Translate

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Is Grace Fair?


"Grace doesn't seem fair until you need some" Bob Goff


That's a quote I've recently added to my book and as you can see from a recent Instagram post, I've left that page open on my desk this week, to remind me. 



I'm struggling with offering grace lately. 



And I'm not proud of that so I've spent time digging deep asking, "Why?".
The answers - if I'm honest with myself - are:

  • People are dumb
  • I was right
  • People are lazy
  • I was sanctimonious
  • People are rude
  • I was pacifistic 
  • & again, people are dumb

Also my environment doesn't expect me to be graceful, they expect me to do good work, whereas formerly as a church employee grace was a job description. Looking back, I kinda feel like it was easier to extend grace when I, (cough, clear my throat) um, had to.

Is grace grace if it's mandated?

Or is the beauty of grace revealed when it's a choice... when you choose to surrender your self righteous, judgemental attitude and lay it aside to offer grace?

I think so.
And I'm working on it. I'm trying to look past people's idiocy (it's like a phenomenon) and - full disclosure here - my own virtuousness.

I'm choosing grace.
Even when it seems unfair.
Because I bet no sooner I will hit publish on this piece and do something boneheaded and need someone to be gentle with me.

Friday, August 21, 2015

We Did It


Seven years ago we looked took an inventory of the life we had been building together and after some deep-digging-deep 

and gut wrenching bravery
we looked at each other and admitted something had to change.

Which, by the way, might be one of the scariest things to admit.

Four years ago hubs walked back onto campus this time to secure the coursework necessary to earn a teaching degree.

And it's been a, ahem, a long journey.

Today, he reports back to school, but this time as a teacher, not a student.

He did it.
We did it.
We did what?

We we got what we wanted? Is that what I mean?
Nope.
I mean we changed our stars.
We set our eyes on the goal and 
despite the pain
or heartache
or financial challenges that came with the kind of about face a mid-life-with-5-kids-career-change requires we carved a new path, a better one.

Now, I fully admit, halfway into this journey I wanted to quit. I've spent some time looking back over entries I've written here about the struggle - it was real, people! - but then I realized reaching the finish line would take just as long as turning around and heading back.

So we kept going and now we're here.

I don't know what's ahead - anything could happen - but today, I look down and notice where my feet are headed and it's a much better place. 
It's better because it's where I wanted to be.
It's not the fanciest path
or a famous one,
it's not even popular!
But I don't need you to like it
or even understand it.
It's not your path.
It's mine!

Today is a momentous day personally but I submit this entry, standing before you to testify; you can change your life, it's hard, but you can. 


Don't be afraid.

And Aaron? I'm so, so proud of you baby.
"Stay the course" we ARE writing a better story. There's noone else I'd rather turn pages with. xo

Thursday, July 30, 2015

This One Thing Might Send Me to the Looney Bin

I've been a parent for 20 years.

I've got a lot of experience. I know how to be in charge of little people. I can lead them, encourage them, and most impressively, feed them on a tight budget. I've got 5 of em and by golly, I love em. But they are going to send me to the looney bin if they don't start successfully and repeatedly master this one daily task.

Teeth brushing.

Everyday, twice a day, at least 4 times a day I say "Go brush your teeth."

Not to be confused with, "Have you brushed your teeth?"

You see, I'm a mom. I know when you have not brushed your teeth. I can see the leftover chocolate milk clinging to the plaque on your 2 front teeth from across the room. I can smell your morning breath lingering till noon. I know you walk in the bathroom and walk out and pretend to have brushed, but honey, I can hear the water pipes from down in the basement. You ain't foolin no one.

But you are making me crazy.

I've said "Go brush your teeth" EVERYDAY of your life. TWICE a day! At least! How is it you have failed to master this task?
You're not surprised you have to brush.
It's not a skill with new levels of difficulty that you have to master.
You like the flavor of toothpaste.
You can reach the sink.
You have opposing thumbs!

They way I figure it, if I've said, "BRUSH YOUR TEETH!" everyday of my parenting career, twice a day to 5 children I've said it

73,000 times


And people, I'm warning you, if I spend the next 5 years of my life repeating that phrase you can certainly plan on visiting me in a rubber room. Because it's not having 5 kids that is going to make me insane, its having 5 kids with funky breath and cavities.

 photo tumblr_lmpj0hwqla1qj0zk3o1_500_zpsbjcnddny.gif


What is the one thing you do as a Mom that drives you crazy? I'd love to hear!



Friday, June 26, 2015

Be

Over the last year the blog has been quiet although I would argue I've been busier than ever living out my theme of writing or making a better story out of my life.



I've been writing a better story I've just not jotted it down on paper. Or on your screen. Or in the blogosphere. Whatever.

I'm actually living.

I'm doing and organizing and scheduling & then doing all I've scheduled & organized. 

I miss writing. Not for you, or my audience, but for me. Writing is often how I process my feelings. It's also how I'll become a better story teller. And that's what I want people to say at my funeral, "She was really great with words!". 

