31 Days: First We Were Two

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First we were two. Figuring out how this equation of 1+1 worked. Then we were three, and no one slept for a whole year. We weren’t sure we’d make it.

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The news came that we would be four and we rejoiced for 10 weeks, until it was no longer to be. The news came again two months later and there was happiness but also understandable trepidation as we walked through the next nine months. Then suddenly and finally we were four. There never seemed to be enough hands or enough time. Our days were filled with laugher and screams and more messes than I could have ever predicted.

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I don’t know what awaits us. Will we be five? How will we do it? The minions will outnumber the wranglers. Mama won’t have a hand for each anymore. We won’t be a nice round figure anymore. But I think I want to find out.

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Day 1
Let’s Move

Day 2
View: My Life as a Landscape

Day 3
He Makes All Things New

Day 4
Learning to Fly

Day 5
Not Stuck

Day 6
He Knows Me

Day 7
Go, But Stay

Day 8
Say Mama

Day 9
Join Me

Day 10
Grandmama

Day 11
Teach Me Your Ways

Day 12
Rest

Day 13
Holy Work

Day 14
Away

Day 15
Real Life

Day 16
My 500th Blog Post

Day 17
Remember the Days

Day 18
Taste and See That the Lord is Good

Day 19
I Am Second

Day 20
Pursuing Peace, Expecting Joy

Day 21
Looking at Them

Day 22
Do I Dare to Be?

Day 23
Enjoy!

Day 24
Mothers Unite!

 

31 Days: Mothers Unite!

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Mothers unite. Nose wipers, boo boo kissers and diaper changers. The washers of dishes, folders of laundry and meal makers. The bread winners who work the day shift and then walk the night shift, hours upon hours up and down the floor. Fielding night terrors and office politics like pros, all the while wondering if they are good at either one.Some of us have equal partners that help keeps us from flying off the world, others go it alone. Heroes in their solitary determination.

But none of us is alone. We are surrounded by other women. But we don’t always see each other. Sometimes because we think we don’t do it right, and we don’t need anyone else to point it out. Or we have our blinders on; trying to keep the kids fed and clothed and into bed at a reasonable hour. We can’t see beyond the trenches, our eyes down trying to make it through another day.

So let us unite. Lift up our eyes and see those who labor around us. The bouncers of living room brawls and chauffeurs of pint size socialites. Let us pull together, not be afraid to ask for help and, above all, encourage and pray for each other as we attempt this difficult but amazing journey of motherhood.

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Day 25
First We Were Two

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Day 1
Let’s Move

Day 2
View: My Life as a Landscape

Day 3
He Makes All Things New

Day 4
Learning to Fly

Day 5
Not Stuck

Day 6
He Knows Me

Day 7
Go, But Stay

Day 8
Say Mama

Day 9
Join Me

Day 10
Grandmama

Day 11
Teach Me Your Ways

Day 12
Rest

Day 13
Holy Work

Day 14
Away

Day 15
Real Life

Day 16
My 500th Blog Post

Day 17
Remember the Days

Day 18
Taste and See That the Lord is Good

Day 19
I Am Second

Day 20
Pursuing Peace, Expecting Joy

Day 21
Looking at Them

Day 22
Do I Dare to Be?

Day 23
Enjoy!

 

 

31 Days: Enjoy!

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July. That as the last time my husband and I had a date. The night before a family wedding, we had a nice dinner out courtesy of a Groupon gifted to us by a friend. Then the day after the wedding we had a beautiful, luxurious dinner at the restaurant at our hotel. It was a long and wonderful weekend with far too much food but we enjoyed ourselves immensely. But life has gotten busy since then. We haven’t had the time or the money to get out again.

We feel it too. The tension between us when we can’t have an uninterrupted conversation. When we are so tired that the words just don’t come. When brushing against each other as we sleep or leaning against each other on the couch is as close as we get. We need to reconnect. No, it doesn’t have to involve food. But we enjoy food. Things we don’t have to cook or clean up. The opportunity to linger and savor. Tonight we’ll settle for takeout from our favorite restaurant with a favorite bottle of wine and the dessert of our choosing. (Oh, yeah and the last two Harry Potter movies. We’re OK with our nerdiness). The children in bed early so we can bask in the bounty of each other’s presence before the fatigue sets in. Our little at home date. Our bubble of solitude and togetherness in the storm of parenting. I promise we’ll enjoy it.

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Photo Credit: 27147 via Compfight cc

Day 24: Mother’s Unite!

