September 30, 2010

Gogyohka-Thursday [3]

dishes waiting

wiping away the grime

my hands are swift and efficient

they dance before invisible eyes

art in unexpected places

September 28, 2010

Temperature After One Month

In some ways this past week of school was little different than my first week. I still have no one I can call a friend. I still eat most of my lunches by myself... Then why am I so much happier?

Yes, I've adjusted. I've got my morning routine down to clockwork. The day doesn't exhaust me quite as it used to. I know there are enough hours in the day to get everything done and where to find the keys. I set my alarm. I always remember my books.

But something has changed: my expectations.

College hasn't given me fun- or friends- or amazing books. But it has given me a mission field.

When I walk onto campus I am ever-more conscious of my living testimony for Christ- that my every word and action affects how people see me- and ultimately the God I serve. College is teaching me to be less self-centered- to look for opportunities to bless people and share the gospel. To give life, not live life. College is acting as a mirror- showing me how easily I get caught up in my's own desires and needs: How often I am selfish, caring more about what people think of me then the Truth they need. How often I am prideful, thinking more of who I am than all that God has done for me.

When I say I am learning, I mean just that- it's a process, I'm being taught- I haven't learned it yet.

I am ever more grateful that God has me where he does. Heaven knows it wasn't my idea. But I am learning more where I am than I would have anywhere else. God is deepening my compassion and understanding. He is giving me boldness and love. 

Something's heating up. May this spark become a fire for God.

September 23, 2010

Gogyohka-Thursday [2]


on the other side of the world

just like here


I'm weird

September 22, 2010

Autumn in New York

Don't you just love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.  -You've Got Mail

Earlier this week I passed one of the first patches of red, a tiny scarlet lady in a sea of green, -high up, one among a thousand trees on my street.

It made me happy- seeing that patch of red. It was so beautiful. And as I drove on past it I found myself wondering: how many other people will see that same patch of red? Was it just for me? A gift?

How many people will drive past countless wonders this fall and how many beauties will never be noticed?

Who notices the tartan tree alone in a forest? Who will see the showers of gold the wind brushes to the ground at sunset? Nobody but God.

I was reminded of my pastor talking about how God created the sea and the Leviathan "to sport in it." [Psalm 104:26]  The whales- out at sea- playing- nobody watching- because God delights in them doing so.

And as I sat there and realized there were unspeakable wonders happening all around that nobody would ever see- but that they happened anyway because God delights in them- I felt a happy sort of kinship and gained understanding of my Father- the creator, the brilliant artist.

I think God must love New York in the fall, too. His love is contagious.

September 20, 2010

Attempt At Helping with an Ode to Kombucha

I was asked to "help" with a Haiku as part of somebody's Ode to Kombucha. On clarification, I learned it could be anything- traditional Haiku, lazy Haiku, or (yay) Gogyohka. Oh, and I wasn't helping- I was supposed to write it myself. I don't know what this person was thinking. They might as well have asked me to write sonnets to spiders. Well... here's what I wrote them back:


Kambucha mushroom
...(that translucent, jello, THING)
somehow becomes tea


had a mother
but not a father
no wonder
it turned out so bad

[alright. I'll try again.]

Kombucha, oh Kombucha
how wonderful indeed you are
I just wish
you didn't taste like
acids in a jar

Woops. I really was trying. One more chance. Just 17 syllables here:

I know my wife loves me
When she gives me Kombucha to drink.

[Yeeeah. Ok. Can you tell a Kombucha mushroom once sat in our cupboard for a LONG time and it's memory has scarred me for life?]

So now I'm curious. Does anybody out there actually like the stuff?

September 18, 2010

A Bowl of Raspberries

Today I painted. When I woke I was warm under my duvet. I tried to think about the day's Saturdayness and go back to sleep. But the ticking clock still won. I rolled out of bed, donned my well-worn painting clothes, grabbed my cereal, grabbed the keys, and headed out the door.

