Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Do you have any idea how fast the world is spinning?  Yes, literally spinning.  About a thousand miles per hour.  And that other kind of spinning?  Kids, errands, pets, jobs, dinner, cleaning up for dinner, cleaning up after dinner, laundry, homework, phone calls, Facebook, doorbells, lists, friends, neighbors, spinning, spinning, spinning… 

We think we can catch up if we go fast enough.  You know when it all stops, it seems to me... 

When we bend our knees.
You bend them to sit and scrape them to learn.  You get down on one to declare your love and get down on both to speak with your God.  You fold them neatly to hold the hands of non doing.  Just perfect.

And you’ve got to get up eventually.  Get up and participate.  Get up and run.  Walk forever with your love.  Walk ahead and know it’s in His hands.  Move forward with fresh perspective.

You can’t live on your knees.  Or you can’t live well at least.  Bent knees are temporary.  And powerful for that reason.  Bent knees make contact.  They speak.  They say I’m seated here because I choose to be.  They scream pain when they hit the pavement, but they break your fall.  They proclaim with no words that you are worth the ultimate proposal.  They reduce you to just the right place to speak to your God and root your body to a solid place for making space.

But you've got to get up.  Eventually. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Friday is library day, spelling test day, math drill day and homework’s due day.  It is also the day mom lets you have chocolate milk with your lunch.

Friday is the 5th day in a string of very long work/mothering/busy days.  It is also the day where cocktail hour stretches far into the evening with laughing neighbors and good food.

Friday is the last day of the week.  It is also the first day of the weekend.

Friday is what it is.  It is also what you make it. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Benches require extra effort. 
Extraordinary things happen on benches. 
Nobody ends up on the bench by accident. 
I want a life of benches.

Some explanation.  A recollection.  When my sister and I were growing up in New Jersey we lived in a 4 bedroom colonial with a dining room.  In this dining room was a big table, 4 chairs and a bench.  My mom called it a deacons bench.  My sister and I called it "the thing we were required to share whenever we had company because they got the chairs".  Sharing a bench with your sister requires extra effort…on everybody’s part.  There’s little more fighting.  And a little more collaboration.  There are moments of angst when you have to work together to get it pulled in far enough to reach the table.  And moments of secret cahoots when there are some hidden things going on under the table that the grown ups don’t know about.  Two extra chairs might have been easier on many occasions, but our mom put us on the bench.  Work it out girls.  Figure out a how to help each other girls.  Girls what’s going on over there?  Sometimes you don’t see the results right away.  The results of your time on the bench. 

Benches require extra effort. 
Extraordinary things happen on benches. 
Nobody ends up on the bench by accident. 
I want a life of benches.

Some more explanation.  Another recollection.  When I was a new mom, and my first was my only and she was just barely walking we started venturing to the park.  I remember the benches at this little park in Washington.  Off to the edges.  In the shade...the glorious shade.  As I chased my little one around the park…Don’t put that in your mouth sweetie…Yes I’ll put you in the slide sweetie…Here I am sweetie, at the bottom of this great big cavernous slide...I couldn’t fathom what those benches could possibly be for.  Who sits on those?  Fast forward 7 years and now there are three girls.  Three little girls who run and jump and slide.  Three little girls who were followed by me and boosted by me and pushed on the swings by me.  Three little girls with confidence and independence and the ability to pump themselves on the swings.  No young mother can truly fathom how your life at the park changes when they can pump themselves on the swings.  These days I sit on the bench.  The bench that I worked for so many years to get myself to.  I sit on the bench and sometimes chat with other moms who have earned their spot on the bench.  And sometimes just sit on the bench, off to one side, so people know I’m open to sharing the space with another who has earned it. 

Benches require extra effort. 
Extraordinary things happen on benches. 
Nobody ends up on the bench by accident. 
I want a life of benches.

I want a life of intention.  Of effort.  Of glorious moments of sharing a space with another person because I mean to.  Of putting up with a bit of the bad to end up with some good.  Of choosing the extra effort because it’s worth it.  Of not always seeing the results right away but knowing that they’re coming. 

I want a life of benches. 


Sunday, May 6, 2012


She, the sister, laid this word on me this week...Have...and I thought I knew exactly what I was going to write about...about having and being grateful.  

And then life happened. 

I learned that my neighbor is ticked off because we both planted the same kind of bush in our yards last year and mine is looking perkier than hers is looking.  She would like to have what I have.  I also learned that the mother of one of my daughter’s friends had emergency brain surgery.  I am so grateful I do not have what she has.

I'm all messed about the Haves and the Have Nots.  The epic list we all make in our minds about what we do and do not possess.  Which is the list we should desire to add to?  The list of Haves or the list of Have Nots?  It’s time to think carefully about those lists.  And what you think you know about what people have and do not have.

Here's what I have...
Three different pairs of red patent leather shoes.
A husband who works incredibly long hours and travels extensively leaving me home to solo parent...a lot.
A degenerative form of arthritis in my hips that will eventually require that an orthopedist graft my bones together with titanium so I can walk.

Here's what I don't have...
A home in foreclosure.
An iPhone.
A malignant brain tumor.

I don't mean to make light of any of this.  But it's not just about being grateful for what you have.  Which list do your blessings go on?  The I have this list or the I don't have this list?  Are you blessed because of what you do have or because of what you don't have? Or both?  I think maybe both.

Can gratitude for cute shoes and healthy children go on the same list?  It’s things and states of mind and apparently a bit of rambling this week…because I’m angry at people.  I’m angry that I have things that people think they want.  I’m angry at myself for being glad I do not have what some people have.  I’m angry that I have never thought about Have this way.  I’m angry because I want to still be grateful for cocktail dresses and full bodied cabernet right alongside being grateful for my working body and my healthy children.

Have, have, have.  Have not, not, not.  Am I blessed because of what I do have or because of what I don't have? 

I want it to be both.  I need it to be both.