Saturday, August 28, 2010

Guilt, Insecurity, Surrender (cheesecake)

I am a summertime girl, but the change of seasons is always invigorating, and the new crispness in the air is reminding me to slow down, reflect, take a Soul Check-Up.  Oh, and I turned 33 on Wednesday!  33 . . . like halfway between 13 and 53 . . . just right.  I feel like life keeps getting better, richer, more joyful, the more I learn and the older I grow.

A few things I am learning . . .

I am learning to pay no attention to the voice of ambiguity.  
The nagging guilt, that hovering angst . . . 
how much of my life do I live with this voice telling me I should be doing more
. . . but more is something elusive, hard to pinpoint . . . 
just GUILT telling me I am not enough . . . 
it's a vague, hazy and condemning voice.  
I am learning to identify guilt as the voice of the Enemy- 
keeping me condemned, busy, and useless.  
The worst decisions I make are the ones motivated by guilt.  
The voice of the Spirit is different . . . 
it rides on hope, it offers life, . . . 
it is very specific.  
Make this phonecall, do it now.  
Do this.  Speak this.  
Stop.  Look.  Pray.  Rest.  
Don't speak at all.

Especially difficult to discern is how to best spend my time . . .  thanks Tim for the quote:

"in order to be generous with your art, gifts, product, performance, service and have to be selfish with your time"

Something I am remembering is not to compare myself to anyone. Ever.  I learned this a long time ago, but sometimes I need to relearn it . . . A few days lately have found me insecure, feeling like I'm thirteen again.  I realized that feeling this way was directly related to comparing myself with others, in ways that I know for sure are not my strengths or my priorities . . .
When we know what our priorities are, we FREE ourselves from comparison, because no one else has the same strengths, goals or circumstances that we do. We can only compete with ourselves. Challenging ourselves to be better each day. . .  Motherhood and Identity: Comparison and the List You Need to Tape to Your Forehead

 "I find my surrender was neither high enough nor deep enough". . . this spoke so precisely to where I am right now, many mothers may find themselves here too.

Saturday calls for something fun and since Jim has to work today I am thinking about doing one of these fun ideas with the girls:  painted skirts or soft pretzels or hmmmm maybe cheesecake bars . . . yes I believe today is definitely calling for cheesecake.

Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some Worthwhile Reading Lately . ..

there is nothing you can buy, achieve, own, or rent that can fill up that hunger inside for a sense of fulfillment and wonder. But the good news is that creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.
Then I bring up the bad news: You have to make time to do this.
This means you have to grasp that your manic forms of connectivity—cell phone, email, text, Twitter—steal most chances of lasting connection or amazement. That multitasking can argue a wasted life. That a close friendship is worth more than material success . . . 
at Time Lost and Found by Anne Lamott 
another good Monday at Flowerdust:
What pleases him is the “old” he clings to, fearing to lose it, but he is certainly not happy with it.
And so he keeps himself “old” and cannot change: he is not open to any newness. . . at Merton Mondays- The Old Man

My reading ebbs and flows according to my children's sleep habits . . . Last month I got halfway through three books before calling surrender, which I will blame entirely on the non-sleeping state I was in . . . well, and I just couldn't get into the books either.

I did finish two finally:

kids are worth it!: Giving Your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline by Barbara Curtis.  I read this because Ruth said it is one of her favorite parenting books and Ruth and her husband are two of my favorite parents.  I was really stretched and challenged by this book, gained tons of creative ideas, and will no doubt keep this for a reference as the kids grow because it is very useful for older children and teenagers as well.  I don't have time to cite from it at the moment . . . 

The second book was Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay.  It is a heartbreaking, infuriating and fast-paced read, I couldn't put it down.  It also stirred many thoughts on the subject of divorce and religion and the fact that it is far more complex than most churches will admit . . . for an excellent, thought-provoking message on Jesus and divorce, this is a great one. 

(. . . I read a post like this and have a hard time sleeping after.  I struggle to make sense of it, to justify myself, my comfort . . . I feel angry and yet I feel powerless . . . what can I possibly do from here, in my comfortable little world? . . . and I think about the Rich Man and What the Gospel Demands and am ashamed).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


When you wake-up on any old tuesday and the weather says sunshine and eighty . . .
and it occurs to you that this day is Gift and worthy of it's due celebration . . .

then there is only one thing to do.

