Thursday, December 29, 2011

So long.



Christmas.  Goodbye, old friend.  I'll harken your return upon the morrow.

When a snow flake falls, I rush outside to catch it's damp beauty on my tongue.  I marvel at the glistening white that turns, a world of sodden rush, to quiet beauty.  I fill myself on the joy that comes from icy blasts of air and red cheeks, hands warmed around hot mugs of chocolate.  For a brief moment everything halts, slowly drops of lace fall, turning a muddy street to tufts of brilliant powder.  Trees hang, weighted, like old men who have said goodbye to many a friend.  Children watch, eagerly waiting the moment the flakes have piled themselves just high enough to whisk a sled to a pile of laughter.  So very, very brief is this moment.

Then out, you find yourself, gingerly placing your foot in the untouched snow.  Laughing as snowballs fly in wild abandon.  The pristine world, once more fills with the life and vibrancy of sound.  Before you fully felt your joy, the snow plows come, chasing away the wild fantasy of life that halted work and productivity.  Dogs must be released and tire tracks replace the halting prints of wonder.  Beauty quickly turns to ugly black ice banks and slippery mud sink feet in it's mire.  Just like that the magic fades.

The week after Christmas feels much like the week after a brilliant snow fall.  The sadness as the beauty slips away and the desperate demands of life sink you back to startling reality.  Gone are the bells and calls of cheer.  The wild, desperate shopping and baking that fills your home with the warmth of scent.  The lights and gleaming decor, replaced in their efficient boxes.  Trees that were picked with such care and wonder, tossed to the street.

Goodbye, goodbye.  

Sweet melancholy fills my heart and I whisper a heartfelt farewell.  I'll stay quiet this week.  I'll soak in the lingering bits of holiday.  I'll have just one more cup of cocoa with mounds of whipped cream.  I'll eat just one more cookie.  Then I'll tuck away all of the joy and memory from this beautiful year and hide it away to show one day to gleaming faces around a lighted tree.

Upon a jingle and a shout of glee, I'll whisper goodbye.



Just one more year and all will change.  We'll all be older.  We'll all be, just a little different.  Never again will this Christmas happen.  It was fleeting.  In that was the magic.

Goodbye.  

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Let's talk about poop.



Really.  Just for a minute.  It will only be slightly painful.

My daughter is not potty trained.  Gasp. Sob. Sigh.
She is 27months.  Or a little over 2.   Totally not a big deal, right?!  She's still little and whatnot.  But, I'm a mom and I would really like to be a perfect mom.  She is making this difficult.  She is not falling in line.  She is my second.  I thought I had it all under control.  My son was potty trained just a month after 2, BOOYA!  in yo FACE!  Sorry, gangsta C came out to play for a moment, we locked her up, forgetaboutit.  My son gave me this fantastic illusion of perfection.  He let me think I had it all under control and that I was doing things soooo well.  My daughter on the other hand said f**** your control.  Seriously, I really think I heard her say that.  Don't worry, I washed her mouth out with soap.  Okay I didn't, I think you get charged for child abuse with that one.

The point, shocking I know, but I do have one, is that it's OKAY for your child to not be potty trained on your schedule.  Say this with me, They will go in the potty when they're ready!!  Unless they're five, then it's time for shock therapy, medication, or an intervention.  Or if Avi is still not potty trained at five I will come back and change this to 10.  If she's still wearing a diaper at ten, the doctor's missed something and she must not be my child.  Aren't I such a great mom, I would wait for her to be 10 before I gave her back!  I'm awesome.

Parents have plans.  We have boxes.  We hear stories of so and so's kid and think, my kid is so much better than yours, just wait to see how quickly they use the toilet, eat solid foods, write letters, count. It doesn't end, this mommy pressure.  It is less about our kid, and more about how great we are that they can recite Shakespeare at 2.  It's parent pride and I am full of it.  We also don't want to think that our child is in anyway behind the curve, that's never a good thing.  Awkward, embarrassing, because in our minds it somehow reflects poorly on us.  We're parents, we blame ourselves for everything!  Even when it totally isn't our fault, we like to own it, feel some good ol' guilt, then wash it down with a fat glass of wine.

Back to potty training.  I have done a lot right in this area.  I've introduced the potty to Avi as the big scary monster, that she should never come near.  Then I've wrapped it in seran wrap just to make it really impossible.  Why?  Because diapers are AWESOME!!  You don't have to run to the bathroom when you're in the middle of grocery shopping.  You don't have to get up at 3AM to take them to the toilet.  You don't have to have all of those horrible moments that happen, when everything is ready and OH NO mommy, I have to pee!  They don't wet the bed.  These are wonderful things, cherish them.  Diapers ROCK!

In order to be a great mom with bragging rights, you have to get them to put their poop in the right spot. It really can't go in the diaper forever, bummer, I know.  I have an AMAZING friend, all of her girls have been potty trained before 2.  Why?  Cause she's the best.  She's incredibly humble about it, which she can be, because hello! before 2.  It also may be because she's pretty chill.  I may have tried a little too hard.  I did introduce the potty to both of my children at 15 months.  I did give treats and make a big fuss every time they went (in hindsight, this may have been frightening).  I did do naked time, which resulted in lots of poop on the floor.  I did offer something big, if she could go 7 days without an accident.  I did sing silly songs and play itsy bitsy spider to infinity just to keep her on the potty, to get her to go number 2, which she would, on the floor, as soon as she got down.

I have therefore decided to throw in the towel.  I decided this the other day when I asked Avi if she would like to be all done with diapers in January and she sobbed NO! NO! NO!  Therefore, we are embracing the diaper.  We are mounting it in gold and hanging it like a pendant from our ceiling.  Long live the diaper! My fabulous girl is very opinionated and I am pretty sure she would already go on the potty if she didn't think I wanted her to.  So I don't.  I could care less.  When she's ready she will go get on the potty and go, all on her own.  I will be okay with this.  I will not feel like a failure.  I will remind myself that she is her own person and she will go when she's good and ready.  When she is 16 I will tell her about this, in front of her friends.  Often.  Okay, fine I won't.  Maybe.

