Monday, March 30, 2009

fun- part 1

So I've been thinking about fun . . . my lack of it, or failure to make it a priority . . . I suppose I didn't notice when I stopped having fun because I think of my life as fun . . . in a quieter, subtler way than before . . . Before children, before marriage and houses and living in one place longer than a year . . . life slows down, routines set in, your world becomes fuller, but smaller.  These aren't bad things like I once thought.  I remember driving through old neighborhoods marveling that people could live in one house for years, days and days and days piling up of the same scenery, the same things to talk about year after year, going to bed every night and waking up to a new day much like the one before it.

I wonder if I hadn't gotten married if I'd have ever learned to be content for long.  I suppose I believed, albeit illogically, that marriage wouldn't slow me down, it'd just give me a travel companion.  That was before I'd had a twelve month job (I taught school or was a waitress), or a mortgage, or any commitments beyond a few months.  It's no wonder that I had more culture shock in my first few months of marriage than I'd ever had in any country I had visited.  Fun shifted to weekends away, and then to day trips, and then we had a baby, and we'd try to run out for dinner and rush back before a feeding.  Now we have two kids, and fun for me is the Nightly News and a good night's sleep.

It sounds like I'm complaining but I'm not . . . kids have changed me.  I'm more content now, happy to be a stay-at-home mom, in our little town (the one I couldn't wait to leave), satisfied with the predictability of life for the most part . . . . but I realized recently that I'm too content.  There are things that shouldn't be surrendered to your children.  Who you were before kids, the things that made you come alive, the things you believed in . . . Life is meant to be lived, I once believed, and set my life to living . . . I don't believe it any less now.  I just don't work as hard at it.  

(part 2 is coming . . . after the Nightly News and a good night's sleep).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Quick Takes Friday

I have been trying to get a post up for the past two weeks . . . I have the beginnings of posts everywhere. Here it is Friday, this is just what I need:

1. That little business I mentioned a while ago that I was working on? It's here. Someday I'll write about my friend and our idea . . . .

2. I had big plans for Lent this year but haven't followed through. My quiet times have been sporadic at best, thanks mostly to a little girl kicking me in the back all night long, and waking as soon as I dare creep from the covers. Everything seems to fall apart when I don't start the day with Him. Things have been falling apart. Maybe I should say that I fall apart.

3. Ironically, the greatest lesson I am learning during Lent this year: fun. You know you are lacking in fun when it comes in the form of a lesson, and you know you are overly guilt-ridden when it comes during Lent. I didn't realize it, but fun has not been a part of my vocabulary lately. Unless it is related to preschool fun, it's not on my to-do list and generally doesn't seem to get done. My lesson on fun (and friends) is the topic of my next post.

4. I am reading He Leadeth Me, as recommended on Conversion Diary, and loving it.

5. The world cares more about computers than children. My computer was sick . . . at 5 we scheduled an appointment for 6 on a Saturday night. A Genius examined my macbook, said they could take care of it in house, and I went shopping. Forty-five minutes later they called to tell me it was ready, I got a pat on the back and you-don't-have-to-pay-a- dime, and left with my healthy computer.

Contrast: my child was sick. We went to the doctor (my usual Doc whom I love wasn't in, so this was a nurse practitioner . . . long story blah blah blah . . . ), sent home with a hundred dollars of prescriptions, and had to pay two bills because she looked in the ears of my other (healthy) daughter . . . I am almost positive that Annie just had a cold. (Our insurance has changed to a $4,000 deductible, and we were just in the ER. Ouch). . . . so I realized that I needed to get Annie's next set of immunizations, and that I should take her to the Health Department because it's sooooo much cheaper. I called to request to have her records sent (because we live 30 miles away), and they told me they couldn't send them to me because they wouldn't pay for a STAMP! I don't remember complaining to anybody on the phone ever. I complained. We will miss our doctor, but next time my kid is sick I'm taking her to Apple.

6. On the way to Michigan last weekend with my brother, we listened to David Sedaris at Carnegie Hall and I laughed till I cried. 

