Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bouncy house

We had a church wide picnic tonight. It was fun. There was bluegrass music, barbecue and a bouncy house.  My children lived through the day for that bouncy house. They knew it was coming and every hour they wanted to know if that hour were the appointed hour for the bouncy house.

"No, just ____ more hours." I repeated 47 times.

Then we parked and unsnapped the car seats and clambered into the evening and we could hear the twang of banjo music. Around a hydrangea corner, and there it was--a giant red

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I brought a potato into my bed tonight because I wanted to write about it. I wanted to write about the crusted soil and the mica flecks and the warm sun on the necks of my children as we harvested it. I even drought the paper bag, torn flat and made doubly useful to cure my precious potatoes. But the basket, trying to contain laundry all needing to be folded but put off and forgotten so now it ought to be ironed, stares primly from the foot of the bed. I know what it's thinking: tasks put off multiply.


My knee is being corrugated by coloring books. We have stacks of coloring books. Pre-formed imaginings. I had planned to put them in the basket with the rest, but we have so many my oversight doesn't matter.

A butterflies and bubbles blanket, lies on the corner of my bed almost covering my first outfit of the

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lemon Chicken Orzo

I used to love to cook. I used to use leafy things with fruity things. I used to make herbed syrups.

Then I had kids.

A sweet lady at my church, fishing for conversational fodder with my four year old daughter, asked what Annabel's favorite food was.

"Fingernails and cardboard."

We have since coached her to say, "cake."

This is better. Much more acceptable for my pink frilly daughter to love cake.

Also, she has, on more than one occasion, eaten an entire stick of sidewalk chalk. I think she really likes the neutral colors best. I never thought I would have to tell my kids not to eat chalk. I thought,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lay your burdens down

You know what?

I dried a load of clothes in the ELECTRIC dryer today.

It was perfectly sunny and breezy outside where my clothes line is. Perfect line drying weather. Like God woke up this morning and stretched and pronounced that today, blessed would be the line dryers, for they would receive freshness.

Of course I felt guilty.


Why, because life is one big huge competition and if I don't do everything that every other successful,

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Favorite Words

They agree with the Sermon, but they have less enthusiasm for the offertory, i.e., in expending energy or making sacrifices in the line of their convictions. --J. Arthur Thomson

Isn't that just the truth!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Day Three CUMC Devotionals

A third offering from my five part series.

What do we know of baptism?

A child, brought to the waters to be marked, a man drawn by thirst so deep that his bones crack with it, a woman burning with passion for justice, all standing on the edge of the water. We watch Jesus descend, humbly, into the water to be blessed by his kinsman, and we hear the words, “Repent and be baptized.” The water is there, holy and elemental, strange...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Central UMC Devotionals

Here is another devotional from the daily emailed devotional from Central UMC.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Central UMC Devotionals

This week I am supplying the devotionals for Central UMC, Asheville. Thanks for reading!

Friday, June 6, 2014

A snippet from a project

Rocks, smooth and brilliant nestle, decades old, in the elbows and knees of the river. Water, cold and so clear it is invisible until a water skate walks, impossibly, on its surface, slides by. 

Low and quiet today. 
Today it is enough simply to glide silently by. 
Maybe tomorrow it will roar, gorged with rain. 
Confused and wild. 

The green branches of trees bend over in a protective embrace. Today, the water is content to be here, passing gently through this wood, but water is ancient. It has cycled through ages and seasons, alternately ascending in the exhalation of evaporation, and descending in a free fall of rain. It has known the splash of children’s fingers, the cleaving of the explorer's prow, the joy of the thirsty wanderers, and it remembers the shadow of the Devine breath in the darkness before there was light. When it too knew the darkness and safety of a womb.

Monday, June 2, 2014


Baby you are there in your bed. Quiet but frustrated.

"I no sleepy,"

You insisted, until, arms folded in somnolent prayer, you slept, unsleepily.

Outside child-grown babies run and shout, knowing that if they chase the fairies in the garden they will outrun their lessons. 

For what mother

Would trouble peaceful play with lessons?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The sunrise brings the day-words
In a basket of brightly burning flame.
Possibilities all jumbled inside,
and, if we are not careful, we will draw
Them out upside-backwards--sharp side outwards.

Words tumbling full of possibility.
Questioning, soothing, correcting, laughing.
Showers of words scattered like wild flowers.
Useful words ordering day by subject.
Sharp words wormy with malice and regret.

