Wednesday, February 27, 2013


After several minutes of wedging, the clay was ready.  He had worked out the bubbles, repeatedly cutting and pounding the mass.  Now the clay was kneaded and soft.  With a thunk! he dropped the lump onto the center of the wheel and sat down.  Setting the wheel in motion, he dunked his hands in a bucket of water before sliding his palms over the spinning clay.  His teacher's words echoed in his memory, "Center the clay first.  This is essential."  Leaning forward, he propped his elbow on the inside of his knee and laid his hand against the side of the ball.  His left hand enveloped the top of the clay, slipping beneath his skin.  Applying equal pressure with both hands, he pressed in and down feeling the lump bump, protesting and stubborn.  In a few moments, he felt the clay yield, spinning smoothly in a perfect circle.

Wetting his hands again, he made a depression in the middle of the mound, pressing down while supporting the growing wall with his other hand.  He sat back, inspecting his work before hunkering over the wheel and slowly pulling the wall up and out.  With gentle strength, he pressed on the inside of the delicate clay, rounding out the inside of the bowl.  Dipping a sponge in the bucket, he let it slip and slide over the outside of the pot, smoothing out the ridges left behind by his weathered fingers.  Carefully he softened the top of the bowl with the sponge and slowly folded the edge, forming a slight, rounded lip.  He sat back, watching the bowl spin to a stop.

With the cutting wire wrapped several times around each forefinger, he slid it along the surface of the wheel, freeing the pottery.  Gently he transferred the raw bowl to the wood slab to dry.  Before returning to his seat, he seized the doctor from the tray on the floor and scraped the wheel clean.  Then with another thunk! he set back to work.


Linking up with Trifecta: 333 words inspired by the word:  doctor - a blade (as of metal) for spreading a coating or scraping a surface.

This takes me back to college and memories of slipping through the window into the pottery studio to work on our pots.  I remember the instructor could stand beside me, and with one hand, center my ornery clay.  My favorite piece I made sits in our kitchen filled with rainbow colored paperclips, several rubber bands, random nails and screws and a few lonely erasures. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Scavenger Hunt

Snow glitters in the blinding azure sky, flurrying and fluttering.  Curiously, there is not a cloud to be seen.  Four year old Lizzy clumps to the backyard.  Her mudruckers are on the wrong feet.  She stomps through bronze grass, searching.  Lizzy peers under silver leaves.  What's hiding under there?

Crocus peek out.

"Look, Mommy!  Spring!"

image source


Linking up with Write at the Merge this week.  A 55-word story inspired by the words "a snow fall" and "a secret revealed".  Our household is anxiously awaiting Spring to come out of hiding!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hide and Seek

Standing in the back of the kitchen cupboards, quietly hidden.  A sensation pricked him like needles, urgent and all but discovered.  No noise, carefully still.  A child peering in shouted, "Found him!"



Linking up with Trifexcta: 33 words to tell a story only using words from the page below.

The 33rd page of Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

En Pointe

"Okay, sorry about that.  What were you saying?"

"You know...never mind.  I know you're busy.  I can talk to you later."

"Hey, it's not a problem.  I got him a snack and I've locked myself in the bathroom.  What's up?"

"I was, uh, just calling to see how your day was going."

"Liar.  It's the middle of the day and that means you had to sneak out to make this call and you wouldn't do that just to say 'hi'.  Now out with it.  Before the little rugrat finds me."

"It's just that...I hate my job."


"I am feeling more and more desperate for a change.  I've exhausted every opportunity for advancement here and I feel like God wants me to move on, but...It's like I'm in the midst of some dance and I don't know the steps.  A crazy combination of the limbo and the fox-trot."

"I'm sorry.  This is such a rotten situation."

"I spend all day wondering -- Do I quit?  Do I go back to school?  Do I stick it out?  My head is spinning."

"Hmmm...Do you remember that class we took with Madame Croix?"

"The dance class?  Uhm, yeah.  Isn't that where you tore your ACL?"

"Yes, but I also met Tom in that class, so it's had its redeeming qualities.  Anyway, I remember her going on and on about how ballet dancers, when they are pirouetting, have a focal point so they don't lose balance."

"Didn't she call it spotting?"

"Right.  Perhaps you need to do some spotting.  Get your focus back on Jesus and let Him work out all this dizzying future stuff.  Maybe write down Hebrews 12:2 and stick it somewhere you can see it often.  Uh-oh.  He found me."


"Yep.  And he really enjoyed his graham cracker.  Ugh."

"Thanks for hearing me out.  I'll let you go.  Call me later?"

"Thursday night.  Same time?"

"Yep.  Love you."

