Gas Station Saunter

See the woman walking

light as air–

her wings filling up with the wind,

canvas shopping-bag sails dancing in the sun.

An easy, breezy escape

for 10 minutes,

popping over to the corner gas station

–alone!–

to pick up lemonade ice-tea

for her temporarily bed-bound husband

who had this special request.

She walks along in the sun

smelling the city scent of spice and cement,

free enough to notice such things

without the usual tangled parade of double stroller,

the baby in snuggly

and other kids marching two by two.

She wonders what the chances are

that she’ll get to capture

the poetry of this ordinary moment

when she arrives home

to 80,000 questions

like “Why is blood red?

What is the sun made of?

What do we do before we are born?”

and “Can I have a ‘peeburrer samich’ nooooooow?”

An obnoxious car cuts her off to turn through the crosswalk on her light

–keeping it real–

lest in her pondering she float off into the brilliant blue sky

to alight on the snow-covered mountain tops that beckon in the distance

to this winged creature:

a woman alone for a walk.

Beautiful

Yesterday I stumbled across this poem I wrote some time ago for dear friends who had suffered yet another painful miscarriage. As a number of people in our church community have either recently lost young children, or are approaching anniversaries of loss, I decided to share it.

Beautiful the face of a mother,

who suffers and who loves,

endlessly giving her all,

her very self, day and night.

Beautiful the face of a father,

whose word of love has become flesh,

and brought him joy,

and the necessity to serve,

forgetting himself.

Beautiful the hearts of husband and wife,

who give up pieces of themselves,

and let them to walk around outside their bodies,

tugging on their heartstrings

until they break.

Beautiful the sorrow of those who trust in God,

while they ache inside and long for the gift

that was briefly theirs,

but has flown to Heaven.

Beautiful the “Amen’s” that cost us the most,

the letting go,

the giving up what we only loved,

but never owned.

Beautiful the hearts that don’t lose faith,

when all seems cold and incomprehensible.

Beautiful the love that is stronger than death,

that stretches into eternity,

and bursts into God’s light with joyous triumph

on that day of reunion

which is to come.

Island Lullaby

In Hawaii, the sun sinks into the sea

like a burning golden coin–

you can actually watch it slip below the surface.

The clouds show off their colours:

peachy orange and cotton candy pink,

dark grey accentuated by strips of shining gold.

After it’s done, the sunset hurrah,

deep darkness falls quickly.

The winding island roads are bathed in blackness.

Everything fades away except ohana, family,

the small circle of warmth

around you and and your loved ones,

sipping wine and sharing stories.

With no streetlights to prolong the day,

it soon feels so late and sleepy.

Bed beckons after a day on the beach.

You’re ready for the windy palm tree lullaby,

that endless rustling of phantom rain

that is simply leaves swaying in the starlight.

The crickets convince you to close your eyes and listen.

“Be soothed, be soothed,” they sing.

“Soon enough the sun will return…

rooster will be sure to let you know.

Early and often he will call:

‘Get up! Get up! A new adventure begins!’ ”

Miracles Happen: Mama and Baby go on Hawaiian Holiday

This great picture was taken by Auntie Jessica! 🙂

So I have amazing news to share! Just last week my brother Winston invited me to join him on vacation…and even bought my ticket, so I’m going to Maui with him for the first time ever to visit our brother Monti! Everyone should have an awesome little brother, or two! 😉

As you can imagine…several weeks ago I didn’t even dream of such a thing, as I was busy homeschooling our kids and surviving year-end, when my accountant husband James has to work his hardest. But his lovely boss Brian gave him some personal days after all his long hours, and so between them, a good friend Cheryl and a few babysitters, I’ve got it covered to be away for 6 days! 🙂

The boys love paper crafts. This time was making bats!
The girls getting ready for ballet class.
Working away on her animal worksheet to practice writing.
Fun reproducing Australian outback soil with things from the kitchen!

