Thursday, January 15, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Send

Welcome to Five Minute Friday. The flash mob of writing where we link up over at Kate's place.

The Prompt: Send

Go.



I wish I could send myself a letter. The future me, I wish she could send the now me a letter. Some nuggets of truth and words of wisdom. I think I know what she might say. It would go a little like this:

Dear self,

Hello there. You look tired. No, you are tired. The babe probably hasn't been sleeping well because apparently baby teeth never cease to come in. Which means he's in bed with you-hot and wandering across the blankets in a fit of swollen gum frustration. And he's on the verge of the terror twos, which are as endearing as they are exhausting.

You haven't ran in ages. The weather and your weary body are to blame. And it's dark out there and you've worked enough with the scary patients to not want to be there by yourself. So you're aggravated with this body that you can't even blame on pregnancy and childbirth. There is no such grace for adoptive mammas.

You worry. A lot. You worry about your kids and their friends and the choices they make. You're working on coming to peace with the knowledge that each choice is theirs and not a direct reflection of you. But that's a tough pill to swallow. And you worry about other things-jobs, finances, finding a spare moment with the man you married that doesn't include talk about teacher conferences and baby wipes.

But here's the thing-it's going to be okay.

Tonight it may not seem like it. Tonight may have been full of tantrums and dishes and trying to keep up.

But it's going to be okay.

Your kids-they're amazing. They are funny and creative and brilliant. The twos will be gone before you know it, and those nights of baby fingers in your hair will end too quickly.

Little League and band concerts and being the taxi only lasts for a time. And don't forget-the car is often where your children will talk the most. You'll learn about boys and friends and fights and dreams as you turn on the blinkers and turn down the radio. Before long you wont be wrestling the toddler into the car seat, and the mom-mobile with all the seats wont be necessary.

Soon enough there wont be school papers lining the counters and legos trying to imprint themselves on the bottom of your foot. Darth Vader and Optimus Prime will lose their hold and girls with guitars will take over.

And that man you have? The one that tells you to go to Costco on your own because he knows it's like a mini vacation-the conversations with him will change too. You'll still have plenty to discuss, but you'll remember with a little bit of sadness how you always circled back to the next school project and how you'll ever find a babysitter for Saturday night. You'll miss those "date nights" after the kids go to bed, because that's the only moment the house is quiet.

And the work and job and other worries? It will come. The writing is what you love and don't forget that. The jobs will come and go, and you'll change lives in the midst.


So, ~M. Take a breath and take a bubble bath. Take a minute to relax and breath in the smell of youth and family and adventure.

This world only spins so many times with you in it, don't let it slip by.

Take care,
~M

Stop.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Welcome

Hi there! I'm linking up with Kate and the #fmfparty girls for a little writing exercise. Want to join in the fun? 

Prompt: Welcome

Go. 


Welcome to the table. 

The surface is scarred and marred by years of plates and hot mugs claiming the surface. The stain has wore thin in places and there are scratches and dents that were once rough and now are smooth from the dance of this thing called life. 

It is crafted from dogwood, and there are stains that run the course of the grain. Crimson and black. There are three holes in the flat of timber, each carrying a ring of rust. Remnants of an old nail are at one end, left behind from the sign it once held. 

Those who have gathered have come hungry and full and somewhere in the middle, but they gather still because this is where the work gets done. Where the fights mellow and the tears have filled gaps between the leaves. This is where it all gets laid out for the world to see. 

This is where the stories are told and where the grace is given like wine that never runs out. This is where the celebration of life and death and redemption occur. This is where we come together and fall apart and leave a new person.  This is where the saving started and where the law changed. This is where everything changes. 

And all are welcome at the table. 

Stop. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Time for a Change

In my past life I was a hairstylist. I worked at a cute salon in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I wore trendy clothes and adorable shoes. Heals. I wore heals. Regularly. My hair was constantly changing, because, why not? Hubby got to the point where weekly he would tell me he liked my new style, just to cover the bases.

When I was stressed or upset or trying to work through something, it came out in my hair. It is the one thing that I could control. One month I sported 5 different complete colors (that's what taking pre-reqs and applying to nursing school will do to you. I also developed an eye twitch that hung on for 6 months). From blonde to black, which I actually quite liked. When we moved from Michigan I set down my shears in the professional arena. I didn't have the time to get re-licensed in Idaho, but I kept my Montana license always. I still have it. Even though I don't stand behind the chair anymore. I just can't give it up.

A part of me still misses doing hair. The smells. The creativity of it. The relationships I built with my clients. It was one of the most fun times of my life and walking into a salon always brings back the memories.

