Friday, April 8, 2011

Learning to Watch Cars

Hello.

I know I have been quiet for awhile. I don't really know if I am back in this space yet, but today something felt right so I am going to post.

Over the past few months of silence I have been learning a lot. New things about myself, my marriage, my family and new things about God. I am not really sure yet what all of that means, but I am learning that life is not static and I have to be able to change with the tides and the seasons. Easier said then done.

This week I am learning how to watch cars. Not something I would ever have put on my list of top 100 things to do, but something that motherhood has placed before me. My 17 month old son has decided that cars are the coolest things on the planet and he wants us to stare out the window together in anticipation of a car driving by. Now, cars don't actually drive down our road too often which leads to this game being very boring for me. Yes, for me. My son has much more patience for this game then I do and he could stare out the window for long stretches of time, while I try to slyly pull out the IPad and surf the internet, hoping he won't notice that my attention is elsewhere. After being caught a few times and my attention demanded back to the empty road, I realized that the fun of car watching is not just the excitement he feels when a car drives by, it is the joy of being engaged with me in an activity that brings him so much pleasure. My attention is apparently part of the game.

So, I am learning how to watch cars. And also how to watch without any cars actually appearing, which is the more difficult task for me. But something worth learning because it brings so much joy to someone I love so much. And I guess in this season of life I am learning to worry less about how many cars I see and worry more about who I am watching cars with and being present in that moment, that connection with another human being.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Deep

A drink of water after thirsty days
A swallow that fills your soul
reaching within for forgotten dreams
the way that life unfolds
Finding grace in graceless times
a stretch to hope at night
the blue of sky after rain has come
a point of dark in light
A glimpse, a thought, a moment lost
the need to create anew
Memories of past thats raw
the word of life and truth
Who I am, who I was
what I was made to be
seeking, finding, answering
too deep for me to see

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Being Thankful Part 1

I thought I should take some time for the next few days to focus on being thankful and really dig into the parts of my life where I struggle to find anything worth being thankful about. So, my challenge to myself for the next three days is to think of something in my life that I am viewing as a negative right now and discover a reason to be thankful.

The first thing that comes to my mind is an ongoing family situation that has caused a lot of pain and stress over the last two months. Without going into too much detail, lets just say that it is impossible at this point in the process to be thankful for what has happened  in my family. But as I reflect back on the many visits, emails and conversations that have filled these anxious weeks I can see a bright spot if I really search for it. I am exceedingly thankful for my mother.

Growing up I always thought I was more like my father, and I have so many memories of all the effort I put into my relationship with him. Because my mom was home full-time and homeschooled us, my memories of her during my childhood are not filled with the same intensity, she was just a peaceful constant. Now since getting married, moving away and having a son I am seeing more and more of my mother in me and unlike the way it is portrayed in movies and TV, I have no dread of being like my mother.

I remember her buying me groceries on the day I moved out, driving out to be with me in the middle of the night after a tough break up, coming to check up on me when I was sick. She was the one I couldn't wait to have arrive after the birth of my son and despite the distance the separates us I know she would come at a moments notice if I needed her.

Witnessing her struggle through this difficult time in my family I have discovered a new depth to my mother. I have seen more strength of character, more stubbornness of will, more honesty, more faith and reliance on God, more unconditional love then I ever expected to find in anyone. She is not perfect and I do not know why God has chosen to grow her in such a radical way, but as I watch her wade through a dark place in life I am convicted and challenged and thankful. I am thankful that God is breaking the waves for my mother, thankful that in the midst of all this change she is the person I have always known her to be, thankful that she is broken but not destroyed. Perhaps the greatest blessing God bestowed on my family is my mother, and for that I can say "thank you."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Biological Imperative

And now the munchkin is walking.

That happened fast. Every day he is choosing to walk more and more in his uneven, precarious way as he perfects the balance of stepping while standing. Absolutely adorable and at the same time saddening for me as I watch him walk (literally and figuratively) a little more away from me.

Every time he falls I feel sure that he will give up walking at least for a little while until he is stronger and more balanced, but no matter how hard the spill he eagerly gets back up and steps again. It is incredible to watch and for me personally challenging. It looks so hard, yet he was obviously made to do it as evidenced by his determination to get it right and his excited concentration with each stride.

As I have watched him learn how to hold his head up, sit, crawl, stand and now walk I am amazed by the biological imperative that drives a baby to go from a fully dependent newborn to a willful independent toddler. Mastering these skills never seemed optional for my son. Watching him it never appears that he one day decided to walk. Instead I see him and it is almost as if from the moment he took his first breath some invisible force has been pushing him to get up and discover the limits of his body.

Do these biological imperative end after childhood? I don't think so. I can see in my own life that I am hardwired too. Everyday I feel an invisible force pushing me. In just the same way that God programmed my son to learn how to walk, I am aware of my own biological imperative to seek and yearn for a relationship with my creator. Maybe this all sounds corny, but until I had my son I don't think I had ever witnessed such a clear example of how our wiring as humans shapes our behaviors. I don't think I ever really understood that I was made to worship God.

