Monday, November 28, 2011

live it up (MM 889-898)

The complaints pour out much easier than the list of gratitude.  It is just a few days after Thanksgiving, and already I am ungrateful.  The long ride with a teething baby.  Smooshing in the backseat of car between two large carseats for hours.  The noise the car is making that concerns us.  The "check brake" light that came on in our other car yesterday. The ol' dilapidated Christmas tree that somehow doesn't fit in our living room this year - even though it is the same tree, same living room.

We drove down the interstate, the last forty-five minutes the same path I took post-Thanksgiving-Sundays for years. "Live it up!" I yell to the college students I assume are driving in the other lanes of traffic.

Life's problems seemed overwhelming then.  Exams. Papers. Dorm drama. Lack of boyfriend 98% of my college years.

And now a decade-ish later, I can't help but wish I was going back to a dorm this week.  For late nights playing Mancala while making major life decisions while listening to Sara Groves and Jennifer Knapp on the cd player.  For long walks around campus in hoodies and scrubs.  For chapel three times a week - a chance to worship and renew. For cafeteria food because it was cooked, paid for, and being cleaned up by someone else.

Will I look back as a forty-year old at this period of my life and tell thirty-year-old-mommies-of-little-ones, "Live it up"?  Will I miss the cramped house with Cheerios and rubber duckies strewn about? The meals shoveled down because I was feeding two other people at the same time?

I don't want to miss the joy in these years, these moments. I must choose thanksgiving in all seasons.

giving thanks for

safe travels ~ family, near and far... well they all seem far these days ~ new friends/small group training ~ sister-in-law (and brother) letting us use their house for the party ~ celebrating Bugaboo's birthday early ~ still a little over a week with my baby being a baby ~ step-sister feeling more and more like sisters as coffee and books and conversation are shared ~ Melissa and Sammie and Erinn taking care of my boys at the various festivities ~ five generations pictures ~ Papa-made rocking horse enjoyed now by my babies, thirty-years later

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

over the river and through the woods

Over the river and through the woods... and the farmland and the highways and interstates... to grandmother's house we go.

I am choosing not to get caught up in the stress of traveling several hours by car to go "home" for Thanksgiving with two little ones.  I am choosing to not start stressing about flying halfway across the country in a few weeks to The Hubs' home with two little ones amidst carseat hassles, carry-ons, and Homeland Security.

Instead I am reminding myself that the holidays are about family, loved ones, friends.  And I am blessed that we have so much family, though none locally, who want to spend time with us.

So I let go of my small wish to stay home and organize closets and just have a few days in a row of uninterrupted downtime for the first time in months because life is short, and it's not all about me. 

It is about family. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

what are the MacBoys up to? (and 11 month pictures)

After my slightly annoyed post from earlier today, here is something for the fam. I think it has been awhile since I've updated about the boys:

  • climbing on EVERYTHING - he has no fear
  • developing a love for Dr. Seuss - a big fan of Hop on Pop and Green Eggs and Ham (which he just calls Sam, I Am)
  • talking in sentences, answering questions, soaking things up like a sponge
  • favorite phrases these days: "maybe later. maybe tomorrow." "Daddy up swing." (He wants The Hubs to swing him upside down) "I did not take a nap." "go to the rug." (He says that if he knows he did something wrong and has to go to time out - the intonation is quite comical), "Go get ice cream?"
  • singing
  • remembering his friends' names
  • retelling -retelling stories, events, memories
  • sometimes telling us when he has to go potty - much of the time it is in the middle of the night...grrr
  • he calls out letters when he sees them on signs/storefronts/etc.
  • he loves to draw with crayons, markers and colored pencils

Here are two (very late to be posted, but took them a few days ago) eleven month pictures of Bugaboo

  • doing much better with sitting up for long periods of time - only falls if tired/excited
  • is reaching for things and more often being successful at grabbing/grasping if the object is large enough
  • starting to tolerate table food a little bit - just soft things like pancakes, fruits and veggies
  • one tooth is in , another is partway in, and I think I feel a third - all on bottom
  • loves books with pictures of real babies, loves being read to
  • grabbing his feet and learning how to successfully remove his socks - this delights him to no end
  • laughing more and more

 Thirty seconds of Bugaboo laughing - guaranteed to make you smile.

Bubby singing.


