Saturday, January 30, 2010


“The Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” 

Genesis 2:7

Heads bowed, they walked in a line that fell and withered and moved slowly.  Only slowly.  Stones scraped at his bare feet, but he didn’t feel them; his head was bowed, too.  Silence hung thick over the procession, thick but for a thin, mangled wail that came to the back in a whisper from the mother beside the coffin.

She was in it.  She.  His only friend.  His only love.

Feet stopped.  The coffin was set down against stone, the mountain looming, glowering.  Now the wail came shrilly, loudly, and was echoed by the people.  The echo was taken up and thrown against the mountains, resounding, resounding.  

He did not wail.

It moved again, the line shuffling forward, rough tunics and leather shoes rustling toward the coffin.  Slowly, so slowly.  His eyes were closed, but the boy knew that the father had pried back the lid.  As the richly carven wood moved through the air, it moaned.  Surely it moaned--the father had opened the coffin.  

She was in it.  She.  His only friend.  His only love.

The people no longer bowed their heads.  Looking up toward the sky, past the purple of the mountain and into the grey above, they chanted.  A low, mournful chant that pressed against the mountains and reverberated, reverberated.  

He did not chant.

Though he could not see the coffin, he knew what was happening.  First the mother leaned over the coffin, her black braid long down her back.  Mouth against the mouth of the girl, her daughter in the coffin, she breathed.  A long exhalation, a breath from the living to fill the dead.

He breathed in deeply, filling his lungs, preparing.

They said that the dead were only dead here, dead in this tribal village in the mountains, but alive somewhere else.  Somewhere beyond.  They said the dead took this breath with them to the next life, and there it filled their lungs, filled their nostrils, and they weren’t dead.  Not anymore.

He was there.

Before him lay the coffin, the crude wood made beautiful with the designs carved into it.  He’d watched the men make it, stood where they couldn’t see him and watched the men take the wood and make it this--the coffin--watched them trying not to cry, to be strong.  A tear slipped down his cheek.  

She was in it.  She.  His only friend.  His only love.

His lungs were filled, painfully filled with breath.  Standing there before her coffin, he still did not believe she was dead.  Memories flitted through his mind, memories of her brown eyes and black curls, of the way her eyes shone when she laughed.  He thought of the first time he met her, after his parents died and he came to the village to his grandmother; she’d called him names and laughed at his tears.  Later she came back and gave him a red stone and held his hand. 

He loved her.  

Leaning over her face, now so still and white, he watched his tears fall against her eyelids.  Closer, closer--he pressed his lips against hers.  Breath.  All the breath of his life he breathed into her still body, emptying his lungs, filling hers.  He breathed into her their rock collection, that time they climbed to the top of the mountain, their secret laughs, the fort they’d built by the river.  He breathed into her all of his friendship and all of his love, until he had no more breath to give.

She opened her eyes. 

Friday, January 29, 2010

Birthday Balloons for Christopher

As I was bouncing on the trampoline with Noelle yesterday afternoon, I thought happily of the peaceful evening at home I had ahead of me. Nowhere to go, lots of time to read Augustine's City of God, and work on my Great Books essay refuting idol worship.

Then, driving home, I remembered Chris's birthday was the next day. And that he works all night at a 24/7 gym downtown. And that balloons are really fun.

When I told my siblings my idea of surprising Chris with a bundle of balloons and a chorus of "happy birthdays" at midnight (so that it would officially be the 29th, his birthday), they were super excited with the idea. So, instead of dutifully studying, I...

Did henna with Tori and Julia.
This is Tori's tat before she took the mud off (it has to set for 12 hours).

Then I went to Publix to buy balloons. This is Caroline rocking out on the way there.

You can tell they're in the store "where shopping is a pleasure." ;)

This is Mike, the nice guy who blew up a balloon of every color for us.

And posed in a picture with us.
(Notice my stellar outfit. Yes, I had already changed into my "comfy clothes" for that quiet evening at home.)