Nevertheless I miss writing. So if I love it & if I want to write, I had to ask myself why was I not creating space in my life to practice it? 


While reading Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle, I was recently reminded, that when I am constantly running there is no time for being.
And when there is no time for being there is no time for listening.
And listening - to myself, to my thoughts or that still small voice - is what prompts me to question and wonder and process and ultimately ... write. 

And so that's what I leave you with today; how can we ever know anything  (know anything for sure? know why we believe? know what to do?) if we don't ever take the time to sit and listen and be still?

Before we plan and process and organize what if we made space to be quiet
and pause
and listen?

Because I fear if we never stop to listen how will we ever hear?

This idea of being still, or making quiet time isn't new to me. But it is one I've wrestled with consistency  throughout every age and stage of my life. 



It's always a good reminder.

And hopefully, it will help me get back to writing again.

What about you? What would you do more, or less of, if you could take some time to be still?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Tale of Three Trees




I don't have a green thumb
but I have three trees.

A crab apple tree. 
A cherry tree. 
And two years ago we planted an apple tree.


the 1 yr the cherry tree bloomed
The crab apple tree blossoms beautifully every year, grows miniature crab apples, drops them to the ground and sprouts the messiest, most stubborn chutes you can image. They've managed to choke out every geranium, mum or Hosta I've ever tried to grow around its trunk. 

It's a beautiful, worthless mess. 

The cherry tree is my husband's favorite. He's longed for cherries from that tree every year, for ten or more years and each spring he is disappointed. In 2011 I wrote how the tree bloomed beautifully and it seemed inevitable that fruit was coming. And while a few sweet red cherries came forth we never got enough for a pie or cobbler. I think the birds enjoyed that year much more than we.

That was it. The tree never blossomed again and last year suffered an infestation of Japanese Beetles and has not recovered. I fear it needs to come down altogether.

a baby apple tree
However, our third tree, a tiny fruit tree we planted two years ago near the cherry tree in hopes of coaxing a little pollination, holds a lot of promise. A lot. This year the tiny, baby tree was covered in beautiful blooms and now, has tiny, baby green apples hanging so delicately we watch them in awe. Sometimes I think we're watching them grow.

But we can't help it were so proud to have produced fruit after a long exhausting battle with wimpy impotent trees.

I've lived here 18 years and never eaten the fruit of the land. 

But I long to. And now, maybe I will this year. 





Except, after dinner yesterday, just as I sat down on the couch nestling in with a book in front of the picture window I looked out across the yard and 2 neighbor children were picking my apples.

I stood up, banged on the glass, ran to the door, flew out on the porch and screamed, "You can't pick my fruit! That's MY fruit!" The dog was barking, my family ran out behind me to see what all the fuss was about and together all of us looked like lunatics.

The children apologized and I returned inside.

Man! That is MY fruit. I've tried so hard and waited year after year. All I want is to grow something myself and eat it. 



People, growing fruit is hard.


We don't appreciate the time and effort it takes to get something of substance worth savoring. 

What if this is true about other things?
What if the stuff that matters takes time to grow and build? What if the stuff the sprouts up overnight with little or no effort, in all its flash and sparkle, is nothing but weeds?


And worse, what if after all that effort people want to take what you've worked and waited for?







I know, we all want stuff faster but what if there's good stuff in the waiting???


Don't rush it.
Fight the urge to hurry.
Don't settle for quick and shallow roots.
Wait for substance.
Give fruit time to grow.

And leave the weeds to themselves. 
Because growing fruit is hard.

But fruit, not weeds,
time, not quick results
is what people long for.

And if I can ever get my three trees AND a green thumb, to get it together well ...
then I'll share.

And the world, well okay - just my neighborhood - would be a better place.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What's All Good?

I have 2 things stenciled on the walls of my home.



A handwritten documentation of each my children's growth
and




this -


vinyl letters with my favorite phrase;


"It's all Good!"



For as long as I can remember Romans 8:28 was my "life verse", that is, scripture that provides me with unwavering inspiration.

Aaron and I even put that scripture on our wedding invitation 23 years ago. It was our way of declaring that the union of us, and everything to come, would be a good thing.

Then, when I learned I was expecting twins, #4 & #5, the burden of large family didn't feel like something good. Rather it felt more I had been abandoned by God or fate or the laughing stock of Mother Nature. It was then I first began to doubt the very words that had always brought me hope.


Part of me wanted to throw the "It's all good" mantra out of my life, but another - albeit very small - part of me hesitated wondering - maybe even hoping - that somehow those unexpected baby girls would in fact be a good thing.


And boy were they ever!

Now, with over 40 years of living experience I realize I was a very naive bride,
but I wasn't in fact, entirely wrong. It's all good, doesn't mean it is all literally good.
Or that everything will turn out well.
What it means to me - today - is that the sum

of everything that comes to me
both pleasant and unpleasant
good and bad
wanted or unwanted
can be taken in

and used to mold me,
shape my character
and write a better story out of every single story element that has come my way.

AddThis Smart Layers