The sunset gathers the detritus and,
Recklessly denying another day,
Burns them on an honorable pyre.
We are left to ponder our selections
And vow to choose more wisely tomorrow.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Dry, waiting in the bowl, they glisten in their saccharine gowns, then they float like so many tiny, ill-fated life preservers. Milk-wet, lightly coated in sugar, crispy for those first frantic moments, then soggy like miniature, friable sponges.  Rarely, a lucky breakfaster will find one that is glassed over--Oh! the joy of that honey webbing.  

Cheerios, part of this complete breakfast, now dripping down the cabinet and becoming breakfast for

Saturday, May 17, 2014



Four tiny years we have known you.

You have convinced us all that you are a garden fairy.  Don't worry. We made place for you. Here where the sun slants through the fence in the morning, lighting the undersides of the leaves.  Between

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


A sleeping child is like a poem yet to be written. You know that when this force wakes up you will be engulfed in frenetic impulse.  A drive to be and discover that will root holes in the lawn and empty spices on the floor with the same joy. But when they are sleeping, with the morning light just there on the cheek still full with babyhood, they are still the dream of energy.  

Oliver woke up, ready to probe the universe's junk drawer of unasked questions, at 4:30 am.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


The sunrise called to me this morning, but it was all too polite.

I did not hear, from the corner of my bed all wrapped in sheets and quilts and dreams, and so I missed what it had to say.

The mist wrapped dawn faded and was replaced by a much more insistent day to which I must attend.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Mother's Day

The day we celebrate the exact moment that I became insecure, overwhelmed, guilt-ridden and sticky.    The day I am thankful that someone took on this impossible role on my behalf (thanks Mom).  The day I pause to reflect that no matter how much I struggle and try I will fail, but in the failure become part of the great story of motherhood.

Hail Mary, 
Full of Grace

Eve raised a murderer, Rachel raised a cheat, Mary (the virgin) left her child in the largest city in her world.  We are all failures.  But for some reason, we keep trying.

Blessed are thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

In the beginning, God created...and God created man and woman in his own image.  We are bearers of God's image.  When we bear life from our life, we are agreeing to embrace the truth of love forever.  We are mothers from the day of conception and we carry those children..."forever and ever and always."  

Holy Mary,
Mother of God.

The Spirit of God hovered over the waters of chaos and was the very breath of life.  A mother hovers over the, admitted, chaos of her family and struggles to fill it with life.  

Pray for us sinners now
And at the hour of death.

So, dear mothers, come, join with the community of failed mothers and failed saints and know that the Gospel feast is for you.  The body and blood of our Lord was poured out by savagery and pointless hate, but the Creator God who's image he carried blossomed in the ashes of a terror stricken day and gave us hope.


To Laine, Annabel, Oliver and Gwyneth

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A love story

The shining drop clung, magnetic, to the quirked tip of the waxy leaf, managing to convey, without words, blush or motion the entirety of the longing passion that a lover feels in the vacuum of absence. 

                           "Coffee or tea?" the smiling blue eyes asked.

                                                                                                        I am here.

Joyfully I returned to the water where we had lavished those red-tinged moments, but I found the

Friday, April 4, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

(from February 2014)

New Direction

I have struggled to find a consistent voice in this blogging medium.  Over the last five years I have written about gardening, crafting, parenting, cooking, organizing, faith, love, humor and probably more.  I have tried to follow in footsteps I admire, keep to a topic or make this a journal, but none of these things have stuck.  More than anything, I have written.

So, I have taken a terrifying step.  I am going to begin writing in earnest.  I am going to attempt to be a writer and, knowing very well that I may fail, ask for two things...honesty and grace.  This space is

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Warm, soft, tender, whole. It is a mother's love wrapped in a stoneware embrace.  The gluten stretches like billowing linens on a wind-blown line full of the spacious final exhalations of tiny friendly microorganisms.  The homely crust is lumpy and brown, but pride lurks inside those wheaten-walls.  The pride of a mother's deep knowing of children fully fed, quietly nourished, and tenderly satisfied.
In a moment a steel grimace will partition this meal creating a serving where there once was a whole, but, now, while the fragrant heat slips into memory, this humble creation of flour and water stands as a symbol of home and family and faith.
One loaf made and broken again and again, giving each body the elements of life and each soul the vitalizing gasp of hope.  This two pound loaf represents to the disparate and time flung generations the hands that took up bread and gently changed the world.  Those hands, just beginning to show age, selected the humblest of foods to remind the world of the coming of a simple, gentle, mothering Divinity.  A new way and an enduring love both needing a metaphor: a metaphor of seed and growth and home and nourishment.  An alchemy of grain and water into sustenance and love and grace into hope. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Swimming uphill in mud

Parenting is hard. Really, intensely hard. 

