Friday, June 29, 2012

why i don't need a bigger house

This week finds me making daily trips to the grocery store to replenish my refrigerator and feed work crews, small groups, children, company, lunch dates and friends.

I should keep a running stat on how much cold cereal has been consumed at this house in the last several weeks. . . (wow, do twenty year old guys eat a lot).

What am I learning these days?  I am learning about contentment and creativity. 

My inner American house-glutton constantly desires more. 

Early this year I started praying that God would change our housing situation in order to allow us to minister more effectively. Looking at this thought in black and white words, typed out, it looks like what it is: discontentment cloaked in spiritual needs. 

Cuz see, I wanna have people over and have a little guest suite that they can stay in and stock a fridge in their room. So they're comfortable.   I want their children be able to play in a huge playroom inside when it's raining so that there's relative peace for the adults to talk.  For fellowship.  And definitely I would like a school room so that my kids can learn in a less distracted environment .  For education.

So aren't those valid concerns? 

Well, sort of.

And sort of not.

I watched, a little amazed, as we somehow ended up hosting a small group with thirteen members who do fit into our living room.  The childcare (I was sure this one would stump God) was provided and besides moving some furniture around each week. . . it's really easy to prepare for.

I feel a bit like an observer in my own home watching God work out details that I thought I needed a bigger house to solve.

And this work crew thing.  Some brothers, some friends. . .  sending them all to a hotel was tempting for me.  It's a lot of work.  And laundry.

But then my children would miss moments like these:

It's good, in our fragmented, broken society, to slow down a little, to live a little smaller, to wait our turn to use the restroom, to crowd around a dining room table, to do life with one another.

I know better than to believe that things=happiness, but I live a hypocritical lie when I say that house=hospitality.  It doesn't. 

Hospitality is your heart open to your neighbor, hospitality is an attitude, a generosity, a sharing what I have with you.

**I haven't been able to get Lisa Chan's words on humility and hospitality out of my head. This is a great, quick little listen:  Be inspired to share what you have, no matter how small!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

just a little spiderwebbing. . .

Getting to the point in conversations is not a strength for me.

Humbling moment # 256 of the year 2011 was sitting in grief counseling and hearing the great woman working with us turn to Daniel and say, wow. . . she does use a lot of words! I vowed to shut up for good. It lasted about two hours.

I am pretty thankful that I have sisters and girlfriends to share the juicy rambling daily details of life.

One thing I need to be reminded of every single time we go through Love & Respect is how mind boggling this girl-trait of spider webbing is to men.  They want the point of the story first, apparently.  Seems so boring. . .

But Daniel gets so excited when I can whittle down my words and just get to the point.

I love that Dr. Eggerichs points out that given long enough, we can tie all of our anecdotes together;  it is one beautiful story, a picture, a painting in our minds.  This is so clear in my mind, but according to my husband, it comes out in a very confusing manner.

See what you think:

Spiderwebbin' highlights:

Eli screeches if you take something that he wants:  blueberries, his mommy, coffeecake pan into the next room, walking away from the pool. . . so begins his tiny little sin nature. 

Cambria, today:  Dad is leaving for the pire fedartment.  UGH!  I mean fire department. (whispers correct pronunciation under breath about five times to get it right)

Jacob:  Thanks, Mom, for letting us watch Bunza. (Otherwise known as Bonanza.)

Cambria, waxing hypothetical: If someone is not good at tennis, they could just ask Jesus and He could just be the teacher; He'd make them really good at tennis. (We told her the way Jesus would want her to listen to her real teacher and try hard.)

Discovery today:  the kids used my Bath & Body Peach Bellini hand soap for their slip and slide. Die to self, Hayley.  They offered to pay.  I'll probably make them.

Hmm.  I'm thinking none of these little thoughts mesh.  Oh, well.  You can tie it all together and slap the mommy label on it for tonight.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

i deleted instagram

Yes, I did.

First of all, let me say what I loved about it.

You know, those moments, when your heart just wants to explode with joy and you wish you'd always remember, like inked fingerprints and footsteps in wet concrete. . . instagram just saves the moment. 

