29 October 2007

Antiques Roadshow

Just a reminder: we may (or, I suppose, may not) be on Antiques Roadshow on PBS today (10/29), next Monday (10/5), or the Monday following that (10/12). During the course of the show, we may be in the background, or there's a more distinct possibility that we may be show up during the credits in the "Feedback Booth."

26 October 2007

Renegade Peppers

...is not the name of my new cover band. It's what I've got in my back yard, along with 3 grape tomato plants and a CANTALOUPE vine, complete with an actual cantaloupe growing on it. !!!

I found them just the other day (sadly, I did not see them during the actual growing season), and I was stunned! I was like, "Hey, those weeds kind of look like tomato plants. HEY! They ARE tomato plants!" Charis actually picked a ripe tomato yesterday and ate it, and there are dozens more tomatoes that will probably never be red on account of the fact that we're starting to frost here. Stink. The pepper plants (two of them) have buds but no actual peppers, and there is a real, live cantaloupe with about a 6-in diameter growing back there!

Here's the funny thing: the plants that I actually plant, die. These plants have sprung up where our compost pile used to be. The moral of the story? I'm a better gardener when I just throw food on the ground than when I actually tend to and cultivate the plants. Kind of sad.

On a side note: does anyone know if I will be fortunate enough to see the return of these plants in the spring? Or are they just gone, gone, gone when they die for the winter? I could really handle having a supply of peppers, grape tomatoes, and cantaloupe at my disposal.

25 October 2007

A: Sticky Pink Hair

Q: What do you get when you combine a 19 month old, fruit punch, and a nasal aspirator?

The Prodigal Bear

Rejoice when a wayward Bear returns to the fold! I bring you good tidings of great news: Bear came home today, after a long absence. He arrived via the USPS, which must mean that he was really really excited to get home. Fortunately, he had brought pretzels and candy corn for everyone; when he got hungry during his journey, he ate his pretzels and candy, but was considerate enough to save some for Charis and Judah. What a thoughtful bear. Here is the letter that accompanied him:

Dear Judah,

I missed you so much!!

I was playing with the other bears at Grandma Donna's house and lost track of time. Luke, and Julie, and baby Annie, and I were having such a great time! We played jump rope, and board games, and sometimes we took turns hiding. We played with trucks and blocks, and read stories together. Then, when I looked around (just last week--I told you I lost track of time), you had gone--Grandma said you went back to our house far away, and it would be a long time till you came back. She gave me a hug when I cried.

I asked Grandma Donna if there was some way I could please go home to my Bubba. I really miss your hugs, and I miss cuddling up with you while we read books with Mama, and I miss sleeping next to you in the warm bed. I even miss when Ruthie wakes us up, 'cause she wants to play. She's so much fun!

Grandma said that I could take a trip in a big truck, but it would be dark and lonely for a couple days. She put some pretzels and candy corn in the box in case I get hungry on the way. I asked her to send some for you and Ruthie so we could have a party when I get home. (I hope I can wait to eat mine until then, but I might get pretty hungry on the way.)

I love you, Bubs. Grandma Donna took good care of me, but I sure am glad to be coming home to my family!

I love you,


Drawing Things That Look Like Stuff

Charis has been way into drawing for the past couple of days, and I think we're starting to turn the corner from abstract drawings to, well, not realism, but impressionism, certainly. Or maybe cubism.


It's a person! With a face, and arms and legs! And a mustache and hair! I asked Charis who she was drawing a picture of, and she told me: Aunt Beth. Though I assure you Aunt Beth does not have a mustache.

And this is an alligator--can't you tell? The two circles are his eyes, and the straight line is his mouth. Apparently he's not a very smiley alligator. Charis also gave him lots and lots of legs, and also a hat--the one accessory that alligators can't live without. She did ask that I draw a "spinny thing" on the top of his hat. I asked her what a "spinny thing" was, and she replied, "It's just a funny word, mom."

24 October 2007

Vocabulary Update

Just a brief post to update you on Judah's words--they're really starting to take off! Lately, he has been spouting words that I didn't teach him specifically, which leads me to believe he has really come full force into the Language Acquisition phase.

