Entries from April 10th, 2012



Lately, I’ve developed a habit of putting lotion my hands every night before I go to sleep.

After washing my face and brushing my teeth, I pump a few squirts from the plastic container on the bathroom counter. I turn and go, walking into the bedroom as I rub it in. I stand there in the doorway, working the white stuff.

Over my knuckles. Up to my cuticles. Pressure. Fast then slow.

I stare through Trent as I complete this ritual. He’s on the bed reading a book or piddling on the laptop. My eyes are on on him — still from the doorway — but my mind is somewhere else.

I am my mother’s daughter.

My mother has had severe eczema all her life. For as long as I can remember, her hands have been cracked and swollen, red and rashed. She ages down her arms. Youth fades through her fingers — the fingers of a woman twice her age with a life of hard labor behind her.

I see her in the doorway — cheeks sucked inward in exertion, lips pursed, eyes far away — working lotion into her hands. Same movements. Same pattern. Every night.

I miss her when I realize what I’m doing. I feel close to her when I look down at my hands and see it — “This is familiar,” I think.

“This is healing,” I think.

“This is what she’s been teaching me all along,” I think — that healing is work and pressure and consistency. It’s putting balm in wounds you can’t control — sometimes every night.

Listening to: Kings of Convenience, “Surprise Ice”





On the drive down to Tampa Wednesday morning, we discovered that our free passes to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (and most importantly, Harry Potter World) had blackout dates the very week were were going.

The news could have been devastating.

But it wasn’t. We decided to just enjoy hanging out with our friends, Nik and Rachel Turley, this time around and vowed to go to Orlando in the fall. An uncomplicated, inexpensive weekend — that’s really what we needed. It’s especially what Trent needed.

Trent was a tired man.

So we hung out — going for wildlife-spotting strolls at Lettuce Lake Park (that alligator sighting was all me), lounging on blankets on the lawn reading aloud to each other, sitting on benches under shady trees listening to music from the Bok Towers bells, sleeping on the beach.

(Sadly, that babe-ish leg does not belong to me. Can I get an “Oww! Oww!” for Mrs. Turley?)

We ate out — at Bone Fish and that yummy Cuban place with the twisty-stooled lunch counter, and that yummy Greek place in Ybor City with the live music and the plate smashing.

And we watched baseball — the main event, you could say. Nik, who plays for the minor leagues, was the starting pitcher on opening day. He did all right. 🙂

The drives to and from were nice, too. I worked while Trent listened to his Nelson Mandela autobiography audiobook on double-speed (as he listens to all audiobooks). I took over writing Trent’s personal essay for his med school applications while he stood idly by — JK. Sort of.

All in all — I’d call spring break a success.

Thank you, Turleys, for your hospitality and general cuteness. We’ll be back.

Listening to: Natasha Bedingfield, “I Wanna Have Your Babies” (Don’t judge.)





We got back late Saturday night from a little spring break trip to Florida and woke up on Easter Sunday unprepared — no Easter baskets, no Easter ham.

We went to church, came home and had tuna melts for dinner.

Right before we blessed the food, Trent looked at me and said, “I miss our families.”

I smiled.

“I do, too.”

A little later, I was in the kitchen making some toast, a substitute for dessert. (No eggs = no brownies. An unfortunate truth.) Trent was working at the table.

“Can we talk about the resurrection? I want to talk about the resurrection.”

I smiled.

“I do, too.”

So we talked, leaning against the dishwasher with Trent’s arms around my waist. And we remembered this and that of what it all means — this opportunity to celebrate the light and life that comes after darkness and death, the miracle on Sunday after the crucifixion on Friday.

It felt a little more like a holiday after we did that. It took some of the edge off the void. There was no family, no big meal, no Cadbury Egg to speak of — but it was all right. It was more than all right.

Happy belated Easter. May you find peace and wholeness in Jesus Christ.

Listening to: The Lower Lights, “There is a Green Hill Far Away”

Photo: Florida oranges. Trent stole two from a grove we drove by. My apologies on his behalf to whoever they belong to.





coming out


I’m coming out of the closet:

I’ve been a Romney supporter for a while now.

If Gene Simmons can endorse him, why can’t I?

My private nature — the same private nature that most days makes this blog feel like a huge narcissistic leap out of my comfort zone — has kept me from going public.

But after reading this Mitt quote the other day, I feel I must:

“Most Americans, by the way, are carrying a burden of some kind. We don’t see it. We see someone on the street, they smile and say hello, but behind them they’re carrying kind of a bag of rocks. I want to help people. I want to lighten that burden.”

Whether or not you believe in Mitt, here the man speaks truth.

Be kind — for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

women’s lib


So true:

Photo: Cabbage is the prettiest vegetable. The rows of it at the botanical gardens had me smitten. How this relates to the poem, I know not. Cabbage is a symbol of domesticity, maybe? That’ll work. Cabbage is a symbol of domesticity.



Lately, I’ve been hanging with a lot of kids.

Like Ella. (Pictured above.)

Who is perfect, by the way. She’s everything you’d want in a friend — imagination, princess know-how and great hair. She’s definitely got her American Girl doll facts straight. She’s the perfect amount of saucy and sweet.

And there’s Dawson.

Who’s defining characteristic is his size — just shy of 30 lbs. at 8 months. He’s solid. And sweet. And cuddly. And wide-eyed, particularly when stationed in front of a tank of whale sharks.

And then, of course, there’s Trenton, the biggest kid in my life.

He was a little bit antsy during the performance of Billy Elliot we went to see a few weeks ago, but all in all, I was proud. He managed to stake awake through the whole thing.

At intermission he said, “I think that Billy Elliot kid is Asian. Isn’t he supposed to be from an Irish mining town?”

Kids say the darndest things.

(And, as a point of interest, the kid was in fact Asian. I’m all for political correctness, but really?)

P.S. The Fox Theatre is magical. I’m ashamed to count how many Broadway shows I’ve seen and how many Broadway theaters I’ve been to. This one takes the cake. I saw “The Artist” there by myself a few weeks back.

silent film + big screen + art-deco theater + full house = time machine + cathartic experience


conference weekend


We kicked off spring break with a hike to the top of Stone Mountain and a weekend of listening to 8+ hours of poetry, also known as General Conference.

From the top of Stone Mountain, you’d hardly believe you’re were looking out over millions of people, buildings and cars. All you can see are a few skyscrapers in the distance and a lush blanket of green, sprawling outward forever.

We skipped spring around here. Went straight to jungle. It’s gorgeous.

As are the words of Jeffrey R. Holland:

“Surely, the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who do not expect and feel they don’t deserve it.”

Photo: These fellas hang out in the creek outside our apartment when it gets hot. Yesterday alone I visited them no less than three times. There were kids with me — the Hales, a cute family from church — but even if they hadn’t been, I would have gone to say hello. For whatever reason, turtles give me an emotional boost. Turtles. Who knew?

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