Brave day

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Yesterday, a solemn day.

We remember, those of us old enough to experience it and those of us young enough to sense the enormity of it from our family’s and friends emotional, brow-knitted retellings.

It was a day you wondered where God was. I had wondered many times that day and the days after, had he let our collective foot slip?

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

  Psalm 121: 3-4

I recounted these words yesterday and remembered this feeling of fifteen years ago. That perhaps this loving God had fallen asleep; that somehow He was caught unaware, in the throat, like all of us were on that day.

I remember, most days at least, that He’s with us all along.

But we were all questioning it on September 11th.

Today, I think about the day after all this. The day also, in my opinion, of the brave.

Of those that had to face the first morning alone in twenty years. Of those who had to face the children without their father. Of those who had to make sense of their husbands and wives rushing into calamity and chaos instead of running away. I think of the children that never had a chance to know one or both of their parents because of this. Or the older business owner whose whole life, business, was smashed and covered in smoke and soot the day before.

I pray there was a reason, a something for this pain. Because I can’t grasp a pain this deep and this big without any purpose. A pain and suffering of this level without any purpose would shake my faith to the deepest core.

Today feels as solemn (or maybe it’s just me) as the 11th. The day after feels just as painful; the day we all had to make sense of what had happened and work to move on. To figure out how to live again. To figure out just how to get up out of bed again.

How to muddle through the ordinary the day after. How we were and are brave in the ordinary days after.

Those parents that rose to take care of children, spouse-less, the day after. The firefighters and first responders that woke up and put on their gear for another day of searching, the day after. The parents of missing children that tried calling and calling and praying and praying again the day after. The kindergarten teacher that returned to work the day after. The postman that still delivered mail the day after. The airport and airline staff and security that still returned, the day after.

All of us, the brave and the ordinary, that showed up, even though bloodshot eyed, heartbroken and confused, the day after.

The Church

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Recently, a friend of mine in a writer’s group invited us to share our thoughts and opinions about the church with her, as she wanted to do a series of essays of different views about the church. Views about the church as a whole; what the church gets right, gets wrong and any and all things in between.

I wrote a piece about why we need church…and specifically why I need church.

Here’s an excerpt:

I cannot express that enough; we need it, I need it. Some Sundays I need it to get through my week with my pre-pre-teen daughter who has strong opinions about all things, including my mothering and down to exactly how her school lunch should be made.

“But it’s so boring,” she complains, that long drawn out drawl of a whine that all mothers live for. I counter with words about how boring can be good for us, make us grow, stretch, and then say “I understand,” remembering a great deal about my church growing up and a countless number of committee meetings, dry sermons, and all the other things I’ve sat through over the years.

“Why church?” I start, “Because, sweet pea,” I say….Read more here, at Creating Space for Rhythms of Grace

 

Not a moment too soon

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There is a children’s book  called The Cloudspinner – a book about a boy and the environment. A favorite of both the adults in our family as well as the children. It’s a beautiful book–its message, story, and the theme all wonderfully working together to compliment each other.

One of the wonders of the book (at least for me) is the use of lyrical language and the phrase “Enough is enough and not one stitch more” which reinforces the theme of the story. I’ve thought about that phrase on more than one occasion during the back to school bedlam of emotions that I’m still in the throes of.

One of my friends has a blog called Right Where We Are. It’s a homeschooling blog primarily, with some personal insight on her family and joys and the struggles of what it means to be a family. Meaning: A good mix of the pain and the beauty of life.

While not new to the school rodeo (and no new transitions with new schools, or changes or anything new of note) I’ve been holding these phrases close, as it perfectly describes my feelings about life at the moment. Well, at least in my tiny little hemisphere of writing, children, family and laundry. While I’m not going through any new transitions or changes or anything notable personally, these phrases–not one stitch more and right where we are–have been the anthem to what I feel lately. Meaning: I can’t feel or be what I want to be until I acknowledge where I am.

Which for the past three weeks apparently translates to eating everything in the house that’s not nailed down.

Add in a couple of ice cream treats too, because hey–summer’s ending. Or a chocolate piece or three because – well, children and bedtime. Sometimes you have to bring in reinforcements. Especially when bedtime is a hot mess, sometimes nothing comforts or heals quite like a square of dark chocolate.

I’ve been admonishing myself these past weeks; after all, I’m on a plan! I need to take care of my health! Liz, you don’t do this! You need to clean up your act and return to the familiar routine that includes more fruit than say, Oreos. Zucchinis over frappuccinos!

And yet in all of this I’ve realized: This is right where I’m at emotionally.

That sometimes, emotionally, you can’t move on until you see the landscape of where you are. And apparently, that landscape involves cookies and other comforts for me. Which didn’t stop, or couldn’t stop for that matter, until I sat down with coffee and quiet a couple of days ago and thought about all the feelings (justifiable or not) that the returning to the school year brings out in me.

Regardless of whether or not I’m the actual person returning to school.

I’ve found that for me, I have to sit quietly to slow down enough to catch with my emotions (mine tend to run wild and free like unbridled ponies unless I help corral them) and remember that each one of them, crazy and strange as they are, are ok. And whether or not it’s “right” to have this specific emotion for such a minor event as back to school – it’s ok. Transitions–big or small–effect everyone differently.

And back to school – the bedlam and chaos that ensues from a disruption of the summer routine and involves me getting my act together (and my pants on) much sooner than I’d like or am ready for – well, apparently I need treats and coffee and time to finally realize that I’m a bit emotional about the passing of time and need a moment to catch up with those thoughts.

