Monday, December 29, 2008

Skating Day

We gave the kids skates for Christmas, so today they had fun breaking them in. (I skated, too!)
This was the first we've skated in four years (when Grandpa and Aunt Susan were here and shared in the fun).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A favorite Longfellow

The Arrow and The Song

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

I enjoyed a knowing hug from a friend today. It felt just like this -finding the unbroken arrow and hearing the song I'd sung echoed back in perfect harmony. Thank you H.W. and God bless you, dear friend.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cotton candy dream come true

Erin's BFF is making her way through bright clouds of happiness to our doorstep today. She should be landing at the airport any minute and neighbors of ours, who are arriving home from their Hawaii Christmas, will be meeting her at baggage claim and driving her over the river and through the snowy woods to our home - 'twill be a sweet reunion.

(The above photo comes from Cloud Nine Cotton Candy in Austen, TX - so you Texans, check out their cotton candy party services.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Here I go again...

'The history book on the shelf
is always repeating itself.'
(from Abba's, "Waterloo")

Erin and I watched the movie, "Mamma Mia" this evening. Afterward, we couldn't help but go to the sing along feature on the DVD.

We had great fun singing the ABBA songs together... "Honey Honey," "Mamma Mia," "Dancing Queen," "The Winner Takes it all." I flashed back to the teenage me singing and dancing (with much enthusiasm) to my Abba albums on our stereo console in our basement. When we sang "Dancing Queen" and came to the words "You are the dancing queen young and sweet, only seventeen" Erin shrieked, "AAck, I have less then two weeks to sing this song!" (She's having a wee little crisis in turning 18 - all kinds of things trigger this kind of panic.) We could barely get through the song, "SOS," because of Pierce Bronson's, ahem, slight struggle. The "Waterloo" reprise was great - Meryl Streep, et al, hamming it up.

Jivin' to Abba, 30 years later, with a super-cool teenage daughter. You just have to smile.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


"I Remember Mama" closed a week ago tonight.

Last night, I finally took a breath. In the evening, Erin arrived home from an afternoon of shopping with a friend. I listened to the colorful tale of the teens' four hour Christmas shopping adventure. This began my time for rest and entertainment, my easy breathing. And then for some reason, Erin thought her 18th birthday, which lands two weeks after Christmas, needed discussing. While we fondly reminisced about past "Erin birthday celebrations," restful entertainment still set the tone of the conversation. (Although, I'm afraid she took the crazy idea born out of it quite seriously.) After promising Erin we could decorate the tree after she and Dad watched an episode of "Lost," I treated myself to a warm bath.

"Evie's Christmas" on the CD player. Shiny ornaments. Trying to pull Brady away from his computer game with a friend. Empty cartons and wrappings carpeting the floor. Brent placing the high ones. Peppermint tea. Memories recollected only with the unwrapping of Christmas ornaments. Glue for broken pieces. Picture taking. Warmth. Tree decorating follows the same routines every year, but doing it feels as fresh and delightful as a child's new adventure.

In the morning we woke to a glittering, white pipe cleaner world. Every single piece of earth had been decorated in the same freshness and delight that our indoor tree trimming had inspired. Brent and Brady left to take Erin to dance class (with some other mysterious mission in mind). I could contain myself no longer. As I fondly recalled one of my teen Christmas Days, skating with cousins in a sparkling world as original as this morning's, I hurried to find long underwear, a heavy sweater, and my heavy coat - a remnant from winter days spent in Iowa.

Fluffy, virgin powder almost to the top of my knee-high Sorrells. Gleeful steps. (Will walking in heaven feel like this?) Open garages with cars warming. Neighbors pushing shovels. Tires scrunching in snow paths. Several flocks of birds trimming the frosted branches with songs of joy while basking in God's glorious Wonderland.

My walk fixed the pace for the rest of the day. Book reading in a sunshiny room. Football game whistles and commentary from a distant TV. Quiet, guitar melodies floating down from above. The aroma of sweet, slow-cooking stew permeating every nook and cranny . Yummy gingerbread men cookies (SCD legal!) specially baked, carefully wrapped and sent from Grandma. We breathed in Christmas spirit and then, around our dinner table, out came Advent hymns and Christmas carols from our a cappella voices.

