Saturday, June 14, 2008


"If there is a me that curses and struggles and a me that winks and walks in peace, do I have a choice of selves?" Hugh Prather

Friday, June 13, 2008

Iowan friends

They are all caught in crisis and far away from St. Louis where we were to converge at a Women's Faith Conference this weekend. My friend called me, updating, panicky, unsure of the crest in Iowa City and what that would bring.

Therefore, tomorrow, I'll drive over to the big coliseum alone and sit in a pack of reserved, empty seats where there should be Iowan women leaning in for the personal lesson. Right now, they are poised with buckets and suitcases and calls to one another and pleas upward and dreams of mighty waters.

Appropriate at the moment

"I sometimes react to mistakes as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of them seems to arise from the assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful I will not fall from heaven. But a mistake is a declaration of the way I am now, a jolt to the expectations I have unconsciously set, a reminder I am not dealing with facts. When I have listened to my mistakes I have grown. " Hugh Prather

Friday, May 16, 2008


Its happened. The allergist has hit the fan. The anecdotal "proofs" win over: Cody is now on the GFCF diet plan having tested positive to allergies with wheat, milk and corn. Well, what's one more thing, really? So what if barely anything in my cupboard meets the requirements. So what if as a family, we have to give up pizza and mac n' cheese and popcorn and ice cream.

Surely I didn't just write that!

Oh help.


We hiked along the shooting star punctuated trail today; the boys with sticks; me with another mother and a father. We came to a creek with a flat moss slippery stone extending across, water flowing overneath. Three boys plopped down; one father splatted on his derriere. It was funny; I was glad for my country skills. The boys dripped on, through the pines, talking, laughing. Cody was smiling, a surrounded kid with magnetic likeability.

Last night before bed, he said, "It all started with a simple smile." And, he smiled and would say no more.

Earlier, and unrelated, he had gone with his mandolin-mother to be the marimbula-son, thumping at the little fiddle-tune-jam with the other two boys and men. We looked at each other, heads nodding appreciatively and focused contentedly on our instruments as the song went on. Can life get better than now?

Prayer at night, before school drop off. God has taught me again to pray for the power of the grasp: that we may have the power to grasp how high and wide and long and deep Christ's love is for us. God has taught me again to approach him with freedom and confidence. God has showed me again that trailing after outer toxins pollutes me. I'm cleansed and confident, and when I pray for Cody, I'm feeling again that He is listening and taking care of things.

Grace-within-challenges has flipped me over. This granted idea has granted me many sights in the last week alone. Cody is the beneficiary, and me too. I'm back in the river, taking in all the scents of the hills, trees, rocks, dirt => the elements which are communion with God wherever.

Thankful breathing. He lives to love.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Aspie trails

Aspie trails to you, until we meet again.

I know last month was autism awareness month, but it should have been name autism flare month. Perhaps the changing weather, the lilting confusing chemicals within mind and body, the increased agitations from the pollens?

Last night, I saw a headline online which said "Autism linked to Parents' Mental Illness." It reminded me of ancient times when having twins meant that evil was within the parents. I looked up causes of autism again this morning and saw a long list, not solely genetics either. No one knows for sure. I hate being blamed. Although I do have the run-of-the-mill mentally down or anxious times, I would not call myself mentally ill.  Isn't it easy to blame the parents? Parents are doing the best they can, at least we are. It's frustrating ... on we march despite outside critique and finger-pointing and devised correlation from sample groups.

Today, we begin a series of attacks against some of Cody's recent fluctuations -- we go to a new allergist, a whole-person allergist. Then next week, we go to a counselor. First, my husband and I go as parents who are tired, hopeful, needful of counsel, desirous of more tools to help. Then we send Cody -- these early teen years are indicators of new things, new intensity. Finally, we're trying a psychiatrist out, just to talk, perhaps to explore medicines. Aiii, I hate saying that word aloud, yet inner mental pain may need an aspirin. We will be cautious there.

