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Friday, March 11, 2016

Red lips and Ribbons

       You're inside in-between. There but not there. So you stand on the line steady your feet and feel your way wearing red lips and ribbons.  You breathe deep and look to the side from where you came knowing the ribbon should really be tucked in the back of your little girl drawer, but you’re not ready for that.  This is okay. Don’t be ready for that.
     Some run ahead on the line so fast never missing a step and you stand here covered in the wake of their dust… but you blow it off, pop those red lips, and touch the ribbon in your hair. 
     I get close enough to see you standing wobbly on the line and I try to remember… but in the remembering what I really want to do is run to the line and knock you off.  I want to push you back onto the playground where little boys and girls live.
     It’s a stupid na├»ve thought I know this and you would not stay there even if I did because you can’t stay there, no one can stay there…and yet…I wish you could and I think it all the same.  Just for a little while longer, Please!  Just a little while longer.
     But you climb back up and knock off the dirt determined to take back your place on the line because it’s your time and you have to walk it whether you are ready or not…so... Stop looking at me.  Get out of my way.  Why are you talking to me.  You don’t know me.  Who are you anyway?
    
      “Me?  I’m just walkin’ the line too,” I say, “like you.  I’ve just been doing it a lot longer.  I was way up there.”  I point.  “But now, I’m back here with you and I’m brushin’ myself off too.  Just puttin’ on red lips and fixing my ribbon.”
     “And you, boy!  Yes, you.”  You know the one.  All cool and chillin’. Got the attitude. The pretty face.”  He winks.  Yeah. You’re doing the thang oh yes you are. “Wake up!”  I shout.  Stop layin’ under the table thinkin’ how cute you are. You’re not that cute.  “There’s a quarter-horse inside you, don’t you know that!” I tell him.  “You were born to run.  And run fast.  I know you feel him stirring so don’t you tell me that you don’t.  You were born for greatness.  Now get moving!”
     I watch for a while longer and wait for a break in the line because I too need to find my place amongst this colorful herd of, “children no more.”
     Children no more who aren’t quite steady on their feet yet, but who I know will find their way with strength and grace.  And when they bloom they will take your breath away and bring tears to your eyes.  Until then, I hope they know how amazing they are.  How fascinating.  How beautiful.   

     So don’t knock me off the line just yet, Okay?  I want to watch you for just a little while longer wearing your red lips and ribbons.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A moment in the life of a girl

A little girl stood behind the backstop...her fingers looped inside the chain link fence.
     And as it grew dark the field lit up and there he was...standing on the pitchers mound.
    A moment that took her breath away.
    The little girl saw him every day and yet...she knew now that she really saw him. Intense, powerful, confident, handsome...
     And in a moment he became so much more than just her Dad.  He was now and forever after... her Hero.

     Later, when it was time for a treat, the little girl stood in a concession line. "The pitcher's my Dad," she said as she pointed. "He's my Dad."

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Father's hands...

  
      You were beside me today, Dad. Right there beside me with your hands in the spokes.
     Today was a bike day at Husky club and as the cast of wild things rode, I noticed that one of the older boys was sitting with his head hung. I walked over.  
     "What up buddy?", I asked him. 
     He looked at his bike and then at me.  Pointed to the problem.  The chain had come off the track. It was stuck between the petal and the round silver thing with the teeth.
      "Yeah," I said as I tugged it, "That's stuck pretty good."  I tugged it again. 
    "Don't bother Miss Pam, " He told me, "I've been working on it for 10  minutes. It's useless."
     The two fingers of my right hand were covered with grease from pulling on the chain. I held them out in front of me. My stubby fingernails were freshly painted light pink. But as I stared at them, my hands became my Dads. 
     "You know," I told him, "I have two sisters and a brother. I watched my Dad do this a hundred times." I looked down again at the twisted chain as the memory played in my mind. "Let me try."
     My hands were patient and purposeful just like his as I moved the pedal forward and backward as each little link jumped back into place. 
     My hands were covered with grease when I finished, but the smile on the boys face made my dirty hands look beautiful.
     And as I went inside to wash them, my eyes filled with tears. "I need to tell my Dad," I said outloud.  I need to tell him that he fixed a  bike today.
     So here I am Dad telling you...
     Thank you for your good and special care.
 Thank you for your patience and time in fixing my bike.  I watched you.  I was paying attention.  And when your little girl fixed a boys bike today...it mattered.
     I love you...

