Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The night before the air was still, stagnant, humid and hot.  As the evening wore down to nothing but clear skies and a dry moon, I became desperate for the rain the meteorologists promised me.  They pinky swore and bet their life it would rain just for me.  I stamped my foot and resolved I would not let another night pass by without paying the toll.
So I poured myself a concoction of chai tea and had Zander turn on the sprinklers in the backyard.
Thanks to my wonderful patience and content spirit, our yard was saturated and full from a heavy drink, when we woke up the next morning with our house on the brink of flooding.
I even had the gall, in the middle of the night when the rolling thunder rolled me out of bed to casually look out the window and remark "eh, its not that great of a storm, i'd rather sleep".
huh.  Apparently its been called "a 100 year storm"

Zander of course, handled it with grace in galoshes. We needed to stop the seeping of the water.  We needed sandbags.  Well, what we had was a lot of mud and garbage bags. 
He begins to dig a hole somewhere below the flooded surface.  "How high is the water mama" Johnny Cash sings from his throat.  "Two feet high and risin" I answer with the rain steadily dripping off our backs. 

Zander never had an easier time digging a hole for a tree, lets just say.  Its been over a year trying to decide which one to plant in our backyard.  Now there is a beautiful bowl of mud waiting to be filled with a Chinese Elm's toes instead of Ender's and Cora's. 

Have you ever noticed the branches of the Chinese Elm?  They grow from the trunk like arms, stretching sinew and tendon.   Its elegant and intriguing.  The Arizona Sycamore, the Ghost Gum Eucalyptus, the Blue and Green Palos all have this uncanny quality.  Their branches bend and their bark wrinkles where it would on your own skin as you freely move. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I'm thankful for the wonder I see in her eyes when she watches Ender and her daddy's antics.
Last night after bath, I laid her down on the living room to put on a fresh diaper and pajamas.  She was so still for me, her eyes mesmerized by the chaotic scene of her daddy and brother sword playing.  I just stared at her staring. I eventually looked up to see what enthralled her that much anyway.  I mean, Ender is no Casanova with a foam sword, and zander had some obscure rapper blaring over the speakers while he "danced- fought"....?

Her calling is so simple and straightforward:  Be happy with the ones you love. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ender's mind buzzes like a beehive.  His thoughts are those winged insects that melittologists can't explain their ability to fly.  Like bees, his questions and curiosity zip out of his head and into the big open world in search of something satisfying.  He unceasingly gleans the day's nectar,
tirelessly bringing it home where more work is done in turning it into sweet golden knowledge.

He is so willing to share the honey.  Just ask him anything and he'll  pour a cup into your hands.

The wheels in his head turn.  And between the wheels and the bees I'm exhausted and dizzy.

Ender will spin around and around in our kitchen yelling "Mama!  Are you dizzy yet?  Do you see the room spin?"
I love you Ender, you'll kill school.    

Friday, August 22, 2014

Today, Cora learned she could escape our prison backyard.  She climbs with one hand and a fist full of raisins on the woodpile Zander has stacked against the wall.   So dangerous.  But I got the cure.  I'm going to time the arrival of the terrible monstrous loathe some garbage truck and Cora's summit of the woodpile.  Her worst nightmare rumbles right by it every Thursday morning.  Sounds dramatic, but I need to pack some force behind keeping this girl safe.  She's a climber.  She'll take advantage of anything that steps her a little higher towards the top of the table, counter, stove, fence and so on.  Often, she quick digs her big toe in my eye socket or pulls on my hair like rope.  I cringe and yelp on the outside, but inside, my heart swells with pride.  My future tree climber!

Cora follows this guy anywhere.  Enjoying our backwater swamp during the monsoons.  I wish I could say ender is pretending to snipe a barracuda with a blow dart, but he could be trying to suck up the "water".  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

my gal pal, my garden slug

 since the beginning.
 i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                        i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)
i cant thank ashley enough for secretly capturing my darling toadie and I on film.  I treasure this.  In every moment I find myself kissing her.  When she's funny, happy, silly, annoying, and even when she tries to scratch my eyes out.  Her personality begs to be kissed.