April caused me to seek out that essential spiritual dependence, so God gave me this verse, which is perfect for our worry:

Although he may stumble, he will never fall because the Lord holds him in his right hand. Psalms

Thursday, May 01, 2008

May Day

Delayed posting to the point of blogger password amnesia. Life flows on all around me. My daughter surfaces and hugs me and smiles and thanks me now. That is Good. God is Good. We were even hippies at an Earth day celebration together recently. She sighed and said, "Look, Mom! Liberals!!" because in her college town they are all conservative, rich, church women who aren't kind (this was an early morning quote from her one day when my phone rang, and she chugged out her steam of momentary beliefs to which I had to skirt and debunk and smile at and grant her patience for and find out the true story for her angst). But, we did happily walk amongst the liberals one fine Sunday when she was home. The next Sunday, she hung out with me at church and then went to sing at the nursing home with her grandparents. She also went to one of my homeschooling co-op class days where she took up a like-guitar and sat on the like-quilt with me and my three students outside on a delicious day. She knows G, C, and D, so why not? Then she went into my US Constitution class. When I mentioned an example, using the war in Iraq, she guffawed loudly to which the conservative children students' heads swung around in astonishment. She likes to guffaw about politics these days. She's frightening. She's inherited her father's hothead about such things, and I don't mind pointing the finger. Anyway, it was so fun to have her opt to be part of my normal day, instead of 1) sleeping 2) watching a TLC fashion or design show from potato position 3) hanging out with friends with wild hair too. No, there she sweetly was with her sweet mother just like the days of old, laughing, relaxing, relating. God is good!

Other than that, lots of other things have been going on this last month. I became smarter after a huge dumb period. God gets the credit, I must admit. I became more sought after musically by some non musicians who are related to a man in our band. We're playing in overalls and hats at a Cosmo Club dinner on Friday night. We are supposed to be the Soggy Bottom Boys (&girls) from O Brother Where Art Thou. I am trying to waver like Alison on one of my songs but I am not Alison, and she doesn't want to be me, and so I'm stuck pretending. But, I do think the song sounds pretty ... people have oohed and aaahed already! I sing it with my bandmate, and we blend better than ever.

Cody just walked by; he's getting tall and handsome. Hopefully, those two qualities will wipe out his classmates' memories of his band day throw up this morning. Now he's playing his keyboard for the thousandth time today. Radetsky March, who would have known? Thank you, Johann Strauss for invading my household. What possessed you to do so?

I shot baskets tonight for exercise. Must shower. Must tell all that I must shower.

Happy May Day!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Linger and the March

I feel afflicted with a LowGrade winter Linger (even though today is the first day of Spring). These last couple of days, I've been fatigued and walk around lifelessly. However, an unplanned moment can be medicinal. Today when driving Cody to school, he turned on, as usual, our TLC (Teri, Linda, Cody) c.d. that we're creating and which he's been appreciating musically in increasing measure. He played the track of "Radetsky March," a recent recording in which Cody plays the keyboard, I'm on guitar, and Linda's honks on the accordian. Suddenly, in the van, Cody and I couldn't help ourselves as we wildly began clapping and grinning like Austrians at the new year. I had the energy to punch the air a couple of times in coordination with the accent staccato notes, and Cody imperiously titlted his head back and forth to the march beat. We laughed appreciatively at each other's antics before the song was over and we slipped back into our own lingers. Breakthroughs are simply the best.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thu, thump; thu, thump

Wow, I showed the man-with-tools a borrowed marimbula. He sketched it, took measurements, and called me with a few muttering questions. And, look, somehow he let loose a real living marimbula which I brought home today! A marimbula is a bass type instrument which originates, in varying forms from the Carribbean. It sounds great with bluegrass and replaces the cumbersome, expensive stand up bass fiddle. I was instructed on how to stain and tune it. I'm still amazed and am engaging in full-fledged idol worship!
The orange and black belt warrants a couple of grins after the belt ceremony. If I thought Cody was an intense air-choppin' dude while an orange belt, I will have to prepare myself for the total destruction of the orange and black tornado. Lord have mercy on us innocent folks.

