Lighting candles, praying for sidewalks

I lit a few thrift-store votive jars tonight at dinner.

“God, thanks for these candles, which remind us that though today is pretty ordinary, it’s actually a holy thing, all of us around this table. Thanks for the sunshine outside, still, and this food, and these people.” And we threw in some more words for “hurting places” (my children’s term for what other kids call boo-boos), and for the monkey bread on the counter. I’m here, all the way: cold linoleum under my socks and all.

Flickering lights in those glass jars held my attention throughout that whole meal. I’d taken them down from the shelf this afternoon to wash them. The effect was mesmerizing. The sparkle! Drawing me back to right here, right now, this cliched-but-true spilled milk; these kids complaining because it’s bean soup again. Dave here for dinner, thank God.

We’ve had a string of afternoons of ennui, these girls and I: a pudgy-fingered toddler rips a plastic T. Rex from her sister’s bony grip, and they both scream, and my voice is thick with fatigue. I bark: “Please. PLEASE.” I cannot break up another fight over plastic prehistorics. I cannot: Not until April.

[…]

And about those sidewalks

In the days before homes and hearth-fires, house crickets were depressed wanderers; aimless. Every other creature on earth seemed well-suited to their homes; why not the cricket? Their grasshopper cousin cajoled them to try out their legs, to no avail. The ape suggested, since they were so unhappy, they just give up. And the mole: the Read more about And about those sidewalks[…]

Putting ourselves out there

“We say Christ is Lord, and He can interrupt our plans anytime He wants. We just don’t expect Him to do it. We assume He will affirm everything we are doing and never ask us to change anything we have planned.” Henry & Richard Blackaby, “Experiencing God” *** Alice went to a kindergarten for four-year-olds Read more about Putting ourselves out there[…]

And Paul says, Get on with it!

A few of my friends in Oshkosh came over to our house to help me clean and finish packing the night before I moved the girls and me to my mom’s in Ohio, part of that awkward forward movement toward Michigan a couple years ago. Dave was already six weeks in Michigan for his new job; Read more about And Paul says, Get on with it![…]

A small patch of stable ground

The weight of the Rubbermaids bent the wooden shelves in the garage. It was, what, 19 degrees, and I had Dave lugging them inside earlier this week. “Why now?” he moaned. He’s been going to the gym, all that bacon, and his arms, you know. “Because –” I started, not sure how to explain why now Read more about A small patch of stable ground[…]

Maybe it was a snowy owl

Where we live, there’s always the rumors of snowy owls coming down from the North Pole this time of year. The young ones learn to be good hunters in Michigan, looking for mammals in wide stretches of snowy open spaces. The nature center a few miles away posted one’s in the neighborhood; my neighbor said last Read more about Maybe it was a snowy owl[…]

To which God is saying, ‘Yeah. Duh.’

Earlier this week: The window opened wide, vertically, and the neighbor stuck out her arm to wave hello, and leaned on her elbows against the sill. “What are you tracking?” “We don’t know yet!” Violet yelled up to her. Surreal: sparkles of snow swirled from their roof; the snow on the ground untouched by boot prints, but only for Read more about To which God is saying, ‘Yeah. Duh.’[…]