Our Happy Dance

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

Get Yourself a Yellow Purse

I married a neutral sort of fellow. When I took his last name and took half of his closet, he gently complained over the vibrant colors of my wardrobe. Think Italian girl meets German boy, because this is what had happened.  His side: brown, grey, olive green and variants of the aforementioned–all practical. My side: fuchsia, chartreuse, turquoise, and many, many shades of purple all with matching shoes! Time passed and little by little I embraced my inner Scandinavian; recognizing that I felt better in earth tones. I traded my big hair for more subdued fashion and my overstated makeup for visible freckles and bright eyes. I embraced chocolate brown. Who wouldn’t?

So, imagine my surprise when I came home from a thrift store shopping extravaganza with a purse the color of Big Bird’s feathers. What on earth was I gonna do with it? I tried switching out my black mommy tote and chucking everything inside of this new beauty. The moment I did, I slapped my forehead in wonderment. I’d had some sort of momentary lapse of judgement, I was certain. I emptied the yellow purse and tossed it up high on a closet shelf.

Then came the In(rl) sign up for this year and the many lovely ladies sending encouragement and their blog addresses so we could get to know one another ahead of time. I became intrigued by so many of them, including Vicki and wanted to reach out. Reaching out requires bravery (extra bravery for the introvert).  Many of these girls seemingly have genuine hearts and gorgeous-strong-spirits. I began following many of them and decided once we started throwing small talk out via Twitter, we should get to know one another, soon, and in person.  Again–bravery. Next thing you know though, I’m mumbling something about meeting for coffee and oh, by the way, “I’ll be carrying a yellow purse.”  People, it’s like something took over.

Well, friends, I just met Vicki for coffee with my friend Laura and I did carry my yellow monstrosity handbag.  I had it sitting out there on the Panera table, in broad day light; I really wanted our new friend to be able to find us. Oh my heavens, what a day! What a seriously good day! Now, that yellow purse will forever be associated with audacity and fierce friendship. No momentary lapse of judgment, no waste of hard earned money. Just three really fabulous girls doing lunch.

In a few words, get yourself a yellow purse and go dance outside your comfort zone. It’s so very worth it!

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Curiosity

I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

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When God Shows Up on a Well Worn Trail

The nature center in our county? Our pretty park Reserve? Well, I confess, it’s one of the reasons we call this place home.  We didn’t move an hour away from friends and family because a Park Reserve beckoned us. It would be pretty high on the list if we were ever looking for reasons to stay. It didn’t start out that way but consider us wholly captivated. We walk the trails there so much I think I could lead you through it with my eyes closed.  We are blessed by it. We extend our Sabbath by intentionally hiking it, rain, snow, high humidity, whatever.  We are always utterly astonished concerning the way God orchestrates his creation in new ways every single day. So, when I happened to be walking a familiar path in the woods and caught a new expression of love, I believe the love of God for me, I wasn’t so surprised. Although, I did wonder how often I’ve walked right by it, neglecting to count it as gift.

I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that you get a reminder that He’s at work and He’s always reaching out for us if only we just have eyes to see it.

 

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Valentine’s Day 2013

For some moments, there simply are no words. . . (and blog proof that this woman is utterly behind). How is that you blink and miss a month?

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Oh, The Places You’ll Go

When the annual Expo happens at the school, proud parents flock in and there isn’t a face in the place that doesn’t show the “parent smile.” You know the one? The one where you smile so wide your cheeks hurt, and your face is blushed, and your eyes are shining (if not a little misty)? Every parent in the room thinks his or her baby is the best and the brightest. Every parent in the room has that right too. Boy, do they ever! This is why I don’t believe in the participation prize, the consolation prize; a parents love, if they are doing it right says it all. A quick look around any event such as this and you just know, every kid is a winner.  I’m so not alone here. Gosh though, my girl, she does make me feel like I’m leading the parade. Beautiful inside and out, creative, and so smart to boot! I’m positively giddy about this kid! Her Daddy and I, we both are!

Raising a cup of hot chocolate to our beautiful girl. Second place in the 3rd and 4th grade Science Fair, first place in our hearts!

Oh the places you’ll go!

There is fun to be done!

There are points to be scored.

There are games to be won.

And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”

~Dr. Seuss Oh, the Places You’ll Go

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday

Linking up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday. We write for five minutes flat (unedited) on a prompt she provides. Today’s prompt is: Rest.

Here goes. . .

I feel so paper thin these past few days, like those little tissue lamps ready to take to the wind. So many weary, hurting and downtrodden surround; and aren’t we all empty until we are filled by Jesus? I am empty. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to ask the Lord for. Its tough to know the right words to offer to give life and vitality.

