"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." Psalm 84:5


when i was in high school, my friends and i frequented a pizza joint, often on lunch break or after school. it was owned by an italian man and his mama, who spent her time in the kitchen making fantastic oily pizza and selling it by the slice. silvio was an artist, fashioning sculptures out of cement and stone, steel rods and junk, some anatomically correct, in stages of various ancient costume. these took up most of the store space, lining the walls to the ceiling along with posters from the homeland. we would stand at the long, low counter to order - there was a shelf that ran its length under our elbows into which was crammed what seemed to be hundreds of black records..mostly sleeveless, all italian. we'd take our greasy slices out the back door to the skinny alley garden and sit on the rickety metal chairs, setting our paper plates on the cloudy glass topped round tables. while we ate, silvio would come out to translate the scratchy strains of whatever was on the turntable, piped out into the ramshackle outdoor dining room through tiny speakers hung among the twinkling lights and green leafy vines. "hear how sad he is? he is a soldier, far from his woman. and he misses her so, and hopes that she will wait a-for him..."
once in a while we'd go and find a sign hung at a slant on the front door - "gone to italy - back in a month". he had come to america as a teenager and still had many ties back home.
for all the fond memories i have of this place, i somehow always fail to remember to run by there when i am home, which isn't all too often. on a whim, i looked it up online today, and i discovered that some art student has made a documentary about silvio and his little place! i've got one on order for me and one for my sis for christmas...check it out here. sometimes i love surprises...


we had a little impromptu gathering the other night..c got a permit, dug a firepit where the pool used to be and lined it with stones; i bought brats, hot dogs, and made a mess of homemade mac and cheese, also, i put on a big pot of hot cider. friends from church who have kids that ours are good pals with came (toting pop and chips) who get frequent visits from us, but haven't been out to the country to our place but a couple of times. another friend whose husband is working double shifts this week and has an almost two year old came with an apple spice cake, and yet another called to see if i could watch her two kiddos while she helped out at the school..she returned and they all ended up staying to eat dinner and roast marshmallows, squishing them between graham crackers with a chunk of chocolate bar.

we haven't done anything like this, it seems, in so long; haven't been hospitable or very social; haven't opened our home and yard to others, haven't relaxed in fine company. we've been rushed and frazzled, tackling three things at a time day in and out, and generally glued to the couch at the end of the day, exhausted and staring at the flashing television. it was a balm, it was nice to have such time to appreciate. it takes a special effort for me in this year of homeschooling three, running a household, being a wife and mom, etc.. to pause and refresh.


our thursday night group is starting a new study - it's called 'restore my heart - God's passionate love for his bride' by denise glenn. it is based on looking at jewish wedding traditions and drawing from them parallels in the way God loves us. it reminds me of beth moore's first study (which i still think is the best one she ever wrote) that talked about the old testament tabernacle and how in all its symbols is a picture of heaven. this one has come highly recommended and i'm looking forward to it. it seems to be just what i need to hear these days.

oh, and i finally learned to knit! i so need a month of saturdays to pursue my great new hobby...


...and these are from cocoa beach, florida. last week i tagged along on chad's business trip and had had all kinds of fantastic time to myself and with him, courtesy of some wonderful and generous friends who kept our kids for us.


...taken yesterday a mile from my house, with my new camera.


so today, after i'd called my senator and congressman's offices to leave my thoughts on the situation down in the gulf coast, i decided to try the white house comment line. i didn't have to wait long before a super nice woman (cannot for the life of me remember her name) came on the line and asked what state i was calling from. i told her, then proceeded - with emotion that suprised me - to tell her just what i thought about the way this catastrophe was being handled by people with the power to help. i talked about babies with no diapers, old women left to die with no dignity, families splintered, sweltering, and feeling left for lost in a natural disaster they lacked the resources to have prepared for any better. in AMERICA. i talked to her about how i had gotten this information from the news stations, and for once i didn't believe that they were spitting out sensationalism, this was just the plain, ugly truth. i remarked that where i live, if a few f5 tornadoes plowed through my town in a night, i hoped that my government would rush to help, to get shelter, food, and water to me..to help me take care of my kids and neighbors, to give me some kind of hope for the immediate future. that if george bush had the opportunity to run for the office he holds again, even though i voted for him twice, i couldn't say that i could bring myself to do it again.

