Our Happy Dance

Joy in the day to day! Joy in who we are together! Joy unspeakable (1Peter 1:8)!

Letter to Seventeen Year Old Self

Dear Teenage Self:

Seventeen is rough while you are in it. In hindsight though, it will be one of your most beautiful years. Keep your chin up.

You think you are flying under the radar, not noticed by anyone in particular. You are important  to someone. Keep doing your thing.

I want to tell you, you will suffer losses this year and in the coming years, and they’ll feel so profound. These things will leave a tender spot, but will carve out a strength in you that you don’t know you have just yet.  Keep persevering.

The next decade and a half, is going to be a bit of a (sweet) science experiment gone bad. You’ll trade your pom poms in for an engagement ring. You’ll burn a lot of dinners. You’ll decorate the house in gilding (eep) and you’ll wear a spiral perm for five years too many. You’ll find yourself responsible for two little kiddos and feel that you are making an utter disaster of it all. You’ll feel scrutinized, you’ll mistrust yourself and others, and you’ll let a lot of people down including yourself. Keep grappling for grace.

People will tell you that God has a hope and a plan for your future. You’ll doubt them a lot. He does though and you’ll realize it when you look at your daughter for the first time; even more so when you see her Daddy looking at her. Yes, you can trust your heart, he’s the one and he continues to be the one for many years to come. Keep your dreams close to your heart.

You are bound for business school, you’ll despise going but it’ll serve as a launchpad for other things.  Eventually, you will get that teaching degree. You’ll go in as an adult and with all you’ve learned about yourself and your God, you’ll still doubt you are capable. Doors will close sometimes. Others will open wide and shout welcome! Keep learning.

You’ll meet a few good friends in the next years who you will be privileged to grow old with. True blue friends that will cry with you when the pink line shows up on your pregnancy test, sing the wrong lyrics with you to your favorite tunes, bring you soup when you are ill and see you through the rain. Keep them, cherish them.

Seventeen year old self, you feel so tall, so awkward and so much the klutz.  I can’t say it improves quickly. Some beautiful day in the future, when you are thirty something, you’ll look back and even though you won’t be able to pinpoint the exact moment it happened, you’ll realize you are finally comfortable in your own skin.  Keep believing it will all work out, because it does.

(By the way, your first wrinkles are laugh lines and that’s a very, very good sign).

 

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January Joy

January joy (photos of people I love, living out our beautiful and chaotic life)!

SAMSUNG SAMSUNG IMG_5813 IMG_5871 IMG_5894 IMG_5946

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A Little Resolve For Today

Yikes to Yesterday! The day itself had been so long and so rough. I felt fuddled. I was off track. My eyes must have shown the pure exhaustion because my husband walked in the door, put his arms around me, and talked of busting out of here when the kids weren’t watching and would I come with him? I laughed. Even the laughter felt like too much. There were attitudes needing adjusting. My daughter’s attitude, yes. My attitude, most definitely.  Don’t all attitudes adjust best by a little tender loving care? Don’t we all need assurance that we are loved and there is a grace and we have it in us to make better choices?

There was a son, needy too, and wanting comfort, hotdogs, and peanut butter straight from the jar.  There were messes, loads of laundry, dishes piling. I had been fighting minutia all day, picking up the same things, straightening the same rooms and to my frustration, it seemed as though the task list was multiplying.  You know the story well, I’d imagine.  When bedtime hit, I was wiped to the bone; aches in places I didn’t know existed.

A few hours later, sleep was interrupted with the first of the evenings nightmares.  Our son.  I calm and I tuck in.  Just after 2 am, I’m still tossing; kicked by tiny toes.  Just after 3 am I finally head downstairs, turn on a lamp. I’m embracing my selfishness, when this time our girl rushes in speaking of bad dreams. She crawled beside me on the couch, slipped beneath the afghan. I’m biting my tongue. I’m rubbing her back. I’m resentful.  In between all the yawning, she talked of new friends at school and a snowman near completion. I melted, so filled with delight for this child. She and I caught up. How did I let the distance happen in the first place? She had things needing telling and a heart to unload and I sat there reflecting on a lesson learned. “Okay, God, you got my attention. I have not done all these little things with love. I haven’t.” I had been nursing a grudge, moving through the day halfheartedly. Exhaustion can do things to a person and make us forgetful. It made me forgetful. The people who occupy this home are my privilege, and my dream come true.

Today there is new resolve. Resolve to hold my children and drop my clipboard, to marvel in family, to ensure that I know the places of each heart in this home before bedtime prayers are spoken. If need be the chores can sit and I’ll wear the title Messy Momma like a tiara. We Mommas, see to endless tasks, it’s true.  Today, I’m making certain to tend to love above all else.

