Tuesday, May 9, 2017

I once heard Condoleezza Rice speak at an event.  She spoke eloquently of her position in the White House, the people she had met around the world, her family and faith. 

At the conclusion she said this:
'I was a little girl from Birmingham, Alabama, daughter of a preacher, whose childhood friend was killed during church with a homemade bomb.  
A girl who was told she couldn’t sit at the Woolworth’s counter to eat a hamburger--but she could grow up to be President of the United States…and ended up being Secretary of State.'

While society told her one thing, her parents told her another. 
If we are limited by what we have been told, maybe we are listening to the wrong voices.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

a click and surprise.

It was raining in Chicago.  Pouring actually--buckets and buckets. I put the girls in the van and drove down the street to pick up their brother.  We parked on a side street and, with umbrellas clutched tightly, fought our way through the wind and rain.  By the time we reached the classroom we were soaked.

We gathered Will and headed back to the van, down the walk and left at the side street where I remembered parking the van.  

Two clicks of the remote and the side door slid open.

No one moved.

'Grammy,' said Will, 'this isn't our car.'

I looked at the remote in my hand...'Grammy,' said Sadie, 'this isn't our car.'

And it wasn't.  It opened with the remote, but clearly wasn't their car.

I yanked the door closed like it was on fire, and stepped back.  We started walking.  One block, two and then...there it was.  Just where I'd left it.  I remembered now, crossing that street, skirting those puddles, it all came back.  I double-clicked and the door slid back.  The inside was just as we'd left it and everyone climbed inside.

Will looked at me, then out the window, 'Well, that never happened before,' 

Monday, September 8, 2014

broken places.

My daughter sent me the most beautiful cups from Anthropologie. 
When I unwrapped them, the handle had cracked on the blue one.  I didn’t want to tell her so when she called I just focused on how much I liked them.

'But did they get there in one piece?' she asked for the second time. 
She’s very direct.
Her response was typical, 'Why didn’t you tell me in the first place?  I’ll get another one and bring it with me when I come!' 
And she did.
It’s sitting here now, full to the brim with coffee and cream and it’s beautiful. 

But after two days it developed a hairline crack.  I think Anthropologie needs to get their act together.  
But it won’t stop me from using it.

And the one with the broken handle?  I’ve planted it with grass seed and set it on the window sill…

After all, the most beautiful things have broken places.

gathering days.42

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

bubble man.

He stood at the edge of the pond in the early morning quiet, a battered white bucket at his feet.  Slowly he leaned down, dipped and straightened.  I watched as a bubble sailed from the rope he held, bounced twice across the surface and took flight.
Another followed.  So wide it would be the span of my arms if I could catch it—I couldn’t.

I should take a picture, I thought.  I could put it on Instagram.
But I just walked slower, and watched--and took another turn around the pond.

I could take a picture, I thought, and put it on Facebook.
But I didn’t.

‘They’re beautiful,’ I said instead.

The old man smiled.

I took another turn around the pond, watching color leap and bend and soar.

And let it soak into my spirit, tucked in the pocket of my soul.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

the summer dress.

The quintessential summer dress. 

It floats from the shoulders and it doesn't squish the waist,

gives room to explore...

and dream.

The pattern is from Oliver+S with one revision.  Instead of placing the front and back pattern piece on the fold as directed, I carried it all the way to the far side of the fabric and gathered in the difference under the yoke.  
This gives a lovely, airy quality to the dress that is cool on the hottest days.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

the outside place.

We were walking through the Cosmosphere when I read about one of the early astronauts and the trouble he had getting back into his capsule after finishing a task on its exterior.

'It was both physically and emotionally difficult to re-enter,' he said,'Physically because the suit had expanded; emotionally because it was so beautiful outside I could not bear to go back in.'

The capsule was his lifeblood for the moment, but was really only a vehicle winging him through space.  The world he yearned for, had worked toward, the summation of his life’s work was outside those walls.

It made me wonder how I define the walls of my world, drawing lines and making demands that shrink life, when the goodness of God is a vast place calling me outward.  It’s not a cramped little cell spinning me forward.

His goodness is the outside place.

The difference is that I can live out there in that beauty, and don’t have to come back in to the smallness I create in order to survive.

gathering days.45

Sunday, July 6, 2014

'Anne roamed through the pineland
 alleys in the park and, as she  said, let that great sweeping  wind blow the fogs out of her  soul.'

-Anne of the Island, 
 Lucy Maud Montgomery

Friday, July 4, 2014

I found you.

'I found you.'
I turned around to find a set of blue eyes peering from behind the kitchen chair.  He had wedged himself past the table and around the legs of grown-ups to the chair nearest me at the sink.

'I found you.'

I finished spinning the lettuce for salad, watching him play on the floor nearby, my thoughts whirling as I realized I don’t say it enough. 

I found you. 
There you are. 
More often what I say is, ‘Here I am.’

We all want to be found, to know that we are sought out and noticed.  That our presence is noted and a glorious addition to someone’s day.

There you are, I found you.  And I’m stopping just a minute to really see you today.  Because the world is better because you’re in it.

gathering days.38

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Love is holy because it is like grace--the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.

