Sipping from the Saucer

Sipping from the Saucer

Scrolling through old family pictures reminded me of that Christmas we learned that Number Six was on the way. Hubby and I were wide eyed. We asked ourselves, “How did this happen?” All we could do was shake our heads. In fact, now that I think about it, we’d shaken our heads in wonder and disbelief with Numbers 4 and 5 as well (we take full responsibility for TD). Admittedly, most of our “wonder” was fear in disguise. We balked at our family’s response to our happy news, calculated the age we’d be once all our peeps graduated, imagined how my body would look and feel when all was said and done, wondered what kind of car would hold us all (because it wasn’t the one parked in the driveway). Once we took a deep breath and hitched up our big boy and big girl pants, we remembered, “Oh, yeah, that’s right! Our father is the King. He’s got this.” Since then, we’ve sat back and enjoyed the ride—that bumpy, twisty-turny, forty-foot-drop-filled, uphill chugging, rollercoaster-simulating, tearful, and thrilling ride of our lifetime. I wouldn’t change a thing—well, nothing major, but I’m only human. And do you know what blows my mind? No, it’s not the cost of paying for seven college educations or the length of seven Christmas lists. It’s that if I’d had my way, I wouldn’t have chosen any of this. My choice was settling down with the three children I’d agreed on and watching them skip off to a yellow school bus while I edited my way through a satisfactory life. Yet God. His way has been beyond...
Grace Under Covers

Grace Under Covers

This morning, all I can think about is this old nursery rhyme I used to read to Crusader: “Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town, Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown, Tapping at the window and crying through the lock, Are all the children in their bed, for now it’s eight o’clock?” Or something t’other, as my character, Granny B, might say. Well, that poem about sums up my week thus far. Yesterday, I was running upstairs and downstairs, through the town, and checking on little people late into the night. Now I’ll spend the day in my nightgown, or something equally comfy. I have moaned and groaned over this weakness, frittering away valuable time, fretting over the whys and hows. But not today. Today, I’m choosing to see this day in bed, on the sofa, on my chaise, or in my seat in front of the fireplace as an opportunity, a gift forced upon me by the God Who knows my need. Really, Robin? You need weakness, achiness, and pain? I suppose so, at least today. It means I can’t run around cleaning, washing, instructing, and hustling, carrying out that whole upstairs-downstairs routine of life. The only part of me that’ll make it up or down today is my voice, yelling, “Can someone bring me my charger?” and “Play with TD!” Yesterday, I reached into the barrel and scooped out the grace I needed to do all that, plus get my party on with my little girlies to boot. It was enough. Today, I scooped out my daily grace using that same measure, but it served a different purpose: I get to write a post, read,...
Driving Home the Message

Driving Home the Message

Riding with Brown Sugar is a singular experience. Talk about quiet. And it’s not because she’s tap-tap-tapping on a device, reading a book, or playing with a toy. She’s not even singing along to the radio. Every now and then she’ll pipe up with, “Could you turn it up?” or “Will you play that song again?” or “Can we stop at McDonald’s?” Even then, I have to strain to hear her soft voice. But other than a request or two, she’s just…quiet. As one introvert riding with another, it’s a beautiful thing. Our drives serve as a retreat of sorts for us both. I emerge from the car refreshed; I don’t feel like my ears have had a workout. I get time to ponder the mysteries of the universe, mentally compose my next blog post, focus on the directions, consider the next day’s activities, fret over yesterday’s, or just enjoy the music. And of course, I get to wonder what’s on Brown Sugar’s mind. Yes, sometimes, my mommy curiosity leads me to break our fast of silence. I don’t pepper her with questions; I simply sprinkle an inquiry every few miles: “Are you okay? What are you thinking about? Did you enjoy practice?” To which she replies: “Yes. Nothing. Yes.” There’s certainly more substance in the stillness. Indeed. It’s surely hard to hear Brown Sugar in our family’s day-to-day—during the jockeying for position at the dinner table, the scramble for the truck’s middle seat, the complaints over schoolwork, the requests for Friday movie choices, the cheers during the games, in the schmear of attention we spread over each little person. We...
Problem Solving