Monday, February 15, 2016

I choose this...

I have to choose. Everyday I have to choose because bad news comes and then more bad news and then more. I dont want to hear it so I don't listen. I turn off the news. But then it comes anyway too close to home. A nieces baby full of cancer. A father who exampled strength and hardwork facing cancer for the fourth time. My father...and I know he can't have much fight left.  Cancer on skin I touch and know so well...cutting, burning, waiting.
  I don't want to think about. Dont know what to say, so I pray and work and walk.
I listen to music and read and watch TV and take care of business and then pray more but it's all still there and it's ugly and it hurts and I hate cancer.
  But in the moments...those moments when I open my eyes to really see, when I quiet my mind and surrender my heart  God takes them captive and puts this in the sky and I know...
  I know he has answers to every hard thing. Every one.
   So I choose this.
   Blind Faith? No! Can't you see?
   I choose the promises of a God who makes mountains and paints sky.
   I will cry but I will trust Him and I will choose Him.
   I will choose this.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

For Mary...my mother...on her birthday.

     This last weekend birthday visit felt short to me. I don't think we ever quite settled into each other like usual. Not much alone time. Only two days, and a challenging season for us. Between us. And yet, there is simply no place I'd rather be than with you the third week of October.    
     It's not a coincidence that you were born as God chose to breathe and change the season. This time of reds and yellows and pumpkins has always been my very very favorite. It's my big deep breath of, "Aaaaahhhhhh," time. And it's when God chose to put you on the earth to become my Mother.
     October...your birthday.
        I've written about you often over the years. As memories came I pecked away at the computer keys so I could remember and pass it on. and so now, for the sake of time I'll cut and paste some of my words.

     "My mother spoke through straight pins held between her lips as she bent over a pattern on the floor with scissors in her hand. This memory soothed and comforted me in a way I did not expect. On her knees in the living room,pinning and cutting. And it was her foot I saw, and her machine I heard, as Chandler sat at my kitchen table and began to sew. I was suddenly filled with the excitement and anticipation of the new dress my Mom was making for me. Her love behind the sewing machine formed me as a little girl and is coming full circle back to me as a mother."

     "Mary, my mother, is writing down her story. She is being strong and brave and she sends me pages that make me weep. My tears are of joy and of sadness. She tells of truths that have not been spoken to me before. She is doing it because I asked her to. I love her for it. 
     My friends thought my mother was a movie star. She was beautiful, and I didn't know that she was broken, but, "Fragile...Handle with care" was stamped across her spirit even then. Dad knew it, and a part of me did too. 
     She was given four babies to love and care for and we were her life. She played with us, read to us, sang to us,  and she sewed. 
     She made clothes for herself like the ones Jackie Kennedy wore, but she was prettier. She made Easter dresses and school clothes for my sisters and for me. Ron was her first. Her only son and she made him a blazer. It was tan and I remember thinking, "How did she do that?" I was born 11 months after my brother. Lori followed two years after me, and two years after Lori, came our baby, Kaylynn. 
     I love to dance and sing because I saw my mothers joy in that place. I love stories because Mom didn't just read, she made them come alive. I love the way I love because my mother showed me how. 


