We belong to each other

Posted on

I keep hearing people say we need to do something. But no one seems to be able to agree on what that is. So we shake our heads, cry our tears, and eventually move on. I see the horrible responses to Sunday’s attack. I see the anger and hatred and rage building up in my country. Our country. And I don’t know how to stop it.

I am tired. I am tired of the anger on both sides. I am tired of hearing people slam one another over and over again. I am tired of no one in power being willing to stand up and say enough is enough and here’s what we are going to do about it.

Our leaders won’t lead. We the people need to step up.

I used to worry about interfering. Getting into business that isn’t mine. I waited until someone asked for my help. I used to worry about other parents getting angry if I stop their kid from hurting someone else’s kid. I used to only step in when MY child was in danger.

But they are all my kids.

The little boy being physically bullied at the park tonight. Mine. The little ones in Uganda who lined up to touch my arm and tell me their names. Mine. The ones who have nowhere to sleep tonight and no parents to tuck them in. Mine. They are all mine.

And they are all yours.

We belong to each other.

And we need to start living like it.


Grace-filled moments

Posted on

So, almost a year and a half ago I landed a huge client. As you may have been able to see from my lack of posts, I was completely swamped with work. It was amazing, creative work that I really loved. And it took over our whole lives. We moved into a larger place to accommodate how much space the work took up. I was still able to be at all of my daughter’s events, but we didn’t have much fun time together. I was working constantly, trying to keep my head above water. And it felt so safe to have all that work. My quiet times suffered, and our time together suffered, but I loved the safety of it.

A couple of months ago, that client unexpectedly left me for a big agency. I was heartbroken and scared. I tried to keep resting on God’s promises to provide for us.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  Matthew 625-26; 28-30

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

So here I am, two months later.

And He is giving such good gifts. It’s like I was holding my breath for a year-and-a-half. Trying not to move make a false move, so I wouldn’t lose the work and security I loved. After leaning on God for so many years, I expected myself to have it figured out by now. But instead, I put my faith in my work. In the safety of a known paycheck. God took away that safety net and I am back to leaning solely on Him. Which is where I should have been all along.

And these last few days (once I finally surrendered to Him, again) have been so beautiful. He is giving good gifts. Gifts I didn’t have time for two months ago. Gifts He knew I needed in my life. Gifts my girl needs. Time to walk outside and just breathe in the beauty He has created. Time to spend with Him. Time to write. And today, time with friends. An entire afternoon with my house filled with kids playing and laughing (mostly) and time to talk and share our hearts.

It’s like I am watching a whole new chapter unfold before my eyes. And watching us bloom even more.


A friend I can count on

Posted on

I have a friend. The kind you can totally count on.

I met her 4 months before my husband left. She certainly didn’t meet the best version of me. She met a broken woman trying desperately to hold on to a family that was collapsing. I cried the very first time we met. She immediately began praying for me and my marriage. She wrapped her arms around my daughter and I and never let go.

At church, she always sought out my daughter and made her feel special and loved. She was the first person to show up on our crisis day. After he left, she checked up on us often. It can be lonely to be a single mom. Especially when the kids are really little. My daughter was only 3 at the time, so we didn’t get out to a lot of activities. Most people I knew were starting their activities around her bedtime. We had no family in the area and felt very alone.

My friend had built an incredible life there. She was involved in so many activities and living in the city meant it took a while to get from one to the next. But she would stop in on her way somewhere with a hug, an encouraging word, and a treat still warm from the oven of whatever fabulous restaurant she had just discovered.

When we moved into our new home last summer, we already lived 2 hours away from her. Our new church family came and moved all of our boxes and furniture and helped unpack books and kid stuff. They left and my family wasn’t here yet. But then, Miss Wendy showed up. I was burned out and couldn’t make another decision about where something should go, so she stepped in. I was willing to live with boxes and sit on the floor for a few days, but she just started unpacking and organizing. By the time she left that evening, we had a completely functioning, and beautiful, living room.

Now she lives half the country away. And I can’t wait until we get to see her again. We have a wonderful family and church surrounding us here. But it’s still good to know, Wendy is out there. And would show up if we needed her.


Five Minute Friday – Remember

Posted on

People all over the world blogging on the same topic on the same day for just five minutes and linking up at Lisa Jo’s place. Today’s topic: Remember.

Five Minute Friday

 

GO.

It’s amazing to me how little I remembered of being little until my daughter came along. I had snippets here and there, moments frozen in time. Some I think are remembered from pictures. Now I can remember what being little felt like. I can remember the struggles, the joy. I remember hours spent on our backyard swing. It faced over a farmer’s field and I would swing as high as my little legs could pump me and imagine I was flying over that field. I loved it when the farmer was in his field with his tractor. It felt like a show put on just for me.

I remember what it felt like when my 3 friends decided they didn’t want to be friends anymore. I remember feeling totally rejected in 3rd grade. And I remember my big sister getting the ball back for me on the playground when a bigger kid took it.

As I watch my daughter grow and go through all the things in a little girl’s world, I remember what it feels like. And suddenly, compassion comes more easily. If she has a horrible day, I want to know why. I want her to share those pains with me and to know the unconditional love that she has from me. Remembering being little makes me a better mother.

I hope I never forget that.

STOP.


Homemade Laundry Soap

Posted on

DSC_0264

For a while now, I have been wanting to make my own laundry soap. Less chemicals, less expense.

I have looked online for recipes and many of them start with making your own regular soap, to then grate into the recipe. I really don’t want to mess with lye yet, so I bypassed all of those. I finally settled on one that was very simple. Grate a bar of Fels-Naptha and mix it with 1 cup each of Borax and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda.

