Monday, February 27, 2012

surprise gifts and gifts of community (MM 972-987)

Each week I try to remember to take time to count gifts. Gifts of simple moments and sweet smiles, of persevering through a tough time or laughing at something ridiculous.  This weekend I was on the receiving end of two amazing gifts that I will never forget.

Saturday morning I received a text from a friend I rarely see, asking if she can drop by because she has something for me.  When she arrived, she handed me a card and a gift bag which contained a brand new adorable dress for me. Just because. 

I cried.  I get teary-eyed just writing about it.  It wasn't just the dress that was the gift. It was that she thought of me and acted upon it. Thoughtfulness.  She used the phrase, "You deserve it."  That simple phrase in itself is a gift - not because I deserve anything, I mean what really do I deserve? - but because it was a reminder that I am noticed.  The world of a stay-at-home mom can be lonely at times, and my friend's gift and her visit with me that morning touched my heart.

Sunday morning we received a gift of another kind.  Our young adult community had us bring Bugaboo up front to be anointed with oil and prayed for - for healing of his muscles and other developmental issues.  We are so thankful for these people who love our family - who act on that love through their prayers, their conversations, their time.  

We do not know how God will choose to heal Bugaboo.  I wrestle with the healing questions - of sovereignty and need and fairness and such.  But at the very least, I know that God is using these prayers and pray-ers to heal parts of me that have been broken for many reasons for a very long time.  And for that I remember that He is good.

joining with Ann's community to keep on counting the gifts

The Hubs enabling me to have time away on Friday and Sunday evening ~ February days to play outside ~ brothers reading books and sharing trains ~ the 20Twenty community ~ surprises from a friend ~ pants for Bugaboo ~ watching Steel Magnolias with three friends ~ first time success making lasagna from scratch ~ small voice saying, "give it all" ~ blueberry muffins with my three guys ~ blowing bubbles ~ the symbolism of the oil ~ meaningful conversation on a Thursday afternoon ~ faith that the right job will come my way in the weeks ahead ~ polka dot dress ~ the desire to purposefully leave a legacy for my children

Sunday, February 26, 2012

the marriage letters - I know you love me when...

Really loving the link-up/series Amber is hosting on the marriage letters - it is challenging me to take a deeper look at my marriage, to notice not just the big things.  This week's prompt is, "I know you love me when..."

Dear M,

Driving home tonight after meeting with a few friends I felt myself a tad bit tense, a little stressed, even though you texted and said, "The boys have been fed, changed, and are in their jammies.  Take all the time you need."

Yet I still worried that I had been gone too long, taken too much time for myself.  Twice in one weekend you deliberately and specifically enabled me to take time for myself.  Not because I earned it. Not because we have some 50-50 agreement. It was because you love me, and you know I am a better mommy, wife, and PERSON when I have time for myself and time to engage with others.

I don't know why I worried about taking too much of this gift of time you gave me.

The kids were in bed when I got home. The high chair trays were clean. The kitchen sink was empty. The toys were all picked up.   I  know you love me when you remind me in ways as simple as this that our marriage is 100-100.

Thanks for a simply lovely weekend.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

reflections on community and Isaiah 53:2

If You were not beautiful upon first glance,
why do we seek the pretty face?

If You walked in humility on Your days on earth,
why do we seek out the loud, the charismatic, the popular?

What drew people to You?

It wasn't Your status, for they did not know.
It wasn't Your home in a great neighborhood, for You had none.
It wasn't Your feel-good message, for You told it like it was.

It was Your heart.
It was Your servanthood.
It was Your compassion.
It was Your understanding.
It was Your heart.

You see the woman of character sitting on the sidelines with so much to offer.

You see the man of depth serving quietly without recognition.

You see those wanting more of You so that they can give more to You and to others.

You see them passed over or used, rejected or ignored.
You see and Your heart breaks - for them and for those who walk by.

You have been there.

Help us to not be swayed by noise, appearance or a show.
Help us to see the truly beautiful - the beauty that does not fade or wrinkle.
Help us to see the heart.
Help us to have Your heart.

"...he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
    and no beauty that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53:2 ESV)

Monday, February 20, 2012

the marriage letters - my job, your job

joining with Amber and others for a series called the marriage letters

Dear M,

I think we expected to change the world, didn't we? We envisioned Good Will Hunting and Dangerous Minds moments in our careers.  Instead I respond to the, "Do you think you will go back to teaching?" question I get with, "I don't know.  Probably not."  And you are pursuing a different career.

This isn't our parents or grandparents world, is it? In generations before, people had one job for life and women could stay at home because they wanted to without the outside pressures of double-incomes and "wasting their degrees."  Of course I'm idealizing the past. We are blessed to have so many options in our day, but I know we have both had days, months, seasons when we have thought, "Isn't there more to all of this than.... this?"

You know Pastor Jordan's sermon about relationships and finding fulfillment in the Living Water instead of in other people?  I think that applies to us in an additional way.  We keep thinking, "When we finally do _____" or "When we finally have met _______ (insert goal/dream/expectation)" or "When we make x-amount of money, ________." But what we really need is Living Water every day in order to be the best at our jobs as we can be.  Our situation in life may not fulfill us, but He will.