Monday, March 10, 2008

about a boy

I'm so worried about Cody today. Last night at a birthday party for one of the men in my bluegrass group, I was surrounded by their inquisitive wives and other women. They had multiple questions for me about Cody's perfect pitch, about his Asperger's, about, about, about. Today, fresh upon the thought, upon the concerned faces and encouragement, upon the memories of that lost little boy struggling desperately within normal expectations, I woke up realizing our journey and worried worried about his future path. He has found his gift of music, and we engage in it daily, yet he feels still so alone as it relates to his peers. The fear has gripped me again. Please, God, help him grow, releasing inhibitions, toxics, anger, fear, the harsh outer words of the world. Release me to trust you to take care of him. Amen and amen.

Egg shaking

The hardest thing to do was to shake the Shabbot egg and sing in Hebrew all at once. But, there I was, alone, near the back, near the sunny windows of the bright synagogue, trying hard to participate in an old Jewish rite: Bat Mitzva. My friend's thirteen year old daughter glowed, particularly when carrying around the Torah in a cloth around the warm, small, bright sanctuary. My friend spoke about the Jewish sense of community and how it had wrapped itself around his daughter, and how her deceased mother had converted to Judaism on the same day many years before. My friend's love interest wiped her eyes one row over in front of me. The ceremony was long, three hours, intense, joyous, mournful (chant for dead), and family-involved with aunts, uncles, cousins arising to read parts of the Torah on their "daughter of the commandments" behalf. The cultural conviction of a spiritual value was high; I felt peaceful. I wondered if, location different, I would attribute this to the Holy Spirit. But, in a Jewish synagogue? I wondered about the relativity of religious belief. I inwardly reaffirmed belief in Christ, although the spiritual expression in front of me impressed me with its call upward to an old Light, to God, to a way of Life. The prayer book was lovely with interpretive readings, poems, insights to which I felt extremely compatible. I wondered about the expressive depths of my Christian heritage, particularly as a "low-church" attendee. It seemed awfully lacking, shallow, reliant upon one's own emotions which often were tangled anyway. The Bible, yes, yet, the Bible used for certain agendas, certain formulas for thinking. Here, certain sacraments were holy, sacred, a bit like the Catholic church. Perhaps they have the same issues of the Catholic church -- rites becoming meaningless with overuse and lack of personal attachment? But, my friend's 13 year old daughter said in her speech that this would not mean for her "rites without personal meaning." We all reach, don't we?

My friend gave me a hug afterwards as he received the congratulations of his friends and family. He is a good person and lives his cultural faith well.

I affirm my belief in Christ, yet I could have easily been born Jewish, believing that the Judaic version of truth passed down from Abraham is the Truth. What do others do with this thought? Perhaps it affirms their selection into a God-ordained slot; perhaps we all want to believe exclusivity.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


The week was full of people, good and smart encounters, up until the end. Talks of creativity, spirituality, relationships, aging, film, music, writing. But by yesterday, I was entirely wiped out and feeling that codependent emptiness, which intense focus on others brings to me. Thus before my day of friend and film festival begins which will inevitably pour more of the world's amber liquid into me, it feels essential to hear grounding words for my wayward, wandering nature. And, here they are to root, anchor, restore straight from the third chapter:

baptism into new life
wind hovering over the water
formed by the Spirit
questions procrastinate against evidence
Son of Man
lifted up
look up to him for eternal life
God loved the world
God gave his son
no one needs to be destroyed
whole and lasting life with belief
He came to help
no longer under a death sentence
God-light streamed into the world, but
men and women ran for darkness, not
interested in pleasing God;
practice of doing evil rejects God-light
fears painful exposure.
But anyone working/living in truth/reality
welcomes God-light so that the inner and
outer work can be seen as God-light in us.