"Love you back.  Come here, little boy."

image courtesy of dalbera
(via Flickr Creative Commons)

Linking up with Trifecta: 33-333 words inspired by the single word exhaust (to consider or discuss (a subject) thoroughly or completely or to try out the whole number of <exhausted all the possibilities>.)

Linking up with Write at the Merge this week - inspired by the picture above.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine's Day Haul

My girls sit amidst a mother lode of Nerds and Atomic Airheads.  Their sugar highs plummet to new-found lows .  The meanest mother in the entire universe pulls out the trash can.

Linking up with Trifexcta: 33 words with an hyperbole. 

Friday, February 15, 2013


Another 5 Minute Friday ... one word, five minutes, no editing.  Ready, set, go!

Five Minute Friday


Coming down from the sugar highs from yesterday, we encountered some bumpy landings.  Boxes full of notes from friends, cautious words carving out safe Valentine wishes.

"You're swell!"

"I think you're amazing!"

"Stay cool!"

But real love isn't this tidy and neat.  When we truly love someone, sometimes it's messy and hard.  Perhaps even a little yucky.

High expectations of romance comes face-to-face with the reality of life.  Instead of kisses, there are tears.  Instead of snuggles, cold shoulders.  Instead of warm words, stilted words hidden within sad sounds.

The biggest challenge faced is not being the lover, but being the beloved.  Because to be the beloved you must be willing to BE LOVED.

Be loved in spite of insecurities.

Be loved in the face of unknowns.

Be loved instead of turning away.

I'm grateful today for love that loves us ... even when we feel unlovable.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Spice Rack

I dump a spoonful of curry into the waiting pot.  As it hits the butter and onions, a savory plume fills the air causing my eyes to water.  I give the mixture a few turns before setting the timer.  Opening the cans of pumpkin and broth, I wait.

The curry stains the spatula, a pervasive seasoning that invades my nose ... and my mind.  Smiling, I remember a game my kid sister and I played.  During long days or slow nights, we wander to the kitchen to explore our mother's spice rack.  One stands, eyes squeezed shut, while the other riffles through the cabinet.   Seizing upon a bottle, the chooser unscrews the lid, holding it out to the sniffer.  We can't touch it and our eyes must stay closed, but we can take our time dwelling on the mystery smell.

With eyes clenched tight, we breath deep, hoping that the aroma will spark a memory -  a dish our mother might have prepared recently.  If we were lucky, we'd helped with that dinner and maybe, just maybe, we'd had the job of seasoning.  Suddenly the name springs to mind and we exclaim, "Cumin!"

As the curry dances above my pot, tears prick my eyes and this time it isn't the onions.  My head swirls with memories of that childhood kitchen:  the slanting floor and the crooked door jam leaning to the right;  the upper oven that never worked and the little shelf above the sink holding an army of penguins because my mom commented one time on their cuteness; the louvered pantry door stuffed with Christmas cards.  I learned how to bone a chicken in that kitchen and I watched my mother roll out tortillas.  She made both look easy.

The timer beeps and I'm jarred back to the present.  Aaron saunters up, putting one arm around my shoulders.  "What's that smell?"

"It's curry."

"Can I help?"

"Sure, Buddy."

The tradition of "Name that Spice" and "Help Mom in the Kitchen" continues for another generation.


Linking up with Trifecta: 33-333 words inspired by the single word dwell (to keep the attention directed.)

Linking up with Write at the Merge this week - inspired by the sense of smell.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Another 5 Minute Friday ... one word, five minutes, no editing.  Ready, set, go!

Five Minute Friday


Right now, we're wearing layers.  Two shirts and a cardigan.  Capri pants and tights.  And from the look of Aaron's hamper, perhaps several pairs of socks.  It's not that it's so very cold, right now - it's just that it's not warm.

Even now as I sit here, I have a mug of coffee at hand to warm my chilly fingers and I haven't taken my shoes off because I don't want my tootsies to get cold.  As for Lydia, she's sockless, but she is also running around an awful lot right now and working up a good little sweat.

As for me, I am looking forward to Spring for one big reason:  less clothes.  I want to see some of my kids' little bare parts:  their toes, their elbows, their bonked up and bruised shins and their bony knees.  I want shed a layer or two and enjoy some sunshine on my shoulders and legs, the warmth of spring kissing our bare parts.

And, quite honestly, I want less laundry to wash.  Bare skin means only one layer of smaller bits of clothing and that means a few less loads to sort, load and fold.  Which hopefully will translate to time outside letting my bare skin breath ... my white, desperately-in-need-of-some-sun skin.

C'mon, Spring!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Weak & Weary

Jennifer collapsed wearily onto the bench.  The sanctuary was shadowy, fragile rays of light trickled through the stained glass windows and altar candles glowed, illuminating the nave.  Each flickering flame was a prayer presented to God and somehow a comfort to Jennifer's tired soul, too.