Lot's of kids take forever before they're ready.  I used to think it was the parents.  Now I have children and I know it's the parents I mean kids!  Before you enter the fabulous world of parenthood, you make some judgements, usually that everyone you know sucks and when you have your own kids you will do everything perfectly.  Not anything like the people that you know, or did, before you stopped hanging out with them because they were such failures at life.  Even, let's be honest, some first time parents do this, because they may just have a perfect kid the first time around.  It's the second that really puts a kink in your plans and if you're second didn't, you need to keep having kids until you know what it's like.


To sum it all up, if you have a child that thinks the toilet is an evil green goblin that should be avoided at all costs, it's okay.  First paint the toilet white, that should help.  Then, let them tell you when they're ready.  It will happen.  If it doesn't by five see above.

Blessings, joy, and luck to all of you in the trenches.

ps. did I ever tell you about the time my son rubbed poop on the walls?


she had just peed, in her pants.  yay!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The confessions of an oddity.


Because I am perfect and you may not be.  I thought I would confess a couple of things.

1. I am not perfect.  I just try really really hard to be and then get really really mad when I'm not.
   a. I am working to let this go.
2. I am not a very good list maker.  I attempt, but somewhere in the middle forget what I am doing and start writing without one.
   a. Maybe this one will be successful.  So that I don't have to get mad.
3. I have expectations.  They are usually not met.
   a. This means that my mother was right.
4. My house is not always clean.
   a. If I know someone is coming over, it will be clean.  Even if my kids have to be tied to the couch in order for this to be accomplished.
5. I think my lower case a's are supposed to be upper case A's.
   a. Maybe I am not a perfectionist, because I'm not going to change it.
6. What if reading this is the best thing you get to do today?
   a. Then I hope you have a cookie, just to make up for it.
7. My mind should not be unleashed.  I think the list is unleashing it.
  a. I'm sorry.
8.  My daughter is not potty trained.  I don't feel like a failure, yet.  I am annoyed with her.
  a. Yes, I know.  Really I do.  Someone will tell me anyway.
9. I love coffee. If I could, I would sit with a book and a GIANT cup of coffee that would never get cold and I would literally never move.
  a. This is a fantasy.  I'm sorry no one's naked, but I just don't think that way.
10. I like ignoring my children.  I am highly skilled at this.  I don't even hear when they cry.
  a. They're very good at paying me back with a shocking mess.
11. I like knowing secrets.  I am very good at keeping them.  As long as you are very clear that NO ONE can know.  If you tell me 3 people can know it won't feel like a real secret and I will tell everyone.
12. I am able to eat an entire pie.
   a. This does not make me sick, just means my pants will be a little tight for a few days.
13.  I think I'm awesome.  I probably think that you are awesome as well.  Unless you suck. In which case no one thinks you're awesome.
14. My New Years Resolution is to eat more chocolate.  To watch more TV.  and to not move more than 5 minutes a day.
  a. Failure is not an option.
15. This is my last one.   I am a sappy romantic.  Truly, I love the cheesiest, gushy movies ever.
  a. My husband does not.
16. Sometimes I lie.


Merry Merry Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

a woman's moment.


There she stood.  Quiet on the mountainside.  The widespread beauty stunned, and for a moment, there was nothing but the fleeting rustle of sound.  Cold, she pulled her sweater close and breathed the rich air of pine and smoke.  The ridgeline swept high and tapered one after another.  Deep majesty made clear the small place she took in this life.  Her insignificance threatened to overcome and she wondered at her place in this so great a world.

Children shouted back and forth, until the weight of barreling bodies, thrown full force against her, almost brought her to the ground.

"Mama!  I find you."small hands cupped her cheeks and tiny nose rubbed eskimos.  Little boy arms clung to her leg.  They stood, small lives braced against the world.  Sometimes, her lack felt bigger than her riches.  Sometimes, all she should have done, swallowed all that she did.

There is no one writing sonnets to the woman at the stove, nourishing those she loves.  No music plays while she scrapes the crusted food from the well worn floor.  There is no applause when she carried a hurting child and kissed the blood stained wound.  Stories did not give part to the woman who valiantly stood through life, faithful in the mundane.

The sun set and his arm came to wrap around her.  As always happened, the puzzle fit back into place, and she was safe, held, home.  The colors spread in glorious brilliance and the family faded in the dark.  The night whispered close and though no one was there to see, no pen to recant, all beauty glittered in that night.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reflections.




It is a brilliant day.  Blue skies and cold, but not crazy, wear a million coats, frozen face, cold.  Pleasantly cold.  I love December.  All month I get to enjoy every little moment.  I have an excuse to shop and wrap things in pretty paper and I get to drink as much hot cocoa with candy canes as I want.  This is a great deal of cocoa.  If your supermarket is running low, more than likely it is because of my massive consumption.  

I love the smell of pine, I love brewing my big cup of coffee and turning on Christmas music, while the lights on the tree glow joyfully through the room.  Simple to say this is a very happy time.  

Beyond all of the magic of Christmas, this is the last month of the year.  Probably the last month of the world, because everything is going to end in 2012.  I love to take this time to reflect on my year, to use what I've learned to propel me forward into the next.  I don't typically look back and feel a twinge of regret.  This year I do.  Not condemning regret, more of a realization that I could have done it better and a deep desire to press into this next with purpose.  

What is purpose?  It is both intention and the reason we exist.  In its nature, it is the outward looking of our lives.  The necessity to carry, focus and determination.  

Often I can find myself wondering where did this day go?  What did I accomplish, attain, or more importantly, impart?  In this moment, I find myself looking back in review and speculating upon the very little I purposed.  

This could turn to a discouraging diatribe on all I should have done, all I wish I did, and how I am somehow less than, for not doing or being 'better'. 

But, I have no use for that.  

In these few years I have lived, I can tell you that nothing good will come from beating yourself down or wishing you could change what has already been.  There is no life there and it's better to move from it as quickly as possible.  

