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.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Joyful Change

So, I was thinking this week (here we go again...)

Something hit me.  Something I didn't see coming and didn't even know was on the horizon.  My self-righteous-all-about-me-sinful-self didn't see it.

She wasn't looking.

The ancient Spartans were do-ers.  They DID horrible things like leave weak babies to die and they esteemed brute force as the only force to be reckoned with.  Their neighbors, the Athenians...they esteemed culture.  Pictures, books, and intellect.  It was said of the Athenians that they "knew" all the right things but did not "do" them.  They were hearers and not do-ers.  Spartans?  They were just plain mean.  But no one ever accused them of not doing anything.

I do not wish to be like the barbaric Spartan.  But the hedonistic, hypocritical Athenian?  I don't want to be her either.  It's time I took myself seriously.

I began to ask myself this question: Do I believe that my attitudes and actions will impact the long-term health, growth, and spiritual well-being of my children?

Well?  Do I or don't I?

I saw a video this week about a woman who threw herself in front of an SUV.  Her children were inside and heading towards a cliff.  The car ran over her and she is now paralyzed from the waist down.  But her body slowed them down just enough that the grandfather was able to jump inside and pull the emergency brake.  Her sacrifice saved the lives of her children.

Do I believe that the sacrifices I make will save the lives of my children?

If I do...if I believe that being here, every day...washing feet and teaching grammar...if I believe these sacrifices to be life-changing, life-giving, life-saving...

Then I must stand tall and refuse the lies the enemy throws at me.  I had better stop complaining and wallowing. I must learn to take the good with the bad and gives thanks for both.

Mothers make different kinds of sacrifices every day.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Somewhere, a mother spends her days in a wheelchair because of the sacrifice she chose.  Me?  I just get to spend ample time with precious souls.  Hardly seems like sacrifice.

Why does it feel so sacrificial at times?

It has to be that I am selfish and self-absorbed.  That I care more about my day and what I need than about  those around me.  God placed me here in a state of always-giving because He knows that giving must come harder for some of us than for others.  For me?  The ever-giving is what is maturing me (slowly.)  I want to be her.  The person Jesus is trying so desperately hard to make of me.   A woman who gives.  Gives freely and abundantly.  Without reservation.  Without self-seeking desires creeping up at every turn.  I want to get out of the way and just be clay.

It's hard to be clay when you are a rock.  Albeit, a  teary, Athenian, book-loving rock.  But a rock non-the-less.

I wrote to a friend today that I want to shove my selfish endeavors under a rock and sit and bask in the sun.  Or the Son.

As another day winds down and my heart feels lightened by the words that burdened it all week, I pray for the strength and resolve to lay down my life joyfully.  That I might live abundantly.  And that I may walk in the knowledge that the sacrifices I make today will change the tomorrow of the souls with whom I've been entrusted.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


I woke up, sleep deprived, to two sick kids, school to be taught, and a mess of a headache.

Maybe I should have just stayed in bed.

Malfunctioning toilets, smoothies-all-over-the-floor, math-crying (you know, the crying that accompanies math on days when everything else is already falling apart), fevers, Kleenex, a mommy-run-down, and only one lap to house it all.

I poured myself out today...completely and totally.  So much emptied that, by bedtime, I wasn't even surprised when the dog peed in her kennel.  My voice barely held inflection as I assured my six year old that the smoothie would clean out of her shirt.

I sent my nine year old upstairs to do her nighttime chores while I prepared her younger, under the weather, sisters for bed.  As I finished teeth brushing, nose blowing, and medicine giving, I climbed into bed with them, one on each side, and fell flat onto my back.


The word floated through my aching body.

When days run into nights and sleep comes in patches, squeezed between two fever-ridden bodies...this is when the mother breaks.  When she is emptied.  And just as He filled the jars of the widow, and healed the ear of the soldier, so will he mend us. Bring us back to full.  And it's  only here...when there's nothing left...that His healing seems most miraculous.

As their breathing becomes slow and they drift off to a deep slumber that I pray will soothe what ails them, I close my eyes and breathe deep.  One more day.

I help the big sister get to sleep, then head to do the only thing I know to do when I have nothing left.

I grab my pen and my Bible and start copying.  I am writing through books of the Bible right now...mostly because it's the most effective way I know to meditate on the Word of God, even when I'm too tired to do so.

My breathing slows as I write methodically, eternal truths burning into my soul as they are etched onto paper...and the filling begins.

It takes a whole lot of faith for me to admit that I can handle no more.  It's  hard for me to come to the place where I throw my hands in the air and admit that I am void of any more giving.  But this truth...that I am a broken vessel empty of anything worthy to true even on my best day.

Today is really no different...but it's always the mess, the crying, and the tired mama, that sends me running straight for the cross.

I thank God for days like today...the ones that put me in my place.  Humbled, brought low, muddling through with the sinking realization that I cannot keep going.  I love it when He shows up, picks me up and keeps right on walking.  Straight towards holiness.