Yes, we can choose to ignore God, or even deny him, but I think in all of us there is still that longing. It is a denial of our very being to turn away from relationship with our creator, and though that is a choice we each get to make for ourselves, that does not mean that the soul can reject it's programming and cease to feel the need for God. Needing God is not a choice, anymore then we choose to learn how to walk. It is just a part of how we are beautifully and wonderfully made.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Right Around the Corner

I discovered on Monday of this week that next Thursday is Thanksgiving. Ok, I guess I should have already been aware of that, but I think my mind had created an extra week of breathing room between me and the holiday season.

Now that I am having to face reality of the holidays being right around the corner, I have started evaluating our holiday traditions and habits. This year seems filled with more meaning for our family then past years because we are more of a family unit having the munchkin to worry about. This year to me symbolizes all the many years to come and the traditions that will imprint beautiful memories on our sons mind.

First and foremost I am eager to find ways to downplay the commercialism that is synonymous with Thanksgiving and Christmas, and find ways to focus on God and family and others, the truly important things that we have a chance to choose to remember at this time of year.

My husband and I are feeling very gift phobic this year in particular, I think because so many people want to give our son gifts. While I am so grateful and touched by the generosity and giving spirit of those around us, I also want to find a way to get away from the gift giving and emphasize more meaningful things.

So after discussing how we want to handle the gift question in our little family, my hubby and I decided that this year will be homemade gifts only. Whether this is something that becomes a family tradition only time will tell, but this year it feels right. Even as I started working on my gift for the munchkin I could already feel how much more special this gift is then anything I could have bought at the store. I am investing part of myself in this gift and every time my son plays with it I will think of the nights I spent working on it and perfecting it just for him.

I am loving homemade gifts and the attitude about the season that is being shaped by our choice to celebrate the season in ways that are more meaningful and true to what we believe this time of year is all about. I would love to hear ideas you all have about other ways to create meaning this time of year....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My List

During my quiet time this morning for some reason the thoughts that kept popping into my head were all about things that I would love to have a chance to do at some point in my lifetime. So, I decided to make a list in hopes of getting them out of my head to make space for other more pressing matters.

1. Run a marathon. Why I want to do this is hard to say. I hate to run, have never been good at it. But, for many years now I have had a desire to really challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and take on a task that requires discipline, perseverance and courage. Ideally I would like to do this one with someone else who is also not a runner.

2. Go on a missions trip. Preferably overseas to a third world country. This one has been on my heart for a very long time. It may be very pretentious and American of me, but I truly want to see with my own eyes the need that exists in the world. I want my heart to be changed and my perspective shaken.

3. Write a book. Even a children's book, whatever. I just want to write something.

4. Visit Jerusalem.

I can't think of a 5th thing otherwise I would call this my top 5.

How about you? What's in your top 5?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Letter to My Son

So, now you are a year old. This past year has been the most amazing of my life. What a blessing it has been to watch you grow and learn and develop into this little person that makes my heart feel like bursting every single day.

From the moment I first held you in my arms I knew my life would never be the same. And it isn't. Everything has been changed, and as I am reflecting back on how the last year has molded and shaped me, my lifestyle and my relationships I don't think I would change any of it back. I feel as though I have learned and grown right along with you. Being a mom has taught me true sacrifice, selflessness, joy, and how to play again.

I remember when we first got you home from the hospital. Your dad and I looked at each other and started wishing right away that your Grandma was there to help us. It was hard work for those first few weeks and months as you seemed to be a bundle of never ending need, from nursing to sleeping to your incessant desire to constantly be in someones arms. Looking back I remember that I was frustrated at times and there were days when all I wanted was to be able to put you down for 10 minutes together so I could rest, but those feelings have been replaced by beautiful memories of long days spent on the couch together, cozy and inseparable, when I could ignore the housework and the cooking because you were a newborn and I was a new mom and that was allowed.

These days you are more and more active and energetic and I am getting a clearer picture of what your personality is like. You are so curious and at times very serious as you explore the world around you. No matter how many times you have been through the house, you still manage to find something new to discover, and I am discovering all these things with you. You have reminded me of how interesting measuring cups, pot lids, Q-tips, toilet paper, socks and coasters really are.

I worried for a long time that you were very solemn and for most of the past year your father and I have gone out of our way to coax smiles and the occasional laugh out of you. But now you have decided that smiling and laughing are your thing and you do them non-stop. I think you just had to learn more about the world before deciding there were sufficient reasons to express happiness and joy every day. Or perhaps you just had to get old enough to be able to appreciate how funny your parents truly are. Our house has never been filled with so much laughter as it is these days.

I am thankful for so many things over this past year. I am thankful that I held you all the time when you were little. I am thankful that you chose to sleep in bed with us, and that you still spend part of the night co-sleeping with me. I am thankful that I am home with you for most of the time so that I am not missing the joy of watching you grow and change every day. I am thankful for every time I chose to wear you in the sling close to my heart instead of letting you ride in a stroller or cart. Now that you are getting so big and want to be more independent, I miss it. I am thankful that I did not chose to wean you by 1 year old. You are still so little and I can't bear to lose the excuse to cuddle with you for long periods of time several times each day.  I am thankful that you are strong and healthy and fearless, and that you move and climb and yell just the way a little boy should.

This time is going so quickly and I can see clearly that you will be grown before I am ready. I am praying every day that God would watch over you as you grow and that he will lead and guide you throughout your life. There is so much that I want to teach you, but I know that you have so much to teach me too. This next year is going to be full of discovery, exploration, learning and connecting as a family. I can't wait to see what you become. Happy Birthday little one. Love, Mom.