Christmas shopping, errands, and food preparations still need attending to, but this reprieve has been a cinnamon-scented mercy.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Narnia personality test


The description of Bree was accidentally deleted at the web-site, but no matter...I'm Bree!

(Bree is the horse in The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Road trip on Thanksgiving Saturday

Mission: 1) Brent and I needed to pick Erin up from an acting class (she'd ridden with a neighbor earlier that morning). We hoped to shop a couple of hours at the mall first. It was a foggy, wet two-hour drive north.

The previous night's SNOW carpeted the fields about an hour into our drive.

Our first Christmas greeting of 2008.

The wildlife must gather around this tree on Christmas Eve, don't you think?
Below: Where we picked Erin up. Stars in training!
Both on the way up and way back, we watched a group of townspeople, in this small town, decorate their main street and city park. 'Tis the season.

I wonder what this use to be?

An old dance hall sits (behind an ugly, modern liquor store). I can almost hear the Big Band orchestra playing and see the skirts flying. I bet it was a happening place.

Lots of logs waiting their turn to become 2 x 4s.

Home before dark thankfully. Fog was its thickest of the day as we drove into town. My driver is exhausted.
Look what we found going on in our basement. (One person is hidden behind a machine. Eight gamers are all involved in the same game together at Brady's LAN party.)

Friday, December 05, 2008

Poetry Friday


Love was not given the human heart
for careless dealing.
Its spark was lit that man
Might know Divine revealing.

Heaped up with sacrificial brands,
The flame, in mounting,
Enkindles other hearts with love
Beyond the counting.

Reflected back into each life,
These vast fires, glowing,
Do then become the perfect love
Of Christ's bestowing.

by Grace Coolidge, first published in Good Housekeeping magazine

(Happy Anniversary, today, to Tyler and Debby!)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

7 random things

My friend, Nicole, at Art and Aioli posted a meme of 'seven random or little known things about yourself' and tagged anyone else who wanted to do it. I enjoyed learning more about her, so I thought I'd share in the fun, too.

1) I love to hunt rocks and seashells.

2) My permanent teeth were permanently discolored, before they were in, from fairly large doses of the antibiotic, tetracycline.

3) I lived one summer with a buffalo herd.

4) I've been inside the mountain of pure, white marble in Colorado, from where the stone to make Lincoln's Memorial and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was mined.

5) Two things that freak me out: Snakes on my walking path and mice in my house. (I drive my kids crazy, though, with my kindness to spiders.)

6) I've gone spelunking in a cave.

7) I get claustrophobic.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I Remember Mama

Door to the girls' dressing room

A peek at the set

Tonight is the second to last rehearsal for "I Remember Mama." (First one being October 13th; open auditions weren't held as the director handpicked the cast from "Fiddler" participants.) Opening night is Thursday!

This musical takes place in the same time period as "Fiddler on the Roof." It's set in San Francisco with a Norwegian immigrant family. Erin plays Mama's 20-year old sister, Aunt Trina, who seeks permission to marry a Swede...a Methodist one at that (during the first read-through of the script Erin looked at the director and said "What are you doing to me?!"). Despite these similarities, Aunt Trina is a completely different from Chava. Erin's had fun getting to know her. I can hardly wait to see the results of Erin's and everyone else's efforts in the creation of this production.

We're counting on your prayers for us. This is a 7 performance run these next two weeks.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Poetry Friday

You can work it out by Fractions or by simple Rule of Three
But the way of Tweedle-dum is not the way of Tweedle-dee.
You can twist it, you can turn it, you can plait it till you drop,
But the way of Pilly-Winky's not the way of Winky-Pop!

