The corn people

Held in warmth and darkness, the embryos await the light

Grow whole and plump out of the broken

Push their rumpled heads out of the night


The babies tremble in the springtime wind

Their tender jade hands patting at the raindrops, their bodies

Stretching slowly toward the sun


The children dance in line in the furrows, grow like weeds

And reach to touch hands

Their rippling arms sway above their heads as they play


The teenagers are robust, thick-stalked and firm

Tousle-haired, energetic, virile

Eager to be full grown, productive


The mature are thirsty, reach their parched hands high

A silent shriek for answers that do not come and

For the life of the young borne against their bodies, for strength


The fruitful stand erect, yield produce of excellence and delight

And spent, bereft, but self-respecting

Wait in silence for the end. The good seed will go on


The aged shrivel into themselves, pointing crooked fingers

Against the clouded evening sky

Accusing, eerie, alone


Held in warmth and darkness, the embryos await the light


Watermelon, fireworks, new barbecue sauce, a child’s wagon, homegrown tomatoes, rose petals

Day lilies, cantaloupe, orange dream on a stick, campfire coals, a shocking sunset, ripe peaches

Sunlight on my skin, black-eyed susan, sea shells, the heart of a daisy, full moon, buttered cobs of corn

Fresh mown lawn, leaves making merry, mossy rocks by the streambed, bits of sea glass, grass stains

Rows of denim jeans against the wind, still water, a robin’s eggshell fallen, open sky

Bright bunting wings here and gone again, blueberries, iridescent dragonfly wings, hydrangea clusters

Concord grapes, ruffled fuchsia blooms, bruised bare knees, black raspberry ice cream, twilight

Summer motto


It’s more aspirational than strictly true about any of us at the moment, but the children and I say it aloud together on Monday mornings when we have our powwow to discuss plans for the week.

I am a responsible, joyful person who shares ownership of this home.

I am in charge of my own body and I clean up after myself.

I can be calm in disappointment, happy in work or play, and kind to everyone I meet.

Let’s just say we trust it’s formative.

My ten-year-old son was pleased to learn that I wrote it, and he is harder to impress than he used to be.

These are the things we work on. What would you write in your motto?

Snippets of life

…a.k.a. “Confessions and Newsflashes from my Multi-Faceted* Life”

* {Multi-faceted} meaning we have breakfast dishes, lunch dishes, snack dishes, supper dishes… and I am good at washing all of them.

Confession: If I were a wiser girl, I would be making lunch right now. But sometimes words are food too, and I chew on them to stay alive in the midst of chaos.

Confession: My son took a dead snake to school. He also took his stomp rocket—but he needed a back-up plan in case his teacher didn’t allow him to do show-and-tell outside, so  he dropped our cat’s kill into his backpack and didn’t tell me about it until afterwards… when I wondered why he was spraying the air freshener so liberally in the vicinity of his backpack. The teacher (who was a substitute for the day) will be forever blessed to have said “yes” to going outside, though she probably never knew the alternative. Smart girl.

Newsflash: I have come to an important realization. I can raise either children or rodents, not both.

Free to a good home: one large gerbil who bites everything.

Confession: Sometimes I amuse myself by imagining how future history books will speak of The Americans, or The Westerners. I imagine informational books recreating what we ate, what we wore, how we spent our days, and what we thought was important. Today, drenched in all things girlie, I am thinking how odd it will seem to someone, someday, that we considered pink a feminine color and would never wear it on our baby boys.

Confession: I’ve never entered summer vacation with so little Plan. I usually take a strategic few days in the spring to come up with all my systems and brainstorms for keeping (them) busy and (me) sane. But suddenly, here we are.

I was talking with some friends lately about how much we can learn from Organized People Who Know How to Plan—and how much we can learn from Flexible People Who Roll Graciously with Whatever Comes.

I have given up hope of attaining the perfect balance.

Meanwhile life seems to keep me hanging in a place that is not quite either one.

Newsflash: Silent Grief: Hope for Surviving Early Miscarriage is available for pre-orders in printed form. I promised I’d let you know when it came out. Also available is a lovely gift packet, with a journal and a bookmark and things. Check it out here at Kendra’s site.

Confession: I can never discover the truth of my own motives until after I hit publish. I thought my recent discussion about controversy was a general one about life online; afterwards I realized that I was responding directly to one particular thing that got me, which makes me no wiser than all the hens who ruffled their feathers and bickered. Then I was ashamed.

I’ve never done that before, and I don’t plan to again.

You had excellent thoughts, and I thank you.

Confession: There is no friend like an old friend.

becca and girls

After Becca and her girls came last weekend I was going to write a whole post about it, how we talked and cried and laughed, how we sat on the grass and the couch and the lawnchairs, how we tended babies and cooked and cleaned together. I was going to write about the last time I saw her, eight years ago, and how the years melted away when she arrived. I was going to write of our friendship, how it stretches back and back through first-time motherhood, early marriage, Bible school days, teenage years, to the time we first met at thirteen, shy and eager and lonely. I was going to write all this, but I found that our memories are our own, and not to be shared yet.

There is no friend like an old friend.

Newsflash: Last week I dreamed that each of our goats gave birth to two kids, and when I woke up in the morning, I found it was true. They are pure white, and darling—two billies and two does. They are the first of the babies due this year on the Zook homestead: kittens, possibly puppies, and a newborn child. I am beginning to hope again in dreams.

goat 3

Confession: Life is strange. And selecting donuts? Even stranger.

When I pulled up to the drive-through of Tim Horton’s, my sons had carefully planned the donuts they wanted, but the male voice through the intercom informed me that he was sold out of both kinds. In a hasty decision, the boys both picked Maple Dip as a substitute, and I picked what I knew Ryan and Kelly would like, as a take-home treat for them. The cashier repeated my order back to me. “Two maple dips, an apple fritter, and a maple dip.”

“That’s right,” I said, distractedly.

“Whoa,” he said. “I said that wrong. Two maple dips, an apple fritter, and a vanilla dip.”

“That’s right.”

“I just wanted to make sure,” he said.

As we pulled up to the pick-up window, Aarick said “I wish I had ordered an apple fritter.” I thought quickly. Should I ask them to change it? The prices were probably not the same, and we’d already confused our worker enough. “I’m sorry, son,” I said. “I think you’ll need to go with what you picked. It will be okay.”

We paid and drove away, and I opened the box to find two apple fritters, one maple dip, and one vanilla dip. My sons and I sat and laughed. What are the chances the cashier could give us what we wanted instead of what we ordered? That was awfully sweet of God.

Confession: And now I need to stop ignoring my messy living room and fussing babes.

What have you been up to?