Monday, May 23, 2016


We use this calendar around here, and do our best to follow the rhythms of the church year. Not a new thing for us, but for some reason this year I was shocked when we flipped from Lent (long) to Holy week (short), to the next page . . . the Easter season - so many tiny little boxes filled the page of that season: March 27 - May 17. Longer than Lent, even! I felt a lightness, Easter had just begun. And I also wondered, now what?

Our Lent theme was "Make Room" - it felt purposeful, tangible, hopeful. It was a beautiful season for our family. And then all of a sudden, Easter, a long season. And I found myself thinking, "I know how to DO Lent, but Easter? How to celebrate beyond marshmallow peeps and caramel rolls and bells and Easter egg hunts and . . .

I'm careful to not make light of Jesus' words "it is finished" -  and yet I couldn't help but think that phrase with some things right around Easter time:
Easter itself (but not - because it's a long season, wow)
War & Peace (epic! Loved it so much, had a bonding discussion/Russian themed dinner with the gals with whom I read . . . momentous)
Downton Abbey (groan, I know. But really - we savored watching together. And now it's over, sniff)
No tech time morning/evening

Yes, some smallish things but really when added up - we made room. I felt a very hopeful emptiness. And again I couldn't help but merge these seemingly trivial things with the reality of our faith - I found my mind picturing the empty tomb. And I thought how very hopeful emptiness can be, even in our own daily lives. The emptiness from can be room for new, or simply space for quiet.

From Make Room (best Lent picture book ever, imho): 
"We have made time. 
We have made space.
We have made room. 
We are ready now. 
We are different." 

So, we kept making room during Easter - some spring cleaning, keeping our afternoons as simple as possible, staying off the computer morning to naptime. Joy! And yet, still felt a bit aimless. And hopeful emptiness. 

In preparing for a meeting and giving the reflection at the beginning, I realized we made room for a word around here, one that I thought might frame our Easter season: AND. 


It's just this thing in my head and heart right now - everything can be both things. AND. &&&&&. So, I tried to celebrate Easter by using & more. Not an original thought AND one that is helping me frame life here.

Joy & Pain - they live together, side by side. And isn't that Easter? Death AND resurrection.

I've Seen Fire & I've Seen Rain
(what I thought when discovering our first tulip - the only one - on the same day we told Karis about Grandma Linnie's death)

Laughter & Crying
I feel this sometimes, how laughter can turn into crying or vice versa, and saw it unfold when we told Karis about Linnie . . .  it was a brisk afternoon and Trevor came home early. We were all in the back, and we lit a fire and sat down around it and just told her. She got a laugh-y kind of look on her face and then just started bawling. It was so tender and memorable, and it helped us to hold her and cry ourselves (I may have had the laugh-y face first too?)

Wild & Wonderful
Examples - me going to purchase a car by myself with two kids
bedtime - wind up and wind down
this stage of life in general - joyful and tiring

The happenings during the Easter season, lots of &: 

Grandma times
We got some good grandma time on her way out of town after being with Lexie & Calvin . . . Milton's, Sunstreet Cafe, Bachman's, picking up Karis. The next week we all hit the road for the cabin and settled in for sunshine sprucing up (I did not partake in sprucing, but I did enjoying watching and doing some kitchen things. And yes, laying on the couch. Uff da, lazy mom needs her afternoon quiet worse than Judah needs his nap). Lovely time together, Trev and I also snuck in a date. Grandmas and Grandpas work hard and play hard, always stunning to me.

Spring Concert
My fave part, watching Karis sing with abandon/pure joy/worship "This is My Father's World". Melting momma for sure. I'll never forget her face, sincere and exuberant. The whole hour was full of wonderful music and sweet faces of all ages. Much hilarity.

Celebrating Linnie
Profound, beautiful, memorable. Trevor, Judah and I went to say goodbye to Linnie the Friday before she died (thinking that the last memory Karis had of her was so sweet, so went while she was in school - something I now regret). She passed peacefully, with her husband and one of her sons by her side. The week leading up to her memorial service was more intense than we expected - Trevor was in and out, he did a wonderful job entering into feeling and processing and grieving while helping with the bulletin, slide show, writing his remembrance speech. Me and the kids had quiet times that week and the phrase kept running through my mind that "Heaven feels close". In a most refreshing way. We had talks about death and heaven and how it's so hard for those who are left here to miss the ones whose bodies are gone and spirits are soaring. Even Judah would ask, "Is Linnie all done dying?" and big sister hopped in with the matter of fact way that children are so good at, "No Judah, Linnie is dead, she already died!". Again, laugh-y cry. Meaningful was an immediate family dinner to share stories and put together picture boards. The visitation was special, so many came to show their love of Linnie. The kids brought great joy. My brother and his family came, which was such a gift - one of the babies' first outings, and it meant so much to us. The next day Trev and Karis left early for the committal at Fort Snelling - it sounded majestic, a gorgeous spring morning, Trev sang/played guitar for "Be Thou My Vision". Judah and I met them at the church, the service was one of the most unique and honoring I've seen - it was real, Trevor and Uncle Steve talked about Linnie's real life with honor and humor and tenderness. I appreciate the way Trev took time - made room - to grieve, to feel, to remember. His remembrance talk was from his heart, his pure and genuine heart.