I drove the truck over to my grandparents- (yes, the truck I passed my driver's test on). I always wonder what people think of me when they see me driving it- what the older neighbor of my grandparent's thought as he saw my huge Suburban lumber down and chortle to a stop in his lane- and me- small and in paint clothes with braided hair- open the door and slide (yes, slide) to the ground. (Little girl, big truck. Watch out, world.)

My Nonna showed me my work. In their backyard they have a workhouse and a new shed- about 6' by 10' with a porch at each end. The porch needed painting- the beams, the side of the building, and the underside of the pitched roof. As I glanced up at my work- a dull fear began to dawn: spiders.

The sheds are, what Nonna calls, spider-hotels. Big ones. Baby ones. Dead ones. Mostly-dead ones. And very-much-alive ones.  

Uh, I'm terrified of spiders. Now stinging-things I can handle, (I'd make pets of bumble-bees if they'd let me), flies and mosquitoes I'll coexist with, and I freely admit that I have a certain fondness for snakes and frogs but spiders!- *shudder* -malicious, unpredictable, creepy-crawlies that they are- I hold them all in irrational mortal terror.

I watched as Nonna showed me how to use the ladder on the porch. She handled and mounted the web-embraced ladder with a nonchalance that made me squirm. I choked down my outbursts of, "THERE'S A SPIDER NEAR YOUR HAND!"

Then while she went and got the paint (yellow wood stain and white trim) I got the porch ready.  I'm glad she wasn't there to watch me. I jabbed at those webs and hid my head and squirmed and jumped and writhed and shuddered that porch clean. Oh-my-goodness-thank-heaven-it's-over.

I proceeded to paint the porch. Though my frequent use of painting ladders has abated my fear of heights, it still took a good hour for my dexterity to kick in. Dizziness was frequent today. Tripping and spinning and loss of equilibrium left me feeling like a sack of potatoes tied to a helium balloon blowing in an unsteady wind: I never knew if I was up or down.

Get to the raspberries.

The day progressed. A cold wind brushed against my sandaled-feet. I listened to classical music which made my brush feel like a conductor's stick and my troublesome, ever-thirsty wood an artist's easel. I was painting like Monet and the yard was Paris, the sky was blue forever. Then I listened to a rather disgruntled country singer. I would have turned her off but it was far too troublesome what with being up on a ladder with my head in a roof and my hands covered in paint.

Nonna made me a simply lovely lunch of hamburgers and french-bread and artichoke-spread and we talked about school and (can you guess?) weddings. (She started it!)

I worked away. The sun wasn't so bright. Acorns were falling- crashing to the ground. My head was swirling- and my paint was splattering. Everything was fading and falling. I worked at every which angle- reaching under eaves- resting precariously on unpainted and painted boards alike- leaning, feet on the ladder, backwards- my head resting on the spider-free underside of the roof.

I took a break. I was a mess. I looked like the canvas of a modern-artist. I looked like I'd been communing with birds. I looked, as Nonno laughingly said, like an Indian in war-paint.

Now for the raspberries. 

Nonna poured a whole package of beautiful red raspberries into a bowl- and directed me towards the ice-cream. I plopped big scoops right on top and went out on the porch- Nonno joined me with his bowl of blackberries.

We sat on the porch and ate. Oh, delight. The raspberries were rich, succulent bursts of flavor, the ice-cream thick and sweet and cold- the sky was again blue. The spiders and the aches and the dizziness and the stickiness of paint clinging to my face and hair and clothing faded away.

My spoon cut through cream- it dove for berries- and Summer kissed me in my bowl.

That was my bowl of raspberries. That was my day of painting. The lunch, the music, the outdoors, the sounds of falling acorns, the lunch, my grandparents, and the money all were great. But the raspberries- the raspberries made my day.