she listened very patiently, and then agreed with a lot of what i'd said - that this is an awful tragedy, that it's hard to imagine what those people are going through. she offered in the most non-argumentative way to let me know what efforts to help the stranded and destitute were going on today and i listened to her tell me what i was seeing on tv - that help was finally trickling in. she thanked me for calling, assured me that my comment would be sent to the president's aides, who do let him know what people are saying, and let me end the call when i was good and ready. i felt a little better, and i know that ultimately this world is not the end all, and that God is in control, is working things out in His perfect wisdom and timing...i struggle, though, to understand the suffering that goes on here.


tonight i'll take the familiar way
i need the road to carry me home
no adventuring out on strange country lanes
working to remember how to get where i know

tonight the stars are bright in the dark
the moon is nowhere to be seen
i'm tired, i'm spent, i'm thinking too much
about then, about sand, sky and sea

tonight i feel it, the gaping ache
missing what was supposed to be
i don't like that this still stings, Jesus
you're welcome to make this a peace in me


again, it's been a little while. to explain, i'll let you in on a scene from two mornings ago...watching out the front window by my desk, i could see the line of six kiddos down the hill, new backpacks, new shoes, new haircuts. Watching still as the big yellow bus pulled up, red lights flashing and they all tromped aboard; having to remind myself with some resolve why there were six instead of nine; of all the good reasons we chose to homeschool this year, choosing to turn from the thought that this would've been the first year in, oh, a decade that i could've begun a season of quiet days, time to write, learn to knit, become a better cook, slow down, take my time, shop alone, have lunch or coffee with a friend, breathe before the next wave hit. for seven hours a day, five days a week. i closed my eyes for a moment and then turned back to the K12 homepage and Jesse's science lesson for the day as he ran back from getting his book. "I'm glad you're my mom" he said, and suddenly, it became easier, much easier to think on instead of the bullying and negative/inappropriate peer influence that Kansas had contended with that distracted him from learning what he was at school to learn; how entirely exhausted Jesse was at the end of each school day last year; what a follower Lucy is and how physically small for her age - to think about getting to spend this time with my guys and girl this year..experiencing them being excited to learn, participating in their days, knowing them better than if they had gone to school this time around..
i am as overwhelmed as i am sure that we made the right choice. i'm getting used to the curriculum more every day..appreciating the professional teacher support as much as the freedom in our days as we go along. i don't expect it to be easy, but i do expect it to be worth it. after all, don't i tell them that nothing worth having in life comes too easy? and the perks...Jesse is glad that I'm his mom. priceless.


today is my dear sister's birthday, ending the two days a year we are the same age. you see, she was born on july 27th, and i was born the following year on july 25th, narrowly missing sharing a birthday outright. we've had great fun with this little fact over the years, sharing for only a couple of days the fact that we are not TWINS, but we are identical in number of years..sort of. nowadays, of course, we are wondering "what on earth were our parents THINKING???"

Happy Birthday, Gina...


one of our pastor and his wife's four daughters left last week for europe with a group, college girls studying abroad for the summer. we did hear news from her today, she and a friend were heading into london on a train that ended up being diverted. she wrote from "the church which is only a block and a half away from the Welwyn Garden City train station...God is watching out for us and I feel looked after and protected. He is very good and has given us a "way of escape in every situation we've encountered...".
my sister and her family live in a small town in holland, running a camp/ conference/ translation ministry; i talked to her husband today.."it's a crazy world we live in", he said...crazy, alright. the enemy is alive and well, wreaking havoc, living in the lies he's succeeded in getting people all over God's earth to believe. but his time is limited - though it may seem long to those whose hearts belong to the Lord - God will come, redeem, make new, dry tears, be our eternal light and song. may we be able to see incidents like what happened this morning with a broader perspective, while we pray for help in the immediate, may we keep one eye out for the return of our King, for the peace and the feast, for the end of night and dark and sin.


well, per comment #3 at the post below, i guess i've been tagged...thanks, bridget :). as far as i understand, there are two (or more?) parts to this business..first, to answer the question in my own words; then, to pass this dealio on to, let's see, eight other bloggers. i'll do my best..let me know if i missed something here..