Here are the ones that he's used today, some of them for the very first time:
Waffle (waffo)
Banana (nana)
Shoes (zuz)
Belly (bobo)
Bubble (bubbo)
Kitty (kee)
Charis (iss)
Yuck (uck)

Of course, then there are always the old standbys:
This (dis)
That (dat)
Yes (yiss)
Hello (eh-wo)

...and I know there are others, quite a few others, but of course, I didn't write them down, and I can't remember them now. In fact, I really need to write them down as soon as he says them, because there was a funny one yesterday that I of course can't recall now for the life of me.

He can identify (but can't yet say) nose, eyes, ears, mouth, head, toes, belly (okay, he can say that one).

He of course understands hundreds more words than he can say, so it's only a matter of time before he speaks some of them! Today's addition of 4 new words (and yesterday's 3, of course)bodes well for the future.

22 October 2007

A Plug for the Environment

Hey, it's me! Have you missed me? I haven't posted a blog for 3.7 minutes, so it must be time for another! This one will be short, I promise.

I mentioned in the past that we use re-usable shopping bags for our grocery and other retail needs. I wanted to link to the manufacturer in case you, too, were interested in reducing the number of plastic grocery bags you go through. So here it is: Earthwise Bag Company. They specialize in custom-printed bags for retail stores, but you can also purchase sets of bags through their website. I have 8, which is usually plenty for groceries, since they hold much more than your standard-issue plastic bag can, both in volume and weight. They're also useful on trips to the library and to other stores, and also useful as general-purpose totes, so I try to keep at least one in my car at all times. Today, I packed one of these babies with 15 cans of tomatoes and cream soups and other various grocery items, and it handled it all with no problem.

You can buy a set of 10 bags for 12.50 through their website, or more, if you want to give some away for gifts. Here's what they look like:

Traverse City

Okay, don't look too closely at this picture, or you'll notice that we are not in focus, but the very lovely rocks and sand in the foreground are. And pay no attention to the fact that I'm standing in some sort of whacko pose. Both of these unfortunate attributes owe their existence to the fact that I am too timid to ask someone else to take our picture, but feel okay propping my camera in the sand, setting a timer, and running yards and yards away down the beach to stand next to my husband. Seeing this photo leads me to believe that I only just made it into the picture. It could have been worse; it could have been a photo of my retreating rear end.

"Did it take? Are we done?"

"I don't know. Hold still..."

This past weekend, Abe and I drove up to Traverse City, MI, the Cherry Capital of the World, to celebrate our 5th anniversary. What a gorgeous weekend to go north! The trees appeared to be the the peak of their fall color, the sun shone brilliantly the whole weekend, and temperatures were very mild. It was the perfect weekend!

We arrived in Traverse late Friday night and crashed. The next day, after carbo-loading on oatmeal, bagels, and fresh waffles (I know...), we headed to the Old Navy Outlet. Please don't mock me. I found a wonderful long anorak for $13 on the clearance rack which is The Coat I have been looking for for ages. Then, senseless outlet shopping aside, we hit the cute boutique shops of downtown Traverse. One highlight was a shop called Diversions which sold every kind of hat you could imagine: fedoras, barbershop quartet hats, cowboy hats, Civil War-era soldier hats, fur-lined aviator hats, flouncy Sunday hats, renaissance hats...needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), we tried most of them on. Sadly, again, I'm too timid to ask others to take a photo, so I have no documentation. My other highlight was the purchase of a small silicone spatula from Peppercorn, one of several kitchen stores. I have been wanting one of these bad boys for a while. It took a trip north to get one, which is sad.

After a tasty lunch at the Mackinaw Brewing Company (I had the Beef Brisket Sandwich, Abe had the Reuben), we walked the beach, then climbed back into the car and headed out for a scenic drive up to the tip of the Leelenau peninsula. It was gorgeous, even if its curvy roads did make me queasy. We drove all the way up to the tip, where we saw the Grand Traverse Lighthouse and walked out to the water.

For dinner that evening, we set out to find Boone's Long Lake Inn, a restaurant that was recommended by a friend. The wait was long, so we requested a menu to pass the time. When we saw the prices they were charging for steaks that we could enjoy at home for 1/20th of the cost, we made a hasty retreat. We drove around for ages trying to find a restaurant that didn't have a long wait, finally settling on Jesse James' restaurant in downtown Traverse. We were able to be seated immediately in this new restaurant. "Either it's so new, no one knows about it, or there's a reason it's empty on a Saturday night," Abe said. "We'll find out soon." $30 worth of mediocre-at-best Tex-Mex food later, we had our answer. Stinkin'...we should have stayed at Boone's.

