Sunday, January 24, 2016

What eleven years looks like

Our power went out this morning, right when I was considering doing my hair for church. I found the huge flashlight and you called the utility company, and somehow we still managed to get to Sunday school on time. The power was still out this afternoon for awhile, so you went to the library to work on your paper.  I entertained the kids at the piano, and I don't remember what else we did to keep busy. I forgot to buy you an anniversary card.
This is what eleven years looks like for us.

We are tired most of the time. Not the kids, but you and me. We put one foot in front of the other and then crash into bed late at night most days. You listen to my concerns about which therapies to utiltize, and I do my best to understand the stress of your semester. We see the light at the end of the nurse practitioner tunnel, but December feels far away still.
This is what eleven years looks like for us.

You picked up carry-out from a little Italian place in town while I purchased Sonic for the kids. I put out candles for the four of us at our table, but I didn't manage to light them. You were still in your church clothes, but I was in my sweats. We let Bubby attempt to take our picture, and I said I looked frumpy, but you liked the pictures anyway. I tried to shoo the kids to bed, but you had already promised Bug a game of Trouble, and it was lovely.
This is what eleven years looks like for us.

A few years ago I would have been disappointed by today, the lack of pomp and circumstance. But today it was beautifully imperfect. We are praying for people we know - a baby needs miraculous healing, a friend needs wisdom, a husband needs a job, a missionary needs provision. Our problems, our tiredness, and our questions look smaller this year. We keep putting one foot in front of the other, tripping and crashing sometimes, but still walking together.
This is what eleven years looks like for us. To God be the glory.



(My letter to Mike on ten years of marriage can be found here.)

Monday, January 18, 2016

birthdays

1.
"Mom...where are you? Does your nose hurt?"
This was the start of my birthday - me blowing my nose and Bugaboo concerned and trying to find me. He had been up for a couple of hours reading his books in his room, and he padded into my room in his footie pajamas, leaving a mess of books behind him.

2.
There are a few days each year that have some tough moments. I never fail to wonder if my father thinks about me on this day. Does he feel bad about what he has missed out on? Does he even think for a moment on this day of doing the right thing? I know on my kids' birthdays I remember so many beautiful things about the day they were born. Does my father remember anything beautiful about me?

3.
Sometimes, especially on birthdays, I can think of what I should have accomplished or acquired by now. I make checklists in my head, and very few of the items are marked off. But having a bigger house in a better neighborhood with more money in the bank would not guarantee more happiness. Doing something notable does not equate to doing something valuable.

4.
Birthdays in the 21st century are wonderful and strange. Thanks to Facebook I received birthday messages from friends from every stage of life - it is like having one's life flash before her own eyes via newsfeed. Beautiful memories of birthdays past celebrated with slumber parties in my basement or Cheddar's on South Glenstone. In every season of my life I have been given the gift of amazing and true friends. This year is no exception.

5.
My morning started with my three guys bringing me birthday cards. "MOME" was written on one of the envelopes.  Bubby also made a to-do list for the day: "CADS. BLOONC. MAC HOUS LUOK PRID. LOUC. HPENI. PDE HATS." He handed it to me and said, "I messed up on the word lunch." My life is not much like I thought it would be at thirty-five. Yet when I stop and think about it, it is everything I hoped it would be. I lack no good thing. I can say that with confidence. I lack no good thing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

What I read in December

Here's a summary of what I read in December:

My Name is Mahtob by Mahtob Mahmoody
Not Without My Daughter was the first grown-up book I read as a kid, so when I saw that the library had a copy of the daughter sharing her story, I knew I needed to read it. Part of the book is about their time in Iran and the escape, but the rest of the book was about what has happened since. Mahtob writes about her childhood, her college years, and wrestling with forgiving her father while still wanting nothing to do with him. So much of this portion was relatable because although my dad never was physically abusive or held me in a foreign country, the heart of who Moody was to Mahtob in his unrepentence and unwillingness to do the right thing is exactly like my dad. The writing in this book was not outstanding, but the story Mahtob shares from her experiences is well worth the read.

Wild in the Hollow by Amber C. Haines
Although I haven't read Amber's blog in a long time, I used to.  She is a fabulous writer, and I knew I wanted to read her memoir. Her writing is poetic and she holds nothing back about the details of her past and her faith struggle. There were some theological things that I didn't agree with, but I am thankful Amber shared her story. I do wish I understood more of the why's in her struggles as a youth- as I am someone who ran toward faith as a teenager instead of away from it. The section where she writes about her child's medical issues resonated with me, as well as some other things about community. (Technically I finished this in January - but most of it was read in December.)

Felicity by Mary Oliver
I picked up a book of poetry this month. It was lovely. I need to do this more.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
So many people recommended this book, and I ended up loving it.  I don't even know how to write a review of this book. It is more than just a World War II novel. The characters seem real, and most of them I wanted to befriend.

Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman
I would like to reread this one when I have time. It is about contendness and smallness and simplicity, but it is written in a way that doesn't feel preachy. Emily writes beautifully, and this book was an easy read, but also an encouraging read.

Books I tried and didn't finish:

Sarah Bessey's Out of Sorts - Love her writing on her blog, and I loved Jesus Feminist, but I couldn't get into this book. I will try again another time, but it went back to the library.

Jefferson Bethke's It's Not What You Think - Many people I like recommended this book, but I found it just so-so and couldn't finish.

We have also been listening to audiobooks in the car. It makes all the driving to Bug's appointments go a little better.

In Novemeber I introduced the boys to Anne of Green Gables - and it was delightful. There were tears as we listened.

In December we got through: Charlotte's Web (I read this to the boys earlier, but hearing EB White read it was such fun!), George's Marvelous Medicine, Matilda, and Pippi Longstocking.




Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 word of the year

I had a list narrowed down to three words.

Peace.
Grace.
Write.

Peace had been in my head because of advent and because it felt similar to hope. It's a good word, but it didn't feel like my word.

Grace jumped out at me on a page of a book I was reading the last couple of days. And then it jumped into my head yesterday and today in the kitchen when I felt that I needed to extend myself some grace. But taking on grace to focus on this year is not what I really want to do. Grace is hard.

Write is the word I wanted because my goal is to write more. Or to write well. I want to become a writer - whatever that really means. However, the word write felt more like a resolution instead of a focus.

Once again, deep in my heart I know what is supposed be my word.

Grace.

I know theologically and intellectually what grace is, but the challenge of focusing on it this year feels exhausting already. Yet I also know I really don't understand grace. I extend it, but not as well or as often as I should. One of my fears is that by picking this word is that when I blow it, someone will say, "I thought your word was grace!?"  But there will be grace for those moments, I am sure.

This word, grace, intimidates me more than I would like to admit, but it is starting to inspire me, too. So here's to the next twelve months of focusing on, wrestling with, extending more, and being amazed by grace.