Five Things I Miss From Childhood...

1. Hours and hours to curl up and read. I was that kid who lugged home the limit from the public library weekly and spent loads of time inbetween lost in another world between book covers, chewing on the end of my ponytail. These days I have to steal moments when a good read crosses my path..from my husband, my kids, my house, my errands, my friends, the good ol' tyrrany of the urgent itself. I miss the long stretches.

2. Ease of relationships. Kids make instant friends (or for that matter, enemies..but it's possible to make a quick turnaround in this case, which is another thing I miss)..where two or more are gathered, play will ensue in relative simplicity. Kids are too immature emotionally, mentally, to waste time figuring out if they have enough in common, if a future together is, well, in the future, if the new kid has enough time...i love seeing this with my own kids, and it makes me realize how complicated things can get in this area as we become knowing adults, living more in the past and worrying more about the future than just being in the moment, all too often.

3. The pure goodness of eating an orange push up on a summer day. They just do not taste as great nowadays to me.

4. The feeling of freedom in riding my bike everywhere. Now if I ride a bike, it doesn't feel like freedom. Driving my car feels like freedom, somewhat. Riding a bike feels like exercise.

5. Spending the night at my Grandma's house..us girls would pile on her big bed, smear vaseline all over our calves and feet, eat little frosted or jelly filled cookies and watch t.v...Love Boat, Joker's Wild, Little House on the Prarie (never once suspecting that I would grow up and move to the prarie)...getting ready for bed in the soft orange and pink seashell wallpapered bathroom...sleeping on the fold out beds in the spare room with the old typewriter on its little metal table, the aqua blue sit up table, and the closet full of Polizzi and DiCicco family photo albums...waking up to her making us breakfast..the toast with fruit and nut bread, fresh squeezed orange juice, her perfect creamy scrambled eggs. What I wouldn't give for such a retreat these days!
Here's the tag part:

Remove the first person from the following list, bump everyone up one spot and put your name in the number 5 spot.

Blessed Beyond Belief

Thro'a Glass Darkly

Blogin' Idiot

Those Who Can...Do Teach!


...and add four unsuspecting people to this list -






four year old lucy, leaning over the arm of the couch this morning to get to the library book box and having a bit of a hard time - "I am getting TOO OLD for this!"


i have a few friends i call when i'm on a walk, so that i can walk farther. it's amazing what i can accomplish in the productively healthy realm when i'm distracted. i talked to a friend tonight who is in the post marsupial but still highly vigilant stage of raising her first child, currently a two year old. he's amazingly fast and infinitely curious, and has, like most two year olds i've known (including my own), way more confidence than capability. he, in fact, came crying to her with a new bump forming while we were talking about just how different we christians are here in the midwestern u.s. than some in, say, the pacific northwest, the middle east, beijing. i let her go, and called another friend who is pregnant with her first, cruising through her second trimester, dealing with her role in helping her husband raise his 11 year old from his first marriage, volunteering with high school kids who show some spiritual interest, driving home from a board meeting. we talked about marriage, and summer planning when there's an ex-wife involved, how long after the expiration date you can really use ground chuck (i said about one day), and getting together soon, before or after the barrage of family trips and visits she is about to navigate through this month.

if you know me, you know that i have a tiny hang up about my relationships with other people. i tend to get caught up in slightly negative thinking that my friendships are all mostly shallow, that i have little to no community going on in my life, that i am hard to get to know..or something. i find, though, that if i reach out past these feelings, call someone, put a letter in the mail or shoot an email through cyberspace - connect - ...inevitibly, i am blessed with varying degrees of mutuality, of sharing some human space, of getting great feedback on yes, we are all in this muck together-ness. it doesn't really take much to encourage me, but often it takes me awhile to realize that it does take me looking up and around, opening my hand, offering or asking. trusting. as i'm learning...


