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Friday, August 20, 2010

New Home

Hello Friends and Followers,

I'd like to invite you to come follow my blog at it's new home:

Moving this blog to my website is my attempt to consolidate all my writing in one place and to add as much momentum behind my writing career as possible. ;-)

I am SO unbelievably grateful for the time you give me by reading my blog and following it. I do not take for granted that anyone will want to read my stuff, so it's a thrill to see the little ticker on my blog followers go up and up and up. Thank you. Thank you.

It is a real gift to have you reading my writing.

So, I look forward to seeing you over at Words on the Side, on my website.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


In her book Traveling Mercies, Anne Lamott writes about witnessing a miracle at church. It's a beautiful story, one I wish I could quote for you. But right now, the book is stuffed away somewhere in an unpacked box in the back of Noelle's closet.

And so I'll have to conjure it from memory.

Lamott writes about a particular Sunday morning, when during a worship song she witnesses a lady lift up a fellow congregant, a man with AIDS, and weeps with him as the congregation sings.

It's a miraculous moment, because until that point the woman has been uncomfortable around the man with AIDS, a bit distrustful. But on that morning, during that worship song, she reaches out and touches him. She helps him stand to his feet and the two of them cry.

If I remember it correctly, I believe she even mentions that their tears and snot mingle together as they lean into each other's faces. It is a symbolic moment: two lives touching one another, holding each other's beauty and brokenness, where there had been alienation and distrust before. This is the miracle.

I have been thinking about this story all week, because I witnessed a miracle this past Sunday too.

I think it is perhaps the first miracle I have ever seen in church, and I do not say this lightly because I have seen bodies kneeling at the altar in prayer but those miracles did not knock me off my feet and send me into my seat weeping the way this miracle did.

To begin with, church started out a bit difficult for both Dwayne and I. We have grown up our whole lives visiting new churches and neither one of us necessarily thrills at the thought of being the new kid in church. It's such an odd community to visit after all, with all it's intuitive interactions and insulations. And yet, it is the body of Christ.

As we walked up to the church we noticed that no one was coming or going.

"Are you sure we have the right time?" Dwayne asked as we mounted the steps. It was a tidy and inviting building with large golden beams of wood and tall windows.

We pushed through the doors and found the building full of people. They stood around in clusters chatting. No one leaving or going into the sanctuary. This was clearly a body which knew and loved one another; however, they seemed oblivious to the newcomers.

I walked up to the desk with the big "Information" sign above it and waited. I had my first line rehearsed and glossy, "Hi, this is our first time visiting. Can you tell me where the nursery is?"

Usually, this first liner wins me a warm smile and easy conversation. "Oh! Welcome! Where are you from? Let me take you down myself." Or something along those lines.

But at this information desk, I waited and waited. The volunteer was engaged in a conversation with a friend and though he saw I was there, he did not move to help me.

"It says, 'Treasureland' over there," Dwayne whispered over my shoulder. I looked up and saw an arrow clearly pointing the way to the kid's ministry and so without receiving help, I scooped Noelle up and took her down to the nursery myself.

"Why is it so hard for people to understand? It's not that difficult to be nice to a new person." Dwayne shook his head as we found our seats in the sanctuary. I knew what he meant. Both of us were feeling a bit irritated, a bit indignant over it all.

The pinnacle of my frustration came when we entered the sanctuary doors and the greeter, who saw me out of the corner of her eye, neglected to turn away from her own conversation and hand me a bulletin. She would have let me pass by without a single acknowledgement had I not marched directly up to her and asked, "May I have a bulletin, please?"

I swear I have never had to ask a greeter for a bulletin before. That's their job -- to stand at the doors and greet you and push a bulletin into your hand whether you like it or not, whether trees are dying or not, just so you can have a moment of human contact at some point between the church entrance and the sanctuary seats.

"Oh sure!" she said with a smile and handed it to me.

Come on, Christin, straighten up! I coached myself as I walked down the aisle to an empty seat. No one will want to be your friend if you're acting irritated. So I eased into my seat and tried to imagine myself as sunshine, bright, radiant, warming.

As the service wound on, I found myself opening slowly and almost unwillingly to the worship and the message. Neither were flashy, but bother were substantive, heartfelt, sincere. They were not mainstream. They did not try to be. They were authentic.

