Mother’s Day Recap

Mother’s Day Recap

I woke up to someone calling from the bathroom about a (pee-pee) related accident.

There were disagreements about what we were wearing and how we were doing our hair.

Nobody seemed to be a fan of breakfast, and the baby was hungry and clingy most of the morning.

Thankfully though, we made it to church (albeit late) but at least we had all calmed down and we were past yelling and being grouchy with each other, which felt like a small miracle given the morning’s events.

At lunch there were jokes, silly toddler insights, earnest trying to be kind and patient, forgiveness of morning sins, and a deep-seated of joy of just being together for a good meal.

Until the baby started crying. Crying-crying, the needs-to-be-taken-out-of-the-restaurant crying.

And to me, this is the perfect Mother’s Day. Could I deal without all the hassle, attitudes, diaper changes and I don’t wannas that seem to flow through my life right now? Of course.

But then I wouldn’t have the sacred role of being a mother, and being able to see everyone at their best and worst and have the privilege and honor of loving them all anyway.

We are raising small humans, which despite all of the things, ALL of the things (those things that I throw my hands up in the air about and the constant subject of many quick prayers) is a gift. A big, luxurious, crazily wrapped gift, but still, a lovely gift.

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Five Minute Friday – Cherished

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late. Again.  Same old song and dance.  I used to beat myself up about it, but this is my real life, this is what happens on a Friday night; I post late.  Or this week, I post the Five Minute Friday on Saturday night (yes, Saturday!) night.  Yes, I’m aware of the irony.  But, regadless-I’m still giving myself grace and yet also a pat on a back for doing it.

So, moving on-

A reminder in case you’ve missed it, this is the Friday Five Minute writing challenge, just in case, you know, you want to play sometime too-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge, should you accept it: you write for 5 minutes with freedom like you have no fear or shame.  And then you have to be brave (or pretend to be) and link up to her blog. Encouraging the writer who links up before you is part of the deal, too.  This last rule is crucial, as we all need to encourage others. Why encourage another writer? Because at one point or another in our lives, we all need encouraging too.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

CHERISHED

thanks to m_bartosch for the image.
thanks to m_bartosch for the image.

It’s a word I don’t know the exact definition to, and yet I know it by heart, like the back of my hand. It’s also an album that Cher produced, but that’s a whole other post.

Cherished.

Cherished is dating during Valentine’s Day, it’s the moment you feel loved and cared for and giddy and gleeful, joyous and exhilarated all at the same time.

So much so, that you can’t help but eat all of the candy straight from the candy heart he gave you, and yet sort of wonder if you’ll be able to fit into your dress for the Saturday night date with him, but not really caring all that much because you are In Love, the love with capital letters.

Cherished is the feeling your best girlfriend in high school has, the girlfriend who, currently on the phone with you and despite all your jealous and loud sighing, cannot get the hint to shut up about her new boyfriend. Like ever.

Cherished is what we long to feel when we are knee-deep in our child’s toddlerhood, covered in Cheerios and spilled milk, on our knees and our last bit of patience, mopping up the third mess in ten minutes.

We keep thinking that cherished is a feeling that we hope to feel, that someone else is responsible for.  When in reality, we have to remember: we are already are.

And love overcomes

So finally, here is the time to write, the time that I’m finally ready to share my thoughts, the schedule, finally, willing.

I hope these words help, sincerely I do.  Keep in mind I won’t be winning any awards here for the words I’ve written or any book contracts, but that’s ok.  That isn’t the point.  The point is to share that I’m with you, holding your hand in pain, in grief, in love, in rebuilding.  And the hope is that in some small way my words help heal.  This is the greatest gift of writing.

There are so many tragedies in my friends’ lives lately-big ones and small ones, ones full of grief and shock and the word that is deeper than sorrow, the one that hasn’t been invented yet the one where your stomach falls to your knees one day and can’t seemingly return to it’s normal position.  Lots of that lately, regardless of the time or the season. And some days it feels like fate is ruthless and really has no manners at all.  So many bad manners it can’t even leave us well enough alone during the holiday season when so many of us are wearing our heart upon our sleeves anyway.  So many of these days I’ve wondered-what’s a person to do? To think? To feel?

But it’s not about fate is it?

It’s about God, not fate.

And we can go into this whole big nasty debate about what He allows into our life and what he doesn’t, we can go into this big argument about evil and it’s role in the world and we can keep going on, fighting with each other and forming sides and groups, trying to understand the whys that maybe we aren’t meant to understand in this lifetime.

Or, maybe we can remember this truth and hold it blue-knuckled tight:

There is more than enough love to cover this.

More than enough.  So often in stories like what’s happening in some of my friends’ lives, in Newton, I wonder what happened to love, to respect, to kindness.  Like you, I’m taken aback by the sheer outrage of what happened, of where there are no words for this sort of hell on earth.