Father, help me to not scurry into darkness but to always be exposed to your God-light, even through addiction to fear and unknowingness. Help break the cycle. Forgive my created plights. Thank you for hope and life.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

We cry out!

It was one of those stereotypical song writing moments where I jumped out of bed because the song was going to explode if more and more lines kept alighting in my head. Perhaps it should have, but the subsequent song gave me too much joy regardless of quality (a cool thing about creativity too ~~ the joy in allowing anything to be born).

The satisfying thing about this particular song is that it was written with the nursing home audience in mind. My little band played for them on Tuesday, and our emcee led the residents into a round of shouting "Yahoo!" Old gnarled fists were raised, crooked toothless smiles were lit, white-haired curly ladies yelped, and they all escaped for a moment into that universal need to yell something out: like "Amen!" or "De-fense!" or "Al-right!" Why does that feel so good to us humans?

Anyway my song invites participation of yelling out, raising fists, becoming exhuberant for nothing (except for the 'prettiest train' in the lyrics). I can't wait to play it with them and hear them become part of the living loud no matter what experience once more.

Monday, February 25, 2008

And then there are the apples, cherries, pears, tooth-wigglers, precious metals, heavy-laden pods. I saw them all weekend, showing that my single perspective protects, yes, but can limit a view of plenty. There is the loving children director who baptized my son with her zest and longlasting service and care to children. There's the assistant minister who, leveled on a lower administrative ladder, accepts, even with welcome sarcasm an Eyeore loyalty to the steady flow of incoming newbies needing discipled who are searching, for once, for a vein they once, or never, tapped into. There's the nurse who gives to women's ministry, glowing, gently, purposefully. Or, my heroine of women's ministry, who commuicates God's love through genuine adherence to his call for her life to serve others with compassion, care, and creativity. There's my old beautiful girlfriend, who served on the board, and who allowed me to move on in my current, as she did herself, due to what was necessary in our lives. There's my longlasting friend, who still expects coffee, who leads others through psychological, spiritual mires, who helped me practically raise a strongwilled, strong-living teenager, who is a call away from being a wise and loving guide, who knows I want to reciprocate as much as I can. There is the impactful pastor who has a gift for speaking and who has offered me sincere counsel and desires Christ-transformation in lives of those who flow through the church. There is the man who smiles to all, whose passion transcends any strong or weak human leadership, in order to convey God's goodness; we see him dutifully every week with his headset on, greeting, smiling, caring, being humble. There are the children, two of whom I saw randomly out and about and who came to smile and hug me, who trust you to love them, to show them God's pure love inside.

These are a few of the reasons that I love my church and wish to remain, despite the basement fires that burn in every church. Overall, its basket carries a wholesome harvest. And, even though, it's my job to eye the fruit, the weave that holds it up, I can relax at times and trust by evidence that some things are good.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

An Inner Uglier Look

Earlier today, my husband and I took our customary Saturday morning jog, walk, talk on the trail, and we discussed again our church and the fine line between leadership servanthood and materialistic usurp-hood. Then later, he sent me this link which reveals the "hypocrisy" or at least greed of some of the major Christian evangelists in our country. Many of this group are being investigated right now by the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. Unfortunately, the excesses appear to be true and is an excellent warning of what to look for even in its infancy stages:

I liked the ending paragraph to this article which I've copied below:

“There are bound to be some people who will read this article and say to themselves, "So the leadership live in nice houses or nice areas, so what? This is God's way of blessing them. They deserve this for leading God's people." I wonder if these people ever really stop to think about what they are saying? Do they really believe that God would bless those in leadership with lifestyles that totally contradict everything that Jesus taught. He and the men who led the first century church led by example. They were servant leaders. Ask yourself if any of the apostles would've chosen pricey homes or affluent areas for themselves. More to the point, would Jesus have done so? Ask yourself if the apostles would have used the contributions and tithes of the people in order to have done so? More to the point, would Jesus have done so?” (Leadership Lifestyles of the International Churches of Christ. Timothy Greeson)

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Today, it's gray once more, February and final(?) ice pellets. Public school was cancelled.

