what kids really need

Thursday, October 31, 2013

He wanted a Halloween party.

"We'll put up spider webs and everyone will wear their costumes and we'll scare each other and I'll show them my legos," my six-year-old announced in the kitchen.  "Can we?"

"Well, Halloween is in two days.  We'd have to have a party tomorrow.  Can you make invitations and deliver them to your friends this afternoon?"


"Okay.  I'm not hanging spider webs, but I will make a snack and your friends can play here tomorrow.  How about that?"

My little boys went to work. One drew pumpkins on the back side of used printer paper, while the other carefully lettered above them:  "Please come to my house tomorrow at 4:00 for a party.  Wear your costume if you want to."  He folded three invitations into uneven squares and stuffed them into his pocket.  "What about your friends on the next block?" I asked.  "I'll make them later," he answered.  But by the time he rang three doorbells, something new captured his attention, and later never came.

By the next morning I couldn't believe I'd agreed to this.

on birth and loss, and feeling all the feelings

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I've had the hardest time writing here the past few weeks.

Because this is the place where I tell the truth, and lately I haven't wanted to feel the truth.  Momastery talks often about feeling all the feelings.  I'm terrible at it; avoidance is more my style.  I am a withdraw-er, an "ignore it and it will go away"-er.  If you don't believe me, just open the door to the play room sometime.

I've tried shutting the door on this too, but when I do,
I shut out everything meaningful and good as well.  And I know acknowledgement carries astonishing power.  Once emotion is out, you're free.  Until then, you're like the Dursleys, staring down Dumbledore while a wine glass taps your head.  Just grab the glass, already.

So.  Here it is.

What is pain birthing in your life?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

photo by Jesse
Saturday morning and it is still dark.  For the past few weeks I have stared numbly at Facebook during my precious quiet hours, but this morning I hoped inspiration would meet me in the coffee shop.


So.  I read a few blogs.

First I opened Deeper Story's piece on marrying wrong.  I could feel the pain and frustration in her words.  The anger of working in the red, digging hard for one more ounce of yourself to give ... and it's never, ever enough.  I could feel the tightness in her chest, the constriction in her throat.  Her words are choppy and incomplete because it's so much, so big, a paragraph just can't contain it.  

I took a deep breath on her behalf.

Peace, friend.  Peace to you.

on guitars and vows, and all the love in between

Saturday, October 12, 2013

photo by Jesse
In college I bought my boyfriend a guitar.

I was a full-time student, and on the weekends I worked behind a deli counter in a grocery store. I saved every single penny from that awful job, and lived on four hundred dollars a month (no lie). The day I saved two thousand dollars, I turned in my apron and spent it all on an acoustic Martin guitar.

He was a student too, a religion major at a different school.  His plans included seminary and ordination, a life of church ministry and annual appointments.  But at the time he was in a band with some friends from school, and more than anything, he wanted to make music for a living.

what would happen if the lines drew us in?

Friday, October 11, 2013

photo by the beautifully talented Jesse 

"... In a world of differences, how can we come together?  In the real world, what does unity look like?

Strangely, any time I ask this question, a line from an old pop song runs through my mind. "The same black line that was drawn on you is drawn on me, and it's drawing me in …"

We draw any number of lines between one another.  There is always an "us" and "them" in Christian circles.  But what would happen if the lines we drew to separate, instead pulled us toward one another?"

You can read the rest here.

when God shows up on the way to Old Navy: a guest post from PardyMama

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Today my hilarious, honest real-life friend Emily from PardyMama shares about taking a leap of faith.  Most often, it isn't what you think it is.   If you love it as much as I do, you may also want to read Emily's take on life, grad school, and raising two toddlers at PardyMama.  My personal favorites are Crazy Pills and Full Plate. 

photo by the very talented Jesse 
When Stephanie asked me to write a blog about taking a leap of faith, I about fell out of my chair. If she had asked me even the week before, I would have had plenty to tell. Three months ago, my husband and I moved 2,000 miles with two toddlers and no job in sight. However, at this moment, I knew exactly what God was telling me to write, and that wasn’t it. 

I had two hours of free time. FREE time. Child-free time. And, this just about never ever happens for me. My husband had just that morning received an official offer of a job that we’d been praying about for months, so I was feeling on top of the world that afternoon. Our journey of unemployment had come to a sudden halt, and I was ready to celebrate. The relief of having a couple hours to myself brought on the most delicious of problems: What shall I do with my time?

the seasons are changing.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The seasons are changing.

My toddler barrels toward her third birthday.  She speaks in sentences, mostly uses the potty, and in the past few weeks, has moved from pulling a puppy on a string to coloring for hours or rocking baby elephants to sleep.

Meanwhile, one son is learning to read (as long as nobody is looking), and the other has developed a new desire to engage that I love.  The outside world reflects our inner landscape, and I've spent the past week trying to prepare us.  I've unearthed sweaters and boots, and I've given away rattles and onesies.

Because the baby - the last baby - will be a year old in a few weeks.

Mostly I am thrilled.  His next year is my favorite, punctuated by first steps and first words and a complete fascination with the whole world.  It is an honor to watch it unfold.  Soon he will wean, and my body will be my own again.  But for the first time in nine years, my mind is not wandering to the next baby.

the book that is changing my life

Friday, October 4, 2013

I wrote this last spring.  It was one of the first posts I shared on A Wide Mercy.

I have read books that have inspired me.  Books that have opened my heart, fired me up, helped me see people instead of issues.  But right now, one book is changing my life.

It is the Book of Common Prayer.

We recently stepped out of a faith tradition that teaches knowledge is the key to a healthy spiritual life.  Right thinking leads to right living, and spiritual growth occurs almost exclusively through study.  Intellectualism is held in highest regard.  It is a heady, heavy way to approach God. 

And some people thrive in it.  I know happy, healthy believers who live well inside this faith tradition.  For a time I did too.  I saw God and the world through a religiously intellectual lens, and I functioned happily within it.  

Until our lives unraveled, and I suffocated under the weight of knowledge.

an open letter to mothers of toddlers (the crazy kind)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Dear Mother of a Crazy Toddler,

I swear, it's not you. And it does get easier.

It took me a while to have kids. My husband and I were married just out of college, but my husband traveled for work, and we put off children for a while. When we were ready, I had the shock of my life when I realized most of what I learned in high school health class was a scare tactic, and it's actually NOT that easy to get pregnant. A year later I had a miscarriage that shattered my heart. A year after THAT, I found out I was pregnant. Thirty nine long weeks, twelve hours of labor, and one emergency c-section later, I was finally a mother ...

I am guest blogging over at PardyMama today! Click here to read the rest.

If you are here from PardyMama, welcome. You may be interested in why I'm glad I don't have a stunt double (though some days I wish I did), why I'm so bad at letting my kids struggle, or how I think God sees us during the early baby days.

If you followed a link from Prodigal Magazine, and babies aren't really your thing, maybe you'd like to read why I gave up on God's will, or how my image of God is changing.

Either way, welcome.  We're glad you're here.


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