And if you read the stories, a lot happens along the way to something bad, something this so outrageously bad happening.  And yes, there is a solid and elephant-sized case for way more and way better mental illness care in this country.  This is not the point of this post, but I will not back down from this stance; just because someone has a broken head  instead of a broken arm does not mean they should have to jump through hoops of fire to find decent and affordable care.  Care needs to be available quickly, easily, and affordable.  Period.  And we need to eliminate the sense of shame with this, in admitting that someone has a problem.  We all are broken in some way; the last thing we need is shame and guilt to accompany that and for that to keep us from the care we so desperately need.

But this post is not about that.

I’ll say it again: there is more than enough love to cover all of this.

And I’m sure this makes you shocked, and I’m sure this makes you quickly jump into math mode like me and wonder how? How could there ever be enough love to cover all of this hate, of this sorrow, these big gaping holes in our hearts?

And it sure feels like there isn’t enough.  So many days of our lives the love we give to ourselves and to others feels so sparse as if love is a fruit tree that’s already been harvested, as if someone has run ahead of us and picked off all of the fruit leaving us  with only two bruised cherries.

But that’s not the truth about love, is it?

There is more than enough love in life, in this world.  There is more than enough love to help us all through this, help the families through this. There is more than enough of the strong sunshine of enduring love to get us all through.  There is an excess of that.  And it of course, comes in the form of God, of forgiveness, and of fighting with all of our collective power to overcome the bad in the world.

And like you, I’ve also been questioning whether the bad is winning out; there is so much on the news that makes me convinced that this is true, that this is a fact, that bad wins.  I stare at the news feed and wonder and look down and do the math again, and for some reason the love, the good doesn’t add up in my amatuer calculations.

And then I think of those who rise and to volunteer their time, their care and their hearts,  I think of those who will never stop knitting hats for preemie babies, I think of those who create quilts for the homeless, I think of those who bake for anyone, any time, no matter how big or small the celebration, I think of so many hearts and hands wrestled into position with knitting needles and prayer, so many who answer the call to help and heal daily, in whatever form or fashion that comes in: prayer to words to shepherding children to casseroles to simply standing by someone else through it all.

And we cannot dismiss this.  And we cannot ignore it either for if we really look around, we will see that it surrounds us in an excess that is as overindulgent as God’s love for us itself.

Five Minute Friday, err, Saturday – Look

Hi Again-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again..and late. We had a date night last night (the last one I can remember in eons, a bit shameful about that fact), but I wanted to “be here, now” with my hubby, to fully engage and do that thing called eye contact and talking about something other than parenting that we so often miss in the midst of raising a family, a child, a life.

So, I’m hoping you understand that sometimes my blog takes a backseat for the life happening in front of my eyes.  But, good news is I don’t stay away for too long; I really just can’t help myself, to be quite honest.  I love writing, and sharing, and you all-all of you, a whooping 7 or so odd of you, so here I am!  Late to the party, but hey, a party nonetheless.

So, a reminder in case you’ve missed it, here’s what this challenge is all about…or, in case maybe you want to play too, some time-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge, should you accept it: you write for 5 minutes, free, like you have no fear or shame or no editor inside your head (all are hard for me)…and then you link up to her blog, and encourage the writer who links up before you.  This last piece is crucial, as we need to encourage others.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Look

Sometimes I look at something, think I understand it, but really all I’m doing is just scanning. Just glazing over, glancing over something, not looking at a friend’s need to connect, or poverty, or another’s need for comfort. I also glaze over my own frivolous nature, my perspective being all askew by the trappings of a middle-income suburban life.

The washing machine not getting all of our clothes clean is not a world-shattering problem.  Most days I rarely see this perspective.

I see, don’t look too closely; into other’s lives, closets, eyes.  I don’t avoid eyes like the plague, but I don’t engage wholly, my family’s eyes a tell-tale sign. I looked up one night to silence, to see his piercing, clear and patient eyes, and her same colored eyes, a mix of fierce intensity and innocence, the look of all children’s eyes: inquisitive, passionate, innocent. And I came to the conclusion: I see, I do not look, I do not immerse enough, I do not understand, I still do not get it.  At least not yet.

When in reality, I need to look beyond my own pretense and the social status and the hype and see the heart. I need to look beyond me.

I need to look, drink deeply into others.  And in this: I’ve only begun to see.


Five Minute Friday – Grasp

Hi There-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again…and again. Seems I’m sort of a fan of this weekly writing game, you think?

And a reminder in case you’ve missed it, here’s what this challenge is all about…or, in case maybe you want to play too, some time-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge, should you accept it: you write for 5 minutes, free, like you have no fear or shame or no editor inside your head (both are hard for me)…and then you link up to her blog, and encourage the writer who links up before you.  This last piece is crucial, as we need to encourage others.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Grasp

Goodness, just thinking about the word knocks the breath out of my lungs.

Grasp-it’s what I strive SO hard to do, to not do, daily.

Grasp for what I want, let go of my daughter’s growing hand.

Grasp for my daughter’s hand, those I dearly love, let go of what I want.