Friday, August 15, 2014

She left us no choice.  It was either leash her or lose her down the stream.  Mark my words, though.  Next time I'm bringing a blow up raft for her and I to laze away in the swimming hole.  I always forget the blow up raft!

Zander's Shadow.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Road to Junipine

Could I fill my lungs up until they became lighter than the air I breathe?  I would rise into those clouds thick with the tension of a tempest.  Or could my little body grow relative to the panoramic landscape I viewed?  I'd be a giant loping fast over those hills with my roly poly cora tucked under my arm. I'd leave Zander and Ender eating their McDonalds in the parking lot.
Which actually happened, the Mcdonalds thing.  I think its becoming a sick joke with Zander and I; taking our kids to McDonalds on road trips.  Im not judging anyone!  But you should see us wolf down fast food.  Its sad.   Cora loves to suck on those famous Mickey D fries.  Bless her.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Zander used to complain that my "love letters" to him were not love letters at all, but just flowery felicitation on the most recent landscape I was swooning over.  To me, though, nature, especially trees, are my love language.
As a kid I was lucky enough to land in an outdoorsys Girl Scouts troop.  We tramped all over Arizona and it was out there that I felt a spirit.  I thought it was the ghosts of the people who dwelled there before us, or an actual spirit of a tree or if I put out the right vibe I could communicate with the animals (I think thats just Disney's fault.  Cruel world).  I was a tad off, but I was determined that I would connect to this spirit.  I tried all sorts of magic to get the wild to reveal itself to me.  None of my tactics worked.  Hmpf. But I still felt something out there.  Turns out, its Jesus.  It was Him all along breathing life, wonder and mystery into the earth.  The answer to my searching has only fueled my love for trees.

Meet Takashi Kobayashi & his buddy Pete Nelson.   My kindred spirits.

 Petefeatured Taka on one of his Treehouse Master episodes.  I cried as these guys wrapped themselves in a hug around a tree branch and bonded by feeling the tree sway in the breeze.  haha.  There are other grown ups out there like me, but way cooler.  They giggled and squealed and are some of the cutest people on the planet to me.  Pure darlings. 

Thursday, July 03, 2014

the two people e walking by didn't notice her at first.

"oh my! theres a baby! I thought she was a yellow blade of grass"

when papa placed her in the irrigation, she immediately froze in this position.  only her eyes flickered in the frail summer wind. a fleck of sunshine that managed to hide in the dappled shade of a Chinese elm.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pretentious?  ha!  This girl has zero shame. She has nothing to prove to the world.  She is.  She just is.  I aspire to be like her.

A lover.  A healer.

Out in about, I am constantly held up because Cora has struck up a conversation with a passer by-er.  While Ender and I are debating and discussing why he should get this particular toy or snack, Cora is collecting a following of friends behind our shopping cart.  As Ender strategizes his next move I turn my attention to Cora and her new friend.

Its mostly cooing and waving.  Usually, they have made their way across the store to connect with her.  Because she caught their eye in the cereal isle, they met her at the check out line.

"She smiled and waved at me", they tell me.
"She looked into my eyes"
"She made my day"
"She is so happy"

When I was little, I entertained the idea of training my terrier to be a therapy dog.  I wanted to volunteer at a hospital or nursing home.  As it turns out, Shasta, didn't agree.

I have my therapy pup today though. 
Cora's spirit has touched so many stranger's lives.  People I would ignore, immediately judge, or hold a grudge against, she welcomes into her small and bright world.  She has no idea of their sins, of the darkness that could be held with in.  I lift my hands to God amazed.  Am I her mother?  I'm only an ignorant pilgrim who stumbled in the presence of an ancient sage. 

"What?!  She's whining and crying now?  She pooped her pants?  Let me grab the wipes.  Hold still Cora!"

