Five

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candlesI am a mother
five times over.
five times? you say, looking around my house
obviously populated by three
three kids smiling from pictures on the walls–
three kids’ artwork proudly displayed–
three kids’ worth of beds and clothes and Legos and dollies and schoolbooks.

Yes, Five.

Five hearts have beaten under my own–
Five times little fingers and toes and formed
in the miracle of love and life.

But only three times have I held those tiny people in my arms.

Twice death has stolen those heartbeats away.
Twice I have been emptied from within.
Twice I have mourned a child never known apart from a heartbeat, a small flutter.

But death has no sting, for
It is swallowed up in victory–
I believe in hope and I believe in heaven and I believe that

In eternity I will be surrounded by
five.

Encounters, episode 4: Pharmacist

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“Can I help you?” she asks. Her hair is dark and chin-length, and her smile is friendly even though she looks a little tired. I tell I need a refill, give her my name, my birthdate. “Which prescription do you need?” she asks. This is a fair question. I am currently on seven prescription drugs and take two other over the counter supplements, fiber pills, and an allergy pill every day.

“Folic acid, please.”

“Is that going to be all?”

“Yes, thank you.”

“Okay, well, give us about twenty minutes to get it ready.” She smiles and I smile and go to push my cart away from the window, toward the blood pressure machine my daughter is trying to operate.

In a slow-motion instant, I watch as my cart gently but thoroughly knocks over a display of lip balm, spilling its contents over an area approximately the size of Providence, Rhode Island.

“Oh, good grief,” I mutter.

“Mommy, why did you do that?” Pooka asks, running over from the blood pressure machine. My adventures in gravity are far more interesting than a machine that refuses to recognize her existence.

“It was an accident. Help me clean this up.”

“No! I don’t want to.”

“You get to anyway. Come on. Help me.”

By now a woman and her two daughters have come up to the counter and are watching me and my five-year-old hurriedly pick up spilled lip balm. The pharmacist has come out from behind the counter and crouches down to help us. The three of us make short work of the scattered green boxes.

“You’d be surprised how many people do this,” she tells me.

“Ha! Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one!”

“Whoa! That’s a big handful! You sure are a good helper!” She smiles winningly at Pooka, who takes this opportunity to make a new friend.

“Yeah! I’m Mom’s helper today! We’re going to buy groceries and I had a donut and we’re going to buy birthday presents because my brother is going to be ten!”

The mess cleaned up, the lady and her daughters still waiting and staring, the pharmacist must get back to her regular work, but not without one more wink at my daughter, who is now trying to climb into the cart and chattering nonstop about how she is going to buy Darth Piggy some Legos for his birthday.

“You ladies have a great day!” she says as she unlocks the door to the Top Secret Pharmacy Counter Area.

The lady and her girls are still staring. I grin at them. “If you’re ever bored, you know, this is a great way to pass the time. Just knock over some displays and then clean them up. You know. Super fun.” Yeah. I’m that person that talks to strangers in stores. Usually I can at least get a courtesy laugh, but not from these three. They just keep on staring, and then turn toward the counter to place their order.

“Bye now!” says the pharmacist as she types in the name.

I walk away with a smile.

Encounters, episode 3: Husband

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His arms are around me, and it’s the best place to be. We’re standing in the kitchen and just sharing a little smoochy time, which still gets me a little fluttery after all these years.

Fifteen years ago this month we shared our first kiss, sitting on a log overlooking the lake. I was wearing blue jeans and a Seattle t-shirt and I don’t know what he was wearing but it was probably flannel. Some things never change, even though we have.

We’ve seen new babies and miscarriages, new cars and car accidents, road trips and trips to the ER and trips down memory lane. We’ve seen loved ones die, watched our body shapes change, moved from apartment to apartment to duplex to house to duplex to house. Between us we’ve graduated four times since our wedding day. He held my hand when the nurse said “push” and when the doctor said “no heartbeat,” and his arms around me has always been the safest place.

I have a lot more gray hair and he has a lot more facial hair. I am redecorated with stretch marks and his eye crinkles don’t completely disappear when he stops laughing anymore. Most of our conversations are interrupted by a catastrophe or world war 12 breaking out in our living room or having to make dinner or yell “knock it off!” or deal with a temperamental washing machine.

It’s okay. It’s a season, just like it was only a season when it was just him and me and a log overlooking the lake.

