Thursday, November 25, 2010


Journal for Christa—

Some of my favorite memories in life are of Thanksgiving. As a child we spent most of our Thanksgivings in southern Illinois with my grandparents. Coming from a large extended family, I was always surrounded by lots of relatives—baby cousins to cuddle, older ones to envy, uncles and grandpas to tease you, aunts to hug, and my grandmas could whip up more food than an Army cook.

When we were first married, living away from family, Jay worked at a food warehouse where the hours surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas were plenty and required. So, my friend Maxine and I built our own extended family of friends on Thanksgivings. We packed our houses with people, love, and food. And neither of us will ever forget the year that a neighbor dog ate the platter of dark meat right out of the back of Carol’s hatchback car. When Carol whipped back into the house with the two turkey legs in the untouched pan and sliced the meat off to make it look like more, I learned a valuable lesson: If two legs are all you’ve got, then two legs will have to do.

Once we moved out West, Thanksgivings were always Borkert celebrations, giving our children the same sense of love and belonging that I experienced so many Thanksgivings ago. Some piece of every wild game had to be saved and cooked on Thanksgiving. One year Jay’s poor mom dressed and cooked the most pathetic looking little squirrel that Joel had shot (I wouldn’t touch it), and his dad would eat a slice of every piece of meat and brag on how great it tasted. Those were bountiful years, even though Chris once convinced the parents on the wrestling team that we only ate potatoes the week before each payday, which was not true.

Of all my Thanksgivings, only two have been quiet. One was my first year of college. I was so homesick when I called Grandma’s and could hear all the voices in the background. And this year—but today, I simply feel thankful. While others were stuffing turkeys and running around their kitchens like one, I rolled over at 5:30 and went back to sleep. Instead of baking cinnamon rolls, I ate a few graham crackers to hold me over until we go to Joy’s for breakfast, where she’s making the rolls as I leisurely write. This year, I’ve taken time to gaze up at the mountains, envision all my children in their festivities, note what a good man Jay is, and been thankful. This afternoon Jay and I will join my sister at Mimi’s CafĂ© to eat their very good turkey dinner and come back here for pie. (I still do pie better than any restaurant—just sayin’). Though different this year, it’s a good Thanksgiving and one I’m thankful for.

Then Sunday, everyone will be back in town, and I’ll rip that old bird out of the frig and stuff it in the oven to cook while we’re at church. And again, with the house full of friends and family, it too will be Thanksgiving.

Christa, wishing you a most wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Time for the Groomer

Journal for Christa—

Molly dog has been standing at the top of the stairs and barking at us all morning. Finally, as I stared up at her from the bottom of the stairs, I had a moment of understanding. She doesn’t want to walk down the stairs because they’re clean. (I just ran the carpet cleaner over them yesterday.)

Cleanliness disturbs her. She prefers her world stinky dirty. Since she stinks, I guess she thinks the rest of her world should too.

Maybe that’s why I often feel more comfortable navigating this world rather than my spiritual walk. I think it’s time to schedule an appointment for both of us with the Groomer.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Taking the Time

Journal for Christa—

While walking this evening, I was reflecting on how very impatient is our nature. I have a student in AP who wants to meet over lunch. She’s so anxious to write an 8-9 timed writing right now. If I could tell someone over lunch how to do that, I’d publish it, get rich, and quit grading those timed writings each week. I’ve learned from teaching many years that writing at that level comes slowly. She may or may not ever write an 8-9 paper, but I’m fairly certain it won’t happen this week or even the next. But writing this week and the next will make her better—closer to her desire.

I also teach a class titled “The Making of a Godly Woman.” It sounds like such a fun class—but the reality of it is—when I talk too long about how to do more in-depth Bible study, many of the girls lose interest. Yet, there are so many things in life that don’t come with a quick fix. The very quality of it demands time—and often, much of it.

Years ago I used to sew, and I was pretty good at it. I would carefully measure the pattern to the straight-of-the-grain, meticulously cut out each piece, and sew each pinned piece, pressing open every seam. I never sewed very fast, but I did sew well.

Yet, I clearly see in myself that same impatience—I too desire depth with a cursory reading of Scripture. From right living to fulfilling relationships, I want it now. It isn’t that I don’t want to work at it; I just have that grand ol' American feeling that if I work hard, it’s my right that it will come fast. Because of that, I wonder how often we give up too soon—on a paper, on a godly life, on the things we truly desire.

My friend Beth told me once she’d seen an old couple waltzing and it was beautiful. You can’t waltz beautifully when you’re old unless you’ve been waltzing a long time. Some things are worth working hard at for a very, very long time.

So, take heart—keep writing, keep reading, keep waltzing—

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Welcoming Change

Journal for Christa—

For some reason this year, I felt like welcoming fall. Many people look forward to the changing of the seasons. For me, though, I’ve often wished I could live in perpetual summer—some place like maybe Hawaii—

Maybe I lament the coming of fall because it’s usually so much earlier. But, here we sit with the first quarter finished with barely a frost—unbelievable. But when the recent coolness blew in over the mountains, I knew for certain—the dream is over—change is on the way.

There have been a lot of changes already—new classes, new grandbaby, but there’s still that itch—some longing—a mystery—. And, as sure as the hint of frost is in the morning air, change is on its way. It’s funny how sometimes you can just tell.

For Chris and Stef, recently, it came in the package of a new baby. (I wish I’d been there.) For Helen, it was her first day of German school (I wish I’d been there too.) For Callie it was flying a kite on her third birthday. (And again, I wish I’d been there.)

Often change scares us, like the dread of a long, cold winter. But, change can be as adventuresome as a new baby, the first day of school, or flying a kite. Does it sound like I need a change?