I don't know exactly what I am trying to say to you here. It isn't pretty or eloquent or profound. I think I just want to remind you that we are more than our jobs.  You are more than a counselor.  I am more than a stay-at-home-mom/former-teacher.  We have a purpose in this confusing season of waiting and wrestling with God, a purpose beyond referrals and dead-beat-parents to counsel, a purpose beyond diapers and overdue library books to return.  God sees us.  He knows our desires and He knows the plans He has for us. Hang on, my love.  Keep being faithful in these day to day things.  Abba God sees you, and I have faith that not only does He have something great for our future, but that He is doing something great in us right now, even in the mundane of making ends meet.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

procrastinating and perfectionism (MM958-971)

Sunday night and all three of my guys are asleep before ten.  I sit here with chips and salsa, procrastinating.  I am not even completely sure what I am procrastinating about - sleep, straightening up, writing something important... something.

I realized that I really haven't written much about the boys lately - their cute stories, their milestone moments, even the monotonous details of life with two little ones.  Sometimes I am so consumed with wanting to write "the perfect post," that I end up not writing anything at all. I do that with a great deal of things in life.  So in an effort to rid myself of some perfectionist tendencies, I instead remember to give thanks for these moments, big and small, over the last couple of weeks.

the hubs installing a garbage disposal ~ Bubby saying, "Seriously, Dude!" with perfect intonation after Daddy said it first  on the road ~ encouraging note from an old friend ~ encouraging word in person from a newish friend ~ Bubby playing with bowls and spoons and Bugaboo doing his best to figure it out ~ coffee giftcards on a Thursday morning ~ The Hubs mopping on Valentine's Day ~ flannel pajamas and DVDs ~ 

Bubby shoveling and Bugaboo out in the snow for the first time ~ the education and ability to advocate for my kids ~ visits from family members ~ Bugaboo getting out of sit one time all on his own AND scooting forward just a teeny-tiny little bit, enough to show us he has some motivation the day after the P.T. said he was lacking motivation ~ friends who pray ~ powerful reminders of wells and holes and Living Water

joining with Ann's community

Thursday, February 16, 2012

contentment sneaks up on ya

Contentment was as elusive as the sudsy bar of soap slipping out of my hand.

For so long I feel like I've prayed, "I just want to be content. I just need to be content. Help me be content. What is Your will for my life?"

I was striving for it. Working for it. Making a twenty-step plan towards it.  And yet, it always seemed out of reach.

The other night I was emptying the dishwasher that only took twenty-four hours to fill. I had spent the day feeding kids, prepping and cleaning up meals and playing and changing diapers and starting a load of laundry.  And it was in the mundane tasks that I had a thought that I've had before, I have a piece of paper that says I could be in charge of a school. Not a classroom. An ENTIRE school.  And yet I am here with the strained carrots and the poopy diapers and the endless crumbs and dust bunnies.

But as I thought this I noticed the tone in my head was not as negative as before.  In fact my thoughts continued rather joyfully.

I could be doing a lot of other things, but I am doing what I love.  Sure the laundry and the dishes aren't my favorite things, but I spend all day with my kids. And I'm good at it.  There really should be a doctoral program for motherhood because I could rock that dissertation.

Not only am I mommy-ing, God is opening up some doors for me to share life with other people, to learn from them and hopefully for me to invest in them as well.  This wouldn't be happening if I had chosen a different path.  This path isn't for everybody, but it is definitely for me for this season and hopefully beyond.

Thank You, God, for knowing me so well and making a way for me to do what I have always wanted to do.
And with that I realized that contentment had been sneaking up on me for quite some time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

toddler prayers

Last night while working with Bugaboo on his physical therapy skills, Bubby was in the room "helping" and encouraging his little brother.  "C'mon Bugaboo. Let's go.  Come get it."

Tonight he continued to do that.  Then at one point I had Bugaboo working working on staying in a hands and knees position and I simply just prayed aloud, "Dear Jesus, Help Bugaboo to crawl."  I didn't close my eyes or anything - just said that and kept working.

I look over a few seconds later and Bubby had his hands folded just like he does at dinner.  He then said, "Help Bugaboo crawl."

Just wanted to remember this moment.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

groundhog day

Always such a weird day.  I am reposting this from last year.  Happy third birthday, Baby of Mine in heaven.

I pause and think
about what this day might have been...
a second birthday.

And I remember
the surprise and joy at finding out
you were
first child of mine

And the devastation of losing you
never seeing your face
or hands
or feet
just a dot
on the black and white screen
but a dot that was

a life that slipped away

I remember
realizing something was wrong
and the drive across the miles in an unknown town
with mom and aunt and cousin
and a trunk
of maternity clothes
a hospital, more driving, another hospital
and tossing and turning in my mom's bed
like a child instead of a grown woman
because husband was a state away
as my body betrayed me

There are few losses such as this
and today I remember
and wonder just a moment what might have been

with a tinge of guilt

because if you were here
then one,
maybe two others,
would not be
and I feel a twist in my stomach
as I try to balance the sadness of loss
with the joy of what came

so today I will just say
thank you
for teaching me to love
as a mama
for the very first time