Friday, August 31, 2007

Forgiveness (!)

So I was driving in the most horribly dangerous spot on I-80 (commonly known as the spaghetti bowl), being cautious, staying my eight car lengths (ok, more like three) behind when I see it: red break lights. I put my breaks on and pull to stop, nice and easy. I look in my rear-view mirror to see if the guy behind me is being as cautious as I am, and then I hear it: bumper hitting bumper clang. I say something like, great, and think something like you idiot. I am almost always expecting to get hit here, so I am not really surprised, just self-righteously annoyed. I try to decide in a millisecond if I should pull over considering that I already am in the most dangerous spot in the freeway, and me pulling over will make it even more deadly. I decide I should; I am in my parents' car and what if there is damage? So I veer just a little to the right, glance in my rear view to make sure Bad Driver is following me, which is when I see he is not. So I straighten out the wheel and think, maybe he thinks this is too dangerous of a place. Maybe we'll pull off on an exit or something. Then all of a sudden there is a clearing to the right, definitely safe enough to pull over and have a little chat, so I pull over.
Which is when I see the jeep speed past me, two males shamelessly looking over at me, LAUGHING.
My fingers shake on the steering wheel and my insides swoon with warm rage. Those jerks. I am determined not to let the criminals get away, even if it means a full out freeway chase. I am so up for it. Without even thinking (usually it would take me five minutes to decide if this was the "right" time to pull back on the freeway) I jerk my dad's little Honda back onto the freeway and press my foot to the gas. Zoom Zoom. You better watch yourself, Jeep Man.
The jeep is now quite a few cars in front of me, still somehow I get the license before it weaves in and out of enough cars that I can't keep up with it. I say the license over and over, out loud, as if my life and the lives of all my children, born and unborn, depend on the memorization of those three numbers, three letters. I am determined to get this guy, to make him suffer with all the other hit-and-runners out there. He laughed, for crying out loud.
Later I tell my dad on the phone, "...even if he would have given me an "I'm sorry" wave, I probably would have let it go." Well, maybe.
Instead I call the police and figure out what I have to do to make sure this guy gets punished.
They say I have ten days to come fill out a report. I think about my time, my energy, my precious life. I think about the forty five minutes more that I will have to give to Mr. Rude in that disgustingly ugly teal jeep just to punish him. Maybe it just isn't worth it, I think. Maybe I just need to let it go.
Dad tells me I can "pull myself together" and "forgive" and still fill out the report "for the good of the community." I know this is true, but it would be so much more fun to fill out out to punish him.
Letting something go is a whole lot easier than the heart-breaking business of forgiveness. I think about forgiving and all I see is his face, his smile, his smirk whizzing past me and I want to spit. And ram my car into his five or six times.
I think, well, I have ten days to breath, to get these stones out of my gut, to forgive. I don't have to do it now. Which makes me wonder if forgiveness can be obtained in the blink of an eye. All I know is that would be some serious grace. A miracle as bonafide as the parting of the Red Sea.
Which is what it is going to be anyway, if I can ever picture that man's face and not want to ram into that jeep of his.
I exhale. Even now, I feel less pleasure in the angry thoughts. I just want it to be over. It's so tiring being angry--it really takes it out of me. Plus, it puts me in the worst mood.
Times like this I don't know what to pray except for "help" and "please". Then I take deep breaths and think about how great it is that I can pray for help. That I don't have to stay in this rage, that I can be soft and loving again. That maybe, if I ever see that jeep again, instead of anger I can feel a connectedness (don't loose me here), an actual realization of Mr. Rude's humanity; of mine, which is no different. I may have more of a moral polish on my outside ( I would definitely stop if I hit someone), but I know our insides are the same: dark and mean. Sinister. ( I did rear-end someone a couple of years ago and guess what the first thought in my nice little brain was, hmm? Something like, "Goose it Danae! Just goose it!")
And then, Jesus died for both of us. It's something like the warm sun thawing my icy, blue heart to picture me and Mr. Rude, looking up at the Man who died for us. This helps me. Picturing us there on that desolate mountain together. In a perfect world we could hold hands, but maybe that is pushing it.
But that is what the love of God does. It pushes us. It compels.
I take a breath now and feel almost whole again, almost nice. Nine more days should definitely do the trick (miracle)...yes, time, "help", and "please".

