Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Simplicity

Our August is awfully full.

I'm typing here - with my calendar spread out before me and my nerves coming undone within - because looking at the agenda is making me quiver a bit.

Most of the penciled in events are favorable.

Some are annoying and mandatory.

But for the most part - the things we have committed to next month and beyond are of the positive variety.

School. Church events. Fellowship. Visitors. Bible studies. Gatherings. Meetings. Appointments.

And so it goes. Such is life.

And this is good. And it is healthy. And it is an honor. And it is growth inspiring.

But while so many of the things on my calendar have the potential of ringing in a lot of light.....they can sometimes feel really heavy.

Like right this moment - I feel like I'm shouldering each square on the August almanac.

It makes me want to build a fortress around our lives and reel in the drawbridge.

But at the same time, I wrestle with that image. I know my propensity to hermit-in at times - could really run with that image and it could be the fall of me.
 
Let me rephrase that, it would be the fall of me. We are made for community.

It's just the truth that being engaged, being a participant, becoming involved - is right.

Backseat parents.....
sideline Christians....
shore sitting people...

they miss out.

And the world misses out - just as they do.

But too full of an agenda.....can leave one empty.

Too awful much of a grand thing - can truly be a negative.

It's like air.

I think you'd agree that oxygen....it's pretty awesome. We need it to be. But if we humans only went around inhaling all the time - we'd bust.

The exhale is a must.

Filling our lungs up with H20 is kind of like....a have to.

It's the same with involvement and engagement - our souls need it to thrive.

But just like the lungs need to deflate and expel carbon dioxide out of the body....

Our schedules and agendas need some emptiness.

We can't go around filling up all the time without some releasing and letting go.

Last night - we had nothing.

So the oldest started piecing together PVC pipes - to make little water systems in our backyard.

And this morning - we had nothing in particular scheduled....so I was able to make pancakes.

I was able to mix and stir and splat and scoop and fill happy bellies...because we simply had some margin in our day.

Pipes and pancakes would not have happened otherwise.

I'm grateful for all the opportunities. And for most of them - I'm thrilled to dive in. As I mentioned - it's an absolute honor to be engrossed. But September, onward - I plan for simple to reign. 

Because saying no to good things - so that we can say yes to great things, to spontaneous things - it's what I want. It's what I need.


As all of us here gear up for another school year, another fall season, new commitments and continued old ones....

Let's be faithful, yes.

Let's commit to the things we feel are necessary and needed, of course.

Let's heed the call on those things we hear the Lord pointing us to, most importantly.

But let's allow simplicity to have it's place.

Our homes and hearts will be fuller....

with the few and far between.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Series of Snapshots


They're outside right now.

Mowers and edgers are roaring through the neighborhood, breaking up bird song and mid-morning silence.

A long black slug is making it's way across our backyard patio, with an audience of blondes - of which, the youngest is completely enamored.

"Ug! Ug, Mama!"

The oldest boy is holding a frog he found this morning, and the girl is eating her breakfast sitting pretty in the seat of a plastic John Deere.

The door just opened, with patters of shoeless feet hitting the floor tiles. I hear humming. They must be looking for something - because a hum usually accompanies their search.

Mama here is about to throw some shoes on and put a backpack together, so we can venture out on a bike stroll.

Storms are coming later in the day - so we need to steal some sunshine while we're able.


**********

It's crisp and early on the flip side.

I'm typing here with chipped finger nail polish and a long to-do list scrawled out to my left.

All three littles are still laying down and the house is calm quiet.

There's a basket of folded laundry along the wall, and a lot of dishes waiting to be stashed in the washer.

David Nevue is playing on Pandora, and a soft pink candle dances on my desk.....Mama's attempt at solace.

Nevue is playing the old hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness.

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All that I've needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

I hear stirring and doors creaking down the hall, and I carry those lyrics with me into my morning.

Getting my bottom reluctantly out of the chair to start breakfast, I pray for His help to minister well as a Mama today.

**********

The eggs and toast and granola are all cleaned up from our morning meal.

Bible study (from Luke 7) has been had. Christs' love for both the pharisee and the weeping woman - has been considered, and taken in, and discussed.

There is a fort being made in the living room.

Pillows, cushions, blankets....they are everywhere.

I hear them in there now, discussing the architecture of the thing.

The littlest is sitting at my feet here....still wanting to be close to Mama duck most of the day.

I have pushed send on several emails, and I'm about to read aloud to the wee ones.

The laundry is still waiting it's turn to be done. There is so.much.laundry.

**********

With the house in fort-making disarray - we plopped ourselves right in the middle of it, and read.

A short biography on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, followed by a few of his exquisite poems.

Four by the Clock, hit us real and heavy.

We read it through, with sound effects and drama, three times.

I could have sat as Longfellow's audience all day, but once again....rain ensues.....and there's a yard that needs mowing.

***********

Mid mow, I had to go in to wipe a bottom.

Ah, motherhood.

