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  • How to Parent: Just Guide Gently

    On Monday, August 11 th, 2008

    Thoughts I am thinking on as we gear up for a new school year….I am by the stove cutting warm loaves of dark bread, and my mother is at the window, gentle drops pattering the panes, sewing new and vintage fabric pieces together. I listen to the hum of the machine, thread lacing down, through, up, through, to the watering of the rain upon the earth, and to her. “Now you ...

  • Breathe Deep…

    On Friday, August 08 th, 2008

    There are days we need sky and space and some time to breathe deeply. And in You, Infinite, Uncontainable, Unending God, we always can. Photo: our boy, dog and bike running out under big sky….

  • How a Family Breaks Bad Habits, Makes Good Habits

    On Saturday, August 02 nd, 2008

    Parenting is the composing, the performing, of music, song upon song. Musicians play one right note after the next right note after the next right note. It’s not an erratic splattering of sound, a fickle, helter-skelter banging of random notes. Music has order. It is composed. Notes are intentional, considered, deliberate. “Forty-five percent of what we do every day is ha...

  • Sing

    On Wednesday, July 23 rd, 2008

    Gathering around Mom V.’s grave on Monday, it was repeatedly mentioned how Mom sang hymns while she worked. A way of choosing her view. From Laddie, by Gene Stratton Porter: “I don’t remember that I have ever passed that house without someone singing,” he said. “Does it go on all the time?” “Yes, unless Mother is sick.” “And what is it all about?” ...

  • How to Write a Life Story

    On Thursday, July 03 rd, 2008

    “Not much time left, really.” My father’s voice on the other end of the line reminds me of my grandfather’s, determined, sure. It’s been nearly ten years since I heard that voice, but here it is again on a Sunday morning, me making beds before church, Dad making his customary Sunday morning call. “At best, maybe fifteen years. I’m on my last chapter.” He pauses ...

  • Living in His Heart

    On Wednesday, June 25 th, 2008

    I have meandered through the city for nearly a week, but I haven’t figured out why I’ve come really, what I am doing here. This pervasive, quiet ache awakens me to what I hadn’t fully known: I am lost. True, I know the street I am staying on, the way down the cobblestone streets of the Left bank to the flat at 30 Rue Mazarine. And yes, a friend invited me, needing a f...

  • Third Birthday

    On Monday, June 16 th, 2008

    (Notes from this weekend…) She slides close in the coming light and I bury my head in her tendrils, damp and tangled, this night halo she wears through dreamworlds. And then I remember. Today (I can hardly breathe) is the last day. Tenderly sweeping back these gold strands from around her face, I watch her eyelashes flutter but a moment, her lips slightly open, breat...

  • Common Stones

    On Friday, June 06 th, 2008

    Our shadows stretch us long across this field, us bent low, rock pickers combing earth. This is spring’s song. Always has been, as long as I can remember. It’s what I know and what those before knew, what those now coming are coming to know. The ground moans after winter’s weight, working stones to the surface, and we, all of us, young or worn, come again with spring...

  • Support System

    On Monday, May 05 th, 2008

    Turbulence shakes his balance, and his hand flashes for steadying, something sure, like a seatback, but my shoulder, curved and strong too, will do. Never turning or noticing the feel of bone, he presses hard, and I know purpose, a body made like a staff. Lord, who today would You have me undergird, uphold? (Photo: collecting luggage, cluster of thoughts, in Detroit airpor...

  • Seed Bed

    On Monday, April 28 th, 2008

    She’s laid bare, exposed and waiting. We, all of us, watch as he stands on her tilled edge, opening bags, preparing to fill soil’s barrenness. Something about the sound of ripping out stitched string, hope and promised unsealed. The open seed bags line the tailgate, ready. The truck bed sags under the heaviness of seeds, millions of diminutive, near-weightless-in-my-hand s...

  • Honor

    On Wednesday, April 02 nd, 2008

    She calls me the other day, wondering if there is anything I need at the grocery store and I ask for 4 cans of blueberry pie filling, dishwasher detergent, (the gel kind not the powder), and hair conditioner for dry hair and… I stop mid-list. How audacious this is, a grown daughter asking all this of her mother. I might as well just ask her to give me the world while she ...

  • Interested in Easing Parental Stress?

    On Monday, March 31 st, 2008

    A university student (and mother) who reads here contacted me, inquiring if any parent who passes through this out of the way place might be interested in participating in a research study to reduce parental stress— through practising gratitude… Yes! Care to join me? She writes: WANTED: Parents who desire to reduce child-related stress. COST: A little bit of your t...

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