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


So I started school yesterday. The last semester of a six or seven year journey through UNR's ideologies that has been, shall we say, hard. I feel more grounded this semester (I think that every semester, and then--never fails--three weeks into it I about lose it--my faith, that is). Miraculously (do you know how many times the Bible uses the word chosen?) I am ALWAYS brought back to Truth. Back to grace. Back to love and goodness and faith and mystery that is embodied in the person of Jesus. And in moments of clarity I see as clearly as I saw the sunset last night or am looking at this computer screen in front of me that He is holding me in a deathgrip that will never let go.
I have another class here in fifteen minutes. sigh.
These people here are well-meaning but I have tasted something sweeter. Something eternal.
Of course, one charismatic or even good looking professor's differing exposition and my soul starts pining. Its a vicious cycle.
At the end of it all, however, vicious though it may seem, is the One who is THE OMEGA.
Looking at life in the Big Picture way ("[God is] the Alpha and the Omega") and not the Little Picture way ("but it doesn't make sense to me!") is a deep well of peace that my thirsty soul would do well to be drenched in with regularity.
"Be still, and know that I am God."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Visitor Bed

Thanks sister for your comments. I am so excited about Andrew walking! I can't wait to see him. I am counting down the days. I am going to order this awesome humongeous queen size blow up bed so sometimes you (or Daelynn too) can stay here. It has "spring board technology" so it feels like a real bed...supposedly. You'll have to come check it out!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Eating Fish

So like I said, Joey now likes to fish. We got up early Tuesday morning and drove up to Gold Lake where he caught three fish the morning before. The sun was only shinning on one part of the lake so I followed my husband across a long beach of rocks, two books in one hand, a lawn chair in the other. Joey had his hands full too, but I still had to stop myself from thinking the whole way, what happened to the man carrying stuff for the woman? Of course, when I read the bible, I get all bent out of shape when there are very defined male and female roles, but on a rocky beach with arms that feel like jello, I am all for male and female roles (with the man as the chair-carrier of course).
So I told myself to stop being such a weenie and to enjoy this morning alone (we left Ethan with Nawnie and Ampa).
We finally got to a spot Joey thought fish might be and boy did I have to poop. Joey said I could use leaves if I wanted for tolit paper but I decided I would pass, so I just pulled down my pants and peed instead. I have become a very good squating pee-er. I always make Joey watch, partly to let me know if anyone is comming but mostly because I am showing off. I don't get it on my pants or shoes or anything. Boys think they are so cool because they can pee anywhere; I want Joey to know that I can pee anywhere too. It must be that male/female thing again. Plus I saw mice in the bushes directly where I had decided would be the best spot to go, or at least a squirl, and I hate rodents.
After that it was such a great morning. I pulled my chair close to Joey, but not too close because we were still on rocks, and read while he sat there looking relaxed as only fishermen do. Every so often he would spit his sonflower shells into the water and I would look down and watch them bob inbetween the rocks, never really going anywhere.
My books put me in a great mood: Elyse Fitzpatrick's Helper by Design and Andree Seu's Won't Let You Go Until You Bless Me.
After a while (still no fish) I went up to where there were no rocks and laid a blanket down (one that Joey brought for me... now that's what I am talking about.) I laid my head on my sweatshirt and closed my eyes. The air still had the morning chilliness in it, so the sun felt like a fire warming my cheeks, my arms. I listened to the water lap on the rocks. Occaisionally I heard the quiet wizz of Joey bringing in his line to re-bait.
Joey eventally caught one fish, a pretty shiny thing with watery, dark eyes. He asked if I wanted to reel it in and I said "no" without even thinking. Once the fish was out of the water, flapping and flipping all over the place, Joey grabbed him and held him tight in his grip. "Comm'ere little guy," he said, and squeezed him so he couldn't move. I tried to act normal even though the fish was dying and his eyes looked terrified, although I think they look that way anyway. I told Joey "good job" and "thats a good one" but on the inside I felt bad.
Joey finally had to yank the hook out of the fish's mouth because it wasn't just slidding out. He turned so I wouldn't see, but when he turned back around there was blood on the fish, on Joey's hands.
He put the fish in a plastic bag and put it in the water, tied to a rock. I tried to go back to sleep but kept thinking about that fish and trying to decide if I wanted to turn vegetarian. I wondered if we will be vegetarians in heaven. I knew that wouldn't be good for those die-hard steak lovers, but I wondered if we kill to eat because that is how God planned it or if that is because of the fall.
I decided I was being silly but that I still didn't like to kill things or watch them die.
Which is why when Joey picked up the plastic bad with the fish in it to go home, I asked him if it was dead.
"Yeah, he's dead." I felt better that it was all over. But then the bag started moving and it was obvious the fish wasn't dead, rather he was flapping around in the pink blood tinted water that was fast draining out of the plastic bag.
I took a deep breath, knowing the plastic rustle would stop soon, and the fish would be still and gone. And soon it was quiet and we walked back on the rocks.
The fish really was tasty, and I was thankful for all those Omega-3's. I still don't know if we will eat meat in heaven, but I tell you what, I don't like to watch the process of "live animal to dead animal to table"--maybe too it's just another one of those male/female things.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


