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365Expressions

Writing these "letters" has helped me to process life as a new mother, remain thankful, and come awake to the little moments that make this pretty challenging season simply wonderful.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 25...Raindrops on Windows

Yesterday I missed writing to you because my car broke down and both of you kids got sick, all in one day.  Wonderful!  I’m trying to figure out how to make lemonade in all of this.  I will rest and see!

So I was sitting at your nana’s house, and rather than pick up a book or watch T.V. in my few spare moments, I decided I would sit by the kitchen window and stare out it.  It was a thought I had, and so I followed it to see where it would lead (obviously I don’t do this that often—maybe only on a beach veranda or a cabin porch).  Out the window I saw cloudy skies, raindrops sitting on the window pane, scrawny branches stretching over the puffy white and gray skies.  Everything stood still.  Looking for at least a squirrel to scamper through the parked cars…nothing.  Beautiful stillness.  Everything at rest.  Just like me.  I thought about why I didn’t do this more often.  I thought about how nice it was not to have an agenda, or even anything weighing on my mind (miraculously).  I thought about how childlike it felt to sit and look.  Then it came to mind how I wanted to teach you the art of stillness and contemplation and their worth.  After thinking about it some more, my mind immediately connected the thought to something I read earlier that day, on the subject of writing:

          “The personality behind the writing is so important.  This is what I call the Third Dimension.  On the paper there are all the neatly written words and sentences.  It may be completely objective, with “I” not written there once.  But behind the words and sentences, there is this deep, important, moving thing—the personality of the writer.  And whatever the personality is, it will shine through the writing and make it noble or great, or touching or cold or niggardly or supercilious or whatever the writer is. 
         
          …But I think—and so did Socrates and Michelangelo and many others—that the ideas of a meager and dishonest personality are no good.  They are corrupt somewhere.  And most important of all, if he has good ideas, but is not good himself there is no infection; nobody will be really affected by his ideas, enkindled or changed.”
                                                                   Brenda Ueland

          The words stayed with me like butter on fingertips.  While I was reading them, I related them to my writing.  And I secretly longed to be that better person, the kind of person that could infect people through my writing in an honest way.  But then as I sat there at the window pondering and delighting in the simple treasures that were there, I thought about you, and how I long to teach you things, show you things, experience new things with you.  Even through my subconscious I want to be imparting and infecting truth and beauty to you.  I want you to be the kind of person that will be comfortable in stillness and silence.  The kind of person that enjoys nature and getting uncomfortable outside because the beauty, wonder and excitement of the outdoors far outweighs any physical discomfort (as you are right now at three, or course).  I want you to be the kind of person that could sit and talk to God for hours and know that He was listening to your sweet voice and tender heart.  The kind of person who will listen back.  Then as I remembered the words I read, it became more than just about writing.  It lit up my mind in the ways of living, and leading, and loving. Even just being a human being.  For personality, I thought character, heart and spirit were also fitting.  For writing, I thought teaching, shaping, leading applied.  And in my spirit I knew I had to take this one in and sit with it awhile.  That is, in order for me to lead you into the woman God wants you to be, I must be her.  That’s not to say I must be perfection.  And of course that’s not to say you and I are going to be exactly alike (I’d hope not!).  Or that I can’t teach you something I myself haven’t had much experience with yet (although it helps!).  It is more about the fact that you are watching me and imitating what I do much more than the words on my page, the words I speak, the lessons I teach.  What’s going to stick is what you see, feel and experience with me in this life we have together, right now, tomorrow, and so on.  I will have to then rely on being the sort of character that I would hope you to be someday (even now).  Teaching with words is so limited.  And not only that.  There’s no faking it as a mom.  You’re going to know.  You’re going to read between the lines and know, even as much as you are reading between the lines now.  So I don’t want anything to hide.  I’m an “open book” (I hate clichés but that one was hard to avoid!).  I’m not afraid! 

And now I find myself strangled by the need to be absolutely honest with you.  After all, if I don’t, you’ll know it through my writing anyways.  The truth is, “Letters to Sadie” didn’t start out as purely as I wish it could have.  By pure, I mean that there were many motives for wanting to write you letters, and I feel I should make them clear to you, as embarrassing as they might sound.  First of all, I was hoping that they’d make me a better writer as I wrote consistently for this year.  Then I wanted to prove to myself that I could follow through and finish something.  Third, I have a lot of stuff thoughts on a daily basis, and I thought this would be a good way to focus my thoughts, into letters, to you, my sweet daughter whom I love to talk to.  THEN, I even thought, What if something in them inspires a book I could write one day?...Hmmmm.  All of these motives?  About me.  Self-centered little me.  It’s true, I enjoy writing.  It’s how I process life.  Ultimately I hope to write for the glory of God.  In a children’s book, a nonfiction piece, maybe a columnist?  I have no idea.  So there you have it.  Selfish motives plus pleasure and personal gain, mixed in with a little sentimental mush and a lot of love for my girl.  Ouch. I don’t want to paint myself to be something I’m not.  I’m not a genius.  I’m not super-talented at anything.  I’m not everyone’s best friend.  I’m just your mom.  But to God, I’m not “just” anything.  I am His.  And I am on a journey of self- and God- discovery, just like you.  Yes, even at thirty-three we don’t have it figured out.  And guess what, my mom, as smart and as experienced as she is at sixy-five, doesn’t have it all figured out either. Aren’t you glad?  To be cliché, life is meant to be lived, not just talked about.  Having you kids has helped bring out my purpose in life, however complicated or unclear that purpose might seem.  It’s still a purpose, and there’s always a path.  I’m still “journaling” along, so that’s kind of what this is.  I just kind of thought I’d take you on a little ride. Piggy-back?

So if this is the truth, then why even write to you?  Why not just live?  Maybe I’m wasting my time?  As I sit and process this and think about how my mind will change about all of this tomorrow probably…or quite possibly I won’t even understand any of it myself, I have to remember that all of my motives for writing you are okay, as shallow as they ever might be.  I’m writing.  I’m doing something I love.  I’m following my passions, as I hope you do someday.  So I’m going to leave it at that.  And if I don’t finish the 365 days, whatever!  At least you will have a piece of me that I gave freely, even if it is at the expense of my failure, or highlights my tendency to change course at the drop of a hat. 

