Monday, February 19, 2007


I'm leaving today--heading out on a long-awaited return trip to my most favorite place on the planet. If you need me, you can find me wading in the Mediterranean, or boating on the Galilee, or sampling raspberry sorbet on Ben Yehuda street, or standing in an empty tomb.

I'll have much to share when I next sit at this desk.

Till then ... Shalom.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

my achy-breaky heart

Oh, my heart.

Or, should I say, my hearts. I'm talking about the heart-shaped meatloaf I had planned for dinner, accompanied by a heart-shaped casserole filled with fluffy, garlicky, cream-cheesy mashed potatoes and a heart-shaped well of buttery corn nestled smack in the center. My salad would have boasted of home-toasted, heart-shaped herby croutons. And for dessert, we would have thrown caution to the wind and indulged in not only heart-shaped chocolate cupcakes, but a giant heart-shaped chocolate chip cookie.

And then ...

Dave and the elders decided, at 6:15 p.m. last night, to embark on a three-day fast. They want to pray for direction about a land purchase our church is about to make.

"But ... but ... tomorrow's Valentine's Day!" I said, feeling instantly small and unspiritual. I knew my protest was silly. How can heart-shaped meatloaf compare with prayer and fasting?

I was still feeling sad when I went into the kitchen early this morning and started dropping marbles into my stoneware muffin pan (my friend Nathan was kind enough to loan me his marbles so I could make heart-shaped cupcakes to bring to church tonight. You just drop a marble between the cupcake paper and the side of the muffin tin and it creates a heartish dent at the top of the cupcake). I'd had the whole day planned, right down to the last pointy, bulbous detail. But now Dave would be left out.

He woke up as I was pulling the first batch of cupcakes out of the oven. I could see by his face that this fast was costing him something. He's got a sweet tooth bigger than even mine.

"Sorry," I said. And I was.

Sometime later, as I was coating the cooled cupcakes with cheery pink frosting and sprinkling each with red, white and pink sprinkles--and feeling very sorry for myself--it occurred to me how blessed I am. I'm still going to make a table full of heart-shaped food for the kids, and Dave will probably stay in our bedroom praying and pretending to not smell all that heart-y deliciousness, and I'll be missing him with every bite.

But how many women have a man like that--a man with such single-hearted devotion to his God?

I will freeze him a cupcake.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

on 'olks and forkheads

"Can you make mine 'olky?" Tera asks.

She's standing behind me, so she doesn't see my smile.

"I like 'olky eggs," she adds, for good measure.

When will I tell her that eggs have yolks, and not 'olks? Never. Someone else will have to spill the beans, because I cannot bring myself to correct that word.

I couldn't correct Zac, either, when he used to refer to his "forkhead." It was just too cute. Sure, I had visions of a future-him pointing to his forehead and mentioning casually, to his teenaged friends, "Man, I ran into the door the other day and banged up my forkhead," and having to endure their snickers, but still, I could not bring myself to correct that word. He didn't discover the truth until he was about ten. And that was way too early for me.

I've always let those words stand. A much younger Tera would sometimes note my tiredness and pat my shoulders or my head. "Does that feel ya better, Mom?" she'd ask. I'd nod, and let the more-interesting sentence stand. Or she'd offer to read Good Night Moon for me, and I'd hear, "Potanonna time, they was three kittens ... and they all is gonna be died. Amen." After the first time I heard that rendition, I never wanted to read Good Night Moon to her again because I didn't want to ruin her version.

At four, she practically taught herself to read, and she learned the truth about Good Night Moon. She learned that the kittens didn't die, and that the book didn't end with an "Amen." And something saddened inside me. But she was still young enough to not realize that "We should get arid of some of these clothes in my room" contained a wrong word. So I let it stand. Everytime she thought we should get "arid" of something, I treasured her mistake.

She makes so few anymore. She's such a smart girl, with such a broad, tangy, impressive vocabulary. So when she asks for 'olky eggs, I crack two into the pan and I don't say a word.

It just feels me better.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

love, love and more love

My column in this month's Christian Women Online is on the topic of love. Not a bad topic for February, right? If you'd like to read about a time when my best intentioned-love went the way of the flesh, you can read the column here.