We went to the most beautiful place in the world for four days; a place filled with tall aspens and even taller pine trees, all mixed together in the most beautiful way. It's like being in a rain forest, only in the mountains and minus any rain, of course.
My family has been going to Lakes Basin campground ever since I can remember. I have the most wonderful memories of this place: swimming for hours in the freezing creek, eating jerky and smarties and sunflower seeds on hikes, making up whole new worlds with my little sister out of rock crevases, and playing kick the can at dusk (one time I will never forget I hid in a bush that was also housing a wasps' betcha I was doing the wild banchee and screaming my head off. I came away with only four or five bites and a turd or two in my undies. Not bad, considering).
Camping with a child is different than camping with just your husband or better yet, being the child. We have decided we will not go camping alone, meaing just the three of us, until Ethan is at least four years old. Joey even says five.
This time was great because at one point we had both sets of grandparents there to watch and play and entertain little Bubba. We were supposed to stay the last day by ourselveves but ended up packing up and comming home early, which I am very glad we did. Having a child means a lot of adjustments, one being able to pull out of campsites early when the grandparents have already gone home.
Of course I loved being there with Ethan. My favorite part was taking the trip to the potty, Ethan holding my pointer finger. He lets me hold his hand now. It was the best at dusk when our shadows stretched out in front of us and I could watch his little hand in mine as we walked along. I wanted a picture but he wasn't into it when I finally had Joey follow us with the camera. He was more interested in squating like a caveman and picking up rocks.
A couple of days we had fresh trout that Joey caught. I never thought Joey was much of a fisherman, but he looked natural with his fishing fanny wrapped around his waist, pole in hand. It's amazing the things we learn AFTER those wedding vows are said. Not that I am complaining--I like fish.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hosea Moment

I wrote this for Mt. Rose's blog but wanted it here too.

Being married for just a little over three years, I am only beginning to see what a miraculous mystery I live in everyday with my husband, Joey. It is a beautiful mystery, but a mystery just the same and there is a part of me that gobbles up anything I can get my hands on about the subject in a futile—but always feverous—attempt to “figure it out.”
I may never (until paradise) “figure out” marriage, but I do believe God has shown me a few precious truths marriage rests in, truths that will hold me into and through the unknowns that lie ahead of Joey and me.
One of these truths that God has gently, though often painfully, shown me is that marriage is not about my own temporal, earthly happiness; rather, marriage is for His greater, infinite plan of redemption. Comfort is drawn from this truth only when my trust is in God alone; not in Joey, not in our “getting along”, but in God’s greatness, in His wisdom, and in His grace and kindness.
I decided to read Hosea the other morning, remembering I had liked the prophet for some reason before. It didn’t take me long to remember why: Hosea demonstrates in his own life the same love God demonstrates for Israel then and for us as His own now: a love that is unconditionally forgiving, even in the most obscene of circumstances. This love takes an enormous amount of courage; or rather, faith. It is a supernatural love that I can’t help but be drawn to, humbled as I am when I think of my own faith—weak as a mouse—when it comes to forgiveness, even for little things like a forgotten phone call or dirty dishes.
It is this supernatural forgiveness and love that is exactly what Hosea embodies after Gomer, his wife, continually commits adultery with a number of different men, paralleling Israel’s own unfaithfulness to the Lord. Hosea, like the Lord, with mercy and compassion I can hardly fathom, eventually takes back his bride and restores her to himself.
The “ah-ha!” moment for me came as my eyes were opened a little wider than before to the truth that marriage has so little to do with the seemingly reality that is present at the time and much more to do with the sovereign plans of the Lord who is working “all things together for the good of those who love Him” (Rom. 8:28).
Who would ever have thought that the Lord would compel Hosea to marry Gomer, when at the time of their wedding I am sure their future seemed so bright, so “normal”? The Lord knew the devastation that would take place in their marriage, and He knew how it would happen at the same time of Israel’s rebellion against Himself, giving Hosea an insight that he otherwise wouldn’t have known—or at least in such a personal way—into the heart of God: a heart that breaks when we go astray. A heart that pursues us until the end, and ultimately a heart whose love for us is so deep and so wide that it cannot help but restore those whom it loves.
It’s an encouragement to me on two levels: one, that God loves me with this same endless love. I am His and He is—in this moment and forevermore—restoring me to Himself.
And two, that no matter what happens in my marriage or in my life, I know God has planned and foreseen it all, no matter how big of a mistake it might seem in the moment, or even for years at a time. I pray for the faith to know, deep in my heart, that one day I will see the divine reasons; one day I will know without a pinch of doubt that this world and all its happenings is the Lord’s, and I will see His glory shinning brighter than the brightest of stars, even as this world fades away: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Is. 65:17).

