I am at a point in my life where I am more confident in what I like and don’t like although being that black and white is not usually my experience or my way of describing things in life but it has been my starting point the last few months with a whole lot of other complicated stuff in between.
When Andi and I talked about sharing on this blog I was very excited and more than ready to get started. In the beginning I enjoyed the posts but I was always uncomfortable with the comments positive or negative, yet I didn’t know why. As time progressed I struggled to write my posts and found myself stressed about sharing my personal thoughts or stories about my family with people I could not sit across from with a cup of coffee and talk to about anything I wrote. I have come to realize while talking with Andi that I prefer personal conversations with people face to face. I have found it difficult to share small blurps of my life, ideas, or thoughts about deep and meaningful topics or even silly stories without being able to offer the context of who I am and my life experience. I also found myself wanting to have more interaction with the people who were commenting or sharing with Andi or myself.
I am at a point in life where my personal time is limited and I need to use that time to work on things that are life giving to me. I am surprised I have had this reaction to sharing on this blog but it has been my experience and I have to acknowledge where I am in life and how I need to use my time. I do wish I enjoyed it more and found it life giving but accepting that I do not is okay too and because my time is limited I have to make hard choices that feed my soul and the souls of my family. I know that for many people the internet helps create community but that has not been my experience and what I hoped to be life giving has not been at all for me. I am learning to be okay with what I love realizing that by not loving it for myself does not mean I can’t appreciate the genre and rejoice for others who have found something that works for them.
I appreciate all of you who have read my posts and shared your thoughts with me. I do wish I could sit and have a cup of coffee with you so we could all have context with one another but that is not possible. I do hope you will continue to read this blog. Andi is going to continue with it and honestly she is such a great writer and I look forward to following along. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, ideas, and silly stories over the past few months it has been a time of growth and a valuable part of my journey as I continue to “figure out” my life. I pray you all will find the path that you are meant to travel in this life and I hope you are learning to be okay with what you love. Farewell from a woman who is living life with more or less grace
I am a very communal person and so every place we have lived I have either started a book club or joined one so I thought when we moved I should get on it. Well it took me a better part of year to pull it together but it finally happened. Our first real time of meeting together happened this past week and I was reminded with a profound clarity that I love to fellowship with great women.
The book club is all women and we read an okay book but really the night was so much more about being in the presence of awesome people who love to read and love to chat. We started with a few of us having rough evenings at home with kids, spouses, work days, all kinds of things but once we were together those things melted away and we listened, we laughed, we told stories, we heard stories, we shared the struggles and the joys of being women and all that encompasses. We heard about parents being in wars and love across language barriers. We discussed communication across generations and cultures within the same family system. We were all valued for our ideas, thoughts, and life experiences.
When they all left my house after good wine and good fellowship I was struck with how full I felt almost as if I had eaten a turkey dinner, I felt satisfied and a part of me that had been underfed ate well. I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know these 7 other women better and I truly believe out of our monthly fellowship I will be nurturing my mind, body, and soul. I grew in the fellowship of these women and I am thankful.
I have been home with my children for a year now and it has been difficult and wonderful all in the same moment. I have always worked and I have been blessed to always love what I was doing but after working full-time in a very demanding ministry and birthing two children in two years I was ready to trade places with my husband the stay-at-home Dad. So last year at this time we switched places and now he works full-time while I stay home although he does work from home so in many ways we have the best of both worlds.
I have struggled this past year to find my place as a stay-at-home Mom. I never quite feel like I fit in mostly because I feel so out of my element. I knew how to work full-time and be a Mom but honestly I didn ‘t know how to be a full-time Mom. There were so many days when I felt inadequate, overwhelmed, and lousy in my new “position.” Over the past year I have found a bit of a rhythm that seems to work for me, my kids, and our family although I understand it is always changing because it is a living breathing rhythm of life.