The radio is playing a Disney princess song and the house smells like a mixture of cinnamon candle and dishsoap and something unpleasant coming from the bathroom. Nothing is perfect, here– not us, not our marriage, not our lives– but this moment, with his arms around me and mine around him, is about as close as it gets.

Little hands grab our arms. A little pigtailed head pokes its way between. “Why are you guys kissing like that? Can I have a kiss, too?”

His arms still around me, he kisses his daughter on the cheek.

Yup. Just about perfect.

Encounters, episode 2: Girl

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She’s a little uncertain as she pushes her way through the swinging door into the big room where we’re all standing in a circle. She’s wearing a striped shirt that’s too small on her, and an inexpertly-tied ponytail that looks like it could fall apart any minute. I smile big and wave her in and we all say the Pledge.

Later, she is in the classroom full of fifth and sixth graders that are jockeying to see who can be the most cool and annoying. I take attendance and hand out books so they can start learning their verses. We are on the verge of chaos, so I quickly tell the kids they’ll have to stand in line and wait their turn.

She tries really hard. She wants to learn the verses, wants to do a good job, wants to catch up with the kids who were here last week. She waits patiently in line, shuffling her booklet from hand to hand. When it’s her turn she struggles a little bit, but she gets the verse out: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” I smile and scribble down my initials, and then it’s on to the boy behind her.

At the end of the night she is excited to tell me that she said her verse to three different people and earned a candy bar. She a face of eager participation in a sea of boredom, and I can’t help but smile at her excitement as I give her a high five and send her out the door.

I sure hope she comes back next week.

Encounters, episode 1: Cashier

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I am trying to ease my way back into writing more, and I read something yesterday that suggested writing daily an episode from the day as a descriptive narrative. I thought this was an interesting idea, and that it would give me some direction for dipping my toes back into the writing waters. So here is the first installment of what will hopefully be a series. It’s nothing big, but today I can say I wrote something, and that is what I’m going for at this point. :)

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She was just the cashier checking me out at the thrift store. A young woman, probably around twenty years old, maybe even younger. I piled the counter high with play clothes for my daughter, who wears out clothing at least as fast as her brothers ever did, and who thinks life is not okay unless she has at least five sparkly shirts in her dresser. The thrift store is a blessing; that’s all I’m saying.

The cashier and I made small talk like you do when you’re there, face-to-face at a counter for a few minutes. I commented on my daughter’s insatiable love of clothing and her sense of style. She mentioned that her sister wears all kinds of crazy clothes and that she can’t figure how how the sister, a freshman in high school, doesn’t get made fun of.

“She says she doesn’t care what people think of her, and maybe she doesn’t. I don’t know how she does it. I’ve always cared way too much. High school was horrible because the other kids were so mean to me.”

Whoa. What just happened? One minute we’re talking about sparkly shirts for my five-year-old, and the next we’re talking about her low self-esteem and the cruelty of teenagers.

I realize that the young lady before me has been deeply wounded by the unkind words of her classmates. She says she’s in college now and it’s better. “I don’t have to see any of those kids anymore, and that helps. I only have to go one day a week and I take another class online.”

“College was so much better for me than high school was,” I say. “Those are some of my best memories. And I’ve discovered that it’s easier to find nice people as an adult than it was as a teenager. I don’t know if it’s me or them, but life is a lot better after high school.”

She nods. She’s just starting to think maybe that will be true.

I ask her what she’s studying and she says business management and that she’s hoping to learn photography and open her own studio. I tell her that sounds wonderful.

She swipes my bank card and I sign the receipt. I call my kids from where they are contemplating the old unwanted electronic devices. “Have a nice day,” she says with a smile.

I look in her eyes. “Best of luck to you,” I say. She looks surprised.

“Thank you,” she says tentatively. I smile at her and say good-bye.

As I push open the glass door, I think maybe next time I’ll have courage to say “God bless you.

Prayer, Part 2: Pursuit and a Pen

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via Google

via Google

Prayer is such a simple thing, isn’t it? Pooka, who is five years old, likes to pray with us. We give her pictures of people to pray for, and she prays her sweet, simple prayers: “Dear God, thank You for Auntie Laura as she lives in–Spain and thank you for the Campbells as they live in–Peru.” If she draws the card with her own picture on it, she prays, “Thank You for myself.” I have to say that’s not anything I can ever remember praying.