I wanted to eat him up. . . in that lil cowboy hat. . .

so much work. . .the joy was palpable.  last day of school

6:30 am
Cambria brought me breakfast in bed on Mother's Day (with the help of Aunt Elizabeth)
They had Matt Redman's 10,000 reasons playing for me.
I laid in bed and cried for all the joy God has brought back.

small group meeting in our home this summer

he's bald.  hats look good on him.  what can i say?

first tornado warning of the year.  basement camp out

asked Cambria to pack her pj's in her backpack for an overnight at Grandma & Grandpa's
this is what she packed
(note the bug cage)
packing light. . . not so much

And I always have my phone, this appendage that grows off of my arm, that connects me and disconnects me from the world.  So Instagram was always at my fingertips. . . encouraging me to savor the moment, to document, to press my fingers in the ink.

I loved it.

And I am fascinated by it.

It's like a mini microcosm of our own lives, this Instagram phenomenon, this document it generation.

But tell me you haven't done this:

Oh I want to take a picture!

Oh that looks great except for my neighbor's yucky car is in the landscape of my cute baby.

Crop it out.

Reduce the frame.

Reshuffle the baby.

Re-take the picture.





I see a steady stream of these perfect photos, these perfect little snapshots of life, these inkprints of what we choose to show the world of our hearts and homes.

I wonder if we're being a little unfair to each other.

On Monday evenings in June, a bunch of honest friends are reading and discussing this great little read on letting go of the masks that we wear.  As I read, I just keep coming back to this line:

". . .we. . .as women. . .have a responsibility not to create a competitive and hostile environment for [each other]"

Letting Go of Perfect, Amy Spiegel, page 29

And I can't get the Instagram mentality out of my head, this creating of little vignettes, this documenting perfection, this wanting a picture of a sweet child with hands outstretched in the rain.  But her hands aren't stretched right.  here, hold your hands a little higher. And now her face is turned down.  Lift your face up. And now she's frustrated.  Smile like you're having fun!  Suddenly the moment is lost and we're staging life, trying to create perfection out of frustrated children who were indeed having fun five minutes ago. 

Some of this can be easily attributed to my lack of photographic ability and there's nothing wrong with posing for pictures;  but when the very picture meant and designed to be a freezeframe of life becomes something that is prepped and propped then our perception of reality is becoming very skewed.

As I am challenged to create a real environment, to be a safe person, to be honest about the reality that is mine, I'm finding that for me, Instagram is a fake mask too easily ready to wear.

So I deleted the app. 

Ahh, the freedom of being real.

Let us draw near with a true heart. . .and. . .consider how we may motivate one another to love and good deeds. . .[and] encourage one another. from Hebrews 10:22,24,25

Friday, June 8, 2012

on substitutes for life

First of all let me just disclaimer that this is not my normal style of writing and blogging. 

But at this point of my summer if I don't start throwing something up here, there won't be any blog left. 

It's a good thing, I think, this whole blogging/internet connectivity.  There is no longer the feeling of "I'm the only one" because with the vast resources made available by search engines, you can find someone else who shares your joy, your sorrow, your unique circumstances.

This is wonderful when looking for help and answers to needs.

This is not wonderful when you need a hug.

There's no substitute for real life friends.

There are no substitutes for living life. 

For actually licking the ice cream cone.

Catching the lightening bug.

Having friends over to swim.

Kissing newborn fuzzy hair.

Oh but there are substitutes.  I know.  I do the substitutes.  And they're flat.  So much less joy than the hard work of the real thing.

Taking pictures of the kids with their cones. (missing actually eating with them)

Getting the video camera for the first lightning bugs. (missing sharing the joy)

Letting the kids call their friends. (missing the building of a real life relationship)

Scrolling through facebook pictures of the new baby. (missing the  skin, the smell, the drinking it all in)

I don't want to live in the substitute world. 

So we've been pretty busy living in the real one.

It has

messy relationships


friends with endless therapy and Children's Hospital trips

hard work

small groups

van problems

fights about the van problems

spontaneous pizza ordering

park trips

fishing trips

meeting people where they are at


reading Old Yeller aloud

wonky sleep schedules for the kids = zero sleep for me (okay, I lied.)

