Friday, January 1, 2016

On the First Day of 2016

Last night, the last night of a full year, a year rich with adventure and joy, anger and sadness, busy and bored, easy and hard. The little boy worried, as six-year olds worry*, about growing bigger and older and what might come in a new year.

Mommy, I don't want it to change to a new year. What if I'm sad?

Oh, a new year holds all sorts of promise. The promise of good things happening and bad things. The promise of happy things and sad things. But most of all the promise of growing bigger and stronger and more into the person Jesus made you to be. 

But I don't want to grow bigger and stronger. I don't want to turn seven.

My heart screamed I don't want you to turn seven either! This mothering business is a rough one to be in. First they stretch your body to bursting. Then they spend years growing away from you stretching your heart till everything--happy and sad--runs tears. (Or maybe that's just me.)

My mouth said ('cause self-control is a fruit of the Spirit), Of course you don't want to turn seven, you're not ready to, yet. But as the time gets closer you will be ready and you will want to be bigger and stronger and seven. 

Today, we started our new year with cereal and a walk in the woods and up a sand-dune. We were going to take a picture, but the cold zapped the battery. We saw the lake, shivered in the wind, and slid on the ice covered sand. George ran and ran. I've already been happy and sad, aggravated and tired. We've had lunch. Abby finished her homework. George ate an eighth of a cup of coconut oil. Chris is working on a project. The kiddos are dressing up the pets.  I am writing. Later, we'll play a game and work on a puzzle and maybe make some 2016 goals. An excellent start to a full, abundant new year.

*A brief note on six year old worries...
When Abby was six and worrying, it took me a long time to realize that this was just growing pains, the kind of growing pains that make heads and hearts stretch and mothers worry that and wonder if they're messing up their children. Because I was all wrapped up in trying to figure out what I had done wrong, it took me a long time to figure out what to say. 'Cause the Holy Spirit will give me the words, if I'll get out of the way.
Needless to say, Simon's worries meet with a calmer, more prepared Mother, when I remember these seasons come and go. I sorta envy him on Abby's behalf.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Satisfying Fullness

In the past two weeks our life together has been fuller than normal. We've had colds and doctor's appointments, classes and dentist appointments, awful headaches and grandparent's visit complete with the tulip festival, tree limb removal and fuel pump fixing. We've gone on a field trip and a fun trip. We've had several games and practices.
Life has been full. Gloriously and delightfully full.
Now, we are tired. From staying up, from going out and learning, from being so very together for so very many hours, from keeping seriously wonky schedules.
I want to chastise myself for letting everything get so out of hand. I want to cast the blame somewhere for the fullness of our last days even as I see the coming emptiness of the next weeks. I want to carry the shame of having children who bicker in public where everyone can see them and of needing--needing--to be left very much alone. I want to believe I could have done something better, scheduled or said "no"or something. We should never be sooo busy rattles around in my head.

But we WANTED to do all those things. Maybe not the fuel pump, but all the other things were desires of our hearts fulfilled and a short time. I didn't want to say "no" to any of it, except the headaches.

We were coming home from a quick, truly quick, errand running mission this morning. The children were unhappy with each other and enumerating each offence in painful detail to one another while I didn't even attempt to listen. Because we are tired and full. While ignoring my children's complaining and wondering what I should have done, I noticed that the lawns were green and tall and most of the trees were in full leaf. When we left on Friday, I would have said that I saw more sky than canopy when I looked up, but today spring's green has taken over. It is wonderful.
And I realized that spring plodded for a while, but when the time came, spring came in a wild rush of activity. In one weekend the season changed. If spring isn't carrying a burden of shame and blame for bickering squirrels and slowing sap because when the opportunity to say yes happened all at the same time she took it with all her might. Why should I?

Our life was full these past couple of weeks, but it is the satisfying fullness of a whole lot fulfilled desires. I say so long second guesses. Thank you, Lord, for it all!

