Friday, January 24, 2014

five minute friday - visit

It's about twenty minutes till Saturday, but I'm joining in last-minute for Five Minute Friday. The rules are to write for just five minutes on one topic without editing. The topic this week is "visit."

Go.

We walked in, with our footie-pajama-wearing boys, to the place where we used to go each Sunday.  It was a worship night, and when I found out about it, I knew I needed to go, even if it was awkward.

But it wasn't awkward.  The place was spiffed up over recent months, but it was also the same place. There were drums and low-lights and folding chairs and prayer. The music was loud, and I think my four year old only knew one song.

At one point, there was a call to be prayed for, if you wanted a miracle - not in a showy-TBN way, but an invitation to step out and be prayed for. Should I go up? This isn't my home any more. I'm just a visiting tonight. But deep within I knew it was why I needed to be there with my youngest, who was now fast asleep on my shoulder.

There is nothing like prayer among charismatics. Say what you will, but there is power in such a faith community. Words were spoken over my three year old with the still-crazy-hair, and now I somehow really know the meaning of the verse, "Mary treasured these things in her heart" because the miracle isn't so much in what will or will not happen in the days head. The miracle is that my son is loved and the confirmation that God has great things in store for him.

Driving home from the visit tonight, I thought to myself, "I've missed the Holy Spirit." But He replied, "I never left you."

Stop.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bugaboo these days (a free-write type of update)

I don't write as much about the kids as I used to. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing or just a thing. It just feels hard to write about.

Bugaboo is making progress, such progress, but in the midst of it, everything feels slow and a bit unsettled. It is kind of like when you are a teenager waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for that person you really like to call you wondering, wondering, wondering if they will ever call you. That's how it feels sometimes.

After a hard day, week or month when I start to wonder about what is going on, I see this glimpse of something new, this little light of potential. But then nothing. I sit waiting for that phone to ring, but it doesn't. And then I wonder, did I give out the wrong number? Is the phone not working?  This is what it is like waiting on Bugaboo these days.

 Bug has lots of words. He knows his shapes and letters and colors, but he can't give you a sentence. Not a real, on his own impromptu sentence. He can repeat back some things, sometimes he'll pull out a meaningful phrase, but whether it has meaning to him or not the way it has meaning to us, we're still unsure. He'll give you a line from a song or a book - heck, after one reading of a new book last week he remembered a detail about it this week when I pulled it out of the basket last night, so surely there is still so much to unlock in his sweet little head.

When he gets mad or sad in recent weeks (or maybe months) he always says, "Watch a movie?" We're not sure why but he does it almost every time. If he doesn't say that, he will say, "Sad day." Sometimes he just tells us sad day randomly throughout the day. He lists people's names. He mentions his old PT, Lexi, and always right after her he says, "Elmo Brave. Library." because during his old PT session Bubby was often allowed to watch a movie - which one time happened to be an Elmo is Brave movie from the library.

We are still working on motor skills quite a bit, too. He is getting better at the stairs, though he obviously needs someone right there if he is using a railing, and sometimes he needs a hand, as well. Strengthening his core and getting him to use hands for things (like silverware) is a very, very slow process. We are working on the phrase, "I want _____." Another slow process, as 97% of the time we ask him to repeat it, he instead refuses and says, "_____ please."

Duplos have been a great toy for him. Each day he gets better at putting the pieces together to make towers of his own. That really has been the only thing he is interested in playing with overall, though sometimes he will use the pretend kitchen and food. If it was up to him, he would sit in a huge pile of picture books all day long, just looking through them, "reading" them, and then moving to his Legos every now and then.

He loves the places we go. He is very cooperative at the library story time, except last week when I wouldn't let him dump something out. He loves church, and he prays almost every night for his Puggles and Sunday school teachers and friends. Every Sunday afternoon he tells us to go to small group.

The other night he was awakened around midnight, so I ended up lying down next to him for a few minutes on his bed. I worry most nights that I haven't done enough or that there is nothing left for me to do - either of those things can keep me tossing and turning. But the other night I was just there next to him, listening to him breathe. He rolled over and snuggled closer, asleep finally. I could have gotten up, but I stayed a few moments more, not consumed by worry for a change, instead just so incredibly glad to be his mommy.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

me and God (a poem of reflection after 33 years in a variety of churches)

I need an altar call.

I need the experience of standing and waiting among a group of believers.

I need soft music or loud music, modern or so old I can hear my grandparents' voices in my head singing the same words - but I need hands to the sky or faces to the ground.

I need order of service and responsive readings.

I need corporate prayer of both kinds - the kind where we listen silently and the kind where we verbally participate.

I need bread, not a cracker, and wine in a cup.

I need oil on a forehead, not because it is magic, but because it is powerfully symbolic.

I need prayers that have hands attached to them and a prophetic word that is not so much about the future as it is about the present.

I need to pass the plate, light the candle, say the prayer, give a message.

I need reminding that "missions exists because worship doesn't."

I need quiet reflection.

I need to be given a word and I need to hear one.

I need going through verse by verse but also maybe I need announcements with a "hashtag boom."

(I don't need a clap offering. Or fog machines.)