I reflect, because I want to grow from where I have been.  As I am feeling now, I don't want to redo last year, I want to transform, move forward with decision and purpose.  

I want to grow.

This was definitely a difficult season.  I think in the middle of hard times you can miss all that is being accomplished in you and through you, because it's not easy to look beyond the immediate.  Yet, in this place I want to focus.  To live in consistency, despite what life may feel like.

Some goals I have for this year, to improve over my last.  

I want to focus on my children.  To enjoy them.  To always be kind.  To be patient.  To listen.  

Less rushed.  Better at taking deep breaths and not reacting to the stress of the moment.  Who cares if we are going to be thirty minutes late, even though we were trending to be early.  Getting mad will not get us there any earlier.  (burn this in me oh Lord!)

To see each day as full.  Even if we never leave the house.  To make our time matter, because we are focused and intentional in each interaction.

To be a joy and blessing to every person that we encounter.  May their day be brighter because they were near us.  

Even if it happens in snippets, to take those moments and just be with the Lord.  It doesn't have to be a cup of coffee, sitting on the couch, with the lights just so, and quiet.  It can be the chaotic ball just missing my head and children singing gleefully, while twirling hands dismantle a room.  I want to find my peace in those moments.  Learn huge wisdom, when life is beyond me.  

To pursue my dreams.  With wild ambition and passion, not despising the baby step process.

These may not seem like huge wild sweeping goals.  Each in its own way is moving me with purpose.  Keeping me held to a higher demand on my life.  Propelling me to be the woman, wife, and mother to whom I have been destined.  


May this amazing season be filled with great joy.  May you sink your teeth into the very heart of life.  And enjoy giant cups of rich cocoa, don't forget the candy cane.





Wednesday, December 7, 2011

looking inward.

                                                                                                 photo by the amazing Heather Armstrong

Today seems like a good day for confessions.

I am a dreamer.  Since I was young I would follow the rabbit trails through my imagination.  I would form rooms of secret longings.  When life beat too hard, I would retreat to my hidden sanctuaries.

I have never acted on my dreams or wholeheartedly pursued the worlds I would create.  They were just places to visit.  I never thought myself worth bringing them into the every day.

Longing, I have lived.  Not quite accepting of where I find myself.  This place of dreams just a thought away.  Slowly, I realize I am living dissatisfied.

In this self reflection I have to wonder how many out there resonate with this realization.  That have become so comfortable in their imagination, they've neglected to pull them into reality.

I would be the first to say that I am terrified.  Crippled by the belief that I am not good enough and that nothing I could create would really be worthwhile.  It is this type of lie that continually holds me bound.  Always longing, never realizing.

This blog is a small step of living in my dreams.  Though, I haven't nurtured or poured into it as I ought.  Still, feeling the weight of fear.  I have dabbled just my fingers, too afraid of submerging myself.

My dreams have begun to grow old.  The closets in my head are shrinking.  Leaving the paper and my pen the only outlets of a bleeding mind.

Babies and colds.


Hi.  It has been a while.  I didn't mean it to be so long. Or, maybe I did.  We've been in the trenches, so to speak.  It comes about every now and then, usually in the winter.  Sickness strikes.  This time it was a little mean.

There is something about being a mother and having a sick child.  Especially when it's your first, there's this psycho need to be aware of every little thing, monitoring exactly how many feedings to wet diapers, to flush to fever, to oh my goodness are they going to survive?!  I was blessed to have amazing women go before who encouraged, instructed, and also laughed hysterically at my concern and inexperience.

Sometimes it is more than just a cold and more than just croup and you end up in the hospital.  I remember when I was a new mom feeling so annoyed when people would tell me I'd know when it was serious, I'd know when it was time to take action.  It takes a little while to learn your child, but you do.  You learn what their cries mean, you learn their language, you know what they're thinking or what they're up to maybe even before they've completely thought it out, because every day you are studying them.  It just happens.

If you are anything like me, you are also researching every sniffle and home remedy out there.  I love the internet.  I love finding a million cures.  I also love that I knew what to do for croup, long before my daughter had it, because I'd googled coughs when my son was four months old.  I am an expert at coughs.

This last little round had me pulling a couple of all nighters.  I have to admit that I kind of love them.  I love staying up with my sleeping baby, holding them upright so they can pull in full breaths.  I brew a big cup of coffee and put on Gilmore Girls.  There is something so special about Gilmore Girls in the middle of the night.  I used to watch it when Judah was first born and would literally nurse from 1-5.  Thank God I finally put him in bed with me.   But, I miss those Gilmore nights and happily relive them when my babies are sick.

I'm happy to say that we are on the mend.  We've survived this first bout of illness and we'll survive any to come.  I'll miss those quiet days cuddling on the couch and the stillness of the nights.  But, I prefer our health.  I am eager to throw myself into this Holiday Season and embrace the joys of each small memory.

To your health and joy this Christmas.  May you be fully blessed!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

My husband.



I took my children to the park yesterday.  We raced down slides, accosted every person with a dog, climbed too high on the monkey bars, and laughed in the brilliance of a carefree day.  As I pushed them higher and higher on the tire swing, singing happy birthday brilliantly off key, my husband came and slid his arm around me.  Soft and sweet, he pulled me into his arms and kissed me gently.  He'd been out of town for the past two days and finally caught up with us at the park.  I said hi, brushed him off, and refocused my attention on the kids.  Off and on through the night, he'd come close and I would push him away.  I knew I was being distant and I found myself frustrated with him, frustrated with myself and not really understanding why I had a wall built between us.

I could easily remember five years ago when we were living in Madison WI.  Running from the rain into old bookstores, reading on the same pier on which we would later promise forever.  Living, abandoned to our lives, joy, and passions, fully consumed with the other.  Our tiny apartment, where we would talk late into the night and wake too early to watch the people walking through the snow below, on their way to lives and jobs.  Fully catering to the other, eager to please, fascinated with the glee we found in our existence together.  