September 16, 2010

Gogyohka-Thursday [1]


not understanding


and finding no relief

I'll never go to Harvard

September 13, 2010

John Riley

No, kind Sir-
I cannot marry thee-
For I've a love who 
sails the deep salt sea-
And he's been gone
these seven years-
But still no man

shall marry me-
-John Riley

[Traditional English Folk Song, derivative from Homer's Odyssey] Painting: Miranda The Tempest by John William Waterhouse

When I wrote the poem below I wasn't particularly happy with it. But discovering it yesterday amongst my many stagnant drafts in my e-mail Inbox- I thought it sweetly ironic that I wrote it the night before my dad had his heart-attack.

there is a tune my father knows
somber and sweet as the sea-
about two lovers parted
but faithful for always
till he finds her and they happy be

my father and mother
they sing this song
a duet which dawns with my mem'ry
always together- the He and the She
they make their love ballad ring

but this week she's away
and I- find it easy to forget
but oh! not so with he!
for as I crept off to bed
out my window I heard
Dad pluck those chords, so gentle and sweet
and I knew as his love song arose alone in the night
that, Mother, he was playing for thee

September 11, 2010

I Am Frances

"When the bell rang for lunch Frances sat down next to her friend Albert. "What do you have today? said Frances. "I have a cream cheese-cucumber-and-tomato sandwich on rye bread," said Albert. "And a pickle to go with it. And a hard-boiled egg and a little cardboard shaker of salt to go with that. And a thermos bottle of milk. And a bunch of grapes and a tangerine. And a cup custard with a spoon to eat it with. What do you have?" " - Bread and Jam for Frances

I have been Frances for three years now. It began the fall of 2007 when I was selecting an interpretive speech to compete in for NCFCA. I picked up A Bargain For Frances
and instantly I could hear my voice, see my expressions, and within minutes I had pre-blocked the whole speech. I didn't have to try. I was Frances.

Granted, I hadn't been six years old in a long time. But her wide smiles, confu
sion, and insightful (and often spiteful) rhymes resonated with me. I went on to compete and go to Nationals in the speech. It was the only speech I ever consistently enjoyed giving - the only one where I didn't have to think. Just be.

I don't know if it was I giving voice to Frances- or Frances giving voice to me. As the years have passed she has become a strange, silly sliver of who I am. My mother still stops me on occasion to say, "That was a Frances expression." "You said that like Frances." (You can all be happy I didn't mold to Thelma.)

This week I saw more evidences of Frances. On Wednesday one of my classmates sat with me during lunch. My mother packs me a fantastic meal. And as I ate it was as if a tiny bell (I'm not sure I was even fully conscious of it) was ringing in the back of my head. An urge. A voice.

I wanted someone to ask me,
What do you have for lunch?

"I have home-made spicy black-bean soup made with chillies. And a handful of dried cranberries. And a bag of snap-pea chips from Trader Joes. And a thermos of orange juice. And a whole, ripe nectarine with a knife to cut it up with. What do you have?"

I kept my impish glee to myself. But yesterday when I ate my lunch I couldn't help but think Frances thoughts.

And she made the Triskets and the whole-grain crackers and the Cambozola and Parmesan and the bag of apricots and the thermos of grape-juice all come out even.

September 9, 2010

Gogyohka - 五行歌 [An Intro]

Gogyohka (五行歌) is a Japanese form of poetry (spin off the Tanka) created by Enta Kusakebe in the 1960s. For those of you already familiar with Haiku- it is the same idea however there are no syllable counts or content restrictions and there are five lines instead of three. The emphasis is on brevity and the breath. Where one would breath, pause, or an idea breaks-- there you break the line.

Gogyohka was invented partly to solve the problem of international poetry (it is almost impossible to translate English Haiku into Japanese as the syllable ratio is, quite frankly, a nightmare) but it was also meant to open up poetry to a wider audience. With Gogyohka there are no rhymes, no counting syllables, no nature-only edicts, just harmony of thought. Try it. It's heaps of fun. I've been writing it for about a year and a half now and it is a delight to be able to take your ideas and emotions and refine them into a concise thought. I'll be trying to post at least one every Thursday. Enjoy!