Sunday morning, after being heavily fortified with breakfast (and I mean heavily), we headed out to Glen Arbor and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakefront. Our reason for visiting Glen Arbor was straightforward: The Cherry Republic. The Cherry Republic is a veritable campus of Cherry Goodness. There's the main building, stocked with more than 150 different cherry products, ranging from dried fruit to salsa and barbecue sauce to coffee to hand lotion. Then there's the winery, where you can sample 10 or so Cherry-based wines. Then there's the cafe, where you may partake of a cherry-laden lunch or a simple snack of--you guessed it--cherry baked goods. If you ever happen to be in Glen Arbor, plan to stop in here. We gorged ourselves on samples (after 15 tastes of the Cherry BBQ Southern Rub, I still liked it), tasted almost all the wines (we don't even like wine), and walked through the cafe...where we admitted that, after practically guzzling the Cherry BBQ sauce, we were not in the least bit hungry, and moved on.

After our cherry feast, we headed over towards the shore and Sleeping Bear Dunes. We opted out of the hill climb (too much like exercise) and chose instead to drive the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive to better view the dunes. It cost us $10, but it was worth it. We obediently got out to admire the view at stops 3, 9, and 11, as the park ranger had instructed us to do. 3 wasn't particularly noteworthy, but 9 was--at stop 9, you walk along the dune and out on a boardwalk over the edge of the 450-ft drop off to Lake Michigan. It was there that we had our most tangible dune experience: we were whipped by gusts of blowing sand a la Lawrence of Arabia. My bald husband yelped repeatedly as the sand stung his pate, and I tucked in my shirt and covered my face to avoid the certain exfoliation the sand promised. Hours later, I was still brushing sand out of my eyebrows and hair, and trying to scrape some of it out of my ears. Ewww. Um, it's a great view and all, but it's probably best if you wear some sort of mask and also an astronaut suit if you go. We did also stop at point 11, but after all the excitement of point 9, how could it compare? It is already forgotten.

Well, with sand in our shoes, cherry wine and cherry jam in our bellies, and joy in our hearts, we finally headed home to our kids, whom we actually missed quite a bit. It seemed they missed us too, and this just goes to show you: often, the best part of being away is coming home.

Weekend Fun 2

Friday was so fun that Saturday needed its share of activity, too!

Tim had gone up with Abe (or maybe it was the other way around), so Beth and her kids were home alone, too. We decided to take all four kids to an apple orchard for some Fall activities.

Here are Judah, Gideon, and Charis after they climbed aboard the Apple Train. This is the most excitement we saw on their faces for the entire ride.

We tried to get a good shot of all four kids by the pumpkins, but this is as close as we could get. So here are all four kids...and Beth. I've entitled this shot "Nice Try."

Seriously? Four children under 3 1/2? What were we thinking?

Here's Judah striking a serious pose by a large Apple crate, plotting a hostile takeover of the apple stand. He had dressed in Camo for just such an occasion.

Shortly after this photo was taken, we visited the cider mill and the donut shop to watch some of our favorite treats being made right before our eyes. Then we bought some of those said treats and consumed them, so Judah's Apple Stand Coup never came to fruition, on account of the fact that his belly was already full of fried dough.

Here's Gideon during his Great Escape of '07. These mini fences can't hold me in, man.

I didn't get a very good shot of Gideon head-on; He and Charis are generally too busy to take time to pose for a shot. This is the best I could do, although I did try to make it a bit more interesting with the sepia treatment.

Unlike the boys, Charis felt no need to plot any takeovers or Great Escapes once she had this juicy, delicious apple in hand. No, she was content to wedge herself in between the pumpkins and enjoy Fall's bounty. (Also, she might have been a tiny tiny bit stuck.)

And then there's Elise. Beautiful, beautiful Elise! She didn't get wedged anywhere or overthrow anyone or try to escape. She mostly just sat patiently and looked pretty (until we tried to get a picture of all the kids--see above).

Another good day that got us one day closer to Daddy's (and Uncle's) return!

Weekend Fun

These are pictures from our Weekend Without Daddy two weeks ago. Abe had gone up north for a Men's Retreat, so we tried to occupy ourselves in his absence.

On Friday, the kids and I met up with our friends Megan, Katie, and Alyssa for a park playdate. We went to a nearby elementary school and climbed on the hugest playset I have ever seen. The kids loved it!