At the window, you joined me not too long after (a mom is lucky to get five minutes of stillness in one day J ), and I tried to get you to sit on my lap and look past the panes with me.  But even for children it is hard to sit still for very long (surprise, surprise).  You wanted to go outside and play.  I guess the puddles looked inviting to your stir-crazy imagination and adventurous spirit, because you were like a puppy dog pulling the leash, Come on, Mommy!  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 24...Sticky Messes

Today was a repeat “bad day.”  At three, you seem to only have “good days.”  You can lie down in your bed at night and be completely satisfied and go to sleep with a smile on your face, no matter what happened that day.  Whether we went to the zoo, or stayed home and played with the same old toys and ate cheese sandwiches for the fiftieth time, or you got into trouble for not listening and had to suffer some disappointment or embarrassment...you happily lie down and think, "What fun we had today!" with your Mommy as we say our prayers and sing songs together.  We can't do that!  We adults get tied up during the day with this or that, and we want to escape it all somehow, but we can’t.  Today wasn’t exactly THAT bad of a day. It was just annoying and frustrating. 
Titus has a bad habit of grabbing cups full of liquid.  In fact, he’s kind of like a vulture who can eye its prey from a far distance, and bee lines to the target in a matter of seconds.  It’s really tested my reflex and response time.  Well, Jason isn’t as skilled at this.  He doesn’t have that little voice in his head yet that says, “Titus is going to be able to reach this coffee cup if I set it here. I better not chance it and leave it here.  I’ll put it here instead, where he can’t reach it.” Plus, i've had lots of practice of saving cups in the nick of time!  Well, it happened.  And not just a little bit, it was a full cup of cold coffee sitting by his bed on the night stand.  And of course it couldn’t just land on the carpet—as if that weren’t bad enough.  It drenched daddy’s laptop and blackberry all in a sudden gush. “Seattle’s best” suddenly, momentarily became not so great.  Ouch!  As soon as we heard the splashing, we ran over and immediately started the cleaning process, trying not to utter any profanities around you kids.  Checking the valuables to see if they were still operating correctly, we were relieved to find that everything worked great. Wait.  Not so fast.  Just 5, then 10, then 15 minutes later, the blackberry showed more and more signs of shutting down on us.  Great!  Not a repeat of the ipod episode!  We can’t afford another phone! Grateful that the computer still indeed works, daddy takes apart the phone as best he cans, and tries to figure out what to do next.  At that point, it’s not working at all!  Here we are at the end of the day, and after going here and there and everywhere, daddy finally got the phone working almost back to normal, with just a few little glitches.  That’s good!  But it sure puts a damper on the day when you have to deal with something that COULD have been avoided. 
My fault in all of this?  I wanted to blame your daddy for being so irresponsible and careless.  Doesn’t he know by now not to leave his drink there?  Wait, isn’t this exactly what he could have done to me just a few weeks ago when I put my ipod in the laundry basket, which ended up in the washing machine?  And did he scold me?  No!  Of course not!  Okay, so I didn’t exactly berate him or give him a lecture. But I sort of did in my mind, and that’s almost as bad.  Why?  Why do we find the need to blame someone for everything bad that happens to us? Because who am I?  I should just be consoling him (I mean, I did a little, but not nearly like I could have.  I was too busy going “Aah!”).  I had to force myself to remember that It could have happened to anyone. it was an accident, and it happens to all of us.  am I perfect?  Nooooo!  No one is.  Not even close!  So, I tried my best to be supportive, even if my inner self was going, “Are you crazy?”  I refrained!  BUT, I still feel bad that I was having these thoughts.  I wish my first response would have been to love in the moment.  Show grace.  Shower mercy.  Be his help-mate through the sticky mess.  I didn’t do my best today.  I hope that when these moments happen to those you love (and they will) you will remember FIRST that you are no better.  Second, it could happen to you, and how would you want them to respond?  and last, put yourself in their shoes and envision how you’d want to be loved through the circumstances.  So I’m going to go to bed now.  And I’m going to be thankful for what we have.  Grateful for a husband that loves me no matter what.  And as always, expect something to go wrong tomorrow when we wake up, remembering that nothing ever is going to separate us from our life source, our loving, gracious god, ever.  Not even death.  So we won’t sweat the small stuff.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day 23...Presence

This might seem like a piggy-back to Day 12, but it's a theme running through my blood right now, and I can't help but let it flow.  The other day I had a moment of clarity about “presence,” and what a true gift it is to the ones we love.  And to those we don’t know, for that matter.  I have a hard time summing up what presence really means, it's hard one to define.  But I hope it’s something that you can figure out and cultivate as you grow.  It’s a quality few people can embody simply because they are caught up with the cares of the world, fears, regrets, grudges (unforgiveness), anger, disappointment, and concerns that they simply should not be concerned with.  All of this is the baggage that keeps our hands occupied.  But I suggest to you, my daughter, and this is something that the Lord only can do in you, that you can be presently without baggage right now, today.  If you stop and be still long enough and regularly enough as you go about your days, the Lord will show you your heart, where the hurts are, where you are hurting others.  You can thank Him in the process, and out of your gratitude will flow love like you never knew.  Whatever baggage labels you carry, they will fall to the ground, and your hands will be free to move in God's way.  Your eyes will be clear to see people for who they are and not what they do.  Your lips will speak the rhema word of God to others in the proper time, and not words of wickedness.  Your arms will fully embrace with the real, tangible love of God to all in your circle of influence.  With your voice you will sing songs of truth to your God with a free spirit, and not be clogged with yucky insecurity or fear of rejection, but will flow in the carefree beauty of a child in love.  I want to close with a journal I wrote yesterday.  This one is very personal, but I hope that it speaks to you in such a way that will help you see the value in loving empty-handedly. 

“The Restful Wife”…
“Rather than thinking that my husband doesn’t love me properly or isn’t affectionate enough with me, I’ve resolved myself to simply delight myself in the Lord, trusting He’s making me a beautiful and confident bride.  Then when my husband does shower me with love, lend a soft kiss, compliment me tenderly…I will be present to receive.  I will believe it.  I will be grateful.  I will return it.  I am at rest.”

Being in the present simultaneously partners with rest.  And this is just one example of what it looks like to be present.  It’s a God-given quality, because He is the I Am, which means, (and this does not summarize it entirely by any means) He is present to be every bit of grace we need in every single moment.  And in order to carry that presence in us to pour out to others, we have to receive it first from Him.  Giving and receiving pure love is a gift only transacted by the Giver Himself.  He is the banker.  He lets us become His representative lenders because we are part of the family business.  If we can’t receive His forgiveness, His love, His mercy, His faithfulness, His salvation, we cannot expect to give it to others.  This is a lesson in life I will continue to learn for the rest of my days.  I look forward to watching you grow in His Presence.  Give your life away with joy because you are safe, you are loved, and you are honestly free to give away what’s being given to you.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 22...Procrastination