At the end of the service, the worship pastor took the platform. "If you can stand," he said, "Please stand with us and sing."

So we did, and the words on the screen were:

Great is they faithfulness, Oh God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not thy compassions they fail not
Great is they faithfulness Lord unto me.

During this song a middle aged couple a few seats ahead of us suddenly walked out of their row. They turned at the front, and made their way to a man sitting, hunched over and alone. He was directly in the front and middle.

As soon as I laid eyes on him, I could see that he had cerebral palsy. His wide shoulders twisted over on themselves, and his head, covered with silver hair, bobbed about a foot above his knees. He could not sit up right, let alone stand, but he was in church, on the very front row.

The couple parted on either side of him. The woman leaned over with smile and whispered something in his ear. A nod wobbled from his neck and shoulders, and with that she and her husband each grabbed his biceps. They slung his arms around their shoulders and with one heave, stood up, stretching his curled posture straight.

Then, the husband did something incredibly awkward and gracious: he pulled up the man's pants because they were falling down due to his twisted posture.

It was an embarrassingly disjointed moment, but it was also amazingly honest. The man's pants were falling down. He could not help it, so his brother lent him dignity and held his pants for him. They stood like that for the rest of the song, their arms wrapped around each other, the husband holding the man's pants, the wife holding the man's waist.

I felt the tears bubble up hot from the cracks of my soul, and I tried for a time to stop them. But then I heard Dwayne sniffle beside me, and then someone else behind us let out a gentle sob. Suddenly, at the surface were so many emotions, so many fears and longings and blessings, so many tired nights and hopeful days.

While the man with cerebral palsy stood to worship, I slumped back in my seat and wept.

I wept until the end of service. I was crying still when the woman in front of us turned around and shook my hand and introduced herself as Bev and said, "We would love to have you visit our small group!" My eyes were still wet when the worship pastor and his wife invited us with open arms to their house for dinner that night. And I was still dabbing my eyes as we walked quietly back to our car.

Dwayne and I were both thinking of the three bodies in the front row, but neither of us wanted to speak. Finally, Dwayne broke in.

"I couldn't stop crying over that couple helping that man stand up," he said. "Now, that was church."

"Yes," I said, "Don't talk about it. It will make me cry again."

And I thought about the start of the morning and the condition of the human soul, the unwillingness we all carry to reach out and touch another person's life. The fear we have of each other's embarrassments and shames. The self-imposed alienation that keeps us bound up and alone more often then we'd like to admit.

I thought again of the husband's strong hand hoisting up the man with cerebral palsy's pants. It was an awkward gesture of grace and it gave us all dignity.

That, was more than church, I thought. That was a miracle.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Okay, I have to make a list of the things we are doing without since moving to Washington. We didn't move here with the intention of simplifying - it just sort of happened. And we're not necessarily trying to be non-mainstream, it's just sort of working out that way.

Here's what we don't have anymore a: TV, Microwave, Dishwasher, garbage disposal, and 2nd car.

Ok, so you're probably thinking, "So what? No big deal" but let me just unpack this list with you a bit.

1) TV - first of all, TV's take up so much room!!

There is so much sitting space in our new living room now that we're not trying to fit in a TV. I like how the area is no longer oriented around an entertainment center. It's oriented around company, hanging out, talking. It's no longer oriented around being entertained, but rather having interchanges.

Also on the TV topic, I actually haven't watched TV since my stint at the Monastery a few months ago.

Something happened to me that weekend and I haven't recovered, but this is an insanely good thing!! The first night in the monastery, I remember going to bed at a decent hour because there was no internet to surf, or TV to watch. I was tired anyway, worn out after two years of helping my husband get through grad school.

But when I laid down, I couldn't sleep. My mind kept racing. Images from TV shows and movies kept popping into my head. I kept tossing and turning, jerking out of sleep with these faces and camera angles, and zooming. And I remember thinking very clearly - watching TV isn't entertainment, it isn't "vegging", it's filling my head full of junk that I have to detox from in order to relax.

I didn't leave the monastery thinking I was going to quit watching TV. I just stopped. I have had zero desire to watch TV since that weekend. And so, it wasn't a hard thing for me to leave behind the TV when we moved, in fact, it has been freeing to leave it behind!

2) Microwave - Okay, this is a hard one.