Still a baby. 

Sassafras with Gigi
and with Grandma.

Friday, June 20, 2014

the Arborist

It was amusing, the way Zander obsessed over every detail of the young Velvet Mesquites we planted two February's ago. "Silly boy!" said I.  He poured over his library and internet research.  He wielded the small pruners like a Bonsai master.  He contemplated over the future of these trees.  He envisioned their role and purpose for our family and home.  He wanted them to bear pods for flour making, shade for the backyard, home for wildlife, and be aesthetically pleasing.  The way that boy fussed over these saplings. At first he made sure to tether them to stakes, giving them support as they bore the shock of their transplant into our yard.  Over time, he gradually loosened the tethers so the trunk and branches could flex against the wind and grow strong.  He made sure not to make erroneous cuts, structuring it mostly up.  But then he would noticed a unique branch that looked harmless, but interesting.  "Eh, we'll see what this guy wants to do.  It looks cool".  So he would leave it be and let it go on its natural way. His methods were his, not always/ever the prettiest, but always the most thoughtful. 

It dawned on me the other day.  He can't get away from his father's heart.  He is out there giving considerable thought to these trees and often stops to admire just how strong and beautiful they are becoming.   And so it goes with his children, his own little saplings.  He always carries with him  the pruners, knowing that every cut to a tree is a wound.  He doesn't use them without love and care.  He tethers Ender and Cora close to us, now, but is gradually loosening those so they too can flex against the winds and grow strong and confident. A breeze barely ruffles Cora's curls today, but eventually she could face a gale storm, but because of her daddy's tender and wise care, her roots will cement the ground she stands on and her strong body will bend but will not break.  They both will have that wild hair daddy let sprout, but will be mostly growing  up. 
I know our kids are getting the manliest of men to follow.  In one person, he packs patience, kindness, tenacity, confidence, humbleness, a genuine spirit, emotional and physical strength, adventuresome, love, hilarity, honesty, trustworthiness, faithfulness and eventually always a repentant heart.  He knows Whom he serves, so how easy is it for tiny people like Ender and Cora to feel safe and happy with their daddy.
Happy Father's Day to the legendary Zander.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fathers Day Project Madness

Introducing three of the most obstinate, slap happy, independent, I'll do whatever I want- ers, wild punks!  I don't think my incessant shouting convinced them that the "photo shoot" was for a good cause.  Gunther's tail was suddenly the funniest floppiest appendage Ender had ever seen.  Cora constantly smells like old food (it gets stuck in the folds of her neck) so Gunther's brain was manically obsessed with trying to rid her of that problem.  My mom's iphone camera was helplessly slow in the nanosecond all three of them looked at the camera.  Oh and my poor, patient mother.  At the end of this Fathers Day photo session, all I wanted was to celebrate Mother's Day...again, every day, well...maybe, yeah every day.

*Special note to Zander:  this is not your Father's Day "clog" post.  relax, its coming

Thursday, June 12, 2014

morning in the garden

Cora picks only the green ones and feeds them to Gunther, of course. 

I was disheartened to learn that mature sunflowers do not follow the sun. Their beautiful manes remained fixed to the east.  If they did trace the glorious star across the sky, their faces would burn.

Shortly after we took this photo, the snail shell slipped from clumsy fingers and shattered into unrepairable pieces.  Ender melted into an oblivion of tears.  This is one of the many reasons I haven't gotten the courage to go introduce ourselves to the new neighbors.   We air our dirty laundry. Lots of crying, yelling, scolding of both the kids and zander, barking back at Gunther, offensive jokes from Zander (I'm sure) and so on and so on.  I've tried to keep it cool, but at the end of the day in June in Phoenix.... I'm a hot mess.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Indoors.  One of the most frightening words for me to hear, let a lone be.  I'd much rather be outside all day long.  In a tree, on a walk, putzin around a garden.  But these days I'm indoors A LOT!  Naps, summer heat, no tree shade outside.  This summer I'm going to stop looking at my house as a house.  It is now our very secret hush hush hide out.  Basically, I am going to be asking my 9 year old self to babysit my kids.  Only very unruly things can come from this.  I don't think Zander is going to appreciate all the antics, but that makes it all the more fun.  Let the games begin!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Baby - goerge MacDonald

Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into the here.

