Wednesday, January 30, 2013

imperfect prose - light

It was just a small section in Romans tonight, and yet the words sprang off the page, like staccato notes on a piano.

wickedness. greed. evil. envy. murder. strife. deceit. malice.
gossips. slanderers. haters of God. insolent. arrogant. boastful. disobedient.
untrustworthy. unloving. unmerciful.
without understanding.

And all I can think is, Jesus, shine Your light.

In this world of confusion and darkness we need Your light to extend Your truth and grace.
Never separated - truth and grace. grace and truth.

Shed light on the tough issues.
Bring light to the questions.
Be light on our path.

Take every dark part of me and transform it into something beautiful and useful by the power of You, the Light of the World.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

writing a letter to my young sons about purity

Dear C & G,

There is a part of my heart that wants to keep you little for always.  I want to protect you from pain and loss and tough choices.  But I know that is impossible. You started your lives being poked and prodded in NICU isolettes.  You dealt with pain a little earlier than most have to.

 There is a lot of talk on the internet this week about purity, about grace, about the pressure it puts on females. There are bits of insight I know I'd want to impart if I had daughters, but I want to impart just as much wisdom to you.
You are just little guys now, but I know I will wake up and there you will be ... mostly grown. Along the way you will make more disgusting noises, you will destroy household items, and you will push boundaries and break rules.  At some point, too, you will start dating. That thought terrifies me.

 I'm telling you upfront that we will never have "The Talk," sweet boys, because we have a home where there is no shame in asking questions. Already, C, you ask questions about bodies, and we don't give you silly names for private parts. I hope that we are setting a solid foundation for transparency.

I want you to always know that you can come to me with anything. I never want you to doubt my unconditional love for you. I will always be honest with you.

On the topic of purity, I do not quite know what to say yet. I know what I DON'T want to say.  I will not repeat bad theology nor hyped up emotionally driven programs.  You deserve better than that.  You are valuable. Not because of what you do or don't do but because you are dear to the heart of God. I want you to always, always, always know where to find your worth.

Just a few more things on my heart tonight, boys. 

You are always accountable for what you do in relationships with others. That is not limited to romantic relationships, but it extends to every friendship and interaction.  I pray that you will be men who are honest, who are kind, who are strong but gentle, who are sincere, who are fun, and who are accurately confident. I pray that you will be able to see the big picture of things, but that you will also be able to enjoy the moment.  I pray you won't over-analyze every decision, but that you will embrace grace and not beat yourself up over every mistake.

But most of all I pray that you will see Jesus in Daddy and in me and that you will know how much He loves you. I pray that you will daily experience grace and truth so intermixed that you never struggle like some do with trying to separate or dissect the two.  I pray that His love would guide you through every decision -good and bad - because nothing nothing nothing can separate you from His love



(P.S. I hope I always remember these posts on this hard topic - Sarah Bessey's "I am Damaged Goods" emily wierenga's "to the last virigns standing" and "to non-virgins standing"  and elizabeth esther, "virginity new and improved" - )

Monday, January 28, 2013

just another monday

Some of the laundry has been put away. The other half sits in the dryer. It is a similar situation for the dishes.  But the groceries are in their place, and for once, on grocery day, I know what I am making for dinner.
On the floor rests a stuffed chicken, a toy airport, and a plastic parrot gone AWOL from his pirate ship. I should do something else while the boys nap, but I fear waking them up. I don't want to stop listening to the birds chirping and the boys snoring.

Illness seems to have finally vacated our home. Finally.

Our days have been filled with many things.  Bug has learned to do a puzzle and to drink from a straw.  Bubby creates imaginative worlds, usually involving helicopters, and even invites little brother to join him.  There are tantrums and time-outs.  We were at the mall for ten minutes on Friday before I turned the stroller around and went home.  I'm a mean mom. The weather was beautiful on Saturday, and our attitudes weren't too shabby either, so we hit the park.  I'm not a naturalist at all, but time in the sun and the breeze does me some good.

I can't get enough of these two little boys - the ones I watched last night with their footie-jammie-feet sticking out of the doorway while they played with cars and trucks.  Yet, but by bedtime all I seem to want is some time alone and a good book.

