Stress and Laughter

I have been in the midst of school planning —- and the garden and painting and overhauling my diet — for the last few weeks.  There is so much to do and only one of me and I often feel trapped in the debris of a thousand to-dos tornado.

But just when I think I might choke or drown or go hide, I hear singing or giggling or ummm . . . .interesting tidbits of conversation.

Just this week, while working furiously at the computer, I heard nose-blowing, an outraged squeal and then my sweet Rachel said in a most imperious sounding voice, “NEVER interrupt a woman blowing her nose.”

I absolutely could not contain a giggle.  And with it, a release of tension.

Prairie Perspective

Last night the boys and I had a birthday party to attend, and we left the girls home with Sid.  They decided to make a Daddy – daughter event of baking chocolate chip cookies.

The girls were already tucked into bed when I got home, so I didn’t get the recap until this morning.

“Mama, do you know how to make the BEST chocolate chip cookies?” Prairie asked.

——“No, how do you make the best chocolate chip cookies?”

“Well, you have to have a Daddy and 2 girls.”

I am completely suckered.

She later balanced out that syrupy sweetness with a bit of spice . . . . . .

I literally caught her with a hand in the cookie jar BEFORE she had eaten a decent lunch —-

“Mama, Mama, Mama,” she says in her queenly tone, “I am going to do this the COOKIE-ish way.  I put the cookie on my plate, then I put my lunch on the plate.  I eat my lunch and THEN I eat my cookie.  Okay?”

It is really hard not to laugh with our Prairie around.

Of warnings and squills

A few days ago, the girls and I came home from an afternoon of Christmas shopping.  Lincoln greeted us at the door with a wide grin.

“Daddy is frying up ‘chicken,’ ” he said, making the finger quote gesture around chicken.

This is Lincoln-code for “We are cooking rabbit.”  He uses the code for Prairie, the only one in the family who doesn’t want to eat ‘the other white meat’ in our house.

Before I could pull our purchases from the shopping bags, Rachel was gnawing on a piece of browned meat.


I noticed Sid was gnawing the meat off a really small bone.


In a whisper, Lincoln let me know that “chicken” is now also Lincoln-code for squirrel.

He had shot his first squirrel with a bb gun that morning.

And Sid helped Lincoln skin it and fry it up.

“You are a great daddy,”  I told Sid.  “I would have paid Lincoln $5 to NOT have me help him skin and cook the squirrel.”

Though I am proud of my fierce . . . . menacing . . . . sweet, rosy-lipped hunter.


Prairie’s response was to immediately write a notice.

For the dear reader unskilled in Prairie-speak, I provide an accurate translation below . . . . .

Warn the others

Dear Squirrel

Watch out my brother is going to kill you.

You must go to a safer place.


a girl who loves squirrels


During this morning’s bible study, I wondered aloud about God’s persistence in molding something beautiful from our lives.

Lincoln says,  “I think you are beautiful enough already.”

Being instantly charmed, I sidle over to him and give him a big kiss and nuzzle his cheek.

While my heart is turning to mush, he says, “I hope your nose isn’t running.”

Ah, I guess the well of his charm just emptied.

The Hair-Hating Gene

“WHY?”  he grumbles.  “Why does my hair always do this on Sunday morning?”  My 13-year-old Sidney stands in front of the mirror, pressing down on his hair.

Hmmmm, he is starting to pay attention to how he looks, I think.  I wonder if this is the teenager self-conscious thing that I hear about and vaguely remember, when young people become overly preoccupied with how they look.

He combs his hair straight down.  It springs up.  He combs it to the left.  It springs up.  He combs it to the right.  It springs up.

“Maybe if I comb it left, right, left, right, left, right, it will lay down,” he says to himself as his arms moves back and forth, back and forth.

I bite down on the giggle and refrain from offering advice, a truly heroic endeavor on my part.

“Hair is so impractical,” he declares, reaching for the faucet.  He runs water over his comb.

“What is the purpose of hair anyway?  And why do we have so much of it?”  He runs the wet comb through his hair, pressing down.

“The whole world would be a better place if we were all bald.”

I guess I can stop wondering about teenage vanity.  It appears Sidney is infected with the same hair-hating gene as his father.  I specifically remember when I cautiously informed Sid that his hair was thinning on top.  I thought it might bother him, but he appeared completely unruffled.  All my concerns were completely laid to rest weeks later, when I discovered Sid in the bathroom with a hand mirror trying to get a look at his bald spot, and mumbling to himself, “Fall out, baby. Fall baby.”

I don’t think women can inherit the the hair-hating gene.  I cried when mine started thinning and falling out a couple of years ago.  Thankfully, it stopped and seems to have stabilized, though I keep an anxious eye on it.

Our Lord has conquered

A poem written by my 10-year-old son, Lincoln . . . . .


The Resurrection

Lincoln Gaskins



Rolling aside with hardly a sound,

The stone of the tomb lay upon the ground,

As the morning dawned clear and bright,

No one ever saw such a glorious sight.

Light filled the cave, where shadows had been,

Shattering the chains of slaving sin,

The demons of Satan screamed and fell on their faces,

And the angels took off their armor, and put on curling laces.

Heavenly trumpets from the sky to below,

“For forgiveness, do these golden notes flow!”.

While the night before was young, and the people slept,

Christ took up his sword, by the name of Life,

Charging at the foe, blade to blade they met,

Cleaving and thrusting, like corn to a scythe,

Un-weakened, undaunted, by the will of Sin,

He fought for forgiveness, he fought for his Fatherly Kin.

Until victorious stood he in the tomb,

Then he cast his arm unto the sea, under the midnight full moon.

The light of the moon is beautiful, the sun in the sky may be bright.

But for me, I choose the path, lit by the Candle of Christ.