Iraq Journey

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

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Forward… always forward

October 30, 2009


~*~ the finished scarf ~*~

A symbol of moving forward.

We’re all moving forward, because we could never go back.

We would never want to go back.

It’s now been a year since things were normal… a year ago today, we were all at Disneyland together, celebrating Merritt’s birthday.

The boys haven’t seen their grandfather since that day. Troy still asks where he is… does he live at the fire station now?… if he’s coming back… if he loves us.

But Merritt doesn’t remember him. At all. Can’t even point to him in a picture.

So we keep moving forward. Healing. Loving each other. Laughing. Making a new normal. Trying to figure this whole mess out.

Wondering if we ever will.

A week from now, we’ll be accompanying my mom on her way across the country, following the sunset and a dream of a new future… a happy future.

She’s already said she’s heading to Nebraska… and that there’s a story. So go, hear her story.

It’s a good one.

Or we could just yell it into the Bluetooth

October 27, 2009

John has decided it’s a good thing for me to have one night a week that is just… mine. (And of course I agree, though he has to usually take my hands out of the sink full of dishes or off of the toys I’m cleaning up and tell me that he can handle it and that I’m wasting minutes.) It’s his gift to me, wonderful, understanding, beloved man that he is. The gift of time. To do whatever I want to do. Which, as it so happens, would be to sit in a coffee shop for a few hours with my laptop and do the kind of writing that doesn’t make it to the blog.

Or to, you know, people watch.

I don’t know who is more entertaining: the older lady wearing every hue imaginable, several long chunky necklaces and a golfer’s cap–backward–or the younger one with her tennis shoes tossed aside, sitting on her knees in an overstuffed armchair with her laptop propped up at eye level by a stool. Or quite possibly the man who wants everyone to know he is a Very Important Businessman and also that he is Quite Accomplished With The Humor and basically YELLS his conversation while pacing the checkered floor, using hand motions liberally because, of course, he’s talking on his Bluetooth.

Tonight’s winner is probably the Taylor Swift lookalike two seats down from me, who is drinking her venti soy latte with great and practiced flair while flirting with the two young Marines in Abercrombie shirts across the room. A close second goes to the mother, daughter and aunt at the table in front of me, who are simultaneously perusing Cosmo while discussing the soap opera that seems to be their large family. Someone is pregnant and they think the other cousin’s husband might be involved and the other aunt has threatened to kill him. I do believe they have even my wonderfully crazy family topped with that one.

What can I say? I’m nosy. Unless you can think of a nicer way to say it.

Speaking of being nosy, tomorrow (or likely, TODAY, by the time you read this) should provide plenty of opportunity for indulging in such a thing. Over at YLCF, we’re hosting a “Peek Into Your Day” blog carnival, in which we all post a regular ol’ normal “day in my life” style blog post and then all link up at YLCF. The emphasis is on being REAL. (Bet you can’t guess whose idea this was. Certainly not the girl who writes this blog and should just wear a t-shirt proclaiming her affinity for authenticity. Hmm, that’s an idea…) I’m hoping for LOTS of opportunity to be a fly on the wall of some real households.

If you’re just now hearing about this, it’s not too late to join in the fun. Just write up a post about yesterday or the day before (remember, we want to hear about REALITY, so just tell it like it is) and link up. Fun, fun, fun.

Because I’m nothing if not inquisitive. And maybe a bit nosy.

Everyday Friday–a peek into a real day

October 23, 2009

I’d like to say our Fridays are anything but typical, but in reality, though the actual activities change, they do end up quite similar in that they’re always a full of a bit of The Crazy. But then again, my life is always filled with a bit of The Crazy.

Friday, September 18th begins as usual with John’s alarm startling us out of our slumber. We both tend to believe there is not a sound on earth quite so jarring as an alarm clock’s buzz. I think it could qualify, if needed, as some form of torture.

So, we hit snooze. Quickly.

read more…

And don’t miss the “Peek Into YOUR Day” Blog Carnival, hosted by YLCF next Wednesday, October 28. We’re going to be linkin’, and blog hoppin’, and being totally and completely nosy. So chronicle one of your real, normal, everydays. Post the button. Post your day. BE REAL. Be there.

The Forest for the Trees

October 21, 2009

Tomorrow morning, I whisper to myself, Tomorrow morning I’m going to get up as soon as the alarm goes off. I’m going to have time. Time to soak in scripture, time to pick up my pen and scribble words on paper, time to figure it all out.

And then I sink into my pillow, tired mama eyes closing in the late night darkness. Sleep.

When the alarm blares at 5:00am, I’ve already been up with a three year old who woke, sweaty and hot in the fleecy jammies he insisted on wearing to bed. After slipping out of his footed sleeper, he tossed and wiggled and whimpered for an hour, snuggled between us in our bed. His daddy carried his limp form back to the toddler bed, eventually, but thirty minutes later, the other little boy was awake, coughing and crying, the residual effects of a long-lasting cold.

They say the “up all night” era ends alongside the end of infant hood. They’re wrong.

The alarm sounds. My eyelids are heavy and my arm asleep, as is the toddler curled up inside the curve of it. I don’t even open my eyes, irrationally sure even my lifting of the lids or my very breath will wake this light sleeper.

Another quiet morning. Slipping away before my closed eyes.

I need some time with you, Lord. My heart aches, attempting to ward off the chill setting in from lack of those communion mornings.

