26 November 2016

Your Skin and Mine

I cannot resist cheap books. Old, new, wrong language, whatever. It's a compulsion, really. So I don't know where we picked this one up, but it's a good one. 


Everybody's skin makes melanin, it says. 
Some skin makes a lot of melanin. 
Other skin doesn't make very much. 

That's it. Here we are, created in the image of God, with varying amounts of melanin. In language school, I used to try to eavesdrop on my neighbors, wondering what the heck they were talking about. You know what they were talking about? Money. Lies their friends told. How So-and-So's hair looks ridiculous. Whose turn it is to make dinner. All the same stuff I talk about. I don't know why I was surprised. 


And today, this happened. E was running around like a crazy animal while I was trying to navigate the new craft store without the benefit of a baby cage cart. The employee who's supposed to watch for theft was sitting there, and she was out of breath, so she sat down next to him. He was delighted. They couldn't talk to each other, and it didn't seem to diminish their enjoyment of sitting together one bit.

I want to develop that part of me. The part that recognizes the image of God in everyone, whatever the melanin content of their skin. The part that loves innocently, indiscriminately. The part that just sits down next to you, whoever you are, the part that just wants to be together and hear what you've got to say, even if I don't understand. I think it's important. I think it's getting more important every day. 

24 November 2016

Thankful Thursday: Chicken Edition

Today, I am thankful for:

*Chicken, which, when grilled over hickory chips, is a fine substitute for the pardoned bird.
*My children, who keep wishing me a happy birthday today. (Kids, if it were my birthday, there would be more chocolate.)
*Special time together with my parents and distant relatives at the beach this past week. Always too short, but I'm thankful for it nonetheless.
*I didn't burn anything, but I did make butter accidentally. It did not go well with pie.
*God loves me. You guys, God loves me. Still hard to believe.

Happy Thanksgiving!

11 November 2016

Nighttime visitor

"Oh, hello," I said, seeing him on the wall. 

Well, it was more like, "Oh, HELLO?!" 

And then we said goodbye. 


10 November 2016

Thankful Thursday

  • I'm thankful I got to hang out with an old friend yesterday. It's fun to sit with someone who knows your story and say, "Ok, so here's the parts you missed..."
  • I'm thankful for how Ellie says "wocketship." 
  • I'm thankful my gate is fixed. I couldn't go anywhere for a while...and my kids couldn't go anywhere. Apparently, they were stir crazy, because they literally just started throwing whatever they could reach at me. "Nothing that plugs in, you guys, nothing that could really hurt me!" 
  • I'm thankful my daughter is two years old. She's a handful, but it's because she's healthy. She's curious and imaginative and a great singer, and I'm so glad she's part of our family. 
  • I'm thankful I get to hug my amazing parents in less than a week!
  • I'm thankful for the baby banana tree I was given yesterday. Smoothies for everyone! (In about four months.) 


How about you? What are you thankful for? Political posts will be cheerfully deleted, even if I agree with you.

08 November 2016

Plot Development

I stopped writing this blog because I couldn't find the endings. It wasn't a matter of time or concentration. I couldn't find them because they weren't there.

I wanted to give you the neat version of my life. You know, the tidy ending where I found out something deep about myself or got to know God better or helped someone overcome a life-changing problem. As a lover of literature, a good ending is very satisfying: not always neat, but the plot resolves enough that you don't want to strangle the author.

But the problem is that I'm not writing my life.

There is an end in mind, I've been promised, and it's worth waiting for. But here on the pages between the beginning and the end, it's messy.

Standing at the gate, watching J's face through the tiny door, through a gate I can't even open because it's broken, on a day when I was supposed to be at a women's retreat, listening to my kids upstairs singing instead of sleeping, listening to J tell me that his neighbors are going to wreck their house if he doesn't come up with $50 today...

That's messy.

Heartbreak is messy, and sometimes, you don't learn anything from it except that we live in a broken world. But here I am writing, because the plot's still developing. And there's foreshadowing yet that I'm not alone, that God hurts with me in the mess...even the messes I cause.

I'm not writing the story, but I'll tell it if I can.

03 November 2016

Le Lion

He knew his time would come. He was patient. He watched, daily, as the door opened and shut. Opened and shut. Opened and shut. And today, when my neighbor Sharon came home by herself from grocery shopping...he seized his opportunity.

That's right: I'm talking about a 165-pound Mastiff named Robbie. But my yard guy doesn't call him that. He calls him Le Lion, and it is a name rightly deserved.

From my couch watching Netflix, I heard Sharon calling his name--then heard the desperation edge into her voice. I opened the door in my pedestrian gate just in time to see them go flying down the hill, him trotting along easily, her in hot pursuit. Let me tell you: it is not easy to run down a large dog on an unpaved road. This is not just any road. This road has river rocks. It has gulleys and dips and cracks. She did better than I would've done. Sheer terror helps, I'm sure.

Dumbstruck, I stood there for a minute before I shouted, "What can I do to help?"

"Get some meat!" She shouted back, and they both disappeared around the corner. Everything was frozen (we were having lentils for dinner), but I grabbed the bag of liver treats I use when I need to tie up my dogs so I can open the gate. (By the way, this experience served to remind me exactly why I should really do that every single time.)

I was pretty quick, but by the time I caught up to them, she had him on the leash. "He's never done this before," she panted.  He'd foolishly turned down a dead end, and she was able to corner him. But friends, getting Robbie on the leash was only half the battle--we still had to get him back in the yard, and I was more than a little worried that he was going to pull Sharon over completely. So we both took part of the leash, and slowly, we were able to work our way back up the hill. Well, maybe it wasn't that slowly. It was however fast the 165-pound dog wanted to go, you see.

And oh, you should've seen them staring. Those Haitian onlookers weren't getting within 100 feet of us. People literally cowered, and I don't blame them. I predict that no one from this neighborhood will ever attempt to enter her yard.

Robbie was a fan of the liver treats, Sharon and I did not get dragged along behind to the detriment of our knees, and the gate is shut.

Le Lion is back in his cage...for now.

01 November 2016

Toddler Tuesday

Finally convinced that Mama isn't going to give them more screen time, they have resigned themselves to play. It's quiet. Ellie talks to herself as she makes pancakes with blue play dough that smells like peppermint. Every once in a while, she tastes it just to keep me on my toes. Peter is lassoing wild horses which bear a striking resemblance to our kitchen chairs, asking me how pulleys work. Dad will be home soon, mellow music by a new band gives atmosphere to the humidity and the creativity.

Sometimes, I have the best job.