7. Coby played music the rest of the trip, my favorite was Jason Anderson. It's like listening to Bruce Springsteen but you' both eighteen and playing music in his parents' basement.

Quick takes Friday is hosted at Conversion Diary.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Links

This week has uncovered too many pearls not to mention . . .

Can we abuse God's grace? from A Practical Theology for Women
. . . what do you think?

"The greatest thing you can do for your kids is learn to focus on yourself."  And,  "What the kids need at a moment like this is a parent who can keep his cool. A parent able to calm himself down allows a child to explore his or her full range of emotions without spiraling out of control." from what kids need most- cool parents from Simple Mom.

A church that- finds purpose in hope from The Bridge.

This quote has been on my my all week since I read it.  Why aren't more people saying this to mothers?
Those days of the little ones seem never ending, until you look back and in a blink of an eye they are over! so many things i thought i needed to accomplish back then, but in hindsight none were really important. fixing the meals, wiping their faces and kissing their cheeks and falling on my face before the Lord each day is about all i should have expected of myself and all God ever expected of me.
-a comment from Melissa of the Inspired Room, on a post from Amber of the Run a muck, via Emily, Chatting at the Sky.  (and I think I got there from Megan at Sorta Crunchy.  whew.  Isn't blogland amazing!)

I don't know where to begin posting from a Holy Experience.  I thought I was going to link to this one on Forging Solitude or this on teaching your children to worship . . . but then I read this . . . and linked to this . . . I love this woman.  Rich, beautiful stuff here.

And then there are the things that break my heart.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I found this, The Simple Woman's Daybook from my sweet friend Becky, and think it's just the right thing for tonight:

Outside my window . . .  today I saw a bird's nest in a tree out our kitchen window, which Sami is very excited to go check-out tomorrow.  (She was too sick today to go out).

I am thinking . . . about the future and trying not to stress.  

I am thankful for . . . two sweet girls peacefully sleeping.

From the kitchen . . . always looking for things to do with all the free beef we get from my parents (a HUGE blessing).  I'm tired of pot roast, but tonight I tried this recipe from Tyler Florence and liked it.

I am wearing . . . blue Old Navy t-shirt, grey tank, pajama pants.

I am creating . . . a business! (shhhh, it's a secret)!

I am going . . . to the library for storytime tomorrow.  We LOVE our teeny tiny library.

I am reading . . . The Catcher in the Rye.

I am hoping . . . my kids sleep well tonight and are healthy again soon (just colds, but still).

I am hearing . . . the cool mist humidifier in my girls' bedroom.

Around the house . . . a box of kleenex, and basket of library books, a doll named Chloe, today's newspaper, books we read tonight, my grey hoodie.

One of my favorite things . . . A Spiritual Formation Workbook and my Wednesday morning small group.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  tomorrow- hopefully get some biz. work done in the morning, story time at the library, a play date in the afternoon, business meeting in the evening, vegetable beef soup from the leftover pot roast for dinner.  Friday- Upstate Minestrone.  Saturday- homemade mac and cheese (I have been craving!), and hopefully get a lot of work done . . . I guess I don't have any plans for the weekend.  Jim has to work on Saturday.  Sunday- bake something for church fellowship after service.

Visit the simple womans daybook to share yours.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Alive unto God

My husband downloaded this podcast of the Venezuelan youth orchestra from Ted Talks, and we've been watching it over and over on our television because the girls are positively mesmerized by it.  Sami doesn't move, and Annie can't stop dancing through the seventeen minute performance.  We turn it on just to watch the girls, so absorbed in it. 

Once again I am reminded that often children are the most in tune to matters of truth and beauty, and the most moved by it.

Watching this I understand the definition of the word joy.  
This must be the way the Christian life was meant to be lived.

To participate in the creation of beauty, Redemption.
Love in concert.

I can put myself in that room, on that stage, and feel the energy that must have been pulsing through these kids . . . (and to think that we only offer teenagers sex and alcohol for pleasure)!