I can remember as a very young child praying with my parents at bedtime, thanking God for a good day. One day my sister piped up that she hadn’t had a good day, so after that for a long time I prayed, “Thank You for giving us a pretty good day.”

My point is, prayer isn’t complicated. But sometimes it feels that way, and our emotions are very hard to overcome. And sometimes it seems very overwhelming. It was that overwhelmingness that kept me from a meaningful prayer life for such a long time. I mean, if I commit to pray daily then I need to pray for myself, my husband, our marriage, all three of my kids, our family, our extended family, our friends, our church people, the missionaries, all the people I know who are sick or who have sick children or sick grandmas or sick dogs, the kids who come to our children’s ministries, our neighbors, the people on my message board who post prayer requests, the country, the President, the government, my enemies, Israel, military personnel, victims of human trafficking, victims of AIDS, orphans, widows, starving children . . . I mean, face it– that’s a really long list. Especially if you want your prayers to have depth and meaning beyond, “Pray for so and so, and such and such, and this and that and the other thing and inJesus’nameamen.” Especially early in the morning or late at night, when my house may actually be quiet.

So I fought God about this prayer thing. I had so many excuses. But He wasn’t going to let me slide on this. He pursued me with love and grace, just like He pursues you. Because God wants us to open our hearts to Him– not because He doesn’t know what’s happening in our hearts, but because relationships require communication. Because intimacy requires honesty and openness. Because He has the answers for our hearts’ cries– He is the answer. And until we open our hearts before Him, we never really can understand that.

Someone suggested that I journal my prayers. Maybe more than one person. I fought this. I wanted an idealized prayer life– head bowed, hands folded, eyes closed. I have arthritic hands and have been prone to writer’s cramp for as long as I can remember. How could I write out whole prayers? It would take me ten times as long to write my prayers out as just to say them. Remember that long list? I’d spend my whole day writing in my journal. I’d have to get up insanely early. And did I mention the writer’s cramp?

Nevertheless, on February 17th, after yet another day of attempting silent prayer at 6:30 AM and falling asleep and drooling onto my open Bible page, I decided to try it.

Oh Lord, time and again through this [Bible] study You have brought home to me the importance of prayer and the necessity of it in my life. Your Spirit has pressed it upon me with more and more force and I have steadfastly ignored it. All these years Your child, and still I run away from You. And You still pursue me. . . .

Give me strength to get out of my bed and out of my chair if needed to do battle on my knees for the hearts of those I love. Make me a prayer warrior. . . . I offer You a willing heart, oh God. You know my weaknesses. May Your strength show itself perfect in them. I have failed at this my whole life. Make now the time that I am changed. Fulfill Your purpose in me.

That was 3 1/2 months ago. In that time I have filled up four whole journals with my thoughts and my prayers. I’m not saying this because I want you to think, “Whoa– what a holy person.” I’m saying this because God has answered that first journaled prayer, and so many others, and He has met me every morning and we have had sweet communion and it has changed me.

I’m not saying that everyone should journal their prayers. I’m saying that if you don’t spend time with your Father each morning, you are missing out, my friend. Because He is always there and the more I write my messy thoughts and confess my messy sins and pray about my messy life, the more I see Him in the middle of all of it. Journaling works for me, and the very thing I thought I would hate– the time it takes to write my thoughts down– has turned into the greatest blessing. Taking the time to write each request out gives God the time to answer my prayers, and for me to recognize the answers. Let me tell you something– if you pray that God will search your heart and reveal sin to you, He will. But if you are rushing through, you might not hear that still, small voice.

Sometimes I have sensed God leading me to pray for a specific thing. Sometimes I have prayed for wisdom and God has given it to me even as my pen wrote the words. I have prayed for courage and walked away with a sense of soul fortification that I didn’t have before I prayed. For me, taking the time to journal is what slows me down so that I can be still and wait for His answers. Often it’s just a reminder of a verse I have memorized from His Word. I pray Scripture every day.

Of course it hasn’t all been easy answers. As I said in my post last week, I have done battle with God and have cried before Him. I have struggled to get up early enough to have time. But I am seeing changes that I didn’t even believe I could see in my life– and in my children’s lives, and in the lives of others I pray for. This is because God loves to answer our requests.