Today I was offended.
Someone said something right to me about the neighborhood in which I live declaring it not very safe. I didn't even know how to respond, so I just stammered, "oh okay."
Many people in the neighborhood are renters (unlike us).  The school nearby has a large free/reduced lunch population.  But poor doesn't mean unsafe.
When did it become so important for bigger and better?  Why do people judge others on their income instead of the type of human beings they are?  Why do we think our children need every new toy, every experience available, and if they don't that we are depriving them?
I struggle with contentment. I'd like more cabinet space and the ability to have a pretty family room and a two-car garage. But I have something money can't buy... tact.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

loaves and fish

"Discipleship is always an issue of relationship. It is not about curriculum, church attendance, rules, indoctrination, but always about reaching the heart." Sally Clarkson
For several years, I have avoided getting involved. Getting attached.  I wanted to avoid getting hurt. Hurt by leaving. Hurt by rejection. Hurt by being let down. 
We weren't supposed to be here, in this town, this long.
I was going to get involved at our next place, wherever that would be. When I had more time and money and friends and life experience. More to offer.
But we are still here. With less time and money and friends. More stress and more responsibility.  And still not much to offer.
And it is now that I have finally told God yes. I will be open. I will be vulnerable. I will be involved in whatever capacity You deem appropriate for this season.  I will offer what little I have because the One who fed thousands on a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish can surely take little ol' me and use it for some purpose somehow some way.
It isn't much.  It is a four-minute conversation on a Sunday morning.  Leftover pasta shared on a Tuesday evening.  A text offering an invite that didn't work out, but at least I put it out there.  Last year I wouldn't have even put it out there for fear of disappointment or embarrassment.   This "new" me is not disappointed but thrilled that I just took a step out of my comfort zone.
I could sit here and regret the years I avoided so much for so many reasons. But that would not benefit anyone.  Instead, I am thankful that I finally let go of some of my hang-ups, and in doing so I am being blessed by a whole new set of people, young and not-so-young, that are teaching me about community.
It is not all sunshine and lollipops. I have questions and insecurities.  There are other aspects of life that are still stressing me out.  But in this area, I am excited to see what God is going to do in me and through me.  I am starting to get some peace. And that is worth quite a bit.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

shut up

all these years I held on to excuses, knuckles tight, fist clenched
afraid to be vulnerable, available, accessible
shrugging off a call on my life, a burden on my heart
because of fear and past mistakes and hurt

like a parched woman
now I find myself drinking it in
with big gulps
wondering how I missed this vessel
holding life-giving water

a voice whispers,
"(you don't have a Bible degree) you're not enough,
(you have babies)  now isn't the time,
(you need better hair/shoes/jeans/accessories) you're too old,
(you don't have enough life experience) you're too young,
(you missed your chance to get involved) it's too late."

But today I tell that voice to shut-up.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

waking up on the right side of the bed

Yesterday I felt a little weepy. I did not weep, but I felt like I wanted to.  Doors, doors, windows, windows, windows all seem to be closing.  "What now, Lord?  Isn't there more for us than this?"
We went to bed discussing, The Hubs and I, and praying, and somehow we drifted to sleep with the only answers to our questions not really being answers but just, "I don't know."
So we'll keep asking and waiting and knocking and seeking and trying because what else really can we do? 
And today I was given strength, grace, joy, and peace.  No answers, nothing else has changed, but I will take it, these mercies new every morning that keep me hanging on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

seasons (and MM 873-888)

The leaves still hang on a bit, orange, red, yellow and brown, though many are scattered and most branches are bare.  I find myself this year more than usual aching for time to slow.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous today, and we took the boys to the park.  While The Hubs and I took turns holding the baby and chasing our toddler around the playground, pushing swings, and holding our breath when our blondie would get too close to an edge high off the ground, I watched a dad with two boys, approximately six and nine, play improvised kickball and chase his sons around the equipment.  I know I will go to bed one night and wake up the next morning to find my boys big enough for games and too big for holding hands and being caught at the bottom of a slide.

And this is why I think the ache for time to slow is more profound these days.

With each proud moment, each milestone and accomplishment, I feel a little piece of my heart being ripped and pulled in two directions - desiring my boys to grow into independent, amazing men and yet wanting to keep them close and safe and little forever.

On the way home, Bubby sings a mixture of songs in the car - a combo of Jesus Loves Me ABC Twinkle Twinkle Wheels on The Bus The Bible Tells Me So - and I want it to stay that way, the sacred and secular completely and blessedly tangled in his life.

We read his children's Bible, and I read of Jesus coming back, and my two year old says,
"Jesus comin' to our house tomorrow."
"Maybe. He could. We never know."'
"Jesus gonna gimme a hug."
"He would love to give you a hug."
"Jesus sing and play."
"Yes, when you see Jesus He will want to play with you."