I read a quote recently: “Work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”  I keep thinking about this.  Procrastination is the “putting off” of things you have to get done, and don’t want to do.  Many of us spend our whole lives doing what we think we have to do, when actually, we haven’t been still long enough to know whether they are required or desired.  When we are working out of the flow of our hearts, the kind of work we want to be doing with our lives comes out.  Not everything is going to be mountain top experiences; I am not saying that.  I’m just trying to remind you to never stop believing that you can follow your dreams.  Don’t let yourself come to the place where you’ve forgotten that you have dreams.  And take actions today, where you are, to make your dreams become a reality.  For me right now, writing to you, and writing in general, is what I do when I’m not “doing” the rest of life.  To some it may seem childish or foolish or even a waste of time.  To me, it’s refreshment to my soul.  Even if nothing were to come of my writing, ever, I know it is serving a purpose right here and now.  It’s part of my process of learning to be in the present.  It’s my heart’s desire to live this way always.  It’s my desire to delight in the Lord.  And He tells me that when I have Him first in my life, everything else will fall into place.  Out of me, out of you, will flow springs of living water.  Straight from the heart.  His outpouring on your life will become the water that refreshes others, because it comes from your creative work.  That work that never feels like work.  I think it changes too, as we grow.  I’m not sure just yet, but I think it evolves as we evolve.  Transferring between seasons and transforming as we age.  Our desires and dreams, I mean.  Delighting in the Lord never changes.  But our desires change.  It’s kind of crazy and true I think.  You’re living to love God, and love others.  So forget procrastination!  Do what comes naturally.  As long as your goal is living out of love to the glory of God, you can’t go wrong.  So go now, procrastinate all you want!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 21...A few little tips for the home

1) Every chore with a toddler is made easier when singing along to a spontaneous tune to go with it (e.i. Sung to the tune of Hi Ho the Dairy-O..."We're putting on our socks, We're putting on our socks, Oh what fun to get it done, We're putting on our socks") …The fun distracts them from thinking so much about the task at hand and it goes much quicker and easier.
2) Do not rush getting out the door with kids….always plan for plenty of time, because things ALWAYS take longer than you think.  For my two kids, I plan about an hour longer than it'd take me alone.  
3) When you come home from an outing, empty the bag(s) as soon as possible and sort the things back into their places (or else you’ll never get to it and you’ll be needing those things to be readily available)

4) Dishes pile up faster than you realize, so make an effort to get everyone involved in keeping those babies going through the cycle.  It’s a chore, but you’ll be glad to have those dishes when the next mealtime rolls around.  A clean and empty sink sets the tone for the rest of the house.
5) Keep a box by your garage door, or wherever you go in and out to the car, that collects “return items” (things to go to parents, friends, stores, etc.) so you can grab them on your way out and have them to give back to the owner.  Also, keep a laundry basket in the trunk with return items so they’re always with you and in one place.
6) Speaking of laundry baskets, keep a basket of shoes in a specific place out of the way (we keep ours in the pantry because it’s roomy)—or two: one for adults, one for kids...and train kids (and hubby) to put shoes in them immediately upon entering the house.  Then assign a “Shoe Keeper” to always be on the lookout for stray shoes to be put in their home (aka the basket).
7) Keep the kids’ jackets and sweaters near the door, on hangers or hooks, so you don’t have to go hunting for them at the last minute.  Ours we keep on hangers hanging on the upper shelf above the washer and dryer because it’s conveniently located by the garage door.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 20...To advise or not to advise...

Okay, so by now you’re probably getting the picture that your mom wants you to take her advice in life.  Especially after Day 17’s entry, but probably by the time I hand you this book and explain what it is.  But let me get something straight.  No matter what, I understand that this is YOUR journey.  Life will take you where it wants to go, and it won’t be MY journey, it will be yours.   And if God is in the center and highest point in your heart, it will be AWESOME
Okay, there I go again!  I keep giving advice.  Hey, this is what this book is about, okay?  Give me a break! 
No seriously…I will always want to help you along, say the right thing, tell you what I learned, etc., etc.  (Like my mom does so incessantly well J
It’s all in well-meaning, good-natured mama love.  But let me just say this…I will TRY not to over-step my bounds, especially when you get older.  There’s a lot you’re going to need to learn from Him on your own. And it will be hard, but I will try to let you come to me when you want help.  But that’ll be a lot later down the road.  For now, I get to teach you EVERYTHING!!  (which is probably why I’m doing this so FREELY right NOW! J)
So with that said, to illustrate my point, I’m going to shut up now. (I can just hear your three year-old voice gently and quietly saying to me, “Mommy, we don’t say shut up.” –giving me the “oops” look with the eyebrows raised.  Okay.  I’m going to be quiet now and let you, well, do whatever.  Until tomorrow…. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 19...Keeping it simple

The real dessert of life is in the collection of the simple.  Contentment comes to you when you preserve simplicity.  So today, to illustrate my point, all I want to do is list my top 10 fave things to do with my three year-old, Sadie.  That’s you! (in random order) 

1)     Lie on our egg crate foam mattress in our driveway on a sky-blue and clouds-puffy-and-white day, looking up.
2)   Nestle in the bed, embracing, sometimes falling asleep….What we call, “loves and cuddles”
3)    Create something yummy in the kitchen
4)   Popcorn, movies, blankets, dark
5)    Driving and story-telling/Driving and singing/Driving and Jesus
6)    Treat you to a dollar store or grocery store $1 prize at a moment’s notice and watch your face light up
7)    Paint, color and draw
8)    Read books
9)    Sleep in a tent
10)                      Dance in the house with the music blasting



Those are just off the top of my head, but I’m going to refuse to complicate things and just leave it alone.  Not over-analyze.  Not scratch one off the list because “Ooh, another really good one just popped in my head!”  Not rethink or reorder.  Just leave it like it is.  Sigh.  I am simply blessed. 
Good-night!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 18...Mommy, watch me!


“Mommy, watch me!”  We made a stage of our fireplace today.  You in your ballerina skirt.  Me tossing about 9 pillows to the side, placed there to avoid injury to boisterous toddlers.  You suddenly had the theater of your dreams.  What is it about little children and their perpetual need to be seen, surveyed every second of every moment they feel they are doing something with any source of talent, any sort of action.  If they enjoy it, they want you to see it.  If your attention starts to wander while you’re watching them perform, they can see it in your eyes before your eyes even look away.  Is it just a need to perform?  The glory of newly-learned activities?  Is it the human being’s need for recognition?  Acceptance?  That said, is it even a child-thing?  I think the obvious answer is no.  In everyone’s “deep” lies the inescapable, undeniable pursuit to be seen, thus signifying our worth.  Well, guess what, my little Sadie-ballerina-superhero-‘lil’mama-soccer player-artist-reader-superstar-chef…YOU ARE SEEN.  And not just by me, by the God of this WORLD.  He made you.  He sees you.  And you are wholly and dearly loved, shaped by His hands.  Perfect and being made perfect.  You are His.  I remind myself as I type these words.  No matter how old you get, you’ll want people to notice you.  Give you due credit.  Reward you for all of your outstanding qualities.  I learn and relearn this lesson—it doesn’t matter what other people think.  It only matters what my Father thinks.  If I will let that sink into my over-the-years hardened soil in my heart, I will truly, deeply grow into who He sees.  Mommy, watch me.  Daddy, watch me.  Abba, watch me.  I AM. Says El-Roi. And….you ARE.  Worthy, that is.  You are worthy of Me.  --Christ in you, hope of glory.— Let HIS EYES rested on You be the strength, confidence and freedom you need to fully and deeply live for His glory.
                  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 17...Counsel

