happens to also be a sister...God made us sisters, we chose to be friends, thank Heaven. Anyway, we have helped out each other many, many times over the years.

First, because I'm older, it was me helping her. A lot. Then, it was her helping me. A lot. Now it is a little bit here, a little bit there, and it evens out for the most part.

But I think, if you stopped and took the time to count the cows moving back and forth between our homes,

I am confident that she has sent a cow over to my house many more times than I have sent one back. Just this week, she helped me in a big way to pull off a neat thing for one of my children. I called her up, knowing she had connections and looking for suggestions. And she countered my idea with something much more generous and fabulous.


I opened my barn door and let in one more cow.

I am grateful for the Back-and-Forth Cow. I am so happy to serve and help and lift for others, and I am humbled and grateful when someone reaches out to serve and help and lift for me. And when we do it like that, swapping out serving and being served on a regular basis, it builds a lasting and enjoyable friendship. I am grateful for my cow-toting, service-oriented sister. I am watching like a hawk for my next chance to send a cow her way.

What are you blessed with today?


Pan Out

At least I'm consistant. I have been prone to Wild Hares my entire life.There was the one time I rooked everyone into pooling our money for Mothers Day and giving my mom professional lawn care for her 2.7 acre lawn that entire summer.

That one turned out pretty good.

Then there was the time I dragged all my friends and and family with me to see a free outdoor play at a park an hour from where we lived. When we got there, it was discovered the play finished it's final run the evening before.

That one turned out publicly, embarrassingly bad.

You would think I would learn to vet my crazy ideas for logic and probability. Spontaneous fun is only fun if you don't freak people out about it, and the timing is right, and you actually check all your facts and sources, instead of getting caught up in the excitement and hype and running out the door so fast you forget to grab the diaper bag or the map to where you are going.

Sometimes a Wild Hare is sheer awesomeness, worth every ounce of effort to pull it off. Sometimes a Wild Hare is awful, and I privately hope group amnesia will set in so no one ever remembers how awful it really was.

Latest Wild Hare: I received an email coupon for a bounce house, 70% off the regular price. I immediately thought how I could apply this to my life. Wait, I had to throw a birthday party, was this not the perfect solution? That's the line of logic that landed me in the driver seat, the soul adult in a fully-loaded twelve passenger van, driving ninety minutes (I know, I know) for the privilege of bouncing off of someone else's walls.

Before you light a candle for my soul, you should know it was the awesome kind of Wild Hare. The children (all eleven of them, ages eleven and under) had a grand time. They were so thrilled to be together, they sang and giggled and played all ninety minutes down. Then they ran and jumped and bounced and laughed and danced for two hours.

We took a break for lunch, and gift-opening, and more singing, then it was back to the bouncing. The ninety minutes home were filled with more singing and giggling and some rather dramatic playing (along with some napping). We stopped for ice cream - it was a birthday party, after all - and posed for pictures, and I dropped the party-goers off happy and tired and smiling.

I am grateful when things pan out. That excursion could have gone horridly, horridly wrong in any number of nightmare scenarios. But it didn't. It went off without a hitch. It's the Wild Hares like this that keep me coming back for more, junkie that I am. And, I think most of my favorite memories started out as a Wild Hare. Filed under "Panned Out".

What are you blessed with today?

Thursday, June 9


I grew up in Suburbs. Several of them. Really, for a long time, I didn't know there was any other place to live; my world was just one broad suburb stretching out in every direction. Only people living in the pages of The National Geographic clued me in to other options.

I have fond memories of using the sidewalks. My sister and I walked all over the place. We took "penny walks" (where you flip heads to go left and tails to go right every time you come to an intersection), afternoon rambles, and general explorations into new neighborhoods. Sidewalks went everywhere. We admired other people's yards, we ran through errant sprinklers, we doodled with chalk.

In high school, I started walking home from school barefoot (in fair weather, mind you). As soon as I was outside the school building, I took off my shoes, and carried them home. I felt so wild and Bohemian. Sidewalks enabled this habit/delusion.

Then, one day, my family moved away from Suburbia and took up residence in Small Town, America. If I ever get to talk to Shel Silverstein, I will tell him where the sidewalk ends. It's in small towns.

It's crazy.

Some people have sidewalks. Some people have sidewalks in the process of being eaten by their lawns. Some people have eschewed with the sidewalk concept entirely. I tried taking back up my meandering habit, but it was no use. It felt weird to walk on a patchwork of lawns and sidewalks and lonely islands of concrete.

Plus, I was secretly afraid that some cranky person would chase me off their property for walking on their grass.

Now, all these years later, I live in a slightly larger town. I like small towns. I won't ever go back to Suburbia if I can help it (unless I'm visiting friends, I will certainly visit Suburbia, and even Urbia). I do miss the sidewalks, though. It's nice to visit them from time to time, and put them to use. This slightly larger town had more-than-slightly-better sidewalks. Oh, there are still chunks missing, to be sure, but they're the exception rather than the rule.

I love sidewalks

Yep, I love the sidewalks .I just admitted out loud and in public that I love a strip of continuous concrete. I love being able to walk on it.; I enjoy meandering with my husband on a date night. Taking unscheduled strolls with a child is such effective parent/child relationship time. I certainly am happy to be able to walk to the library and back without having to dodge traffic.

I am grateful for sidewalks. I feel they give a sense of connection and community to a place. I don't know about you, but I'm a lot more likely to go for a walk when there is a strip of continuous concrete to use; get some exercise, enjoy some conversation, take in the sights...who knows? Maybe even get to know my neighbors.

What are you blessed with today?

Wednesday, June 8


My baby is becoming more and more aware of the world around her. She notices people and noises, and is curious. She particularly likes shiny things, and will roll and scoot all the way across the living room, past all her toys, to get to the silver pen her sister is using.

I am delighted and fascinated to watch her learn and notice and progress, even though she is my seventh baby to go through the process. I love to watch as something new interests her, or how she tries to figure something out, or even when she is bored - her face is so expressive!

It is rewarding and introspective for me to see my little baby grow into her personhood. She has always been this person, but she is learning more ways to express who she has always been.

This is the same with all my children; everyone, really. Even me. I didn't see it at first, I was too busy watching the wonder of it to notice the patterns. But there it is, in the life and experiences of each and every one of us. We progress through the ages and stages of life, at first it happens rapidly, but it slows down more and more, until I'm me, in my thirties, learning new stuff at a snail's pace...but still learning.

I'm grateful for personhood.  Each human being I meet is a real, complex, feeling person with past experiences and valid opinions, to really know that and apply it is profound. Part of me is so excited to watch my babies grow up and emerge, so I can get to know them for who they really are. Part of me wants them to stay small and cuddly and innocent forever. I suppose those feelings are part of the personhood of mothers everywhere. I know it will be the former instead of the latter. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the experience.

What are you blessed with today?