I have more to say, so I guess I’m going to continue this series– hopefully tomorrow. But I want to say a few things before I go. First, I have really resisted writing these blog posts because I don’t want anyone to think I have it all figured out. I hope yesterday’s post made it clear that I am a big old mess and that the only good in me is Jesus. I am writing this because I believe God wants me to, and so I need to obey Him. But if I have given any sort of impression of super-Christianness, or super-momness, or super-anything-other-than-messiness, then I apologize. I am a mess held together by God’s grace, and He deserves all the glory for any kind of change in my life.

Second, I believe it is never to late to have a real, deep, meaningful relationship with God through prayer. That is why I need to share this. I had pretty much given up on myself, but God never did. He pursued me and He is pursuing you. He is a God who changes even the most hopeless heart. He loves you beyond your ability to understand or imagine, even though He can see even the most closely guarded secrets of your heart.

This is my story. God is writing it right now for everyone to see– He is love, grace, mercy, and an ever-present Help in times of trouble.

Prayer, Part 1: The Struggle

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from google

from google

Can we talk about prayer today? I have struggled with prayer my whole life, and have never found a way to keep a habit of prayer going for more than a few weeks. Let’s keep it real: silent prayer makes me sleepy. Silent prayer at 6am after several rounds of Midnight Mothering is pretty much impossible. For awhile, before my husband became the pastor of Tiny Town Baptist, I would pray out loud in the mornings while he was at work. Once we moved here, though, his schedule changed and suddenly here we both were, in the same space, every morning. Praying out loud became a bit of a problem, and so I quit.

Ironic, huh? Becoming a pastor’s wife damaged my prayer life. Not exactly what most people would predict, I assume. I mean, aren’t pastor’s wives extra super holy? Don’t we just kind of walk around in a glowy state of prayerfulness all the time, whilst answering our children’s questions about the nature of the Godhead and whipping up meals to send to all the shut-ins and proofreading her husband’s sermons and leading fifteen different Bible studies each day? I mean, if a homeschooling pastor’s wife has any struggles at all in her day, they undoubtedly center around which denim jumper to wear or which book of the Bible to memorize next. (Hmmmm . . . Leviticus? Or Revelation? Tough choice!) Not prayer.

Prayer is such a basic part of a believer’s life. We teach our kids that song– read your Bible; pray every day, and you’ll grow– grow– GROW!!!! and we know it’s true. I mean, the two most basic parts of the faith I grew up with are God’s Word and prayer. We are to pray for wisdom, pray in thankfulness, pray for strength, pray for the missionaries, pray for our husband and our children and our church and our country and the Peace Of Jerusalem. We tell others we’ll pray for them, and maybe we even usually mean it when we say it. But if you’re anything like me, then you fail pretty often at that list.

My prayer life, aside from a few really great months here and there, has basically consisted of prayers at church in prayer meeting, dinnertime prayers, and desperate prayers for help when my car was sliding on the ice or someone had just wet their pants again or I couldn’t figure out how to teach my kid long division or my computer crashed in the middle of something Important. And I knew this wasn’t sufficient. Don’t get me wrong; I believe God wants us to turn to Him in our emergencies, but I believe He has so much more for us that we don’t discover until we set aside real time to pray.

God loves us and meets our needs when all we send up are panic prayers, but He longs to have a relationship with us. Relationships require communication and openness on both sides. God opens up His heart to us in His Word, and we open our hearts to Him in prayer. Without regular, persistent, honest, sometimes gut-wrenching times of prayer, we never reach the intimacy God desires for us and that our souls were made for.

I have spent literal years under conviction for my sad excuse for a prayer life. I have made excuses and I have ignored God’s direction and I have muddled through experiences that He longed to meet me in because I was too proud or ashamed or busy or stupid to pray. I am thankful for a God who pursues me, even when I’m thick-skulled and ridiculously stubborn.

Can I be honest with you? I mean, I have been honest with you already about my prayer life and the general lameness of it for the last thirty years. But I need to be honest about something else. All that stuff about pastors’ wives is baloney. Or bologna. Choose your favorite spelling. If you’re one of my kids who shall remain nameless you might go with “dulonee.” Ahem.