To start off, here's one of the first ones I wrote:

bed time
so early
when across the world
are still dancing

September 6, 2010


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

- William Yeats, The Lake Isle of Innisfree

Innisfree. It is among my favorite places in the world- the Berkley Rose Gardens, the San Fransisco Wharf, Monterey, NYC... and Innisfree.

Named after the isle in Ireland, Innisfree is a series of cup gardens - a flirtation between Design and Wild. Rocks protrude, water spills, and flowers, shrubs, walls, and bridges tumble over one another around a vast, glimmering lake.

It is here I have seen love blossoming.
It is here I think of weddings.

It is bright, breezy day- the kind where you bask in the sun till baking- then the wind comes and cools you down.

The trees are big. They cast great shadows.

We begin our walk- Annie and I together. I pick up a nut from the ground- larger than an acorn, yellow and green. We put it to our noses. It has no smell. I carry it in my hand, fingering its oblong smoothness. As Daddy joins us- he slips his hand in mine- the nut falls to the ground. "Isn't it beautiful?" I agree, then tell him glibly, "For you, I drop my nut." We laugh.

The sun makes us silly.

In an open field against the waterline we pull over chairs and pull out our books. Jonathan has The Scarlet Pimpernel- which I lent him for the occasion. I am rereading one of my favorites, Till We Have Faces. As I read- I stumble across a thought I had hitherto thought my own. Evidently it was Lewis'. How well he puts it into words, as Psyche speaks to her sister about her impending marriage to the god Eros:

I have always.... had a kind of longing for death. ...It was when I was happiest that I longed most. It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills ...with the wind and sunshine...

Yes! Because to die is life with Christ! It is always when I am happiest I long for Heaven the most... Nature, Food, Love, -when these stores the earth has offered me I taste and sigh, knowing the world and I both await the marriage of Christ to his church and the world made renew and perfect.

I read for a long time. Everyone has left. And I- I have grown weary of watching the belongings of people who have evidently sequestered elsewhere. I gather everything and set out to join them.

The grass is sweet and cool, then parched and prickly under my bare feet. I am alive.

I find them lounging at the top of a hill-in a shady glade... the soft murmur of Dad reading to my sister The Hobbit - my mother and brothers playing a game.

There is one hill in Innisfree which is covered in moss of all different sorts. I wander over it- my feet sink into the moss as into sand- or a thick rug.

It is time for lunch. We pass the picnic tables- there is one with an olive green table cloth on it- a vase of flowers, bottles of wine, clusters of platters with all sorts of finery.

I sit in the sun. There is a couple behind me- past their first bloom- they have put a blanket on the ground. They kiss. She asks him what he's thinking about- "Nothing," he says.

If asked, I would not have said "nothing." But it doesn't matter. They are happy.

I write. Annie leans against me. Not too far off an older man sketches. Jonathan and I take a walk around the lake- we talk of college and the French Revolution- and somehow of weddings. We always do. It's the Innisfree air.

We find two chairs and sit. I read. Jonathan sleeps. A young couple sit under manicured trees scarcely ten feet high that look like mushrooms. Jonathan says, "When I went to sleep they were in two chairs, when I woke up they were in one."

Yes. It's in the air. Weddings. Weddings.

I am thankful for the day. It was a gift- a tender slice of solace.

It was a taste of Home.

September 5, 2010

My Temperature After One Week of College

People have asked how school is going- and strangely I find myself incapable of giving a straight answer. Do I hesitate to complain? to cause people to worry? Or am I afraid they won't understand this strange hurt which gnaws at my heart?

I say school is fine because it is fine. My classes are fine, too- at times good. Even very good. I don't dread my classes. I dread the day.

Because the truth is- I am incredibly lonely. Loneliness. I realize now I had never known it.

I used to think tournaments were lonely. All my friends would be in or watching debates, and I - tired, uninterested speechy would wander the halls feeling sorry for myself. But I had only to find a mother to have arms wrapped around me- "You're beautiful. You're wonderful. Can I do anything for you? Are you hungry?"