And with this I long for time to slow and I long for it to speed up,
to go where we are intended to be,
to have the faith a toddler has,
to believe without any doubt that not only could Jesus show up at any moment,
but to also believe that He wants to hug us.
To just be with us.

And He is.  Emmanuel.  God with us.

joining with Ann's community to keep giving thanks:
873. Saturday working intensely and happily with Bugaboo on all of his skills
874. the joy of pots and pans for Bubby

875. mid November and sixty-plus degrees
876.  playing Bunko with a dozen ladies on a Friday evening
877. coffee with a new friend, just a phase or so ahead of me
878. conversations with new friends, just a phase or so behind me
879. husband who never complains about watching the kids so I can get a break
880. gluten-free pizza
881. navigating this gluten-free world with recipes and advice from California aunt
882. texts/messages from Quad City sisters wishing I was there
883.  baby eating pancakes for the first time

884. being a part of community
885. nursery workers and volunteers who love my babies
886. building Duplos and "Mommy, try again" when my tower falls
887. all FOUR of us sharing a bowl of ice cream
888. remembering one of my favorite people in this upcoming week

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

blogging, writing, and Doogie's diary

Remember Doogie Howser?

I was only allowed to watch it for a certain amount of time before my parents put the kabosh on it because Doogie was going to have sex or something with his girlfriend.  I think I was about nine when the show was on, so they probably made a wise parental move there. They didn't stop me from putting his picture from TeenBeat magazine on my wall, though.

Doogie came to mind because I remember how he would always write on his computer journal or what not at the end of each episode, and how I would think how cool it would be to someday keep a diary on the computer.

And now here I am, a grown woman, keeping a diary of sorts on the computer.  A diary that anybody could read.  Only it's called a blog.

I'm in small group training with the young adult community/ministry at our church. Tonight as we were all getting to know each other better it came up that I blog.  
"A mommy blog?"  
"Yes, well sort of." (I do wear the title mommy/mommy-blogger with pride.)

And then it came out that I would like to write a book.
"What kind of book?"

And I stammered out some answer of one of the many books I would like to write, all the while thinking I can't believe I just shared with these people that I want to write a book.  It is one thing to put the idea out there on this blog from the safety of my couch, but to say it aloud to these people I am just getting to know?

But they smiled and were kind, and I think at that moment I may have fallen in love with the Wednesday night small-group-training-group.

Because in that moment I was not "just" a stay-at-home-mommy-who-also-does-childcare-to-help-make-ends meet. I became someone with potential again, and it felt good.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

look where God is working and join Him

In worship today, the pastor preached on being motivated by our hearts, working with God in the passion and circumstances and such God has given each of us.
There has been a season in my life where I didn't know exactly what my passion/calling was any more.  Being a stay-at-home-mom, wife to a once-again-college-student-by-day-counselor-by-night, and wondering what and if God had anything to say about this phase of my life left me a little down and a lot exhausted.
But lately, I feel things stirring in m heart again, some have been for months, some just more in recent weeks, and some are old passions renewed and revitalized.  We cannot be involved in every need in our world and communities, but we can each be used in the way God created us to be. We just need to be available and to act.
Please pray for me as I figure out if and how God can use me
  • in a mentorship role (both as a mentor and a mentee is my prayer)
  • in the lives of college students/young adults
  • in the lives of orphans/foster children
  • in the lives of other moms
  • and most of all, in the lives of my family, both immediate and extended
Some of these areas are still very fuzzy and uncharted territories, others I have started to pursue more actively.  Praying I can see where God is working and join Him in His work.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Bugaboo's first birthday gift

Bugaboo's first birthday is fast approaching.  He doesn't need toys, but there are millions of people out there who need something so basic for us as Westerners- clean water.  For Bugaboo's first birthday, would you consider donating so that a community can have clean water?

If you do, please write him a note or mention in it his birthday card so one day he can look back and see every person can make a difference.

You can read more about this clean water project at Shannan's blog.  She is the one who had the idea to get people involved.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

This week I had dinner with someone just about one "phase" behind me and coffee with someone just about one "phase" ahead of me. Pondering the intentionality and organic-ness of relationships, and the possibility of some sort of in-between. How do I/we get more of this instead of just waiting for it to happen? Intentionality. Vulnerability. Risk. Humility. Any other thoughts out there?
I have some more thoughts in my head on this, but I am still figuring out what I want to say on the topic.