Pack your princess lunchbag with peanut butter and carrots.

Don't forget your favorite hat.

And set-off not knowing where the road may lead . . .
only that you must . . .
absolutely must . ..

find some tall trees
and a patch of uninterrupted sky . . .

some small space for exploring . . .

and a hill to tumble down.

And when you've found your quiet spot,
get to know the neighbors.

Invite them to lunch.

Sit in the grass.

Notice the way the breeze blows
the trees sway
the dappled sunlight

everything doing just what it was meant to do.

Observe the hushed others over there
arriving soundlessly
greeting each other
checking their watches.

Imagine they are
or dreamers
or escapees.

And smile
for so are you.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


One of the things I love about being a mom is all of the things my children teach me about God, every day.

Lately all of my creative energies are absolutely exhausted in disciplining, teaching and nurturing my kids.  But in the process, in the moments when I am on my knees and able to gain a moment of clarity, I am learning some really practical things about my own demanding disobedient self, and my Father God.

For example, it cracks me up when one of the girls notices the other disobeying, and feels the need to correct her, or to tell me about it . . . and the next second the roles are reversed and it's the other one scolding her sister, and I think about anyone who I am tempted to judge and how childish that makes me.

Or at naptime when my two year old hardly slept the night before, and yet resists and resists and resists her nap . . . and what can I do?  I am unable to physically make her go to sleep; so what is her punishment?  Not sleeping.  And she stumbles through the rest of the day out of sorts and crying and I think, this is me when I refuse to accept the moment, to just relax and enjoy the place where I am but rather I fight and refuse to trust and be at rest in Christ.

And of course there is the selfishness, the stubbornness, and all of it points me right back to me and my own stubbornness and selfishness.

And at the same time I am aware of my love for them, the bottomless pit of love I have for them; the way my mercy overwhelms my frustration, my affection and delight in them, how I love to give them good gifts; and I sense the tenderness of my Father.

Having children is a daily message to me of love and trust and obedience.

Today during naptime I scrubbed the floor and listened to this fabulous message on prayer, The Scorpion and the Egg, especially relevant to anyone who has experienced prayer that's not been answered.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Today While Nursing at the Keyboard

So many good things I am reading today while NAKing  (Nursing At the Keyboard, according to my friend Ruth- more about her great post below.)

I am loving the past few days at Flowerdust 

Show Me How to Die:

We love stories of restoration. We love being unfettered and passionately full of life.
But before freedom comes oppression; before redemption comes loss. We want to be rescued from our pain, but often prematurely.
Do we know how to die? Are we willing to?
Do we know how to fall soberly on our face and stay in the painful, the most incomplete place where we empty ourselves until we admit our own desires, our own comfort, our own abilities are useless?
and I especially loved her post today, The Story of Now 

Let’s also begin sharing The Story of Now.
Let’s share the brokenness that is happening in our lives at this very given moment — The places we aren’t sure how God will heal, if he will heal them. The places that frighten us. The places that we think will make a great story in the future…but we don’t want to talk about them in the present tense.      
This is so true!  Why are we comfortable telling the story of where we have been, but so afraid of admitting where we are struggling today?

Anne's Merton Mondays have been great as well.

This is so good: How To Get More Followers (and be a little bit great)  at Holy Experience 

And I really enjoyed Ruth's post, IRL , about the way that the internet brought her together with women she was unlikely to meet IRL (In Real Life), the community that they formed as new mothers to encourage, pray for, and offer advice, and how these relationships have endured to this day.  

I love that I get to be a Stay At Home Mom in the age of blogs and podcasts and facebook friends.

Oh, and I want to be this family: Crafton Family Enjoys Rare Closeness After Seven Years Together At Sea. (who doesn't?)

I would love to discuss with anyone what you think about the Anne Rice comment ?  I try discussing these things with my kids but the debate can only go so far, you know? (smile).

Jon Acuff always has some good thoughts. 

This week my brother Joe is home!!  Joe is truly the funniest person I know, it is so much fun to have him around!