My in-laws have lived without a microwave for many years because they believe that it is detrimental to their health. And I know the debate about the safety of microwaves has been raging for years. Even still, I have been heavily dependent on my microwaves over the years.

I mean, it's just so easy for leftovers, and for Noelle's lunches, because YES! I will confess, we have surrendered to the chicken nugget and peas that constitute an easy lunch.

In fact, we didn't mean to go without a microwave. We believed we would have a microwave provided for us in the apartment here at Western. We have an oven and a fridgerator, but no microwave.

And you know what I've discovered in the last seven days since we've been here? I haven't needed the microwave ONCE!! I can hardly believe it! I've been able to reheat everything in the oven, or just make it from scratch. I'm starting to wonder why I ever used a microwave to begin with?

How is it that we come to be so dependent on things we don't really need?

3) Dishwasher - I haven't had one for the duration of our marriage, but I was hoping perhaps we'd get one with this apartment. But there again, I haven't felt it's need since being here.

4) Garbage Disposal - Now, Dwayne will tell you that I have loved my garbage disposals in the past, a bit too much. I loved clearing off leftovers, putting them down the drain, and grinding them away. Bye-bye food, hello clean counters and refrigerator.

So, like the microwave, I've been a bit worried about going without a disposal. This has been a bit harder to adjust to because I have grown accustomed to left overs and wasting food, to cooking more food than my family can consume in a week and then just flushing it down my sink when it goes bad.

Ideally, we would compost, and this is something we are considering. The trick is figuring out where and how we would do this on a college campus. Not sure it's doable.

In the meantime, living without a garbage disposal is making me rethink the portions that I'm cooking, and the portions that I'm putting on our plates. It's making me think about reducing food down to zero. Not because we're throwing away the scraps, but because we are consuming all of it.

5) 2nd Car - Letting go of our second car has been the best part of our move here to Bellingham simply because of what it represents for our personal lives.

We are able to do this because Dwayne's job is (I am not kidding you, folks!!) right down the hall from our apartment. You step outside our door, walk past the main entry with it's winding wood steps on the right, and the student lounge with it's many windows on the left, and then you are there - at Dwayne's office.

His supervisors' offices are right below our apartment. So he only has to go outside and around the corner to get to "headquarters".

Noelle's preschool is less than 2 miles away, so we could walk there if we wanted. And as far as my travel needs? My work will mostly be on the internet for the next several months as I lead my on-line writing workshops, and work on my book.

Perhaps of all the simplification this one has been the most healing to my soul. I will admit that the expanse of LA was starting to wear me thin. The long stretches of freeway, the traffic, the disjointed way our lives crossed each other, Dwayne going to school, me commuting at times 2 hours to work, Noelle going to the babysitter's.

All these things have been brought together in the most healing of ways here in Bellingham simply because of proximity.

We are still far from family. And now far from all our dear friends in Los Angeles, but each morning I find myself waking up to a quiet relief - like I don't have to work so hard anymore to keep everything together.

And I think perhaps this is the beauty of simplicity? The paring away of that which we don't need, but have built our lives on, so that we can live within the reach of our own souls.

Monday, August 02, 2010


Here was my to-do list when I woke up this morning. It was a short list, but a big one.

1) Get Noelle de-wormed. She has come down with worms for the second time this summer! So in the midst of this big move, the poor thing has had upset stomach, diarrhea and a very sore behind. I blame the dogs she was snuggling right before we left Indiana.

So first thing this morning, I took her to Rite-Aid and bought her that chalky, minty medicine that kills pinworms.

Second on my list was:

2) Find a preschool for Noelle. She is so ready. There is no doubt in my mind that it is absolutely the right move for her. I'm not sure how many days or hours a week I will choose to have her in preschool, but I can see in so many ways that my little girl is ready for the new challenges and opportunities preschool will bring her.

Western Washington University provides a Child Development Center to it's employees and students, but it's very hard to get into. The wait lists are up to a year long. So I went to the CDC today with low expectations. I was hoping at least to get a referral to other preschools in the area.

One of Dwayne's supervisors very kindly offered to take me to the Daycare so that I could meet the director and talk with her personally. This was a wonderful connection. And so around lunch time we met Dwayne's supervisor, picked up her daughter from dance class and then went over to the CDC.