"Her Majesty's Servants," The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"I have never outgrown my childish enjoyment of the unexpected."
Grace Coolidge (from Grace Coolidge and Her Era, by Ishbel Ross)

'The bad things of life were very transitory. It was the good things, the ribbed sand, the wind blowing over the white-capped waves, the sunshine and the stars, that were so tough and durable.' (Green Dolphin Street, by Elizabeth Goudge)

'Dreaming, praying, and working for--in a sense, imagining for--a good story in the lives of those whose paths we cross briefly or for the long haul is what we're made for.' (Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring, by Andi Ashworth)

Friday, November 21, 2008

While browsing through an old spring issue of The New Yorker magazine, "One Can Miss Mountains" caught my eye. I loved it and I needed to find more - so I immediately Googled the author's name to find his website. I'm so happy to discover a new poet to enjoy. Todd has kindly given me permission to post the poem here. Samples of his poetry, (including audios of him reciting it,) and information about his books can be found at

One Can Miss Mountains

and pine. One

can dismiss
a whisper's

and go on as

before as if
everything were

perfectly fine.
One does. One

loses wonder
among stores

of things.
One can even miss

The basso boom
of the ocean's

rumpus room
and its rhythm.

A man can leave
this earth

and take nothing
--not even

along with him.

Todd Boss

Poetry Friday at Brimstone Soup

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Still celebrating

Yesterday Erin read a journal entry from her diary aloud to me. She'd written it during our stay in Utah, 2 1/2 years ago, May 2006, when we were spending a month away from home to see if we'd feel better. The entry read:

Last night...we did indeed see Fiddler on the Roof! It was great fun, we all enjoyed it. My definite favorite song was "Matchmaker" that the three sisters sang. They looked as if they were having so much fun! I should like to perform that song. (Smiley face drawn alongside the entry.)

Two years later, September 2008:

Having limited amounts of energy resets priorities. Our dreams do not remain faint naggings easily ignored, but shouts that push us out the door. Today I'm thanking the Lord for granting Erin a desire of her heart. (Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Celebrating a cold

Erin caught the current coughing and congestion nuisance that's being passed around and shared (a little too unselfishly). Using our Rife machine really does seem to help a cold from becoming full blown (sorry for the pun). We didn't think of using it right away, but since we have, her symptoms have calmed down quite a bit. Still, rehearsals for "I Remember Mama" (her latest play, which I've neglected to mention here,) are in full swing for opening night the first weekend of December, so extra rest time isn't available. (In her "healthier" state, when rehearsals get to be every night, she must rest both her body and mind all day just to have the strength she needs for her work that night, so there is no give - no extra time for rest.

Brady and I started fighting unusual headaches and muscle aches a few days after Erin became ill. It finally occurred to me yesterday, that we have Erin's cold virus. I've learned from studying about Chronic Fatigue that when your immune system is not working right, you will not get colds - you can get the virus, but it doesn't play out like a person whose immune system is strong. I'm so glad to finally understand that. (For quite a while, I'd convinced myself that our lack of colds meant our immune systems were better then most, a disillusionment I'm quite embarrassed to admit). Even though our struggles with health are still great, when we're less ignorant about what's happening, we don't have the confusion - therefore, we don't become as overwhelmed or discouraged when setbacks occur. Being less ignorant leads to another obvious benefit: a better knowledge of what to do; granting us hope for that all-so-elusive progress we desire.

So I'm celebrating Erin's cold. She's had a couple of these now - not the cold that comes when our bodies have repeatedly warned us to "stop getting out of bed and trying to live so much," and we haven't listened; but the cold that causes her friends and fellow workers alike to suffer. Yes! (Not Yes! for everyone's suffering, but Yes! to a body that acts like our old selves.)

