Friday, October 24, 2014

Kickin' Around





If anyone happens upon an extra pair of eye brows .... I know of two people who could benefit from your kindness.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A night, just like any other night, one would suppose.

The children nestled in bed.  the clock ticking the eleventh hour onward.

I check once in on them, whispering prayers over them and then retire to my own cozy quarters.

All is well. Gunther flops down on my circle rug.  He flops, but I look, and he is perfect puddle of fur.

Without warning Gunther dashes to Ender's room down the hall.  Zander follows after scolding him.  (Last time Gunther paid a visit to his room after hours proved to be a  stinky situation).  Zander immediately crates Gunther, but pauses in his actions.  He wonders.  He lets the dog out and Gunther goes right back to Ender's room and sits by his bed.  Zander looks down at Ender and notices his blanket is over his head.  He goes to remove it, but cannot so easily.  It is tightly wrapped once and half more around his face.  Zander unwinds the blanket from a sweaty, shallow breathing boy.

Maybe a sleeping four year old could have worked that blanket away from his face during the night, maybe not.  My stomach was churning at the thought.Whether it was a shadow that caught a pup's fancy, or a notion to defecate on an Ikea rug again, we believe Ender's pal and humble hero responded to a supernatural call from his Master that night.   Gunther is truly family, in his strengths and in his weaknesses bringing glory to our Maker. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Upon the arrival of our puppy, I was already exhausted and managing two, strike that, three zesty "people", if you can even call them that based on the amount of feral stink and mess they collectively created.  Along comes just one more... one more that almost tipped the scale.

But Zander's optimism persisted to carry me through the first helter skelter days of a new dog.  He would send me emails with you tube links of German Shepherds saving their owner or a random stranger from dangers invisible to the human eye but known by the canine instinct.  
he'd come home and he'd watch it again with me.  He'd be crying.  I'd be noticeably happier about the dog howling in his crate... One time, though, after watching a particularly moving testimony of "dog saves man best friend" we swooped in upon Gunther and hugged that dopey dog like he was the hero.  Though, he still messed in the house that day, chewed up the children's toys, knocked Cora flat on her face and then on her back, we knew what one day he could become.   We believe it is his destiny to be a great dog.  I had to embrace him as I do the kids.  Cora and Ender are ornery, disobedient, embarrassing in public with unlearned manners and emotionally charged reactions, but that is not who they are or what they will become.  I pledged to all three of my children, canine and kid, that I will see them through these young years.
ahh, when he was younger looking more like a jackal or hyena.  Aunt Arica likes his "kind eyes".  



Thursday, October 09, 2014

Happy Birthday darling boy

Your last summer of being three was stormy.  I'm thankful that I'm saying that literally and not as an analogy to your life.  The clouds tumbled & tussled with the wind and broke their dewy sweat over your upturned face.  Lightning skewered the dark and left brief wounds of light in your eyes.  You spent your last summer of three with an upturned face, catching rain drops on your tongue.   You are so happy.  You have come along way since your shrill shrieking days of infancy.  You were only a babe, you are only a boy child and yet God uses you in my life to do a man's work, no, a God work.  Your existence is a force to be reckoned with.  Ender, you are one of my sins most formidable opponents. 

"Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his
quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate"




Fours years its been unpacking this verse.  It perplexes me, but you help me understand.  Even in the womb, the sin in my heart knew it would no longer have it easy.   A baby was coming, coming to clear the house of filth.  You aren't leaving one stone unturned, kiddo.  Its hard on me, its good for me.  I love you.

You talk about taking me to the moon one day after you go to astronaut school.  You talk about being a good and strong daddy like the one you know.  You talk about one day being 40 years old. 
I too think of all the things I want for you.... love, health, money, education, friends, security... but, you guide me with an upturned face and I see what I want, what I really want.

"I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ from who the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith, that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-
to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you  may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 
To HIM be glory in the church by Christ Jesus through out all ages, world without end. 
Amen"
 

Friday, October 03, 2014

Joan Rivers and Mr. Rogers





Last night I asked Zander...



"On a scale of one to ten, how smart do you think I am?"





I don't know what I was expecting...  



"Thats not a fair question"  He says.



Yikes.

ha. ha.  he's right.

I admit, tears started welling up in my pathetic eyes.  Then he started giving some sort of answer about strong morals, strengths, weaknesses, blah blah blah!

I get it.  I'm not the smartest person.  And I care that I'm not.  Its one of the more embarrassing worries in my life that high light my pathetic pride. 



Feeling rather blue about myself today, I could use a trolley ride. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Companion Planting

"Symbiotic relationships occur when separate life forms interact with each other and either one or both species benefit in some way." 

Like Artichoke and Tarragon.  Carrots and Dill.  Roses and Garlic!  

While it was still hotter than blue blazes, Zander suited up in either his handy dandy lady repellent over-alls, (or was it his thrifted, pastel plaid lady repellent golf shorts?)  and bent back over our freshly mulched garden bed.  The results of his sun baked toiling are growing with green vigor in lovely lanes of carrots, dill, kale and broccoli, in clumps of lemon balm, fever few, onion, thyme, stevia, echinacea, chamomile, and chives. 
Herbs and vegetables huddling together to ward of pests and promote utmost flavor.  


Like Cora and Ender. 

If I go in that direction, I definitely see Ender as more of the vegetable.  Hardy, healthy.  I see Cora as the herb.  Spicy and rather pungent:)  Seemingly two different species growing in harmony.  Even the pitfalls of sibling angst come to a good end, will come, I pray.  


Cora brightens his heart.   She's a stinker and her herbal aroma results in more laughter and lighter spirits.
Ender is her protector and shows her the ropes.  She follows him.  And he reports back to me when she is in danger or has broken a rule.  He takes pride in his role.  

Our garden grows with more color, variety and flavor than I can dare to believe.   
Last year, and a lot of this year, I've been weary of weeding, watering, willing those darn things to grow.   Waking up one morning, you look out your window and see the tiniest emerald blade jutting through the broken soil.  'Cora's innocent desire to be loved as she climbs to bone breaking heights, Ender's eyebrows pulling his blue eyes up to your's, revealing a mind that truly desires understanding & explanation of his world.  
I've realized looking at those two, there is more to them then sprouts in need of tending, but tiny tools themselves, used to do a work on my own plot.  

okay.  the garden analogy is getting old.  

Sunflowers are also an amazing companion flower.  Beacons of light guiding the bees and butterflies to a blooming bounty.






Thursday, September 18, 2014

Climbing again.  This time so Gunther won't eat her raisins.  Zander and I planted three grape vines in our yard.  They all blistered and died before hardly a bud bloomed.  Good.  Grapes are poisonous to dogs. 



Cora finding herself smitten.

Both of these were the cutest creatures on the planet.  I let me feelings go unguarded for one moment and sat down on the floor with them to play.  Gunther, that naughty beast, began nipping at my face and slobbering all over me.  Cora, seized the opportunity, saw her chance, and jumped me from behind, screaming and scratching. 

I bolted to a safe standing position and yelled "Gunther!  No!  Sit!"  Immediately they both sat and looked up innocently. 

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.