5/26/22 – 10 weeks

things that have made me cry this week:

Connor leaving Love Island
Mr. Morton on Schoolhouse Rock
Diana’s talk in sacrament meeting
Picking up the girls the day after Uvalde
Getting blood drawn with Charlie on my lap

lucy lion cub

today my wacky Lu wanted me to play outside with her, just her. i was nauseated and exhausted after a long emotional week (btw, it's only thursday), but she didn't and couldn't know of that, so i agreed and out we went. she goofed around on the swing for a bit and we collected fallen avocados. she jabbered the whole time, demonstrating a trick zoey taught her for safely jumping off mid-swing. one of her pale skinny knees got a bit of mud on it while she was un-spinning. she swung as high as soon could, trying to reach the plastic baseball bat she asked me to hold out in front of her, first with one foot, then two. 

for the grand finale she taught me a complex game she claimed she and eleanor had played before. she carefully placed herself on the swing, gripping the ropes while at the same time grasping the iridescent pink hula hoop in her right hand. as she swung (after a few starter pushes, the hula hoop was heavy), i was to toss bean bags and tennis balls through the moving hoop; extra points were awarded if i was able to hit the tree trunk. we absolutely delighted in this silly game, and before heading inside switched places, though my giant body made it a little tougher for her to hit her target. we rejoiced when she "won."

at clean up time, eleanor instructed her to complete some microscopic task repeatedly, and i became, as i nearly daily do, the sole witness to lucy's subtle lionlike tendency, almost exclusively awakened by eleanor's sass. the child is a characteristically quiet creature, but when provoked, lu's lion heart stoutly resists the disrespect. "eleaNOR!! that's not my job! i'm still working on THIS job and you're supposed to be doing those! don't keep making me do that kind of thing when i'm still trying to finish this because that's not fair!" eleanor, unflinchingly certain that she is the queen of the pride, maintains her boss energy but says little to lu's clearly legitimate refusals. 

there is nothing that sends blood through my arteries as forcefully as those small courageous cries of self defense from Lu in the little-sister-big-sister-bully scenario. absolutely nothing.

20. human haiku: fear

sometimes it's like i 
can't swim out of the whirlpool
can't know, can't see, can't –

// human haiku project prompt, april 2022

a plus sign +

april 15, 2022

to this embryo:

you are in here. 
you are real!
i hope i get to meet you. 

that doesn't sound desperate enough

i pray, i beg, 
let me meet you.

i hope you graduate to a fetus and 
kick my ribs and 
keep me up at night and
give me new stretch marks and 
make me walk weird

i hope you give me heartburn
i hope you make my face chubby
i hope you grow so big that people start asking me, "are you sure there's only one in there!?"

please little embryo
please don't give up. 
please match up your chromosomes in 23 perfect pairs
23 and me

please multiply billions of cells today
the next 36 weeks

please, please grow. 
i'll keep you safe in there, i promise
i'm your mama, i promise i'll keep you safe
just stay with me tiny sprout

please don't give up
please don't give up
please don't give up

1. human haiku: who you are as a human, now

alexandra steele
believer, mother, maker
trying to be kind

the rise and fall of a sand dollar

Eleanor found a sand dollar at the beach. This has never happened. She was beside herself with excitement.

more here 

Second Listening

I am 31

I must decide 
for myself 
what's right
No one, 
no pamphlet, no prophet can decide for me;

I must listen
I must listen with my eardrums to the voices of those I trust
the prophet, the pamphlet, the parable, the mystic, the ancestor, the sister –

and then
I must filter those words, 
sounds, sentiments, opinions, beliefs
through my eardrums
the sieve of my own heart
and listen again
to what my heart believes.
I'll call it
the Second Listening.

It is where I heard Heavenly Mother's vibrations
where I decided to love instead of label
and where I cut myself loose from traditions that feel out of place on and in my body.

The Second Listening is my power
only mine,
like a patriarchal or matriarchal blessing.
I don't look at what I've heard in my Second Listening and expect
anyone else to hear the same sounds!

That's where Jesus is
in the choice
the atomic cosmic power of being a human (bought and paid for at the highest cost)

He showed me how to Second Listen
when He confounded those intent on stoning the cheating wife
when He healed on the Sabbath
when He forgave His killers in front of His mother's face.

It is within my Second Listening
that I become okay with the lack of a neat and tidy solution to all things.
Sometimes the Second Listening sounds like
"I don't know"
not because I wasn't paying attention, 
but because I was, 
and the sound has not yet traveled this far
not yet
not yet.

And so!
I will listen
and relisten
and think
and rethink
and Second Listen 
and pause
and wait
for more.



"Creation itself, the natural world, already believes the gospel and lives the pattern of death and resurrection, even if unknowingly. The natural world believes in necessary suffering as the very cycle of life. Just observe the daily dying of the sun so all things on this planet can live. The total change of the seasons. The plants and trees along with it. The violent world of animal predators and prey. Necessary suffering goes on every day, seemingly without question. As I write this in the deserts of Arizona, I just read that only one saguaro cactus seed out of a quarter of a million seeds ever makes it to even early maturity and even fewer after that. Most of nature seems to totally accept major loss, gross inefficiency, mass extinction and short lifespans as the price of life at all. Feeling that sadness and even its full absurdity ironically pulls us into the general dance, the unified field, and ironic and deep gratitude for what is given, with no necessity, and so gratuitously. All beauty is gratuitous. So whom can we blame when it seems to be taken away? Grace seems to be at the foundation of everything."

– Richard Rohr