The Things They Say (and do)

Note: the rapid pace and change of technology takes my breath away. My little children do not know a world without AI (in the form of Google, Echo, Alexa, and more);  they can ask for music, jokes, weather, and more… it is such an interesting world.

You have to tell Google “Good morning!” when you go downstairs tomorrow- a dear, tech-savvy son informed me. He had an impish grin on his face. “You’ll get a surprise!”- he said. This son has been tech-savvy for years, and this morning, I pondered all that he brings to us with this ability and gift. He has always been my “go-to” person for anything computer related and even machine related.

So- sure enough, when I came down, I got ready to greet Google. The first thing I actually did was tell Google, “Merry Christmas!” because I knew he had set it to greet us back with “Merry Christmas” and play “The Boors head Christmas Carol” which is a comedic delight for my children- which it surely did when I asked. And Jonah and I, who were the two in the kitchen at that moment: laughed and grinned. Nothing like a face-splitting smile on a foggy, cold Monday morning threatening to overwhelm with December.

But then… I called to Google (who has often complimented me on my nice way of asking! too funny) “Hey Google, Good Morning!”

Google then proceeded (programmed) to greet my son (who was not home- away at co-op) by name, call him a handsome devil, and inform (in detail) of the weather, the temperature, and more. Might I add that Google speaks in a lovely British accent! Oh my, how we laughed and laughed. And then…

(which I knew was coming, but still nothing can prepare for the impact)

Morning Has Broken (one of my favorite hymns and a song that has followed me from my childhood) began to stream out of the speaker. It truly is my favorite morning song.

I sat on the chair and cried. I cried because I suddenly felt the impact of all those years and days of Morning Time when I shared my heart; I shared poetry; I shared stories; I shared songs- and now– they are (sometimes) sharing them back to me.

I cried because the song is so precious to me and ministers to my heart, mind, and soul in every way.

I cried because I have been struggling, struggling so greatly in this season to remain faithful to something so simple as Morning Time where I share my heart; where I share goodness, and beauty, and truth; where I share the life-giving words and music that the children will take with them out in the world they will enter. It is so important, and I feel such an intense battle for its place in my day and our life.

I cried because of how much I love this son and the way he brings humor to leaven the day along with (one of) my favorite song(s). I love him so! I cried for the laughter and the beauty and the fierce battle and the loss and the gain. For it all.

And he is handsome- but I wouldn’t call him a devil! (ha ha ha ha!)

Morning Has Broken forever, and this dear son in my heart. And just a note- that this joy combined with Jonah in the kitchen making pumpkin bar for our family- which was also incredible to come down to and find in the kitchen!


-The Things They Say And Do!

I See Thou Know’st Me Not – The Things They Say

Been working some things out with my boy.

Having some good talks- and some moments of realizing how very proud I am of who he is and how he handles himself in life:

Tonight, we were having a car talk. One of my favorites with my people. The van is the perfect cubicle for deep, personal chats.  More on that another time!

He shared some insight about how he navigates a couple of social settings that have caused pain to other family members who have gone before him in those same settings.

He said he determines to go in and make it a brighter place, and he doesn’t expect to necessarily find a close friend amongst the people there.  He recognizes it has been a place of pain for people he cares about so has a caution there.

Then, he shared one of his profound quotes with me (which, frankly, caused my literary soul to soar with joy!!)  He shared that he memorized a line from Shakespeare that he keeps at heart for his own, personal narrative:

He ruminated that at a certain point, it is important to realize that your critiquer doesn’t really know you; the real, true person that you are. And honestly, this is especially true/significant when you are dealing with any kind of personal struggle.

And- with that in mind, he recited a line from Romeo and Juliet ( a play he recently read) because he deemed it so appropriate to social situations, roasts, and unkind comments – and in particular this context where there has been a bit of verbal mud-slinging.

“I see thou know’st me not…”

Act 1 Scene 3 Romeo and Juliet

And he said, “At some point, you just have to realize that the person making the unkind comments, remarks, or ‘jokes,’ doesn’t really know you.”

That person doesn’t have the key to the inner heart where the real person lives, breathes, and feels. This line serves so well as the final word (whether spoken out loud or in the heart!) in a verbal spar that has no good ending.

So, shrug your shoulders (deflect the comments), and move on. They know you not (and they are missing out! -says the mother!!! 🙂 )

Wise, wise words my son, and words that I need to take to heart for myself!

The Things They Say

(My darling, sixteen year old son memorizing and quoting Shakespeare to me. Love!!)