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Last night we went over to Joey's sister's house. She just got married a couple of weeks ago in a wedding that blows Cinderella out of space. She had fireworks set off as they drove away from their reception at a posh golf course in a long, very shiny limo.
It really was beautiful and I told Joey that at our fiftieth anniversary party I definitely want fireworks.
So anyway, they just got back from their two week honeymoon in the West Indies somewhere and family and close friends were invited over to watch them open their wedding gifts.
Now, don't get me wrong from anything I might write in this post. I like this family. Which is to say, I don't just love them because I have to, I actually really like them. That being said:
Ever since the day I was introduced to Joey's sisters, I have felt...small. Out of place. Poor.
Joey's two older sisters are beautiful blond women who are sweet and sincere and fun to be around. For whatever reason, whenever I get around people like this, I shrink. It's even worse when their friends show up. Its not just the personalities; its the grape size karats in their wedding rings and the new SUV's and the ninety dollar highlights in their hair. I go from being a fairly content mother and wife and person to thinking that I have done everything wrong and should have become a doctor or a lawyer--or at least married one--so that I could have my highlights done too instead of buying them in a box at Albertson's.
So we walk into the bride and groom's temporary home (they're building a new one on a holf course) and I feel it. Shrinkage. We hug everyone and everyone hugs us. Joey takes Ethan out on the patio where the groom's dad is grilling chicken and I stay in the kitchen with the girls. I am half starved from not eating for three hours while I was at work, so I time my trips to the cracker and dip table carefully so as not to seem like a pig. We small talk: hows work, how was the homeymoon; we talk about lost luggage and the cute new things Ethan is saying. Both sisters are really close to me and one of them picks up my "diamond" necklace.
"Oooo Danae, that is so pretty."
"Yes, where did you get that? Did someone give it to you?"
I can feel my temperature rising, my cheeks blushing, my mind racing at what to tell them. The necklace is fake. I don't even know where it came from.
"Ummmmm..." Should I lie? Tell them Joey gave it to me? "Um, I think my grandma gave it to me." I lied. I can hardly believe it. I also can hardly believe what a BAD liar I am, slipping in "I think" like you can forget if your grandma gave you a diamond necklace.
They both look a tad confused as well but decide to drop it. I am restless, so I guzzle a Pepsi not out of thirst but for something to do and then decide to go outside and check on Ethan.
He is jumpping off very dirty steps saying things like, "Jump!" and "made it!" and "dirty, dirty," everytime he glances at his now charcoal colored hands. A small circle has formed around him and he is enjoying being the entertainer.
I am smiling in a fake way because I never know how to act in these situations. As a mom, you don't want to seem too amused by your own child but you don't want to come off as a dead fish either. So I am just smiling pretending not to be that interested in Ethan's amazing cuteness and then in the middle of all the giggles and laughter Joey's oldest sister yells across the circle to me, "Omygosh, where did you get his shoes? They are so adorable!"
His shoes? I act like I can't hear her. Shoot! Not his shoes!
I bought Ethan these brown, two-strap velcro shoes at Wal-mart. Half of Ethan's clothes are form Wal-mart. The other half are hand-me-downs.
I walk over to her so as not to come off like I am blowing her off, and she asks me again, "Where did you buy those shoes Danae, they are so cute!"
I buy time. Lying is definitely out of the question it was such a bomb last time. "Oh I know, aren't they great? I have to get him those velcro kind becuase his feet are so fat..." I am hoping we can drop it right here but she just giggles and then says, "I know, where did you find them?" I can't stall any longer. I push it out. "Wal-mart." I try to laugh it off. She does a double take just for a split second, so small no normal person would have never cought on, and then says, "Yeah, I mean, why spend money on kids shoes when they grow out of them so fast anyway?"
Right. I know she actually just said that to try and make me feel better because I am sure she picked up on my embarressment in my voice when I squeaked out the word. But still. I just want to disapear right now. Which is what I do, somehow making it back inside.
Where Joey's other sister asks me, "Danae, where did you get Ethan's new shoes? They are so cute!" This time I am on top of it; I know there is now way around it. I get it out as quickly as possible. "Wal-mart."
"Wal-mart! Your kidding me! You never know what you'll find!" I smile and wait for the conversation to pick up on something less CLASS DIVIDING.
Ethan comes inside and is all smiles from all the attention. He's hanging out in the living room with his uncles when I hear it: a small child's gag. Which either means:
A. Nothing. Just air.
B. A small amount of spit up. (This has not happened, ten months now?)
C. Barf.
From the response from his uncles, I pick "C". I don't really know what to do in this situation either. His grandmother is already by Ethan's side (does he need me?) and the groom's mom is already removing the cushion from the couch to clean it (shouldn't the mom clean up her kid's barf?) I decide to forget Ethan (if Grandma is around, he prefers her anyway) and go try and help clean up. These people are the type of people that just do it though. Like after dinner, they are so on top of the dishes. I always feel like I am just hanging around, in the way, two steps behind them. Which is how I feel now, even though I tell them that I can clean it up. No, No, she says. It's no problem. So I stand watching her scrub my son's barf off a very nice, suade, camel colored cushion.

