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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.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 238...better than okay

When things start to look like they are going to crumble, and I feel the tears are going to rise, something inside me says, It's going to be okay.  It's the Holy Spirit, and I'm so grateful for Him who dwells in me and abides with me.

Even so, He's given me you.  When I stop and look into your eyes, and hold those sweet cheeks, you smile back at me with your eyes that say, "It's better than okay.  We are going to be great."

Dear Sadie.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 237...poem

It's getting late, time for bed once again.
I must lay my head down and just put down my pen.
(okay, laptop)
But before I go I just have to say,
You are so very special in every possible way.

Dear Sadie

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Day 236...Christmas Blues and Sparkles

Oh the tension we live in here on earth!  I can't wait to be in heaven where it all makes sense and there's no strife but instead we will see clearly, not dimly as in a mirror...

Your daddy and I went shopping for you guys today.  We went to one store.  One Store.  
The fabulous Target everyone has come to love. 
I mean, who doesn't love Target!?  

Well.  We had fun.  Or at least it started out that way.  We ran from one shiny sparkly here, to another tough toy truck there...  Oh, Sadie would love this!!  Titus would get a kick out of that!  Then we started to go back and forth on what to get you guys.  The fun outing turned into stressful decision-making and over-deliberation.  Over budget.  Not practical.  Not enough independent play with that one.  Too much to set up every time.  She has more than him.  This one would be fun to open but how much would he really play with it, I mean really?  Mommy likes this; Daddy likes this.  I think next year we will buy separately.  I think it will go much more smoother.  I mean, you guys are two and four, how hard should this be?!  

Well. We finally decided on a few things for each of you and left pretty satisfied at our final choices.  We even learned a few things about each other in the process and appreciated one another, quirks and all, a little more.  (daddy and me)  

So I came home and got in the bath, my third one in about a week's time, which is a first for me.  You can tell by baths what kind of week it's been, but hey, it may become a more permanent thing for me in the end!  It was so relaxing, especially after such deliberation!  (the word of the night)...

I start reading my new favorite book "Seven," about an "experimental mutiny against excess," and I'm on the chapter "possessions." Oh boy.  Yeah.  This is where the tension enters the story.  I mean, how hard to come home with bags of stuff for your kids, and then to read about how the rich are praying to get richer in America?  Come on!  Can't a girl enjoy her Christmas being a fairly new mommy with actual cash in her wallet?  What's so bad about that?!  

I mean, we stuck to our budget and didn't go overboard by any means.  To tell the truth, we probably spent way less than the average American spends on Christmas.  No, extremely less.  But...does this make it right?  It sure doesn't make the pit in my stomach go away.  Not when I think about the thousands of people who died today of starvation, and I'm obsessing about whether to get my daughter a fuzzy white pony in a purse, or the stuffed cat from Aristocats with the cute pink bow.  I'm so confused now.  I want to think I have all the answers.  But as soon as I think I do, I realize I'm so far off.  I'm going to keep reading this book, and I'm going to keep letting the Lord use it to get to me.  And I'm really not complaining, even though I sound like it.  I'm just sounding off, because truthfully I do get it.  I get it all.  We're not one of these families who have multiple credit cards, fancy vacations, or even closets full of unused clothes.  We live on hand-me-downs, and we actually eat almost everything we buy on a weekly basis.  But all that said, I do have a hunger and thirst to be messed with...to be the last, to be well-acquainted with the least, to bind of the brokenhearted, and so on.  I am so tired of consumerism and "keeping up," and worrying about having less than everyone else and not giving my kids all that they deserve.  I mean, reallly, what are you all lacking if you know you are loved and reminded of the good news on a daily basis?  

