My baby: Year of Small Things

Our oldest had colic. Yes, we tried that remedy. Yes, we tried that other thing your Grandma swore by. People would tell us in the grocery store queue that “it gets better” and “babies with colic turn out to be really amazing people.” Others who saw us clutching books at the library with titles like The Happiest Baby Read more about My baby: Year of Small Things[…]

Can a person deduct library fines as a child care expense? Asking for a friend

I ran the river trail this morning at dawn (which is not as early as it sounds, please hold your applause). A mallard honked at me, a squirrel scolded. I was otherwise alone, dodging icy patches and thinking about how each day now, until June, will be longer than the day before it, a miracle of Read more about Can a person deduct library fines as a child care expense? Asking for a friend[…]

Ten things not to say to a writer as deadline approaches

(I promise this will be the only post I’ll ever use that horrid “ten things” gimmick — until the next book, of course. I know, it makes me vom, too.)

Friends, I’m in the thick of it: writing, writing, wordy word words. The first six chapters of our book has been sent to the editor; we’re rounding out the rest for a January deadline.

And the dishes keep piling, the kids need picked up from school. I’m still volunteering, still working at church, still preaching. We’re reading “The Wind in the Willows” at bedtime; the shower needs a cleaning and so does my hair. The once-golden leaves are past that pretty point; now they’re just dead and brown in the grass and I need to rake. And I have to put them in bags, and I just cannot.

I spend almost all day in prayer and writing things in my mind. And picking up socks from the kitchen floor. I sleep a comatose nine hours a night: my brain is so full. My soul, too.

And people keep asking me questions. And my wrist hurts only when I hold it in the position as if I’m deleting something and still, the questions. Mercy, people.

[…]

Do not be afraid … of the word ‘calling’

We wore our winter hats and our spring jackets to the playground yesterday. I carried a thick book about callings, whatever that means, and sat on the merry-go-round to read a few sentences between the girls hollering for me to watch this, look at that. I chose a Dorothy Sayers piece about artists being the closest to understanding vocation; it was a good choice. Artists make money so we can create, she writes, and in that, we’re doing holy work. Others earn a paycheck so they can live, she writes. Yes, yes, I nodded. “For the artist there is no distinction between work and living. His work is his life, and the whole of his life …” Yes, Dorothy, I’m an artist.

After about an hour of this mental exercise of counting children from where I sat and molding my interpretation of vocation two or three sentences at a time, dirty-mouthed teenagers drove us into the woods.

“Look! Trout lily leaves!” I cried, peeling some autumnal leaves from the wildflower’s spotted ones. “Just like Mary in Secret Garden,” Alice piped in.

[…]

God is all about those meanwhiles

“They screamed as if they were being murdered,” Dave said. “I thought Lou just had soap in her eyes, but I went in there and Violet had climbed out of the tub and was screaming, dripping wet on the rug — like SCR-eeaming,” Dave did jazz hands: crazy-town screaming, then, “and Lou was backed up way back, as far back as she could in the bathtub.”

I could picture this: I could hear it, almost. Staying at home with them has taught me the depths of the girls’ lung power.

“And Lou points to a tiny spider under the soap ledge. And she goes, ‘Dad, he went like this,'” Dave loses it here, laughs and imitates her, curling her index finger in a “come hither” motion. “‘The spider, he went like dis,'” Dave mimicked, bent over laughing.

[…]

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[…]

When a wobbler says yes

The afternoon I took this picture, Dave was already in Michigan, where it was written “there be monsters” on the map. I stayed behind for a bit because we had the house to sell, and I had a paycheck there, and that paycheck was something we needed, or thought we did. (I’ll stop talking about this one Read more about When a wobbler says yes[…]