All in all, the playdate was very successful--I couldn't believe how well the kids played together. As we expected, Judah and Alyssa needed a little more of our help, and Charis and Katie were fine on their own. It's a new era, folks: the "Plays Well With Others" era. I love it!

This photo is one of Judah and Alyssa trying to decide whether to go down the slide. Alyssa is almost ready, but Judah is still unsure.

But then Judah decided to take the plunge, as it were.

Check out the static!

Elsewhere, Charis and Katie hung out on the stepping stones. 'Cuz maybe they're too cool for slides. I mean, they are 3. They'd much rather hang out and chat about important stuff like potty training and fruit snacks. And which Dora episode is the best.

Incidentally, all four kids are so close in age that a mere 10 weeks combined separate their birthdays. Isn't that wild?

Here's a photo of Charis channeling Spiderman. She would be a dead ringer for the superhero himself, were it not for the blond hair and death grip on the net. Those things aside, though, I think it's a pretty close likeness.
And here's the money shot: kids playing in mud. Not that all four kids got muddy, mind you; no, no, only mine. The other two little girls stayed clean and neat, while mine wandered into the parking lot and smeared mud on the clean BMWs. Learn 'em early, I say!

Thanks, Megan, Katie, and Alyssa, for a fun Friday!

19 October 2007

Ah, There It Is

One of Charis' most oft-requested foods these days is bagels with cream cheese. I've always said that, for me, bagels are merely the conveyance by which the cream cheese finds its way to my mouth, but Charis takes this to another level, often eating all of the cream cheese off of the top of the bagel and leaving the bagel shell behind. As you can guess, then, we go through cream cheese quite quickly.

I had just purchased a block of cream cheese last Monday and hurriedly stashed it in the fridge in an unusual spot. Even at the time, I knew that would cause frustration later when I looked for the cream cheese in its normal spot and could not find it. Little did I know . . .

Charis and Judah share a room, as you probably remember. I've safety-pinned a bedspread up around the crib's perimeter in an attempt to block the kids from seeing each other, and to give Judah his own dark space to be. The side effect of this is that the bottom of his crib is, in effect, skirted, hidden from view. Well, one of my frustrations has come during nap time, when Charis has developed a fondness for waking her brother up by climbing under his crib and kicking his mattress. She KNOWS that this is naughty, but she's 3, so of course, she persists. On Monday afternoon, the children refused to nap, and I went upstairs to find that Charis was again hiding under Judah's crib, apparently up to no good. I ordered her out, and she came out sheepishly, of course, and crawled back into her bed.

On Tuesday morning, Charis requested bagels and cream cheese for breakfast. I retrieved the bagels and opened the fridge to look for the cream cheese, and could find it nowhere. This is why I should have put it in its normal place to begin with, I chided myself. I looked and looked, to no avail, and eventually gave up the search, completely flummoxed.

Fast forward to Tuesday night, right before bedtime, when I was searching for Judah's bear. (Bear had been missing for quite some time, and is, in fact, still missing. If you have any knowledge of his whereabouts, please contact me.) Oh, I thought, maybe Judah lost Bear under the crib! So, as best I could, I wriggled under the crib. I did not find Bear, but what I did find astonished me:

A butter knife. And a half-eaten block of cream cheese.

So when Charis was hiding under Judah's bed, she was actually just enjoying an afternoon snack.

I promptly threw the cream cheese away, and I haven't purchased any since.

In Which I've Learned My Lesson

It started out innocently enough. Charis and I were playing on my bed. She wanted to play "Three Rides." I don't know what this means, exactly, except that one of the rides is called "Steering Wheel." (For a while, I thought she was saying "cereal," and that made even less sense.) So there we were, playing "Steering Wheel," and Judah was playing by himself--impressive, for an 19 month-old child--and being very quiet about it. Still, he popped his head in now and again, so things seemed fine.

Really, they did.

Several minutes later, I was changing Judah when I noticed that his arms were quite sticky. I still didn't think much of it, since we had had waffles for breakfast, so his stickiness was to be expected, sort of. It seemed a bit excessive, but I was not concerned.