As soon as we walked through the doors Noelle was off like a flash. She ran into the classroom and began playing with the toys, perfectly at home in this new environment. I observed with pride how independent my little girl is. "She's ready," I thought to myself as I turned to shake the Director's hand.

"I think they're about to take a nap," the Director said craning her neck around to see Noelle. "Your daughter..." she waited for me to catch the hint.

"Certainly!" I piped up and rushed in to pull Noelle out of the way.

The Director escorted us back to her office, and of course Noelle was squirmy. She was anxious to get back to the classroom.

"Mommy, I was making you a sandwich!" she announced and fidgeted around the seat uncontrollably, lifting her legs and feet up underneath her, then twisting around to grab everything on the coffee table. She found a red foam apple.

"Yes, you can play with that," the Director said walking into her office with a pleasant smile.

I turned in my seat to face her as she sat down behind her desk.

"So, you're interested in our school?" she asked pulling a yellow sheet of paper out of her desk.

I heard a long low squelch beside me, and turned to see Noelle trying to EAT the foam apple.

"Noelle, don't eat that!" I retorted and pulled the apple out of her hand.

"Oh yes, you don't want to eat that!" the Director said in that same pleasant and unflappable tone. "Lot's of little hands have been all over it."

She went on to kindly explain to me that the preschool has a very long wait list, but if I filled out this yellow paper, they would give me a call perhaps in the Spring if there was an opening next Fall.

"We really can't guarantee what our availabilities are going to be," she finished.

I heard a crack beside me and turned to see Noelle bending over a mirror. She had found it behind the chair, pulled it out and dropped it on the ground.

"Oh!" the Director jumped up and picked up the mirror quickly. "You don't want to play with that!"

"Noelle," I hissed as the Director stepped out to put the mirror away. "Sit down on your bottom!" The director walked back in and Noelle begrudgingly shuffled up onto the chair and slumped down into it's corner. She sat with a look of flat irritation. It was past lunch time now, going on nap time.

I handed her a cookie. She crossed her brows and slapped it away from me. I felt a small flag of panic unfurl deep in my gut. What do I do with this two year old???!! She was completely misbehaving and I had no recourse. I needed to finish this meeting but where could she go? What could I do? There was no one to watch Noelle for me, and I had no idea how to threaten or distract her into good behavior. I was feeling lost in more ways than one.

I straightened up and turned toward the Director, who tried to look like she had not seen my daughter defy me. "I'd let her go in the age-appropriate room, but their about to take a nap," she explained meekly.

I nodded my head and took the yellow sheet from her. "Well, I was hoping you might be able to refer me to other preschools?"

The director smiled that same implacable smile and said, "We're not supposed to refer people to preschools, but here you can call the Opportunity Council..." and she stopped mid-sentence to write down the phone number.

And then Noelle spoke:

"I have worms." It was clear as the sunny days we've had here in Bellingham this weekend.

The Director choked on a laugh and then looked up at me. A deep blush crept up from my neck and I felt the heat of it to the top of my head.

"I have worms. I have worms. I have worms." It was almost deliberate and calculated. Noelle sat slumped into the corner of her chair watching the Director quietly, measuring the reactions around her.

"Well that's not what you're mommy wants you to tell me!" The Director laughed again and then turned to me. "Yeah, there's no chance of you getting into the school this year. And a slim chance you'll get in next year, but just give us the sheet and we'll call you."

We shook hands and I scooped my daughter out of the office.

Outside she screeched at the top of her lungs when I told her it was time to go home. "But I want to stay at preschool!" she sobbed and her whole body stiffened like a board so that I could hardly pick her up.

"Please honey," was all I could whisper as I followed Dwayne's supervisor back to the car and lumped her into the car seat.

Back at the apartment, I quietly prepared quesadillas for a late lunch. My own inner antagonist taunted me. "She's not ready for preschool. She's a savage! She's hardly civilized enough to be with other kids. What have you done wrong? Where have you failed her?"

Noelle carried her blue princess dress up to me and pushed it into my thigh. "Mommy, I want to wear this."

"Okay" I reached down and helped her put it on.

"I'm going to go lay on my belly, okay mommy?" I have been coaching her to do this when her stomach hurts. She walked down the hallway and disappeared into our bedroom.

