Sunday, July 31, 2011

100 Years

Today we celebrated our Great Aunt’s 100th birthday. I’ve never known or met anyone who is 100 years old. The party was very nice – a lunch where about 175 family members and friends gathered to eat lunch and celebrate this great lady’s life. Her daughter put together a book with her story including pictures, fun facts and great stories about the unique and wonderful person that she is. I read through the book – I’m a sucker for history – but even more – the personal history of a family member that I know mostly by reputation.

This wonderful woman graduated from high school at age 76 and went white water rafting in her 80’s. When her husband died 30 years ago, she bought a new lawn mower since she knew she would be keeping up the lawn going forward. She loves parties and traveling. How great is that?

Reading through this book and looking at all the pictures and just being there – seeing all of the smiling faces celebrating her life – it got me thinking – what is the story of my life? What will people write about me when I am advanced in years? What will be the unique things about me – my impression, the person I am, the thing that makes my reputation precede me?

So much has changed for me in the last month and I finally feel like what I’m doing everyday has eternal significance – I’m taking care of my children and our household – concentrating on being there – my whole person – in this place at this time. I’ve never been interested in what was culturally popular or interesting or notable and being in this position runs counter to what the world says is interesting. So the big question is, what will my children write as the story of my life? What will stand out to them?

I hope that they write about how much I love them about how I could be wacky and fun sometimes, how I would do anything for them, how I broke the rules sometime just to mix it up a bit. I hope most of all that they see Jesus through me. I will never be perfect, but I hope they feel God’s love through me and find a way to carry that with them through their days.

The book of your days – it is being written right now – what do you want to say?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thoughtful Tuesday 7/26/11 Every Tuesday I try to put something out here to get us all thinking about different ways to approach this life. Let’s think countercultural, against the norm, “weird”, unpopular, but most of all thought provoking. I do my best thinking in the car – even short trips with the sound of children playing and yelling in the background. Today I thought about change – how we know it’s coming and even though we know, we are never adequately prepared. Change rarely just affects us, but everyone around us and what can we possibly do to prepare ourselves for the reactions we get from other people? Is it even possible? Me staying at home has changed many people and my relationship with all of them is changing. I’m notoriously terrible with keeping in touch with people even when I think of them often. How do I keep up with these changes and keep in touch? Is it possible that the evolution that is occurring could bend or break those relationships? How do I know when to keep going on or let go? Maybe some of the answers to these questions are simple or just take time to figure out, but please share your thoughts here. I know that many of you have insight that I need. Thanks.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The First Week Thanks everyone for being patient with me while I was quiet this past week. You see, this past week was the first week I was home with all three of my kids in this new stay at home mom role. And what a week it was! Now, you are probably thinking I’m going to tell you about the highs and lows of last week – well, sure – that is sort of the point, but the first thing you need to know is how peaceful and quiet it was. I’ve been home with the kids off and on for many reasons over time – vacations, daycare shutdowns and illnesses, but there was something very different about this time – this week. I shutdown Facebook, kept email quiet, and tried to keep my normal distractions to the bare minimum and I concentrated on just enjoying them. Focused on taking these little people in my life as they are in each moment. When my sister Kim first came home to her kids about a year ago, she told me, “You know how people say that there is so much you miss when you are not home? Well, there is SO.MUCH.THAT.YOU.MISS.” Her words cut me to the core and I couldn’t get them off my mind for weeks. Here is what I missed: Big girl Kayla telling me I’m the best mom in the world along with “nothing was fun today” nearly every day last week. This girl dreams big and wants that “super fun thing” to do every day. She is so much like me, I can barely stand it. I can’t help but love her. Three year old Zach’s little arms around me saying “I love you mommy” along with “I want daddy! When is daddy going to be home – I don’t want you!” He’s definitely daddy’s boy, but I won’t let him get away with it – he’ll always be my wonderful boy. Sweet Abby’s head snuggling into my chest before naptime along with the screams of pain from falling hard into the ottoman. I’ve never seen a cut and bump so large on such a little chin. But this is Abby in all her glory – all girl, all wiggly toddler, all fun, no fear. The endless diapers – diaper ping pong between Zach and Abby – I’m telling you – it’s a conspiracy! Explosive diarrhea – somebody had to have it, right? Daily dishes. Mountains of laundry. Coupons to be cut. Littles to love and kiss and hug and comfort and read to and snuggle and just cherish – no matter what, just to love in each moment. I missed all those things. While I know none of it is glamorous – it doesn’t matter. It all means something – it is all significant, it is all eternal. This week is the beginning of our new life and I’m ready and willing and able and most of all HERE, fully. No distractions, no other priorities – just HERE. Quiet, listening, peaceful, thankful for this wonderful gift. On to week two!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Swing Kayla and I went to the park in the woods today. She played on the playscape a bit and then we both decided to swing on the old, sturdy, metal swing set – the kind they had when I was a kid. As I climbed higher and higher I was surprised at how airborne I was and how every time I swung up how I hit that brief “sweet spot” where for a moment I was free falling. It was breathtaking and terrifying all at the same time. I kept up the pace for awhile amazed at how frightened I was. As we walked back home, I realized that right now, I’m in the “sweet spot” of life. I’ve risen up pretty high up until this point and now I’m not quite falling and I’m not headed back down. I’m floating in space and completely out of control. My whole life is in limbo – everything I’ve known in my professional life is different – I’m no longer working. I’ve wanted to be home with the kids for some time, but we were not ready for that financial change. Through a series of unforeseen events, I’m no longer working and happy, thrilled, terrified, and hopeful all at the same time – I’m floating and looking around at the top of the trees in wonder of what can be. When I got off that swing, I was surprised that my head hurt, but maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. When God allows changes to shift your whole mindset, it definitely hurts a bit, but the end result is always worth it. So, I’m giving up on controlling it all, because I have to. Instead, I’m looking forward to each new day as a way to see and view this world as He has called me to see it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thoughtful Tuesday 7/12/11 It seems time to start a regular series out here, so I’ve decided to start Thoughtful Tuesday. I’ll try to put something out here to get us all thinking about different ways to approach this life. Let’s think countercultural, against the norm, “weird”, unpopular, but most of all thought provoking. Why do we decide to store up money in terms of savings, financial investments, retirement funds, etc. when we don’t really know how long our life will last? I’m not advocating irresponsibility, here, just trying to get a handle on why cultural norms tell us to do this. What happened to relying on God? What happened to relying on others to give to us as we have been called to give and support them? When did we as a society become so segmented and “self reliant”? Looking forward to the discussion.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Windfall Windfall – when we see that word, we think of money – an unexpected availability of money. While windfalls like that are nice, they are typically short lived and we usually don’t remember where the money went. I’ve found myself in an unusual type of windfall these days – a windfall of time – time with family, friends, and my kids. This type of windfall has never really happened to me and quite frankly, I don’t quite know what to do about it. My initial thoughts are to take each day at a time, savor it, be thankful and intentional in all that I do and it’s got me thinking – why don’t I always do that? Why don’t I take this gift of time and spend it with others – really being there and engaging myself with them? Time spent like this tends to be a strange mixture of joy, pain, chaos, and an overarching amount of intensity. I welcome it, yet fear the emotional toll it will put on me. But I’m here - standing on the precipice of it and praying that I spend this time wisely because like everything, we never really know how long it will last. So, I ask that you pray for me as I am in this windfall of time. I’m very thankful for it and want it to be permanent, but don’t currently understand how it can last. Thank you.