We’ve got deadlines and time constraints and controversy at every turn. We’re plodding and we’re praying worn lines; singing songs that flow out of a power source of living water. We’re climbing and sometimes we forget that in the climb, He’s so willing to carry us on his shoulders.

I used to struggle to keep up with my Daddy’s long stride. He clutched my hand strong and tender. Sometimes it felt like I was running next to His strong walk. Then he’d bend and lift me up and my face would be closer to the sun and he’d let me sit upon his shoulders and he’d do the work while I did utter delight. Isn’t that how it goes too with children of God? Don’t we need only to rest and find that he’s giving us an opportunity, a gift of fresh perspective?

Stop.

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Mommy’s Shadow

Right now, Son, you are Mommy’s Shadow. You are my helper and constant companion. We two go about the house, Mommy, trying to fight a never ending battle of laundry, dishes and empty tummies. You bring joy to every chore; you with your sunshine smile and your constant encouragement.

Mommy, you are such a good boy, yes!”

“Mommy, let’s do this thing!”

“Mommy, I love you!”

“Mommy, I good helper!”

We listen to the same play list every day while we clean up this space. You love the Beatles and Motown and the Jackson Five. You know that when Itty Bitty Pretty One comes on, we drop everything and dance in the living room until we are giddy and nothing is ordinary.  When was this ever ordinary?

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What Momma Did

I promised myself I’d join one of my favorite bloggers, Lisa-jo, for her Five Minute Friday posts and that I’d be brave and link up. Really? We are supposed to just write? Timer is set. . .

The prompt is What Momma Did. . .and for the record, five minutes doesn’t do her justice.

Here goes nothing. . .

My Momma, took time to learn my heart and she was my personal cheering section. I wouldn’t cheer from the football field without looking for Momma in the bleachers.  I wish I could write for you how she smelled, how her perfume would warm a room but I don’t know the right words. What is the word for the most addictive laugh on the planet? She has it. She’d dance in the kitchen with a dish towel. She’d run a sewing machine at two am. to finish my prom dress. She’d spend time praying for me at the foot of her bed after dinner,  and I’d walk in and know that her bended head meant she had me covered and she was praying for big extraordinary things for her girls.  She offered security in a rather dark and huge world and I adore every inch of her. Now I see her in my daughter… every. ..single… day and I marvel at this generational blessing that allows for a legacy of love to filter down and just keep going and going and going. My girl, my girl too has Momma’s laugh and Momma’s eyes and Momma’s dark hair and chin. It’s because of my Mother that I ever dared to dream about Motherhood in the first place. She taught me to dream.

End.

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When Your Community Is Hurting

My friends and I talk about community a lot. We talk about how to appropriately “work out” friendship. This has been a week of heartache for many of my inner circle and today I’ve spent lots of time considering how to effectively walk my dearest through the rain. I think it was Mother Teresa who talked about there being no great acts, just small acts with great love. Well, here goes nothing.

For the friend who is facing dark days and nights,  my message is this: no night, however dark, can dim the light I see in you. You are amazing and beautiful.  I want to know you are hearing me but this isn’t something technology allows for. You are Christmas lights and fourth of July fireworks. Get me? You brilliantly ran hurdles through your past and you’ve arrived here in this place only to find there is more work needing doing. You are tired. You are weepy but you are not alone. Allow me to get angry for you, to bring tissue, to help you sift through the wreckage until a better day.  I feel privileged to be here.

For the friend who thinks she’s invisible… Right, you are invisible like my left arm is invisible. I see you. More importantly God sees you.  Keep that beautiful chin lifted toward the sun. We are partners in crime. We keep pace with one another even though we are roaming in different zip codes. You need time. You need connection and conversation. We can make that happen. Thank you for telling me. Does it help you to know, I’ve been lonely for you too?

For the friend who is feeling knocked down by illness and is feeling frustration and neglect.  I’m frustrated for you.  I’ve prayed as best I can, and I sent you hot water bottles and calming tea (check your mailbox) and I’ve thrown more coins in my “airline ticket” jar. At the rate I’m going, I’ll fly to where you are sometime before the youngest graduates; at least you know I think about it. If you had a chord for each time I think of it, you’d have an opus with your name on it.

Friends, I’ve learned so much from you. I’ve learned when your community is hurting, you gotta take time to listen and to really see. You gotta love stronger, sing a little louder and pray a little more fiercely. You make hot-dish. You invite yourself over. You rely on each other and sometimes you have to lend your mustard seed of faith to another so they can press on. This is how I’ve learned we do friendship in this little corner of the planet.

This small thing, well, it might just count as the most corny post of all time. Hopefully, though, you’ll read these words and feel the shelter of my umbrella and maybe all the hope for you that comes with it.

 

 

 

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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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