Problem Solving

Before TD and I started working on the laws of indices, he didn’t know that things like a¹ x a² = a³ or that a² x b² = (a x b)². It’s been slow going, but he’s starting to get it. Now, it’s all about application—seeing the problem, recalling all the math rules, facts, and laws he’s learned, and using them to find a solution. The thing is, when I look at the page of algebraic symbols, it looks like gobbledygook. Yet in order to teach it, explain it, and encourage him, I can’t show what I feel (What in the world…?! Will he ever use this?). I have to go with what I know (Order of operations, flip it and multiply…). All good math students—and teachers—know that math laws, facts, and rules don’t change, whether you’re working with constants or variables. Lately, I’ve been looking at my life and seeing lots of gobbledygook—questions, doubt, fears, confusion, rejection. Symbols, variables, problems. Nothing concrete. I must admit, the temporal clouded my view of eternity. I started to rely on how I felt (I’m a failure. How will I ever use this?). But then I started going with what I know. (He will never leave me nor forsake me. It all works for my good. He will finish the work He’s begun.) When I could only murmur “Amen” when I knelt beside Hubby at night, I focused on reciting the Lord’s Prayer to myself during the day. When I couldn’t write a single word, I quoted what He wrote for me in Psalm 139: You’ve searched me…Know me…Try me…Lead me. I used the answers to my...
Time Travelin’

Time Travelin’

  We had to get up and out early for Bible study. It was the first day, and I wanted to set the right tone for the year (and okay, I’d missed pre-registration, so in essence, we were late already). Hey, maybe we’d even get a happy “back-to-school” type pic to make up for our less than picture-perfect beginning earlier in the week. So, filled with hope and determination, we rose early to prepare breakfast; pack lunches; and spit, shower, and shine. Running five minutes later than I wanted—but still ten minutes earlier than normal—we tumbled into the car with our Bibles and our pencils and without our usual fuss over who’s sitting where. We battled unusually heavy traffic the whole way, so our prayers during the thirty-minute drive included an entreaty for safety and speed. Drive like the wind, cowboy! And God heard us: we got there all in one piece, and early. By an entire week, that is. Now, you know I don’t arrive anywhere early. It always amazes me when I hotfoot it into the doctor’s office and breathlessly sign in, only to see other patients casually flipping through magazines, firing pottery, or making a pot roast in the waiting room because they’ve arrived with plenty of time to spare. Imagine how my jubilant face crumbled when I turned into the nearly empty parking lot and realization hit. Foiled again! But slow your roll. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Yes, we arrived a week early, but I got there in time to laugh with another early bird and encourage her return. I got my days mixed up,...
Singing in His Reign

Singing in His Reign

Hubby not only brings home the bacon, he wraps it around pork loin and cooks it for dinner. He works hard to make it possible for me to work hard, too. He’s like the green onions he rooted and then planted: He keeps on giving and providing and sprouting for his family’s benefit. He doesn’t just look good in the window; he enhances the flavor of my whole life. I love me some him. But that wasn’t the song I sang the other day. Tuesday was just a rainy mess, and Think Tank had soccer. Despite all my fussing about the risks of practicing soccer on slippery fields, my recommendations to check in with the coach, my requests to scour his e-mail for a message about cancelation, it wasn’t until after I’d driven through the pouring rain that Hubby realized that soccer had been canceled earlier that day. At that moment, I was humming the “Hubby-never-listens-to me-I’m-hot-as-fish-grease” tune. Hills and valleys. Rollercoaster rides. Waxing and waning. Going where the wind blows. That’s where and how my emotions travel. And God’s got my number. One minute I’m singing His praises, trusting His promises, telling folks about the good and gracious, ever-present God I serve. The next I’m questioning His intentions, fretting about delayed answers, and wallowing in my sackcloth and ashes. I wonder, “God, I don’t feel Your presence. I need you. Where are You?” From gracious to capricious in one fell swoop on my unbalanced scale. Well, God is ever present, gracious, and good. Always. He keeps on giving, loving, and working on my behalf regardless of my moods, feelings, and thoughts—and believe...