All in all, it really wasn't a bad night. On the car ride home I feel as good as poop for lying and for being so insecure about Wal-mart, and for making the groom's mom clean up Ethan's barf.
I decide I want to be a confident woman. One that will grab the pillow and say, "No way! You go on inside and let me clean this mess up!" and to his sisters, "Ohmygosh, this necklace is sooooo fake! Isn't it beautiful?" and about the shoes, "WAL-MART PEOPLE! I BOUGHT THE SHOES AT WAL-MART!"


Well friends (two in particular) thank you so much for your feedback. Its killer to write all that and then wonder if anyone will ever read it besides me, and Joey because I made him. So thank you thank you. If you ever start a blog, I will not only read it I will endorse it on my blog page, when I figure out how to do that. Love you both.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Day at the Beach

It all started when I got up early so that I could be half-way presentable when Joey walked through the door. I brushed my hair and my teeth, walked into the living room and straightened the pillows on the couch. I started the coffee maker--I can hardly move without a cup of joe in the morning, let alone think--and glanced at the clock.
Anytime now, I thought. I wiped the counters and started unloading the dishwasher. The coffee pot made its joyful gurgling sounds that means its ready so I walked over and and poured the brown liquid into a ceramic mug, one out of a set of four that we bought at Savers for a dollar.
I swirled the honey as I squeezed it out of its plastic container into the coffee, walked slowly over to the fridge and grabbed the milk, letting the door slam shut as I walked back to my mug. As I stirred the milk into the coffee, its color changing from dark brown to a yummy latte color, I stared at the clock.
Hmmm...I thought. He's late. Stay calm. Don't freak out. The first thought the crosses my mind is that he is in a fatal accident on the highway and instead of a day at Tahoe like we have planned I will be told to go to some horrible building and asked to identify his body under a white sheet. The second thought--and the one that usually stays around, making me a little crabby for at least the next two hours I am with him--is that he is dilly-dallying.
7:55 what is he doing? I tell myself, Don't freak out. Don't freak out. Stop freaking out. But I can feel that freaking out feeling rising, so I pick up the phone and dial his cell. He doesn't pick up, so I leave him a message, trying to make my voice as normal as possible, but at the end I fudge it up and say, so will you call me? with an edge in my voice like a small, sharp pocket knife.
I hang up. Fifteen seconds later the phone rings. I can tell he picked up on the edge in my voice because his voice is soft and cautious, trying to figure out just how much more of an edge I am hiding.
Turns out he went out to coffee with his buddy. Ohhhh. Ok. Thats not such a big deal. He needs friends, right? So I tell myself to suck it up and let it go.
Which would have been fine if the rest of the day would have been even an OK day but it wasn't.
First, Joey comes home and tells me he is not going to sleep before we go to Tahoe.
You are not going to sleep? I say to him and he says No and shrugs his shoulders. The man just came off a twelve hour shift working all night for the fourth night in a row durring the most crazy weekend in Reno, Hot August Nights. I know he thinks he feels fine now, after he just drank a cup of coffee, but in four hours when we are supposed to be playing on the beach, he is going to be zombie man or worse, super grumpy zombie man.
But then I shrug my shoulders. Whatever.
His caffiene dilusion wore off sooner than I had anticipated; twenty minutes later he's movements slow down, his eyes glaze over. Do you want to sleep? No, he says to me, I can sleep in the car on the way. In the car on the way? Of course. I'll just drive the whole way not talking to anybody.