I've made some changes over the last few years. I decided to grow my hair out when I was in nursing school and as it grows about as fast as molasses, it took awhile. Three years, really, to get it where I wanted it. And then it had taken so long I didn't dare cut it. I've actually had nightmares about cutting my hair. Ridiculous, isn't it?

I stopped coloring it too. For seven years my hair hasn't felt a drop of color or bleach. I embraced it. Went back to my hippy roots a bit. And I held on. I was told once that older women shouldn't have long hair. I don't follow directions well and so when I became a mom I think I sort of told myself that I had to keep my hair long to show that I didn't buy into that theory.

But I've hit a point. Maybe it's an early mid-life crisis. Maybe it's just that I'm not where I want to be in various areas of my life. Maybe I'm just bored. But I went to bed last night thinking about it and I woke up this morning with resolve. After the kids left for school, with the babe still sleeping, I did it.

It was so liberating to feel the cool steel of my shears against my neck and hear the harsh snip of 7 years. After the first cut, there's no going back. I cut by feel. Pulling and adjusting. And in the end, I felt like a new woman. Thirteen inches and seven years. Gone.

It's a beautiful thing.

I feel like the girl I used to be. And it feels great.


Friday, January 2, 2015

When the Word Picks You

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. I never have been. I usually forget about making them until after the first and then it seems sort of pointless. Then if I do make them, I typically don't really follow them. I don't like it when people tell me what to do-myself included. ;) I know I need to be healthier, I don't need a new year to tell me that or spur me to start it, the half marathon I want to run in May is enough to get me terrified about getting in better shape again.

Then there's the OneWord365 challenge. I jumped on this last year and though I tried, I feel like I kind of sucked at it. But I really like the idea of it. One word, just one to sum up what you want your year to look like. I watched my friends pick words and refine them through out the year and was humbled by their process. I felt sort of in a slump about mine. The more I tried, the worse I felt like a did. Perhaps it was my own perceptions, or perhaps I really was just failing. *shoulder shrug* I'm not sure. But it is what it is and this is a new year, right?

But still, I wasn't going to do it. I've been struggling to find balance here lately. Between the move and new schools and a new job, life has felt kind of chaotic. I've been able to work from home more, which is amazing, but that comes with challenges all of its own. So I wasn't going to do it this year: no resolutions, no one word. No pushing like crazy on this little piece of the world where my words ebb and flow. I want this year to be calmer. I want this year to be a more of a reflection and less of a comparison. I want more peace.

You know what they say-if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

So here's the thing (problem?). There's been this word floating through my mind the last few weeks. When I was deciding whether or not to do the One Word challenge. I brushed it off, telling myself that 2015 wasn't going to be THAT year. But it keeps coming back. And honestly, it's scaring me a bit.

The last few months seem to have been full of sorrow in various places and lives of those I love. Looking back over 2014 all that seems to stand out are the blaring areas of inadequacy, pain and heartbreak. My friend laid her baby to rest. Our nation has been torn apart and I've seen my friends at each other's throats. The innocent and the guilty have lost their lives and the wounded have become broken. My filter for this past year is clouded with the destruction of the past few months.  And this one word keeps coming back to me.

I've seen God work in the past. I've felt him in my own life and watched his hand in the lives of others. I know that often the greatest lessons come from the biggest heartbreaks. I've learned to stop praying for patience because he builds it through trials. I've prayed for peace instead. So this word scares me a bit. It calls out a rendering of me and a the touch of the refiner's fire. To submit to it and all it asks means to put aside so much of myself in response to his call. Because I already really try to do this anyway. But I feel like this year, there will be more.

The word, the one that keeps pulling me in a somersault of emotions is Faithful.

Faithful myself-trusting. Believing. Knowing that he will meet the needs and is ever present in this world that feels like it's falling apart. Allowing myself to give over fully when he calls. But even more so, I feel like this is not so much about my actions, but about his. That he's asking me to remember that he will be faithful, so much more than I am. That no matter what happens in this year or in this world, he is faithful and it all ends in his glory.

That's what scares me. I've learned about patience the hard way. I'm terrified to embrace this aspect of faithfulness. I've been watching those I love struggle through the most difficult situations and seen the beauty of their faith emerge. It is a humbling thing to watch.

In the end, it is all the same. He is faithful. Always faithful. Through the times of lean and the times of plenty. Through the joy and through the sorrow. He is faithful. And he's asking me to trust that, no matter what.

I didn't chose one word for 2015. It chose me. Now all that is left is to take that step. He's called me out on the water. He will not let me sink.

Deep breath.

Hello 2015.




Sunday, December 28, 2014

Safe

I thought I lost her.


My little girl. I thought I lost her.


