Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.  ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I am a wonderful record-keeper.

It’s one of those traits that comes in handy, like being organized or detail-oriented. Records of all types: an extremely-un-kept-up list of books I’ve read and my ratings of them; a mental image of what I was wearing when (yes, I don’t know how this happens or why), and a sharp and vivid memory of most of the bad things that people have done to me. I remember everything. I remember almost every slight I’ve ever received.

That sounds like a good thing, maybe. You go, girl! Don’t let anyone walk all over you.

But I am not proud of it. My ability to list all the sideways looks, all the hinted-at slights, all the times someone canceled plans on me, is NOT a good thing. The people I love most are the ones who hurt from this “list” more than anyone – who’s around as much as my family? As much as my closest friends? And with so much time, we’re bound to hurt each other.

I’ve been noticing more, though, that I need to call it quits with this scale, with the constant weighing of mean tones, hurtful words, and apparent or definite thoughtlessness.

Because, I think, it’s a certain kind of person who keeps these records. And it’s not the kind of person I’m aspiring to be.

The kind of person who keeps these records is the one who hasn’t grasped the largeness of Christ’s sacrifice. It’s the kind of person who still clings to inadequacies, to the insecurities that hinder her from living more fully. Because she can’t see herself with the lens of forgiveness, she can’t extend that forgiveness to those around her. Instead of finding her freedom in Christ, she grasps at it by making others pay up. If she doesn’t stand up for herself, who will?

~   ~   ~

I go to work at 9:00 in the morning. I open the door and peer into the house, wondering who’s around. Usually all three kids are up, watching tv, waiting for me to come.

But this morning, I’m nervous. Yesterday was less than perfect. The little girl is five, and we usually have so much fun together, telling stories, singing, dancing, laughing.

Yesterday was different. She was in a crabby mood and I didn’t make it any better. I didn’t hold my temper, and I scolded her too harshly. Whining and whining and I left wondering how we would finish out the week.

So this morning, I peek my head around the corner. I see her lying on the brown couch, her eyes fixed on the tv.

“Good morning!” I say, trying to hide the tentativeness I feel.

What if she’s still angry? What if I hurt her feelings too much?

She turns her head to look at me. Her blue eyes are blank. But only for a moment, because then they light up, bright and excited.

“Catherine!” she says. “Good morning!”

And she jumps up off the couch and proceeds to tell me a half-true story about the neighbor kids and movie night and a crazy man.

That’s the kind of record I want to keep: a short one.

Hospitals, Cake, and Stories

After a long day of babysitting, I came home and ate a piece of cake.

It was delicious.

Two days spent trying to figure out the next step — hospitals are scary, but every single one of the doctors and nurses was kind. They took care of me. Robert kept asking me if I was okay, if I was comfortable. It was strange when he said, “Nice to meet you,” and I realized that I’d never see this man again, after two hours of him almost holding my hand.

Still no idea, so today I went back to work and ate cake.

[The little girl I watch makes up songs and stories like it’s her job. Example:

Pre-schooler: My boyfriend’s the greatest.

Me: Really? What makes him the greatest?

Pre-schooler: He gives me popcorn every day.

If only it were that simple. ]

Things I’m Enjoying

Things I’m Enjoying on [arguably] the Most Beautiful Day:

1. Crunchy apples with old-fashioned peanut butter = instant energy and instant deliciousness

2. Riding with the top down and the sun all around me.

3. Taking two little boys to the town common and watching them run/crawl around.

4. Talking about every single car that drives by 🙂

5. Revising lesson plans to the tunes of 90s pop music (thanks, Pandora).

6. Night-time rehearsals of Hot Mikado – and attempting to sing and dance all at the same time (did I mention I’m about a month behind everyone else? we shall see if I can pick any of this up, let alone memorize it in three weeks!!!)

7. Guilty pleasure: Coke Zero. Trying to be healthy, but sometimes, you just want a good soda.

8. Comfy stretch pants. I’m wearing them with the excuse that I’m dancing at rehearsal, but really, I just want to wear comfy stretch pants.

9. Looking out the window and seeing white, red, black, and gold hens in the coop. Chickens are beautiful creatures.

Day at the Beach

I wrote a post a few days ago. About sin and a book I read.

But I’m tired of writing about sad things. I’m tired of trying to make sense of all the sadness.

So that’s why I’m not going to publish that post, and instead, I’m going to talk about my day at the beach.


It feels a little bit like the perfect job – babysitting – when I can take them to the beach all day, sit in the sun, and top it off with some yummy ice cream at the end.

It’s hard to remember, on days like this, that I’ll have to move on eventually.

The beauty in the day and the sun on my skin was amazing, and for that I am grateful.

Unexpected Helpers

Today has been on and off rainy (thunder cracked at lunchtime and sent me and the boys I was watching back into the house — picnic aborted!!).

But after that shower died down, we headed in the truck to my house. I promised I’d show them the chicks in my room (yes, still in my room…don’t ask).

I removed the cover and held the baby over the box. His eyes lit up. I picked up a fuzzy yellow chick and held it up to the baby. He reached out, and I said “gentle” and he was. He was so gentle I couldn’t believe it, his tiny fingers barely grazing the soft down of the chick’s head. He looked at me, questioning, and then did it again.


J. (he’s nearing 5 and curious) looked and asked questions.

“Where is their food?”

“How do you feed them?”

“Where are the eggs?”

That last one was my favorite.

After trying to explain that no, the chickens don’t eat the eggs, they lay them, we went outside to the hen house so I could show him. There, four eggs in a box, ready to eat.

Then, with J. fascinated and distracted by feeding the hens grass, I took the baby to my garden, plunked him down on the path, and started clearing away deadness from last year.

He looked around, pulling at dead grass, watching me as I moved around him. I brushed some dirt off the large flat stones, and he copied me, his tiny hand flashing across the ground.

And then he put that hand with a handful of dirt into his baby mouth and smiled.

(P.S. I made THE MOST AMAZING GRANOLA two days ago. Thank you very much.)

Mystery Group

“You’re a teenager.”

The five-year-old girl I babysit says this to me every few days. Now she has a twinkle in her eye because she knows what conversation will ensue:

“No, I’m not. I’m twenty-three. I told you that already!”

And she will respond with:

“Well, where are your kids?”

It seems our culture isn’t the only thing that isn’t quite sure what to do with young single women. I go on to explain that there is a group – between teenagers and moms – and that’s where I am. This mystery group that gets larger and larger and seems to be less and less easily defined. She cocks her little blonde head and smiles at me. She still doesn’t believe.