Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 31: candy, costumes, carving pumpkins

31 Days!  Woo hoo!  I feel the need to celebrate…hmmm, maybe something with candy, costumes, carving pumpkins?  **smile**

This evening we will gather at a friends’ house for dinner and neighborhood trick or treating.  The kids will be dressing up as a Turkish princess, a Medieval princess, and Frodo the Hobbit.

We carved our pumpkins last night using a method that was new to us.  I printed out templates online, which we taped to the pumpkins. The the kids used push pins to poke tiny holes all along the lines of their template.  When we took the paper off, there was a perfect outline of their picture!  Brilliant!

Making a pumpkin into a cat

Carefully working on his howling wolf

Showing off her handiwork

Here are our finished products!  Aren't they spooky??

 ***I want to take this time say a heartfelt thank you to you for reading here this month, for your encouragement, both in the comments and in real life, and for helping me take this step out into a dream I have had for a long, long time. 

I am going to continue writing here.  This month, I have found creative joy in crafting words and trying to put the everyday grace I experience into word pictures that hopefully, prayerfully bring glory to the One who gives me that grace. 
I also want to thank Nester for hosting all of us 31 Dayers!  What a journey this month has been...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 30: not forgotten

Sitting in a room in a doctor’s office, gowned up and ready for the doctor to come in, you wait, reading every printed word in the room wondering when the door handle will turn announcing the doctor's arrival.  The minutes tick by.  If you were properly dressed, you may be tempted to throw open the door and say, “Excuse me, I’m still here!  Have you forgotten about me?"

Waiting can make you feel forgotten.

I studied Noah this week and, boy, he was in the ark a LONG time!  Perhaps there were times when he wanted to throw open the door and shout up to God, “Hey, have you forgotten about us in here?”

Then these words that begin Genesis 8: “But God remembered Noah…”  Of course, he never forgot about him to begin with, but the time had come for God to act on behalf of the folks in the ark, to dry up the water and let the animals and people back out on His earth.

During the lecture portion of my Bible study this morning, I wrote this in my notes: Noah waited on God’s perfect timing.

Then I wrote these questions that the teacher asked us:

How are you waiting? 

Are you resting, or feeling restlessness?

What do you know about the character of God that will keep you waiting in hope?

I wondered, what characteristics of God did Noah dwell on during those long days floating safe on the ark?

November 10th will mark one year since becoming certified to adopt a child.

I continue to wait in hope, believing God to be good.  I believe He is able to work both for my good, for the good of the baby we will adopt, and for the good of all those involved in the process.  I believe God to have purpose in what He does and I believe that He can bring good things out of circumstances that don't seem good at all.

Last night a sweet friend listened with the deep understanding of one who knows as I shared through tears that this waiting is growing burdensome.

She was going home to mother four children from her body and one who was born into her heart and family from Ethiopia, the one she waited over two years to hold. 

She knows.

And she could tell me from that place of knowing that there will come a day when God will remember us.

I wait for that day.
Tomorrow is the 31st day!!  Amazing!!  Click on the link below to visit the other 31 Dayers:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 29: the best way to end a day

The kids scatter to bathe.  They no longer need help to get clean at the end of the day.  I stand at the sink, clean up our last meal.  Scrub dishes, stack the last dishes in the dishwasher, wipe the countertops, sweep under the table. 

Kids appear with wet, just-brushed hair, clean jammies, smelling faintly of shampoo.  Mellow and happy, they gather quiet things, paper and crayons to draw with, legos or small figures to play with. 

We all gather in the living room, sitting in our favorite customary spots.  My husband finds the current family read-aloud book and with an hour to go before bed, starts in on the next chapter.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 28: gift after gift

Counting gifts from His hand on this Sunday evening…

: spending the weekend with my kids and the friends they have known since they were babies
: gifted movie tickets to take this gaggle of kids on an outing
: cool fall evenings, even if the days are summer-hot
: introducing Emma to Anne of Green Gables, one of my favorite movies of all time
: whipping up a batch of Toll House cookies with three sweet girls
: eating those delicious cookies!
: praying for the men of our church, including my husband, on a retreat this weekend
: looking forward to worship, and the Harvest Festival, and being with my community of faith
: good conversations with folks at the festival, especially those I don’t talk to frequently
: resources to fill my cupboards and fridge, full to bursting

I have enjoyed ending/beginning my weeks this way, pausing to think on the days that have passed, noticing the tender, generous acts of God in and around me.

