Tuesday, November 13, 2007

No one wants to sweep the leaves.

Once again we are faced with an onslaught of foliage.

We no longer walk outside, we wade.

When we pull into the drive we know where to park the cars because of the leaf-free impression we left when we drove out of that spot earlier.

I can ignore the yard, though (anyone who has been to our house will chime in ‘clearly!’), but we really needed to clear a path to the door. The UPS guy keeps going to the back door, for some reason, even though the deck out there can be hard to navigate at the best of times, let alone when it is two feet deep in leaf litter.

So I caved in this week and got out there and did it. And I now present you with the list of reasons why that particular job is no fun.

- The crunchy fun-to-jump-in stuff is only on top. If you’re had any rain at all in the last six months there’s going to be inches of slimy leaves under that.

- You can never find the leaf rake when you need it. I finally got the job done with an old mop, only to uncover the rake head two hours later.

- There are BUGS in there! A wasp stung me on the toe. The toe! Oh, the humanity.

- There is no ending. Do you stop sweeping at the end of the deck? At the stairs? At the bottom of the stairs? Do you keep going until you reach the road?

So, no, it isn’t a fun job at all. And, oh there’s one other reason – it used to be Sam’s job.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ten Cent Therapy.

It’s ‘back to school’ time here in the good ol’ U. S. of A.

Yes, it is very strange to begin a school year way at the end of the calendar year. Yes, it is odd that kids here don’t get their long break over Christmas and New Year, as God intended. My Aussie readers will agree with me completely on these points.

However, my US readers will know right away that this is the time of year for ‘back to school’ sales bargains.

Since we begin our (home) school year in January (and I’m not the best at planning five months ahead of time) we don’t benefit a whole lot from these sales. I suppose if I got my act together I could buy up now and have big shiny piles of stationery (my Dad’s favourite thing in the world) beckoning us between now and the New Year. Realistically though, stuff doesn’t cost all that much here at the worst of times anyway.

All this doesn’t stop me from getting excited when I go through Wal-Mart lately – hey, I am my father’s daughter. Crisp, new folders (all the little metal rings still meet up properly, unlike every single one the kids have ever got their hands on). Solid packets of pencils, with all the colours still present and accounted for. Textas (that’s ‘markers’, y’all), erasers, staplers… notebooks.

Ten cent notebooks. Ah, heaven. I couldn’t help myself, I bought a bunch. Then I went back later and bought a bunch more. It was a lot easier to buy a stack of them than to buy only two (instead of the usual three).

At some point we may even use some of them for school.

At the moment, though, they’re therapy.

Laura and Oli now carry one with them, almost everywhere. Sam appears often in the pages. We are assured this is healthy.

It can be hard to know how to answer people when they ask how the kids are handling all this. We have some idea, but quite a lot of what is going on in their heads is still a mystery to us. We have to trust that their hearts and minds are being kept safe by the Father who knows them best.

But, for now, we are thankful for midnight conversations and ten cent notebooks.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Oh, what a terrible cost,
To lose a son to save the lost,
To have to pay a price so dear,
God, you have no idea.

Oh, what a terrible pain,
To meet with grieving once again,
To know the hurt when loved ones go,
God, you just don't know.

Oh, what a terrible mess,
The aftermath - our great distress,
To walk this sharp and barren land,
God, you don't understand.

Oh, what a terrible weight,
To choose to love, and not to hate,
When dark ones whisper, 'Just forget it',
God, you just don't get it.

Oh, what a terrible Grace,
The blood, and the sweat,
...and the tears on His face,
To choose to pay a price so dear,
God, you've already been here.

(July 22/07)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Sobbing in Public

…and other common occurrences.

How do I begin to write the hardest piece of non-fiction I have ever attempted?

I discovered yesterday that there are two times when a parent carries a child with slow steps and infinite care. When the journey is longer in spirit than in geography, and the weight of the burden held far exceeds any reckoning of mass or measure.

Those two occasions are the first time a newborn is transported from maternity ward to car, and the second is when a parent carries the urn that contains their young child’s ashes from the mortuary to the vehicle that will carry them home – and I pray to God that no other parent reading this ever has to bear that unbearable burden.

I truly apologise to anyone reading this who was not already aware that this week we lost our oldest son, Samuel, in a tragic accident. I have held off on writing here until as many people as possible had been told. For Mike and I the number of people who had already heard when we contacted them has been oddly encouraging. For us it has means that there are many people who care for us, and who will miss Sam at least a fraction of how much we do and will.

I cannot begin to describe now the horror and pain that we have begun to experience this week. I cannot now begin to count the many beautiful consolations that have tempered our grief - those tiny joys that touch at the edges of our sorrow.

Even as we feel this pain together we rejoice in the person that Sam was and is, and we rejoice in the decision he made just weeks ago to fully embrace his relationship as a child of God. Our Father has gathered him into His heart.

Samuel Thomas William Rayson. Your days on earth can be counted between March 28, 1996 and May 14, 2007. But your spirit dances into eternity.

We love you Sam.