We're visiting family for the weekend. Headed to higher ground where the snow is deeper and the sledding is faster. The twins had been sledding all day and after dinner were at it for round 396. X-Man came inside just as I was buttoning up the little Beastie's snow suit and slipping on my boots. Lil' Girl was on the front porch.


And then she wasn't.


I carted the babe outside and hubby followed. I pulled X-Man on my lap and we went flying down the hill. I thought she'd be at the bottom. Thought she'd taken one of the sleds for a solo run and would be there, in her neon pink, a grin spread across her rosy cheeks.


But she wasn't.


It's dark down there, at the bottom of the hill. the trees are thick and the bushes mark a path that winds back and forth over the ground and then skirts the creek. The creek with the thin layer of ice and the frozen water that churns beneath. They know not to go near the creek. They know. But....


She wasn't at the bottom. Trudging back up the hill, the snow heavy on my boots and my breath bursts of clouds against my cheeks, I watched for her. No pink. No giggle. No sneaky Lil' Girl. At the top of the hill I did a quick scan. All sleds were accounted for. We yelled for her to come out of her hiding spot, but received no reply.


Inside we did a quick search and came up empty. Back into the cold Hubby and I went. Our flashlights ricochet off the snow banks as the drifts climbed higher up our legs. We split up and took different paths, following any trail that may have been recent.


At first I wasn't worried. At ;first I just thought she was playing. Being sneaky. Giving us all a fright and then she'd pop out and say "Boo!". But the mountains returned only my voice and the echo of her name. I started to panic. My flashlight bounced and my eyes searched for pink. For brown hair among the branches. I followed tracks that wound around, in and out of the bushes. Through the field and skirted the creek. I prayed.


Jesus help me find my little girl.


The tracks ended a foot from the edge of the water. She couldn't be there. Please God let her not be there.


I circled back around, searching for more tracks, but I'd followed them all. Then, from the top of the hill Hubby called my name. I got her.


Thank you God. She's home. She's safe.


I stopped at the top of the hill to catch my breath then went to the house. Hubby stepped outside and told me he'd found her, feet from where I'd been earlier. She'd had an accident and was embarrassed to come out. But she was safe.


It is amazing what the body will do. How it will safeguard you until the limit is met and exceeded. She was fine, but I was not. He held me as I sobbed tears of relief-thankful that she was back. Unharmed. Safe.


Safe.


Exhale.


Safe.


Brush the tears away.


Safe.


Thank you Jesus. She's safe.


Friday, December 26, 2014

We Wait

Our Christmas tree this year was lacking. The tree itself was beautiful. The hubbs had cut it himself on his way home from work (there are some things about being back home in Montana that stand out among the others). It was tall and full and perfectly pine-y. The lacking was our fault. We had run out of lights and when we bought new ones, they were too short. You can't put the ornaments on the tree until the branches are decked out with lights, so the adornments were set aside for a later time. But then we decided to paint and who wants to move a fully decorated tree? Not this girl. And as the days went on the tree remained undecorated aside from the small strand of lights at it's base. By Christmas Eve it was apparent that the thing was just not getting gorgeous. And I was okay with that.

I'm kind of a Christmas girl. It's my favorite holiday and I revel in the lights and the twinkling and the ornaments and ribbons. I love the beauty and how the adornments make me feel-like I'm part of an age old tradition that just runs each year and through the joy of the season. I love the music. I'm kind of a fanatic about it. I talked about my favorite song a couple weeks ago, O Come O Come Emmanuel and how I've been studying Advent this season. Throughout this time of preparation my view of Christmas has changed.

I've always focused on the baby. On Mary. Of how the world was changed with the appearance of the King of Kings. But what I've realized this year is that Christmas, this season, goes so far beyond that. See, Advent is about the waiting. It's about promises fulfilled and the people meeting their Savior. And he came, and is with us still, but here's the thing-it's not about his birth. This is what has been pulling on my heart this season. It's not about the manger or the shepherds or wise men, though each play a part. Ultimately, Christmas is about the cross.

See, there are prophesies that were played out as the earth waited to feel his footsteps again. They revolved around the birth of the King. From where he would be born, in Bethlehem, to who he would be born to, under the lineage of David, to a virgin. There were signs to his people to show them 2,000 years ago that he was who he said he was. The birth and childhood itself held such symbolism. From who came to witness his life and who wished to end it. But they continued still through his life here on earth.

photo form Sing with  the Spirit
He continued to show us who he was. He came not as a charismatic superstar, but as a carpenter covered in dust and grace and the Will of the Father. Through his life he fulfilled the prophesies of ages before, and in his death he continued to do so. Not a bone was broken in his death, as was called out in Numbers. He body was pierced and blood and water flowed out, as in Leviticus. His belongings were shared, as predicted in Psalms. Hundreds more were said and completed. But the greatest of all is this: he was the ultimate sacrifice. The purest of the pure. The unblemished and perfect lamb. This could have never happened without his birth.