I was struck by God's care for each person's grieving process. Personally, I had a quiet evening reading some life stories Linnie wrote . . . the feelings and tears were able to flow in those solitary moments. A play date one morning that tender week with two dear friends offered a place to talk - and one randomly gave me a CD that I ended up listening to on the literal hours of driving that came that week of to and from different events. Grateful. Trev, Judah and I had a Friday morning breakfast date, Judah made jelly trains and Trev and I got to really talk and process together. I treasured all the time I got to have with my children, this was our first season of grief as a family of four and I felt so carried.

The evening after the funeral we acknowledged that sometimes you just need a treat: McDonalds was needed. And that night we learned that we can all hold it together for so long and then . . . well, Karis went to bed okay and then soon was crying with thoughts about death - meaningful to my momma's heart was a long time rocking in the dark, praying for peace, proclaiming victory over death. So grateful. Same for Judah, only his wake up and rocking and praying time was at midnight. I will always remember. We needed those moments. It was (is) an honor to celebrate Linnie's beautiful and real life.

(Early) Mother's Day
- Cheers! One of my besties and I celebrated ourselves a few days early at Milton's
- Karis was ever sweet, I found a note on my nightstand Saturday evening, treasure

- We had an early celebration (the best way!) with momma Nancy and Grandma Carole & DK here Saturday . . . played outside, grilled, dessert and gifts on the deck. So special!
- Trev is always so honoring, love you dude

Baptisms of Lexie & Calvin
Oh precious lives, children of God. The service was beautiful and what an honor to be godparents, to know them and pray for them and watch them live into the fullness of who they are created. The celebration with all sorts of family, so memorable and special. We love these little ones to the moon (and their parents, too!). Special to the weekend was dinner with our families of four together the Friday before, and a bigger fam dinner the Monday after. Lots of memory making. Heart soars on wings of gratitude.

Gma Carole here
We had a super week with Grandma Carole, many memorable and treasured and bonding moments. The Dunn Brothers house for Mother's Day coffee on the way to the baptism service. IKEA, Judah and me meandered with her, and she made hilarious people watching comments. Original Pancake House and Van Maur and Trader Joes (with Judah while K was in school), she and Karis had the cutest afternoon while Judah napped - lunch, movie, sewing, Old Maid, chasing and giggling. Adorable. Some of my most cherished childhood memories are with my grandma, so watching Karis make her own, elated. We savored dinner at Ruby Tuesday. Next day some department store shopping, Milton's eating with Grandma Nancy, they went flower shopping and poof - time flies.

Bismarck Baby Trip!
It's been a huge gift to my momma's heart to watch Karis love babies! She adores them all and gets a look of pure joy when holding her cousins. We loved having a day with Elodie, she is captivating and we can't wait to get to know her better soon at "the reunion" and whenever we can gather. Baby Lila is already 5 months and is one of the most joyful bundles I've met. Baby Jeron at 2 weeks old slept and melted into nap cuddles in whomever's arms he landed. Miraculous creations. I'm grateful for our moms who welcome others into their home when we're back, make bountiful meals and create space for togetherness. Huge thanks. Again, heart soars. So high. This was the quickest of trips, always wish we had more room for connecting with friends . . . soon, I hope.

Bedtime chats
This is the new thing when I put Karis to bed. Lights out. Chat. About highs of the day, what we're eager for the next day, and whatever else spills out of that tender heart. Such as, "Mommy, did you ever go trick or treating with a pillow case? What were you for Halloween?". Oh pillow talk, so dear.

Temperament Counseling - we're doing it together after attempting over a year ago . . . loving this, a fun and real way to dig deep and learn and grow together. Illuminating.

The reading quotables: 
From The Scent of Water (Elizabeth Goudge knows exactly where I am at all times - it's bizarre)
"Don't stay up late. When you come up so late, and wake me just when I've got off, I can't sleep again for hours . . . " (a couple in the book was having wife woken by husband stuff going on . . . same thing here, uff da. They ended up figuring it out, we slowly are too)

"Like the very old, the very young were ageless in their unself-consciousness" (I'm continually in awe of the parallels between the young and the old)

". . . with God's help you can command your will when you can't command your feelings. Wish us, feelings seem to be important, but He doesn't appear to agree with us"

"For love alone doesn't doesn't go far enough, it must be charged with understanding"

"Nothing is ever over, you thread things on your life and think you've finished with them, but you haven't because it's like beads on a string and they come around again"