After the grass was all freshly shorn - I snugged up to the youngest and we read books and sang a song before he fell into a nap of slumber.

I went in and cleaned up the abandoned fort.

The older two sat at the chalkboard and did some school review.

Shapes, and letters, and numbers for the girl.

Adding, subtracting, and clocks for the boy.

Today's review went well. We aren't always so successful.

***********

Right this very moment, the oldest is stretched out on the couch reading an easy chapter book.

I keep being interrupted by this boy - unsure of certain words.

River Flows in You is being played by Yiruma on the ipad.

Mama here should be prepping for tonight's Bible study, but she is sitting here with you....blogging instead.

It's been so long since I've been able to pause here - and hash out, and dream, and create...I feel I could do it for the next several days or so.

But....

On to laundry. And group prep.

********

And so here I sit.

The day is budding new once more.

As I review these little flashes of my week, I wonder if they are odd.

Some people take photos with a camera. I tend to take them with words.

This drives all the grandma's crazy and leaves scrapbooks empty, but letting you form the photo in your mind, by the reading of verse - I think there is something to that, don't you?

It warms me, anyhow.

There are things looming in my heart this morning - that are causing me a bit of anguish.

There are things happening in my world - that are making me war in prayer.

But there are also things, just everyday ordinary things, that ring in all kinds of joy and delight.

Slugs. Frogs. Rain. Grass. Diapered bottoms. Forts. Poems. And the gift of garments to launder and fold.

Little snapshots, in word or in image- when returned to - can flicker gratefulness.

May these do just that.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This Evening

I woke up to thunder in the wee hours this morning.

It stirred me, and got me going, and lifted me from slumber early enough for this Mama to just have a moment.

And oh, Mama's need a moment in the morning...before their littles arise! Yes.

A roll of prominent booms is reeling outside - with rain threatening to pour....

.... and it makes me anticipate my evening.

I have about a dozen names sitting here to my right.

And those ladies, and my co-leader, and I - we will convene. And we will introduce. And we will eat cookies. And we will plaster on name tags, and we will get serious about seeking Him, and we will gather round tight.

Because tonight....

We begin a new Bible study.

We start a new search through the Scriptures.

We take our first few steps on a new journey toward Him and His people.

And I have wild dreams for it all.

I understand that time is precious. Select hours propped right in the middle of the week? - these women could be doing a thousand different things other than this.

But they have boldly reached out, and committed to 8 weeks of Wednesday gatherings, and I trust that the Lord - He will meet us and make us soar.

Truly.

Because when we huddle up in pursuit of Him....things do happen! 

He speaks. And He heals. And He makes broken places whole.

Yes He does.

So just as the storm whirled through these parts this morning....I pray earnestly that the Spirit would whoosh through likewise, this eve.

I'm itching for an outpouring.

They are too.

The rain is falling on all our pines outside. And I sit here...

excited.

Lord, let the thunder from your throne room rumble..... and let the rains you send in on us ring in much. 

Yes and Amen.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Goggles

Mama's mood can make it or break it for everybody.

I could wrap the post there, really. Those words pretty much sum it up.

But the seriousness of this fact...

the millions of times mamas have squashed joy or wreaked havoc....

the scary ability mothers have....to heavily effect a moment, a day, a life - this deems some diving in today.

The power we ladies posses - is terrifying.

I've been thinking about this constantly.

Because a Mama whose emotions fling and flit? She has children who suffer.
 

She has children who hear her say she is saved by Christ...but who never see the steadiness of heart that should bring.

She has children who hear of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit....but who rarely see evidence of it.

This.is.devastating.

Because we have to get...that we are not only women.....we are witnesses. 


Last week ....I came across a startling Spurgeon quote that taps into this very issue:

"I have heard of an atheist who said he could get over every argument except the example of his godly mother: he could never answer that."

This.....

It cut me to my core.

To my flinging and flitting core.

Friends, I can go from faith to faithless in seconds. I can nose dive from the mountain top to the valley in a matter of minutes. I lash and twist and snarl - with looks and glances and words and tones.... none of it justified. None of it.

Just this morning - the middle child misplaced my goggles. 

My goggles.

Not heirloom jewelry. Not cash. Not some delicate paper or some special gift....but swimming goggles. From Target. That were a mere $15.

When I discovered the loss - I lost it.

I fumed and words flew and a five year old heart suffered.

In the midst of my frenzy - she came up to me with sorrowed look and handed me an envelope. When I opened it - it had a drawing inside.

But tucked into the bottom....

was a nickel and some pennies. 

Her money. For Mama. To purchase new water eyeballs.

It left me gaping.


And that's just today. I could tell you of countless eruptions.

Countless.

Now hear me here. I'm not saying we should never feel, or grow angry, or show emotion. I'm not saying that we shouldn't be human.

But I am saying that we should harness more of the power that lives inside of us....that is Holy.



Philippians says that it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure....that what He works in, we should work and walk out.

It's Him who enables us to choose the righteous route.