Tonight there was a show I was watching…dare I say it…The Bachelor.  (and no I don't agree with finding love in this setting!!  It’s only a game, and a pretty bitter one at that).  Anyways, on it there was a girl who said something that struck me about mothers and daughters.  She said, "My mom is always right.  And it took me 28 years to realize that."  Wow.  I wish I could be "always right," but I do hope you know you can always turn to me because there's NOTHING like a mama's love.  I know that from my own experience.  Our hearts will affirm and condemn us in every decision we make.  When we have the Spirit joined to our spirit within, He is our first counselor.  God gave us parents, too.  To work together with His Holy Spirit, to help you when you find you're losing your way.  If you ever have the temptation to not ask me something, or not tell me something personal when part of you knows you should, that's a good indication you are being led by your flesh.  Not good.  In your heart, you know your mama loves you.  In your heart, you know Jesus loves you.  If you ever feel like running away, going your own way, can't tell Him this, can't tell her that, don't want to look into Daddy's eyes, etc., take it as a huge red flag, Dear.  The Holy Spirit is your counselor.  And He's given you parents to help guide you along the way.  He set it up that way, to need each other.  He is always right.  We're also right a lot of the time. :)  Don't spend 28 years figuring this out, plllllease!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 16...Footloose

As I think back on my day, this cloudy, rainy Sunday in February, I have a vision of you and the little girls in dresses at church.  You had your jeans and boots on, which I adore.  Several girls had the frilly dresses and skirts, which I’m sure you were admiring, because you’d wear them every day if you could.  Kids are welcome to dance freely in our church. I love it.  You love to twirl in your worship of Jesus.  We tell you He loves it.  Daddy and I always try to bring you into what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.  Today was not one of those days we saw you up there freely dancing and singing along.  But that’s okay.  You just watched from a distance.  I don’t know why, but you did not want to go up to the open space in the front.  The place where the freedom of the children swirled and twirled, leaped and hopped.  I never force you, only encourage.  And today, I want to encourage you my sweetheart, to always live as though you had only one watching and adoring you; He is the Lord.  He is always the one we should be concerned about, living for, worshiping, and pleasing.  If we live to please men, we’re off, and our life will never flow out the way it was designed to.  At times we become too self-aware, or self-conscious.  You wanted to stay right by my side today, which wasn’t like you.  You’re normally such a free spirit when it comes to worship dancing.  I don’t know what was going on with you.  But You’ll be back.  Your worship should never ever be forced.  pretentious.  Sometimes, yes, we have to make ourselves take the initial step.  But that’s because our flesh gets in the way.  In those cases, your spirit will take the lead and join with His Spirit as you worship in spirit and truth.  The truth part is really where you’re praising Him from sincerity of heart.  You mean what you’re singing.  Your body is doing what the heart tells it to.  And you’re aim is to please Him, complimenting Him with the offering of your sweetest affections.  So today, you didn’t twirl.  You didn’t sing.  And I didn’t worry.  There’s always tomorrow.  We live to worship Him.  He lives to dance with us.  The carefree nature of a child is what I crave, the freedom only a child has to live like no one else is watching.  It’s foolishness in the eyes of the world.  It’s dignity in the eyes of the Divine.  Let your feet fly.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day 15...Practical Tips for New Moms #1-5


Dear Sadie,
Today I want to write some light-hearted, practical tips for you when you become a mother.  I hope you will find them helpful, or at least entertaining.  So here goes.  The first five off the top of my head.

1)  If you can't go to the gym, it's helpful to have a house with stairs.  And if your children say "carry me," just do it.
2)  Get your children involved in chores as early as they are able to understand simple directions, about 18 months.  They can pick up toys, help you put clothes in the dryer, and wipe things with a damp cloth.  They love feeling the power of accomplishment, even at a young age.  When they're two-three they can sort silverware (take out the knives), help make beds, wipe down counters, feather dust, bring you things, and pick up things off the floor.  This is mostly for them to learn there's more to life than playing.  Work is fun.  It's good for them to have a sense of role and responsibility in the household.  And they're never too young to learn about earning rewards and how work pays off.
3)  Allow yourself at least 2-3 forgetful moments per day (at least!)  It's called "mommy brain" and it's unavoidable.  So let yourself off the hook.  And warn your husband early on. :)
4)  Find friends who will kid swap with you occasionally for a couple of hours a week, so you can be free to run errands or do whatever you have wanted to do for a long time but can't with kids.
5)  Baking is good bonding time, especially with daughters. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day 14...Blooming

Bloom where you are planted, they say.  It’s a good saying, and true.  It’s part of “living in the present” as I wrote a couple of days ago.  This blooming happens when you are fully content to be wherever God has you to be.  You’re surrendered to Him, and so you accept that life may not be looking quite like you thought it might look at this point, but it’s okay, because you know God is in the lead of this dance.  So I want to share with you a journal from a little while ago that shows you it’s pretty normal to struggle with this…struggle with life in general.  What God has you doing. Where you’re living.  Your limitations.  The important things to come back to are surrendering and trusting in Him.  This brings rest for your soul, and you always want to live out of that rest no matter what. 

(Jan.3, 2012)—wow!  I say “wow” because where did the time go?  You think when you’re young you have all this time—time to travel, to do something with your life, to love someone, to hang out with friends, and discover new hobbies and joys, and help someone, truly help people towards eternity.  Now I look back here at nearly 33, and I was 19 just yesterday.  First you’re in school, then more school, then you get a job, get married, have kids, lose friends, gain so much joy from your new family, and wonder what’s next?  At least I have.  I feel like my life’s on hold somehow.  Yet it’s spinning around and flying by.  I’m trying so hard to not lose myself in motherhood.  Nobody tells you just how dang hard it’s going to be not to.  If I were a working mom, I’d have a “job.”  I’d feel a purpose.  And it’s true I have a job and a purpose right now.  But when your life consists of feeding mouths, doing laundry, picking up toys, taking out toys, putting up toys again, playing with toys, etc. you do get lost.  The occasional night out like tonight feels like I’m coming up for air, only to swim back down again moments later.  It’s not even that I hate my life.  I love my kids.  I adore everything about them.  And I know I’m going to blink and this will all be over.  But how do we stay-at-home moms not lose ourselves??  How do we keep from feeling all stuffy?

