Feeling Shy

I think I dreamed about blogging last night. Well, that and drinking a ginormous sweet tea from McAllister’s Deli and eating an order of chips and salsa solo. I know, my dreams are pure glam y’all.

I write, it’s what I do. I scribble prayers and words to help me process, I string sentences to express my heart. I just have been doing that in journals and scrap papers and Word docs and haven’t made the time to do that here lately. And I kinda miss it.

The internet (Internet? Does it need a capital?) has certainly changed our lives. Blogging was such a comfort to me as a new mommy in 2008 when I started Momfessions and reached out into the depths of the Web to find comfort and camaraderie. Nowadays blogs have seemingly been replaced with the faster paced tempo of Facebook and Instagram and who knows what else (apparently not I.)

I don’t want to generate a six figure income here. I don’t really want to do reviews or link you to products or pretend I have it enough together to start a blog feature. I don’t even want to go to blogging conferences and pretend I know what’s going on. I just want to come back to my space, and I don’t know why I feel so shy about that.

I cleaned up some, but I am still working on clearing debris from the archives and tidying up the place, but by all means grab a latte or an entire bag of M&Ms and make yourself at home.

This is my blog. And I like to write here.

 

Dearest Lovebug

I wrote this post a year ago in April 2013. The words– and the heart behind them– are as true today as they were then. 

It is starting to drive us absolutely crazy that you aren’t here with us, baby girl! We had a few weeks recently of thinking we had found you, and our hearts quickly tumbled ahead of us with dreams and plans and excitement and joy and preparations… but alas, it wasn’t you. And so we came back to earth and we continue to wait.

Your brother (Stinkbug) and your sister (Ladybug) are tremendously anxious to meet you. Stinkbug points out the empty chair at our table and says that it’s where you’ll sit when you get here. He asks when you’re coming. Your sister prayed such sweet words at bedtime tonight, pleading with Jesus to bring you home quickly because she “doesn’t know what it’s like to have a sister and already has you in her heart”.

(Your smallest brother, Doodlebug, is two and a half and calls you “baby sister”, but has many other things to worry about right now like how to smear as much red mud on his jeans as possible before I make him come inside, and how to avoid big boy underwear at all costs. He’s kind of a handful. You’ll love him, I promise.)

I also find myself wondering about you. Each morning I wake up wondering if this will be the day your picture pops up on my screen and my heart shouts YES! THAT’S HER! ???? As full and messy and joyful as my life is now with three kids, I feel your absence constantly.

I wanted you to be with us last week when we went on vacation and were swimming indoors and stayed in a hotel all smooshed into two beds (It soundsmore picturesque than it was, thank goodness it was only two nights!) And we ate donuts for dinner one night (I know, baby girl! We are crazy sometimes, you’d better get used to it!) and I wondered– would you have picked the jelly-filled donut like your sister? Would you like chocolate milk or white milk to wash that donut down? Or maybe you don’t like milk at all?

When we hunted for Easter eggs a couple weeks ago, I wanted to see you chasing after your brothers and laughing with glee when you spotted a colorful treasure hidden in the grass. I wanted to see you in an Easter dress, spinning and twirling like all princesses should. I wanted to have a picture of us all dressed up and ready for church. I wanted you with us.

At dinner each night I wish I was setting another plate. Another cup. Another fork. Instead one chair stands empty.

I don’t know where you are now, and that’s almost too much for my heart to bear. I need you here beside me. In my arms. In your sister’s room. In our bathtub. At our table. In your Daddy’s lap during family worship each evening.

We love you, Ladybug. We pray for you every day– that God would protect you and provide all your needs and that He would bring you home quickly.

Because your family is waiting.

Watercolors

Sometimes I wish life were a little neater– that the colors would all stay neatly inside the lines on this grand backdrop. But the life-giving water splashes the page almost continuously and the colors swirl before my eyes, achingly beautiful.Painted in Waterlogue

So hard have I fought against the soaked brush swooping down onto the page to spread the rainbow. I long for the order of the lines and the way they contain each color– purples in the flowers, greens of the earth, yellows from the sun… No mixing. No mess. No heartache.Painted in Waterlogue

The wet falls. The colors swirl immediately as the water breathes life into them. They dance across the water, intertwining. I cringe, anticipating the mess. Struggling against the inevitable. The purple seeps into the yellow and I fear that all is ruined.Painted in Waterlogue

The blue and green tug-o-war against each other– a competing horizon. I hold my breath. This can never be corrected.Painted in Waterlogue

The painter knows the beauty that comes from the mixing. He knows the colors are most beautiful when he masterfully moves them around in the dance of the sacred messy. He knows it looks like all is lost– all is beyond repair– for the briefest of moments. But he isn’t concerned. Painted in Waterlogue

He pauses.

In the pause I wonder. Does he really know what he’s doing?

He flourishes the water to the page once more and when the last bristle leaves the canvas my heart stops. The majesty! The perfection! The lines are blurred. The evidence of grappling between the colors remains, now blossoming into brilliant shades of grace in every corner.

