Winter Storm

Over my shoulder I hear the PBS lady tell my sons about blizzards, how they are just snow storms unless the wind is strong and fast. Here in Texas we have driving rain, not driven snow, and it is the percussive light which wakes the dogs in the night. Poised for a fight. Hurricanes have the eyes of Quint’s soulless sharks as they roll across the landscape of childhood and wakefulness I will momentarily regret the home I left in fear. Regret what I did not leave there. Regret what I did, but not the winds. The winds around the eye, the deceptively calm eye, of every storm that changes the landscape

Of who we once were.



This started as a break up but ended with old friend, Wakefulness here in the dark, in the storm

It was a dark and stormy night! But it was the dogs that kept me up

Dogs of the past

Dogs of war

That dog whose name* I can’t remember who re-enacted classics like The Prince and the Pauper.

When names and sleep elude you, there are sheep. They start out chalky, outlined, and two dimensional, but they elaborate

In depth, complexity, and general fluffiness, but also about the weather, dogs barking at night, and all the ways it was and wasn’t my fault this chance we took hurt so much.


The Weirdest Thing

The weirdest thing how brave not knowing makes you. Not knowing the crash. Not knowing the presence of wrong. Not knowing the feral son has been a monster all along. He will not turn into a real boy instead he will be ever-so-carefully excised from the picture of the ordinary house, where trees have grown a rampart around all

who survive him.

Who is my neighbor?

This morning, 40 minutes before an exam in his class!!!!!!!! my son silenced his alarm, thought he had turned his phone on, then went back to sleep…with his cellphone still on airplane mode… his landline casually unplugged.

And his mom was in a frickin’ panic.

I had spent some time studying with him over the weekend so I happened to know how much the quiz was going to impact his grade and that he was not going to be allowed to switch sections to take it with a later class.

So I prayed.

I prayed to God, but I also prayed to neighbors.

I prayed to two neighbors on the first floor who then prayed to a third neighbor on the floor above Sleeping Beauty.

Thank God for good neighbors, and for the reminder that I need to be

A good neighbor.

Luke 10:29 and 15:6

Signs of Famine and Pain

Like most people I was appalled and distraught to read about what the Turpin siblings had to endure for nearly three decades. I will continue to grieve for them and pray for healing, justice, and recovery.

But I am angry as well. I am angry because despite (perhaps partially justified) calls to lay this abuse at the doorstep of homeschooling, there were so many people who interacted with the Turpin family, who saw at least some of the signs of abuse and yet no one ever reported anything.

At least two of the children went to public schools….

no one reported anything.

Neighbors saw odd behavior…

no one reported anything.

The children went to a doctor or two at some point in their lives…

no one reported anything.

Former neighbors found hard evidence of abuse and animal cruelty…

No one reported anything.

This is not the first time terrible crimes have been perpetrated by caregivers, ostensibly behind closed doors, but it is remarkable that the abuse intensified in severity and lasted so long because

No one reported anything.

Yet we hear them all now.

Note: if you suspect abuse or neglect you can make anonymous reports either by withholding your name or by relying that when you give your name to authorities your identity will not be shared in an investigation. Not one person who lived in proximity to the Turpins risked anything by making an anonymous report about signs of neglect or abuse.

If you suspect abuse, report

Thing One and Thing Two

There have always been problems with The Cat in the Hat-

  • Why the heck does the mom leave two young children home unattended?
  • Why doesn’t anyone heed the fish?
  • Why does the Cat come off as jovial instead of super creepy?
  • Which leads me to this:

One day he reads the story with his older sister. When he gets to the part about Thing One and Thing Two he has a few horrified questions. Who are they? Why do they live in a box? Do they ever get to see their mother? Why does the Cat/protagonist/ersatz guardian keep them in a box?!

His questions are so good and true and terrible and she cannot really answer them adequately. When she tries he says, in grief and anguish–but they are children, little children!

In the picture they took of you we strain to see your numbers, strain to see your faces. Look for something, someone to tell us it will all be ok.

As the last few lines of this children’s story

Indict us all.

Eldest Child

Something about Elvis impersonators, well-fed dogs, and raffles for them rattles around my head–keep asking myself what what can I give them? What can I do? When you were born I was still in college, George HW was president, both Princess Diana and Mother Theresa were still alive.

So many years of hunger.

I wish I could make it all better, like one of those chubby, diminutive fairy godmothers–change the immutable curse into a deep slumber, when you wake up

Wipe away all the tears from your eyes

Prepare a table just for you,

Things any decent mom would do…

Psalm 146:7 NIV

[7] He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free,