The truth is that I’ve only been a pastor’s wife for two years, and nothing about our family magically changed when we moved from seminary and suburbia to the pastorate and the pasturelands (see what I did there?). I do not walk around in a state of glowy prayerfulness. I mostly walk around in a state of stretchy-pantsed ponytailedness. My kids seldom ask questions about the nature of the Godhead, but they are very intrigued by bodily functions and the smells associated with them. I don’t whip up many meals for the shut-ins, but I do whip up a mean Kraft macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. I don’t proofread my husband’s sermons, but I do critique his grammar and spelling on his Facebook updates. I currently do not lead any Bible studies, although I am super good at leading the pack with chatting during Bible study time and forgetting to do my lesson until the last minute.

My point is, I’m just a regular person. A mom. The fact that my husband is a pastor doesn’t really change any of that, except to make me more neurotic about it. And one thing that becoming a pastor’s wife did not change was my prayer life. Do you know what changed my prayer life? Choosing to have one. Just a choice. A choice to do it even when it felt awkward. A choice to find a way to make it work for me– in my schedule, with my life, with my personality.

I want to tell you about it, about what works for me, about what God has done in me because of it. Because I had no idea what I was missing in my spiritual walk, in my relationship with my Lord, until I began to spend time regularly in prayer before Him. No idea. And I expect that if you struggle in the same way, you probably have no idea either. And I want you to know, my friend, because God desires to have this precious relationship with you, and He created you to need it, and I believe that it is only found in its fullness by those who make the choice to set aside the excuses and take up the beautiful blessing of prayer.

Tomorrow I will (hopefully) be back to tell you all about what God has been teaching me in recent months in regards to prayer. He and I have fought some pretty fierce battles together. He has met me in my times of deepest need and walked with me through the valley of the shadow of death. He will do the same for you, my friend.

I hope you’ll join me tomorrow.

Where I’ve Been

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IMG_1335      I spend a lot of time composing words that never make it into the blog or into any tangible form whatever. Life is busy and complicated and distracting. There are always so many things that need doing, and not so many people to do them. I sometimes wish I could directly dump my brain into my blog, but then, well, that probably wouldn’t be such a good idea either.

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We have had a good year of school. We had a lot of struggles in the first half of the year, but the second half was better. God always gives wisdom when we ask for it, and when I finally swallowed my pride and got down on my knees in prayer for my struggling learner, He showed me what to do and how to help him. It’s likely it will always be a struggle. We will struggle together, knowing that God made him exactly right for the job God has for him and the grand adventure God is preparing him for.

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The struggle is tiring, which is why the last day of school was in a lot of ways like taking off a huge backpack after wearing it for a few months with little break. I still have all these things to do, but I don’t have to wear the backpack for awhile and that is good. I feel a little bit lighter and kind of like singing a lot. So I’ve been singing a lot, because if you feel like singing you should go with it. At least that’s my opinion. I’m not sure the kids always agree with me.

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I’ve been reading a lot of books this year and I am loving that. Art got me a Kindle for Christmas and I have put it to good use, although I have read a good share of paperbacks and even one or two hardbacks as well. I read a little of everything, but my new love is history. Teaching the boys the history of the Renaissance and Reformation has inspired this love for me. It seems like there was so much missing from my knowledge of the world, and all of a sudden I can’t stop reading books to fill in the gaps. I’ve read a good share of fiction, too, and some parenting books and books on Christian topics. I so appreciate the men and women whom God has gifted with the ability to communicate the truths of Scripture in a way that I can understand and put into practice.

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I have been deep in the muddy trenches of my own spiritual warfare and have tested God and resisted Him and accused Him and He has answered and proved Himself faithful. He has renewed in my heart a desire to serve Him and to please Him with every part of myself, and He has shown me just how sufficient He really is. He has worked in my heart and given me a new, deep love for Him and brought me so much closer to His heart. I am so grateful for mercies new every morning, and for the privilege to drink at the spring of living water each day and find not only eternal life but abundant life.

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I have neglected my exercise routine and outgrown my skinny jeans. I have watched the snow fall outside my window and watched the trees I can see from my chair as they burst forth in a celebration of the seasons. I have decorated the house in all pink and gone a little crazy with the presents as my princess turned five– can you believe it? I have spent far too much time on Facebook and not nearly enough time cleaning my floors. I have cried through the death of a friend and I have rejoiced in the end of her suffering. I have played the piano, washed the dishes, taught spelling, clipped fingernails, and drunk a whole lot of coffee. I’ve laughed at my kids and I’ve yelled at my kids and I’ve been Supermom patient with my kids and Bad Mom impatient with them.