It’s a struggle for control and yet letting go, this daily life.

And so often I think it’s mine to grasp, to hold onto, only after I look down to notice that whatever it is that I’ve held so tightly, I’ve nearly embraced to death.

Like dreams.

Like people.

Like those things in my life I want so badly I fathom to see anything but red when I can’t get them.

And yet, for some reason I clutch tightly again, thinking that this time, I’ll outsmart my grip, I won’t get so wound up or so caught up in what I want.

And then along comes God, looks at my hands, tells me again the parable about the caged bird, and I release.

And then I cry and release, and a thousand birds land on my shoulders.

Five Minute Friday – Wide

Hi There-

I’m doing this 5 minute writing challenge again…and again. Seems I’m sort of a fan of this weekly writing game, you think?

And a reminder in case you’ve here’s what this challenge is all about…in case maybe you want to play too, some time-

This is a weekly writing “game”  from my bloggy friend Lisa-Jo Baker, who blogs (and writes heart-breakingly, beautiful words and stories) at http://lisajobaker.com/

So, here’s the challenge, should you accept it: you write for 5 minutes, free, like you have no fear or shame or no editor inside your head (both are hard for me)…and then you link up to her blog, and encourage the writer who links up before you.  This last piece is crucial, as we need to encourage others.

Each week is a new word, a new thought starter, and you have 5 minutes to write….and are you ready? go-

Wide

Lord how I want to follow you wide.

Into the wide open spaces,

Into the wide expanse of my family’s outstretched arms,

Into the wide belief that your love is not scare, it’s not atonement, into the hope that your love is not conditional.

I want to follow you into the wild blue yonder, in an adventure so deep and powerful my sparrow sized mind fails to comprehend it.

You tell us to open our tents, pull back wide our stakes, all through Isaiah you say this, you tell us this.

Do not be afraid, you whisper.  Yes, be bold, you whisper.

And you call us to follow the narrow path, the small over-grown-with-weeds path, but you lead us. You clear the path of weeds with a machete of love and  we look up; and we see wide–we see a world of full of wide big sky, opportunities and growth, blessings that we have to look up to see.

Maybe that is the lesson:follow the narrow path, the one, maybe with weeds or that is long and winds around, but look up.  Up, where the sky is open, round and  holds the fullness, 9 months-pregnant-fullness with the great possibility of a day. Fullness of open-ended endless love that we only think, we only assume…

is small.

is scare.

is limited.

It is limitless.  Your sky and your blessings and your love. Your wide, wide, wide  love.

Gung-ho for God

So here’s the thing with God and Jesus and all of it:

You have to be all in.

You have to be all for it, all into it, and you have to be sort of an all-or-nothing on this.

This sounds strange and like something you cannot relate to, I know.  It’s peculiar, like those people on busy, bustling downtown street corners, yelling at you to repent of your sinful, movie-going ways; it sounds like this is a message coming from one of those funky-looking vans, complete with a megaphone attached to the roof, it sounds like I mean hell and fire and brimstone and the second coming.

This isn’t that.

What I’m saying is this-you’ve got to be all gung-ho about this, and lay all those cards on the table, not hold any close to your chest or up your sleeves, no matter how badly you may want to.

I’ve been studying 1 Corinthians 13 lately, and it’s good and it reflects this all-in, lay-your-cards on-the-table thought.  You know these verses, and probably by heart: it’s “those verses” that everyone usually has someone read at their wedding-“Love is patient, love is kind…”.  It’s those verses, the ones we all valiantly aspire to be on our wedding day, those verses we hope to God we all have present in our marriages and in the treatment of our spouses.  It’s those verses, the ones we also think are slightly unrealistic; those verses I personally wonder sometimes if they are even attainable, especially on the days I am mean, grouchy and tired, the days that I am anything but patient, kind and long-suffering.

So, these verses, to sum it up quickly and way too easily: love is key.  And if you have that, you have everything.  And if you don’t, you have nothing.

If you ain’t got love, you’ve got nothing.  Nothing.

You could be the most faithful person ever, the holiest of holies, have all the verses in the Bible memorized and ready to convert anyone at any time.  But if you don’t have love, none of this matters.   Even if your heart is in the right place, that you mean to help someone but don’t have love, are you truly following Christ’s example?  Or are you merely a statistician, trying to meet a quota of making sure people understand God’s love, without actually loving them first?

I would say the latter.  Not of course, because I don’t like you (I like you a lot actually, especially if you are reading and sharing this blog, hint-hint), but if you’re just spewing off things about the Bible, Christianity, how people should be or what they should do, it’s not really about the love-the love of people, the love for people, or the love of God.

I’m not saying you’re not awesome, you are; simply because of the fact that you were made by a Creator that loves you and that alone makes you worthy.

But, if you think that your role as a Christian is just trying to point the people in the right direction without loving them first, you are truly missing the point.

And might I add-you’re also missing out on a vast amount of love, life, laughter, tears and the very fullness, richness and beautifully imperfect experience of life along the way.