Fast forward to now, when dishes stack up, the weight of life, children, work, and constant giving out leave us empty and unable to stir up a wisp of desire for the other.  I went to bed last night, after pulling out of my funk.  Apologizing for my weirdness, we slept, our feet curled around each other and two children in between.  I felt heavy and sad.  It's easy to understand where the passion has gone, it's buried somewhere between familiarity and never enough time (alone).  It's easy to justify my pushing away when I feel constantly pressed upon to care for all the corners of our world and I've just finished doing it alone.  And it is easy to realize that if I allow this chasm between us to settle, uncrossed, unfilled, it will simply grow until the other side no longer becomes recognizable and we've buried ourselves in our separate islands of solitude.  Each caring for the family from their own retreat and the others sacrifice and effort becomes unrecognizable in the light of our own.

I could sigh and tell myself this is life.  It's what it's like with kids.  It's understandable, everyone goes through it.  Don't worry, don't press myself to change.  Eventually the kids will grow.  The season will shift and we'll find ourselves again.  But then, I have to think, that is when people look at their spouse and say 'who are you?  I don't know you anymore.'  And they turn and go their separate ways.
  
We are coming up on 5 years of marriage.  5 years, and for 4 1/2 of them we've been filled with the weight of pregnancy and kids.  We've moved 6 times and we have explored and journeyed through the far corners of this country.  We have crashed through waves.  Tag teamed in the middle of the night when colic and the flu kept us up through streaks of dawn.  We have chased through soaring redwoods.  Driven down endless stretches of winding highway.  We have climbed highest peaks.  We have shared each dream, each direction, each passion, each ambition.  We have lived fully, together.

I can say there is no one else I would rather spend my days.  There is no one else who causes my heart to drop when I see their face.  There is no one else who I love more completely, more desperately with all of my being.  And I never want there to be another.  This is it.  All of it.  This is my life and it is irrevocably connected to this man.  I would never change that. 

So, in this place I must shift.  I must transform.  I am challenging myself these 90 days to strengthen my health, to increase our finances, to promote awareness and I am going to add, to focus wholeheartedly on my marriage.  To not allow it to pass unnoticed, but to pour my affection, and attention into it.  To give of myself, without looking for repercussion.   To not allow the frustration of yesterdays, the why did you's or why nots or how comes, keep me from being free in the moment.  

Isn't that what new love is?  The dramatic fascination of another without the weight of broken promises, lack, or frustration hindering its rampant desire.  A blank slate.  The ability to love completely, without thought of the past.

Surprisingly enough I feel a curling of excitement.  Knowing that I am choosing to rewrite my thought process.  To do something new and not settle for the every day.  To live not out of reaction, but action.  





To each of you, may your days be filled with joy.




Friday, October 21, 2011

from rest

I took Judah on a bike ride today.  He peddled fast then would stop, look around, complain about not being able to peddle any longer and sit, until a push from me would give him the momentum to continue.  There were moments of frustration when I would tell him to get to the side of the road and ignoring me he would reach down to touch the paint on the center line, or not listen to my calls of 'stop! there are cars' until my hand grabbed the bike and halted it.  

By the time we made it home I felt discouraged.  It is a beautiful day and I had eagerly taken my children out to experience the perfect coolness of the air on their skin and to soak in the warmth of the sun.  When I returned I felt drained and exhausted.

And in this moment I can just imagine how I come across to the Lord.  Willful and headstrong.  Defiant.  Certain that I know which way is best and that he should just follow after me.  Let me lead, let me set the pace.

I wonder, what would life look like if I fully gave control of the reigns.  If I moved from a place of peace and rest rather than my typical take charge attitude.

It truly is a letting go.  Trusting that he who formed me, is holding me gently cradled in his arms.  That he has set the path before me and if I will just listen to the sweet guiding of his voice, I will reach my destination unscathed.  Whole.  Full of joy.  As he means it to be.

There is a verse that says 'why worry about tomorrow, what you will eat or what you will drink?  don't you know that he who clothes the lilies of the field will also clothe you?'  How awesome that God cares about what we wear.  That the things that are important to us are also to Him.  That he values the mundane, the every day.

We are called to live quiet lives of peace.  Not boring lives of lack.  I think that somewhere along the line I began to believe that God wanted less for me, when in reality he wants more.  He wants my good, more desperately than I do myself.


Just as I long for my children to trust me.  To heed my voice.  To respond eagerly and with diligence.  Because I value their lives and their welfare.  I want them to enjoy their days, not suffer through.  I am heart heavy for their good and eager to protect them from evil.  Yet they have to allow me to guide them, they have to listen when I call.  Or we retire back, to spend the rest of the day in the house, practicing responding to my voice.

Let my heart, oh God!  leap at the sound of your words.  Let it turn eager and ready at the faintest breath of your call.  Let me be a life that brings you joy and peace, as I exist in the joy and peace you have prepared for me.  Let me live fully dependent on you.  Always desperate to bend at the slightest hint of your hand.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

denying fear.

Fear.

It has crippled me.  Mocked me.  And left me desperately empty, longing for a life of freedom.  But, each step I take has me questioning, what if I fail??

What if. I. Fail.

And I live afraid of ever trying because I could fail.  I may not be as good as I want to be.  I could turn everyone against me, in a desperate quest to live fully and to live successfully.

My heart desperately wants to live a life of freedom.  To live my dreams.

But to reach that, I must be willing to fail.  To be honest, I never have been.  Failure is just not something that I am okay with.  Therefore I don't try.  I hide, desperate and discouraged, because daily, I hold myself back.

There are so many movies out there, where you watch as people living a normal life begin to self sabotage, until they have created this Hollywood drama type chaos in every single area of their lives.  Only to suddenly become self aware, make a decision, take a leap of faith, TRANSFORM themselves and their lives and then all of a sudden everything is perfect.  They now have their dream job, husband, friends, everything and all because they chose to move forward.


Sadly the Hollywood portrayal is not true to life.  For most of us when we reach the place of deciding to step out and risk failure, risk ridicule, risk.  We are ridiculed and we do fail.  It is in this place that the true test exists.  Will we run back to our safety net, curl up in our familiar chair and never move forward, because failure hurts?  Or will we push forward, step up and keep going until we have the lives that for MOST will only be lived in dreams?