It takes a yielding, and a discipline, and a training on our part. Yes mam. But the supernatural ability to respond and handle in a holy and godly way for the long haul.... it's all Him.

I didn't twaddle all of this out here - to make any of us feel guilty or condemned.

But to feel awakened and convicted.

To feel the reality - that our every word and gesture and glance...either rings in light or it rings in darkness....

....for the wee ones (and not so wee ones) we women witness to.

God help us.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Play

I entered right back into girlhood glee today.

The blondes and I.....we have been exploring our new neighborhood. And what we've found has been nothing short of soul satisfying.

Lots of large tall pines. Vast bayous. Playgrounds situated on every turn. Parks tucked away in knolls. A different bird species every time we turn our heads.

It's been a blessing.....a nice cushion after the trauma of a move.

And today was no different.

We hopped on bikes and loaded up a stroller - and we ventured out....

until we happened upon a play area boasting swings.

With the littles playing happily on the slides and such - I slid my mom-bottom into a swing seat.

Leaning back, I lifted my legs and began that tempo of forward and back, forward and back..... climbing higher with each pass.

A slow smile smeared across my face.

I looked over at my girl child and she was smiling with me.....all distracted by her mother's verve and delight over a simple swinging session.

But oh it had been years! Years since I felt that rush of wind and that thrilling motion - all flying high and free.

And I had forgotten just how much I loved it.

Going back and forth - I glanced up at my feet on an upswing and it looked like they were touching tree tops and tapping the very sky!

I almost felt as if I could fly.

As a kid I would imagine what would happen if the swing and I were to fling ourselves off the bars and rise high into open air!....like Jasmine on a carpet ride...oh I imagined the magic.

And today took me right back.

The shear enjoyment of play had escaped me. And living life out with these young ones...it's bringing it back! Thank God.

Because if I'm being honest - over the last decade I've become quite the stiff. A curmudgeon, if you will.

But the swings!

It may sound silly and overly dramatic - but as I flew through the air today my soul did too. It was as if a small part of me came back to life again.

And that's good.

That's good for Mamas.

If you tend to little people, or work hard all your days, or you're currently in a fun rut - find a swing.

Situate your bottom in that thing and let your heart release. I promise it will send your soul soaring.

I hope your weekend is grand, friends.

Hugs and love and joy to you all.


"It is a happy talent to know how to play." - Ralph Waldo Emerson



Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday

The Irises on our hand-me-down Amish oak are emerging this morning.

When I laid my head down last night they were closed up tight...all wrapped in stem, still.

But over the dark hours - they decided to unfold and flourish.

Their blue yellow tint is filling the room and proving that the God we serve is mightily creative. We haven't seen Him face to face at this point - but we do see Him in those flowers.

I pray the same transpires today! Yes, yes Lord!

It's Sunday - that section of time during the week that many of us congregate...where we walk out the word - that calls us to come together and fellowship, worship, exhort, encourage, love.

The husband is responsible for delivering the message at a branch of our church this morning, and so my prayers have been filled with petitions....that the Spirit would rain down His sweet presence on us today!

I've been praying that the stirring up that happens this week at church - won't be hype - but that it will be holy....

....that it won't be human prowess, or manipulation, or high tech lighting that moves us - but that it will be Him...

....that whatever is keeping us all from fully entering in - unleashing - coming to light.....that it will lift.... and people will find wholeness and freedom!

I need that. I assume others in the pew need that too.

Lord come.

The one I wed just walked out of here and is headed to the highway all seeped and concentrated on the task at hand.

And I'm here - gathering a gaggle of kids and a mountain of bags - headed that way shortly.

As I handle that van down 99 North I'll have Irises in mind - praying for a complete undoing and re-weaving of us all.

May your day be empowered, friends. Love to you.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Work

When they hide your briefcase, your keys, and your wallet.....

you know something's waning.

You know then....that your hours have been long, your play sessions have been short, and your absence?...

it's felt.

Yeah. When your kids try to keep you from work - by hiding your things....that's when your soul gapes open.

That husband of mine left for the office yesterday morning with tear puddled eyes and a pulled heart muscle.

The new job suits his bent well, yes. And we knew the first few months of this gig was going to be a grind. And Mama's and Daddy's.... we can cope somewhat. But the kids? They just crack.

I know this now.

I know this now - after cry sessions, and cologne smelling, and acting out.

So sometimes.....when you see your children whittling because of your work.....you stop for a weekend time-out.

Even when the budget doesn't give you permission. Even if there are 10,000 things on the move to-do list. Even when there's no time for frilly fun.....

You decide to pinch pennies, and pile in a van, and head away for a few days. I-10 West will carry us to a spontaneous, glee-filled, Daddy-present weekend.

Because when little hearts ooze.....yours does too.

And the briefcase, the keys, and the wallet - they can wait.

If work has you bound up lately - less loose this weekend. Get back to it on Monday. Praying you are surprised by joy, and stirred up by new passions, and encouraged over the next few days, friends. Love and hugs to you all.