The Things They Say

The Things They Say

It’s been a long day coming. Too long. But, it is time and-
we are headed to the new abode of Todd’s grandparents. 91 and 94 years old. They are amazing.
It’s been about a year since they moved out of the home they owned, where they raised all their children and also some grandchildren, and even sheltered and played a part in caring for great-grandchildren.
Now, they live somewhere new. Somewhere that provides support and care while still allowing Grammy to live with and care for PopPop.
None-the-less, it is a different drive through Bethlehem- heading to this new place. There are some small people in our big van who are a wee bit confused.
We pull up to the curb outside the expansive building.
There is little girl chatter behind Todd and I…. suddenly, we hear, rising above
the conversation, a clear, distinct voice-
I look back and see one small girl looking out the window
she  states
clearly- announcing and explaining to her sisters:
“Now she lives in a hotel….”
Todd and I laugh out loud. We laugh long and full of joy. It does look like a hotel. It does have some of the same amenities. It is clean and well-tended.
The things they say.
Note: they sent us out with armfuls of provisions: juice boxes and water, Grammy made sure to have on hand just for us. Cookies for Todd. I ponder their love, and her generous hospitality.
I will never forget.

The Things They Say (Food Allergy Edition)


A very special allergen safe restaurant One Dish Cuisine is most likely closing (and we are so sad).




Just a couple weeks ago- on the twins’ birthday actually- (before we knew the restaurant would most likely shut down), we ventured out and fulfilled what has been a long time wish- to go to One Dish. Asher ordered a Burger and Fries freely off the menu- and enjoyed it wholeheartedly; I bit back tears. I did. Something so simple, yet truly so profound. To eat freely.

So, I made an effort to get there one more time, and he ordered pizza and a coke- to go. Something he had really wanted to order and experience.

He received it and brought it out where we were all waiting. It smelled amazing. It looked amazing. So many years eating daiya– and NEVER eating melted cheese outside a restaurant with Todd alone- I can’t tell the difference. Or- maybe it was inner panic. I don’t trust myself. That’s the thing about food allergies. You can’t tell by looking. Cracker A and Cracker B. They can look the same, but one be fatal. This is real life.


After observing the delicious pie, I went back in just to double check with the staff that it was truly safe and dairy free. The restaurant has two menus- a blue menu and a green menu. Dairy is part of the green menu but handled very carefully. They do make dairy cheese pizzas. He ordered off the blue menu- but compulsively- I had to double check. I actually triple checked. The (dairy anaphylactic) owner had made it herself. She confirmed, but she was a little vague- and they (the staff) said things like: if we handed it to you and said blue menu, you’re good. Well, they didn’t hand it to me, and he didn’t remember if they said blue menu. And he ordered himself. However, he did state clearly blue menu, and we were very clear on no dairy for the other things we ordered. So, there you go.

Then we got into the car, and I realized I actually felt nauseous as the (wonderful) smell filled the van, and he got ready to enjoy his first piece. Pizza. (Pizza equals death) All the children were like: It smells amazing! Can’t you smell the daiya? I couldn’t tell.

Asher is eating it, and I am checking in. I am struggling mightily to just be chill and “cool.”

He remarks wryly, “This is exactly the paranoia that keeps us food allergy people alive. However, in this situation, I think it is okay to dial it back a level.”

I laugh. I grin. I love that son so much. O, I love him!

He also notes astutely, chewing a delicious piece- (aware of his own body and reactions thanks to Johns Hopkins’ careful handling), “I would be reacting already if this was dairy.”

Indeed, I realize he would have known at the first bite.

Lord, forbid! The responsibility is unrelenting.

Keeping the food allergy people alive

(and it is true).

The Things They Say

P.S. He finished that large pizza today, and it was delicious!


The Things They Say and Do

Much work in the kitchen these past two days…

prepping for Scout camp; prepping for PA

I bustle about here and there… and catch

these moments…

Small (not so small) son, …working in the kitchen a bit, dishes up; dishes away;

after a joint endeavor betwixt his older sister, me, and him- getting him packed-

his footlocker sorted; his clothing status assessed; it is a work!

I walk by him and hear him ruminate reflectively:

“I am going to a foreign land…”

his quiet murmur as he faces his first away camp week scouting; he reflects on what’s ahead.

A foreign land? I comment, smile,  then grin. O, the grand adventure in scouting for these boys.

The Things They Say!


I am moving in and out of the kitchen. Cooking, cooking. Abi is at the counter; Nate at the stove.

Suddenly, a little girl (M) comes loudly limping “across” the house from Family room to Dining room.

Her irregular gait loping by us three (we, –perplexed)

I, abrupt, — hustling,

with the mom eagle eye laser focused on one of my own:

“Why are you limping?” I {almost} bark- no nonsense mode at hand.

Little girl, with a declarative cry:

“I’m trying to be a pirate, a pirate!”

Two teens and I catch eyes; incredulous look rippling from face to face-

Oh! — how we laugh. Taken utterly by surprise-

our small pirate.

The things they say {and do}

The Things We Say

At the table-

at the end

of one long day.

Sweet son and I.

Mulling. Ruminating. Discussing… yet – one.more.time.

We had spent most of the day in Virginia just outside of Harrisonburg. And, O! the memories for me on that drive south. Mountains, beauty, rural countryside. And, Virginia.

We immersed briefly in a different culture while there. In his words, “it was rural.”

And, we ponder.