That's what I'm learning this season. That all happens with a look to the future and the glory that comes with it. Because his death was not the end. It fulfilled prophecies of times to come. When he will return not as the humble carpenter. And now we wait, in this season of Advent that is not just the four weeks prior to the holy holiday. But in this world that is on bended knee, waiting for her King. We are living in the Advent of the Second Coming. Waiting for the King of Peace to come make this chaotic world whole as it was meant to be. We celebrate his birth, to take in the majesty of his death and the joy in the knowledge that he will come again.

We are in the Advent. We are waiting held captive by the chains of this world. The prophecies of old have been fulfilled just as those to come are marking their place in time. His kingdom now waits not in exultation of his humble birth, but in anticipation of his mighty return.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.


Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall ransom
thee o Israel!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Joy

But the angel said unto them.......

Today a mother lays her son to rest.

Do not be afraid for I bring you tidings of great joy.......

Today a father kisses his littler girl goodbye for the last time.

Which will be for all the people. 

Today a child sits in a cell, alone and afraid.

For today in the city of David.......

Today a wife will leave her wedding ring on the pillow.

There has been born to you a Savior.......

Today a man will lose his life because he will not renounce his faith.

Who is Christ the Lord.

Today a life will be broken. Today a spirit will be torn. Today a family will be broken. Today tears will run like rivers and fill the seas of broken hearts. Today some will wonder what the wonder of this season is. Today faith will be tested, strained and maybe broken. Today, in this week of joy where the pink candle of Advent is lit.

Today often feels far from joy. We tend to wonder, when we're faced with trials and tears, where God is. Why he has so seemingly abandoned us. We wonder if he is even watching this menagerie on Earth, because it is so difficult to hear his voice.

El-Roi: The God who sees. 

But sweet friend, He does see. He sees when you are hurting and struggling. He understand the pain that you feel and recognizes the depth of your loss. He felt each one on the cross. He knows your heartache and your mistakes. He sees your tears, and he counts each one. And he hurts right along with you.

Yahwey-Rapha: The Lord who heals.

We have burdens of sorrow that weigh on our hearts and our souls like a cancer. We have diseases that riddle our bodies and our minds. We have friends and loved ones whose passing will be marked by this season where we are to feel joy, and yet sorrow will flood our heart. But Jesus, Jesus heals. He heals not only the carries of your body but the vanquishing of your soul. He heals not just the war-ravaged mind but the war-ravaged flesh. He covers each wound with a bandage of his love and grace. He is the usher of life-he calls forth the first wail and carries the last breath. And sometimes he calls us home.

Yahwey-Shalom: The Lord our Peace.

He is the keeper of all peace. He is the nurse of broken hearts and the grace of each morning. He sees the wars of this world and knows that one day it will all be washed in His glory. That he will return again, a warrior for his people and bring peace.

Emmanuel: God with us. 

He came the first time, not as a warrior. Not as a mighty tower of power and strength. But as a baby. Wrapped in swaddling clothes in the humblest of all places. Kings and shepherds alike were called to him. The richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. He walked this earth as a toddler, a child and a man. He experienced the gamete of human trials and emotions. He died the death of a common thieve-though he had done no wrong.

And he did it for you. For me. And he would have done if for only you or only me if that's what we needed. He would have died a thousand deaths to bring one child home to him. But only one was required. He took the cup of judgement and wrath and he drank it fully so that we don't have to.

And he is with us still. What joy there is in that!

This week of Advent, as the stresses of the season seem to mount we are meant to feel joy. We are called to prepare our hearts, not our trees, for the coming of the Savior. We are asked to recognize the Light of the World through the darkness that may hover over our spirit.

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a heavenly host, praising God and saying "Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests!". 

This gift that was given to us is far more than a token. This is the gift of peace. The gift of joy. The gift of hope. The gift of salvation. It is the ultimate gift that can be given: a child, a life.

He is the God who sees us, in all our joy and sorrow. He is the God who heals us, from our broken heart to our broken body. He is the God who brings us peace in this shattered world. And though he walked this world as a man 2,000 years ago, he is Emmanuel and with us still.

I don't know what sorrows you face this season or what heartaches are holding you tight. But I pray that in this week of joy, you feel the Savior wrap you in his arms and love on you. I pray that you find  peace in the chaos and joy in the preparation.


Blessings to you and yours.
~M