May this be a week full of noticing, friends, the many gifts He generously gives.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 27: sometimes the business of heaven is pancakes

There is a book on our shelf containing four volumes by C.S. Lewis: Surprised by Joy, Reflections on the Psalms, The Four Loves, and The Business of Heaven. Looking at the spine of the book one day I became curious: all of the titles were familiar to me, save one: The Business of Heaven.  I pulled the book off the shelf,  opened up to the page where the volume began and read:

The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it.  It comes the very moment you wake up each morning.  All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.  And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.  And so on, all day.  Standing back from your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind. -  C.S. Lewis, The Business of Heaven

This image of the wild animals has stayed with me clearly since that first reading.

“…Coming in out of the wind,” he says.  A friend recently told me of standing on top of the Empire State Building.  The strength and noise of the wind astounded her.  She couldn’t hear what the people standing right next to her were saying.

The sound of the wind fills our ears making it impossible to hear anything else but its insistent roar.  Jesus invites us to come into the calm surety of His presence, to step in out of the wind, moment by moment, every day. 

Sometimes I wake already wrestling those animals, already anxious and worried, losing the battle to lists and expectations, as Lewis puts it “all our wishes and hopes for the day.”  Wishes and hopes sound positive, don’t they?  The problem lies when those wishes and hopes do not get fulfilled, when something thwarts them and we are left with something else entirely, a day that looks nothing like we wished or hoped it would.

Earlier this week, I said yes to pancakes, chocolate chip ones.  And tea, hot tea, with sugar and cream. 

My initial plan for the day had been to simply slap some bagels on the table and get on with it, to rush on ahead of the clock and into this day so that I wouldn’t feel behind, behind, behind.

Into my hopes and dreams for the day walked my girls with their sleep tousled hair and their jammies still on, asking for some kitchen love.

So I said yes. On the outside, I was doing a “nice mommy” thing: making a delicious, hot breakfast for my children.  But it took quite a while for the inner me to stop seething over the time ticking away.  Inside I was actually angry, feeling that push of time, like I was already behind even before serving breakfast. 

I forced myself to stand there at the stove, breathing slow, watching the bubbles come up on the pancakes.  Just being there, in the moment, the warm fragrance of chocolate and batter filling my senses.

And then it came.   Or rather, He came.


And He spoke softly to me.  This act of love is worth doing, He said.

Sometimes being on schedule IS extremely important.  This morning, however, was not one of those times.

The homeschool police were NOT going to show up at my door and wonder why school hasn’t started already!  At least I didn’t think they were.  I was willing to chance it, anyway.

I was free to love, free to let those first hopes and dreams of the day go and to listen to “that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in”.

The pancakes were really, really good.

Day 26: Five Minute Friday: Voice

Every Friday, Lisa Jo hosts Five Minute Friday.  In her words: 

We write for five minutes flat.  All on the same prompt.  No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted.  Unedited.  Real.

Today the prompt is: Voice.  Here are my five minutes:

 My clothes swirled and sloshed in the washing machine, as I sat in the storefront window of the little Laundromat, looking out on Monroe St. in Madison, WI, a California girl  far, far away from home that holiday season.  Since the place was deserted, and since I was sitting close to the glass and the acoustics sounded nice, I started singing Christmas carols.

I sang Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus, one of my favorites, along with, Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne.  I sang Silent Night, O Little Town of Bethlehem, and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. 

The familiar and true words soothed my homesick soul and, even though my voice is not fabulous or anything, I do love, love to sing.

Then, in the middle of a verse, I froze.  A sound from the back of the Laundromat.  Someone switching their laundry…OH NO. 

Apparently I wasn’t exactly alone!