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Quiet Things

Today, I’m hung up on a sunrise.

Truth is, I missed much of the sunrise this morning. The remnants of it though? Those splashes of orange light painting the January sky. . .indescribable. So quiet, a sunrise. So quiet, that many, I fear miss it entirely.  Myself included. Those who take time to notice, they are blessed with seeing its beauty. Those who don’t notice at all, are still affected by its existence. Sunlight does it’s thing, and everything is changed by it.

I remember as a child, learning that reputation is what man thinks of us. A simple definition followed by the instruction, we needn’t and shouldn’t concern ourselves with it, instead we should concern ourselves with what God and his angels know of us; our character. He knows us.  This is mind boggling grace. Sometimes its easy to forget that He sees us at all, that he cares, that he loves with such depth and height (Ephesians 3:18). If God glories in the little things concerning us, records our tears (Psalm 56:8) and numbers the hairs on our head (Luke 12:7), why on earth would we allow anything to make us believe we are anything less than beautiful and beloved?

Perhaps, someone reading this may feel as though they haven’t anything to offer. Don’t be fooled into forgetting you are a light to this world. Nothing about you is ordinary.  Those who reflect the love of Christ Jesus can’t help but to shine. Character, that glorious light inside of all of us, just does it’s thing, and everything is changed by it.

Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before all men, that they may see your good deeds, and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

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Dreams in the Making

It was such a beautiful day yesterday, despite the gray sky and winter haze. Goodness and mercy have followed me again. The knock on the door from the UPS man brought good tidings for sure. I sat for a moment all teary eyed, just staring at the box. My school books. . .the last school books before I graduate. It was a moment, friends. Eight textbooks. Many many hours of studying to go still, but it’s near. It’s so near. Nearer for my sweet Hubby as he doesn’t have to student teach. No, he doesn’t get to student teach.

And then a bigger moment. . .being able to tell my daughter that I received my student teaching assignment for the Autumn and that she and I would be in the same school. Big, breathtakingly beautiful things for me.  I whispered it, a million times, yesterday while choking back joy and doing my crazy kitchen dance, I whispered it, but let me just type it here:

Thank you Jesus! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Once again, you fill my cup to overflowing and I’m drinking from the saucer.

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Good Times at the Nature Center

We had the best time yesterday, my boy and I, at the local nature center. We participated in the My Preschooler and Me program which occurs monthly on the first Monday of the month. This was our very first time. We built a fort out of cardboard blocks, we created an owl out of toilet paper tubes. We cut out animal shapes out of play-dough. We hiked and we learned all about owls and owl habitat.  The beautiful Raptor in the photo below so touched my heart; she’s a miracle. She was hit by a car and now has just one eye. She weighs just over 2 lbs and has some difficulty with depth perception but she’s a survivor!  Beautiful, indeed!

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My One Word for 2013

Do you name your year?  Do you think me strange to know I name my year?  I’m not alone, there are many on this journey. Last year, the year of “enough”, I learned so much about excess, contentment and my response to it all. The year before, the year of “still,” I learned to quiet my self and made the paradigm shift away from being too busy. Who doesn’t need more of those things? Always a work in progress, praying for the gift of plod.

This year, I was wondering at what the word might be, thinking and thinking of what I wanted to capture my attention and gaze in 2013. Words have such power, don’t they? Like the rudder of a ship.  I was doing some reading when the word steadfast just really grabbed a hold of my heart. I wanted to avoid it at first, cast it aside for something more lighthearted, thinking steadfast sort of calls for standing in the face of difficulty. I wanted to avoid difficulty, not go head on into a new year sort of daring difficulty to bring it on.

Like I said though, this word grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let me go. It popped up in my reading during quiet time and I’m seeing it in such a different light. Its so much more than I thought at first. Steadfast, firmly fixed in place is just a marvelous word. There is faith involved in it, a truth, a constancy. It isn’t fickle. . . it isn’t uncertain.

And four days into the new year of steadfast, here’s what I happen upon,

“Bless the Lord, O my soul,

    and all that is within me,

    bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul,

    and forget not all his benefits,who forgives all your iniquity,

    who heals all your diseases who redeems your life from the pit,

    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good

    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5 ESV)

Do you see what I’m seeing? Right there in Psalm 103, is my word, listed as a blessing!  Yes, this is a good name for a graduation year, for a year of searching for and pursuing open doors. May this year of “steadfast” shake me up a little, dust me off and make me a little more decided, a little more certain, a little more firm.  Whatever comes though, in the process of whatever the year brings, I am promised the steadfast love of God and that’s quite a something to hang your hat on.