Over the year I have compared myself to others who seem to take to this role so naturally who seem to manage their home and lives with beauty and grace while I felt like a Clydesdale playing with miniature ponies, you know a bit clumsy. A few examples are twice I have taken my two year old to her indoor soccer without her shoes and she had to play in her socks. There was the time we went on vacation without my child having shoes and we had to buy some on our trip. Oh yes there is the time one of my children dumped shovel fulls of sand down my other child’s pants and I had to turn them upside down to empty their pants because I had no diaper bag and several mother’s were cracking up. Let’s not forget the jelly butt toast my youngest ate recently. The list of oops go on and on although I can laugh at them as I experience the learning curve of my new role.
I have compared myself to much over the past year and as I reflect I realize that I am so happy being me and I am content with the Mother I am to my children. My dear friend reminds me that I am the perfect Mother for my children. Over the year I have found the things I am great at and they are wonderful. I am great at playing with my kids I mean awesome wonderful games. We love to bake and cook together and many nights they help me make dinner. We laugh a ton either over jokes or silly things that happen. We do tons of crafts. I have the time to listen to everything and anything they want to tell me. I take care of myself. I take great care of them. I love them always. I discipline in a loving yet firm way. I explain and talk to them. I treat them with respect and kindness. I teach them to love others and be kind. I read to them a ton. I spend time with them. I pray for them. I snuggle them, I hug them, I kiss them. I love them I love them I love them and I tell them all the time. Over this year I have a thankful heart for the experiences and the memories and I have come to a place of peace that where I am right not is exactly where I am suppose to be. I have also realized that being ME as a Mother is the best gift I can give my children. I have never been a graceful woman who seems to glide through life. I sort of plod along with a trip now and then, a laugh, a big heart, and a willing spirit to all that life has to teach me it is never really pretty but it is who I am and these parts of me make me a great Mother.
Now that I am an adult and mother I am beginning to realize what happened behind the scenes of holidays in my home growing up. My parents always made holidays so special and I never knew how much work went into making them so special and fun for us as kids until now. In the week leading up to Halloween I have been spending some time working to create my sons costume which has honestly been fun for me and I am excited to see him all dressed up. I have been reminded this week about how many times I changed my mind last minute about my costume or how many times I had these crazy ideas and my Mom always came through with a great costume.
After this week I was really struck with how many late nights my Mom spent up sewing my costume, making cookies for my school party, finishing lollipop ghosts to give my friends, and doing all kinds of stuff to make my childhood special. My mother is a creative soul she can make and do just about anything which is always beautiful and she used these gifts to fill my childhood with love and warmth. I am not sure I said thank you enough to her and I know for sure I didn’t fully appreciate all that she did for me at least not until this week. I realized with such clarity that like my Mom I was up late creating something special for one of the people I love most in the world. I was up late out of love because that is what I grew up with a house full of love. I am truly blessed to have been given so many wonderful holidays but honestly I feel more blessed to have been given the everyday life of my childhood. I can only pray my children will feel the same way when they are adults. I hope when they are up late at night working on their child’s Halloween costume they will be flooded with warm memories of their childhood filled with love.
Well I know I have always had some issues with Barbie but after reading an article on line I realize I actually have issues with our society, the media, toy companies and some parents because honestly I can’t really be mad at Barbie since she is not real. I think that is the key to my soap box that I am on tonight she is NOT REAL. Women, young girls, boys, men if Barbie’s boobs were really that big and the rest of her really that small she would not be able to walk I mean literally she would fall over or her back pain would be so debilitating that she would be bed ridden and although she is “fit” anyone bedridden starts to lose their muscle tone and “sex appeal.” Maybe I am on to something I should market a new bedridden Barbie and see if that appeals to people.
Okay I know there are lots of toys out there that people might not agree with and we are all allowed our opinion so I am just voicing mine. The article I read was about a Barbie doll that some parents are upset about and will not buy their children because Barbie is tattoo, has pink hair, leopard pants etc. You get my point she does not look like the classic Barbie and to this I say hurray! Oh gosh people can you believe it, not everyone in the world has huge boobs, a tiny waist, long blonde hair, and blue eyes and thank God! I say it is about time that Barbie starts to show all little girls that women look different and are beautiful so even if they are not making a more realistic Barbie as far as measurements go at least let’s support the attempt to show the beauty of all women.