When Macy suggested we dress up in exercise clothes, we jumped at the idea. While Tori was changing, she morphed into this beautiful creature: Eugenie, exerciser extraordinaire.

Around 11:00pm, Drew got home and put on his work-out outfit.

At 11:45, we were rolling out of the driveway--hardcore style.



Hardcore....or not.

We were definitely parked when this was taken. Yep.

Now Macy, just because your sister is really funny-looking doesn't mean you should call her a loser. Tsk tsk.

Shoulder angel and devil.
Which one's the angel and which one's the devil ?

And finally, after a car-ride filled with lots of photos, music, and one-way roads, we arrived at the Metro 24/7 Gym! Retro is more like it....

When we walked into the gym, Chris was standing behind the front desk. At first he didn't recognize who we were. Once we started saying "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!", though, I think he figured it out.

Happy Birthday, Christopher! I'm so glad you're part of our family. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Three In One

Picture's are up! Finally.

This semester I am only taking one class (Great Books II) so that I will have time to work almost full-time. The Lord has been so good in providing me with several part-time nanny jobs, and lots of here and there babysitting. Each dollar I make is slipped away into the I-think-I'm-going-to-Idaho fund, as I pray about God's plan for my college career.

Anyway, this past Tuesday I had three babysitting jobs in one day. At 8:45am, I was knocking at the P's door. After playing around their house for awhile, Logan, Austin, and I walked/rode-in-the-wagon/tricycled over to my house.

Aren't they the cutest? (Despite the two year age difference between them, they're almost exactly the same size.)

When I tried to feed Austin at his house, he wouldn't eat. But check out the longing expression on his face as he gazes into my pantry! (Odd, since they have all kinds of goodies and we don't have a whole lot on the shelves [thank you, Dave Ramsey])

Logan was particularly excited about playing Wii (and so was Caroline, since it gave her a good excuse to get out of school for a while). According to Caro, Logan was really good at Wii Sports. Four-year-olds are really quite impressive.

Austin is pretty safety-conscious. He insisted on wearing his helmet in the wagon. Or maybe he just didn't trust my pulling skills....

At 1:00pm, I rapped on the N's front door and was greeted by the wild barking of Sal, Huckleberry, and Charlie, the crazy (but very cute) Shelties who live within. Soon the door opened, and sweet little baby Hunter was in my arms!

After a big lunch, he laughed and smiled for me as I bounced him on my lap (at risk of being spit up all over. Since he started eating solids, his spit-up has been multicolored. Fun.)

Looking in the mirror usually makes Hunter giggle. This time he looks a little worried. Maybe my new, I-bought-them-because-they-were-really-really-cheap sunglasses were freakin' him out a bit?

Look at that face! He is just so cute. His mommy calls me his girlfriend, and I must admit I really don't mind. Who wouldn't want to be taken by such a handsome young man?

While we were out strolling, baby fell asleep.

That, of course, didn't last for long. He woke up hungry and ready for his afternoon snack. With sweet potatoes all over his face, he looked just like Baby Messy.

Baby Messy is the doll/pillow I have slept with every night since I was born. Despite what others might think, she's actually very clean. ;)

At 6:00pm, I let myself in at the G's. Noelle immediately ushered me upstairs to do ballet and play school. Since we didn't have much time before bed-time, she wasn't wasting minutes on lengthy greetings!

I felt like I should feel like such a working woman, working from 8:45am till 10:00pm. But being with my kiddos is more fun than it is work. :)

Tori and Julia are hollering for me to come to the kitchen so they can tat me up with henna, so I must go. Adiue!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Technology Frustration!

Who knew getting pictures from the camera onto the computer would be a feat too great for me to accomplish?! I have lots of cute pictures of my adorable kiddos to post here. But I guess they'll just have to wait until Drew gets home with his Mac. =/

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Sun Also Rises

Here I go again, spewing posts. As I just finished a book, though, I feel like critiquing it.

Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises was not a pleasant read. While reading it, I often felt like chucking it across the room, yet something kept me holding it, reading it, drawn into the aimless lives of Jake Barnes, Lady Ashley, and their comrades. Set in the early 1920s, the book explores the purposelessness many people experienced after World War 1. All that really happens in the story is that the characters travel from France to Spain, eat a lot, drink a lot more, sleep around, and have meaningless conversations. Yet under the nothing of the plot-line pulse deep motifs and symbolism. It is the type of book that begs to be read in a class setting, or at least with a friend, because without discussion it rings hollow in one's mind.

I guess that's why I just blogged about it. This is kind of like discussing the book, even if it is only with myself.

Stuffed Cabbage and Sweet Potato Perogies

I made the stuffed cabbage, after all. I also made sweet potato perogies, herb rolls, and broccoli. Since I didn't have any plans for the evening (other than spending a quiet evening cooking [for three hours]), I never bothered to change out of my work-out clothes, or do my hair, put on make-up, etc. Well, when I was all nice and hot and sweaty in the kitchen, Renata arrived. I set her and Tori to work forming the rolls (which they did beautifully) and shaping the perogies. A little while later, Chris showed up. Next David R. came over. Then Drew and Kelsi strolled in. So much for a quiet evening in the kitchen!

Everyone teased me a lot about the food, but they ate it. Honestly, it was quite good. In fact, my parents loved the stuffed cabbage. The perogies were delcious. The rolls were heavenly. And it was all very inexpensive. Dave Ramsey would be proud. ;)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Cookbook for Tali

Veggies are so cute. I'd totally be a vegetarian if I didn't love (good) hamburgers so much.

Speaking of veggies, I bought a head of cabbage and a package of mushrooms the other day, so this afternoon I am searching Google for some scrumptious recipe that will combine the two. At this point I'm thinking: stuffed cabbage. But when I recollect the groans of horror Jessie and I used to utter when her Mom served stuffed peppers, I feel like I'm betraying my inner child. Besides, Caroline, who still IS her inner child, won't be very pleased. I'll probably make them anyway...

All this recipe-researching has finally inspired me to make a binder for the plethora of recipes I print out. I'm designing a "title page" for each type of food, which is how I came across the above picture. It's going to be super nice to have a spot to keep the various recipes I find in. Up to this point I have been stuffing them in drawers, or crumpling them into the cookbook drawer, or just tossing them out. No more!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Yesterday I saw a man riding a bike that looked like this, but not so pretty--it was clearly homemade.
Once I saw a man pedaling along with a pig in his bike's basket.

When I was in Colorado, I saw an old man in a suit biking along with a guitar strapped to his back.

I like having eyes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Green Onions

Sorry for the onslaught on posts, but I simply must tell you about my latest culinary efforts. While eating at the W's recently, Mrs. told me that she was "growing" green onions in her kitchen. You simply put the white, root-like ends into a cup of water--and wait. I've been waiting for a little over a week now, and my onions have already completely regrown themselves!

My happy little onions. Don't they look lovely?
(If you're wondering what the red-fire-hydrant- looking thing is, it's my counter-top compost bin. <3)

This is the pizza that I topped with my very own green onions, which, I just realized, are also organic. [Please excuse the poor quality of these pictures; I took them on my brother's macbook.]

And this is me, smiling brilliantly because it's like I just won a life-time supply of green onions. We'll see how they taste in the chicken and dumplings I'm making tonight...

The Virginian

I just read Owen Wister's classic, The Virginian. I loved it. Set in the wide plains and rugged mountains of Wyoming, the novel intertwines descriptions of the landscape with stories of the characters who live in it. It is a tale of strength and courage and freedom--the essence of true America. Although the hero of the tale has no name other than "The Virginian," he is so clearly portrayed that I half believe he is of blood and breath.

The more I read American literature, the more I love it. I love its raw, gritty, earthy, almost vulgar nature. I love that the heroes are often not well-bred--yet still noble--and that the struggles are usually those of man against the land. Most of all, I love the freedom of American literature, how it takes me outside, and fills me with wonder.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

LOST, again.

