Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day 2016

Mother’s Day 2016

It’s Mother’s Day weekend, which has never been a huge celebration in my family.  We have church, my kids give me some homemade crafts and we go out to eat (instead of eating Taco Bell).  That’s it.  And it’s good. Mother’s Day seems odd to me anyway.  I think, like other holidays, it was invented by the greeting card company.  It just seems artificial and obligatory.  Our family still celebrates a little bit; you can bet your farm and all its chickens I’d be mad if my kids didn’t acknowledge it.  But overall it’s just another day in motherhood.

I am blessed by motherhood.  I am blessed by the complexity and painful nature of it.  Nothing, other than marriage, has shaped me so much as being a mom.  It has emptied me, ripped me apart, humbled me, stretched me, broken me.  Such is the nature of love.

Ephesians 5:1-2
Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Giving yourself up for another is love. Giving yourself up for a dirty-faced boy with sticky fingers and grass stained clothes is motherhood.

Giving yourself to a child who is sick and may not make it, who may not live the life you dreamed for her;

Giving yourself to a teenager who doesn’t appreciate you, sometimes hates you and never thanks you but still needs you;

Giving yourself to carpools and soccer games and boy scouts and baseball;

Giving yourself to a baby with colic who just doesn’t respond to your attempts to comfort her;

Giving yourself to tantrums and tempers and fevers and nightmares and tears;

Giving yourself to math homework and science projects and picky eaters and dirty laundry and heartbreak and first love;

Giving yourself to your kids when they do stupid things and get themselves into all kinds of trouble but you still see them as the freckle-faced, cherub-cheeked angel of yesterday;

Giving yourself when your adult child leaves the nest and you have to pretend to be happy because you know it is good for them, but you are really heartbroken;

This is motherhood.  This is sacrifice.  It’s how we are shaped into better and more holy people; more broken and more full.  This is love. 

Mother’s Day will pass this weekend and I hope you get a macaroni necklace or a clean house or a card.  Because you are important and you should be celebrated.  But we know as mothers that no gift or sentiment could match the beautiful pain of motherhood.  And if I had to pick a Mother’s Day gift or a child with a bloody knee and dirty tears running down his face, I’d pick the child every time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Thoughts From the First Day of Lent

February 10

I have a particularly busy and hectic week this week. My mind is racing, full of to do lists, things left undone, words said, glances given.  It is full of people who need me, people who are expecting things from me, people I do not want to let down.  Fear and anxiety are my daily bread this week.  I cringe to think I am showing my weakness.  
I don’t want to do that.  I can tell you I am human.  But I don’t want you to see it.

I must be strong.  I must be good.  I must be without flaw.  But must I?  It is exhausting.  I would rather taste Your goodness.  I would rather rest in Your fullness. 

Deliver me oh God.  I need Your peace. I want to rest no matter what is swirling around me.  I want to hear Your voice Lord; the voice that says, “you are enough and you are human and that is good.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Fine Art of Half-Assing Life

I have thought about writing a book.  For the longest time, I haven't known what to write about it.  But it occurred to me today that I have a lot of experience in half-assing things.  And so, I've decided if I ever get around to finishing a book (because I have started writing several) that it should be on the Fine Art of Half-Assing Life.

I haven't intended to be an expert in this field.  In fact, I spend a lot of time berating myself because I AM an expert in this field.  I have friends who are extremely successful, like really successful, extraordinary friends.   I have one friend who is a manager of a Behavioral Health unit and has like 100s of employees working for her.  She is successful.  But she is also genuinely a good person and I couldn't be happier to see her succeed. But she is just further proof that success is possible leaving me with less and less of an excuse.

Now, I'm not saying I want to be a career woman.  I only half want to be one.  And that's the problem.  I half want success in the workplace and I half want to be a stay at home mom.  Half of me is always dissatisfied.  I'm not a good stay-at-home mom either, by the way.  I've included some pictures of my most obvious domestic failures.

The pictures below are of our socks.  I started off with one sock basket.  When socks came out of the dryer, I would put them in the basket.  When someone needed a pair of socks, they dug through the basket to find a close-enough match.  Ta-da.  The basket became a little overwhelming so I have recently instituted two sock baskets. One has socks that I match as soon as they come out of the dryer.  The other basket has all the socks I don't match when they come out of the dryer.  I like this system a little better.  Now there are always some matching socks.  Ta-da!!  Feel free to use this system by the way.  No charge for my helpful advice.