I find myself in that place right now.  A place of choosing.  To risk failure, to risk myself.  To better my existence.  But in the doing I have to continually live outside of myself.  To remember that the best success stories come from the best failures.  I am moving forward.  I am taking hold of the reins of my life, because I am DONE letting everyone else lead me along.

I am joining the challenge to transform my life.

I hope that you will join me.  Because the status quo just wont work for me, any longer.

To life!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

To this, my love.


There is something in the air.  The magic of a fall day.  The crisp, clean air that swells with mystery and promise.  It has been more than a while, since I have felt the click of keys under my fingers.  Since my heart has felt the weight of something to share.  A sliver of life to reveal with you.  Perhaps more it has been the overwhelming sense of a need to work through the cacophony of life, to find the sweet harmony of peace.

For the last year I have desperately sought to better myself, the sting of failure more often my fate than any sense of success.  I have strived desperate to break through this wall.  To be worthy of this life.  To be accepted.  Loved.  To not only know my value, but for it to be know.   Day after day I melted, lost, broken, discouraged.

Only to land in this place of peace, where I stand face to face with myself and realize that I am exactly the me I was created to be.  To find my life is worthy, not for any other reason then that it was handed to me.  I was created for purpose.  While that purpose may not always connect in my mind, it is in no way diminished.  My lack is never from reality, but because my eyes have not yet been opened to the abundance surrounding me.   I have chosen to live desperate for others to value me, because I did not value myself.  I was hungry for love because I could not see the one who embodies love and I would not receive the love he so desperately longs to pour out.

I was invited into the throne room and rather than enter in my rags, I first sought to better myself.  To clean off the dirt, to prove my worth.  That when I entered I would not be shunned or ashamed.  Only to be brought in, with dirt on my face.  To bite into the apple of grace and as the pure juice of life dripped down my chin, watch as my being transformed.  The clothing I once spurned as rags, change to white and the dirt, to gold.  Eyes to see and ears to hear.

I have come to realize that the reality in which I have lived, was not to what I was born.  I was called to destiny and purpose and yet I could only see it as servitude and lack.  My eyes were blind to the true gift of which I am blessed to live.  The joy that I can find in every day.  As I see clearly for the first time.

How desperate I am to fill my lungs with the purity of air.  To see the value of my life.  To pour out my blessing and worth upon my children.  To teach them to live, perfectly pleasing their Creator who is so eager for their joy.

I live each moment, each day, eagerly gulping the extravagant good to which I have been birthed.  Free of fear and worry.  To not desperately seek the pleasure of those around me, but that of the one who formed me.  Who has known me and who calls me, from deep to deep.


Walk soft on your way, drink deep of cream and spice, live with wild abandon.  Whisper gentle, laugh loud and dance in the falling of leaves.  Herald the season of change.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

shoving forward.


Every now and then I indulge and have my cup of coffee with heavy whipping cream instead of half and half.  mmmmm.  There's something about the fat bubbles that gently spread to fill your cup with the rich lace of butter in the bite of a dark coffee.  It is goodness.  Though I suppose I should also admit that I've been frequenting the heavy cream a little more often lately.  Then today when I reached for my grande dark roast spiked with butter *ahem* cream, and the barista kind of smirked, like 'here ya go lady, enjoy your thighs with that'.  I was sad to find it didn't taste as wonderful as all of the previous times.  Not because of the snarky counter girl, but because I have become used to my sweet, indulgent, heavy cream and now it just tastes like regular half and half.  I am so annoyed.
Because I should be in bed I am now thinking of all the areas in my life that I began to indulge, to loosen the grip, to shirk responsibilities in the thought that it would just be this one time.  Until suddenly I wake to the realization that I have allowed the occasional to become the routine, and now the butter has lost its cream.
I could carry on, every now and then have the elusive sip that hooked me in the first place.  Or I could go back to square one and learn to appreciate the subtle nuances of the first sip of a black cup of coffee.  Ok, probably I'll just stick with half and half, or switch to tea.   Though now that I am awake, I cannot be asleep any longer and must root through the closets of my days and find the areas that need to be shifted, rearranged.  Complacency has snuck into more areas than I want to admit or openly want to change.  I like how life has flowed, I could choose to continue drifting in my whimsy down a winding stream.  And yet I cannot so easily swallow my laziness and must find ways to adjust.
Like an athlete who finds themselves stagnant in their speed and then push themselves, rejecting the desperation for rest, I too will push myself out of my imprint on the couch and get up to change the channels myself.  I will do this because I am embracing the change that is life.  The need inside myself to better, what I will only want to hide, if I continue.  

Then when routine has become a stronger, more diligent, faithful, clean at all times, type of women, then I will allow myself the small luxuries of rest.  And enjoy my coffee with heavy cream, until I can no longer enjoy the weight and will wallow back to my black cup of joe.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The day that I turn old.







Breath. Deep. Sweet.

Intoxicating air surrounds and I lie undone in the tickling grass of memory. Shapeless and floating life passes through my mind. Old and alone I am still in the face of time.

Breath comes and goes.

I cannot catch it, stop it, remember when it began.

Steady, deep and dark like the catacombs of a woman's mind. Dreams that once were, lie crushed beneath the waves of life and I would be still, but for the breath that clings me to this place.

I once danced in the arms of a man, beneath an open moon. Bled in the birth of life. Leapt at the sound of a song. I held the hurting, comforted the dying, whispered peace while I checked the monsters under the bed. Bold and filled with color my days were sweeping by, in joy and passion. Unable to hold tight the web of life created. I swallowed whole the sweet fruit and drank deep the nectar of each day.

At last all has faded, the colors of blue and gold now grey. The noise that once echoed so sweet, grates as it calls to another. The life I created now creates and I am simply a shadow too quickly fading, before my breath can cease to be.

In and out. Then out once more.

And at last my time will come.