This morning Bubby was humming at breakfast. It should be noted that my crazy kid picked cereal over leftover pancakes. When I asked what he was singing, he replied, "The radio song. Call me baby."  Pop culture has found its way into our preschooler's life.
Last week was our anniversary.  Eight years.  We didn't have plans, but at the last minute,thanks to a friend coming to babysit, and thanks to me being an awesome wife, we made some. Dinner at a place we last ate at three years ago.  A place where a children's menu does not even exist.  And it was glorious.  I may have mentioned that I wanted to take a bath in the lobster bisque. 

But it's back to reality around here, and that is okay.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

on motherhood and waiting

The minivan has an empty back row.

I think I have known for most of my life that I have wanted four children.  So you can imagine the heartache of making the decision after a miscarriage and two premature babies to not get pregnant any more.  My uterus says she can't take any more, but my heart says I can't live without them.

Somewhere out there are children that I don't know yet, but I already love.  Just like I loved my babies in the womb from the time they were just a grain of rice, I already love these children. At this time they are only a dream to me, but I still love them. If it was within my power, I'd find them and get them today. However, I must wait and hope and pray because that is all I can do.

We lack the resources right now. The Hubs needs to finish nursing school. We have not even started one iota of the process. But it doesn't stop me from praying for them, just as I pray for the children that are already under my roof.

I can't sew a button.  My cooking is probably a B-minus. I may never get to seminary, and I might never write that book. But I was made to be a mommy . I do not doubt this.  Even on the exhausting days. Even on the days filled with therapy appointments for Grady and endless questions from Cole. Especially on these days ... I am reminded that I am good at this. And so I wait.

I'm linking up with Emily's imperfect prose for today's prompt "motherhood."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

be-ing on the endless sick days

I felt like super-mom much of the day yesterday. Today I felt like the complete opposite.

There was an extreme amount of coughing all day from my oldest. He was coughing so hard he vomited. More than once. More than twice.  In the moments of calm, little brother would get cranky.  It was like tag-team wrestling.
Source: via Ducks on Pinterest

It also needs to be mentioned that the dinner I prepped earlier in the day and put in the crockpot only half-cooked thanks to an outlet malfunction.  Good times.

But the house is quiet now.  Snoring little boys. Husband studying for a test on Friday. There is a part of me that wonders, why am I writing this stuff down?

I am writing it down because I want to remember how hard it was. 

But I also want to remember how good it was. AND how good I was at it.  Even on the days I cried. Even on the days when bedtime couldn't come soon enough and Bugaboo spent triple the time as everyone else at each meal. Even on the days when Bubby spent several hours propped up on the couch watching WordWorld and Veggie Tales until the homeopathic cough syrup arrived.

Even on these days my kids were loved. They were fed. They were played with. They were read to. They were sung to.They were prayed for.

I am going to bed exhausted tonight, but I am going to bed content because I know I gave today everything I had.

Monday, January 14, 2013

of award shows and mommy-ing

I watched the Golden Globes last night and felt old and young simultaneously.  A decade and a half ago I watched them with these girls after youth choir practice. I think we were singing a lot of Point of Grace at that time.  (Keep the Candle Burning, anyone?)

Last night I saw Ben and remembered the Armageddon poster that hung in my college dorm room.  I listened to Jodie's odd speech and managed to get something out of it.  Everyone in that room was famous or beautiful or talented or rich - but none of that will make you happy.  That was my takeaway from Jodie Foster last night. You can have everything and still feel lonely.

I contemplated calling my hairstylist and making an appointment to get the Anne Hathaway cut. And not just because two of us in this house think she is attractive.  I love her hair. But I reminded myself that I am growing mine out a bit. (Though anyone who knows me knows I am a short-hair girl. In another inch or two when the weather warms up I'll cut it all off.)

There are no awards in my line of work. Motherhood. No one invites us to a fabulous banquet, gives us jewels and a gorgeous dress to wear.  There probably should be something for us, but there's not. At least not to my knowledge.