My face burning with embarrassment, I eventually got up and walked to the washer to switch my own clothes and a young man said to me, “Was that you singing? It was nice.”

My mortified self said, “Yes.  Thanks.  I, um, thought I was alone.” 

And that may or may not have been the last time I sang a solo in a laundromat!
I love singing, and I love Five Minute Fridays!  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 25: glow of accomplishment

It is 10:13 p.m. and I am just sitting down to Day 25.  It’s been one of those days, full of driving children to school and back, teaching math, supervising piano practice, making a quick trip to Costco, and finishing the afternoon with dinner preparation and house tidying. 

Repeatedly over the past couple of days, my youngest daughter has asked me to get the fleece cut and ready to make a tie blanket to contribute to a Christmas blanket drive at church.  I taught her to make the blankets last week and she absolutely LOVES doing it.  Once the strips are cut up the side, she ROCKS tying them.  Her knots are neat and firm, and she goes slow and keeps everything straight. 

She finds me in the kitchen, her big blue eyes earnest in her sweetly freckled face. “Can we get the blanket ready today, Mama?”   

I must have planned to cut the fleece at least ten different times over the last two days.  It kept not happening. 

Today when I came home from one of my errands, I saw she had set everything up for me.  The fleece was laid out neatly, and all I had to do was start cutting. 

Her initiative moved me.  After the chili was bubbling and the cornbread was baked, I plowed through the necessary preparations to make the blanket.

After dinner, she got down to the business of tying the strips all along the sides of the blanket and before dessert was served, she had the project finished. 

The glow of accomplishment and pride on her seven year old face was so worth the time I took out of my crazy afternoon to help her. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 24: little philosopher

Last Thursday after we dropped her older sister off at our charter school learning center for two afternoon classes, there was still thirty minutes until her older brother needed to be picked up from school.   Just enough time to run home and eat some lunch.  

Over hummus and crackers we talked about our current audio book.  We were listening to Super Fudge by Judy Blume.  In the book, Mrs. Hatcher has a baby and Fudge and Peter have to adjust to having another sibling.   During the first months of the baby’s life, Fudge spends a lot of time trying to sell her or give her away.   He has a hard time adjusting to the loss of his status as baby of the family. 

Listening to the book in the car, I have wondered about how our youngest will adjust when we adopt a baby.  She is seven years old right now, in March she will be eight. 

“Well Mom, you know, Fudge is still maturing from being a baby, so it is really hard for him to have another baby come along.  I am already seven, and so I know that it is a good thing to adopt a baby and I will be fine.  I am actually excited to be older than someone!  And to teach them things and help take care of them.  It will be fun!”

Oh my sweet little philosopher!  She will be an excellent big sister, with her strong natural gift of teaching and the way little kids enjoy being with her.  She is so much like her Aunt, my husband’s sister, who is one of those people that just “get” kids and is able to connect with them easily.  It truly is a gift.

Adjusting to a new baby will be an intense experience for all of us, I know, but our “baby” seems ready for the challenge. 
{Seven more days to go!  Click on the button below to see all the other 31 Dayers.  What a gathering!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 23: fading light

Dough is rising and the afternoon is waning.  The trees outside are bathed in the buttery soft light of a late fall afternoon.

I took some time this afternoon to go to Panera with the intention of reading some and writing today's post.  As I sat in my comfy chair, I observed a family getting situated a few tables away.  There were a couple of small children, a grandma, a mom and a dad.  The mom was scowling, and at one point I looked up quickly, surprised at the sharp tone I heard her using.  I watched her interact with her small daughter, the mother pulled tight as a rubber band about to snap, the girl simply being small and busy.  It was painful to watch the tears well in the girls' eyes, and the mother respond with no softness, no understanding.

These scenes give me knots in my stomach.  They play out before me in restaurants and grocery stores, in Wal-Mart and Target.  I am not bothered by crying or loud and rambunctious children, but my heart hurts desperately when I see a parent react angrily toward their child.

Believe me, I have, sadly, been an ungracious and angry parent.  I am not judgmental, just profoundly sad at the hurt our anger as parents causes.  The strength of my response comes both from empathy for the child, and for the parent.  Oh, have I been there!