I cut the avocados, and carefully spooned them out onto her plate. Things were quiet down the hall. Usually when Noelle is quiet, it means she's concentrating very hard on something she knows she should not be doing. Like rummaging through my purse, or pulling all the clothes out of the dresser drawer, or yanking on the blinds.

Though I was enjoying the peace and quiet, I knew I needed to check on her, so I walked back to our bedroom and pushed on the door.

This is what I found.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Throw Mountains

I'm excited to have been invited to post a guest blog over at Throw Mountains today. Renee Johnson and Sarah Cunningham have a cool ministry running over there for 20/30 somethings.

Renee invited me to write a bit about the metaphorical shipwreck many young adults hit after graduation, which is the topic of my first book.

If you have a chance, stop on over there, read the blog, comment, but also check out all that Throw Mountains has to offer!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Facing the Child

Noelle is exactly 2 years and 9 months old today, and I feel like I'm seeing the persona of a little girl emerge from the curtain and sheets of her toddler body.

Her protruding belly is disappearing. Her pudgy legs are getting longer, more gangly. Her face and mouth are turning into the silhouette of a girl and young woman I am going to get to know over the next several years.

This morning, she popped into our bed all bright and ready to chat.

"You guys went on a date last night?" she asked holding her luvie under one arm and crawling up the bedspread.

"Yep!" Dwayne said hoisting her up. "What did you do last night?"

Noelle sat up on her knees, her little feet splayed out beside her bum. "Well," she held out her hands and counted on her fingers. "I played and I -" pause, a twinkle in her eye "I pooped!" Then she slapped her forehead, laughed and flopped back onto the bed with us.

We were a crumple of sheets and bedspread and laughter.

I have had a revelation about my daughter in these last two days. Primarily about her personality. Well, that's not exactly it. I've had a revelation about my expectations of her personality.

Since being on this month long galavant across the country I have been forced to see her in a new light. Before this trip, I have been excited to fling open the doors and share my little girl with our family, to let them see the joy, the cuteness, the sweetness.

But then of course, we have been traveling, out of our natural setting, out of her normal rhythm, and she has been tossed around on the steady current of strange hotels, strange faces, strange schedules. In short, she's been sick and out of sorts. And on top of all of this, she has been, of course, a normal two year old. Primarily - obstinate and tactless.

For example, two nights ago, we had a friend over for dinner. During most of the dinner, my daughter was being a complete pill. I couldn't get her to sit down in her seat next to our guest. She was fussing and fighting, kicking and whining, and when she did sit down she was throwing her water around and making a mess.

After a couple trips to the bathroom for some correction, she settled down finally and pecked at her food. Later on, she was sitting in my lap and I decided to point at our guest and ask, "Noelle, who's that?"

She got that twinkle in her eye and said, "That's poop."

I was mortified. No idea what to do. I made her apologize and she did. Then I apologized again later to our guest. But I was fighting with myself the whole evening.

What was I doing that was allowing my daughter to be so rude? Hadn't she just been cringing and squirming the other day when NaNa was trying to give her a kiss? Hadn't she run away from BopBop yelling, "NOOOO" when he tried to say "hi"?

If you know me at all, you'll know that this sort of behavior would horrify me. And so I have set my mind to correct it. Dwayne and I have been admonishing Noelle to speak respectfully and kindly to NaNa and BopBop because they love us so much. And to talk nicely to people.

Anyway, back to the evening when Noelle called our guest "poop." After she had gone to bed that night, Mom, Dad, Dwayne and I all sat together in the living room.

"I don't think Noelle liked our guest much," my Dad said. I looked up to find him smiling. He was amused. Not defeated, like me.

"Oh because she called our guest poop?" I asked shaking my head.

"No, before that. I don't think she wanted to sit next to her at the table." And I could see in my father's eyes that he thought Noelle was onto something. When he looked at Noelle he didn't see a misbehaving little girl. He saw an intuitive child with the inability to manage her reactions.

And suddenly the light broke.

I do not want my daughter to be rude or a brat, but I also do not want to neuter her personality.

These are the new thoughts that have been swirling around my head and heart these last two days as I've been watching my little girl bounce around the house turning summersaults or sticking her feet outside in the pond:

- It's okay, if she doesn't like some one. We all have our aversions and attractions to people.
- But I want her to be gracious and kind.
- I don't want to make her feel like there's something wrong with her own tastes and sensibilities.
- But I want her to be well adjusted, to be able to move smoothly with society.