So tonight - here's to us mommies:
  • best supporting role in keeping up with the bills and the grocery budget
  • best cinematography for catching first steps and ABC recitations on a smartphone
  • best set design in turning a box into a rocketship/firetruck/helicopter all in one afternoon

  • best costume for rockin' sweat pants in addition to creating superhero capes out of dishtowels

  • best director for pancakes on Saturday morning, bedtime prayers each night, and owies kissed on demand

  • best lead in just being there - mommying


Saturday, January 12, 2013

I like adoption video

Four of my friends posted this on facebook today. I cried my way through it.  This is what I want for my family - to be available to give, to be available to BE a family to those who do not have one yet.  Waiting and praying on the timing of it all.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

sick day priorities

At one in the morning I was up with my two year old. I think I slept three hours last night.  PBS is my best friend today. PBS and Starbucks, which apparently I go to too often since my three year old talks about it constantly at preschool.  In the carline yesterday, his teacher asked if I had an addiction to coffee.

My self-control goes out the window when I lack sleep.  After a few disciplined days of eating, today all I can think about are convenience foods and carbohydrates.  A lot of people I know are doing the Daniel Fast right now, and all I can think is, Well, Daniel wasn't a mommy to two little boys who have caught every germ under the sun since Halloween.  I'm quite spiritual, aren't I?

I'm realizing I can't do anything by will-power alone. When it comes down to it, each decision I make, big or small, can only really happen by the grace of God. This grace, that according to Piper is not just for pardon but for power, is enough to see me through the days after the sleepless nights.

Yes, the thank you notes need to get in the mail at some point - even if they are a month late.  But I have Brown Bear, Brown Bear to keep reading each hour, and children's Tylenol to dispense ever four to six.  There is Play-doh to dig out of cups, Duplos to avoid stepping on, and Sid the Science Kid to watch. 

My mind is a jumbled mess today, and all I want to do is sit on the couch in my never-been-to-yoga pants, drink coffee, and enjoy watching my sweet (but under the weather) kids play. There is grace enough to do just that today.   The priority is to just be. And so I am.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

when you don't want to go, but you don't think you can stay

We had to make a very hard decision yesterday.  We have discussed it for months now, not wanting to make the decision because overall we were happy and growing and loved.  But in one tiny aspect we felt alone, hurt, rejected, and in the big picture of things, we are unsure of how healthy it would be for our family over time.

I cried on the drive to the appointment yesterday.   What would these two friends think? Say? Ask?  Their kindness and their questions made it easier and harder as I shared about our decision.

In so many other instances in my life when I have shared about my heartbreaks, about us taking a stand, about rejection I have been made to feel that it was all my fault, that there was something wrong with me.  But my friends yesterday cried with me, prayed with me, loved on me. They let me know that there is always a place for my family with them, with their communities.  So much healing happened in my heart at that table. That healing surpassed the details of this situation, and flooded over to begin to heal parts of my heart that never experienced such understanding and love in other situations.

I cried on the drive home. I felt the weight of the unfairness of it all - leaving these amazing people for now.  It is frustrating that just one little thing can cause so much damage.  The unwillingness to do the right thing, to ask others to do the right thing, does not just affect an individual, but ultimately an entire community.  But slowly I am given peace. God knows the right place for us at this time, even if we don't. And I am hopeful that some how, someday, He can restore what has been lost, that He can bring us back.

I am weary, but encouraged.  God cares about the things that break our hearts.  He showed me that yesterday as I sat with my two friends.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

one word

Last year I picked a word. Intentional.  I set some goals that revolved around that word. Some of them I met. Most of them I did not.


I was intentional about two very important things. Cultivating new/newer friendships and being intentional about hospitality and service.  I learned that the people who I care about spending time with the most care the least about my house, my income, my politics, etc. So while there may have been dust on the ceiling fans many weeks, I did not let that stop me from inviting someone over.

 I volunteered for things that fit my gifts and callings as well as that fit the schedule of a mom with two little ones. I was even given the opportunity to lead/teach a few different types of groups of people throughout the year in ways that I did not seek out.

This year I didn't know if I would pick a word. I didn't want another thing to do. I didn't want to commit to anything and not follow through. I want to be more organized this year, but I knew if I picked the word "organize," I am just setting myself up for failure.

So I waited. I prayed a little, but mostly I waited.

And last night I was soaking in the tub (a rare treat to just be), and my word for the year was revealed to me. 
Just BE.

I don't need to focus on doing. I don't need to worry about the future or live in regret of the past. 
I just need to BE. 
BE present, BE thankful, BE authentic. 

Thank you, Melanie at Only A Breath, for making my "Be" button.