Un-Matched Socks Straight From the Dryer
Matched Socks.........
I am completely lacking a green thumb.  My sweet husband bought me this plant several months ago. I love it.  But I forget to water it.   The only reason it isn't totally dead is because sometimes my husband waters it.  Hubby also bought some cute little red-solo cup lights and strung them up for me. They are currently out of batteries but hey.......  I'm half-assing it, right?

I don't know that there is a really strong point in this particular blog post.  I guess, somedays I want to know I am not the only one who can't get it right.  And you might need some solidarity today too.  Maybe next week I'll write about the advantages of being mediocre at everything but for today, I'm just going to rest in the fact that I'm not the only one.  I'm not the only one, am I?

Monday, August 31, 2015

Parlor Tricks

Parlor Tricks

Toren starts Kindergarten tomorrow.  Today is his last day as a non-school age child.  It doesn't really mean much.  I know he won't morph into an entirely different species in the morning.  Still, it's a reminder that life is fleeting.  There is that old saying, "The days are long, but the years are short."  I feel that today.
Toren eating his favorite lunch today; McDonald's Happy Meal with Chicken Nuggets!!

I wonder if I have taken enough time with Toren.   Did I play enough board games with him?  Did I do enough underdogs on the swing-set, bake enough cookies, read enough books?  I fear I haven't.  When I look at my children I want to freeze them at the ages they are now.  I want a do over.  I want another chance to show my love for them.  I want to do it better.

We don't have the capacity as humans to stop time.  Maybe in eternity, it will be a parlor trick that we can practice and show off for our Father.  But for now, time moves.  It is constant.  It is more constant than me.   So my choice with my children is to love them better now, and love them better tomorrow, because I cannot love them better yesterday.

I am sure Kindergarten will be rife with opportunities for me to be the kind of mom I want to be.  I am sure I will have opportunities with my fourth grader and my teenagers as well.  My sincerest prayer today is that I will not waste any more time.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cheese and Crackers

I wrote the following about 6 months ago and just found it today.  Still working on the whole contentment thing.  But we did pull Toren out of preschool, so there's that.

I am sitting next to the cutest little four-year-old you could possibly imagine.  We are watching Wallace and Gromit- my boy’s choice. Wallace and Gromit is comprised of some claymation figures- an English man and a dog who is constantly annoyed at the English man.  Wallace and his dog decide they need some more cheese to go with their crackers, so of course they build a clay rocket to the moon because “everyone knows the moon is made of cheese.”  I have watched this show countless times and it is the worst show I have ever seen. But Toren loves it. I’m not sure why.  He can quote every word.

Anyway, I am sitting here watching Wallace and Gromit with sweet, sweaty boy and I feel purely blissful. I wish I could always be so content.
I have not been content this week.

Here is a list of things that had me flustered beyond reason in the last 7 days.
1.              Toren screams every time I drop him off at preschool.  For a month straight.  Every time. My precious child acts like a monster.  The terrible little snotty nosed monster you want to smack at the grocery store when he is screaming at the top of his lungs and hitting his mom.  That’s my kid. Once a day. For a month straight.
2.             My kids fight, all the time.  No really. All the time.
3.              Okay, I guess there really isn’t that much that I was unreasonably anguished over.  There was just an unreasonable amount of anguishing.

“Crackers, Gromit, we forgot the crackers!”  How could they eat the cheese on the moon without crackers?  Do you see how stupid this show is?

I don’t know how to keep this peace that I feel now in my heart when things are not going my way. There are only rare moments that you get to spend watching clay figures speak in English accents while cuddling your boy.  Most of life is a lot more furious than that.  Most of life is fast and inconvenient.  And the moon is never really made of cheese when you need it to be.

So how can I sew contentment into the fabric of every moment?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fifteen Years

I have been married for 15 years today.  15 years to the same man.  When thinking about this day, December 17, I can't help but reminisce on all the past anniversaries we have shared.  Last year we went to a hotel in Salt Lake City and to a really expensive restaurant.  Then we went back to the room, drank a bottle of wine and watched TV.  (My kids are going to read this).  6 years ago, Matt had just gotten out of the hospital, just diagnosed with a kidney disease.  It was a somber one, but we went out anyway.  We went to the movies and then called it a night.  4 years ago when our anniversary rolled around we had been fighting, constantly, for like 3 months.  And my husband bought me the most beautiful anniversary ring.  I still wear it everyday.   When he gave it to me he said, "I know we've been fighting.  But I love you.  It's going to be alright."

