Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Faith of a Child


Gabe: "Mom! Do you know why it stopped raining?"

Me: "It was raining?"

Gabe: "Yes, it was raining drops on me outside, and I asked God to stop the rain 'til after we come home from riding bikes today. And God stopped the rain!"

He did indeed stop the rain. We enjoyed a full afternoon of biking on the Foothills Trail, through farmland and along the rails on Memorial Day. I exulted in my child's faith, and the blessing of God reflected in his countenance.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Flower Petals

I had a blue hydrangea under the north-facing kitchen window of my first home with Marshal. I loved the shades of blue, green, purple, and I was delighted to have success with drying and preserving the blooms for continuing seasons. Marshal heard my wish to plant a hydrangea on the north side of our new home, so he surprised me with this one for Mother's day. We planted it on the north wall at the top of the newly landscaped stairs, a pleasing vision fulfilled. And another hope fulfilled - notice the blur of new green grass behind.

This bowl of blossoms has two unexpected discomforts connected to it, but isn't the final outcome quite delightful? Gabe and Lydia entertained themselves while Marshal and I were at the garden centers of Lowes and Fred Meyers. After enduring their quota of boredom, they began this treasure hunt of broken and dropped off blooms. The fuscia blossom was dubbed "the princess" by Lydia. The first discomfort was when the nursery caretaker at the second stop worked herself into a state of tight-lipped outrage, that had gone unnoticed until she nearly exploded a the children to stop picking the flowers! Gabe quickly told her that they were off the floor, he as surprised that she would think he was picking the blooms as she was taken aback that she had "possibly" wrongly assumed and been so upset for naught. She seemed to remain skeptical. The second discomfort was the physical reaction to the blooms on the way home. Both children's eyes began to tear and itch profusely. Gabe kept rubbing his eyes with his dirty hands until one eye threatened to swell shut if he continued. We forbid them to touch their eyes until we could get them home. I hadn't thought of all the chemicals they could have picked up from crawling around the nursery floors. Lydia, the literalist, says they weren't crawling. Anyway, hand and face washing, homeopathic eye drops, and homeopathic apis granules fixed the eyes. So I thought it a very creative way for the kids to make the most of a trying situation (following Mom's slow and tedious progress through a garden center), but for unforeseen consequences it can not be recommended!

Baseball






Lydia took these snapshots on Saturday night at the Seattle Mariners vs San Diego Padres game at Safeco Field. Grammy and Grandpa drove up to take in both Gabe's Saturday t-ball game and the evening big leagues. The night at the ballpark was a promotional game for Little Leaguers with Little League parade and free sunglasses. Unfortunately, fortunately, Gabe's morning t-ball game was canceled; he ended up vomiting for a large chunk of Friday night and was still battling another round Saturday morning. We thought all plans were going to bust, but Grandpa and Grammy didn't let us resign to that. They individually prayed for Gabe's health and well-being and stayed hopeful and optimistic. We took a ferry that had us at the field with the first hit off home plate. We ended up with with seats in the clouds over first plate. It was the loveliest night in the world for a ball game, deliciously warm, beautiful sky, glowing city, greenest turf. It was a feast for the senses - full stands, blaring fanfare, rowdy cheers, the wave, bright lights, high-tech reader boards, garlic fries, juicy hot dogs, salty-sweet kettle corn, the setting sun's rosy and bright reflections in the skyscrapers. Ichiro stole his 209th base and with succeeding plays enabled a home team Seattle Mariner's victory - a perfect ending for a perfect night. I asked Marshal if he was giving secret signals to the pitcher (above photo), and he said, "Evidently."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shore Exploration

I have failed to regularly allow my children this pleasure. Because I've often given the excuse, "too cold, too wet," everyday that the sun peeks through the clouds is proclaimed a "beach day" by Gabe. Several times a week, we drive the bay's shoreline, and many times the tide is out, exposing rocks, barnacles, pools of discovery. Gabe stares out the window with yearning. He never fails to comment, "Look at the beach. Can we go to the beach today?" I have been able to stall from driving down the road, pulling over and letting them out for most of three seasons with a "not-so-good" excuse. Why is it so hard to "make time" for the natural wonders and opportunities right around us? It is Gabe's absolute delight to turn rocks and see the scurry of crabs. He discovered a little eel-like creature called a gunnel last summer. Today he filled his bucket with tiny fish, almost microscopic shrimp, and a few prize crabs before returning them to their natural habitat. His longing was fulfilled for awhile in the low tide of evening. He still asked as we clambered into the car, "Can we come back tomorrow?"


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Finger Smudges

I took this photo of the fridge, a week ago. (It illustrates why smart moms avoid pricey stainless steel appliances in their kitchen.) I snapped the photo with the realization that wiping away these smudges, these fingerprints of little hands that are becoming more and more independent, is a part of my everyday. It illustrates the small incessant tasks that largely go unnoticed, but expend tremendous energy in their culmination. To all you moms who sigh and ask, "What did I accomplish?" at the end of the day when you face a sink full of dishes, grimy counters, strewn junk mail and child's doodles, sandy floors, more laundry in front of the washer, and tooth paste splattered mirrors, I know. There is generally no reward when we look at what we accomplished. The reward is when we look into those upturned faces, ready for one last kiss, one more hug, one more drink of water, one more tuck of the bed covers, one more I love you at the end of the day.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Seeds

Tender New Sprouts!
Such an everyday miracle of creation has not gone unnoticed in our case. Our unstable soils of a year and a half had given us a sense of desperation. We have waited fifteen days, which feels like weeks, for the sowed seeds to give us a telltale sign of life, of germination in the wood and paper pulp. In the first six hours of sowing, the rains threatened to wash the seed away. My elation at an open window of sky to sow the seeds successfully that morning was quickly dampened at the sight of the slope surfaces slipping in the precipitating onslaught. Are my purchased seeds subject to luck and chance or will the Seed Maker look favorably upon my slippery slopes and grace it with gentle rains and sunshine to call forth the seeds of life and preservation? I never imagined sowing grass seeds could test faith. Despite sowing for success, the final outcome was out of my control. Did I believe God cared for these seeds? My experience and gut level faith told me that God is infinite, all-powerful, loving and "personal" enough to nurture and care for even my grass seeds. He delights in being invited to "show up" in the details of our lives. Seeds and life are his domain. He continues to keep the seeds moist with rain, snow, sleet, and hail, cool days and nights, and just enough sunshine to warm and draw those tender shoots upward. To see those fine whiskers on the face of the land made my soul sing and joy dance within me. I couldn't wait to tell Marshal, and when he failed to see them, I ushered him by the arm, crouched him low, and squinted with him in the late afternoon glow that engulfed them. We even ran our hands over the surface and felt them tickle. Such exultation and relief surged through us. I reflect that our Heavenly Father is concerned about all our sowing and reaping, and a fruitful harvest is His reward.
"Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:6-11