I’m not Suzy Homemaker.
Not even close.
I’m a free spirit that hasn’t even blossomed yet.
Where did all my old friends go?
When will new ones come again?
I’m not one for redundancy.
I thrive on change.
I need artful expression to shine.
So I can see clearly what is really mine
And what is merely a reflection in this window I am staring through.
Who really knows me?
And do I know myself anymore?
I know God sees, but even He feels more like a glimmer or a spark.
I can’t lose Him, too.

So many things left to do…
Feel, see, hear, taste, love, have,
I have all these dreams,
And yet I’m running on empty.
Fill me up, Lord.
Let this hopelessness and impatience
Dissipate with Your great love.
I will wait for You.

Looking back on this journal I think how self-centered it must look.  How unfaithful to God I am.  But then I have to remember, that we need honesty in our lives.  If we can’t pour out our worries, our cares, our doubts and fears to God, then what do we do with them?  The only place to dwell is with Him.  In Him.  With Him all around you.  As you go through life and process everything, know that nothing is wrong with you if you feel alone or discontent.  No one has never felt that way.  Just keep your eyes on Jesus, keep seeking Him, and He will, without a doubt, give you the desires of your heart, and provide you with everything you need.  What more can you ask for?  He is enough, and He desires honest intimacy with His beloved.  And that is what you are, His beloved.  
Getting back to blooming where you’re planted.  Do I have the answer on how to do that yet?  Does anybody?  The closest thing I have to an answer is this, and nothing is originally from me, I’m sure.  And that’s okay.  Of course I cannot expect to have several points that will be comprehensive to the subject.  Surely many others can and have written volumes on the topic.  But this is my attempt to summarize how I am processing "blooming" for myself right now. 
1)      Live and drink in each moment by paying attention to the small things.  They will keep you watered, those little blessings.  You will be tuned in and connected to the grand designer and sustainer of life and all things beautiful.  What could be more satisfying?  Gratitude for it all will keep your roots firmly planted and surrounded by His love.
2)      Keep artful expression a part of your daily life.  Everyone is creative; we were made in His image, the Creator.  So create every day, but not in a legalistic way. Allow yourself idle time to slow down and formulate your thoughts and emotions through writing, for example.  If not writing, then create some music and sing a spontaneous song, play the piano, guitar, pots and pans, you get the picture.  Dance to some music in your kitchen.  Paint or draw a picture of what you see when you close your eyes.  Write a letter to a loved one, a poem.  Plant some plants in the garden.  Make a meal for someone.  I’ll stop.  When you are being creative, you are expressing from your heart.  That expression will be flowing from within, and when you keep those creative juices flowing, you are watering your whole self, and others around you, and that will keep you blooming.  Fruitful.  Because the Spirit within is from where the water flows.
3)      Never stop communing with God.  Talk to Him.  Let Him talk back.  And listen.  I’m guilty of being a little too tight-lipped when it comes to expressing my thoughts to God.  I do it through writing, but there’s something about speaking it into the atmosphere so that you can hear yourself that helps your spirit to tune into God and yourself more fully.  Shout, whisper, speak, or sing.  But get it out.  He will live it, and it will keep you growing in Him.
4)      Lastly, keep yourself from looking too closely at others so to compare yourself with them.  This will only stunt your growth.  Rather, keep looking at God as intently as possible, and stay focused on Jesus.
Those are my top four, and they may evolve somehow through the years.  I have a lot of Scripture in my head to back these up, but for now this will do.  I hope they'll be helpful to you. Add to the list yourself and see what you come up with.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 13...I'm hungry for pretend...

Yesterday you said to me in the car, "Mommy, I'm hungry for pretend."  At first I didn't know what you meant. Were you wanting to pretend to be hungry?  Were you hungering to play pretend?  It didn't take me long to figure out it was the former.  You wanted to take me to your room and have a tea party.  Always, always, always imagining, pretending, playing out "real life" scenarios with your mommy.  It never ends!!  I love it, but it's exhausting at times.  It's an imperative I need to grasp though. My life needs more imagination in it.  More inspiration.  More creative flow.  If I could tune in to what you got, Girl.  Never lose that hunger. Stay starving for the stories.  Daydream with God.  He's creative just like you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 12...Wherever You Are

Be present.  

A phrase I’ve had wandering through my mind for years now : “wherever you are, be all there.”  It’s a good one to remember.  I just read recently that Elisabeth Elliott once said that.  She might be the one I got it from.  I don’t even remember.  But she’s a good one to quote, for sure!  Be present.  It’s so easy to keep your mind in constant motion, thinking about what’s behind, worried about what’s ahead.  Not sure really if this is even a skill to sharpen, living in the moment.  If it is, I’ll be practicing!  If not, I wish I knew the secret.  Just kind of hoping I’ll become this kind of person.  I’m starting to get it.  Although I’ve coined this phrase for some years now, at least internally, it’s all around me right now, presently. :)  And they say you should start paying attention when something is highlighted to you over and over again.  The Spirit is leading me to a place of being present constantly.  Being a mom that stays at home, it’s definitely a challenge.  I crave certain things I cannot have anytime I want to have them.  Lengthy coffee shop sits.  Long walks.  Browsing the bookstore.  Spontaneous visits with friends.  Quiet times under trees.  Hours sitting and writing.  Reading.  It’s so much more in my face, this element of being present, now that it takes more work.  It’s a matter of gratitude, as Ann Voskamp would attest.  And most of the time (or some of it) I am thankful.  This simple life I lead at home with my babies.  You need me.  You’re growing so fast.  I need you to show me how to be a kid again.  I have to slow down and take the world in, taste by taste.  It’s beautiful.  Youth.  Innocence.  Joy.  Wonder.  Even the endless tasks I hate bring me to a better place of appreciation.  Bending over the bathtub.  Spoon-feeding.  The sound of crying in the middle of the night.  Wiping bottoms.  Picking up tiny objects.  So, not that I have attained this yet by any means, but strive to remain present.  Call it being led by the Spirit.  He’s the one who’s always most present with you.  So model yourself after His ways.  It’s the only Way.  His Way is magical.  He sees everything.  I want to see like He sees.  See through people.  Behold the mystery in the mundane.  Go for it girl.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 11...The Irony of holidays

