Wednesday, November 27, 2013

She Shook My Hand

Peas.  I was feeding him peas.  Paw prints.  There were blue paw prints on his bib.  The rest was a blur.  A blur of brown sweaters dotted with dancing glasses filled deep with red wine.  The house was warm, cozy, I guess, and swimming in a din I did not discern.  All I could see was my very young son in a very old high chair eating chunky baby food.  All I could hear was everyone else enjoying themselves.

"Shaun and his new girlfriend are here."  My husband's voice snapped my glazed eyes into focus and I turned my head toward him.  He looked so good in a fresh cranberry pullover and dark blue jeans.  I needed to go shopping.  I had nothing nice to wear.

I returned my attention to the pureed peas.  My cousin always had someone new to show off during the holidays.  I was not particularly amused and I pretended my interest was not piqued.  When they finally entered the kitchen for introductions, I leaned back in my chair, crossed my legs and casually waved the baby spoon.   

"Hi, I'm Lindsey!" She was impossibly tiny and tan, busty and blonde.

"Hi."  My eyes met hers.  They were blue, too.

After a rush of pleasantries flush with compliments, the air settled and I could smell the peas, again.  My husband leaned in close and whispered, "What was her name?"

"I already forget.  It's not like we will need to remember.  He'll bring someone else to Christmas."

* * * * *

Peaches.  I was feeding him peaches.  Snowflakes.  There were gray snowflakes on his bib.  I was sitting near the radiator and could feel both its warmth and the draft from the window.  My hands were cold.  The radio had just begun to play "White Christmas" when the phone rang.  It was my dad.  

"Sweetie, I have some terrible news.  Shaun and Lindsey were in a car accident."


"Shaun's new girlfriend.  You met her on Thanksgiving."  My dad paused, probably displeased.

"I remember her, of course."

"Shaun is fine, well, he is not hurt, but Lindsey...they flew Lindsey to Shock Trauma.  She is in a coma."

My mind reeled in rewind, replaying that one moment I met her.  Her hair was in a bun.  She put her arm around my cousin.  She kissed my baby on the head.  She shook my hand.  She smiled.  Her eyes were blue.

"They were on their way to Aunt Sherry's for dinner or something.  It was last night, when it was raining.  Shaun was driving his truck.  It happened on Highland Parkway and Front Street."

I couldn't process what he was saying.  I shook my head to make sense of the words.  He was driving.  She might die.  But, I would never forget Lindsey's name now.


"On Highland, in front of the Dunkin' Donuts."

From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.


This piece is a work of fiction loosely based on a true story and written in response to a weekly writing prompt.  Four and a half years ago, my cousin and his new girlfriend were in a car accident.  The real life Lindsey is alive and well, but I am unclear how well she is.  All I know was that her head injury was severe and her recovery process long.  She and my cousin did not remain together.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

They Gave Me an Assignment

I liked school.  I was good at school.  I worked well within the constrains of syllabi and assessments.  And so, when I was asked by the editor at The First Day, a new online and print magazine devoted to arts, culture, faith and practice, to submit a piece on attending a recent conference, I was tickled pink.  I had an assignment. 

I am already hopeful I will write for this site again or maybe even regularly (fingers crossed.  I love assignments!).  It would be an honor to join the "cast of characters" already populating this website's list of writers.  I feel passionate about issues of faith and appreciate having a safe place to discuss them, one that crosses backgrounds, cultures, and denominations.

If you haven't already done so, please read my post, published today.  Please also peruse The First Day site in its entirety.  No matter what your belief system I am confident you will find something there that speaks to you.

As always, I am grateful for your readership and feedback.  The First Day feels the same.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's Tuesday. What Is It To You?

To most, today is just a regular old Tuesday.

Many are off to work and school.  Many are staying at home to care for kids.  A few are staying home to care for parents.  Some are enjoying their coffee and the paper as they always do.  Some are just home from work and bee-lining for bed.  Most people are thinking nothing more of this day than any other.  Deep down, they are probably grateful.    

But, keep in mind, when you meet someone today (and any day, for that matter) that we never really know what kind of Tuesday they are having.

It just might be the day their son was born or their dog died.  It could be their first day of retirement (though probably not.  Who waits to retire on Monday?) Or their morning could have brought bad news, or a promotion, or a good grade, or not much of anything out of the ordinary at all.

Or, this day could just possibly be the day on which they celebrate a unique tradition established at least 10 years before with a history more than 30 years in the making.  A day they prepare for with creativity and silliness.  A day that, to them, symbolizes the official start to the holiday season.

It could be Walnut Tuesday (though probably not.  Who celebrates that?).