-Marilynne Robinson, Gilead

Sunday, May 25, 2014

a place to land.

My daughter-in-law wears her youngest wrapped tightly to her body with a long, black band.  And Dori is happy there. Sometimes on the front, sometimes in back; she's tucked near the heartbeat of her mom where the motion, voices, and chaos of what happens around her are secondary to the quiet port in which she's docked.

My grandson Luke likes to ride high on his dad's shoulders.  The view is different up there with branches to duck, tall people to encounter, balance to keep.  Every so often his hands reach down to grip the sides of his father's face--and settle back into his spot.

The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him, 
who shelters him all the day long; 
and he shall dwell between His shoulders.
Deut. 33:12

We grow up and take pride in walking solo.  But there is a place held for each of us, a port in the storm, a place to reach out and see that we're not alone.

...and he shall dwell between His shoulders.

Pulled closely to the heart of God.  
Held with care.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

little birds.

I'm a little obsessed with these birds right now.  I keep making them and giving them away.  

And making more...but now I'm behind.  I need to catch up with what I've given.

What's not to like?  An hour's worth of knitting and--voila!  A bird.  

Yes, the bathroom needs to be cleaned.  Yes, I should be working on that project.  But really, just one more bird... 


The birds have brought to mind one of my favorite bits from 
Emily D. 

     Hope is the thing with feathers-
  That perches on the soul-
  And sings the tune without the    words-
  And never stops-at all.
  ~Emily Dickinson

  So maybe I'm not knitting birds at all. Maybe they're just bits of hope.


  Pattern here: 
  Little Birds

Friday, May 23, 2014

broken things.

I like to watch things grow.

Granted, I don't have a garden in this aerie of an apartment, but the windowsill is wide and willing.

This morning I woke with the dark and sat in the quiet.  I was thinking about something that happened yesterday during Legal Aid Clinic.

A woman walked in.  She was kind and smiled when I asked how she was doing.  She took her papers and limped to a chair down the hall to fill them out.

She came back later and handed them to me, smiling again as she settled in the chair across from my desk, a glass of water cupped between her hands.  

The office was unusually quiet.  Not a sound from the smiling lady but I looked up from my work to see her there, a hand covering her face, her shoulders shaking.

She wasn't laughing.

Oh, I thought, Oh no.

At that moment the attorney came around the corner to call her name. Quickly she wiped her tears and smiled as she limped to meet the woman who asked, 'Your leg, are you hurt?'

'It's only what my husband did to me,' she replied.

When she was finished she came back past my desk.  She stopped to talk and asked if we could pray.  

In a quiet corner we met Jesus.  The One who understands the darkest of hidden things.

Lord Jesus...hold her fast.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

stitching in wool.

 I've started something new, something that is going to take a wonderfully long time to finish.  I like to get things done in a hurry, see the finish line and tie up all the loose ends (if you will) so I can start the next thing.

Ducks in a row.

This will not be that project.

This is going to take time and patience.  I have time, but very little patience (ask anyone who loves me enough to admit it).

One tree at a time.  Maybe a few leaves here and there.  A stream and a fish, maybe two.

It reminds of a little bit of the slow work of God. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2014


It was a grand day.  

A boy walked across the stage in cap and gown and I smiled, knowing he was no longer a boy. He hadn't been for a while really. I watched him laughing and smiling, solemn and sure in this rite of passage, college behind and rest of life stretching ahead. 

Behind my eyes, like a cloud blown in front of the sun, I saw the hard things of the past years overlay the joy.  For the briefest moment they were melded together; sorrow, loss, joy, pain and triumph--into one incomprehensible whole.

Then the picture cleared.  

Tears ran freely for gratefulness.  Not for the clearing of the image, but for the giving of it.

It isn't done of course.  We don't reach a place where we say, 'I've got this figured out, the work is finished.'  Only One could ever say that and really mean it, only One could say, 'It is finished' and see the work of God complete.

The work of Love.

The slow work of God which makes us whole.  

You have loved us first many times 
and every day and our whole life through.

When we wake up in the morning and turn our soul toward You-
You are the first--You have loved us first; 
if I rise and dawn and at the same second turn my soul toward you in prayer, You are the there ahead of me.

You have loved me first.

When I withdraw from the distractions of the day and turn my soul toward You, You are the first and thus forever.

And yet we always speak ungratefully as if You have loved us first only once.

~ Soren Kiekegaard

I watched him walk off stage and laugh with his brothers and sister and I was thankful.

For a work begun and a God who sticks.


Monday, May 19, 2014

looking out.

I love windows.  If I had my way the shades would be up and curtains drawn back every minute of every day.  

Of course one of us doesn't like the place to turn into a fish bowl at night-so down they go.

I like to drive past houses at dusk, see them lit from within like a stage ready for the players.  And sometimes you catch them, the players, reading in a chair, walking across the room, adjusting the flicker of the television. In just an eye's blink of time.

Bob thinks it's creepy.  That's probably why the shades go down.