Valentines Day.  Mmm.. Chocolates (the older I get, the more I delight!)  Love movies, Love songs.  Cards with deepest declarations of love.  Daters at moonlit tables.  The fragrance of roses filling every grocery store, every pharmacy, every everywhere.  Red and Pink dominate the world.  Should be lovely. Should be love and laughter-filled, right?  Holiday irony, I call it.  Somehow, when the stakes are raised, everything comes crashing (stakes=expectations).  Nothing against your daddy.  The night before Valentines he came home with a card, dark chocolate and a bottle of Merlot.  A heavenly evening, enjoying each other’s company, watching a cheesy tv movie “Pizza My Heart” (no pun intended J), in love and laughing the night away.  The actual day of valentines comes, a little anti-climatic.  I try not to have any expectations.  He tells me he’s taken me out, and will I be his valentine?  (this a week earlier)  Ah, so sweet.  He’s planned something special for me!  Yeah!  I’m excited.  So the actual day comes.  And without going into the details (trust me, you don’t need those at this point)…the date is a flop.  We decide it’s not in our best interest to go out to the restaurant he had picked out for us.  I say it’s okay.  And you know what?  We decided to take you along and alter our course, have a little family fun, centering on our "little sweetheart."  You’re so happy today, this Valentines Day.  We made homemade cookies and cards for the grandparents.  You’re loving life.  High on candy and frosting. :)  Something inside pressed us both...we needed your spirit with us to carry us through tonight.  Tempted to be down about finances, about our current situation, I think we saw in you a place where we longed to be.  So after a trip to Stevie B’s, and just hanging out, we had a special evening just the three of us.  I’d say “we survived,” but I don’t want to take away from it.  It's always a special occasion with you and Daddy, Dear.    When the night was over, and I got home, all I wanted to do was crash on the bed and shut my eyes to the day.  Of course I couldn’t; you needed me desperately for the cuddling and the tucking.  That I did.  But I’m still ready for this day to be over.  For new mercies that come in the morning.  And that’s okay.  Sometimes that’s just the way life goes.  We all have expectations.  Maybe one day I’ll like holidays.  For now, I like the anticipation, and I like the memories (when good ones have been made).  But on the actual holy days, there’s always this bitter haze that clouds the moment for me.  I’m a sucker for average days that somehow carry the magic.  It’s when there’s this heightened sense of planning and staging that makes me uneasy.  And it’s not that I don’t go with it, I do.  And most of the time it’s tolerable, even fun.  But to me, there’s more to behold in the ruddy, every day life. It’s there I feel the tiny blessings collecting into the beautiful God-given life..  

Day 10...Cheerios

As little baby Titus ate Cheerios from my hands, it occurred to me how funny he was being, and it made me think.  When he began, he was so frustrated with me for making him stop eating them himself.  He wanted to be in control, and he wanted to do it all by himself, but I couldn’t let him!  He’d just shove that whole tiny fist of his down into the little bowl, and it would come out a massive, sticky mess.  He wouldn’t even know which Cheerio to shove into his mouth first, the ones on the back of his hand, the ones crushed inside his sticky palm, the ones clinging to his chubby knuckles…  I decided he’s just not ready to handle this task alone.  I’d have to force him to let me put the tiny treats into his tiny, two-fingered grip one by one.  Alas, he was much happier with this method, and with mommy’s help, he ate each savory circle.  Oh, how much this reminded me of how I am!  Many times I wish I could just take the whole bowl of something in life and just throw it back, or reach in and just go for it, dig in!  I end up making a mess of myself, but I try anyways!  The Lord makes me wait, often whispering to me, just wait.  I got this.  He pushes me back a bit, and feeds me with his gentle, wise hands, piece by piece.  But I want it all.  I want the whole picture.  I want to see how it all ends up now.  I can do this, Lord!  Yes, you could, He replies.  But you’d end up making a mess of yourself.  Is that what you want?  Sometimes I reply an eager, YES! And He lovingly lets me try.  Then I come back, running to Him, with my tear-stained face, my dress dragged through the mud.  He wipes me clean.  I vow to never go my own way again.  To always trust His portion.  But I know.  It’s a lesson I’ll keep having to learn.  Over and over.  But it’s okay, because He is patient; He is good; He is trustworthy.  And He loves me, no matter what.    

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 9...Let's talk about Jesus

We had some great girl time yesterday.  We went bowling with friends, your first time really bowling a whole game!!  At 3 years-old, you scored a 107!!  With the help of bumpers and a ramp, of course!  Ha ha.  Fitted in those velcro green shoes, you were very serious about the game, while having fun at the same time.  Whenever we go out on these “girl time” dates, it’s very special for both of us.  For me, I just love hanging out with you, and giving you my full attention.  You clearly love the attention as well.  No little brother to vie for it.  You just enjoy being in the center of it all.  Of course as with most girls, you love some good conversation.  But what I really adore, is that you’ll pick the topic out of nowhere, and you’re just happy talking.  But last night, it really struck me that Jesus has made an impact on you at such a young age already.  He really has.  You pick Him as a topic so many times.  “Let’s talk about Jesus dying on the cross.”  And then you ask me why He died, and He is in our hearts, and we are in His…etc.  I take advantage of every time you want to talk about Jesus, because He is my life.  He gave me life, He sustains me, He saved me.  He is everything!  So why wouldn’t I love to talk to you about Him?  I don’t know when you will fully believe in Jesus, but it sure does seem like you believe Him with all of your heart.  I’ve explained to you the gospel, and you take it all in and receive it into your heart sincerely, from what I can tell.  As you get older, I know your understanding will grow.  I just hope that your capacity for love and faith in Him grows as you grow.  When you have your own children, the best gift you can give them is introducing them to Jesus.  Model His love and compassion and ministry to them, and keep Him first in your life.  I know you are His.  Even though you are just three, it’s like you are familiar with Him already.  Many different instances have shown me that.  Like when I hear you talking to Him alone, and I walk in on you and you ask me to leave you alone because you’re talking to Jesus.  Or like the time you ran back and forth in the house shouting your prayers and worship to Him, declaring your love for Him.  I don’t take those moments lightly.  God uses them to remind me of His Presence with me.  Without even realizing it yet, you bring worship into this home.  You carry His presence.  Pass the flame to your children, my dear.  Like I said, it’s the best present you can ever give.

Day 8...Flexibility

I didn’t get to write again last night.  Another lesson to learn:  flexibility.  As a parent, it’s just key to your survival.  Never have your plans in mind so much that when they get changed you fall apart.  Daddy had a movie in.  I wanted to settle in and do some writing (and writing to you!)  and Titus is sick in bed, crying every few minutes.  We had to keep getting up, until finally we had no choice but to bring him into the bed with us.  He is a miserable baby right now.  Raw face from the runny nose.  Cranky and restless.  Just pitiful.  It’s been helpful for me to stay in “ready for anything” mode.  Be at peace and go with your plans, but always remember they could change on a moment’s notice.  It’s definitely a life of sacrifice being a parent.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 7...A child's imagination