Happy Walnut Tuesday, Everyone!!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Morning Gratitude

I just got home from my morning walk with our new dog, Tucker.  I haven't written about him, yet.  Or about our buddy boy Ben, our pup of 8 years, who we lost just two months ago.  I think I am still comprehending just how much a dog means to it's family.

Tucker is a wonderful dog and, like Ben, a gift.  He gets me up before the girls and it's been a healthy time for me.  Often, as soon as we venture  outside, I feel an ease in my step.

This morning, the warm breezes tickled the many fallen leaves and roused them to dance alongside our legs and feet.  As Tucker first started to sniff about, I took in the sky, already pale blue and beautiful, dotted with freshly baked baguette shaped clouds.

And then, with the winds, they soon separated to reveal a sudden shock of light.  The moon, still wide awake and bursting with a glory I have never seen, seemed to appear just for me.  A tiny gasp escaped my lips, Tucker's ears flapping the grass under me.  I was struck still in awe.

"Thank you, God," I said.

Tucker and I continued on, along our normal route.  And despite discovering well into the walk that the poop bag had a hole, I was full of joy.  I was so content in the simplicity of the moment and the quietness of the morning.  I pondered how I could bottle my mood to swallow again later, whenever I would need a good grounding dose of my blessed reality.

There had to be a way to harness this 1.21 gigawatts of joy.

I am confident it is always there for the taking, but I overlook it so easily.  I get caught up in complications and let the dust they kick up settle over everything.  I walk on, but head down and in a fog.  Little shocks me awake like this morning's moon.  

As Tucker and I rounded the corner for home, the moon was no longer visible, but my answer suddenly was.  I had come full circle and found myself standing where I started.  And what had I done?  What had put this day on the right path?

I said, "Thank you, God."


Monday, November 11, 2013

My Kingdom for a Squeezy Yogurt

Today was a "hang-around day" as the girls and I call it.  My preschooler was home sick and so errands and outings were put on hold in exchange for paramount pretending and a healthy amount of television.

We played "resturnaut" (restaurant), "checker" (store) and celebrated everyone's birthday at least once with invitations, cake, tea and presents.  Overall, besides being extra intense, it was an enjoyable day.  My youngest refused to nap, I took my on-duty power shower at 5pm, and I never unloaded the dishwasher, but all of that is fine with me.

I just don't want to get sick.

Because Friday, I get to pretend to be grown up.  I get to catch a train to New York for a day-long conference.  I get to wear clothes I haven't worn since I was working.  I get to network with other like-minded women.  I get to hear perspectives from some of the most innovative Christian thinkers and writers today.  I even get to visit with a lifelong friend and eat multiple meals in real "resturnauts."  If I had a beret, you might just catch me tossing it into the Manhattan air as I stroll down the bustling streets.

And while I know that God has me right where He wants me, I obviously continue to struggle with being "just a mom".  It can be challenging to accept serving "squeezy yogurts" as Kingdom work.  I know I could be doing even more to serve this world and those who live in it.  The question is: should I?

Coincidentally, the conference is all about Women and Calling.  What roles are women meant to have in this world?  Any one they desire?  How do we balance work outside the home with that for our families?  Do we "Lean In"?  Do we "Lean Out"?  Do we "Shake It All About?"

Because, clearly, despite our best efforts, we cannot do it all.  But, for some reason, I still try.

Like today, I got an email from the conference requesting a title, bio and headshot to enhance our online presence at the conference.  I immediately attempted to mentally craft my response in the whirlwind that is lunch, laundry, naps, and pooping shenanigans during naps.  And since I wasn't in the best head space, I came up with something along the lines of:

Mommy (Miss Kristin) is never alone.  She can be found constantly correcting her "clients" both two-legged and four.  When everyone is actually sleeping she spends her free time planning for positions that she gets paid absolutely nothing to fill.  While Kristin met her husband in college, she barely recognizes who she remembers she was at that time. She will always be a "Balti-moron" at heart even though her husband's successful career may move them away one day.  Her happy place is at her blog, Kristin Has Two Eyes (which are probably closed.  Shh.  She's napping.)

But, don't fret.  This is what I submitted instead:

Kristin LeFeber is a stay-at-home mom to her two young girls.  She leads both an adult house church and the preschool ministry at New Hope Community Church in Pikesville, MD.  Prior to domestic life, Kristin earned a B.S. in Education from Grove City College and worked as a Marketing Coordinator for the city of Baltimore where she and her family still live.  She can be reached at

Wish me (whoever I am) well. Like, literally. I really don't want to get sick!