I can't speak for anyone else in the parenting world, but some days as a stay at home mom are frustratingly awful. Those are the days I don't so much feel like a parent as some poor sod who has woken up to find that she is the head keeper of a deranged zoo where all of the animals have escaped and are trying to eat each other. 

And I have never in my life had one single class tell me what to do about carnivorous children. 

I have taken classes that tell me what the characteristics of 12 tone music are. I have taken classes that describe how calcium channels make your cardiac muscle cells work. I have taken classes on how to beautifully render the human body in two dimensions. 

WHY?  Why do I know nothing about what makes a three year old sob and whine and lament for 12 solid hours?  I almost can't blame Oliver for biting...I'm frustrated too.  Why do I stand dazed in my kitchen after two hours of breakfast, half way through a limp attempt at cleaning up only to hear the dreaded words, "I'm hungry?"

I thought I would be a mom who never got tired of parenting. I didn't think it would be easy, but I genuinely thought careful parenting, and I would feed off of each success and wake each morning with energy and IDEAS!  

I can't even laugh. I just sigh and shake my head because I never anticipated the lobbying. If we really want to change the government, we should just send my children to Washington and tell them if they can negotiate free health care for everyone they can each have a bag of marshmallows and an iPad. BAM!! By the time they left, Democrats and Republicans, dogs and cats and doctors and lawyers would all be working together to push the legislation through so their ears would stop bleeding. they are all asleep, so I'm back to being a courageous and forward thinking mother instead of the sniveling, staring husk I was just minutes ago. 

Ahhhh. Ain't life great. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Nail polish ideas for a real mom

As I sit in my children's room, holding them hostage until they fall asleep, I do a fair bit of pondering...well, when I am not reading (right now, the Outlander series). 

I keep pondering what it is to be a mom and a woman today and finding that, for the first time, I am learning something from the story of Mary and Martha. I have always resented that story because I feel like Jesus probably enjoyed the fruits of Martha's labor while simultaneously telling her she was focusing on the wrong things. For someone who is head cook and clothes washer and also slightly

Friday, January 17, 2014


Laine: ok, mom. You can't bring dogs, skateboards, bikes or knives and forks into this exhibit. 

Me: {snort}

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Turn of a phrase

You look nice! used to mean: I like what you are wearing.  Now it means: wow, you put on clothes AND shoes!!


It has been three months. 

Three months. 

I'm still sad.  I'm still tired.  I still don't understand. 

I have learned the split-mindedness of grief. Here but always aware of the other who is gone. I have

Monday, January 13, 2014

Our Daily Bread

I have one thing that I make that is extraordinary. One single recipe that is mine and that I am truly proud of. 

My Honey Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread. 

Give us this day our daily bread.

Making all of our bread has taught me something significant about this bit of the "Our Father" (as Laine calls it...good little Methodist?).  In these words there is more of patience than demand, there is more of faith than expectation and there is more of nourishment than gratification. 

Bread: the stuff of, gentle, flavorful and temporary.  God provides for our needs when we are needy. God provides healing when we are hurt. The troubling thing is that God never promises us we will never be hungry or angry or lost.

The other day Laine asked me if we would never cry in heaven or if there would always be someone there to wipe our tears away.  I didn't know. I still don't. 

I promise that I would be glad to have some of my tears wiped away, but I can't imagine a place with no tears. Some days the tears help me know I haven't gone numb. So, yes, Laine. I think heaven will be a place where there will always be someone to wipe your tears away. 

And for now my prayer is for just enough for this day: enough wits, enough love, enough hope and enough rest. 

My daily bread. 

My Honey Oatmeal Whole Wheat Bread. 

3 tsp rapid rise yeast (this is what I use because it keeps and it's cheap and I use a ton...feel free to use Active Dry...)
6 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt

Mix together in a large bowl. I use a stand mixer. 


1 cup oatmeal (already cooked...I use leftovers from breakfast)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1 egg (duck eggs if you can get them)
1 3/4 cups very warm water

Mix together until the flour is all worked in. 

Knead for five minutes (on "2" in my stand mixer) or by hand until elastic. This dough stays a bit sticky, but you should be able to handle it without too much mess. 

Cover and allow to rise for 2 hours. 

Deflate and allow to rise for 1 hour. 

Deflate, shape into 2 loaves and allow to rise for 1 hour in greased loaf pans.  I use stoneware pans and truly love them. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. 

Enjoy. Daily.