Love is like that.  There are hard times.  Sometimes it seems like there are more hard times that carefree ones.  There are sicknesses, and financial hardships. There are fights and anxieties and depression.  There are busy times, business trips, and nights spent working late.   There are disagreements over just about anything.  There are personality conflicts, pet peeves, little annoyances, and nagging.   I can remember one time I hung up some of Matt's pants, and I didn't do it very neatly.  I was in a hurry and I didn't even hang up my own jeans -who hangs up their jeans?- but here I was hanging up my husbands.  I had two toddlers pulling on my leg and a million other things to do. Getting the creases just right was not on the top of my priority list.  Matt comes home, sees the wrinkles in his clothes and says, "If you're going to do laundry, you should do it right."  I didn't do his laundry for about a month.  And then he apologized and I minded my creases from there on out.

Love is about forgiveness and forbearance. On our wedding day so long ago, I could not imagine a day when I would not like my husband.  He was my Prince Charming.  He was handsome and funny and smart and boisterous and all around amazing. He brought so much laughter into my existence, I was sure ours would be the love story for the ages.  Never a fight, except about who loved the other one more.  Never a dull moment.  Never time spent apart- how could we bear it?  If you have just been married, you might relate.  If you have been married for any length of time you are laughing right now.  Because that is not real love.  That is a hologram of what real love is.  Real love says, I know your faults, I have shown you mine.  I will not leave you, I will not shut you out.  I will humble myself again, and again, and again.  When my pride wants to protect my heart, I will freely give it to you. When you hurt me, I will forgive you, no matter how hard it might be.  When I hurt you, I will try to do better.  I will stay when everyone else leaves.

I love my husband.  He is not Prince Charming but he is a wonderful man and he is mine.  I could not imagine a more incredible person to spend my days and nights with.  When he is gone, I miss him, most of the time.  I wouldn't want to fight with anyone else.  There is no one else who knows all my insecurities.  There is no other person I want to share the ups and downs of life with.  So on this, our 15th wedding anniversary, I want to toast to 60 more, or however long we have.  From this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.  I love you Matt.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Puberty and Shrek Sized Insecurities

My oldest son, Jaden, recently attended his 5th grade maturation class.  For those of you who don't know, this is the class where public schools separate the boys and the girls, sit them in a awkward room, show a cheesy video on the birds and the bees and talk about what to expect during puberty.  My son was mortified.  He brought home the pamphlet that was given to him, "Mom" he said "you would not BELIEVE how many times the teacher said the word penis."  I know we are just talking body parts here, but there is a large part of me that is glad my 11 year old is uncomfortable discussing them.
Jaden, insecurity free, on a family trip.

My son also asked me a question that got me thinking, and thus is the reason for this post.  "Mom, the pamphlet says during puberty you can have in increase in insecurities.  Does that mean you worry about what people think about you and stuff? Because I do that."  And that's when it hit me.  I must be going through puberty...still.  Because I worry about what people think about me and stuff, a lot.

I had an encounter with a third grader this year that revealed just how much I care what other people think.  I helped out in my 3rd graders PE class this year and one of Cael's friends was very disrespectful to me.  Because of this, I did not allow my son to invite the boy to his birthday party.  Unfortunately, the boy found this out.  He then began his four month long tantrum where he called me a long list of 3rd grader insults. Every day he would tell Cael and Cael's other friends what he thought of me.   I was evil, mean, fat.  I had dragon teeth.  I was stupid. And the worst one;  I was as ugly as Shrek.   Really? Shrek?  I think I at least deserved Fiona.  The point is I really cared what this third grade boy, whom I had had one conversation with, thought about me.  Even though I don't like him, I wanted him to like me; needed him to like me.

I think to some degree we can all relate.  We want to be liked.  That's not a bad thing in and of itself.  But when the desire to be liked becomes bigger than our desire to please God, we have a problem.  When what others think of us becomes more important that what we think of ourselves or what our Lord thinks of us, we have a problem. And the answer is simple, though not easy.  We need to remember that we have inherent worth.
  • You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well Psalm 139:13-15
  •  Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Luke 12:7
  •  I have loved you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3 
God created us, He knows us, He loves us.  God; creator of the universe, holds everything together, that God, He created me.  God; who knows more about DNA, astronomy and physics than any scientist that ever was, that God, He knows me.  God; who IS love, who created the very idea of love, that God, He loves me. When I realize these truths, it puts my insecurities into perspective.

So my job is to remind myself of these truths, and to impart to my sons these truths, so that eventually we can stop worrying about what other people think of us.  Puberty is not that fun; I would like for it to end.