I managed to find all the documents I needed, and scramble together all my paperwork for passports for the baby and myself. The awesome people at the office got them done in just a few days. Thank you Don Alvaro, to whom I prayed for this all to work out, and to all my girlfriends who were rooting for me to go as well! As I was telling them this morning, it seems so many times that after a particularly hard time or struggle, extra good things happen–like we were being carved out in order to make new space for deeper blessings.

Fun with napkins while waiting at the airport.

I am so grateful for the mystery of God’s providential love…Life is an adventure and dreams come true! 🙂 So if you see some pictures of baby and me near palm trees soon, know it’s not photoshopped!

Well, after an extra fast flight due to tailwind, some baby bouncing at 3700 feet, followed by a big baby nap while I watched a few movies (The Big Year and Collateral Beauty, both good), we arrived!

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

As I have some Dutch Family, I like to keep the tradition of putting out shoes the night before St. Nicholas Day, or Sinterklaas. Of course the kids love it, too, and this year ambitiously put out boots instead! 😉 We all got one little zippy bag of traditional Dutch cookies, one chocolate, and one decoration for the tree. It’s a fun way to anticipate Christmas, and the excitement of waking up to a surprise brings with it almost as much joy and anticipation as the bigger celebration of Christmas Day!

You’ll notice boots of 4 girls, 2 little boys, and mum and dad, too. And if you look carefully up on the bookshelf, you can see the little ornament of our new baby girl, who at 33 weeks old inside, doesn’t need any shoes yet, but is equally a part of our Christmas this year.

Wishing you all an Advent filled with simple joys and much love!

Spring Forward

Spring forward–

move the clocks!

Let the daylight stretch into the afternoon

like a sleepy cat

awakening.

 

But this spring feels late–

the snow lingers in patches,

though sobbed on by rain,

and grimly threatens to return

in mid-March flurries.

 

One wishes it was weather

more suited for blizzards

from Dairy Queen

but the chill damp air

crushes dreams of summer.

 

Undaunted we spring forward,

planning spring in our dining room–

filling every ledge and shelftop

with seedlings and sprouting things

baby bok choi and alyssum flowers

peas and beans with their bright green leaves–

tiny banners raised in triumph against the grey.

 

We are even sprouting an avocado —

its plump brown pit skewered by toothpicks

and half-submerged in water.

Every day I look with delight at the long white root

shooting out like a streak of hope

seeking life.

 

Spring forward

and if spring won’t leap with you,

give it a push!

 

17-ish steps to making great saint’s costumes

As we near all saint’s day, better known by many as the day after Halloween (all hallow’s eve), many busy moms can be found busy sewing saints costumes for their kids. And then there’s me…here’s what my day looked like, broken down in simple steps, in case you’re crazy and want to try it:

  1. Announce to your many munchkins that it is time to pick saints for dressing up.
  2. Listen to flurry of excitment and witness many dresses and scarves being pulled out and tried on.
  3. Pull out scrap material box and fasten on pretty headscarves with hair clips.
  4. Change a diaper and make lunch.
  5. Feed and bathe baby.
  6. Help older kids research saints online.
  7. Help make a harp out of cardboard, tin foil and pipe cleaners.
  8. Clean pee off floor and give toddler a bath.
  9. Try to coach eldest child through anxiety about her future costume’s potential defects due to my lack of sewing expertise. Fail.
  10. Call Grandma for moral support.
  11. Make a second lunch for child who missed it due to researching saints and is currently losing marbles.
  12. Suggest 20 other costume options. Have them rejected.
  13. Feed baby. Try to fashion sheet into nun’s habit. Fail.
  14. Clean baby poop off floor. Bathe baby again.
  15. Listen to eldest child come up with totally new costume idea (using her own, already made clothes) after you already cut a hole in a sheet. Rejoice as it means you don’t have to sew!
  16. Thank God and put in a frozen pizza. Safely stow away costumes in a big bag.
  17. Make silly jokes while you do the dishes and smile cause the madness is over…till next year!