And the masterpiece?

Worth everything.

 

 

 

(Paintings from Waterlogue app for iPhone/iPod.)

Today at the Park

The boys fell asleep during rest time today for the first time in weeks, and I rushed them awake at 4:30 knowing we were running out of sunlight and they needed to stretch their legs at the park.

I was slightly annoyed already. Husband is gone for the week, so I’m playing the single parent gig. And PMSing.

Doodlebug got out of bed at the mention of the park, pottied, and got shoes on like it was no big deal. (This is totally a big deal as parenting him lately has been total torture difficult.)

Stinkbug whined, complained, cried, and protested. He didn’t want the shirt I picked. He didn’t want to change out of his shorts. He didn’t want socks. He wanted his new shoes. He didn’t have to go potty right then. FOR. THE. LOVE.

I kept it together (for the most part), and warned him he was going to miss out on playtime. Then I ticked off the minutes he would sit out each time he complained or argued. Six minutes of time-out promised. More crying and complaining.

Finally. Out the door. To the park. I started a timer for Stink’s timeout and at first he watched the seconds tick down. Then he settled back on the bench. By the time the buzzer sounded, he crawled in my lap and announced he didn’t want to play. I tried to convince him to run, slide, chase, swing but he stuck to his guns. No playing today. Whatever, dude.

A few moments later an older lady was walking through the park and staring at Stinkbug. Like a little awkwardly. I worried that I knew her, but I could not for the life of me remember where I would know her from. When she was standing directly in front of me (still staring straight at Stink) she said, “I can’t stop looking at him. He looks just like my son did. My son had blond hair like this. He looked just like this.” She reached out and stroked Stinkbug’s hair and I swear she was somewhere else behind her clear eyes.

“He’s thirty eight now.” She shook her head as if to shake herself from the dream she was re-living. “The time passes so fast.” She said it more to herself than to me and gave Stinkbug one last pat before heading off into the fading daylight.

I felt my eyes filling with tears as I imagined my son as a thirty eight year old man with his own life, his own problems, his own family. I squeezed Stinkbug a little closer and breathed in little boy scent radiating off his sweet blond head.

The days can be hard (especially when my husband is out of town!), but I don’t ever want to wish this away. I don’t want to hold regrets in my heart when I see children playing on the playground near my house thirty years from now. I want to smile at the beautiful memories, laugh with fondness over the messiness of this find-your-shoes, i-need-to-go-potty, we-forgot-the-book-bag, can-i-have-a-snack season of life.

I’m thankful for a little perspective today. These kids? A gift without comparison. These days? Messy, but precious beyond description. These few years? Fleeting. Flying. Never waiting. Never slowing.

Day 31: Clothe Yourself Well

A few years ago, I was participating occasionally in a weekly blog challenge to post my outfits for the week. The point of the challenge is to encourage stay-at-home-moms to get dressed and care well for our appearance, instead of staying in sweat pants all day every day.

The problem for me became that I was constantly obsessing about putting the perfect outfit together to showcase for the world (you know, all three of you who read my blog– hi mom!) I was caring a little too much about what I was putting on myself each day. I was considering too much what others would think of me based on my clothing choices.

About that time, I read 7 by Jen Hatmaker and one of her chapters is on clothing. It really shook something inside of me to realize my pride in my appearance– that I was spending too much time shopping for clothes, getting myself dressed, and gazing at myself in the mirror. I began to spend the time I was getting ready each morning praying instead of obsessing. I prayed that I would be clothed with Christ. I prayed for specific characteristics and qualities I wanted God to clothe me with for the day– like patience, compassion, love, and joy.

It was just the practice I needed to stop my self-pride and focus on getting myself ready for the day in the ways that matter most. I may have the cutest sweater, most trendy jeans and most perfect accessories on, but if I am not “clothed” spiritually, I am not ready to face the day!

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14)

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. (1 Peter 3:3-4)

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Day 30: Pray about Everything

When I was a very new mom fretting about starting my first baby on solids, I spoke with a veteran mom from church whom I very much admired. She shared her experiences with babies and solid food and encouraged me to pray about what food to start with and how to begin.

I have taken that advice to heart so many times over the years– praying about things others might deem small and worthless. Dropping naps, giving up pacifiers, solids, when to take a kid to the doctor, how to get to heart issues in correcting and disciplining my children, how to explain hard truths about life (like cancer and death)… the list could go on and on.

Paul would probably tell a new mom the same thing my friend told me:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. (Philippians 4:6)

Isn’t that just the perfect piece of advice for moms? Baby having trouble settling into sleep habits? Pray. Fever spiking again? Pray. Rash all over child’s skin? Pray. Starting solids? Pray. Teenager starting to drive? PRAY. Firstborn applying for college? Pray. Child having difficulty with friends/teacher/schoolwork? Pray. Son talking back when you ask him to do something? Pray. Daughter not wanting to share about something going on with a friend? Pray.

What are you worrying about today, mama? Don’t worry anymore, instead pray about it.

soulcoffeegraphic