I silently prayed for this small family, and went on my way.  And later, when I picked up my son from school, I listened long to his detailed explanations about his day.  When my daughter came and gave me an unsolicited hug, I held her long and tenderly.

The dough is risen.  The light is fading.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 22: the dragon and the lion

As I go about my days there is a steady beat of the Hound of Heaven pounding at my heels, relentlessly pursuing, pressing into the tender places in my soul.   Pregnancy and babies, pound, pound, gospel and truth, pound, pound, adoption and sacrifice and love, pound, pound, these are the topics that pound, pound, as I read and pray, study, write, talk, reach out, they weave their melodies and harmonies in my mind and heart and when I listen close, I hear that Hound whispering, “Keep looking; keep trusting; keep walking in the Light.”

When the One you love comes to you like the Lion came to Eustace the dragon (The Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis) and He keeps digging deeper, deeper, to really get down to the bare places, so that the pure waters of healing can wash there, there is no protecting yourself from Him.  And really, I don’t want to protect myself from Him.

I feel the strange, sweet release that comes from letting Him have His way.  Yes, there was healing to a point, like a scab, but there is a still deeper place to get to where the skin underneath is pink and new and where, when His light shines there and the waters of His mercy wash there, the beauty of a new creature shines underneath.

Thanking God for his relentless, healing mercy…

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 21: gift after gift

Counting more gifts from His hand...

: tender conversations with my love
: more goodness from Galatians at church and small group today
: studying Scripture with folks who love Jesus, such a joy!!
: a note slipped into my hand at church, full of the kindness encouragement
: cool air flowing into our home…yay for cooler temperatures!
: a full fridge of leftovers after a week of cooking
: spontaneous “clean out the fridge” dinner with friends from our small group; you know they are good friends when you can feed them your leftovers!
: playing hot potato with a giggling group of kids
: dropping a ball, over and over again, just to hear that baby giggle over and over again
: how writing helps me learn and see and know things in a different, deeper way
: praying for friends doing life-changing things like flying on a plane to Russia for an adoption, and having a baby (two different friends)!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 20: I thought of you today...

It's a gray, thoughtful sort of day.  Thinking about adoption, and the little one we will, one day, in God’s time, welcome into our home and family.

I thought of you today as I helped ladies at church make blankets for other mamas and their babies.
            I look forward to wrapping you in the blanket of our families’ love.
I thought of you today as I talked about my third born baby and how nursing her was so hard.
I look forward to holding you close, looking into your eyes, and nursing you, yes, 
even with a bottle.
I thought of you today as I talked about how there hasn’t been the hoped for phone call from 
our agency.
I look forward to that phone call, and I am trusting in the perfection of God’s timing.
I thought of you today as I stood in the department store baby section, looking at the boys clothes, the girls clothes, and wondered, which ones will I need?
I look forward to the day when I will know, and when I can make that longed-for purchase!
I thought of you today as I read Alicia’s news, and I rejoiced over their happiness with such pure joy!
            I look forward to writing such a post, someday.
I thought of you today, little one, and I look forward to meeting you!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Look

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo hosts a fabulous flash mob of writing:

This week's prompt is: LOOK.  Five minutes starts now!

“Look me in the eyes.”

I say this phrase regularly, sometimes many times in a day.  I say it to my children when I am talking to them about their behavior or about my expectations of them. At those times they tend to want to look anywhere but at me.

But it is precisely in those moments, when I am training and teaching that I want to be “eye to eye” with them.  I want to know they are focusing on the important words I am saying.   I want to be connected to them, and for them to know that I see them as a person, as someone worth telling the truth to, worth training up right.

Sometimes I am sure the kids don’t like it because when they look at me they see my “angry eyes” (Toy Story 2, anyone?)

I am hopeful that usually when they look into my eyes as I speak to them they see all the love and care and acceptance I feel for them.  I pray they see my deep desire to do this mothering thing right, even as I may be failing right then, in that very moment. 