Where did you get those eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.

Where did you find that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than anyone knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke and it came out to hear.

Where did you get hose arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherub's wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought of you, and so I am here. 

George MacDonald, thank you!  From the get go, I knew Who my children came from and its always been fun entertaining ideas of their celestial flight here.  
If theres a mud pit, Cora can find it.  She enjoys wallowing her little piggies in the squishy mud.  Mud, one of many preferred mediums for children to unwittingly create their own happiness.
A neighbor has a pig in our hood and he is soooo cuuuute and ugly!  I think Gunther would fall in love.  There has to be some way for those two to become friends.  This afternoon, Gunther found a roach ( my hands shiver with disgust even as I type that disgusting word) and I couldn't figure out if he considered it "friend" or "play thing".  His clumsy paws were so gentle with the thing with cracker wings.  He would create a circular environ with his head and front paw and check on it every now and then to make sure it was still on its back.  Then Ender couldn't stand it any longer, "Gunther's friend is gross" he says and runs it over with his bike.  Crunch.

Friday, May 23, 2014

I closed my eyes and thought of me and I saw a huge ship, heavy laden with a predisposition, baggage, old dogs with old tricks,the girth of cold steel, cutting slowly across a vast ocean.  My bones creak and groan against the harsh sea winds.  I'm built to withstand an ocean that wants to catch me in its current.  In other words, its rare for something to come along and get me to change course.

I read this.THE ACHE

And it wasn't so much the call of adoption that affected me; I've always wanted that for my family, but that's another story.

I've been on this path of caring about my insecurities.
Caring that ender lets Gunther in the house with muddy paws.
Caring that I have no idea how to be a hostess.
Caring that I'm not trendy.
Caring that we can't afford preschool for our kids.
Caring that the walls of my rooms are painted  the color of a big toe.
Caring that Ender can be stand offish towards other people. 
All this caring left me angry and hateful.  Its been putting a strain on Ender the most.  His knowing eyes are innocently accusatory and rightly so.

This woman spoke of something other than me.  She put me on a rocket ship and launched me to such a height that I looked down and saw nothing of my selfish worries, cares or insecurities.  I did see the only thing that one can see at that elevation.  I saw people. I saw the only thing that matters to God.

I'm not certain how this translates from me to the rest of the world, but I don't care anymore.  I don't want to care.   All I want to care about is the people God has given to be under my care, namely my little ones.  Yet, even if I pass a stranger in the grocery store, they are briefly in the care of my words or facial expression.  I lay aside the messy house and inability to create pintrest worthy snapshot of my life. I take up the mantle of not caring, that is, not caring about my insecurities.   When something comes along that typically has the power to morph me into a wicked witch I say "I don't care about you" and poof! the spirit of the witch recoils. In terms Zander and every other "grown" man who still plays video games would understand, " I leveled up".  I acquired a weapon unique to my games's character that will help me fight in the battle of good versus evil.

And if it is only and all for my children, then so be it.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Everything about Cora is tiny (except her personality and belly).   Her room is tiny, too.  I especially don't mind this.  I love small spaces.  Your hedged into your small world, protected from the giants that roam.  In the morning the light makes a grand, but gentle entrance.
Her small room is just one manifestation of Cora's small and bright life.  
Last night she was running back and forth between zander and I planting her cold, wet kisses on our lips. From this little vessel I drink of God's eternal love and joy.  She is only human, though.  I think of her like the small faucet that is consistently open allowing water to pour out and flood the backyard garden.  She is not the source of water, but a conduit.  To be such a lowly device , always having the streams of living water flowing through you.
haha what a  ham bone.