Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lessons in Moving

It's not been a lack in housekeeping skills... It's been a presence of a social life. 

Having extra stuff is NOT convenient. Generousity is a blessing to both the giver and the receiver. 

God's beauty is everywhere. 

There are blessings that top the close proximity of Target... Like developing friendships through making the hour trek together. 

Some cities have secret rules about invisible lanes you can drive and park in... Cleveland is one of those cities. 

There can be woods in the city!

Regardless of whether on a 1 acre, creek possessing, country lot or a three car wide cement slab, my kids can make up awesome games to play outside. 

States have different landscaping styles. 

Porches are nice no matter what the scenery. 

Good churches are everywhere... But feeling at home at them takes time and vulnerability... Both which are hard to invest when you're missing people. 

Google maps is my friend. 

Investigating new coffee shops is super fun!

Not knowing where to go out to eat because there are so many choices doesn't actually feel much different than not knowing where to go because there's so few... Although ending up at many different places is fantastic!

Close proximity Starbucks is a threat to a budget. 

Metal detectors don't seem to phase new kids. 

There's a sweet moment when you walk into the building you've been working so hard to settle into and you think "I'm glad to be home." That moment is a blessing. 

Forging friendships with people who speak different languages feels awkward. 

More choices is harder...

"These kids here yell more and do sassy head movements." (Hannah's observation)

This world is not our home... It is ALL just temporary. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What's The Thing?

What's the thing when you're a great mom when you're not around your kids?

What's the thing when you spend money and energy buying things for your kids to just fight with you about putting away?

What's the thing where you have a college education, but you skim through a library book your kid wants to borrow to make sure there aren't "too many words" to actually read?

What's the thing when thinking of what's for dinner becomes galaxtically harder than it ever should ever be allowed to be?

What's the thing when you find your offspring adorable and intriguing and incredible but spend the majority of your time with them calculating how much longer until they sleep again?

What's the thing where grocery shopping alone somehow became comparable to a vacation?

What's the thing where you can literally feel guilty about how your child eats, drinks, sleeps, talks, doesn't talk, poops, learns...?

What's the thing when you vigorously defend the thing you're only attempting as your best shot in the dark?

What's the thing where you're an actual grown up and yet you hide in the closet to eat chocolate because you don't want to share?

What's the thing when you bite your tongue while chewing and can't for the life of you figure out why you were ever chewing that hard?

What's the thing when the sound of your own child's cough makes you completely irritated?

What's the thing when you caNOT wait for date night, yet when the sitter actually shows up you can't formulate a single idea of what to do? 

What's the thing when you are awake and going by 7:17 AM, yet can't make it on-time to a 10:30 appointment?

What's the thing when you catch yourself yelling "stop screaming at each other!!!" at the top of your lungs?

Oh yeah... Parenthood. It brings out the selfishness, pride, shortcomings, and tendency to run late... No sin will remain hidden under layers of sleep-filled nights and clutter-free living. This job brings out all the junk we thought we had together among the land of the self-responsible humans. It's hard. We will mess up... But then there's always that thing... The thing where it says that if we "confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness"!!! And that other thing that says that in [all] my weaknesses His strength will prove perfect... So let's chuckle a bit, apologize a lot, and keep living the example of forgiven weakness. 

...And let's tone it back on the chewing intensity, for Pete's sake. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Words i Need to Hear

i celebrated Mother's Day 2015 in the most luxurious way i could've imagined... Well, the second most luxurious... A tropical vacation could've topped it... (Nevertheless) i celebrated with a DAY OFF! 

(Fathers of young children, learn from my fantastic husband... Your wife probably wants a day off and now, possibly, a tropical vacation...)

i walked out of the house and did whatever i felt like doing. My day might have included a long run in the woods (i found woods in Cleveland!), wandering Marc's, Starbucks and sushi, writing and feeling guilty that on the day that is set aside for celebrating the miracle of motherhood, i spent fleeing the responsibility of the four young humans who make me a mom. 

A responsibility many women long desperately to have... Or to have again. 

But the feelings are feeling right now in my life. And i find that even in the joyous, and definitely in the normal, i feel on the verge of suffocation... and space allows a deep breath to inhale. 