Day 19: world changers

Recently our church has added “ Equipping World Changers” as a tag line on its materials.   The phrase has been rattling around in my brain and heart, making me wonder how my life lines up with those three bold words.

Are world changers the ones who change corporate spread sheets, who preach to thousands or move somewhere exotic for the gospel?

Here I sit, in my small blue house with the bright red door in an ordinary university town in Southern California, and the only preaching I have done lately is to my three kids and sometimes it all just seems so small. 

Last week I learned about a need, a practical need that I could meet, and one that stirred my heart.  A good friend of my Mom’s has a grown daughter who is going through cancer treatment.  She is a single Mama to two middle schoolers and, as is no surprise, she is struggling.  I could help by purchasing snacks, filling brown paper bags with food that her two growing ones could easily fix for themselves. 

Saturday, as I pushed my cart through the commissary aisles, I threw in some Easy Mac, Top Ramen and Cup of Noodles.  I grabbed cookies and fruit cups, apples and oranges, praying for this Mama and these kids, thanking God for the Body of Christ and the opportunity to serve.   

Somewhere between aisle 14 & 15 it hit me, the memory of a dear friend at my door, arms laden with bags full of  fruit cups, cookies and crackers, stocking my cupboards with snacks I could feed to my littles during the days when our family walked through the valley. 

I delivered the bags to my Mom’s friend today.  I asked about her daughter, I hugged her and looked into her damp eyes, rejoicing at the hint of good news and marveling at the strength and faith a Mama has to have to watch her child suffer.

Seemingly small acts of service can change the world.  I know because they have changed mine.  Every time I take my eyes off of myself, listen to God’s prompting and respond in loving service, I am changing the world, MY world…His world.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day18: filling boxes

Filling up shoe boxes today, full of little gifts designed to bring smiles to faces and sparkles to eyes far, far away.  I am loving how doing this is bringing smiles to the faces of my daughters, lighting them up inside and bringing them joy.

Have you participated in Operation Christmas Child?  If you haven’t, I highly recommend you click through and check it out.   And if you have, I would love to hear how it has blessed your family.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 17: the day before me

In the early morning dark I opened our coffee canister and it echoed back at me: empty.  Well, almost, anyway.  There were one and a half scoops of beans, which I ground and added a couple of spoons of decaf grounds to in an effort to make something which would tell my brain it was time to wake up! 

After dropping my son off at school, my daughters and I high-tailed it to the Starbucks a mile from our house and, from the comfort of my mini-van (and my pj’s, but shhhhh, don’t tell anyone) I bought a pound of Komodo Dragon, and a caramel macchiato for my trouble.

I feel much better now!

As I sit here, sipping my coffee, the day stretches before me. 

There are some chicken breasts and BBQ sauce in the crockpot, which will become dinner tonight.

There are two girls who are outside right now caring for their guinea pigs, giving them fresh food and frozen water bottles because the forecast says ONE HUNDRED DEGREES for today…what?!?

There is my husband; already hard at work for four hours by the time I am writing this, and whose face I can’t wait to kiss when he returns home on Friday.

 There is good work to be done: teaching, cleaning, laundry, discipling, loving, disciplining, cooking, playing, baking…good work for His glory.

I read about Him this morning, the God who came to Cain when he was angry and downcast and offered mercy and a way back into fellowship with Him.

Filled up with truth about God and after a bit more coffee, I'll be ready to get this party started!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 16: dance party!

After the dinner dishes were cleared and I served up ice cream for the kids we congregated at the table to play Zooreka, a game by the makers of Cranium where the players try to be the first one to build a zoo.

At some point in the game, I got up and put on “You Can Call Me Al’ by Paul Simon.  His greatest hits album has been one of my favorites lately, accompanying during dinner preparation and as my soundtrack at the gym. 

The kids love the music, and soon we had “Dance Party Zooreka” going, as we all sang, played air-instruments belly laughed and danced around.