I pack the rest of the car, feeling like I am doing the whole thing by myself, which I know isn't true and which further proves what a piece of crap wife I was being that morning and we head out of town.
Partly out of thirst but mostly out of self pity I decide to stop and get an iced Chai. As I am pulling off the freeway, Joey half wakes up from his snooze.
"You could have stayed on the freeway."
"I know, I am getting a Starbucks." I like the control I'm feeling. I'm driving. I'm getting a Starbucks. And nobody was awake to talk me out of it. I feel a sort of anger/bitter/contol giddiness that makes me happy in a horrible way.
Joey closes his eyes again. At the pick up window he opens them again.
"How are you going to pay? Your purse is in the trunk."
"I know." I point at the twenty dollar bill laying in the console that he grabbed before we left the house for parking at Sand Harbor. "See?" I said. "I'm not as big of a spaz as you think I am." I smile, but it isn't an entirely friendly smile.
He closes his eyes again.
I decide to not get back on the freeway since Virginia Street turns into 395 South anyway, and head off. My chai makes me a little happier, and I start humming hymns. I decide to try and turn the morning around. I hope Joey is awake enough to hear my humming so he knows that I am trying to be happy.
I decide things are definetly going better. My two boys are sleeping, I have an ice chai, and am humming. Then for some weird reason Joey opens his eyes again.
"I'm confused."
"Where are you going?"
Oh shoot. Shoot, shoot, shoot.
I turn unexpectantly and violently into a side street. I took the wrong highway. I forgot I had to take Mt Rose highway, not 395 South. Stupid!
I stop humming and get back on the highway heading the oppisit direction. Joey doesn't say a word, which is good, because if he would have I would have cried. I could feel the tears accumulating as it was.
So we head up the mountain. At one point I tell Joey I guess I am a spaz and he just reaches over and pats my leg.
The ride was very long and very windy and I have decided I will never drive it again.
We pull into the parking lot behind four cars waiting to pay. I reach down to get the cash to pay the lady EIGHT dollars to park and the whole wad of bills is soaked. What the...?
"Joey, wake up. Help me. These are soaking. " We shake the bills out, which have been marinating in Ethan's left over apple juice that spilled out of his sippy. Thankfully, the moisture seems to leave them quickly but they still have a stickiness to them. We barely get two fives dry before we pull up to the booth. I hand the lady the sticky bills very nonchalontly and quickly grab the two, ultra crisp and dry bills she hands me in return and then speed off like we just got away with something illegal.
We drive around and find a spot in the shade to wait for Ethan to wake up. I read Joey's WORLD magaizine, Joey dozes and Ethan sleeps.
Forty minutes later I hear Ethan move in the back seat. I turn to see if he is awake and his sleepy eyes and puffy cheeks make me smile for the first time all day. Hi Bubba. How ya do'en?
He gives me a sleepy smile.
"Com'on Joe. Let's go." I slap Joey's leg to wake him up, a new motivation in my voice. Things are looking up again. We can start this whole, crappy day over. We are at the beach. New beginnings. These are all the thoughts going through my head as I open the back door and undo Ethan's car seat. The thoughts stop though as I lift Ethan out and realize he is soaking. In pee.
Oh my gosh...But by this time, I just act as cool as a cucumber. No big deal. I hardly say anything to Joey, who is staring wide eyed at the pee-soaked car-seat. We'll hose it off, I tell him.