On Thursday night, Chris came over to hang out with the family. As we were sitting around chatting, somebody mentioned that the next season of the TV show Lost was out. Immediately all of us kids piled into the car and drove to Blockbuster. Now, I'd like to assert that I'm not a TV watcher. At all. But when it comes to Lost on DVD, I'm totally hooked.

The show is so intriguing it's impossible not to get irretrievably caught up in the story. My favorite part about the show is the character building. After five seasons, I feel like these characters are people I actually know. While I am watching them hunt wild boar and fight a giant smoke monster and travel through time, my heart is at my throat, my pulses pounding, my palms sweating. Because I know these people. It's like I'm right there with them. Anyway... Chris and Mollie both came over Friday night, too. We watched Lost again.

Saturday night I babysat, got cremed at Monopoly by a seventh grader, beat that seventh grader in a foot race, and sat by a crackling fire soaking in the warmth of the flames. Although it was almost 11 by the time I got home, Jessie and I decided it was high time to have a sleepover. Re-bundling, I dove headlong into the cold and went to pick her up (oh, the beauty of in-neighborhood besties!). Since it was so cold, we both burrowed under the covers in my bed, and then proceeded to stay up half the night "whispering" (in other words, laughing hysterically but trying to be quiet). After three late nights in a row, I'm pretty kapooped. But they were all worth it. :)

Back to speaking of Lost...I got lost today. (Just pretend that was a smooth transition. Just do.) After church, Macy, Tori and I loaded into Mirabelle to go to the Young Conservatives of Central Florida cook-out. Earlier this morning, I wrote down the directions to the park where the cook-out was. I forgot to bring the directions with me. But everything was going to be okay; I could remember! Well, we drove down I-4 and exited onto OBT. Things were great. Then suddenly I wasn't sure which way to go on OBT. I pulled over. Now, in case you didn't know, OBT is not exactly a choice place to be stopped on the side of the road-especially for three young girls. I made a quick phone call and got directions.

The directions were wrong. Or maybe I just misunderstood them. Whatever the case, we drove down OBT for about 15 minutes-in the wrong direction! OBT is really sketch. Getting lost on OBT is even sketcher. Eventually we realized our error, turned around, and finally arrived at the party. While most of the people played Ultimate Frisbee, my sisters, a few other girls, and I wandered down to the lake. The others continued on to a dock, but I stretched out in the grass, closing my eyes into the brilliant sunshine.

Although it is FREEZING COLD today, I was warm lying there in the sun. Of course, that might have had something to do with the fact that I was wearing: tights, knee-highs, jeans, a tank top, a long sleeve shirt, a jacket, a coat, and a scarf. Don't laugh; this weather is cold. And don't ask how I'm going to survive in Idaho next winter; I really don't know.

Well, my brother just returned from squirrel hunting in SC, and I am being bidden to come see his catch (tail and all!). Adieu.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's A New Year

Happy New Year, my friends!

My "resolution" this year is to not eat sweets until I graduate high school (woot woot!). Over the holidays, I allowed myself to indulge in ever sort of sugary, high-fructose-corn-syrup-filled, artificial-perservative-stuffed, fake-dye-colored goody imaginable. No more! It'll be fruits and veggies and frozen yogurt for me now. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

In that Car

Spending hours on end cramped in a little mini-van with six other people can get a little tiresome. So Caroline and I decided to have a some fun...

When you're in the car all day long, there really isn't much to do but eat. Apparently Caroline had one pretzel too many.

So did I.

It's so squashy in the backseat our heads grew together.

Drew took care of that by severing us apart with a crayon. We were pretty excited.

So excited, in fact, that we embraced the tight-quarters and decided to be friends. :)

Once Jessie and I taped our noses to our foreheads and went around like that for hours. Nobody thought to bring tape on the road trip, so Caro and I had to use our fingers.

This seemed to upset the aliens; they abducted our entire van.

When they realized seven people in a mini-van are more trouble than they're worth, the spit us back to earth. We glowed.

Then Daddy joined the fun!

Things got really crazy from there...