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Day 1
Let’s Move

Day 2
View: My Life as a Landscape

Day 3
He Makes All Things New

Day 4
Learning to Fly

Day 5
Not Stuck

Day 6
He Knows Me

Day 7
Go, But Stay

Day 8
Say Mama

Day 9
Join Me

Day 10
Grandmama

Day 11
Teach Me Your Ways

Day 12
Rest

Day 13
Holy Work

Day 14
Away

Day 15
Real Life

Day 16
My 500th Blog Post

Day 17
Remember the Days

Day 18
Taste and See That the Lord is Good

Day 19
I Am Second

Day 20
Pursuing Peace, Expecting Joy

Day 21
Looking at Them

Day 22
Do I Dare to Be?

31 Days: Do I Dare to Be?

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To be real. To be ordinary and risk being called boring. To know that it’s OK when I’m not perfect and even to revel in it at times. Because I don’t need to prove who I am. I don’t need to justify why I don’t do social media well or explain why my life hasn’t gone viral yet. Because this is my space and my story. I’ve already spent too many of these thirty some years worrying about missing out. So what if I just did what I wanted?

I don’t mean in an obnoxious, arrogant kind of way. Rather the opposite. What if I just humbly, and gently, in all that I do just be myself? Maybe I wouldn’t worry so much about doing and saying the proper thing. Or maybe I’d actually have more real things to say.

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Want to join us? Find out more here.

Day 23: Enjoy!

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Day 1
Let’s Move

Day 2
View: My Life as a Landscape

Day 3
He Makes All Things New

Day 4
Learning to Fly

Day 5
Not Stuck

Day 6
He Knows Me

Day 7
Go, But Stay

Day 8
Say Mama

Day 9
Join Me

Day 10
Grandmama

Day 11
Teach Me Your Ways

Day 12
Rest

Day 13
Holy Work

Day 14
Away

Day 15
Real Life

Day 16
My 500th Blog Post

Day 17
Remember the Days

Day 18
Taste and See That the Lord is Good

Day 19
I Am Second

Day 20
Pursuing Peace, Expecting Joy

Day 21
Looking at Them

31 Days: Looking at Them

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“Mama, look.” The call goes on throughout my day. To see the latest discovery, to join the latest endeavor or adventure. To stop whatever I am doing and engage them in their world. Sometimes I just don’t want to. I get weighted down by my to-do list and all the tasks yet undone.

But I’m working on it. Practicing laying aside that which can wait to pursue these little people I’m tasked with loving. They aren’t the same from one day to the next. A little taller, more well spoken, perhaps a bit more stubborn. I look for windows. Those moments when I’m not dealing with boiling water or online bill pay and I really can step away and draw closer to them. These little vessels of my love who look more like me than I ever imagined and act more like me than I’d like to admit.

I need to look at them more. Try to see them as they are now, this minute. I try desperately to memorize their funny phrases and amusing looks. The kind of things that even photos and video can’t capture. The essence of these childhood moments before they look back at me with much older eyes and may not call me to join them quite so often.

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Day 1
Let’s Move

Day 2
View: My Life as a Landscape

Day 3
He Makes All Things New

Day 4
Learning to Fly

Day 5
Not Stuck

Day 6
He Knows Me

Day 7
Go, But Stay

Day 8
Say Mama

Day 9
Join Me

Day 10
Grandmama

Day 11
Teach Me Your Ways

Day 12
Rest

Day 13
Holy Work

Day 14
Away

Day 15
Real Life

Day 16
My 500th Blog Post

Day 17
Remember the Days

Day 18
Taste and See That the Lord is Good

Day 19
I Am Second

Day 20
Pursuing Peace, Expecting Joy

31 Days: Pursuing Peace, Expecting Joy

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It was my final writing piece of my senior writing seminar. I was starting a memoir.  Nearly a decade later I still haven’t finished it. But even at the time I wondered whether it was too soon. How could I write about a life that had barely begun? But those first three chapters came together. They were vulnerable and painful. Not because I had no other stories to tell, but because those were the ones I need to. So I wrote them in blood and tears. But then the semester came to an end and I had to present something. To the class, to the assembled friends, family and professors. It was a smaller group than usual, since we were the atypical group, graduating in December rather than May, some of us early, others late. All of us trying to cross this final milestone towards the life that comes after higher education.