Walking by your slightly open bedroom door, I hear your happy voice come like a fragrance through the air.  You make your dolls talk to one another with such ease and joy, it makes me delighted upon the hearing.  When I take a moment to reflect though it kind of makes me uneasy.  Why can’t I do that anymore?  Honestly, I’m filled with envy.  Nothing against you, rather regret for what I’ve become.  I know it’s here, deep in a well within me.  I used to conjure up ideas like any other kid in my youth.  But now, whenever you ask me to play dolls with you, I honestly am hesitant and have to force my concentration, simply for the lack thereof.  It makes me sad to think of this lost art.  I am starved to find it again, that place where the stories flow and the pictures keep me in a magical trance where I’m transported to a far-away land.  I encourage you, I cultivate it in you whenever possible, I force myself to participate.  As the great writer, Brenda Ueland, puts it, “There is something necessary and life-giving about ‘creative work’ (forgive the term).  A state of excitement.  And it is like a faucet:  nothing comes unless you turn it on, and the more you turn it on, the more it comes.”  With that said, I want to turn that faucet on more.  Whether it’s playing with you, talking to God, being still, or writing.  We live on stories.  We live in the ultimate story by the grandest author.  We learn through parables.  I long for that childlike imagination.  I wish I could say to you, “Never grow up!” as if you should be like Peter Pan. (The truth is, I do tell you this all the time, but for completely different and selfish reasons!)  What I really mean is, I hope the imagination in you never gets confused or bogged down.  It’s key to understanding God, people, purpose.  In order to commune with God, hear His voice, glean from Scripture, seek and wonder at the mysteries of life, you have to cultivate that imagination you were born with.  If you’re like me, and you let the hurriedness of days steal it away from you, get still and idle again, enough to let the contemplation warm your heart like it once did when you were little.  It will be invaluable to you and possibly even the salvation of your soul.

Day 6...Coming home

Last night I came home from being away for the evening.  I'm not away from you much these days.  We get to be together pretty much all of the time.  So when I came home, you were tucked in bed with your nana, and you were just so happy to see me, and I was so happy to see my smiling girl's face.  I love coming home to you.  Coming home to you is coming home. As a mom, especially a stay at home mama, you need to get away and have some individual time just for yourself.  To keep a hobby, interest, goals, activities, and such separate of your motherhood.  If you don't, you'll lose your identity. Identity is one of those things that people strive to find, try to hold onto, lose, etc.  Hopefully you will discover for yourself what it means to find your identity in Christ.  To be identified with Him is the only kind of life that is real.  You will be most alive when you hide your life in Him, and He comes alive in You.  It's pretty ironic that I "stay at home," and yet, it's still a challenge to be at home in your home continuously.  Contentment to be at work in the home is possible, with Christ.  My friend and I talked about "grace and peace" last night.  They go hand in hand.  It's the grace of God that helps me stay home with my children, and when I receive that grace and pass it on to you, then peace rules in our hearts and home.  Grace and peace to you on this journey, Sadie, wherever He leads you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 5...Mommy, will you play with me?

Today I was again reminded how special quality time with my children is.  Not only do you want playtime with Mommy, you crave it.  Several times today you asked me to play this or that with you.  It was a little bit more prominent because Emma (the baby I watch) was here with us, but still.  This is nothing new.  We started to throw this bouncy ball back and forth in the living room.  We counted together how many times you could catch it.  Twenty-two times!  That's how many times you actually caught it before getting tired.  You're amazing!  You loved the praise, and it kept you going.  The excitement was riveting. At twenty-two catches, you ended it (exhausted, I think), and you ran to me with open arms declaring, "You're the best mommy ever!"  And I could tell in your voice, as in other times when you've declared your love to me in this way, that you truly meant it.  That means so much to me.  Not only that, but that you express it the moment you feel it.  Never underestimate the power of playing with your children.  It's a gift that will truly make that lasting impression of love.  It's their love language.  I have to make myself play sometimes, as I'm getting "old" and love to be still, more and more.  But it's worth it when I bring myself to throwing a ball, or making the dolls talk, just to see your eyes and face shine like the afternoon sun.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Day 4...Let me eat cake

Sometimes you just need to eat cake for dinner.  Today was one of those days.  One of my ridiculous-to-admit but very-true fears has come about.  Yesterday my iPod went missing.  It’s one of the few items I’ve ever owned that became a true “valuable” to me.  I got it for my birthday last year.  Everyone in my family put their money together to get it for me, and I was very, very touched by this gift.  This 4th generation, 32 gig, iPod Touch became my new friend from the start.  I kept all my music on it, I checked my email and used the internet on it, found so many entertaining games for me and you, and way, way more than I could explain.  It was downright the coolest thing I’ve owned in a really long time.  And today, I found it in the washing machine.  We had turned the house over looking for that thing last night.  As I retraced my steps, I had remembered scooping up dirty laundry along with my phone and iPod and who knows what else.  I’m always combining things to be more “efficient” when going up and down the stairs, never wanting to make more trips than I need to, especially with all the parts and pieces you and your toys comprise.  Well…it did me in this time.  My iPod was careless meshed in with the dirty clothes basket on my way down.  Later in the day, it was tossed in unbeknownst to me.  I was saddened to see it underneath the wet clothes this afternoon, empty of any signs of life.  I took it up and outside into the sun immediately.  I tried turning it on, over and over again.  Praying.  Crying.  I tried to revive it with all the might I had, asking God to forgive me for my ingratitude.  Asking Him, pleading with Him.  Telling Him that I really, really wanted it back, like a little girl. All of it just fell  into silence.  I cried like a baby.  Titus stood there just staring at me.  The dogs lied there in the yard, wondering if I was going to pay them any attention or should they just go back to sleep.  Then after a little while, I turned away and tended to my real baby, Titus.  I looked him with those soft cheeks, scooped him up, and held him close.  This is what really matters right here. And when you woke up from your name, I held you, too.  I was forced to remember what really matters today.  Sure, I still think my carelessness really shot me in the foot today.  It hurt. And still does.  But when I look at it for what it really is, and compare it to whom I really love, it’s nothing.