But it all became crystal clear when I went into the kitchen to get a snack for the kids, and found this:

You will have to use your imagination to picture the floor, for two reasons: 1) I had not vacuumed, so the floor was quite crumby, and it didn't make much sense for me to sweep up the crumbs and then take a picture of the syrup slick, as if my floor is always spotless and crumb-free, and 2) My kitchen floor is carpeted, so it was an incredibly ugly mess. Really, who carpets a kitchen? I know several people who have carpet in their kitchen, and they must be much neater than I am to want to keep said carpet. I cannot count the times I've accidentally dribbled raw chicken juice or bacon grease across the carpet and flipped out because there was no way to properly clean and sanitize without renting a carpet cleaner when, if the floor had only been a hard surface like it's supposed to be, I could have wiped it up with some soap and water and spritzed a bit of antibacterial spray and called it clean. INSTEAD, my carpet is filthy, irreversibly filthy. And if we weren't going to rip it out in just a short while anyway and replace it with beautiful hardwood floors, I would have pulled it up then and there after the mess this morning, because that, my friends, is called The Straw That Broke The Camel's Back.

But I digress.

It took me forever to clean up the syrup puddle this morning because (in case you did not know this) paper towels don't really absorb syrup, they just sort of push it around. Stupid Bounty.

And after that, I would like to say "The End," except that the moral to the story is that I really had it coming to me. Abe's parents sell real maple syrup, and while I grew up on "Pancake Syrup" a la Log Cabin and thought I'd never like real maple syrup, I have grown quite accustomed to having a free and never ending supply of the real stuff in our house. Except that our supply did run out last week, and the kids had been asking for waffles (Judah can actually say waffle now), so I caved and bought a bottle of the fake stuff. And I'm not totally exaggerating (well, maybe a little) when I tell you that Abe, who grew up not only eating real maple syrup but also tapping the trees to get it, was APPALLED that I would even bring the fake stuff into the house. So I guess this is just karma getting back at me for buying the maple-flavored corn syrup in the first place. Sigh.

17 October 2007

Why My Sister-In-Law is My Hero

. . . She gave birth to a big, healthy baby boy at 10:44 this evening, after an HOUR of pushing and FORTY-EIGHT HOURS of labor. She will now sleep for a month. Oh, wait . . .

Congrats, Steve and Katie!!!!! We can't wait to meet little Levi!

I'm Pretty, Mama!

This morning, I was being so efficient: the kids had had breakfast, I'd already prepared my lunch, and by 9:30, I had dinner ready to go, too. I'm so good!!!!

But your kids will always remind you not to be proud, won't they?

Charis came into the kitchen where I was working and said, "Look, Mama! I'm so pretty!" I looked down to see my precious, fair-skinned little girl covered in black marker--on her face, her legs, her hands--she had given herself black circles of "rouge" and had "painted" her fingernails black.

Here's the thing: we don't have any black markers, except for the ones Abe uses at work....uh-oh.

"Where did you get that marker?" I asked.

She shrugged. "I just found it."

I groaned, knowing exactly which marker she had found. "Bring me the marker," I said. Sure enough, it was, as I feared, a Sharpie. You know the kind: permanent. Tonight is Gopher Buddies! She can't go to Gopher Buddies covered in permanent black marker!

Thank goodness for the internet. I had scrubbed at the tattoos with soap and water to no avail and was growing increasingly more worried, but found a suggestion online to use facial astringent. It worked like a charm!

(And that girl will never ever have a pimple.)

11 October 2007

I Just Want to Testify

With some gentle prodding from my friend Ellen, I have decided to post today. I had already planned to anyway, but Ellen's subtle reminder ("UPDATE!!!") helped me get on the ball. Well, Ellen, the post you're about to get may be more than you bargained for.

It has been an interesting two weeks. Three? Whatever.

It all began a few months ago at our Christmas Concert Planning Committee meeting. I attend a pretty large church (not one of those multiple-thousand-members mega churches, but over 1000--large enough to be one of the largest churches in the area), and for a few years, they've been asking me to be a part of this 12-person committee, which was organized to plan what is our largest outreach event of the year. I have no idea why I was asked in the first place, but I've always suspected it was for comic relief; I seldom have anything to add except a snarky comment or a joke. At any rate, they keep asking me to come, so either I'm pretty funny, or I have more to add than I thought.

This year, they asked me to be a part of the writing sub-committee. Generally speaking, we as a church do not do purchased cantatas or programs, so every year's script is an original, and always written by a member of our church body. I was fully expecting that I'd serve in an advisory capacity on this one, it being my first year on the sub-committee, but imagine my surprise when I learned that I'd been nominated to write the whole shebang by myself.