I need to rock the babies and help the kindergartners and meet with the mamas and use my gifts that are  beyond the stereotypical categories.

I need to give my two copper coins.

I need to worship like this.

Because "the glory of God is man fully alive."






Tuesday, January 14, 2014

when it felt like my calendar mocked me

For the past sixteen or so years, I have pretty much been like clockwork. Except a few times. Like that June in 2008 when at about day thirty-four I hit up Walgreen's while The Hubs was in an evening class, and then sent him a message asking him to call me on his break.

And after losing that pregnancy, I charted like a crazy-woman. I didn't even have a chance to be late.  I tested the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving, saw the world's faintest plus sign, and then that Saturday evening threw up while I was home for the holiday.

Then there was that rainy day in May 2010 when I was late, and something didn't seem quite right. The test I took had some malfunction, so I had to go out in the elements carrying a not-quite-one-year old into Walgreen's (it's always Walgreen's) to get a second test. I believe I threw up even before the official second plus sign appeared.

So this month when day thirty-three rolled around, I began to think, "That's odd." It is really odd considering we have taken pretty good measures to not have any more pregnancies due to the fact that I have an irritable uterus. (My official medical diagnosis for being unable to carry babies to term.) Still, stranger things have happened to people. Plus I have been so exhausted lately. A couple of days later, I sent The Hubs out for a test... negative.  Two more days. Test again.. negative.  And then another day- day thirty-eight and the official no, absolutely not. Stop looking up baby names. Stop stressing that you have given away all of your baby items. It is a no, just as it is supposed to be.

I cried a lot over a day or two. At one point my face was buried in a towel in the bathroom so the boys would not hear. This disappointment was so heavy. I curled up in bed, crying one night, feeling so much like the same person who cried herself to sleep on July 9, 2008. Even though I shouldn't put my body through a pregnancy again, I had felt like maybe God was giving me a chance anyway. He knows I always wanted four kids, maybe He was intervening to give me the desires of my heart.  But no.

And so the anger and sadness came, much like when I miscarried. Five and a half years ago I wondered why I had even been pregnant in the first place if I was just going to lose the baby.  Last week I found myself asking why was I so incredibly late and tired and nauseous...Why was I given this unexpected glimmer of hope - just to have it ripped away?

I do not know.

Almost a week has gone by now, and I am doing better.I still have lots of questions, questions involving why some people seemingly have what I do not, questions about timing and biology and did we make the right decision two years ago? Questions, questions, questions, but not a lot of answers.  I cried much of this out in my bathroom with the door closed, and Jesus was not afraid of my tears. He didn't really offer any explanation, instead He just listened and let me cry. There is some comfort in that.

(Honestly, I am afraid to hit publish on this post, but maybe someone out there is experiencing a loss of hope. Maybe someone else out there has questions without answers. Maybe someone out there needs to know they aren't alone - even if her tears are for a completely different reason than mine.)

Friday, January 10, 2014

the character of a four year old

There are many days when my four and a half year old is exactly like any other four and a half year old. Bubby vacillates between being extremely curious and asking a million questions to being cranky because the dog looked at him wrong to being fun to hang out with while building with Duplos. There are days he throws fits or has an attitude. Many of those days he reminds me of a mini (yet male) version of myself.

And then there are days when I am amazed by my preschooler.

While Bugaboo had a meltdown at the dinner table over not enough Parmesan cheese on his spaghetti, Bubby took it in stride. We ended up having to remove our youngest from the table, and Bubby calmly told us that makes him grumpy when such things happen. He asks questions about why Bug's behaviors happen, and we do our best to answer. He doesn't get as upset as I know I would when it seems like sometimes a little brother is given more leeway for things.

When Bugaboo rejoined us for dinner he started flapping his arms and repeating words, and for some reason that made me cry tonight. It doesn't always. Bubby got up from his chair, gave me a hug and said, "You're my cutest Mommy." I'm not sure what other mommies he has he is comparing me to, but I'll take the compliment. He cheered loudly for Bug when he had a pretty good go at a fork tonight, and he helped clean up a puzzle that wasn't his mess even though I said he didn't have to.

I know what it's like to be the oldest, and I also know what it's like to have a little brother. But I don't know what it is like to have a little brother with special needs. I have no idea what the future will look like for their relationship as brothers, but I am thankful for this good start. I am thankful for the kind heart I see in my four year old.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 one word

In 2012 my word was intentional.

In 2013 it was simply be.

I was thinking about words the last week or so, trying them on for size like a pair of jeans that may be too tight or gap a little in the back. I love words. Words are my thing. Words are one of my love languages (after sleep and quality time). I needed a good word.

And then the word quiet came to me when I wasn't expecting it to. I'm guessing it was God, but I can't say for sure. I didn't really like the word, so I tossed it aside.  But quiet keeps returning to me over and over again. I don't know what it means to have this for my word this year. Intentional - that makes sense. Be - yes, just be, how lovely.  But quiet?

 Am I supposed to be quiet? Make my life quiet? Take more time for quiet? And does quiet mean verbally quiet or something more abstract? I am still unsure.

But I know that it is my word for 2014.

Quiet.

We shall see.