“It was just a different culture…” he says- “those 8 muddy jeeps and the off-road militia shirts on the guys [from the red-clay caked jeeps] coming into the restaurant [where we stopped for dinner]”- “West Virginia/Virginia signage with the big, black guns.”

I nod and laugh. The jeeps were lined up in a row next to our big, white van.

We head home and the minute we cross the Maryland state line- we are swept into the aggressive traffic. Maryland drivers! It’s a real thing. The pace of the freeway; the spirit of the drivers; the angsty need to keep up, keep on. It was distinct. Even if we hadn’t seen the sign, we would have known. Maryland.

“It’s just a different culture,” he says.

I listen. I nod.

I say, “And what did you think about that culture?”

He shrugs. “It was just different.”- not quite willing to put into words all that it was and all that it wasn’t.

Then, I say, “Maybe you should go to PA,”

[PA is codeword for Pennsylvania by people from there in case you wondered- and maybe didn’t know..]-

and- [he has some possible college choices there].

We look at each other.

In unison,

“It’s more chill there.”

We laugh.

The Things We Say.



The Things They Say Part 2

I am gathered together with my teens in the music room.

We are an indomitable late-night crew.

Tall Son is home from college

– and we are drawn like moths to flame–

to each other.

The talk turns to sports and the local christian school sports team some of the boys have played/play for:

And basketball- because one son plays soccer. And we circle round whether he should have played basketball, too– we chit– and we chat–

and then suddenly- Tall Son rallies! He tells brother he would have been sitting on the (basketball team) bench.

Said son deflects all perfectly- perfect delivery, absolutely no angst:

“I am a bench warrior; let me tell you! If I get the exercise I need in practice, mission accomplished. Then I can cheer on the team from the bench, which is what I do best!”

He rubs his knuckles on his chest and then blows on them.

He is the soccer man- and if he can maintain condition for soccer- everything else is icing on the cake.

“I am a bench warrior”- The Things They Say.


That same night- two sons duel in falsetto.

I share the story of a small son (who is now basically a man on that very couch) many years ago- singing Christmas Carols perfectly in a sweet, high-pitched voice: “Falalalala-lala-lalala!”

Back and forth they sing an ad-lib, high-pitched duel.

I laugh so hard, I cry.

I share the story of my sister- with whom I would often laugh until I cried when I was young– late at night. We called it the “Daze Stage.”

It felt so happily familiar.

To laugh myself silly with my loves.

The Things They Say (or Sing)


I am immersed in a writing intensive with my freshman daughter.

We are working hard through much difficulty.

She crafts a compare/contrast essay on  Acro-Dance and Gymnastics.

The course utilizes a computerized scoring system and writing improvement tool called PEG.

We groan as we work with PEG; we determine to “trick” PEG; we won’t stop until PEG’s points go higher. I am relentless. She is determined. She is a force to contend with in her fixed focus toward completion. On, on.

PEG doesn’t like “acro,” we have to name it acrobatics. So, we do- with mutterings and groans.

PEG doesn’t like “back walkovers;” I trick it by insisting she call it “the back walkover.” So, she does (and the points improve.)

Later, I am working at the table… and she is standing behind a chair across from me. She wants to share her essay with some different people– and we are talking about it. I hear her muttering and pondering:

” ‘ The back walkover’ — that sounds so WEIRD.”

And suddenly, it hits me:

“The back walkover”– just how presumptuous and awkward it sounds-

as if it is some great, specifically precise feat separate from the other skills in her sentence in some inexplicable way.

The actual sentence: Side aerials, the back walkover, and press handstands are all amazing to watch and hard to achieve.

and she just can’t stand how “the back walkover” sounds and reads in the sentence- and how it isn’t true to what it really “is.”

Her face- scrunched up in disapproval; the battle with PEG; the victory with points; the sweat equity in the piece itself;

I laugh SO  HARD. I laugh today. I laugh forever. I laugh, and laugh, and laugh.

“The back walkover”  The Things They Say (and we do).


A (smaller) Tall Son begins his first basketball season:

He loads the bus for his first away game:

A shout rises up: “BORGER!!!!” from all the high school players.

He loads and sits deep in the middle of the bus behind the high school Coach (Micah’s coach) and Coach says:

“Welcome to the Belly of the Beast.”

At dinner, he finds himself the center of some probing questions. A high school team member knows three of his brothers who have participated in various activities at said school.

“Whose your favorite brother?” the team-mate queries — hoping to disarm son and gather some ammunition. Not to be so easily outdone-

Son counters: “Do you even know how many brothers I have?”

The older student stutters, mutters, and answers incorrectly.

And that was the end of that. The question never came up again.

-I think he’s going to be just fine.-

The next day,

He finds himself on court, playing low post position. The opposing team member whispers (right next to him): “Jonah?”

Recognition dawns.

He finds himself face to face with a fellow Scout from our Troop. This confirmed a suspicion he had from the start- that the Casey on the team- was the Casey from Troop 9.

Worlds expand.

The Things They Say and Do.