That was not loneliness.

My entire life I have been with people who, if they did not share my interests shared my culture, if not my culture- my God. And that made us brothers.

But now?... now... (My pen wavers, what to say?)

I can reach out, yes. I can talk to people who don't want to talk to me- who can't understand me...

But (my dear friends!) - I have no solace. Not one moment of abandon and ease. No blind, loving trust.

The cute guys, whom I find watching me instead of the professor, party on weekends.

The girls- they smile at me in a confused sort of way as I talk. But I long to look beyond their (lack of) dress and see a soul I could love- and one God can save.

And at lunch? The cafeteria reverberates with curses, gossiping, and flirtation. I find a place where I am in no one's way and eat, finding it hard to enjoy it because it seems nobody cares- and I wish it were over. Lunch has never felt so long.

I want a friend. It wouldn't take much. All I want is to see somewhere in that overwhelming room a head bow- to my God.

But no.

Because I am a stranger in a foreign land.

I learned this lesson already in India. There was a reason Christ sent the disciples out two-by-two. I hope to attend the campus bible-study soon so I can find my people. But until that time- God's stretching me. A lot.

I forget about Him so easily. And then I remember. And peace washes my soul.

I will not let them steal my joy. His joy.

My security is not found in what people think of me, but who I am in Christ.

Oh, that He might ever more be my all in all.

September 4, 2010

Truly [Wo]Man Is Born Unto Trouble [Part 2]

This part of the story is called: My Angel in the Jeans and T-Shirt.

When I left for school this morning and reached the bottom of our hill I looked down and saw this strange, neon orange light. At first I thought it was the oil light (three cheers for the Dad who made his little girl learn how to change the oil) but... no. It was the gas light. I immediately switched directions and headed for the nearest gas station (a good five minutes away). At the top of another hill I cut the engine and began to coast. The engine didn't turn back on. I ran a stop sign with a turn that landed me safely in the shoulder of the road the station was on. Hazard lights. Locked the car. And began to walk.

It was a good twenty-minute walk- with me in thin flats on loose stones as cars wished past me- necks craning.

As I walked I had time to think. I don't think thinking did me very much good. I was missing my first class. The class with the teacher (my only teacher) who was inflexible about being on-time. This would be an absence. It wasn't (so much) the absence that bothered me. It was what my teacher would think.

And it wasn't my fault. I hadn't been driving the car. The person who had been had let it get down to empty. And I had noticed the gas-light almost as soon as I got going...

As emotions rose, I began worrying about what I'd say to whoever was responsible.

"Oh, God... help me not to be mad... 'cause I'M MAD! ...but... then... I guess that means... I'm mad at you."

I cried and laughed at the idea of being mad at God. He didn't want me in class that day. Who knows why. But He's God.

That's when my angel arrived- in a large red truck which I had earlier noticed slowing down as it passed me. She looked about fifty- in dirty jeans and a casual T-shirt. Her eyes were warm and her smile was full of wrinkles. Her hair was the color of prairie grass. Maybe she wasn't a heavenly angel- but she sure was an earthy one.

"Are you out of gas? 'Cause I saw you walking and then when I passed your car..."

I hopped in for the last few feet to the station. She immediately started asking around for a gas canister and offering different ways to help. They didn't have a gas canister but she had one at home.

"Would you be comfortable, me taking you?"

I wavered. But looking into her frank face and kind eyes, I knew I was comfortable. (I'm 18, people. I'm allowed to go with strangers. My grandmother hitch-hiked across Italy.) But... I also knew my parents would flip if I let her help me while they were so close.

She lent me her phone (have I mentioned that this whole week my cell-phone didn't work?) and I called Dad who immediately left to get me.

I thanked her and she was gone.

Thank you. You lifted me up. God bless you.

I was antsy. And when I'm restless I pace. So I paced. I got a lot of stares and smiles from the guys filling up their cars. I guess they were wondering what a girl in a skirt and flats with a huge back-pack was doing pacing in front of a gas-station at 7:30 in the morning. (Well, I was wondering too!)

