Have a dressed up day!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And Why Are There Days Like This?

It was ten o'clock on the night before the cake was due. Six hours had passed. Only another half hour to go. Finishing touches and placing the dump truck on top.

This story has to be told. Not for what happened, but for how it ended. Love unfolding as sweetness baked.

He only wanted to watch. Some kids, most probably, would have to stay away. They might put their fingers in the mix, or the icing. But he doesn't really like cake. And he is a good boy.

So he's standing up on a chair by the cake.

She only turned away for a second.

But in that second he could only just look at the button no longer. He had to know what that pretty purple button did.

I heard the fall and the scream at the same instant.

I turned from where I sat, less than an arms length from where the cake had been.

I moved to the floor beside her, taking her bone tired body, working since 6:00 that morning to come home and bake again, in my arms and said words that comfort failed.

That face I love. The one with eyebrows and eyelashes like mine. The narrow one with the high cheekbones and small mouth. I take that face into my hands and promised words I can't even remember.

It wasn't just any cake. It was to celebrate a year that eleven months ago we weren't sure baby nephew would ever see.

When the fear was that this day, which should bring first birthday joy, would only open wound that never heals. A fear now only a memory.

And here it was, one year later, joy undescribable. Thankfulness unending.

Happy birthday, sweet Crosby.

The list was made and her daddy was on his way to the store before I went into the back room.

Where I took his whole little boy body of my son into my arms. This little body choking out I so so sorry in sobs. This little body I womb grew and protected and cried forth.

I held on and fought the tears that I couldn't let come.

This is when a mama has to shine. When a mama must be unconditional.

When hand needs to be gentle and pain already felt in little heart is all the pain body needs. When gentleness must be chosen over harshness.

When she must be comfort and lighthouse and haven. When she must, without fail, show son more important than cake.

When she must fulfill a promise made when only hand touched and rested through flutters and then kicks and stomach large and whispered the first I love you.

All while my other love was trying to push back pain and hurt and do what adults with responsibilities do. What cousins who love great and celebrate life do.

Keep going. Start over. Forgive.

Why are there days like this?

She only cried when she went to the front porch and called that young man she loves. The one with the red hair and gentle blue eyes and slight Cajun accent. The one Katrina brought us. The one who doesn't eat cake but loves a girl who lives cakes.

The one who has taken our place in so many ways. The way it should be.

The one who rushes over and whose presence brings comfort and laughter. The only one who could have done that on that night.

So all who love her start over with her while this little one . . .

heart broken moments before when sister went to him and held him and loved him and promised him all was forgiven and good, finally slept in what was comfort love peace - and safety.

And when all was quiet and the clock showed 3:00 am and light shown on just the two of us . . .

Mama, go to bed. I've got it. I won't be long.

I'll go to bed when you go to bed.

When you can do nothing but love - isn't love what you do?

Love and watch and stand guard over heart that once beat in rhythm with yours - and always will.

This is why there are days like this. So love can show off.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Without a Change Was There Ever a Step?

I see it in her eyes.  It is guilt.  It is shame to answer the question I have asked.

How do I know?  I recognize myself, right there.  Right in the eyes of my child.

We read Mark 22:36-39 together.

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
  Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."

I ask Max if he has someone he doesn't like that he needs to practice loving.  Loving like he loves himself.

He laughs and says no.

But across the table I see her face.

I say, I do.

And then she speaks thru her fingers cupped over her mouth.  One of my favorite things about her.

She frowns, I do, too, Mama.

And there it is.  Guilt.  Shame.  She doesn't want to tell me.  Tells me to guess.  I guess wrong.  Twice. 

Then she shares about a new girl she's only been around a few times.  She's not feeling the love, y'all.

But she's feeling the guilt of not feeling the love.

Tears are wanting to fall.

I go to her, put both of my hands on her face and tell her it is okay.  It is okay because there will always be people that we struggle to like.

Life is full of struggles and we fail and we fall.

And why is it that we think our ladder to heaven has rungs further than our eyes can see - when there is only one step.

One simple step full of faith of what cannot be seen - but can be felt in a change.  Without a change was there ever a step?

So I share my failure to love and we promise together to try harder to keep this greatest commandment. Given by the One who walked this earth and understood.  But knew even through that understanding what must be.

What we must be.

My hands leave her face and I hold her hair so soft and remind her what I expect of her and ask her to expect it of me.  It is easier when done together. 

We will remember that God loves that person as much as He loves us.

We will start over.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I'm Whispering In Your Ear . . .

I'm tapping you on the shoulder.

I'm whispering in your ear.

I'm looking you right in the eye




Jesus wants you to be His valentine.

He wants you to love Him with all of your heart and soul.

 With all of your mind

and with all of your strength.




He will take your soul

and rescue it.









Thursday, February 9, 2012

I'm Falling Without a Net

Jennifer has asked that we each share our hearts on how to love through the joys and struggles of marriage.

Ann has asked that we each share our hearts on how to practice love. 

I haven't taken much time for this blog lately but how can I ignore a season of love to write how I feel? And both these women give the opportunity to remember.

  And I'm already behind in my day and the sun is barely up so I search the archives. 

