Saturday, January 4, 2014

Doughnuts, Messy Counters, and Redemption

My daughter was listening to Farmer Boy this morning and, always, what stands out to us is the FOOD these people ate.  She ran downstairs claiming she wanted apple pie, doughnuts, and pancakes for breakfast.

Um, no.

BUT, I did look up a quick recipe for homemade doughnuts and I fried up some gluten for breakfast this morning.  She was in charge of the powdered sugar and, by "in charge," I mean she dumped gallons upon every doughnut hole that came out of the grease.

Exasperated, I wailed, "You are making a huge mess!"  To which she replied with a deep and powerful truth.

"Yes, but it's a gooey, delicious mess."

She didn't refute the mess or deny its presence.  She simply saw it for what it was - messy, gooey, and...delicious.

I could use some of that perspective.

Day in and day out, my life is, quite simply, a MESS.  The house gets messy, the laundry gets messy, my words get messy, the schoolwork gets messy, my attitude gets messy.

But what's the alternative?  Perfection?  Neatness?  Everything piled up nicely in a row in our quiet little ordered lives? (Yes, Tia, that's exactly how I was thinking I'd like to live.)

But...really?  I mean REALLY?

What if everything always stayed in its place and we lived a life of....of what?  Of sipping lattes?  Of freshly fried doughnuts void of sugar, or, worse yet, covered with a pre-measured portion that was...perfect?  What is our life if it doesn't get a little messy from time to time?  Boring?  Predictable?

No thanks.

Once upon a time, a Man was born in a dirty, filthy, MESSY stable.  He dined with messy people who led messy lives and He made a mess out of their rules and He reached down into the mire and arose a redeemer.  He walked up a hill carrying a mess of wood, bleeding and broken and arrived only to be nailed, thrown in a hole right beside two men - whose lives were a mess.

The cross is messy.  Redemption is messy.  LIFE is messy.

He didn't come to eradicate our mess...He came to redeem it.

He came to rescue the fallen, to hold tight to the wailing, and to whisper loudly to the world His voice of reason and righteousness.  He didn't promise a life of order.  He promised a life of carrying our own bloody cross up a messy hill and dying to the mess that is our flesh.

Will I give thanks for the morning and the counter dusted with flour and the little girl inspired by a book and the sugar all over the plate and the doughnuts piled high with snowy white? Will I see it all from the perspective of a Father who loves me enough to live the mess, give me the mess, and call it all delicious?

I like to think that the more messy things become, the more I'm being molded into the image of a Creator who used dirt to do molding and arrived incarnate in a stable.  I want to be just like a King who sat down with the thieves and whores and wasn't afraid of their mess or the men who hated it.

I'm sure He wouldn't have minded a little extra powdered sugar.

I needed today.

I needed a little girl to dump sugar merrily, call it gooey and delicious, and remind me that this life, this home, this family, this task to which we are called, this living joyfully amidst the messy, it's Kingdom work and it IS a mess.

We are all a mess.

"Yes," says the brown-eyed girl, standing tall on the black chair in the messy kitchen, sprinkling triumphantly, "but it's a gooey, delicious mess."

And her mother laughs.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Under Construction!

It's finally done!

The blog is moved, the new year is beginning, and I'm turning over a new leaf.  Or maybe an old one.

With the hard work out of the way, the easier task of writing and sharing can once again begin.  I am still in a bit of transition, so some things to watch for:

(I thought this photo was cuter than those of construction hats - it's a puzzle being put together...under construction...get it? This is why I don't typically add pictures to my posts. I choose something odd, then spend a bunch of time talking about it.)

1.  If you are an email subscriber, you may receive another confirmation email this week as I move everyone over to the new...server? host? site?  I don't know.  But it's all being MOVED, so be ready to confirm your subscription (again.)

2.  If you experience any kinks in any area of this blog, please send me an email and let me know so I can fix it ask my husband to fix it for me.

3.  If you are not yet subscribed via email, now is a great time to do so!  I am not a great Tweeter or Facebook page updater, or Instagrammer (yes, I had to double that m), so the best way to stay caught up with my posts is to simply sign up to have them delivered directly to your inbox.  Funny how email is starting to seem old-fashioned.  I don't post super often, I never share your email with anyone (no offense, but no one is exactly banging down my door begging for your email address), and I never email offers (because I don't have any) or anything else annoying.  (Well, you may be annoyed by my rants, my lamentations, and my metaphorical ramblings, but if that's the case, you probably aren't reading this in the first place.)

I use parenthesis, commas, series, run sentences, and fragments when I'm excited...can you tell? It's the cutting up and stretching out of sentences, the obsession with the English language, and the intentional refusal to conform...even to grammar rules, apparently, which are usually something about which I can be rather picky.

So I'm a hypocrite, too.

Welcome back, welcome for the first time, glad you are here, and hello 2014!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

It Was Enough

I took my daughter to Target.  All by herself.

We are a homeschooling family, which means we do everything together.  Everything.  This has its perks and is one of the reasons we chose this journey in the first place.  But sometimes I think it means we get a little less one on one time...maybe we have to fight a little harder to get a child alone.

Of course, maybe with drop off, pick ups, and after school practice, it is a challenge for all of matter our choices regarding education.

Either way, this moment, for us, is somewhat of a rarity.

I had noticed my oldest was crying more than usual and seemed a little overwhelmed with life in general.  She asked if we could please go somewhere alone.

I knew what she meant.  I know a little something about overwhelmed.

So we headed to Target.  She needed stickers for an art project she wanted to complete and I, personally, think Target is a joyful place.  For whatever reason.

We purchased hot chocolate, shopped for stickers, rifled through clearance notebooks, and conversed about nothing in particular.

That trip was hard for me.

I wanted to say so many things.  I wanted to tell her how proud I was of her.  That I know it's hard being the oldest and bearing more responsibility than you feel should be yours.  I wanted to ask her if she was okay.  If I was doing anything right.  I wanted to drill her about her lessons. Does she like school?  Is it too hard?  Too easy?  What books would she like to read next  year?  I wanted to break down her ever-present walls and march straight into her heart.

But she's not that kind of girl.

She is quiet.  Contemplative.  She'll talk to you about what she wants to say...when she's ready.  And if you pry?  She clams up.  It's too much...all the asking and prying.

This is the child who, weeks after they are over, shares stories of hurt and confusion with me.  Usually in the dark.  She needs time to process life before discussing it.

She is exactly like her father.

I've had to learn, being a woman of loud and abundant speech, that souls like these are precious.  These are not hearts into which you can rush with your questions and encouragement and verbose professions of love.

You say it once.  You say it clear.  And you let them be.

So we just went.  We went for the sake of just being with no motive on my part and no expectations placed upon her.

As the trip came to an end, we marched into the open air, longing now for the comfort that is home.  There, in the descending dark, swirling swiftly and magically, the last snowstorm of the year fell upon us.  We rushed about, catching snowflakes on our tongues, looking for the car that I always lose and she always finds, and played together in the moisture-laden night.

We didn't have an earth-shattering conversation.  We didn't discuss Scripture or life or love or happiness or any matters of the heart.  I didn't pepper her with questions or gush about how wonderful she was or lay my insecurities at her ill-prepared feet.  I refused the well inside me that was bursting forth with lamentations and praise about life and about faith.

We went to Target.  We walked together.  We chased snowflakes in the dark.

And it was enough.