I don't think it's creepy, I think it's interesting.  This, however, has been the source of some debate in the family at large.  But that's beside the point  

Windows are fascinating, they make me wonder about the stories going on behind the glass.  What joy or sorrow walked through that house today?

These windows are from Rome where my sister is working. I look through the glass, knowing that for one click of the camera I am seeing what she sees. 

The thing is, I want my soul to do the same. In those flashpoints of daily life, I want to step into seeing what my sister sees, my friend sees, to look through their windows. 

And let the snapshot grow into understanding, into compassion.   

You told me you couldn't see
a better day coming,
so I gave you my eyes.
-Braided Creek

- lindasinklings

Sunday, May 18, 2014

a sweater for S.

A sweater for the little girl who loves fruit, finished off by an Oliver+S Lazy Days Skirt. 

Patterns Here:

Lazy Days Skirt



Friday, April 11, 2014

be the candle.

One day I prayed a prayer, Lord, light a candle within that person over there, a small flame to warm the heart.  

I prayed that prayer and waited.  Somewhat impatiently.  

I prayed again, Lord, light a candle within--a flame of hope to warm and encourage.  And I waited.

Then I woke in the night, the prayer ready to be sent to heaven once more--when the answer came.

'You be the candle. You be a light.  Let another step into its glow and gain courage.'

And my prayer was changed.

Lord make me a candle.
Kindle a flame to warm the heart.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

early train.

We took the early train and watched as houses with elbow room slipped past and grew tight in the shoulders.  Pulled into the station and started to walk, looking for coffee, the first part of any adventure.  Starbucks was directly ahead--and a quirky French cafe with a community table on the corner.  

We chose quirky.  A place inviting conversation.  No hiding behind earphones in this spot.  It was filled with quiet talk, quiet introspection, reading, and belgian waffles.  

The coffee took me back to a tiny shop in my sister's town in Switzerland.  Strong, dark and rich. It said, 'Drink me, a cup at a time, but don't hurry.  I am not brewed for styrofoam.'

So we sat at an old wooden table, my daughter and I, on the beginning of this perfect day in Philadelphia.  

And I was thankful.

Here is the link just in case you find yourself on the same corner in need of a little civilization in the midst of chaos:

Le Pain Quotidien


Tuesday, March 25, 2014


two little birds...and more to come.  

I'm thinking a little flock of them should be hanging from twigs somewhere in the house.  
The pattern is here:
little birds

Friday, March 21, 2014

henri coulette.

Recipes are like poems,
they keep what kept us.
-Henri Coulette

Thursday, March 20, 2014

pink stuff.

'What's this pink stuff?'

I looked up from swiping my card at the register to the teenager bagging my groceries.  He held up a bottle, 'This pink-drink stuff, what is it?'

'It's grapefruit juice.'

'Yeah, I saw that - you mean like the same as the grapefruit you eat?'  

I nodded, 'Yes. Same as the grapefruit you eat.'  

I started bagging my own groceries while he digested this. Then, 'You need help out?' 

And I started to laugh.  'I think I've got it.'

...after all, I've had my grapefruit today.


herb cohen.

You and I do not see things as they are.
We see things as we are.
- Herb Cohen

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

pewter and lace.

a little lace.

I started this dress last year and it was a disaster.  The pattern just wouldn't come right no matter how I counted.  I finally ripped the whole thing out and found another pattern, something sweet and simple.

But this kept nagging at me, mostly because I was mad that I had given up on it. So I started again, armed with tons of stitch markers.  

It made all the difference in the world. A stitch marker for every repeat--and I mean every single one. The rest is cake.
And now it's blocked and I love it.

Love it enough that I'm making another for little D. who is just the right size.  

The pattern is found on Ravelry here:
Muti dress

Monday, March 17, 2014


My son is grown and has a four-year old boy of his own.  This evening I got a text that read, 'So...when we were kids and threw up over eating our vegetables, did you see that as a sickness to be merciful about?  Or just disobedience?  Hypothetically speaking of course...'

I wrote back, Are you asking me as a mother or a grammy?

He replied, 'I want the historically correct version.'

Time seems to alter history. I don't remember exactly why it seemed so important for the boys to sit in their chairs and eat their brocolli. But I think it boiled down to two basics; learning to try new things, and being polite. 

Years later we were invited to dinner at the house of an Indian gentleman who worked for Bob. His wife had created a beautiful and complex meal for us.  She served it and stood in the doorway, waiting on us while we ate. Our kids didn't know what to make of this.  They didn't know what to make of all the food on the table either. Except for the rice, it was all new to them.

I watched them pick up their forks and start eating.  They ate. And ate, not realizing that cleaning your plate was the signal you were ready for more--so they had to keep eating. 

They were splendid.    

They ate the brocolli.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

victor hugo.

The word which God has written 
on the brow of every man 
is Hope.
-Victor Hugo

Friday, March 14, 2014

sweater for A.

...and a tiny sweater to match.

after all, it's still a little chilly for short sleeves out east.
the arms will be warm though the toes are bare.
Find the pattern at Ravelry here:
Peek-a-Boo Cardigan