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I’ve been busy. God’s been busy in me. And now, Lord willing, I’m back to blogging, at least while my backpack is off. So if you want, you can join me on this little journey. You know I’d love to have you along.

All pictures taken by my talented husband at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha.

All pictures taken by my talented husband at Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha.

Last Night We Carved Soap.

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Pooka and Art are gone at her tumbling class when I open a package of cheap paring knives and hand each boy a bar of soap. Our studies of the Renaissance have brought us up to Michelangelo, and since we don’t have any large chunks of marble lying around we’re going to practice our sculpting skills on these white blocks of Ivory instead.

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We’re using a lesson I found online, so we follow the instructions to trace the shape of a basic fish on the side of the soap. Before we start hacking away, I have each boy raise his right hand and repeat after me: “I [state your name] do solemnly swear that no matter what happens to my fish I will not cry. I am learning a new skill. I do not have to be perfect. This is just fun anyway.” By the end both boys are cracking up at their not-funny manglings of my solemn vow.

We are sitting on the back step with our blocks of soap and our toothpicks and paring knives. The sun is setting on the front side of the house, so we are comfortable in the shade. The dryer vents near the back door, so the smell of Blue Sparkle Snuggle dryer sheets occasionally wafts over us and overpowers the soapy smell that surrounds us as we cut and peel and shave our bars.

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I shave carefully at my fish. DP has his own method that endangers his fingers and makes me nervous. I try not to be Overprotective Mom. When he jumps and flails and nearly cuts off my finger I am forced to remind him that the object he is holding is, in fact, sharp. “I know but I got a breeze of GARBAGE!” he moans melodramatically. Angry Ranger and I both catch the same wind just then, and AR pretends to faint. The garbage can is also at the back of the house, and tomorrow is garbage day so it’s full of a week’s worth of ew.

Our fish are taking shape in spite of the garbage smell and the near-death-from-dull-paring-knives experiences we are all having. One of the boys toots and they both fall over laughing. I roll my eyes. Mothering boys when they were little seemed to pretty much revolve around their bodily functions. Sometimes I am reminded that though they are taller, things haven’t really changed much.

“GARBAGE WIND!!!!” I yell, and we all get the giggles again.

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With our fish about as fishy as they’re ever going to get, the boys ask for a new bar of soap and I pass them out. I tell them they can make whatever they want. We joke about making soap-sized replicas of Michelangelo’s David but decide not to. I say that’s probably good since none of us knows how to make a loincloth, and if ever someone needed a loincloth, poor David does. We spend a few minutes bashing Renaissance artists who made everybody naked.

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I decide to trace a heart onto my soap, which I do with my toothpick as the boys experience another exciting moment when someone toots just as the garbage breeze blows over us. Angry Ranger announces his intention to create an irregular blob, and I am inspired to compose a song with that title. It is brilliant in the way that things are brilliant when you’re a little tired and possibly had more sugar than was healthy.

Darth Piggy still can’t decide what to carve in his soap. I suggest he carve a pretty girl, but he starts to make a heart. AR, done with his irregular blob, starts drawing faces into his leftover chunks with his toothpick. I tease him about all the various pretty girls they might be. DP adds a few suggestions of his own, which he thinks is funny until the tables are turned and we offer a few ideas of pretty girls that he could carve.

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We’re all collapsed in laughter over our own brilliance and the long gust of garbage breeze that has just washed over us when the garage door opens, bringing Art and Pooka back to us. We try to explain but of course they don’t understand. That’s okay.

Sometimes the best memories are impossible to explain.

In Praise of Cheese

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So yesterday, Angry Ranger had to write a poem for one of his school classes. Proving that he does, indeed, belong to this particular gene pool, he decided to write a poem about cheese. This got us chatting around the dinner table– and laughing around the dinner table– about how we could do a production based entirely on cheese.

And then, because it was the Friday night of a long week in which all of us had been to the dentist and one of us had had to learn how to give herself injections of a new medication and several of us had spent significant amounts of time coughing and sneezing and generally failing, we decided to actually do it.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pride and joy that I present to you the Elephants in Bloom production, In Praise of Cheese.

(P.S. If there were ever any doubt that we were a homeschooling family, this should erase that.)

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