Ultimately, I am thinking about the line between training and guiding these little beings God has placed in our care, but then also giving them the space to be who they are?

The truth is, my child is much stronger than I have been willing to see. And I am recognizing that perhaps her personality is not going to be exactly what I would have chosen. Perhaps she'll be a bit more opinionated then I would have initially been comfortable with.

But when it comes down to it, I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. I want her to be her. I want her to have all the fire and spice that is in her little being, because it is after all so much more interesting than being a "perfect little angel."

Last night, while we were on our date, Dad says that Noelle climbed up in his office chair, put on his glasses and sat at the computer. "I'm Bop Bop!" she retorted.

This morning, as I was walking across the grass to the back house, watching Dwayne and Noelle on the porch by the pond. Noelle stood with her hand on Dwayne's leg and shouted out over the yard, "Mommy!"

"Yes?!" I said.

She raised her little chin up in the air and crooned for the whole 3 acres to hear, "I love my Daddy!"

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Being in my mother's home is about as close as it gets to heaven for me. Yesterday, Noelle told me that "NaNa's house is like a palace." Which is to say she feels the same way I do. :-)

After flying two short hours from Florida, then driving an hour up from Indianapolis, our family arrived at my parents' home in Alexandria, Indiana yesterday afternoon. Yes, if you've been tracking the Facebook status updates, that means that we have been in five states, and eight different beds in a little over a week. But the travels have finally slowed, at least for the next few weeks.

All our belongings are safely stored in Bellingham, WA. We reconnected with family in Orlando Florida, for the family reunion. And now, we will stay in Alexandria with my parents for the next three weeks before returning to our new home in Bellingham at the end of the month.

It's hard to describe just how delicious this homecoming has been. It's as if my soul has been slurping up some sort of nutrition it's badly needed for a long while. I have loved living in Los Angeles the last seven years, but have missed the presence of my parents and my sister. I can't tell you how many times during these last two years while Dwayne was in grad school and I was the primary bread winner that I wished I had my mother's help. So in addition to finally being able to be physically close to mom and dad, being in their home also feels like a place to gather and recoup before the transition to our new lives in Bellingham.

I have missed these last few years, the quiet sanctuary of my parents' home. The truth is, even growing up, our house was a quiet house. It has always been so. My parents are quiet, reflective people, and I took the peacefulness that trails them like a fragrance for granted as a child and teenager.

I just believed everybody's family was this way.

At this age and stage of my life, I see the markings and traits that characterize my parents and the life they've built together. And I see it as an entity which has certainly shaped me but exists outside of my own being as a person. In other words, the home I am building with Dwayne and Noelle is different, certainly influenced by, but different than my parents.

And I think this is why, when I stepped into the cool, quiet space of my mother's home yesterday, the ceiling fans turning lazily above, the lines of each room so clean, and simple, I felt that insane, yet quiet joy of permission bubbling up: permission to be, permission to let go, permission to relax, permission to not be responsible, permission to help, permission to embrace, permission to replenish, permission to go, permission to stay, permission to play, permission to cook, permission to nest, permission to let someone else watch my daughter for a while. :-)

My parent's house is beautiful and they have arrived at a season of their lives when they can afford a beautiful house, but even before this sanctuary on the skirt of Alexandria, when we lived in a small, one-story house in North Marion, and when we lived in rented homes on the mission field with borrowed hand-me-downs, my parents' homes have always been a safe place for me.

And I believe this was because their sanctuary had very little to do with the buildings and structures we've lived in. It's mostly had to do with them, their own beings.

I remember once, while we were living in England, I was about eleven or twelve-years-old, and my mother sent Annie and I off to a Christian girl's camp out in the English country side somewhere. It was in a beautiful old stone mansion with large ivy covered sides, and rolling views from the windows.

When the week was over, mom and dad drove through the gate and up the gravel driveway to pick us up. Dad helped us get our suitcases in the car, and Annie and I lept into the back seat.

As we pulled off, and sunk down into each other's presence, I looked out the window at the passing fields, and low stone-walls, and sighed. "It's so good to be home!"

Dad laughed and glanced at me in the rear view mirror, "But we're not home, we're in the car."