I selected the piece that I thought carried the best ending and left me the least exposed. The others were too raw still. The pain too recent. In this one, the events were recent, but the hope was palpable. Even as I look back at it now, I can grab onto my thesis like a lifeline. Peace doesn’t just happen. We have to chase it, fight for it and refuse to lose it. Joy doesn’t just find us. We need to look for it, encourage it and enter into it wherever and whenever it will be found.

A decade later my life looks so different from what I imagined standing at the lectern during one of my first public readings of my work. But the words are still true. As I cuddle my children a little harder, clasp my husband’s hand as we sit on the couch together, I try to remember, that this is what I’ve been looking for. Don’t miss it.
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Day 21
Looking at Them

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Day 1
Let’s Move

Day 2
View: My Life as a Landscape

Day 3
He Makes All Things New

Day 4
Learning to Fly

Day 5
Not Stuck

Day 6
He Knows Me

Day 7
Go, But Stay

Day 8
Say Mama

Day 9
Join Me

Day 10
Grandmama

Day 11
Teach Me Your Ways

Day 12
Rest

Day 13
Holy Work

Day 14
Away

Day 15
Real Life

Day 16
My 500th Blog Post

Day 17
Remember the Days

Day 18
Taste and See That the Lord is Good

Day 19
I Am Second

31 Days: I Am Second

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It was my first night out in quite some time. Partially because of budget. Definitely because of time and busyness. The last month seems to have flown by at a breakneck pace. The daytime hours crawl, slowly sapping my energy and then the evening hours fly when I’ve got nothing left to give and my own projects get abandoned by the wayside.

Because the truth is, I come second. Now before everyone jumps on the “take care of yourself” topic. Yes, I believe self-care is important. However, I also want to highlight an important truth. I will always come second. It is the essence of marriage, the very basis of parenting. It is part of my calling.

I am not a martyr nor a doormat. But I am called to die to self and serve others. For me this looks like my husband and family. For others it means leaving behind their own goals and ambitions to serve a higher calling of public service, volunteer or mission work. In our self-centered culture, it’s easy to buy into the idea that what I want matters most. I believe the lie sometimes. I get angry when my plans are derailed or my quiet moments are interrupted. I often have a bad attitude about it. I know that what we are asked to do isn’t easy. But it is still what we are asked to do. To be second. To devote ourselves to the work of God and to be in his service, however that might look.

For me, it should mean letting go of my own ego when I feel like so much off what I do is beneath me. I mean come on, I live in the culture that tells me full-time motherhood is a yuppie luxury at best or waste of time at worst. If it makes me happy, go ahead but make sure I preserve my career and ambitions for when the kids are gone. Even in those mother trenches don’t forget to look out for number one. But if you don’t enjoy every single minute of the daily drudgery than forget it, delegate it and pursue what makes you feel fulfilled regardless of the cost.

I am not for a minute making a statement about how women chose to parent, whether they work full time or not and any other number of lifestyle decisions. In fact, I’m highlighting the one thing we all have in common. We’re all asked to serve with a heart of joy and gratitude. It goes against every tenet of our culture and it chafes against my selfish human will. Sometimes I just don’t want to, and I let everyone around me know. This is not as it should be.

Yes, I can be honest that I don’t love every minute. Let’s face it, none of us do. But I can couch it in gratitude and joy for the blessings. I can make positive statements to help balance out the negatives. I really hate doing laundry. But I’m grateful that I have a washer and dryer that help expedite the process and that my children have enough clothing to keep them covered no matter the weather. These are luxuries most the world lacks.

My evenings at Panera sipping hot chocolate and pouring out my words into a laptop are not a human right. It is a wondrous gift. When life gets in the way and it doesn’t happen. I need to beware of the entitlement that wants to rise up in me and say “Wait, but I’m owed this. I work hard.” Yes, we all work hard and it’s great when we feel like our work is recognized and honored. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are called to be servants, to work only to please our Father. Not to earn his love but because of it.

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Day 20
Pursuing Peace, Expecting Joy

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Day 1
Let’s Move

Day 2
View: My Life as a Landscape

Day 3
He Makes All Things New

Day 4
Learning to Fly

Day 5
Not Stuck

Day 6
He Knows Me

Day 7
Go, But Stay

Day 8
Say Mama

Day 9
Join Me

Day 10
Grandmama

Day 11
Teach Me Your Ways

Day 12
Rest

Day 13
Holy Work

Day 14
Away

Day 15
Real Life

Day 16
My 500th Blog Post

Day 17
Remember the Days

Day 18
Taste and See That the Lord is Good