I will cross those distant shores and dance in the light of the moon, with the man that never once I ceased to love.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

a lesson in identity.



Words are powerful.

I read a comment not too long ago where a parent said, 'who are we to tell our child whether they are gay or straight, boy or girl'.

And I thought I'd share my opinion with you.

Throwing out the homosexual issue, because I don't feel like going there, I thought I'd broach the boy/girl part of the comment. It may seem, in the ever increasing areas of gray in our world, that we should just love our children and let them form their own opinions and beliefs outside of our influence. This makes me think of the story about the king who wanted to know what the pure language of man was, so he took a group of children, allowed their base needs to be met, so that he could experience their form of purity. He was to be disappointed. They all died.

Perhaps this is an extreme case, but may I say the comment was an extreme comment. There is a thin line we walk as parents, between control and indifference. Our children will learn from us, whether we want them to or not. They will discern our bad from our good, judge us right or wrong, choose the path they want to take, based on what they have experienced from us.

Allowing your child to decide their identity in a world where everyone is trying to influence them, is similar to throwing a baby into shark infested waters and telling them to swim.

The end will be destruction.

There is a season in a child's life when they are desperately looking for answers. They aren't looking to peers or teachers, neighbors or heroes. Just you. And if you choose to be, you'll be the best influencer they will ever know. Teach them now, when they're a sponge, when everything you say soaks in and they can't wait to learn more.

The bible says to train your child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.

If we fail to teach our children, they will search until they find answers on their own. More than likely you'll be disappointed in the result.

I want to train my children to understand who they are. To know, not only that they are loved, but they are mighty in the kingdom of God. This may seem a difficult lesson, because I find I'm training negative behaviors pretty constantly. The goal is to never allow your child to believe THEY are bad when they hit, steal, scream or any number of negative actions I find in ALL young people. But to speak truth over them. I often tell Judah that he is kind, so why would he hit, it's not WHO he is.

Another fabulous phrase from the bible, is that the power of life and death are in the tongue.

Let's just think about that for a minute. LIFE and DEATH. The SPOKEN word. Now, how are we talking to our kids. What are we SPEAKING over them.

This may seem like the most basic of lessons, but according to the comment I read, one that parents are missing.

It is our job, our role as parents to train our children in their identity. At their core, will be whether they are good or bad, a boy or a girl. Who better, than me, to teach my daughter that not only is she a girl, but that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. Confusion can only set in when clarity is not established.

Therefore, start teaching your kids now, who they are. Speak it over them constantly. They are good, they are loved, they are a boy/girl. Declare their destiny. If you can't see the amazing person they are, in their moments of weakness and self doubt, they won't be able to see it either.

As we love and teach our children outside of judgement and anger, they will grow to be the purity, not only we long to see, but that which the world is so desperately seeking as well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thankfully Thankful



I have to admit that I don't consider myself a complainer.  I tend to assume that I'm pretty easy going and that I don't need things to cater to me.  There may be a loud outpouring of nays at these statements, but again, my perception.  Last night as I was lying in bed at 9pm, because everyone else in my house was asleep and I thought that I should be as well (I wasn't, I was WIDE awake). . .  I thought of my life.

I thought of how much better things would be if we were back in Redding.  I was picturing lake days and barbecues. Parks in the evening.  Going over to any number of friends houses (because I would be welcomed at any time).  Coffee with my mom, yard saleing with my sister.  Walks on the rivertrail.  Being in a town I have called home most of my life.  A town that thinks it knows me better than I know myself.  A place that has seen all of my failures and doesn't really expect anything extraordinary from me.  Pros and cons in that last part.  Mostly it is where I feel that my family can completely be, happy and welcomed.  Though desperately hot.

I thought of my house in Redding.  Sitting in the backyard, pushing my kids on the swing.  Playing chase through the sprinklers.  Cooking in my kitchen on my very old stove.  Washing dishes with the door open and the warm wind rustling through the ivy.  Sitting on the patio late at night with the white lights twinkling and the rich scent of gardenias and hydrangeas perfuming the air.  I was imagining how wonderful it would be to go outside and be warm.  Ahh, there's a dream.

I thought of Lynnfield.  Eric's amazing family and friends that live there.  Sitting with amazing people and just for a moment listening to the constant hum of conversation.  The football games.  Playing ring toss in the backyard.  Watching my kids be loved to perfection.  Drinking wine with women who will have you in stitches as they recount their exploits.  Listening to my husband with his brothers and wishing I could give that to him every day of our lives.  Smelling the trees and freshly mowed grass.  Actually swimming in the ocean.  Judah going fishing with his Poppi.  The rich scent of the rain perfuming through a warm summers day.

And I realized I am not thankful at all.

I have been sad.  I have been lonely, discouraged, just teetering on the very edge of depression.  My heart is divided between two towns and I am always wishing I were in one, never happy where I am.  I am sure if we chose between them, I would constantly yearn for the other.  Sometimes it really doesn't seem like there's one good choice.  Though in my mind either of them would be better than where I am.  I complain.  I grumble.  I wish and dream and hope that this season will swiftly come to an end.

                        I want to quickly interject that we have met AMAZING people in Eureka.  I am
                        so thankful for the friends we have made.  But it hasn't been home.  And my heart
                        is longing for its home.

Perhaps more.  I wish I knew exactly where Home is.


So, last night.  While I lay in bed listening to the breathing of my husband, felt his warm skin against me.  I decided I needed to stop wishing.  Stop dreaming.  Stop living in my head and look with wide eyes at where I am.  I started saying, Thank You.

Thank you God that we are in Eureka.  Thank you that Eric has an amazing job.  Thank you for our apartment.  Thank you that I am in bed with warm covers.  Thank you that I have food and clean clothes.  Thank you for your amazing blessings.  Thank you that my family is healthy and safe.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

There's a difference between living in the present and being thankful for the present.  My goal is to do both.  To embrace every good and amazing experience we have here, as well as the difficult and stretching.  To no longer succumb to wishful thinking.