(no, I didn't lie.  it FEELS like zero sleep)

Yesterday I carried a scratch piece of paper from my Bible study book over to the trash and scanned as I tossed it; my eyes fell on this line. . . hug your children as often as you feed them, their souls grow on love.

I turned around and immediately met Cambria who was coming to me with some complaint.  I ignored it and picked her up.  She threw her arms around my neck and buried her face in my shoulder.  I was shocked at the urgency and receptivity to my offered hug. *whispers* Mom, I need to spend time with you.

I want to feed their souls.  Not just write about feeding their souls.

In my mind there is this big teeter totter with writing about life on one side and living life on the other.  In my quest for balance, I continue to write because my own need for closure, for sanity, for an outlet drives me on. 

But even as I post this little picture of Jacob's first meal. . . I am mindful of the fact that there was just no substitute for being there.

Five hours of food prep. (whew.  I had no idea it would take him so long.  he meticulously prepared each item.)

That's some strawberry cheesecake mousse that he's preparing. 

Rushing around all flushed and sweaty; everyone shows up at the table.  "You guys are all here already?!" 

two hundred flies that suddenly decided to decsend

goblet shattering at the table

oh but it was real!

Happy Friday to you. . .

Enjoy some real life this weekend!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

summer salad time

Menu for the week. . .

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad & Watermelon & Mangoes

Thai Beef Wraps

Pizza Margherita English Muffin Pizzas (it's good to be flexible)

Jacob cooks

Spinach, Rice & Feta Salad & Grapes

Grilled Corn Salad

Cambria cooks

So I have to explain the JD and Cambria's cooking slots.

Jacob's Menu

This is another brilliant idea that is not original with me. The other night I was listening to my friend Pam explain how she lets her girls plan, shop and prepare an entire meal; they take turns on a weekly basis throughout the summer. 

I loved this idea.  Although I'm not a big fan of little boys doing tons of household chores, learning how to put together a meal is a life skill.  And besides, I pointed out to Jacob, Daniel cooks for his shift frequently.  A nice perk of being the engine driver.  :)

So today they planned their meals.  It was too cute. I was surprised how well their selections meshed and I actually am excited to eat their food!   Cambria couldn't make out her own list, but Jacob did and they went shopping and pushed their own cart. 

I think Cambria is just a little young for the idea, (she needed more coaching) but Jacob owned the whole idea and can't wait to cook his meal. 

At the very least, I think it may give them some appreciation for me!  wink wink

Speaking of appreciation. . .

I am coming off of over a week of vacation and eating out every.single.night and oh. . . it's so fun.

I always come home inspired, though and since I love to cook it's okay that vacation is over.

Plus I had this fun surprise today:

I love peas.  I bought some  sugar snaps at the grocery store today and gritted my teeth when I saw  how expensive they were; but my garden is just not going to win awards any time soon, so into my cart they went.  I was standing at the counter munching on them when my friend Becky knocked on the door bringing me a whole bag  from her mom's farm.

Oh wow, I was so excited.

In early June my mom would always make creamed peas over new potatoes.  We would pick peas out of our garden, shell them into bowls and dig new potatoes up out of the soil  I loved finding those tiny potatoes.  Like buried treasure.  So she would make a cream sauce for the peas and steam the new potatoes and ohhhh it was so yummy.

I ran out to the grocery store again and (the irony of buying this is not lost on me) picked up new potatoes so I could have this tonight:

Thank you thank you Becky!  :)

So what is on your summer menu?

adding ahhhhhhh to the dictionary

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh is the newest word I've added to my texting dictionary.

Over the last month, the word has embodied this emotion: i don't think i can handle one more thing on my plate!

But after a week spent doing stuff like this:

I'm renewed and refreshed and ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh has a more stable, relaxed tone. 

As frenetic and crazy as life has become, I'm so happy to be back in our home.  It's where my heart is.

And I keep working on my porch, just so you know.

This is the June edition.

After a writing hiatus of over a month, I have all sorts of stuff to blog about.

why women see beauty in others and not themselves

less than finest hour parenting

love & respect

salad menus

book club

why i don't need a bigger house

& lots of little things like that.

For now, off to buy some Lunchables for Cambria's swim/lunch/pool date.

(I'll probably be back tonight.  Can't believe how much I missed blogging.  See  you at 11 pm.)