My main concern though...are we raising you guys to be self-centered?  over-indulgent consumers?  distracted?  Yikes. The burning and yearning in my heart to take you from here and touch and feel and smell and grab hold the poverty that the majority of the world is experiencing right now is, well, it's almost getting unbearable to contain.  I feel like there's a ribbon tied up against my chest and I'm leaning into it, ready to run from here.  And when someone shoots the gun I'm going to bust through that ribbon and take off.  But not from here location-wise necessarily, although it may be.  Here, status-quo-wise.  There are some Scriptures I've come to know and love that just don't match up with my lifestyle, and I'm thinking of letting them ruin me. Ruin our family.  I want to be a radical Jesus freak.  Forgive me, Lord, for ever hesitating.  I'll have to use a letter to tell you what those Scriptures are, and you'll see what I mean.

For now, this Christmas, my special girl...your mommy and daddy love you.  We love to shower you with good things, as does your Heavenly Father.  I'm going to hold myself back from returning everything tomorrow before it's too late and I've wrapped all the gifts.  (Here it is 6 days before Christmas and I'm contemplating a present-less Christmas for my preschool children--what is going on with me?!)  Just know this, that in our hearts lies the sincere desire to never spoil you.  We do want you to be happy, but all the while, we hope to be living examples of contentment and gratitude for the happiness that lives and breathes in our hearts: Jesus.  

Dear Sadie.

"every good and perfect gift comes from above..."  James 1:17

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Day 235...get me my water

Today it occurred to me just how closely you observe me and I don't think you nor I actually stop to take notice much. You were in bed and you very nicely said, "Get me my water." I have probably heard similar demands made of me dozens of times, but tonight as I corrected you, I sort of had an epiphany as to why the clarification I was making with you was such a hard concept to grasp. When I said "excuse me?" (Sort of nicely) you replied "I was being sweet." The funny thing being here-- you were! It was said like a true, polite little southern girl! I almost laughed. Then it dawned on me how many times a day you hear me making demands of you in the same nice manner, expecting the appropriate responses...I think I try to always tag on a please somewhere in there...bring your plate to the kitchen, please...Sadie, please pick up all the books...(Ok, yes, I must admit my tone doesn't always remain in the "sweet" category, but nobody's that perfect!). So now i get it...you are merely imitating your mommy! You seemed to genuinely understand the differentiation I made about mommies and children and their roles, requests and demands, etc. I walked away going huh. And then wow. I wish I had more pivotal moments like these! But in all truth, how responsive will you now be to our little teachable moment? We will just have to see, won't we? :)

Dear Sadie (ever-so-sweetly)

Day 234...big baby

Sickness has gone through our house like the plague. But in the spirit of remaining thankful, it has only touched the babies. (I still like referring to my 2 and older kids as babies). Your daddy and I have not had the flu, trusting we won't, either. Remaining hopeful. It's been a miracle so far; needless to say with all of the nose wiping I have assisted with, all the coughs sprayed upon me, among everything else, I am a walking miracle. Thank you, Lord! Thank You I have been well enough to cuddle their foggy heads, cradle their fevering bodies, and nourish their weak temples. The sick season we are enduring has challenged me and stretched me in ways I wasn't even aware I needed.

There was this breaking point I reached the other day. It was a pity party, really. But I ended up dealing with my selfishness when I was all done pouting and escaping. Truthfully the pout and escape did help me settle and come to the realization I was being selfish, thrusting me back into the dirty work with pure motherly joy once again, only by His grace. But hopefully next time I can come to my senses through the Spirit and without running anybody over or acting like such a baby.

Dear Sadie

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 233...cling tight

Yesterday I was a pill.  Today it was like I took a pill and everything turned around.
I don't really know what the answer was...maybe it was the personal bath and book time last night, maybe it was the rebuking of myself while in the bath with the book and saying Forgive me, Lord, for letting the weakness do me in.
Whatever it was, today was different.
Yesterday it was "what?!  another case of the flu?! no!!!!", and the taking care of others constantly, and the constant reminder of never getting a moment to myself, and the Jason, Honey, I need you...can you come home now, please?!
Then there was today.   A new day.
Today was sunshine on a rainy, gloomy day.
Maybe it was worshiping my Jesus with my church family. Glorious Presence!
Or maybe it was the melancholy of my babies while helping good friends register for their new little treasure to come.
Or maybe it was the drive with the soundtrack of "Awake My Soul" between places.
Whatever it was, it was grace.
You'll have days of both kinds, Sadie.  Just go with it, and cling to the Lord tight.  He will lift you above the clouds every time if you seek Him. His grace will blow your mind.