I like to write--love it, in fact--but this seemed a bit huge. What business did I have writing the drama script for this annual concert, which is always amazing and profound and impactful? Snarky jokes do not an outreach make, nor do stories of my children's potty songs or recipes. But I had been asked, and I couldn't say no. Besides, we already had the whole layout of the concert in place, and the general idea for the drama was there, so how hard could it be?

So right away, I sat down with the music for the concert and highlighted the inspirational keywords. I identified the themes in each section to determine what I needed to cover in each drama break. I listened to the songs over and over, having myself a merry little Christmas in September.

And when I really needed to get down to business and start writing, I . . . checked out every commentary on Matthew and Luke and took as many historical and theological notes as I could. I filled pages and pages.

And when I really, really needed to get down to business and start writing, already, I . . . checked out some more commentaries and Bible dictionaries and concordances and took some more notes. Because as long as I was adding to my research, I didn't have to face the fact that at some point, the studying needed to stop, and the actual composition needed to begin.

I encountered two problems, though: 1) I was still thoroughly convinced that I didn't have the talent or the wisdom to write something that would be interesting AND lead people to Jesus, and 2) My kids would not nap, so I had no time to just sit down and write. To be honest, my heart has been heavy these past few weeks, and I've felt absolutely weighed down by this responsibility. Afraid of it, in a way. And every time I thought about writing this drama, I cried--I felt sort of worthless, useless. Scared. And my deadline, October 15th, was looming large.

I didn't think about Satan's influence until I was approached by a wonderful woman at our church named Joni. She helps lead the kids' choir, and has written the Christmas Concert in the past, and is also a part of the sub-committee. She shared with me that she had realized that Satan will do his best to thwart the things you're doing for God, and said that she had experienced that firsthand while she was writing the script a few years ago. "So I'm going to be praying for you as you write, that Satan wouldn't be able to touch you!" I should have known that my fear was founded in Satan's lies; 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." Of course my fear wasn't from God, so it could only have come from one other place.

I'd like to report that Satan was bound and that things got better right away, but that wouldn't be accurate. In fact, after that moment, I became acutely aware of Satan's power, and I was dismayed that, even though my confidence was ebbing back (due in part to a very timely blog post by Beth Moore), Satan still had a very powerful tool at his disposal; I'm sorry to have to tell you that it was my kids. All of a sudden, when it was crunch time, the time I so desperately needed them to take nice, long naps so I could focus on the Word of God and write the Good News, they wouldn't sleep a lick. Another writing friend and sub-committee member, Debbie, told me she would pray specifically that my children would take naps. I wanted to call her and tell her she wasn't praying hard enough. I actually had a veritable army praying for me--Mia, the Worship Coordinator, Mark, the Vocal Music director, and Jon, the Woship Leader. Then there was my choir Care Group. And my Sunday School class. And throngs of friends and family, all praying. It should all have gone smoothly, right?

This past Monday was the breaking point: the kids took only 30 minutes of a nap in the morning, due to the fact that Charis had never actually fallen asleep and wasn't about to let her brother rest, either. The kids got up, and I took them onto the addition to run around, where I promptly stepped on a rusty nail that went through my foot. I obsessed about the possibility of lockjaw for hours, until it was time to try another nap for the kids. Surely, they'll sleep--they're exhausted! I reasoned. Wrong again. Judah screamed and screamed, and Charis just sang and played with the curtains. I tried in vain to write while sitting on the stairs and periodically telling them to be quiet and rest. I was not successful in the least. It was while I was rocking Judah in an attempt to calm him several long minutes later that I had a breakthrough. I was rocking and praying, rocking and crying, and praying some more, when all of a sudden, God gave me these words:

Come, I'll show you.

I cannot tell you what an incredible moment this was: in that instant, not only did I have the assurance that God was literally telling me that he was about to show me what to write, I had the complete idea for how I was to write it. I knew exactly what my main character had to do and say. God is a wonderful multi-tasker with the best grasp on language: only He could take three words and a contraction and make it into a complete drama.

I still faced the hurdle of Time: Abe had softball that night, which meant more kid-filled hours, and they never did take that nap in the afternoon. So even though I knew what I was supposed to write, I didn't have the time to do it. And then God gave me a 5-gallon bucket and a hose. I filled the bucket with water and lugged it back to the sandbox, where the kids entertained themselves for 40 minutes and I was able to make some decent headway on my writing. Thank you, God, for that bucket.