     Mom...You were my example. I know what a Mother's heart is and what it does because of you. You gave me something precious that I was able to give to my own children. The precious things of childhood go deep in me because your were my Mom. 
     Thank you for music. My childhood was full of it because of you. I remember album after album being placed on the turn table. Andy Williams, Glen Campbell, Peter Paul and Mary. 
     The other day I just burst out singing a song for Jude.  It came out of nowhere, and yet, I knew every word and note. "And the Red Red Robin goes bop bop boppin' along.” Jude wanted me to sing it over and over and over.  ReAnnon  finally “googled” the words. It had come from a 1960’s “Sing along with Mitch Miller” album.  
"Oh, Mitch Miller."  Barbara Streisand, The Sound of Music. All of it, such a gift.
     And I don't remember a single night that you didn’t have dinner on the table for the six of us.  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, pot-roast, meatloaf, creamed corn.  All of these still comfort my soul. And I remember the expensive jars of maraschino cherries that you'd bring home just for me when you had a little extra money for groceries.  No one but you could have given me these things, so from your Mother’s heart to mine and back…  I love you!
 
    And so Mom...
    Time...it goes by so quickly. You'll be 80 soon and I'll be 60. So crazy to think about and yet, it's true. You were just a girl when you held me for the first time. So much life. So much love. So many memories. But know that my best...it came from you.
     Happy birthday Mom. You and Fall. My favorites. I love you!  
   
   

Friday, December 26, 2014

An, "Old made new forever remember Christmas," Part Two

So I sit here still.
This place of rememberance. A place where God's truth, his power, his promise, rushes around and through me so fast and hard that I spin in love and joy...and yet...much of my Christmas sits in piles unfinished. 
This room...a mess. But beautiful chaos I think. Lovely corners with things that wait. On a table, ruined by glue and paint and love sits three cut out hands and a box of remembrance. Each hand bigger than the other, three boys, three brothers who live in my heart...and the box...it's for Stella Grace.
And oh...the memories...
Little hands dripping with creek water held up in front of eyes of wonder wanting to show me the shiny treasures inside. 
Three seasons of singing and swinging with baby boys on a porch in back.
Tummies that ache from too too many pears.
Chins stained and dripping with juice from sweet garden strawberries.
The miracle of Jude's blackberry bush. 
Summer picnics on a blue blanket in grass with goldfish crackers on white plates.
Daughters who laugh and cry and sit and pray and read and wait.
Daughters who became mothers and aunts and friends.
A son who made a creek new with his father, who hung on the beams, bought me baby turkeys and swam with dogs on his back.
And a husband...who never stops...just makes it all beautiful for us.   
Mountains and sunsets. Morning light and promise.
Goodness, and God and Glory
I plant memorial stones in this messy place. Deep deep in my heart.
I know. I remember. Life and death and truth and love. And the greatest of these....

And then Fall came...
And with God's very breath over this mountain He blew inspiration over me...
And so...I sand and spray and paint and make new and remember...
And I have faith for my pile of unfinished Christmas because there will be birthdays and weddings and babies and graduations and God stories...
May our lives be full of these...

And may we know that life and death, old made new, redemption, new life, and Jesus 
Are What Matter. 


Saturday, November 29, 2014

An "Old made new forever remember," Christmas

     It's the last thing I do before going to bed and the first thing I check on when my feet hit the floor. My projects. My Christmas.
     I've been treasure hunting. Collecting things that have a past. I am going to make them new and write the next chapter in their stories for my family.
     I began to sand through wood trying to erase scars and scratches when I suddenly picture the hands and feet of Jesus. The scar on his side and I remember what they mean.
     I stop sanding. The nicks and notches in the old wood have become beautiful.

     I can't explain how I feel making things inspired by God in this season of my life because I have never felt this before. But over and over God takes me back to this place of remembrance. He sets me on the hills where memorial stones are planted. He reminds me that my story was written by Him and he wants me to leave behind a part of His story in my history, and so...
    I sand and stain and arrange and glaze and wait and check on...
    And on Christmas I will give away a few, "forever remember" moments of a life written by God with a heart of great praise from a greatly loved daughter.
   
    I wish I could show you what I'm doing... but it would spoil the surprise.
   
    Pssss..."I'll show you later."