My watch broke- that little metal thing the band goes in. I didn't know those could break. But mine broke. I stuck my broken watch in my backpack.

My Daddy came. He drove me back to my car. We put the gas in. I drove to the gas station. I filled it up some more. Then I went to school. I missed my first class... by about an hour. The teacher wasn't even there anymore so I couldn't apologize.

The rest of the day, thank goodness, was uneventful.

So, tell me. What do you think?

Maybe my car hates me. But I doubt it- it's a good car, it always tells the truth and drives very smoothly.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I was born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward. [Job 5:7]

And maybe God's teaching me something- something about myself and something about Him. I like being in control. I show up to class, I do my homework, and amidst a predominantly silent room I ask and answer questions. But sometimes things happen. Some things are not in my hands.

Sometimes, you just have to let go...

September 3, 2010

Truly [Wo]Man Is Born Unto Trouble [Part 1]

For those of you who thought my car saga was good- this week it all got even better.

So, Monday was a mess. Really. I was up early. Out early. Out all day. My kitchen clock, car clock, and watch were all wrong- instead of being early to class I was two minutes late. My last class was awful. Then I had this whole credit-card problem.

See, when I'd left that morning I'd stuck all the cards I was likely to need in my pocket. They were snug in my jeans- I was conscious of them all day. After classes I went to the school store to buy textbooks. The guard told me to leave my backpack at the door. I was hesitant at first since my backpack is the equivalent of my purse- but then I remembered I had my cards in my pocket (and yes, they do take credit-cards), so went on in and I picked up my books. But when I went to pay- lo and behold my cards were gone! And not just my credit-card. All my cards. My pocket was empty.

Oh. Blast.

I searched- I retraced my steps to the student's lounge where I'd gone on-line. There were my cards sprawled out on the floor... my Student-ID... my Driver's License... my two twenty-dollar bills... But no credit-card. No credit-card with my cash to pay for my next school semester on it.

Oh. Oh. No.

I went to Security first- let them know, etc, then found a phone and got in touch with my bank to cancel my card. I hate those automated machines. They're colossally stupid. At last I got somebody (body is the key word there) in the Fraud/Stolen department. They were eager to help- just as soon as they have my 16 digit card number. Uh, I don't HAVE my number, it's on the CARD that's stolen.

What about my SS? :deep breath: Here, I am polite. But I was not thinking very polite things. (I don't like SS numbers either. I think they smell of Communism). Do people really memorize their SS numbers? And how many students carry their SS card around in their backpack all day? 'Cides, even if I knew it, I wouldn't give it to you, person. (I was getting rather upset. Especially when they sent me to another machine... which sent me to another person who wanted my 16 digit card number...)

I hung up. I decided to go to my on-line account to find my number. But for some odd reason my on-line account doesn't have my account number anywhere on it. So much for on-line accounts. I am never going paperless.

Here, my tired brain did something rather strange. I called my Mom. And as the words formed in my mouth I realized I was asking her to go to my purse to check my, uh, credit-card for the 16 digit number.

"Mom, can you... just... go to my room... and... on my dresser... in the pouchy thing... is... my?... yeah. Thanks Mom."

Yes. I remember my thinking now: credit-card in the pocket equals bad idea. I'd left it at home. My credit-card was still at home. I've never felt so simultaneously stupid and relieved at the same time. I laughed. And cried.

"Come home, dear."

"Yes, Mommy."

The sky was still blue. I trudged down the mountain to the parking lot... to my car...

My key didn't work. It had gotten twisted. Thank goodness I had already cried.