It's been a restful day. Cody and I are watching the story of Wilbur Wilburforce, the movie "Amazing Grace," the abolitionist movement in England. I wonder how Cody will process all of this information given him of oppression, of right-movements, of caring for human needs over economic. I don't want him to be self-centered, nor myself. There are still choices to be made in the world for good. The movie, in fact, seems quite relevant today despite the eventual ban on slavery. It's interesting how justification can always be made to turn away and not look. I want to teach him to stare and think and do.

Well, well, the hopes on a wintery day.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sixteen Years Worth

Here we are at an event; we're a couple. I've received his hugs for sixteen marital years now. He likes to do this, grab at me, while my hands are customarily crossed against the cold. He wants to warm me and show affection and be sturdy for me. He's sturdy, steady, steadfast to my whimsical, wandering, wayward nature. To boot, he's kind and loving and reliable; and, a farm kid himself from the cornfields with a nature for the right and good. I don't know how God arranged for us to become a couple as seen above, but he definitely knew how to take care of me through his choice. And, yes, at times, I wonder about his choice, particularly when grabbed and poked and teased and tormented by my hubby who thinks this is funny. And, I wonder when our interests differ widely; however, I couldn't have done a better job at choosing who would make my life more complete and secure. I am blessed by His choice for me. Grateful!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ben's to Blame

Late night incriminations like ...

Why did the book club settle on a biography of Ben Franklin? As if we're going to work hard to redeem the character of Ben Franklin through our discussions? As if we're going to dispute what's been known 100fold since his lifetime of his life? As if we're going to be titillated by any new erotic disclosures. Hmmmm..... I feel antagonistic now towards Ben Franklin. American hero -- that's not good.

Mornings. Why did I have to select a running partner who grim-eyed, steel-willed, weather-notwithstanding expects to see me there in the dark, under the light pole, hobbling with my plantar fascitis, cold, draggy and sneezy, in the wee hours of the friendless morning? I should have picked a fence rider. I'm happier with fence riders than the absolutists of SternEye, yet I will set my alarm and grit my teeth and wear my night splint to bed on Valentine Eve. Is this called codependency?

Banjo player. I'm not sure why he's hesitant to pick his stuff and be proud. He's a good singer as well, my senior fun friend who I play and harmonize with on Tuesdays. But, lately, he's been lackluster.

I wish my bed weren't so far away or I would be in it now .... praying, stumbling, dreaming about Ben Franklin, and resolving all thoughts of incrimination.

Good night.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Ye ole ...

We ran for the van, kicking up our heels sideways in the air ~~ my 48 year old friend, me and my son. We just saw the lively Natalie MacMaster, and afterwards we were on a cloud of air as we ran laughing and talking and kicking it up. Natalie plays fiddle, accompanied by a cello, a pianist, a drummer, a bass guitarist, and a guy who played the bagpipes, flute, banjo; she's from Scotland and, therefore, so is the music. It was amazing; my blood is still exclaiming in lilt the ole country rhthyms. If you have a chance to see her, do!


Faith is such a crazy thing! Why is it? Or, do I undoubtedly make it crazy with my own offbalance? It could be a peaceful calm lake phenomena, but then the fish and turtles and snakes do lurk beneath, don't they? I guess that 'crazy' faith is just the human experience of it if one attempts to understand, commit, explain, impart its dimensions. Who can filter God? Tame the Spirit? Know and interpret all? No one. We have clues, messages, yes, yes, but even those are nebulous.

However, the morning called me to clearly respond to God due to some inner conflicts. It's crazy when faith seems muddy, happenchance, tilted, yet at times the response needs to be completely forthright as if one is faced with the most sensory (yet comfortable) Thing possible. God asking something of one, me, due to my straightforward human-woman need that needs his intervention.