Dear Sadie.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day 232...best day ever!! books and friends

Soaked in a bath tonight to end another typically undpredictable day.  Grabbed my new and tasty book I've been dying to devour ever since I grazed on it at Barnes and Noble back a month ago.  I don't waste a beat, for God knows this night "ending" at 8:30 pm with kids asleep in their beds is only a mirage in the desert, or maybe just a tease.  Titus, sick with the flu, passed out at 7:30 only after two throwing-up-episodes, bless his soul.  Shortly after his sick spell, you downed a bite of mac and cheese that was doused with more salt than needed for 1 box of macaroni let alone one bite! (you pride yourself in doing these things by yourself, bless your heart). We watched your big eyes pleading for help as your mouthful seemed to want to explode; you panicked then puked.  Three vomits in one evening.  Yeah.  So much for the quiet unwinding by the fire.  Although, it was a bit of a calming backdrop for these reckless events.

Earlier before dinner and daddy's return, you were sitting by me, Titus and the fire.  Me with my nightly coffee cup in hand, attempting to warm myself after the first cold day we've had thus far in our 70-degree month of December.  Titus having woke from a late night, sleepily joining the day again, playfully fooling us all that his flu was tapering off for good.  I think it was in those cuddles in that moment that you declared, "Best day ever!!!"  (as you have stamped on many-a-moments)  I laughed, smiling, "Yes, you always say that."  "Yes, but it really is!" you defended.  I love it.  You feel every minute, as every healthy child does.  Yet you know how to express it in a way that makes adults shake their head with bewildering joy.  I'm proud.

Besides the throwing up and the cranky flu baby, the day wasn't half bad!  Especially when topping it off with a book that inspired me to write this letter.  Yes, I sighed heavily at the thought of having to write again when it looked as though I might actually have the time.  Nothing that a good writer, bath, candles, and Dr. Pepper in a wine glass couldn't cure (we didn't have any other red stuff).

She (Jen Hatmaker) had me laughing out loud with the first chapter of "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess."  She is a gal I wish I knew personally.  I'm already thankful for her witty humor and rawness that leaps off the page: her bleeding heart.  I am so inspired that I, too, am compelled to think I could also write a book someday. I laugh inside and embarrassingly hope no one will read this and laugh too.

A good friend of mine wrote to me today: "Sometimes I think people or books just kind of click in our spirit even before we read them or hang with them!"  I totally agree!  I was barely through with the introduction of this book and already promoting it on Facebook.  What's the matter with me?!  I guess it was the way the writing/subject/author made me feel like my soul had been wrapped like a pretzel through hers.  Books and friends should be like kindred spirits.  (Now affectionately remembering Anne with an e.)

I like to think God is placing books (and friends) in my path that will further me on in my writing, my passion, and my personal and spiritual life.  This one is, and I'm not even through the first chapter.

I, too, like Rapunzel can now shout, "Best day ever!"...knowing I most likely will want to shout it at some point tomorrow...

isn't that how it should be?

I end my day thankful in soul and spirit.
Thankful for Pandora and headphones.
For my computer to write on.
For baths and candles and a husband.
A king-size bed beside me I get to snuggle into with him later.
For Jen Hatmaker.
Thankful for books.
For inspiration.
For hope.
For dreams.
For my Father who points the way and lifts my spirit.
Thankful for a lifestyle where holding my sick baby is absolutely possible without having to "call in sick to work," where I can drop everything and play "make-believe-we-are-kittens" with my daughter, where I have time to drive another Hot Wheel up and down my leg with my son (even if it takes me forcing myself to do it), and enjoy a leisurely stroll around the library fountain listening to my kids squeal with delight and freedom.  For more than enough provision that I can give away a car-load of stuff to a thrift store without feeling even the slightest bit of need.
For a daughter who is puppy-dog giddy at the sight of popsicles and chocolate and books and lying in grass beneath trees, like me.  Who soaks up the simple things of life with all of her senses.  Those simple things that are God's little graces that, if we are paying attention, are the winds that carry us through the yuckiness that comes to kill, steal and destroy.  That far outweighs any discomfort or even pain.
Thankful for another letter to my Sadie.