And another gift for my New Year. . .a beautiful button featuring my word, courtesy of Melanie at Only a Breath

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I Should Think You’d Need a Nap

Early to rise with sleep on your face and bed head to boot. So utterly irresistible!

You are wearing those pajamas again, your “baby” belly button is sticking out for all the world to see, and I could just eat you up.

You are on a mission to take the house apart. Heaven help us all! You knock your sister up side the head with your foam baseball bat and she throws a pillow at you. You say, “I sorry Adawin and I wuv you.” She says, “I love you too.”

I say, “how did I get so lucky?”

You are ready for a rumpus, stopping only for the occasional kiss from Momma or to ask for a Tootsie Pop. You say, “Tootsie Pop” so cute, with a preschool lisp, and I make you ask again and again just so I can memorize it.

You start and re-stop the dishwasher. You throw oatmeal on the floor and accidentally spill your milk. I pour you another. You ask for a blue straw and then decide you want yellow. No, it turns out you prefer green. You stick a matchbox car in the toilet, and a banana under our couch cushion. You head upstairs and begin jumping on your bed. You fall off. You shout, “I okay!”

You take apart the remote controls and when your done, you start in on the flashlights. Metal springs! Batteries! Light-bulbs! Oh my! You hear the garbage truck and run outside while my hands are in soapy dish water. You leave the door open and let the neighbors dog in. I catch you and you are giggling like there was no reason to fear. I’m frazzled and want a do over. You are toilet papering the living room.

It’s not quite ten a.m. and I have now reheated my first cup of coffee a third time. I should think you’d need a nap! I do! You? You, my beautiful son, are just getting started!

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Brushes, Braids and Tender Things

Love can be poured out in such a way that we don’t even know we’re being knocked over by it. I’m standing, dog tired, with a brush in hand, putting pigtails into chocolate brown hair, begging my girl child to stand still. I notice the shape of my fingers, the way they move to braid and I recognize those hands, really for the first time, as not mine alone. I realize they are the spitting image of my Mothers. They are my Grandma’s too but it’s my own Mother’s hands that momentarily still my heart beat and make me swell with gratitude. I am her child and she is mine and Im so stinking proud of it.

We get so caught up, sometimes in minutia, that we miss the daily little things that added up to pure tenderness. We trade our beauty for bitterness; we become too hurried. In this, I slow. I catch my breath and tell it straight to my girl, knowing that my heart is so full of love for this little, freckled, being, “Grandma used to brush my hair like this, gentle strokes, every Sunday night. I’d sit at her feet until I was well into my early teens and she’d just brush my hair and sing…or talk to me and she’d always braid my hair. She’d tell me stories of how she and Grandpa met or tell me how she’s always known that her girls were exceptional.” As I say it all, its like I’m finally hearing it with a clear head and full heart. My daughter is hearing it now. I hope she’s hearing it. You. Are. Exceptional. You. Are. A. Gift.

My Momma would tenderly work hair into three strands; a quiet service, a simple offering of her time there at the end of her week, when she must have been so spent–so emptied out.  I know that now. I am now doing the same, just praying it’ll be a love offering. I’m thinking of family, all we are and are not. All that we send packing with the passage of time and all the things we carry with us.

I’m thinking of love. I am sending love forward

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15 Things I Want my Babies to Know

  1. Never let anything master you or constrain you except the love of Christ. I never met a vice which ever served to make a man better. Avoid them all.
  2. Never stop keeping company with the believers, dreamers and optimists.
  3. Always believe you are exceptional. Every single thing you do matters. You were made to change the world.
  4. Make hay while the sun shines. We’re given such a short time here. Pour your talents and your love out. It’s the ticket to a rich life.
  5. All the best walk alone sometimes. Be an individual and know we’ll always leave the light on for you.
  6. Be quick to forgive. Learn the art of letting things go.
  7. I’d stake my very life on the belief that the Bible is life changing and inspired. I hope you learn the habit of reading it often.
  8. Do not ignore the downtrodden.
  9. Learn contentment and celebrate the simple things.
  10. Bring your sweater, you’ll be glad you did.
  11. Pursue music and poetry every. single. day.
  12. All mistakes can be miracles, dust yourself off and let God do his grace thing.
  13. The vibrant sense of curiosity you carry with you now; wear it always, like a crown.
  14. Be gentle on the world.
  15. You are your mother’s child. As long as I have breath I will fight for you, I will pray for you, I will love you.

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