I don't know what tomorrow holds.  This could be it.  But, I'd rather not wander through the dessert for 40 years, cursing the food that falls from the sky.  I guess, even if I do.  I'm going to be thankful.  I don't know where our home really is.  I'm just choosing to be thankful for where it is today.  More than anything it's a heart place.  And because I love him and committed to him until death do us part.  Where Eric lays his head is my home, too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Failure.


Failure seems to be the theme of my week.  Like a red thread through everything I've done, marring and declaring itself in all of my attempts.  We had some wonderful friends over this week and I prepared a labor of love, my mother in laws Italian gravy.  A couple hours later it was complete.  Left to sit and muddle the flavors into the rich sweet scent of tomatoes and garlic.  It was to be enjoyed the next day, but was simmering happily on the stove at a very low temperature.  However, it was not safe from the tiny little fingers of my angel girl who as of yet cannot see eye level with the counter, but oh how she can turn those knobs.  And she did.  The heat cranked up it wasn't long before the putrid smell of burned metal and sauce caused me to race to the stove, lift the lid and be hit in the face with an acidic billow of smoke.  Try as I might it was ruined.  7am the next day I started a new pot of gravy, ending at 130 in the afternoon.


My new gravy now simmering, my house clean, company coming, we went to the park.  It was the only safe place.  We returned with 45 minutes to clean up and get dinner on the table, plenty of time.
  unless. .  .
while upstairs, my little ones moved a chair over to the stove and tried stirring and eating the thick red sauce, which resulted in splatters and goo in a three foot radius.  I pulled them upstairs, cleaned them up, deposited them in their room and finished getting ready.  2 minutes later Avalyn came screaming into my room with soap from head to toe and of course in her eyes.  As I threw her into the tub and was trying to clean her up, Judah came in, laughing.  I lost it.  I started to yell.  Then I went into their room found puddles of soap on the carpet, in their toys, EVERYWHERE!  and I screamed.  I was psycho mommy and I broke my heart.  No I didn't hit or 'hurt' my children, but I demolished my sons heart.  I demolished myself.

I am not a person who gets upset over messes.  They are the hallmark of my life.  Never something to lose yourself over.  But I did.  I let go of myself and yelled at my most precious boy.  The child that I would give my life for.  The son of my heart, my delight and my joy.  In that moment how I appeared was more important than my kids, and for me, that is never okay.   I had forgotten that having friends over to a perfectly clean house with dinner on the table is NOT who I am right now.  I am spaghetti splatters and mess, lots of life and laughter.  I forgot and yep, I failed.

Eric and I prayed over Judah, I apologized, lots of cuddles and lots of tears on my end.  He is okay, still the amazing precious boy as always.  I am doing my best and sometimes my best sucks.

Two nights later, just to make this a full and complete week of failure, I succumbed to my sugar addiction.  Found myself under the table, box of donuts on my stomach, candy wrapper in one hand, whipped cream in the other, or something like that.  Okay, it was the vanilla ice cream that has been in the freezer since I started my sugar fast.  It's been whispering to me.  So I finally gave in, big fat bowl with broken up snickerdoodles, that my kids and I had made that afternoon, covered in hot fudge.  Mmmm.  It was good.  Though on the second bowl I decided maybe not that good and I tossed it.  Yep, I failed.  I was shooting for 40 days and I made it 16.

I should point out that I made it over two weeks, even while at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and if there's one food weakness I have, it's carnival food.  Must be all the sugar.  I made it through 2 days of smelling funnel cake and corn dogs, ice cream sundaes in waffle cones and huge cokes.  But, I'm not stronger than my husband out of town and ice cream in the freezer.  So, yes.  This week I have failed.

What is failure?  def.  A lack of success.  Isn't it interesting the guilt that tries to sneak in when you don't make a goal?  The sinking feeling that maybe you just aren't good enough.  Maybe you'll never be good enough.  You quit, does that make you a quitter?  You flipped on your kid, does that make you a bad parent?  Sneaky little lies that if you aren't careful could completely trip you up and have you give into where you failed.  I could go nuts and binge on sugar and just blame it on how I couldn't make it 40 days.  I could decide I'm a terrible mom and not try to be better.  I could take my low moments and camp there.  Or I could be really proud of my successes and realize the areas that I need to improve.  I didn't eat sugar for 16 days!  I didn't succumb to carnival food!  That's pretty awesome!  I am a GOOD mom.  I adore my kids and I focus on them and put them first every day.  There is GRACE.

Lessons learned.  In the movie Meet the Robinsons their motto is just keep moving forward.  Failure is fabulous at letting you know what doesn't work.  It shines a glaring light on areas that need improvement.
My highlighted areas this week were:
-I need to be careful in moments of stress and remember that no matter what happens I value the condition of my children's hearts over myself.
-I can't have sugar in my house.  It talks to me.

What I am walking away with here and what is moving me forward:  The unconditional grace that God has for me.  The depth of his love and passion.  His covering, when I fail.  I am moving toward perfection, I'm not there yet.  Every day I'm taking a step closer.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Raw goodness.



Just a quick recipe post.  

Because I am not eating any form of sugar.  yes, I know.  tears.  I have been making raw cookies.  They are an excellent treat and perfectly accompanied with a cup of unsweetened earl grey.  

2 handfuls soaked almonds
2 handfuls soaked pecans
1-2 t vanilla
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 a lemon juiced
3/4 c soaked dates
a small handful raisins

I cook to taste, so my measurements are approximations.  I was out of lemon when I made this batch, but I usually add it at the same time as the vanilla. I also hadn't planned to make this so I didn't soak my nuts, usually I soak them over night.







put in your food processor and mix until completely combined.  You may have to add a little purified water to aid in the mixing, but not too much you don't want them to be very wet.  Sometimes I let them mix until there is not any nut texture left and when frozen they taste a lot like bon bons.  After mixing I shape into balls and freeze.  You could just throw into a container and freeze.  I've just found that the balls are easy to hand my kids and perfectly sized portions for them.




Sunday, June 5, 2011

confessions of a sugar addict.