Afterwards I thought about how uninhibited I feel around my kids, to sing, dance and be silly.  I would not be able to do those things around just anyone, but I love the fact that the kids know the goofy side of me, that they hear my voice singing loud and clear, imperfect as it is, and that they show me by example how to let go and be myself.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 15: gift after gift

How do you look a week in the face with challenges staring right back at you?  Count His gifts…

: a  productive weekend crossing things off of my list
: sisters playing ALL DAY outside, in the treehouse, on the trampoline, so happy
: a weekend with Boy Scouts for my boy, camping and leadership training
: sharing my heart, and being understood
: morning quiet with coffee and the Word
: helping friends after church
: great time studying Galatians with our Sunday afternoon home fellowship
: coming back home after home fellowship to a high schooler doing my dishes!
: taking time with my husband before his week away
: trusting in God’s provision for this week on my own with the kids
: full cupboards after a trip to the grocery store
: a restful night of sleep

This is day 15 of 31 Days hosted at The Nesting Place - click on the button to read other 31 Day posts...just about halfway there!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 14: grace

Driving to bible study, I thought about the interaction I had with my daughter just that morning.  She had made a futile search through her closet and drawers, unable to find just the right kind of clothes to wear to her dance workshop. She was stressed and feeling the time crunch as the clock moved relentlessly on.  I tried to help, showed options, offered suggestions.  Nothing worked.  There were tears, and  raised voices talking of consequences and ultimatums. 

The thing is, I know EXACTLY how she was feeling because I have stood in her shoes, I have felt defeated and upset at not finding what I needed in my closet.  Yet I did not treat her kindly.  I started out well, but as she continued to refuse my offers of help, I let the pressure of the clock override my care for her personhood and feelings.  I neglected to act with grace.

Ahhhh….grace.  Grace would have been just the ticket, just the thing to add to the mix that morning, both grace for myself, and grace for my dear child.

Driving that morning, I began to travel the well-worn path in my mind, which says that my triumphs or failures as a parent are the last word in the lives of my children.  I carry the weight of being the perfect parent. I know deep down that children are not math problems, but I desperately try to plug into the equation that says: if I add up all the elements of being a perfect parent and execute them on my children then they will turn out well and have happy lives. This would be fine, I suppose, if I responded perfectly to every whine or insolent look, guiding my children with just the right amount of grace and truth at every step. 

Yet clearly before me was an example of my failure to do just that.  No matter how hard I try to be perfect, this equation will never come out right! 

My children desperately need an example of perfection; the balance of grace and truth that I have only seen lived out perfectly in one Person.

John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

I read in my bible study lesson today that “God’s grace is more immense than His universe and more powerful than all the forces of nature.”

My children don’t need me to be perfect; they need to be shown the One who is; they need me to sit at His feet, and to invite them there with me.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 13: Checking it off

I made a list last night before I went to bed.  I walked around the house with my notepad and pencil, jotting down those neglected chores that have been bugging me for weeks.

For example, lately I’ve been looking at our ceiling fans, all of which were looking a bit fuzzy.  I conquered them with an old pillowcase.  Do you know that trick?  Holding the pillowcase open, carefully slide the blade of the fan inside the case, and then slowly wipe the surfaces of the blade as you draw the case off.  Most of the dust will stay inside the case instead of landing on whatever is underneath your fan.

Also on the list were cleaning blinds, wiping down baseboards, wiping down kitchen cabinets, dusting the master bedroom, changing the dust ruffle, sheets, and duvet on my bed, and scrubbing the kitchen floor.

My list is crossed off, my ceiling fans are sparkling, and now I am off to fill my cupboards for the week ahead. 

I hope your Saturday has been either very productive or calmly restful, whichever you needed the most!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 12: Five Minute Friday: Race

Can you time us Mama?

The girls race around me, barely able to stand still enough to fling the words at me and rush on.

Since I wear no watch, my scientific timing consists of counting slowly as they run across the lawn, weaving, laughing, legs and arms a blur.

21 seconds…a new world record! I shout as they hurtle across the finish line, the place where the lawn meets the driveway.

It has been years now since their chubby toddler legs gave way to these graceful girl limbs, and I still marvel at the change.