We walk down the beach and don't see my parents anywhere, even though we are the ones who are and hour and a half late. We set up in one place and then decide another would be better so we move all our crap and settle, only I can't settle because we can't find my parents. So I tell Joey I am going to go find them. I set off down the beach, a little irritated at everyone who seems to be having such a good time, especially because that sand up there is so darn hard to walk in. And I wasn't finding my parents.
When I get back in view of Ethan and Joey I see my dad kneeling by them in the sand. Turns out it took them a little longer to leave than they had anticipated. And, my dad tells me, no charcol bar-b-ques allowed. Some fire danger or something. So there goes our steak dinner.
We move again because Grammie and Papa need shade.
The day passes quickly, Joey sleeping the whole time. At one point my mom mentions a missing bucket from a pack of beach toys she bought for Ethan, and I about explode. Who cares about a bucket? Well, she did, and if anyone should, it should be her because she was the one making pools and sand creatures with Ethan all day. I tell her I will look for it.
Dinner time comes and we decide to check out the new snack stand. My mom and I walk over together, suddenly mingling with the Shakespeare crowd, not the beach crowd. I feel naked as I walk through lines of people in my two piece, my bottom jiggling and moving even when I stop. The snack stand turns out to be a restaurant with air conditioning blarring in from the doors like an icy wind. We can order take out. My mom takes her time ordering, while I just want to get the heck out of there and out of the line of sight of four fully clothed college age boys who are working behind the counter.
The food takes forever. I take cover between to candy racks, sure that the boys are suspecting that I am shoplifting because I am awkwardly staying in one place for so long, but where would I put the candy?
The food is finally ready (15 dollars for one hamburger, mind you) and I hop in front of my mom on the way out so the boys can't watch my butt as we leave.
Somehow, I am in a better mood as we walk back to the beach.
When we get back to our clan, Joey is in a chair and smiling. We pass the food, Joey cracks a joke but can't get the punch line exactly right; Papa tells a blond joke that my dad brings up five minutes later, laughing, "You know when a joke just hits you?" He smiles and shakes his head as he bites into his burger.
On the car ride home Joey drives. We bicker about the radio--"Just pick a station and leave it, Danae"--so I grab a CD.
Journey's cool, cigarette voice fills the car and I turn it up, rocking my head from side to side, bouncing a little in my chair. Joey looks annoyed and keeps turning the music down. Ethan starts to fuss so I grap his blanky and wiggle it in the air to make him laugh. I am really getting into the music now and I take his yellow blanky and put it on my head, smiling back at him like a buzzed Little Bow Peep. He laughs harder. I put the blanky all the way over my head and bounce my head back and forth, Ethan's giggles filling the car with a new joy. I'm holding my sunglasses in my lap and then like a light switch think how funny it would be if I put them on my head over the blanky...Ethan errupts with precious, million-dollar giggles and I laugh out loud under my mask. I keep bouncing my head, and then I hear it: Joey's giggle. It's small at first like he was trying to keep it inside. Then another. My heart feels like it starts beating for the first time all day. I take my mask off and try to smooth down my static hair and I cannot stop smiling. I catch Joey's eye and we giggle together and do the blanky-man routine a couple more times. By now Joey lets himself laugh freely. Ethan is peeing his pants I am sure.
And this is how we go home: laughing, driving toward a pink sky filled with heaven's clouds, redeemed.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