Here’s what I think is true beauty in women: stretch marks from carrying a child in your womb, the veined hands of a grandmother, gray hair, skin that looks like paper from age, smiles, eyes, a giving heart, a mother’s heart, warmth, laughter and tears for the pain in the world. I am not saying we should tell young girls to let themselves go and that being unhealthy is a good choice all I am saying is that as a mother of a daughter I never want her to think because she might posses one of the “keys” of societal beauty that she is not beautiful. As a society and as a parent we need to foster in young girls the confidence to love themselves and others. We need to tell them they are beautiful and worthy of being treated with respect and dignity. We need to help them understand that there is so much more to them than their physical appearance because unless you are Barbie physical beauty will fade. I am still not advocating purchasing a Barbie but if you do, consider the tattooed Barbie and when you give it to your daughter consider telling her that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors with or without tattoos and piercings and that part of being a woman is seeing all the beauty a person has to offer which is so much more than their outer appearance.
This past weekend I returned to the East Coast for my cousin’s wedding. There are 6 grandchildren in my family on my Mom’s side, I am the only girl, and this was the first of my cousin’s to get married. It was a surreal moment to read at his wedding as he stood there in his United States Air Force uniform all I could think about was when I went to the hospital as a kid to meet him for the first time. As I watched them during the ceremony moments of our childhood together flashed before me. Here was this happy-go-lucky easy going kid now a man in a uniform marrying the woman he loved. How did this happen? How did time seem to jump so quickly to this moment him a man and me a Mama? When did we grow up? After the ceremony and some deep thoughts I was ready for some fun at the reception because honestly my family knows how to party especially at a wedding.
As we entered the hall and I found my table next to my brother and his wife and all my cousins I realized I am not young anymore. I would never again sit at the kids table at a holiday nor would I share stories of drinking escapades from the previous weekend (oh wait I never had these to share when I was younger either) and I no longer can eat whatever I want and still look good. I had several cranberry and vanilla vodka drinks and sat back and watched. Shawn was not able to come to the wedding which left me tons of time to watch and analyze two things I love to do. As I sat at the young cousins table I was struck with the idea that there should be a middle aged table at weddings. I wasn’t ready to be at my parents table “the old table” but I certainly didn’t fit at the young table either. Similar to how I feel in life these days I am not old yet I am not young so does that make me middle aged? I found myself drifting to the old table from time to time mostly because I adore my parents and my aunts and uncles who were sitting there and I wanted to talk with them. I also found I had little to say at the young table because I spend my weekends painting pumpkins, cheering for toddlers playing soccer, watching movies, baking cookies, and longing to recoup the sleep I have lost over the past several years. I rarely spend my weekends out and about and if I do I usually remember them because I have never been a drinker. I felt caught in some weird gray area that made me feel like I didn’t fit in anywhere yet still very content with where I am in my life.
As I reflect on this moment in life I am struck with how fleeting life is and how each moment we have in life is just that a moment. These moments do not define our entire life but them do create it. This was a “big” moment in my cousins life that will change everything he has ever known and every wedding he attends will bring him back to this special day in his life. I also realized for all of us living life at the middle aged table enjoy it! I find the middle aged table a great place to be in life and I also realize with such clarity that this time in life is fleeting. Before I know it I will be at the “old table” and I want to be able to enjoy that time in life as much as I enjoyed the young table and as much as I am enjoying the middle aged table.
I am one of those people who is always late. I mean you can honestly figure I will be at least 10 minutes late but with the addition of 2 toddlers it is often closer to 20 minutes these days. There are several reasons for my tardiness the first is that I always figure I can squeeze more into a time period than is really possible, second is that I always want to have space for holy interruptions, and finally getting my two toddlers from point A to point B can be a bit trying at times.
Today was a perfect example of what happens when I am trying to get somewhere on time. It all started well up on time, showered on time, kids dressed a little time to pat myself on the back for being on schedule and leaving us time to walk to the playground to meet our friends. In the middle of my I am awesome speech in my head the doorbell and rings and I thought oh UPS or FED EX which come a lot to our house. I go to the door and find a neighbor I had never met standing on our porch. He is a sweet gentle man who I so enjoyed meeting and he asked he if could pick our grapes so his wife could make homemade grape jelly and he would gladly give us some when it was finished. I said sure I was glad to see them picked and used rather than just rotting on the vine. He said he would be right back with a bucket. Well I thought he would be right back but it was more like 40 minutes later when he returned right about 20 minutes before I should be leaving to walk to meet our friends.