And as I watch it, the verse ringing in my ears:
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  -Romans 6:11
This was a key verse in my spiritual formation.  We talked about it a lot.  There was always a lot of dying to do . . . die to yourself.  Die to sin.  Die to your own will, your own way, your own agenda.  I prayed daily . . . help me God to die to myself . . . .

When making decisions this had the potential to result in a lot of confusion.

If I want it, then it's just my flesh, and it must be wrong; or, if I don't want to do it, that must be my sin nature so I probably should do it . . . but then if I think I should does that mean I shouldn't?. . . or if I shouldn't then I should? . . . I would then be advised to "seek counsel" at which time someone more spiritual would remind me of the verse, "the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked who can know it." (Jer.17:9)
So . . . my flesh is corrupt and I must crucify it, and my heart is deceitful, don't follow my heart. 


Where does that leave me?

Unfortunately, for this Youth Group Girl with a Guilty Conscience, it often left me doubting and questioning my every move until I no longer knew what I wanted or what God wanted from me.  (Fortunately, I could never really believe that following Christ meant a life of misery. . . or worse, a life doing nothing out of fear of doing the wrong thing.  I'll thank my parents for this.  They never presented sour-pus Christianity).

I wish that I had spent more time thinking about being alive than being dead.

There are a few things I am beginning to understand related to this, and this video speaks it best.  I wish that I'd had this image in my mind when making decisions . . . 

Die to sin:  
don't play your own tune
don't try to use somebody else's instrument
pay attention

Be alive to God:  
play your heart out, just follow the music  
Play loudly, not at the wrong times  
Play wildly, but with discipline
You're not a one-man show, but you make everyone better  
What you are a part of is so important it hurts, but so joyful you cannot look away
What you have to give is so small, but so infinitely important
Every moment counts

Nurture your desires!  Know your own heart!  Desire things deeply!  Madly!  You know God . . . you should be among the most ALIVE people on earth . . . Die to sin.  Now LIVE unto God!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dear Sami, March

Life with you is so much fun.  

Lately you have been really into fashion . . . you pick out your clothes and dress yourself, and I always wait expectantly to see what you will be wearing each day.

You are pretty open-minded and willing to bend some fashion rules.  

I like that about you.

Your only requirement lately is that you MUST be wearing a SKIRT at all times.  If it's cold and we're going out, you wear a skirt over pants.  When you go to bed, you wear a skirt over your pajamas.
Your Nana got you a bunch of skirts from Goodwill and I put them in a basket in your closet, so all day long, as the event requires, you can change from one skirt to another, and from rainboots to cowboy boots to sparkle shoes to crocs . . . you understand the more sublime role that shoes can play in making an outfit work.
You have a refined appreciation for patterns.
It seems lately all of this skirt-wearing combined with a basket of scarves that your Nana gave you, is connecting you to a distant branch of your family tree . . . the Amish.  Most three-year old girls want to be a princess, but not you.  You want to be an Amish girl.  Her name is Fannie Mae.  Fannie Mae is really into these scarves.  Scarves can be used for a variety of things . . . most notably, headscarves.  This appeals to you in ways I cannot quite comprehend.  I have taken the basket of scarves and tied them around you for dresses, or turned on music and let you dance with them swirling around you . . . but really, you just prefer to wear them on your head.   Even when we go out.  Providing me with no shortage of startled looks that read something like look-at-that-poor-child-being-raised-in-a-cult . . . I just small and say, "hold my hand, Fannie Mae."

I love the book we got at the library this week, about Molly Lou Melon . . . 
Her grandma had told her,
 "Walk as proudly as you can and the world will look up to you." 
So she did.
. . . "Smile big and the world will smile right alongside you."
So she did.
. . . "Believe in yourself and the world will believe in you too."
So she did.

You mama is going to try her best to teach you this most important lesson, and the hardest battle you will fight . . . to be true to yourself.  
Always be YOU, Sam.
Because YOU is exactly what the world needs.
I love you, and I love who you are and who you are going to become.