So today i expanded my lungs and my thoughts cleared enough to look at the imaginary suffocation threat... And i discovered that when my nerves are raw from blessings and struggles alike, this is a time when i'm thirsty for Titus 2 women...

i need someone to teach me how to love my kids.

When the feelings don't match the happenings... And especially when they do. When my insides feel worn out and all the solutions to energize fizzle out upon real life returning. When insecurity is relentless and comparison feels involuntary...

i need to hear from you...

i need to hear...
- that your kind, functional, God-fearing grown children made you want to run and hide at times. 
- that it felt like your special needs child was literally never, ever, ever going to communicate without howling frustration, the very moment before something clicked. 
- that sad days where you still found moments to smile were counted as victories. 
- that you were just making this whole parenting thing up as you went, too...
- that home school was as all consuming, never ending and hard for you... Even maybe just sometimes. 
- that fast food was a part of your children's diets and they grew up healthy in spite of that. 
- that overwhelmed is just a feeling. One that is allowed to be felt regardless of how much "more" other people are handling. 
- that grown ups still are thankful for the skills that childhood chores taught. 
- that there are tactics to quieting the lies and choosing truth. 
- that school decisions are not terminal.
- that amazement at who your kids are resided in the same place as the shock of their ridiculousness in you too. 
- that perfectionism does not have to be passed down from me. 
- that sometimes home school felt like choosing which age group you would presently neglect. 
- that you took time away from your kids and they were benefited because of it. 
- that fights are often necessary to improve communication and deepen intimacy.
- that the comparison game is one worth refusing... Regardless of how much of a struggle it may be to reject. 
- that sometimes feelings are thick and sticky, but that doesn't change love. 
- that this is maybe just what parenting is supposed to feel like sometimes...

i need to hear this. Because sometimes "knowing" isn't loud enough. And from the outside most of y'all look like you are rocking this mom-thing. (For instance: i know people who have graduated from home school (with younger siblings even)!!! i'm completely mystified how that could happen...) 

Maybe my sadness over our recent move makes my feelings less permeable to my knowledge. And the "unsettled" feeling makes us all a little more prone to tantrums. i don't really need the feeling to go away. i just need to know that it felt this way for you, too. So please, in this moment, feel free to share all the yuck that you survived. Even though your perspective proves how quickly it passes, some of us are in the long days of it all. 

And there are words we need to hear...

"In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to much wine. They are to teach what is good, so they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children..." Titus 2:3-4

My Mom the Cheerleader

My mom is a cheerleader.

i heard stories about her cheering when she was in school.

i witnessed her cheer for my sisters' track meets, soccer and basketball games when i was growing up.

And she cheered for me and my teams during my games.


Maybe every insecure junior higher thinks her parent is the loudest cheerer in the stadium...

But i heard my mom cheer louder than every other person out there.

Even louder than the coach.


And i needed those shouts of encouragement.


In my adolesent ultra-awareness i feared that my mom's cheering would draw attention to the fact that i hadn't started the game, or that i wasn't the fastest runner, or the most confident player.

When i wanted to disappear after dropping a pass or missing a shot my presence was illuminated by emphatic cheers to shake it off and reassuring encouragement that i'd get it the next time.

My mom's cheering left no place for me to hang my head and hide.


Her cheering opened up all the space i needed to try again,

and again,

and again...

until i got better.

Maybe i never became the best player on the team, but i pushed forward to achieve my goals and realize that improvement in itself was a challenge worth pursuing. 


i didn't know it then, but i needed my mom to cheer the loudest,

because i felt the smallest.

My mom's cheering was an undeniable sign that she thought more of me than i was convinced was there.

It proved to me that she saw value in me when i couldn't see it.


i needed a fan.

i needed a cheerleader.

i needed my mom.


And i still do.

She now cheers for me as a wife and mother and just for being me.

And when i feel like i'm failing as a mom, or struggling as a wife, or just not so sure of myself in general...

my mom is my cheerleader. 

"Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: “Many women are capable, but you surpass them all! ” Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised." Proverbs 31:28-30