So out the door into the rain-splashed morning I went anticipating. Running shoes, old paint-dropped sweats, New Orleans T-shirt, pony-tail, hat were acceptable worship material. I followed the old trail, around the lake estates where the geese fly, across the busy road where the morning commuters fly, to a street where it's happened before necessarily. I remember that time God told me to let go of a huge globe of fear and to recommit: from toes to hair, from bones to heart, bit by bit, both to Belief and to husband and to self and to others. It felt good again to release and reorient.

I walked back into the house doubting still, but yet knowingly committed, despite any where my adventurous mind takes me, or any where my body goes. I am committed and that's the clarity that is essential.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Hair care

I've been curled twice, given new frizz-master products, been finger-sleeked when a strand rebels, and, today, I'm receiving a new style compliments of her scissors. The last two years, I've been the forgotten, the cast-off, the oft-despised, the freedom-slicer, the square, the ugh-mother. Now, I'm cool again, loved, and worthy of pampering by the fashionable, career-stylist daughter. I've somehow regained gratitude which translates into beauty options.

Works for me.

She sent us a loving and gracious card, thanking us for everything. Life is good, and pretty!, right now. Thank you, God!

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Jazz Buzz

Calmer here now, even Obama and Hillary agree (per their amicable debate last night)(political humor). I'm less apt to wonder as I wander (like Keats, etc) into the snow and ne'er more return.

I am nervously looking forward to Cody's jazz band tryout today. He's been taking drum set lessons for a while now, but how will he perform under pressure? Jazz, who would've-a thunk? That music sounds as remote to me as universal health care for all (per Hillary's plan) (another political insert here). I mean "*Jazz*" -- here in the southern Midwest, we don't know much about it, especially me, bluegrass heritage and all. Yet, when I hear it, it's lovely, lively, interactive, puts me on another sort of move, set, expedition. And, Cody, with his ear would be great at improv (on piano or guitar).

Anyway, we shall see if "*Jazz*" becomes kitchen buzz in this household!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snowfull Entity

Despite the calm of the snow (our two cats are perched by the window staring, their mesmerized forward ears pointing, their backs Bingham-humped), I don't feel the calmest. It's a time where a need for a God, directive and informative, calms some anxiety that a good path will be snowed over. I know that one's own footsteps are exciting, yet when one is lost, a beaten path means rescue and safety. I'm not lost, just wondering about the wander in the snowfull woods. Again.

A perception of God, a real Entity, is essential for me to explore towards and be upon.


The big picture window to my right showcases it, reveals how many can fit into one frame. It shows how they swirl prettily to experience their fall, their purpose, their trek. If I were a measurement-taker, perhaps there would be per square foot, about 100, but it would be wrong and hard to contain their flailing merriment before they become bound to the ground. The ground is changing because of them. Life is becoming simple and quiet. I think of the Ingalls in the Big Woods, or Robert upon the sleigh before the woods. The ground holds their effort, holds their purpose, restores them during another season. The ground is becoming them, and they the ground. I would like to have a hat on and walk amongst them. The loveliest woods walks I've taken have been within their lacy friendliness and musical descension. It's right then to think about the day of death because living has remitted its best to you, its natural result of original creation, its amazing moist ingenious cycle of life. Our bald cypress tree now has a lining on its arms to enunciate itself to the looker. The dried monarda pods have a flaky stocking cap.

Slowly, surely, we open for the snow, all of us affected. We can think clearly of the worse now, death, because life has given us her best and shows us deep and lasting beauty.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Suffering compresses itself at times upon us at various points of our lives. Still, it does seem that certain people suffer at greater rates than others due to unfortunate situations. A young man was killed here recently on his motorcycle; his mother burned to death in a car fire a couple of years ago. The father/husbands stands alone, shaking. A tragic woman in my bookclub lost a son and a husband within a year.
Now my morning running friend is going through myriad difficulties. We walked/ran this morning (due to injuries), and she poured out some of these ills. Life is tough for her; she's resilient, yet things are definitely steep.

Please, Lord, be the God of care and receive her prayers for light and blessings.