So I did.

Hmm. I tried the first load with it. The clothes look and smell clean, so it worked well. But I can’t stand the smell of the detergent! Once the clothes are clean, it’s fine; they smell normal. But my nose has something against Fels Naptha. The moment I opened the bar, it smelled bad to me. Grating it obviously released the scent even more and while the washer was going, the smell was intense.

Back to the drawing board! 🙂


Five Minute Friday – Bare

Posted on

People all over the world blogging on the same topic on the same day for just five minutes and linking up at Lisa Jo’s place. Today’s topic: Bare.

Five Minute Friday

 

GO.

My grandmother loved bare trees. She loved seeing all the branches in their interesting patterns. So do I. I love the bud of green leaves in the spring, the beautiful trees all full of leaves in summer and the amazing colors in the fall. But there is something about a bare tree in the winter. Especially if it is surrounded by and covered with snow. The starkness of the dark limbs against a blanket of white catches me every time. I could just stop and stare. And I usually do.

Today as I walked in the snow-covered woods, among all the beautiful bare trees a new thought hit me. Once all the leaves are gone, we can see what the tree REALLY looks like. What it’s made of. How strong it is.

Just like us. When earthly things we treasure are stripped away, we can see what a person is really made of. How strong they are. The curves and bends their lives have taken and how much they have grown anyway. There’s no more hiding. Our truest, simplest selves are shown to all. I pray that when that happens, the world will see a woman who follows after God with her whole heart.

 

STOP.

 

Want to know how Five Minute Friday got started and how to participate? All the details are here.


26 Random Acts of Kindness – Part 1

Posted on

I saw this article about people doing 26 random acts of kindness in honor of the children and adults lost in Newtown. What a wonderful idea. There are so many amazing articles and posts being written in the aftermath of the shootings. One of the best I have seen talked about love. How the only way to overcome senseless evil and violence like this is to love. Show love and kindness anywhere you can. So we are taking the 26 Random Acts to heart.

My daughter is too young to learn of what exactly happened in Newtown. But you can never be too young to serve and love others.

We can’t afford to bless people financially, so we are going to get creative. Here’s my idea list so far…

1. Take cookies to our local firehouse and the men and women there who protect us.

2. Take a small treat in a pretty package with notes to my daughter’s teachers, thanking them for all they do.

3. Send a card to a soldier serving overseas.

4. Take a treat to the guys building the house on our street.

5. Clean snow off a stranger’s car at Target. (preferably without setting off any alarms!)

What ideas are you going to try?


For Those with Heavy Hearts

Posted on

I love Christmas. I love the baking and candy-making and carol-singing and present-giving. I love spending time with my family. But Christmas is also a time when my heart is heavy. Heavy with loss. Heavy with what might have been. Heavy with wishes for the future. I am sure many of you have heavy hearts for your own reasons. As much as the celebration is wonderful, there can be a sting to it when life hasn’t turned out as we wanted or expected.

So for all of you burdened with a heavy heart, I offer this, from It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!

Christmas isn’t going to be the end of weary hearts and earthly trouble. But Christ came so we would have peace in the midst of weary hearts and earthly trouble. So we could know the peace that passes all understanding.

I urge you. Set down your load for a few days. Enjoy the celebration of Christ’s birth and all that it meant for mankind. A new teacher, with a new way. Miracles the poured forth from Him then, and still do today. A daring rescue plan to bring His people back to Him.

Hear the angels sing.


Bell Ringing

Posted on

I look forward to seeing the Salvation Army bell ringers every year. Really. This year, they were much more creative by us. At our local grocery store, we saw 3 girls from the high school singing Christmas carols and having a grand time. Another trip gave us the joy of hearing a man who had brought his electric guitar and a small amp, and was playing music by the bucket.

Most of the bell ringers smile at us and one even let my daughter ring the bell. I have coins with me all during the holiday season, so we can put money in every bucket we pass.

I remember when I was in high school and I was sort of embarrassed by the bell ringing. I felt bad if I didn’t put anything in and it was always awkward for me. But what wasn’t awkward when I was 17?

Then my dad started ringing the bell. I think I was in college at the time. I remember him telling me when he was going off to ring it, but I wasn’t in town and couldn’t go. For several years, I wanted to surprise him with hot chocolate and company during his shift. I think I managed to once. It’s a very vague memory, but I hope it’s real and not just the illusion of what I wanted. I hope I showed up for him and let him know how proud I was of him.

I think of him every time I see a bell ringer. One of these days, I am not going to be able to contain myself and I am finally going to tell a complete stranger ringing that bell, that the quarter I am putting in is for my dad.


Christmas Countdown

Posted on

One of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions is this Christmas Countdown. Every year my grandma would give me this countdown with candy tied on or, as I got older, coins. To me, it didn’t matter what was on it. It just mattered that my grandma made it. I gave it back to her every year and looked forward to getting it back the following December.

When I was in college, I asked her to make one last one for me. I asked her to write a note to me for each day instead of coins or candy. She seemed to think it was an odd idea. Why would I want tiny little notes? But, she did as I asked.

I still have 19 of the notes. Little scraps of paper that have lived in my dresser drawer for years. Some with poems, some with verses, some with wisdom. 19 beautiful little memories of how much my grandma loved me. In case you can’t tell, I ADORED her!

And THIS year, I am finally passing the countdown on to my daughter.

I gave it to her this morning and told her its story and read her the poem. Tonight she gets to unwrap and eat the first Hershey Kiss.

I love that I can pass these traditions on to my little one!