anne lamott, speaking of her writer father, said "i think he believed that our job, the job of a writer, is not to get up and say, "tomorrow, in battle, most of you will die..." instead, a writer must entertain the troops the night before."

i'm finding that i tend to be more of a reporter lately than a writer...if the ship is sinking, i want to blow the horn, blast the siren, swing the floodlights on the most threatened area...i haven't wanted to try to entertain the troops the night before. As much value and life as I see in storytelling, in painting beautiful and insightful and even entertaining tales, my heart has been heavier than that for much of the last few months. I'm praying for more balance, to start to see more things half filling the cup rather than all the things that are draining it dry, to grow in laughter and love, and to take the sorrow and difficulties in stride. We all encompassing hyper analysts can get a permanent deeply indented line between our eyebrows if we aren't careful...


one word for you - carpetball.
...so, five months later...

i actually forgot for awhile that i had a blog. and when i came back to the realization, i visited and found that two friends had been here in the meantime...so i guess i'll start up again (no telling how often i'll post) and see what happens.

five months in a few words, just to catch you up - chad's birthday, had toe surgery, reading stepping heavenward by elizabeth prentiss, trip to michigan and chicago - meeting my niece and taking the kids on the el, through the loop, in a cab, and to the art institute, along with mother's day brunch at ann sathers -, experienced kansas finishing up homeschool fourth grade, jesse, public school first grade, and lucy, christian preschool; did not improve my terrible typing, started leading a small group of fellow moms in a study through the book "shepherding a child's heart" by Tedd Tripp, went on a scavenger hunt, planted a garden, rearranged my kitchen, found a 1952 copy of Patricia M. St. John's book 'Treasures of the snow' - a childhood absolute favorite of mine I plan to read to my kids, right after we finish Kate DiCamillo's 'The Tale of Despereaux', tried again to learn to knit, went to family camp over memorial day weekend with friends... some highlights. through all of this, i've been really seeking out God in all the cracks and crevices, working at making myself aware of Him through my days - no small feat, but He is full of grace.


so linford detweiler is playing in my hometown tomorrow, while i am stuck in kansas thinking "there's no place like home". oh, the irony...


when i was a kid and had all kinds of time to indulge my library nerd desires, i went through a phase of reading through all of Jill Krementz's books in the series "a very young..." (skater, musician, circus flyer, etc..). i loved the oversized picture books, the real life documentary style accounts of kids who had special talents or were just born into artistic or performing families, and were allowed and even encouraged to persue their calling with abandon. i learned about what kind of time and focus it took to follow such a specialized discipline, i daydreamed about what it would be like to eat and breathe an art form, an athletic goal, a life very different than mine - waiting shufflefooted for the big yellow school bus under the towering pine tree day after day with the neighborhood lot.

last week i browsed our library's website to look for those books, to share them with my kids, to remember. turns out they are out of print, and out of stock. bummer! so i did the next best thing, i checked out the only two books by Jill our library does have in circulation, and the first one arrived today. (incedentally, i absolutely love the service our library provides of allowing you to check something out online, then mailing it to you for free - but whenever i employ this wonder, stacks of books end up arriving at my door at once, burdening our cheery mail carrier. i feel badly about this. maybe i'll start having one of my kids wait around by the curb with their wagon...) anyway, this book is titled 'How it Feels to Live With a Physical Disability'. it's a work that allows kids with physical limitations of a wide variety to tell their experiences, in their own words. it's eye opening, to say the least. one thing that struck me, really struck me while sharing this book with one of my kiddos today was something a girl who had lost her eyes to cancer at a young age had said. she was thirteen when this book went to print, and in talking about how she liked various subjects in school, she articulated, "Art doesn't have any meaning for me." i just...couldn't imagine.

well, my kudos to Ms. Krementz - for those glimpses in dreamy afternoons years ago, for thoughtful insights via the USPS and our fine city library this week. given such gifts, i don't mind still being a nerd...