Her eyes burned, the candles blurred and she buried her head in her hands.

Dear God, it's me, Jennifer.  It's been a long time.  Probably too long.  If You don't remember me, I understand.  But, I'm desperate.  I've walked by this church a hundred times, but for some reason today I had to stop.  Maybe You called me?  Anyway ... I need help.  It's my son.  Ethan.  The past months have been terrible.  I fear he's headed down a path that will only lead to trouble.  He's in a horrible, selfish mood; angry, yelling, demanding.  He hasn't smiled in weeks.  And now I'm not sleeping at night, making everything worse.  What should I do?  I'm completely at a loss.  Please, Lord ... I'm exhausted.  Thank You for hearing me, I guess ... amen.

Jennifer groped in her purse for a tissue and her compact.  Checking her mascara, she glimpsed an old lady push open the heavy doors of the sanctuary and hobble inside.  Jumping to her feet, Jennifer gathered her bag, hoping to slip away, but the elderly parishioner paused at the pew, her weathered face breaking into a smile.

"Adorable.  How old is he?" her voice creaked.

"Eighteen months," Jennifer forced a smile.  Gripping the stroller, she followed the old lady's gaze to her sleeping son.

"A beautiful gift," she said, grandmotherly.  "Mothering is the hardest and most precious responsibility.  God chose you for ..." her kind eyes found Jennifer's.

"Ethan," she offered, "His name is Ethan."

"Love him and pray for him.  God cares for those with young; says so in Isaiah 40:11."  She patted Jennifer's hand reassuringly before shuffling toward the altar.

In the bright light outside, Jennifer felt stronger.  God had heard her.

image courtesy of leo.jeje
(via Flickr Creative Commons)

To all my young moms out there ... the most challenging job in the world and such a privilege, too.  Exhausting beyond measure - but we are not alone in our mothering.  God says so in Isaiah 40:11.

Linking up with Trifecta: 33-333 words inspired by the single word path (course, route, way of life, conduct, or thought).

Linking up with Write at the Merge this week - inspired by the picture above.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Personal Paparazzi

"Can I play wit dis?"

Turning, I see Lydia, head cocked to the left and hip cocked to the right, smiling at me clutching our camera in her pudgy hands.  The strap lays crookedly around her shoulders and her finger is already on the trigger.

I spy an opportunity for this little one to be busy and happy while I finish up the last load of laundry.  As "helpful" as she is to match socks, her folding skills leave something to be desired, as she typically resorts to the wad-technique.

"Alright.  Just keep the strap around your neck, please."

"Tanks, Mommy!"  She skips off to the living room, clicking off random shots from belly button-level.

Flash!  The dusty windowsill bathed in sunshine.

Flash!  The fireplace, complete with ancient ashes and two long-lost pieces of popcorn.

Flash!  The big toe on her left foot with the spiky nail.

Opening the dryer, I drag jeans and towels from the machine, dumping them into the laundry basket at my feet.  Peering in, I see a lone sock left in the back, just out of reach.  Leaning into the mouth of the dryer, I stretch to snatch the forgotten sock.  Flash!

"Look, Mommy!  I gotchu!"

Peeking over my shoulder, I see the picture frozen on the camera screen.  My backside illuminated in the blinding light of the camera.  Her proud smile almost makes that snapshot okay.  Almost, but not quite.


Linking up (several days late!) with Trifecta: 33-333 words inspired by the single word mouth (something that resembles a mouth especially in affording entrance or exit).

Friday, February 1, 2013

Gulp ...

Another 5 Minute Friday ... one word, five minutes, no editing.  Ready, set, go!

Five Minute Friday


It sits in a green binder on the dining room table, little hot pink tongues of post-it notes peeking out here and there.  I even bought a special pen with which to write in the margins, something that flows smoothly.  The pen is tucked inside, waiting to be used.

I've read several different posts about how to revise, how to edit, how to rewrite.  I printed off a plan and it's stashed in the front pocket for easy reference.  I've even set myself a date.  March 1st ... have the first revision finished.

Now if only I could make myself sit down and start it.  Oh ... I started in earnest about three weeks ago, just after I bought the neon post-its.  And then the anxiety started in.  And the worry.  And the intimidation of all those pages, pages and pages.  And the fear.

What if I don't know how to bring this project to an end?
And what if I get it edited, revised, rewritten and then no one wants it?
Or what if some publisher takes it, but no reads it?

What if?
What if?
What if?

Time to tell those "What if's" to take a hike and turn to that next page with pen and post it's in hand ... and do it.