Later, from the kitchen counter, spreading peanut butter on bread, I feel it again. The chill. If only… time. To sit, to read, to ponder, to pen, to find answers to my questions and curiosities.

We eat breakfast, hurry out the door. Purse, lunch cooler, waters, keys, sunglasses. Rushing.

We drive, heading to the park. Meet friends, talking, playing, running, laughing. Drive home. Naps for boys, catching up for me. Dishes, laundry, check email, put lines through words on the to-do list. A block of time is what I need, Lord. Just a day, an afternoon, an hour. To sit and ponder, finding answers. Time… just time.

The boys wake. I slice pears. Last load of laundry goes in the dryer. While putting away clean size 4T jeans, I spot the box of 2T clothes that has been sitting in the corner of the boys’ room for over a week. I tackle the swap; size 18 months out, size 2T in.

My arm hold a stack six inches high of little polos and t-shirts. Hangers slip quickly into each neck line and onto the closet rod.

From across the room, I heard a melody. Two little voices giggling and singing. It was their favorite song. “Forever, Author of Salvation, our God is mighty to save…”

Holding a small green hanger in one hand and a blue shirt in the other, I froze.

I’d missed it. It was so simple, and yet I missed it.

It was in that early morning, before the sun peered in, when I spoke to the Lord while cuddling a toddler. It was in the selfless, unconditional love of a husband who encourages and challenges me, strengthens and cherishes me. It could be found as I made lunches in the morning, the boys and I singing silly songs about frogs and teeth and Jesus. It was driving an hour up the coast and meandering with my God through the depths of my heart. It was while watching my boys play with a new little friend at the park. It was the moment when one of them pouted and spoke harshly and I battled my pride in front of my own friend. It was the drive home, listening to music to remind me that Jesus saves and that my completion and hope are found in Christ alone. It was this moment, hearing the sounds of my little men, singing of our Savior.

It was communion with my Jesus.

And I’d missed it. I was holding on to an idea that says if I don’t get up at 5:00AM for the ideal hour of 100% distraction-free time with my Lord, my entire day was shot and my communication with him was broken. Or that until I had a large block of time to do nothing but study and search my Bible, my heart would remain barren and cold.

I’d almost passed right over the Truth.

The Truth is that Jesus sees me right where I am–the exhaustion of a mother, long nights, sick little ones and busy mornings–and he meets me there, too. He reveals his character, his unconditional love, his simplicity, in the minutia of my ordinary day-to-day, if I would only break out of my mold enough to see it.

He fills and warms the chilling heart. He gives glimpses of his glory.

I just have to catch it.

Happy Things

October 19, 2009

The boys and I have been tucked in the corner of the couch, finishing the devotion time we started during breakfast. We had a little behavior boot-camp… making a construction paper list of our most common “offenses,” the Bible reason we shouldn’t offend so, and the consequences for the offense. I told them it would help them remember to obey and speak without whining and not hit… but I’m actually hoping it’ll help the mama with her consistency.

Troy said he was going to ask Jesus, “Jesus, are you gonna help me obey ‘cuz it’s so, so hard?” And, says Troy, Jesus told him, “Yup!”

I was shocked because, lo and behold, that’s the same conversation I had with Jesus just this very morning.

Now, here we are, all piled into our pretty new red couch, and we’ve been talking about “happy things,” as the three year old calls them, or “heppy tings!” as the almost two year old says. Things that make us smile.

Here’s the boys’ list:

  • suckers
  • chocolate milk
  • making pumpkin pie with Mommy (Troy’s constant request the past week–so I spotted the pumpkins at Trader Joe’s this week and picked one up. It’s today’s big project.)
  • books
  • poems (Merritt is obsessed with Eloise Wilkin’s Poems to Read to the Very Young)
  • baby Pooh Bear
  • “You make me happy Mommy!”
  • The bathtub from Jesus (“What’s that Troy?” “Um, it’s so Jesus can wash my sins away.” Oh. Okay.)
  • Coff-coff (That’s Merritt, obvs.)
  • Daddy riding his bike superfast to our home after work

My list would include all the same things, since seeing them smile means I do the same, and also a few more:

  • Cloudy mornings
  • Surprise Starbucks, brought home by my guy, just to make me smile
  • A breakfast of fried range fed eggs and a slice of whole wheat sourdough
  • Also, the wheat berries sprouting in my kitchen (I feel healthier just typing it–the power of the written word and all)
  • My beloved’s strong hand holding mine
  • Hearing the pattering of little feet finding our room in the early morning hours
  • Knowing the gym is there, even if sickness keeps me away for weeks at a time
  • Going on walks… exercise, the old fashioned way
  • Making it to church last night, after all
  • Hearing that one of John’s young Marines is stabilized after a near-fatal car accident yesterday morning
  • Having garage sales… mostly for the crazies we get to chat with throughout the morning
  • A little boy who dresses himself in khaki shorts and a beachy tank top in October
  • Early morning coffee and devotions while the house is quiet
  • Having my beloved HOME…
  • Friends who don’t cater to my Crazy, make me laugh and challenge me to be a better me
  • Bloggie buddy meet ups
  • The anticipation of Tuesday nights… laptop and Starbucks… my night to both be “off” and to “work”
  • Kisses
  • Sushi–the newest love of my life
  • Books upon books upon books… and time to read them

Happy things on a cloudy Monday morning.

What three things are making you smile today?