He was standing on our porch bucket in hand and my two toddlers were smiling eager to help pick a very large 5 gallon bucket of grapes so we all headed to the back yard. We had a great time he told us stories of coming to Denver while my son and I helped pick and my daughter ate her weight in grapes. It was wonderful and the kids had so much fun and so did I. When we left it was 10 o’clock and we were late but I considerd it a holy lateness. We took some time for a neighbor and built community. My friend was understanding and although we were late I think it was justified lateness.
In my life the past several years I have had to race from one thing to the next always with the clock as my enemy. I was never on time because my schedule was so packed full there really was no way to fit it all in even though I tried. I like the pace of my new existence. I like that I am late for holy moments that I do not have to fret about every minute and by leaving space I am able to build community with my neighbors. I am able to read extra books at bedtime since I don’t have to go back to work after they are in bed, I can stop and let me kids play at a playground just because we drove by it, I can breathe and I can stop rushing my kids from one thing to the next we can all breathe. If you have never tried holy lateness you should it has allowed me to breathe rather than holding my breath as I rushed from one thing to the next. .
I was struck this week with the tiny moments that make up my life. I have always been one of those people who enjoys the moment they are in and rarely do I find myself wishing I was 16 again or 25 or whatever where I am now is fine with me. I am enjoying these tiny moments that make up my life and I love to remember all the other tiny moments that have made up my life to this point.
This week I finally put pictures into a digital frame for my husband’s father’s day gift yes a bit late but still it is finished. The frame has been sitting on our counter over the past several days flipping through the years since our first child was born. I have found myself standing and watching these pictures quite often as glimpses of my life flash before me, these beautiful amazing moments captured forever. I will never live them again and I can say with great peace in my heart that I lived them fully. I soaked them in and I enjoyed them.
The pictures in this frame are mostly of our family and our adventures and I thought my gosh someday these pictures may show up at my children’s weddings or my silver wedding anniversary or at my own funeral. These are the pictures of my life the beauty that enfolds me everyday, the smiles, the laughs, the blessings, the pain, the cries of delight and grief, the joy in remembering and sometimes the pain in letting go. Someday these pictures will chronicle my life and as I watched them I was overwhelmed with peace and a deep sense of love and gratitude. I realized as I watched the pictures that none of the moments were perfect, many were profoundly life altering, and some were even painful to remember.
These tiny moments that make up the canvas of our lives are splattered with laughter, cries, frustration, gratitude, anger, love, blessings, faith, sorrow, grief, and joy. I pray you have time this week to reflect on the tiny moments that are making up your own life. I pray that when you reflect on them you can embrace each moment and realize they make you who you are and when they are woven together these tiny moments are your life.
Jealousy is an ugly thing and part of me wants to keep this post to myself because honestly I it makes me look bad but part of this blog is being real with our struggles and this is one of mine at the moment. Maybe it is rooted in all the new people I am meeting or just where I am in life with my sense of self that I finding myself jealous. I know it eats at my heart and causes me to compare my life and my self to others and that is never good.
Most of the time my jealousy is really a private conversation I have in my head where I put myself down for not being or doing like someone else or I have to find ways to put them down so I don’t feel so bad. It is not a great trait of mine and if I am really honest it has so much more to do with me than anyone else. Usually this ugliness rears its head when I am not satisfied or content with my life and usually it is an agent of change for me.
I have also noticed in our greater society that many women often talk in the up way of speaking. We seem to need to point out our successes and another ‘s failures to compensate for something we are feeling inside ourselves. I like to believe I am not competing with anyone but it does seem on a daily basis I catch myself thinking snide comments or judging another woman friend or stranger which is difficult to admit.
So since this jealousy rooted conversation in my head is usually a sign of some sort of internal discontentment I need to take a little more quiet time to find the true source. I truly wish I could figure out this itch I can’t scratch without going through my jealousy stage but it seems to be a part of my process one I am not proud of but yet it is an ever present part of me and one of my struggles on this journey.