Monday, January 28, 2008


One season, we led a women's ministry small group together. We decided to drop all pretenses, cutesy skits, dramatic readings (all of which I admit), as we presented our class to the 150 women before us who were listening to all class options. We might as well have been wearing our black turtlenecks, straight from an existentialist conference. Our study was on questioning God (of course) and hardships. She was reeling from memories of a pastor-father-inflicted-heavy-hand childhood, and I was breaking away from the mold a bit.

We laugh now as we remember our presentation, three years past. It was a wonderful class, although it didn't draw the flocks like my funny skits used to. Now, when I occassionally run into my friend, we chatter like wild birds landing on a safe tree in the fall. We decided to meet regularly, and so I go to her house, and we talk about heady things, about psychology, about faith issues.

We've decided to read Carl Jung's "Memories, Dreams, and Recollections." I've read it before, but I'm happy to mull with her because we have much in common. And, Jung, he is an honest reporter of inner experiences, and what's not to appreciate about that? I'm happy; a compatible friend is worth so much.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Eyes and Notes

We communicate with our eyes eventually, and so we stared at one another. Her eyes were an arch, they were a violet-blue, and they made her face still beautiful. She couldn't speak, or smile, but could grip my hand, and talk to me with her eyes. I wonder how the physical qualities of those eyes shaped her past, and the thoughts behind them, and the scenes that became and were. Who loved her eyes the most? To whom would she most like to set those eyes upon?

I'm sure it wasn't the mandolin player from the bluegrass group who just played at her nursing home. But, it's my favorite part of the gig ~~ moving around afterwards, shaking hands, smiling, talking silently or aloud, giving honor to those on the precipice. A pilot from WWII was in attendance, shaky with Alzheimers, yet he visibly brightened when the music started. He had been in three bands himself, said the recreation director to me.

Cody played with us for the first time. He was the most versatile player on the mirimbula, guitar, spoons, shakers, and sticks. My dad says to put a stint next to him musically, "the right kind of music" (i.e. bluegrass), and for the first time, Cody responds affirmatively, "This was fun!" A good day.

If music came with the light-in-the-darkness, then all was indeed very good on the day of creation.

Out of the Jar

Recently I took a short three night course at my church entitled "Do It Yourself Bible Study." (Our church is always about practical application taglines!) The idea is to begin a book (John); read the chapter over three or four times one day; the next day rewrite the passage and observe language clues (repetition, dichotomies, verbs, etc); the next session, write questions regarding the text and search for meaning; and finally, the next day, apply what you've learned to your life (ask the questions: what could this mean given the context? or, perhaps, why am I confused or bothered by what it says? in order to help it impact your life).

Today, I wrote questions about the first 20 or so verses of John 1. I wrote questions until I stopped believing in God's goodness and wondered why he withheld instead of gave. Why didn't he make it so people would recognize him? Why is the darkness more appealing to many? Even his own didn't receive him? Couldn't the heir be more apparent if the stakes were so high? These are "negative" questions, I realize, yet there they were.

I began to swirl and despair. But, I typically love questions. It's interesting that when you open the lid, they fly out like lightening bugs into a dark summer night. You can watch them take flight, you can follow them to a stand of alfalfa, or to peony leaves, or you can recapture them and put them back into your jar for the night, where they die before morning.

My questions led me into a bit of research about mythology. The light/dark motif, the god rescuer ... how is Jesus' entrance different?

I'm following the blinking light, and it's taking an interesting path. Where will it land?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Will It bite?