Please continue to keep us in the forefront of your prayers (remembering to include a celebratory thank you for Erin's coughing and congestion). I often use the word, "slow", when telling people about our progress. But that conjures up the phrase "slow as a turtle," which wrongly illustrates. Trying to recover from a strange disease, such as Chronic Fatigue, doesn't look anything like the pace of a turtle, (I've observed many pet turtles, so trust me). It looks more like a film strip that keeps getting caught in the projector and, because it's a bit damaged, seems impossible to advance.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday Smiles

  • Erin and her friend jazz dancing to Singin' in the Rain in the kitchen (with tables and chairs pushed aside).
  • Listening, along with Brady, to Dr. George Grant lecture on the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord and conclude with the recitation of Longfellow's Paul Revere's Ride.
  • A friend saying she'll pray for me.
  • Goofiness at the kitchen table after lunch, very "un grown-up like" - very needed.
  • Sharing obsessions with an author friend. (She sent me the above photo after I sent her a quote from a book.) My new hero is Grace Coolidge (I'm currently reading, Grace Coolidge and Her Era,) and Sarah's long time heroes are Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan (Sarah wrote the wonderful, Miss Spitfire, 2007).

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
Carl Sandburg

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Lamplighter

Now that we've "fallen back" with the ending of Daylight Savings Time, night-time creeps up and surprises us with a sort of gloom. It takes a few days to gain a perspective of what we've gained by the early darkness; such as times to gather around the table for warm bowls of soup, longer conversations at the table, a cozy book or show to entertain us, more time to think and plan, and hopefully even the desire to go to bed earlier - rest more.

Another added bonus: The evening neighborhood walk becomes filled with quiet views of people warmly ending their days in the comfort of their unique little nests, which gives me a sense of contentedness and eagerness to get back to my own home and end my day well. The mysteries unveiled (or not,) when walking in the dark, almost take away the chill of the damp November nights. If lamplighter's were still needed, I'd be with the child in the poem.

The Lamplighter

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky.
It's time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
and my papa's a banker and as rich as he can be;
But I when I am stronger and can choose what I'm to do,
O Leerie, I'll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
and Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight!

Robert Louis Stevenson

Poetry Friday roundup at Check It Out

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tree Happy

Winter 2008 showed us its stuff. Now Autumn 2008 is doing the same. This month, I've felt that we're living in a painting. No rain, nor wind to speak of, (which is not the norm for October,) with the result of leaves staying on the trees, basking in the sunshine. Their changing beauty inspires us to smile, live, breathe, be thankful to the One who made them.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Joyce Kilmer

Happy Reformation Day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The 2nd Eleven Days of October

As you might have imagined after looking at all the pictures, we were a bit "done in" after our trip. But, oh, so thankful! When we were walking off the plane of our last flight home, Erin remarked, "This feels like the first vacation we've had since our England trip." And indeed it had.

At the doctor's visit, Brady was examined first. He walked back into the waiting room with a grin on his face. For the first time ever, he had held his adjustment from the last visit. Erin was called next. In a few minutes, she slipped out of the examination room, while I walked towards it, having just been called. I had to turn and look at her after she passed to verify that she was going back to the waiting room, not the quiet room (where you go for 20 minutes after getting adjusted, so that you don't immediately go out shopping, for instance, and have an accident bumping into someone who is reaching for the same pair of shoes on the sales rack). Erin was "in" as well. (Even after falling head and arm first onto cement this summer.) So it looked like I might be the one to spoil the party. I couldn't believe it when the doctor told me I was fine. All the office staff were so happy for us.

Usually, if we've been treated, we return to the doctor for two or three check-ups. And we have to "lie low" the first day or two and not do too much. But none of that this time. Since we had planned a day in Los Angeles and a special stop in Salt Lake City, we didn't change our airplane tickets. Brent's family (aunt, cousin and her husband,) helped us with a little cooking and grocery shopping so we could have some fun. It humbles me to think of the kindness they, Brent, my parents, and all of our Salt Lake family members showed in their labor for us, so we could use what energy we had to enjoy ourselves. Many thanks to those who prayed for our trip, too.

We had "paybacks" when we came home. But I've seen worse. Besides feeling really sick and tired, the freezer and refrigerator were empty (our food came with us on the trip.) But we're always glad to be back in our own beds and to eventually get back to the rest routine that we need during the day.

We're very thankful for the times of fun and fellowship with loved ones that we've been given this year. We need those times. They feed and encourage us.

So who wants to visit at Thanksgiving or Christmas? We'll be here!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008