Friday, July 30, 2010

What Mother Never Knew

Mother never knew that she was beautiful.

mom copy

mom and dad

mom hat copy

But she was.

Mother never knew that she was loved.

mom and dad
houston family copy
But she was.

Mother did know the movies.  That was how my family celebrated holidays, we went to the movies.
Perhaps they were an escape for a shy and awkward girl whose Daddy loved her dearly, and whose mother was, I believe, jealous.  Mother spent her entire life longing for the approbation of her Mother that was lavished instead on her older brother.  It created a deep ache in her soul that nothing could soothe, not even the love of an adoring husband.

may69mom&dad copy

When  my uncle died, Grandmother mourned for him as if he had been her only child.  Mom mourned the death of her father, then her brother, and finally, the prospect of ever knowing the love of her own mother.

Perhaps it was this deep longing that made her more accessible for others in pain.  I tried to avoid going grocery shopping with her, because, sooner or later, someone would meet us in an aisle, and, sensing sanctuary in a stranger, begin unburdening their grief. 

There between the tomatoes and the lettuces they let down their stories of disappointment, anger, sadness as Mom listened attentively, compassionately, and I squirmed.

With older eyes I look back on those moments and see wonder, beauty, and sacrament.  The love and compassion Mom longed for from Grandmother was poured out with abandon on common stranger.  She gave unselfishly what she desired to receive, and blessed many.
This small, insecure woman of sorrow was a giant of love.  Deep inside, Mother was more beautiful than any of her favorite film stars.  And she touched just as many hearts.

In the produce aisle.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I type slowly, quietly, in fear of rousing the one in the dark nearby. His breathing is steady and heavy. When I was younger, I raised the ire of my parents by reading comic books by flashlight after bedtime.

But there is a far more serious danger lurking here. . .


the Mafinator, aka Soggy Bottom Boy

And so I type, laptop hidden under the covers to avoid awakening the littlest Sprittle in the crib nearby. Each time he stirs, I freeze like a rabbit, heart racing. Will the softly glowing monitor leak through the fabric and bounce blinding light off my bifocals and into his darkened corner?


Or, perhaps the better question would be, why on earth am I hiding under the covers to write a blog post? Have I fallen into the depths of net addiction depravity? Is it really THAT important to send an email while visiting my precious Sprittles in their new home?

All I know is a few days ago I received an "anonymous" call inviting me to "come visit and sleep in my new bunny room and take us to the pool."

And so, after 3 weeks of living on the road, I repacked my suitcase (and swimsuit) and headed for a bunny room in North Carolina. Any grandmother not willing to respond in like manner to such a phone call is not worth her weight in fruity tic tacs.

Perhaps I am in good company. Perhaps all over the world tonight there are other grandmothers, purses laden with candy for the grandkids, typing furtively under the covers.

Or maybe it's just me. Alone, insane and delusional from too many miles in too short a time.

Would someone please call 911?

Monday, July 19, 2010

If It's Monday . . .

If it's Monday, it must be time to go home. I am travel weary. The last 3 weeks have gone by much too quickly, but I am grateful for each day. This year's pilgrimage to the homeland is almost over.

I can neither count the miles nor the memories, they are both many. But all are good because He is good, and was present in them all:

The sun and sand and the Sprittles,


seagull at the water's edge,




the wonder of water,


the reunion of sisters,


outting of the old


inning of the new, in so many ways,


wildflowers along the road, so beautiful against the summer sky,




a meal with new friends, night swimming and shooting stars, conversation with loved ones,

being there, and coming home.

holy experience

Monday, July 5, 2010

Stone on Stone

Two on one, one on two. That's how a fieldstone wall is built.

No chink or mortar, just the stone,


stacked one on two, two on one.


The stones first pushed by ancient glaciers rolling over land


now raised again by horses' strain, by farmer's plow and hand.


Stacked one on two, two on one.


Two on one, one on two. That's how a fieldstone wall is built.

No chink or mortar, just the stone,


stacked one on two, two on one.

Grateful for

#77 the flow of words

#78 the flow of years

#79 the flow of love

#80 the flow of tears

#81 the melting glaciers in my heart

#82 the stones unearthed, each has its part

#83 the love that guides

#84 the love that holds

#85 the love that binds

#86 the love that molds

holy experience