I DON'T KNOW HOW IT GOT TWISTED!!! I expect I had earlier unlocked the car too hard. Or something. In any case the key wouldn't go in and I risked snapping the key in the ignition. I brought the key to Security- they got a policeman (the policeman had a guy with pliers) and we watched anxiously as the handy-man gently untwisted my key. Then the policemen escorted me down to the parking lot to make sure it worked ok- (I hoped he didn't notice my lack of a front license plate... I decided not to mention to him that he forgot to buckle his seat-belt). Somehow I ended up mentioning the ordeal with the credit-card. He'd heard about it. "Oh, so you called that in..." I am well on my way to becoming a public nuisance.

The key was fixed. The car started.

Whew. What a day. As I drove home I thought with a wry grin, "All I need now is to get a ticket..."

I didn't get a ticket. But that night I had nightmares about getting tickets which was just as bad.

The next day I went out to my school for books and art supplies. I went the wrong way several times. (I'm horrible with directions. I have a lot of directional sense- but no sense of geography. "I wonder if I should turn left here---" Woosh! It's gone.Yep. I should have turned left.)

I finally asked a policeman for directions to the back parking-lot. Drawing attention to myself might not have been a good idea- but it worked out alright. When I left later and passed by the policeman again he stopped me and asked, "Where's your front license plate?... ... I could give you a ticket for that!" He didn't give me a ticket. :-D Maybe it was my convincing explanation- but then maybe it was because I had asked him for directions. :-D

So that was my first half of the week. Wait till you hear about today.

[See Part 2]

September 2, 2010

Motherhood Musings

Would it shock you to know that I’ve been thinking a lot about babies lately?

Maybe it was reading this blogger’s post- and reminiscing on baby-blankets and little siblings.

Maybe it was going to a party and holding baby-Leah – with her happy gurgles and soft black hair… baby-Timmy smiling with his big-blue-eyes...

I was scarcely eleven when my youngest sibling was born. –Too young to feel maternal fluttering when I held her in my arms. (I still played with dolls on rainy days.)

I remember the first time I realized I wanted to be a mother- not in the baby-bottle and stroller sort of way but instinctively, in my very being- a longing to hold and bear new Life.

I was fourteen – it’d been a while since my sister was little- we were camping and a family friend let me hold her newborn.

She was so small- warm, alive, nestled, unable to support herself, against me.

Perfect life.

I can only imagine what that feeling will be like when the little one is my own, mirror of myself and the one I love.

I remember realizing how small I was. Every other baby-holding had always invoked thoughts of when “I’m all grown up and big.” But at scarcely 5’1’’ –and petite at that- I smiled at the realization that “this was it.” I wasn’t getting any bigger. (Ouch. This is gonna hurt!)

…to have a baby in your arms… to feel its first stirrings within you...

I am not alone in longing for children, I know. Most of us girls want children from the time we’re born. Babies draw us like magnets. We play with dolls and mimic motherhood since old enough to first grasp the concept. Yet negative attitudes and societal pressures soon make us think otherwise. Could this tucked-away, forgotten desire be the reason for girl after girl at my college being either ambitionless or pursuing careers in which they taught or worked with children, (the only legitimate outlet for their maternal feelings society allows) despite the fact that when my teacher asked the class how many of us wanted kids it seemed I alone raised my hand?

For my own part, I have embraced the role God has given me- to follow in the footsteps of Eve and Sarah- to bring forth children and to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

But it seems, at times, like the world itself is against me. Children are delayed as long as possible, and if you do choose to have them we have day-care centers, public-schools, and summer camps to carry our children from the cradle into adulthood.

Once women were told they could only be house-wives. Now, liberated, we must be anything but housewives.

I confess at times the alternatives offered are temping: independence, so-called “freedom,” and a life devoted to my own interests.

I am still single. Uninvolved. I could choose to do that with my life if I wished.

But I don’t wish.

How many others would wish as I do if they were not afraid of what people would say and think of them- of us, wimpy, naive slaves to our husbands, the stove, the mop, and the baby. The home: “Not good enough!” For heaven’s sake, DO something with your life!

As if caring for a man and raising the next generation wasn’t doing something.

So, godly women around me, if this calling be true, and if my desires are good, then

…encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. –Titus 2: 4-5 [emphasis mine]