Friday, September 26, 2014

They Are Different

We were in the car--the four of us. The car is Abigail's favorite place to ask deep, meaningful questions and Simon's favorite place to make noise to a captive audience.

Abigail: I wonder.
And before she could get out her wondering.
Simon:  I never wonder.

It is true. I don't think I can remember a time when he has wondered. Or a time she hasn't.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Our Stories and His Story

I taught the middle school Sunday school class a few years ago. I love middle schoolers, once I remember that there is nothing I can do to make them like me. And once I've been there long enough for them to know that I like them anyway. I have a pet peeve, or two, about Sunday school that I attempt to rectify as a teacher.

The stories. The Bible is full of stories and so often they are sanitized and told and read in church voice. All the blood and guts, fear and elation, and adventure with the God of the universe who wants to live with us is read in monotone, "holy" voice. I sorta hate it, so when I teach we talk about the gore and the celebration in detail. It is why I teach middle school and not pre-school. (Though my little boy thrills at the blood and guts.)

And the thinking. Jesus taught with stories. His listeners were expected to hear not just the words and not just the story but the point of the story. They were supposed to wrestle with their hearts and their minds and their Lord to figure out why He told the story and what they were to learn about Him and themselves.
So, my Sunday school students quickly became aware of the fact that we weren't going to be newscasters in our study of Scripture and that we were going to study the Word. And they were going to go on the journey themselves.

It just goes to reason, then, that my children get the same treatment. We are going to wrestle in this family with our hearts and with our minds and with the Lord and prayerfully come out changed.

So when Abigail inserted her dilemma--feeling that God was neglecting her request--into our evening prolonging bedtime. I asked a question instead of shooing her away which was my desire, and bedtime was rescheduled. She struggles with being bossy. Indeed she, it would seem, wants to run the world. She has been bothered by this tendency even going so far as to ask her friends to help her by pointing out when she is being too bossy. She shared that she had asked God for self-control so she would not be too bossy, and He hadn't helped her.

My heart broke for her, but I felt a little nudge. Why is she being bossy?

Because if everyone doesn't know the rules, something terrible will happen. Because if everyone isn't getting along and playing together, something terrible will happen. Because the stress caused by conflict, even if she isn't directly involved, among her friends makes her miserable.

And a light shown in the darkness of our previous advice to her. Her bossiness isn't a self-control issue. Her bossiness comes from fear. And fear comes from dis-belief. She is afraid that her world will fall apart (and no one will catch her).

So we talk some more. She is allowed to stop trying to control the bossy and she is allowed to ask for more belief. Isn't that what the dad does when he is terrified that his son's life is slipping through his fingers, "Lord, help my unbelief."?  And she is can be sure that He is delighted to answer such a prayer. A prayer asking for more of HIM in her.

And we would never have gotten to the heart of the issue without listening to her story, nor would we have had an answer without listening to His stories.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Farmer's Wife

Dear Stuart, and Ralph,

I love you for what you are. I especially understand your disgust, Ralph, toward the misconceptions about mice. I am happy to live and let live. It is fine that you use our shed as a winter haven. I am even OK with your use of the small crawl-space. The larger crawl space is negotiable.

But, when you use our vacation as a time to frolic through my silverware drawer, mark the knife drawer as your own, and leave your dropping in my ice cream scoop, you have taken my hospitable, live-and-let-live attitude for granted. You have not just teetered on the very edge of the line. You have catapulted yourself over into territory that I will fight for.

Be warned, the farmer's wife has moved in. I will trap you. I will poison you. I will cut off your tails with a carving knife to reclaim the acceptable level of sanitary In my kitchen. You will be forced to retreat or die.

Generally peacefully coexisting wife of a comedic engineer.

PS: To insure the continued existence of your genetic line and the return of the generally peacefully coexisting wife of a comedic engineer, pack your bags and return to the smallest crawlspace, the shed or the many holes in the yard.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Some of Our Summer

In a collage.

We're finding our home and our rhythm. And it is good.