The other day I gave Ethan his breakfast and then sat next to him at the counter, picked up a magazine and started to read. Then I heard his little voice: "Pay?" At first I thought, "No way are we going to play, you are going to eat that cereal. Period." But as I glanced up, I realized his little fingers were outstretched to me, not in a vertical, I-want-to-get-out-of-my-chair-way, but horizontally, in a I-want-to-hold-your-hand-way.
Ohhh, I thought. Pray. He wants to pray. So I took his hand and blessed the food, short and sweet like you do with one and a half year olds. He let go of my hand and looked down at his cereal and I picked up my magazine.
I looked over at him, his hand agian outstretched. Well, ok.
So we prayed again, this time for Nawnie and Ampa and for love. Amen.
I let go but Ethan wasn't finished. "Pay?"
Again? I thought. Why does he want to pray agian? So we did. For Deana and Simon and Andrew and Grammie and Papa. We thanked God for His grace and goodness and for protection for Daddy at work. Amen.
This time I didn't go back to my magazine and sure enough we started praying some more.
Now, I haven't taught Ethan to pray. In fact, if anything I feel like I have taught him not to pray, I do it so rarely. But he likes to do it. I haven't prayed for that long in a long time, even though the whole ritual was done and over with in less than six minutes.
Six minutes.

God's grace comes to us from everywhere, but more and more I am realizing a little more how much grace the Lord gives me through five tiny outstrectched fingers.

Friday, August 10, 2007

a-hem...just a couple more posts for today

On Spit *warning reading this might make you say bad words in your head*
Joey has only been working five months in the jail and two very wonderful young men have spat on him. The first was a scrawny Mexican whose lovely saliva and mucus landed on Joey’s belt.
The second was a fat white young man who was irritated that Joey was video-taping him as he was escorted like a wiggly, naughty toddler into the jail, shouting things like, “Get that f*** ing camera out of my face” and “If I wasn’t handcuffed I’d take on all of you f***ing cops” and other sweet things.
When Joey didn’t move the camera, Mr. Wiggly spat right on my husband’s left cheek, the remnants landing in his eye as if it were a paint splatter.
The first incident Joey came home hotter than a cat sprayed with the hose, ranting and raving and telling me the story from start to finish like a normal human being would.
The second time he was cool. He called me from the doctor’s office to let me know he had been spat on and they had to take his blood to test for diseases as if he were calling from Wal-Mart to see if we needed milk.
“He spit on you?” I was disgusted. “In the face?”
But then he had to go get his blood drawn and that was all I ever heard of Mr. Wiggly.

Being Pulled Over

I have never been pulled over by a cop, a fact that I until recently was very proud of. I just couldn’t understand why my little sister could get pulled over so many times; doesn’t she look for cops so she can slow down? Common, it’s not that hard. Hello, I have been driving for-gulp—nine years already and have yet to see those popsicle colored sirens in my rear view mirror.
But recently I have been getting very brave. I speed regularly (ok, I have always done that), but now I don’t look for cops as hard as I used to. Well, I still look for them, but—this is where the bravery comes in—I don’t slow way down. I put my foot on the brake pedal just lightly, taking my speedometer down like five notches instead of ten or fifteen. I know, I know, it’s seriously crazy.
You see, now that I am married to a cop, I feel this power. It’s not that I think I would get out of a ticket (Joey told me at one point that trying to bribe an officer will land me in jail), but I am not afraid of them anymore. For instance, instead of rolling up alongside a cop car with white-knuckled fists on the wheel like I just drove up from Mexico with a load of crack in my trunk, I sort of gingerly roll to a stop, one hand loosely controlling the wheel, head back just slightly, a relaxed smile on my face like Ethan just said something slightly amusing or like a person who is just a tad buzzed. Then I very casually look over at the cop and smile or wave.
It’s absolutely thrilling.
The cops usually look a little confused and sometimes annoyed but most of the time are friendly and will wave back in a civil service sort of way. And, if one of them ever decides to pull me over, I picture myself very cool and charming, laughing with just the hint of flirtatiousness like we are at a summer bar-b-que together and he just asked me to pass the potato salad.

First Post

Well this is all quite thrilling, me having a blog and all. I don't even have a cell phone, so you can see what a big deal this really is. But I have time and I like to write so I am turning over a new leaf in my life as "blogger". What a horrible word by the way.
I think mostly what this blog is going to be about is my marriage and my life as Ethan's mom. So if you are SO OVER mom's-with-extra-time-on-their-hands'-blogs, log out now my friends.