"hope, when deliberately opposed to despair, was one of the tough virtues"

"it had been stripped from her mind the comfortable delusion that she was a martyred woman"

"we grow, mercifully, and growth is just awareness of more and more"

Reading lately:

Karis - Children of Noisy Village, Pippi Goes on Board, Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine, What are We Going to do About Alice, Beezus & Ramona (audio), Samantha, Boxcar Children, Old Mother West Wind (with Trev at bedtime), we went on a presidential streak of great pic books and she really loved them
Judah - Rosie's Walk, Boo & Baa Have Company, Waiting, The Wonderful Things You Will Be ("The Balloon Book), Wherever you Are My Love Will Find You, The Doorbell Rang, Amos & Boris, Treasure Hunt, Dogger, Little Red Caboose, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Trevor - Chaucer Troilus & Chresyda, The Annals
Andrea - Scent of Water, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, A Year in Provence, Lonesome Dove, Found, Life in Motion, Make Room for What You Love, Life in Motion, Presence

- "Come see how cute we are!" (I loved this so much - said while they cuddled on the couch watching Daniel Tiger. Oh melt my heart and why didn't I get a pic)

- "Mom, I had that feeling inside, I feel bad for how I acted about wearing a coat, I'm sorry"
- "Mom I just found my new habit! Sucking my hair!"
- "Mommy, that looks like so much fun to go on a midnight errand!" (watching Taylor & Bob go to Target when we left family dinner at Tay/Kate's house - we have big plans for a midnight errand with Aunt Kate this summer)
- "I wanna just go play so I can forget about being sad"
- "No Judah, I didn't say tractor, CHAPTER!"
- "Judah that's potty talk, you shouldn't say that! Go in the bathroom to say that!"
- "Dad, Lexie needs her pacifier" (said confidently and correctly)
- Quote from a recent school narration about math terms (her teacher pulled me aside laughing about this one):
"Weight - A weight is one of the things that sometimes you use for exercise. Big heavy circles meet at a line. The line connects the circles together. Usually you hold the line up and see if you can do it. Most children cannot do it very well. it is much too heavy and much too well for children to do. Grownups can do it quite easily. Especially men. That is a weight"
- "Mommy, my eyes are GREEN! I have Rapunzel eyes!"
- "Did you used to feel like that?"
- "You gotta be careful of children by tools - you left your tools out!" (to Trev)
- "So momma, you know that day the girls came over? It seems like the grownups always just want to connect and then the kids don't get to hold the babies for very long"
- "Judah want to go to a fancy house? Daddy's taking his clothes to GLORIA'S house. She has velvet rugs and splendid parlors! Mommy, does Gloria have maids?" (this is the sweetest seamstress we love, a woman in her 70's who works out of her home in our neighborhood)
- "Daddy, who's more famous - Bob Dylan or Prince?"
- "Look, Prom is here!" (while at a restaurant)
- "Oh Daddy, I still don't get it! Please just tell me when I'm sixteen or something" (when explaining the concept of buying things from Amazon)

Judah Jibes:
- "Is it tasty?"
- "Blow up a new balloon?" (new after nap tradition)
- "Pop the balloon!" (before dinner tradition)
- "Play with red play dough?"
- "Mommy balloon changed voice?" (yes, I sucked helium out of a balloon and talked to him)
- "Are you having fun? I'm having fun!"
- Judah's side of the conversation me and Judah had on the deck one morning: "I'm sitting in my poop. It's tasty. Yeah. Judah eat his poop? No? Judah get sick and go to the hospital?" (I didn't even suggest the hospital thing, ha!). Hard laughter, I felt it a pity no one was there to enjoy it with me
- "I have nothing. Not a sucker" (as I hear him sucking on something while sitting on the upstairs landing, out of sight of his momma)
- "Can I have some brussels sprouts, mommy?" (said in the sweetest and most sincere voice - hilarious! The boy who won't eat fresh fruit and doesn't love vegetables)
- He loves reading Amos & Boris (which makes Karis groan, when I first read it to her, she bawled because Amos & Boris have to part ways at the end)
- "Can I smell your coffee, daddy?"
- "Wait for me, Karisee!"
- "Is Grandma Linnie all done dying? Is she okay?"
- "I'm a fireworker!"
- "I'm gonna be a BIG farmer! Yeah!"
- "Are we having a jammie day?"
- "Ruby Poop Ball" (new game after going to Ruby Tuesday. Goodness)
- "Yup" (answer to most things, really cute)
- "Can I see my poop? NOOOOOOO underwear! I want a new diaper!"
- "Hi momma" (Love the way he says this when he comes downstairs after brushing his teeth)
- "Mommy, can I have my work book?" (big blue Busy Town Book About Everything)
- "I need a new bandaid!"
- "I wanna cuddle!" (ME TOO, so convenient)