They are beautiful, my racing girls.  I give up my timing duties to join them at the starting line, to try my luck against these gazelles on the lawn. 
I adore Five-Minute Fridays!  Visit Lisa-Jo to read other writers take on race.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11 - a bit whiny today

I am feeling a bit whiny today because, you know what?  Writing daily is HARD!  There is a post I’ve been trying and trying to write.  I can’t find the words to connect the theological things I am pondering with the real-life examples I have in my head.  I have pages and pages of words written that just feel like they are going around and around the mulberry bush without ever finding just the right place to stop.

When I only write when I feel like it, writing seems easy.  I sit down when I’m inspired, the words flow, and I think, there!  That was great! Fun!  I can do this!

The lesson I am learning with this 31 Day undertaking is this: writing every day is hard, very hard.  I see it a bit like the weights I’ve been lifting lately.  It is a bit scary every time I walk into the weight room.  It is full of bulky men lifting large amounts of iron and to be honest, I feel intimidated, like I just want to turn around and head back into the safety of my yoga class or hop on the tried and trusty treadmill. 

Instead of turning around, I punch up the volume on my i-pod a bit louder (listening to Paul Simon, Gungor and U2…strange?!), grab my girlie-sized weights, find a place in front of the mirror, and lift.   I focus on what I am doing, the way it feels to be getting stronger, to feel my heart pumping, and I realize that, as scary as it is to walk into that room, lifting weights is something that I really enjoy doing and is so good for me.

Here on Day 11, I still can’t get that one post written that I want to, but it is good to write this, to affirm that sitting down every day to write may be hard, and at times, even scary, but I’ll keep sitting down at this computer, tapping out these words, searching my heart and mind for the lessons and hopes and loves and sorrows because I have found that writing is something that I really enjoy doing and is so good for me.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10: sisters

It is dusk as I write this.  Voices are carried in to me on the cool fall evening air, of sisters completely immersed in a world of their own making. They are dog trainers, each leading our two dogs around on leashes (very compliant dogs!), setting up obstacles for them and, I am sure, offering them way too many treats for their labors.  Soon they move on to their “horse game”, which involves turning the dog houses into horses with the aid of chair cushions and rope (which are saddles and stirrups/bridles, of course!).

These two sisters, nine and seven years old, are ready playmates, eager for each other’s company, engaging in an ebb and flow of play that moves from dog trainer or horse riding to telling stories with figures like Lego Friends or My Littlest Pet Shop, to classic games like office and school or piano teacher and art teacher.  Often they play all of these in the space of one afternoon! 

About nine months ago, we separated the girls’ bunk beds into two twin beds.  Soon afterwards, I began finding them in the same bed in the mornings.  The beds have gone back to bunk beds, but the girls are still choosing to share the bottom bunk, using the top for playing or late evening reading.

They have their difficult moments, of course.  They argue, hurt each other’s feelings.  Their personalities could not be more different.

Yet day by day, game by game, make believe world by make believe world, they are knitting their hearts together.

They are sisters.  Life-long friends.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 9: strung pearls

Today after dinner, after your long day at school and the playdate with the friend from camp, after your story about the basketball game at PE and listening to your Dad’s explanation of your math homework, you came to me, as I was stacking dishes to take to the sink, already thinking about which Tupperware to use for which leftovers.   I felt you step close and put your arms around me.   I fussed at you about greasy hands and would you please wash with soap and warm water, and you just kept smiling and you said, “Thanks for cleaning up, Mom.  I think I take advantage of how much you do around here, cooking and cleaning up all the time.  I just wanted to say thanks.” 

I held you close for a moment, then you were off and I turned back to my task, clearing the table from our family meal.  As I worked, I carefully gathered up those words, like pearls strung on the ordinariness of this day, those beautiful words that came unbidden, out of your boy-turning man heart.

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 8: the kind of Mom I want to be

Just this verse today, Romans 2:4,

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?

I heard these words in church, and they resonated in my heart all day as I thought about them in relation to the kind of mother I want to be, drawing my children into relationship with kindness and patience, capturing their hearts with love rather than sharp words and demands. 

What Scripture verses do you cling to as a parent?