Few of you may know this, but I love sugar.  Not just sweets or bread or soda, but pretty much if there is sugar in it, I will gleefully imbibe and more than likely not be the best sharer.  I have managed to shelter my children from this addiction as much as possible.  They are rarely privilege to my late night ice cream binges or the skittles and m&m's snuck quietly while they aren't looking.  Occasionally they'll find my stash and I'll share one or two, but remind them that we don't want to eat sweets because it isn't good for our bodies.

Poor Judah is convinced that if he eats too much ice cream he'll be sick.  I haven't meant to make it that taboo.  But, balance in everything is important.  This is one area in my life that I'm striving to learn self control.  Often I'll fast sweets only to binge like the mayor in Chocolat when I let them back into my diet.  And that isn't pretty for anyone.

However, even attempting to allow myself a few treats now and then, lulls me into a false feeling of calm only to realize I've completely stopped eating food, but have managed to exist on coffee, donuts and ice cream for weeks at a time.  This is embarrassingly true.  There was actually a time when I literally did not eat anything but ice cream for a month.  mmmm.  It was a yummy month.  No I did not feel terrible or gain weight.  If I had, I would have stopped.

Perhaps my lack of noticeable side effects is what allows me to so freely indulge.

Therefore, I am making changes not based on my weight or mood swings, but my desire to model a healthy lifestyle for my kids.  Children demand everything of their parents, they expect them to be perfect and it is a hard reality to face when they realize that they are fallible.  I am fully aware of my shortcomings, but I do not want it to be one that cuts off my life prematurely.  Regardless of what I see, sugar is death to the body and I have been slowly killing mine for far too long.

Sob.

A few interesting things about sugar.  It feeds cancer growth, leaches minerals, has a similar chemical make-up to heroin (though it is not considered addictive), promotes heart disease and diabetes, depresses  immunity, feeds candida growth, raises insulin levels. . . and the list goes on.

Sniffle.

I want to be very clear, that I am not planning to cut sugar out of my diet forever!  That would be silly.  I'd feel guilty if I slipped and had a bite of cake and I do not like guilt.  Rather I am taking a break, my goal is 40 days, but I won't hate myself if I don't make it.  I have quit all sweets, including all of the 'good' sugars.  Just in case you were curious, I am not supplementing with artificial sweeteners.  I hope that's not even a question, because I won't even begin to talk about how terrible those are for you.   I'm avoiding snack foods and breads, but I am not being overly cautious, just attempting to keep all sugars out of my diet.  I am eating fruit and I've made a couple of raw treats for myself.  I am mostly trying to teach myself how to eat whole, real food.

Sigh.

I am glad it is day six and I can tell you that I haven't broken down in a fit of tears, run wildly to the candy store, or harmed anyone as I've come off of my addiction.  And I am was addicted.  I have been tired, lethargic and a little out of sorts, kind of like being sick.  I have been famished and eaten more than I have ever seen myself eat, except maybe when pregnant.  Though, cutting out the five cokes and chocolate cake I would typically consume at a meal, may be lowering my calorie intake.

My goal at the end of forty days will be to slowly reintroduce healthy forms of sugar, but I'll do my best to avoid the scary white stuff as much as possible.  Because I know that just a little will have me lying under the table with an empty box of donuts on my stomach a can of whipped cream in one hand, a candy wrapper in the other.  So, I'll make my changes slowly, envying the multitude of people with massive amounts of self control.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Life in the HC

We found ourselves at the Humboldt County Kinetic race today.  Found as in, went deliberately and then kept our children there despite tears and complaints of being cold.  This was the first I'd heard of the event and anything involving sculptures that have to be peddled and floated in a frigid ocean is a must see in my book.  I was especially eager after hearing that many of them sink almost immediately.  Not much better than costumed people bailing from a plaster, flower bedecked, twirling ball bike/boat.  A comedy of errors is great fun for the masses, it requires little other than watching 'sane' people flail through their trust in untested creation.


Not being from Humboldt I was amazed at the amount of people that came out for this and I have to say that one of the things I love about it here is the carefree, joy that escapes the majority.  Those making a statement, are a statement, the few who came to observe the spectacle, those who are the spectacle, the educated, the idiots and the massive amount of dogs.


Good times.

People pushing, getting wildly annoyed when touched, crowding beyond comfort zones, and me in there happily allowing my children to run through their legs.  Cries of 'I think it's going to sink' would cause a wave of people to grow and bend in the direction of the most recently launched spectacle.  We'd cram together to watch painted, spandex wearing 'originals' bale, then attempt to push their unmanned boat to the nearest dock.  Then we'd breathe a sigh and watch the next.   The MC would scold the crowd, mock the contestants and generally make a nuisance of themselves, but they had the microphone and as of yet a PhD does not seem to be required to wear thin the patience of the masses.


We finally found a grassy spot, near the lapping water, the wind whipping hard against our faces and the boats that survived softly floating past.  Avalyn had a moment in her element as she landed directly next to a very tired old dog who didn't seem to mind her constant pats and exclamations of 'cute doggy!!'.  Veterans of this event floated canoes, kayaks, crowded on ships to have a front row view.  A long haired woman in a boat lifted her wand and blew large, glistening bubbles over the crowd.  For a moment as wind broke, waves crested, people humming in shouts and conversation, boats bobbing, children running, hippies, yuppies, the old, the young milled in happy abandon to be.


 I was reminded of what brings America together.  That while we are divided between politics, religion, race, generation and belief for a moment we choose to be united in a common purpose.  Comedy merging life.

Before long we succumbed to the whining complaints of I'm freezing and can we go now?!?  We weaved through parents pushing strollers, pom pom twirling, the undead, men in orange jumpsuits, old women in woven hats, coffee drinking, dog leading, crowds milling together.


We landed at the line of 'ships' preparing to launch, next to a couple with two children and their dog.  All watching the crowd of people sing, chant, encourage, laugh and prepare to sink or swim.  Eventually my coffee ran out and as Avalyn enjoyed the last drops, Judah raced, Eric cursed and I blissfully captured the moment in my unskilled clicks of the camera.