So I decided, I’m going to have a hunk of my old birthday cake for dinner tonight.  I deserve it, and I need it!!  So, feeling pleased with myself, I dish up a huge piece of yellow cake with chocolate icing and dig in. Thinking to myself, This is great.  This makes me feel better. Ha ha.  Just as those thoughts enter my mind, and in the first bite, some rotten fumes reach my nose and I purge out whatever is left. Moldy cake!  Nice.  That’s what I get for eating cake for dinner (echoed daddy later).  It sure was a nice thought!  My dear Sadie, there will be days when you want to curl up in bed, go to sleep, and never wake up.  This was more of a cake eating day, but there are even tougher than this days ahead to face.  We’ve all had them.  And you will.  It wasn’t just that I wanted a taste of something sweet when something really sour just happened to me.  It was more that I just wanted to remind myself to not take things so seriously.  And it felt good to just be like a child and want dessert for my dinner.  And in that way, it did help.  Only it was moldy. Ah!  I think the Lord gave me grace in that piece of cake.  Enduring this loss seriously began when the laughter did.  Next time I will check for the green fuzz.  I head to bed now, thanking the Lord for the gifts in my life as they lie nestled in their beds. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day 3...Daddy date

I’m trying to stay true to this everyday thing, but man is it hard!  On Mondays I watch a little baby named Emma, in addition to you and Titus.  It gets kind of hairy!  So I admit I have to cheat and write two today.  I really do want to finish what I’ve started, even when it’s seemingly impossible.  That’s one thing I have a hard time with, finishing.  But I want to do this for you, my dear.  So I’m dedicating myself to one per day, no matter what! And when I fail, I’m going to pick myself up again!!  So acting like this is actually day three, today…Daddy took you on a Daddy Daughter Date.  It’s so cute.  You absolutely love your special time with daddy (and mommy, for that matter!)  You were so excited you had a really hard time taking a nap (I should know by now not to tell you really exciting news right before going to sleep!).  Daddy loves to see your happy face light up on these occasions. You are so chatty and bubbly with eyebrows as high as the sky, it’d be enough to cheer just about anyone.  So off to Chuck E. Cheese you went, today.  Just you and Daddy.  Always treasure these special moments.  Life is a collection of moments.  No one has to tell you to live in them, you breathe in every moment with ease, as most every child does!  I pray you find a husband that treats you as preciously as your daddy does.  He loves you for the jewel that you are.  Don’t settle for anything less.  We are praying for a man who will cherish you, wait for you, fight for you, and love you.  Once you find who that special man is, you will know.  Daddy will have to hand the baton to him, to be the one to guide and protect you.  The relationship you have with your dad is special, indeed.  And nothing will ever take that away. But let it serve you as a picture of the kind of husband you want.  You will love having someone by your side, to experience every moment with, to grow with, to love.  Just wait for him.  And remember these daddy dates always for the special gifts and pictures of love they are. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Day 2...Always a princess

This morning we were getting ready for church, and I was putting on my make-up as usual.  These days you just love putting on mommy’s make-up.  You always ask, and sometimes I let you put on a little bit, depending on what we’re doing.  If I’m not careful, you’ll put blush on until your cheeks are like pink puff balls.  You’re so much into being a “princess” these days.  You hear it from daddy almost every day, “Whose princess are you?”  Daddy’s!” you reply.  And all it takes is a cute little dress that swooshes when you twirl, and you’re one happy girl!  There’s so much talk around the house about princesses, that I’m actually getting kind of tired of it!  But, I do always want you to know, that you are a princess.  You are royalty, because your Daddy is the King.  Jesus is the King of Kings, and that makes YOU, a Princess!  As we talked about that in the bathroom, I also added that we wouldn’t be putting on make-up today, because we only do that for fun.  And that right now, we’re going to church and don’t need to put on make-up.  I also explained that someday you can wear it when you get older, but to remember this one thing.  Real beauty comes from the inside.  It’s the beauty in your heart that is the most important.  The love you have inside your heart is beautiful, the way you love others.  You listened intently, and I pray that you hold onto this truth forever.  How valuable this truth will be for you throughout your life if you remember that inward beauty is so, so valuable to the Lord.  It’s what truly matters, unlike what the world will tell you.  You are so beautiful, my girl.  Never forget it.  God make you beautiful, with or without make-up.  Twirly dress or jeans.  You are His, and you are a treasure.  Find your worth in Him, and you will be full to the brim with life and love.

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 1...Life, a beautiful mess

Dearest Sadie,
            Hello my love!!  Today is an exciting day!  And not because it’s a beautiful, sunny, 70-degree, February, Saturday afternoon, and the house is quiet because you and your brother are taking naps simultaneously!  While that is fabulous, this joy is about the new journey I’m about to embark on.  It’s the first letter of many more letters to come, My Daughter.   
            Already at three, you’re pretty particular about a few things needing to be a certain way.  That’s not to say you’re not flexible, because you are.  I can usually talk you down from anxious moments that may start to come up.  You are definitely the most easy-going and understanding three year-old that I know.  And the toddler years are usually not characterized by easygoingness!    The thing about you is, you really like things to be neat, working properly, and you don’t like getting a bit messy!  You tend to freak out when the jelly gets everywhere, or your little brother comes and destroys your dollhouse, or you can’t get the little elevator in you Littlest Pet Shop Treehouse to work because there’s a dog jammed in it.  Yet, you still manage to run around in shorts and a t-shirt in a torrential downpour with your daddy and mommy, and not mind it a bit!  While you’re pretty well-balanced, I still want to encourage you with this as I usually tell you in the moment, “Don’t worry about getting messy, Hon.  We’ll get cleaned up when it’s all over.”  That’s it!  Embrace the messiness of life.  You can’t get around it.  There are messes everywhere.  When you realize that, even expect it, you’ll find yourself able to trust the Lord in the midst of it all.  Speaking of rain, your nana has a quote up on her kitchen wall that says it nicely, “Don’t just wait for the storm to pass, dance in the rain.”  Patience is everything.  When something doesn’t quite go the way you planned, and they almost never do, it doesn’t mean decide to never make plans again.  It just means you need to plan for the unexpected.  Wait for God to work miracles in your life, because He wants to.  And let the peace of God rule in your heart.  Don’t rely on your own understanding.  When you need help, ask.  Ask Him first, and wait for an answer.  And remember He’s put people in your life to complete your puzzle.  And complicate it, don’t forget!  But it’s true;  He is trustworthy with all of our messes.  Don’t mope about it.  It’s okay to cry.  Just let Him hold you, let your mama hold you, let your husband hold you should you have oneJ, and then get up again.  He’ll clean you up.  
Love, 
Mommy


"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."  Proverbs 3:5-6

Introduction

I have so many things I want to share with you.  You’re too young to understand many of the things I want to talk to you about, teach you, explore with you.  Although, that’s not to say you’re not a smart little three year-old, because you are so bright it knocks my socks off most of the time!  But seriously, why not write to you now, before you ask me important questions at a time in my life down the road when I can’t even remember which tooth brush is mine?  And besides all that, you’re teaching me so many things just by being you, that I just can’t keep it in anymore.  I have to write it out.  You are such a blessing to me, and I can’t contain these blessings that overflow from God, from you, to me.
            I hope you will walk with me on this journey in my mind for a one-year window in my life.  This fourth year of being a mom.  This third year of taking time away from teaching in the classroom, which I dreamt about since I was in the third grade, so that I can care for my precious children.  For the next 365 days, I am going to take a little bit of time each day (which isn’t going to be easy, I know!) to write you a letter.  I imagine these letters will be about daily life, mothering, the world, and lots about Jesus! J  But who knows!?  I’m just going to take one day at a time.  I hope you laugh with me, ponder with me, learn with me, and yes, even cry a little with me.