That night, after a very encouraging conversation with Debbie after the kids had gone to sleep (finally!), I sat down to write. Words poured out of me, and I don't think I have to tell you that I had very little to do with them: it was all God. I wrote until 12:30 that night, accomplishing nearly half of the script. Praise the Lord!

The next day, I was as desperate for the kids to take a good nap as ever: I was in a groove and wanted to keep writing before I lost it. On Sunday night, I'd casually mentioned to Abe that we never had problems with nap time when Charis was still using a pacifier. Sadly, her paci days were over, and we'd tossed all of them. I thought about going and buying some new ones, just so I could write, but couldn't bring myself to do so. But that morning, the kids were snooping around in a bathroom cupboard, and while rooting through our travel toiletries kit, Charis found a necklace I'd been looking for. There's another necklace I'm missing, so I pulled out the kit to see if it, too, was hiding there. It wasn't, but there staring me in the face was the answer to a prayer I hadn't even thought about praying: a pacifier. A pacifier God had hidden from me so that I wouldn't toss it with the others months ago, hidden until the very moment that I needed it. God is a God of details. He is a God of promises. He is a God of pacifiers. Thank you, God, for pacifiers!

Minutes later, the kids were sound asleep. I was able to continue writing, and pounded out one more Act before I had to head off to be a substitute volleyball coach.

The next day, Abe's mom took the kids for the day, and I was able to finish the script. It was finished, and it was awesome.

Before you think I'm full of myself, let me clarify: it was only awesome because I really couldn't see much of myself in it: I had nothing until God showed me what to write. In fact, some parts I don't even recollect writing. God provided everything I needed to write that script--a bucket, a paci, even the words. I'm sure there will be edits to be made, things that I didn't, through my own humanity, get just right, but I'm confident that God will be glorified through this script, and through the music it accompanies. Praise the Lord!

Mia sent me Psalm 3 this morning, and just look how well it fits!

O LORD, how my adversaries have increased!
Many are rising up against me.
Many are saying of my soul,
"There is no deliverance for him in God." Selah.
But You, O LORD, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the LORD with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah.
I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me round about.
Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God!
For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek;
You have shattered the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the LORD;
Your blessing be upon Your people!

02 October 2007

Going Ape

When Charis was tiny, still eating foods that were pureed or mashed, her go-to food was bananas. I knew that if I absolutely needed her to eat, I could get a banana and a fork to mash it with, shovel the grey ooze into her mouth, and she'd be content. In later months, when she didn't need things mashed so thoroughly, Charis could plow through an entire banana in a matter of minutes. She loved them.

Naturally, I kept bananas on hand all the time, and when Judah came around, I found myself making trips to the store mid-week just to replenish our dwindled banana supply. He was almost--but not quite--as enamored of them as Charis had been. Plus, Abe had begun eating them for breakfast. Our compost heap was mostly made up of banana peels.

Then, inexplicably, the obsession stopped. I started having to stockpile overly-ripe bananas in the freezer for use in banana bread or banana pancakes. (I still have a fair amount available, if anyone out there needs a good loaf of banana bread.) Then I stopped buying them altogether--I figured, if we're not going to eat them, I'm not going to buy them.

So it has been a while since we've had a 'nana in the house. But this week, bananas were on sale--.29/lb! I figured I'd get some and just see how they went over. I mean, bananas are the perfect food, right? I'd be a fool not to supply my family with that kind of nutrition.

The craziness started last night, when, at 8 pm, Charis declared her tummy "not full enough" and begged--begged!--for a banana. Abe told her they were too green and that she'd have to wait for tomorrow. So this morning, Charis was more than ready for a banana treat, despite the fact that she'd already had half of a honeycrisp apple and half of a carambola. If you had been here, you would have thought I gave them pure sugar to eat.

Here's Judah, mouth full, banana in hand, banana peels nearby, doing his best monkey impression. And yes, he did get stung underneath his eye AGAIN last night. Seriously. I couldn't believe it when Abe told me. Do we need to get some sort of pith helmet/mosquito net apparatus for him???

And here's lovely Charis, striking a pose with her cheek stuffed full of banana. She's cute even when she's cramming food down her gullet.

So...I guess we're back on bananas.