Saying you're a Christian homeschooling mom seems to signify a certain stance. I'm not so good at posing. For instance, perhaps I shouldn't be so enthusiastic when my son asked me, "Why should we pray for my sister during the tornado? I'm sure if someone is killed, they will have also had people praying for them. Why would God protect her, but not them?" Inwardly I cheered at his logic and smartness. The little tyke is growing up out of pat answers and needs to understand things for himself. I complimented him for his thoughts and then said something about hope and comfort being an important benefit for us and her, regardless of whom the swirling cloud of natural laws chooses to alight upon (and, unfortunately, there were two killed in this storm). And, I gave him my views that God doesn't create badness and that he cares. If Cody wants to question how much he cares due to his not intervening for those two southwest Missouri women, then I see that as natural; it is curious. Questions of faith ~~ ones that involve throwing out a line to see if possible a fish will bite ~~ are encouraged here, despite my responses from my own hard-won beliefs. Hardcore curriculum with all the answers figured out makes me wary. Search, young man, search your way to your own fitting statements of faith in God. Amen and amen.

D'em bones

The evening of bones. We rattled, we shook, we gripped them to make primitive music, instructed by "Dr. Bones" himself, who shook, rattle, clacked himself into a dancing jester, or a dancing tribalist, or a dancing freak. The boys of the jam-session home were bright-eyed, happy, unplugged, entranced. I couldn't get the hang of bone-playing, but the doctor said it takes time. He holds a convention for bone-players once a year. The internet, he said, helps to bring freaks together. A place to belong, I added. You're not alone, said the fiddle father.

I went on a good long walk yesterday with a friend on the trail. The sky was bright, the air crisp, the geese drinking, the favored bench facing the lake. I'm most alive outside. The hubby and I went out again this morning, and we heard the geese wings overhead, above the morning-misted lake. I could lie on my (her) bench for a duration just listening and soaking in what the earth says, what God whispers. Former girl woods-walker, yess'um, ah, life and death quite mingled.

Books I'm reading:

The Spiral Staircase, Karen Armstrong ~~ she adapts to "the world" after leaving the convent; she's one of my favorite writers, intellectually honest, attempts to stare at faith and figure out what it is really.

The Teenage Liberation Handbook: how to quit school and get a real life and education, by Grace Llewellyn; her first chapter advises that organized school destroys essential, innate desire for learning by constant control. She advocates unschooling. I don't understand unschooling that much; however, I think I'd like to add some elements of it to Cody's school day instead of me planning and nagging him. What does he want to learn? How can I accomodate that? Less control, more trust in the learning process. We'll see. I doubt if I'm a total convert, yet she has some good points already.

A Saturday ~~ the boys are at a basketball game. I have empty space! The sky is blue, blue, bright outside my window. I wish I were on the trail again!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I know ... another tribute to a sports tribe, another yelp, another hoot, another chirp. But, I can't help myself .... we're so proud of the Missouri Tiger football team!! Part of my non-blogging activities involved wringing my hands on the couch on game day, or sitting with hubby on the hill (as pictured), or checking polls and stories online at ESPN, or sitting in the stands with my daughter with our old familiar chat n' laugh and cheer. The season was astounding -- we're not used to it here; therefore, giddiness is deserved. We ended the season being # four in the country. Wahoo! Yelp! Hoot! Chirp!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Going forth

We loaded up her treasures: a big male cardboard poster to keep her company at night; bags of fashion; photo albums of various states; her wicker bed frame, dresser, and night stand; her basket of cosmetics; Oatmeal, her small bear from her birth; her needed technology. We piled them into the truck, and she got behind her wheel, and we all pulled out of our cul-de-sac into the next world. She's gone. Her room is vast and spotless now.

I can imagine her apartment, her first day of school tomorrow, her ventures into college-kid budgeting, her disorientation of being in a different town when all she knows is 3.5 hours away. She called tonight, with a practical question, but her voice wavered some, and we talked for a while. She called me! Is this what wise women friends projected about the future? That there's a definite period of mother/daughter reconnection and need?

My husband just walked by and asked about her, sympathizing about her lonely and difficult plight, plopped in the middle of new. He's done so much for her, a godsend stepfather, 16 years ago, one who cares to be involved (unlike her real father), one who follows through and gives even during the difficult times. I love him for his loving and strong character.

But, back to my daughter, she's gone. It's quiet and empty here. However, I'm cheering for her to go forth and conquer. I know she'll make it.