This post from almost two years ago.  I blinked twice at the date.  That long ago?  It can't be.  And time is a prayer being answered right before my eyes.  Just one hand to hold forever on this earth. 

He's Too Good To Me crosses the intersection on his green light and is hit hard. She tries to stop, he sees it all over her face, but there was nothing either could do.

It's after midnight days later as we pull into the hotel. I'm telling him about Natasha, how she needs a home in our country. How friends of ours would like to bring her home.

I tell him about Kristen and her trip to Africa. How she can't keep her stuff now and struggles daily with a heart breaking for what she knows. How she and her family are covering their refrigerator with Compassion children.

Is he listening? I'm not sure. He nods, agrees, nods some more here and there as I talk endlessly.  He says nothing. So much on his mind.

We walk around the car lot miles from our home and I hold my purse to me like it is gold. Hold it with both arms and clasped hands. There is cash inside an envelope. His truck was worth more to him than this, but we don't make the rules. I hold tightly and follow behind him.

We go eat breakfast to decide. We sit in a booth and hear a beautiful blessing from behind us.

We talk about mufflers and tires and how it needs a thousand dollars work. What a good truck it would be with the last thousand used for the work. I try to ask questions to help him decide. How I wish I knew something about this stuff so I could give useful advice. I feel helpless.

His jaw clenches and the little vein below his right eye is swollen- the way it does when he is thinking hard. Him thinking hard always means he is talking little.

And then he says it. He says what will make me cry.

I fall more - without a net . . .

When the man I love was young, barely eighteen but still eighteen, he made a bad decision. He chose to take what did not belong to him. He chose to steal. Felony. The word and the memory and the consequences have followed him to this day. The part of his life he chose to destroy God chose to use to make him a better man.

We can't take Natasha, this Natasha or any other like her. Orphans can't find their way into our family this way. We have a past.

But this man I love is beautiful.

And there are other ways. God always makes a way.

Our food comes. Hot toast, eggs, bacon, and grits. He takes my hand and thanks God. He asks for wisdom in this decision. He begs to stay in His will.

We eat while I feel helpless to decide and his jaw clenches.

I want to scream to everyone around me that he deserves more than what is in this envelope. That he deserves more of a truck than this is going to buy. That the callouses are from years and years of hard work. I want to scream that he doesn't have the motorcycle or the boat or the four wheeler. He just has four children and this wife he allows to stay home.

And then he says it. He says what will make me cry.

Rie, I know what to do. I'm going to buy the other truck and we are going to give the thousand dollars to help bring Natasha home.

The tears fall. They start so quickly and I take my orange juice and drink. I can't stop them. I can't speak. I drink juice again. I hope the burn of the acid in my throat will stop the tears.

He never says a word. He sits and lets me cry while the city of Amite eats breakfast all around us. Orders are shouted out and coffee is poured and I cry while he quietly waits.

I kiss him out of the corner of my mouth. I can't look at him. I'm falling love hard and I didn't think there was anywhere left to fall. There is no net and I fall deep into his love and if I look I won't be able to catch myself and I'm wondering how far can a woman fall for a man?

He was listening last night. He was listening as I rambled on about what was weighing my heart and as I desperately tried to get his mind off worry and make conversation for a two hour trip with a man that is sometimes content to be too quiet. A man that needs a work truck to feed his family and knows the cash in that envelope is not enough.

A man with concern. And God spoke and he listened and the worry flew like the wind.

The orange juice doesn't help and I take his hand and we walk out. I know his mind is made up and he will find a way to make it work and I proudly fall.

What we cannot do we can help others do. God spoke it to him and he listened. In spite of my noise he was quiet and heard the voice of God.

He is taking less to give more. This world screams move forward and my love chooses to go backwards as my love falls further.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A little early . . .

Valentine's Day is right around the corner.

I'm thinking about you much lately.

About us.

About where we have been and where we are going.

I remember this little game we played with each other here a couple of years ago.

And I think of what you went through with me this past year.

I remember after it was all over asking you why we never ever - not once - said the word cancer or talked about what if.

How you kissed me right before I fell asleep and told me you'd see me soon.

Your answer -  faith.

And with your faith you gave me faith.

We made one more curve on the road to a lifetime.

And I love you.

And I love you.

And I love you.

So here again - a little early 'cause you're not expecting it -

Coming up with the top reason why I love him was hard. There were three tight runners for the number one spot.

Second runner up. He has never, and I mean never, criticized me.

Not for my clothes, or my hair, or my weight, or the house, or any of the other gazillion things he could criticize me for. Never. That's one in a million to me.

Runner-up. He loves me. For me.

Not for the me I let others see, or the me you see here, or the me I want to be. He loves me for the me I would never ever let you see. The other me. The ugly, sinful, hateful, mean, spiteful, remembering me. That melts me.

Winner. A forgiveness he granted me at one in the morning on January 11, 2009.  A forgiveness I did not deserve. Forgiveness for a secret I had kept far too long.

Icing on my cake - never, ever has he mentioned it since. That's sexy and romantic and melts me and is far more than one in a million to me. Far, far more.

Whatever the question . . . the answer is yes.

Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.

Have a dressed up day!

. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12