And sometimes, with a piece of cake.

One and Two

(via freedigitalphotos.net)

Thanks to Sira Aeamwong for the image (via freedigitalphotos.net)

One and Two

One will delay bedtime until midnight; fight the good fight with water requests, more stories demands and compliments aplenty meant to lure parents back into One’s bedroom.

Two will yawn and say “I’m tired” at 6:30p, ask to read, and then summons which parent shall put Two to bed.

One will eat all the pizza the two hollow legs and the apparent drum of One’s body can handle while wanting for candy.

Two will eat three minuscule bites of pizza, declare “I’m done” and proceed to request grapes, and eschews chocolate if tummy is too full.

One didn’t want to brush teeth today because One didn’t see the purpose; a helpful reminder that only dragons, not friends, appreciate morning breath finally changed One’s mood, with a mild sulk involved.

Two asked when we could brush teeth.

One still clings to nighttime rhythms; wants to be comforted and coddled; Two looks at me, asks for a kiss and says “time to go.”

Two children. One family. Same parents. Same womb.

Night and Day.

Back to school. Back to serious.

 

August 2016

So…it’s August.

The time of year I breathe a collective sigh of relief in anticipation of cooler weather coming soon and getting the kids back in school. Which, is a totally different sigh of relief that may or may not involve drinking hot, steamy coffee. ALL.by.myself.

Sometimes it takes a lot to take me to my happy place. And sometimes it takes just a little coffee and some quiet.

Meanwhile, back to school is also back to seriousness for me. I’m already in the trenches, desperate to get children back to their pre-summer routines (joke’s on mom, really). While the kids try to work a coup d’etat on bedtime, I’m getting myself in back to school mode – serious attempts with my writing, blogging, and building this little thing called a writing career.

All that to say this: coming soon, a whopping twice a month, you’ll see new posts.

As fascinating as my child calling a peacock a mohawk as well as the update on what I cleaned this week, perhaps. But hey! At least it’s not an update about how slow the grass grows…right?! And yes, perhaps now’s a good time as ever to check that subscribe option to see if you really want to follow all my updates. Grass included.

Anyways, so cheers to the new year, the new routine, and perhaps, just perhaps, mama getting a tad more time (and brain cells) all to herself.

Last note – I’ll be aiming to blog (about anything and everything, yes…so buckle up your seatbelts) about twice a month, on the 1st and the 15th.

Meanwhile, I’m daydreaming about new notebooks and smelling the hint of freshly-sharpened pencils in the air. You too, friend?

Motherhood: A progressive feast

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Thanks to OZphotography and freedigitalphotos.net for the imagery.

Motherhood is a progressive feast.

Motherhood is a progressive feast, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Sure, you can have it all. Just like you can at a progressive feast-you can have it all if you don’t eat too much at one place. You eventually have it all, the long and short of it, the braised ribs and soufflés, just not all at once, in one spot. Nothing is truer of that then motherhood.

All together frustrating and beautiful at once, this “have it all” bite by bite through life.

Its similarities are astounding: that meatball skewer appetizer at one house wasn’t your cup of tea, and neither was the terrible twos. The pork loin roast – a delicious slice gone in an instant – your daughter at six years old. The delectable pear dessert that was immeasurably satisfying and deeply pleasurable? The rocking chair years, the baby giggles, those fat, dimpled knees.

I don’t know about you, but I get lost in these woods sometimes, the ones that tell me I’m supposed to “have it all.” The thing is, though, only after giving up my big time career have I come to realize I have it all already. I’m just choosing what’s important to me in this season of my life, my family’s life.

We can have it all, eventually. (Italics emphasis for me, really as I’m reminding myself of this.) Just like my writing career – as much as I’d like an illuminating, fast-paced writing career, I can only build small towers at a time; small blocks of work and articles, one bite, one nap time at a time. I am still in the baby phase, a career growing at the same pace (or slower, if I’m being honest here) as my family.

And maybe eventually, I can say I was a best selling writer, an author, someone who writes a regular column.

But right now?

I’m still working slowly through the appetizers savoring each mouthful, most of which are pretty good.

Airplane Ride

Author’s note: I’m trying my hardest to consistently post on my site. Which is a lot harder than I thought, being home now.

Which means that today, with little time to actually write, I’m posting something from the archive. Which you’ve probably never seen. Since it’s in the archive of my old drafts. You’re welcome. And enjoy the un-edited random thoughts on life, God, gratitude and airplanes.

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Thanks to Sira Anamwong and freedigitalphotos.net for the image.

Thank you Lord, for not leaving me how you found me.

Thank you Lord, for long trips, soft beds and people I love to work with yet at times cannot stand.

Thanks you for little baby pudgy knees, for toddler tantrums, for hearty chuckling child laughter and toddler woes and cries.

Thank you for the things I cannot say thank you enough for, the things that seem thankless and a little bit like hell on earth like car rental shuttle buses, tangles, exhaustion and all the small irritating things that do not go my way.

Thank you for the things I cannot change.

Thank you for the gift of figuring out what my gift is.

Thank you for books, recovery, slippers, hot tea, chocolate. For my husband to snuggle next to at night, for all the things that are beautifully imperfect and still need a little work, including me.

And thank you for the discipline to resist ordering from Sky Mall. Although truthfully there were about three things in there that I truly wanted and I’m not so sure I’m proud of that.