December 31, 1988

Twenty years ago, at the very hour I post this (noon), two kids were married.  The bride was 19, the groom 22, and they had a combined monthly income of $450, $220 of which went to rent their weird little apartment carved out of the second floor of an old house in Moscow, Idaho.  They were starry-eyed students who, as the bride’s father put it, thought they could “live on love.”  They had no honeymoon, except for a night at the Best Western that their friends pitched in for, and went right back to work the day after they wed.

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We’ve come a long way, baby.  Happy Anniversary!


Sixteen Candles

Sixteen Christmas mornings ago, a beautiful newborn salved the bitterness of two miscarriages with only the reality of her perfect self in my arms. She came home in a large Christmas stocking and hat, on the merriest Christmas ever:

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Today, we celebrated sixteen years together. Happy Birthday, Missy May!


Simple Gifts

I am grateful for these simple gifts today:

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A Christmas Eve Offering

As the Christmas season reaches its apex, finding time and room to contemplate God’s greatest gift to us may be difficult, but nudges me with its urgency. Son of God, already a perfect being who had created the very world He would condescend to, could have been introduced here in any number of ways befitting the King whose title He deserved millenia before the Nativity, before Golgotha, before the empty tomb. Yet He came as one of us, a helpless Babe who would need swaddling clothes to comfort and contain the flailing limbs. The hands that shaped a universe, carved commandments into stone tablets, touched sixteen clear stones to light the deep, and that would tremble under cruel nails could only reflexively curl around Mary’s fingers as He suckled, utterly dependent, at her breast. Surrounded by servile animals and outcast from the community of human shelter, the new little family–inextricably and eternally linked with the human family–commenced an earthly work that would culminate in an act so powerful that it reaches both forward and backward in time to save every soul willing to receive it.

Oh, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!


Each of my six children has his or her own Nativity Set, courtesy of their Nana and Uncle Mike. Getting out the little figures is a highlight of their Christmas season, and the configurations they come up with to pose Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and the various shepherds, wise men, and animals know no bounds.

It was no surprise to come upon this new placement of nearly all the figures, marching in a tidy line from the phone to the fabulous 70’s ceramic tree to pay homage to its vintage awesomeness:


But wait! What’s that shiny thing, two places behind Headless Shepherd and three places in front of the Holy (Blond!) Twins?
Snoopy, is that you?

My Cohort and Companion

For my sister, Kris




Under arching branches

Of a row of Russian Olives, you and I

Built a cottage.  We lived a new life

In rooms created by boundaries

Only we could discern.  I held

My place as eldest, overseer

Of our motherless cloister, as we

Busied ourselves with tasks—

Gathering, sorting, naming.


Long after the branches were cut

And their limbs no longer brushed

The grass, I searched for the confines

Of our refuge, seeing only in vision

The piles of slender leaves and sagey berries

We supped and savored as we lifted

Twigs to our lips.  


Our house no longer needs an overseer,

But we dwell in the safe coolness of

Embracing limbs, preparing to break

Through the branches, blinking in sunshine.