Dear Sadie.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day 231...cuddle bug

Cuddling in the bed on a late Saturday morning. Squished between me and daddy. Hard to find where one person starts and another ends. Such a good place.
"This is soooo much fun," you said.
I'm just enjoying these moments right now when you think daddy and I are the coolest, and you actually want to be close and together with us always.
Does it have to end?
Will you have to go through those teenage years?
Is there a button we can push to bypass and remain best buds?!
I know they (as in all parents) wish this were so. We want things to stay the way they are. Close, snugly, innocent and light-hearted.
For now all I can do is enjoy the present, hold you tight, and pray for grace always no matter what phase we must walk through together.

Dear Sadie

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 230...Raw

I have one more to write today.

One word.

Raw.

The idea of rawness was highlighted to me tonight.  In the context of worship.
Raw means uncooked.  It's not cooked up.  Not prepped, prepared, maybe not even seasoned.
In its original form.  Spontaneous.

This is what the world is desiring to see.  Formalities and traditions are so prepared, prepped, cooked and packaged neatly, they have no real impact anymore.  People are hungry for more.

I am hungry for more.  Right now I'm just a mom, but a mom to YOU!  So I have to say, even as a mom, we can cook ourselves into a frenzy.  By this I mean, we worry and fret that all our "to dos" are done, and in the process, we leave behind the original, beautiful forms that are often pretty messy but hold the real juiciness of life.  Children, our children, are hungry for moms who will leave all of their preparedness long enough to look into their souls and be present long enough to ask them, "What do you  want to do today?"  "How are you feeling today?"  "What do you want to talk about?"  We have to be careful our carefully planned days, and neatly manicured lifestyles, and perfectly arranged wardrobes are not at the expense of the raw reality: that life sometimes has to get unorganized, out of order, and spontaneous in order for God to step in with what He is speaking and doing in the moment.  What He wants to say to us.  What He wants to do through us.  This is raw.  This is real.

Lord, help me to be awake to the stuff that matters for eternity.  Help me stop and rest long enough to hear You speaking to me about my day, about my kids, about what fills our calendar, and all the rest.

Let me become the original form of Christy: the mom, the wife, you intended me to be.  And when I get off track or become caught up with the recipes that are not on your menu, let me again turn to You for the good stuff.  God in the raw.  God in the everyday grind of life.  Let Your ways infuse my days, Lord.

Forgive me, Sadie, for when I fall.  I am learning just like you.

Dear Sadie.

Day 229...moments of courage and beautiful surrender

Hey there.  It's the end of the day and I really should be getting to bed.  But it was a hard day. Had some of those lately.  Hard but good.  I lost control of my emotions on several accounts.  Not pretty.  Could have been worse.  But still.  And I'm seeing now how God is using these moments to shape me into the woman He wants me to be.  It's in those moments where my patience is running thing (and pms taking over) that I see how human I am being, and how much more God longs to purge out my humanness as I press into His superhumanness.  That's where it's at.  That's where life is.  That's where the miracles happen.  I stopped and gave thanks in the middle of a tiresome day, kids crying, kids not napping, kids not being their normally wonderful selves for their tired mommy.  And I thanked Him.  I thanked Him for all the goodness that surrounded me.  And it gave me breath and life for more moments to come, tough or simple.  Significant or not.  He always gives me grace in my need.  I love Him so much!

Dear Sadie.

"my power is made perfect in weakness"  2 cor. 12:9