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Category Archives: Examples

Why I Still Want to Carpe Diem

So, the other night, this beautiful, fun friend of mine shares a link with me. Says it reminded her of my recent reposting of some old words of mine. About how, apparently, I am not the only mother in the world who receives all kinds of comments from older women . . . in the check-outs, in the bathrooms, in the elevators. Those heart-felt, nostalgic words about “enjoying every minute” of our child-rearing years. Not being on Facebook anymore, I somehow missed the frenzy, as moms shared the link with other friends, giving each other, and themselves bits of comfort. I read the article “Don’t Carpe Diem” this morning. I want to preface this post of mine by saying, I LOVED this post from The Momastery. It made me laugh out loud. It made me quickly blink back tears before I ruined my fresh, just-applied, morning mascara. After reading, I immediately copied and pasted the link and sent it to a friend. I *loved* this writer’s honesty. I could relate to every single word and I loved her message.

 

I’ve been thinking about a dear friend of mine who just became a mother for the first time. She. is. exhausted. She’s running into all sorts of issues that I’m sure she never expected to run into and I honestly don’t know how she’s surviving! But her situation made me think back to my not-so-very-long-ago, first few months as a mom and I realized that there is one tool in my Motherhood arsenal that I wasn’t given. None of us are. And I still don’t have it with my firstborn.

 

Perspective.

 

You know what I mean? Your new bundle of joy is in your arms and everything is fresh and new and unknown. You have no real idea what you’re doing or where you’re going and you’re so scared of screwing something up and you haven’t slept a full night in weeks and it feels like this is the rest of your life, surely. And then your sweet, little second born arrives and you’ve done it all before and you know that they’ll eventually start sleeping and you know that each phase is oh, so short and it makes you realize just how fast you made your oldest “grow up.”

 

And at least for me, with my second, I actually treasured the midnight feedings and the newborn-sized diapers. Because with my second, I had a tiny bit of perspective.

 

So even though, when that little, old lady in the Wal-Mart milk aisle exhorted me by saying “this is the best time of your life” I stuffed feelings of the incredulity of it all, I slowly realized that that grey-haired woman had something that I didn’t and still don’t. Perspective. Maybe she’s a little nostalgic, and maybe she has selective memory regarding the late nights and the trying to find just one second to go pee and all the less than glorifying moments of motherhood. BUT she has also nearly lived the full spectrum of life and surely she must feel some sense of urgency to come up to a complete stranger to say, “Honey, treasure every moment. This is the very best time in your life.”  Even if I had a very outspoken personality, I don’t think I would ever approach a complete stranger with such confidence or say that to anyone unless I felt like it was completely true for myself and that I’d somehow missed it and wished that someone, anyone, had warned me:

 

“You know those nights your longing for? The ones with the full night’s sleep and the days when you can sit and read a book in peace and quiet and do what you want to do, when you want to do it, and actually live that life you’ve been given? I know that life sounds like it’s 18 years off and you’re not sure just how you’re going to live those 6,570 days until your child reaches adulthood without losing your sanity, but that day will come. I promise. And it won’t be all you think it’s going to be and you’ll have wasted those 18 years longing for something that isn’t what you think it is. Enjoy what you’re living. Right this very moment. It’s more beautiful than you even know.”

 

There must be an awful lot of great-grandmothers out there who feel this way if each of us young moms is stopped several times a month with this same exact message.

 

Maybe we do need to listen.

 

So now, when those Wal-Mart trips take a bit longer than they used to because a frail, 80-year-old woman wants to tell me about her babies of long ago and encourages me to stop and just enjoy, I really do try to stop my mind from racing into a frustrated frenzy and try to hear her life-lived perspective.

 

Can I seize every moment like I ought to? No, and that’s why I simply love Glennon’s idea of “seizing a couple Kairoses today.” But I also think that we need to listen to the mothers who have gone before us and are almost done with their life’s races. Why should we assume that we will make it to 80? One month ago, I was truly afraid that my daughters would wake up that Wednesday morning without a mother to dress them or kiss their boo-boos or read them Goodnight Moon. I know it sounds cheesy and I know it sounds cliché, but what if those well-worn storybooks I read with my girls that Tuesday night had been our last storybook cuddle? What if?? None of us are promised tomorrow and none of our children are either. I’m not trying to be all fear-factor here, but really. God knows that I needed a little perspective shaken into me that one, scary night. And yes, this thing called motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and I survived nursing school -grin-), and it’s so easy to lose my sanity in the midst of kids going crazy in the Wal-Mart aisles and in the mere day-in and day-out caretaking and gardening of our children’s blooming hearts. I lose my sanity and perspective all too often. Daily, in fact. So for me, I welcome the wrinkled, time-worn, urgent perspective.

 

Yes, tell me again. Carpe Diem. Right here. Right now. There is a beautiful, grace-filled underlying theme in all this exhausting, sometimes temper-filled, sometimes hectic, sometimes less-than-I-want craziness. Help me take hold of it.

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His Willing Waiting

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Do you ever wonder where you are? You know where HE is. That He never leaves, never forsakes, but do you ever wonder if you’ve wandered a bit? Maybe been a Gomer and given your love to something else? Not even another entity, but a mere searching for something you think may fill you? The job promotion you’ve always wanted. Marrying the man of your dreams. Having a child. A home. A relationship restored. Or maybe your mind’s even simply been a little obsessed over those new curtains you’ve been saving up for, or the new 6-burner industrial gas stove your “kitchen’s” just itching to have.

 

And something or someone unknowingly wakes you up from the your heart’s wanderings and you suddenly realize just how little you’ve been living. You see their life. Their passion for Someone and something bigger than themselves. And while you’ve been pining and chasing after that certain dream or desire, you’ve neglected the here. The now. The HIM.

 

Oh, you’ve marched on, bathing kids and cooking suppers and doing laundry and working those long, soul-tiring days. But your mind and heart . . . oh, it has been on a wandering. A looking. A peering. And all the while, a real, soul-quenching Filling has been just watching you, just waiting, willing you to turn your heart . . . back . . . your First Love waits.

 

He wants to enlarge these hearts of ours. Widen their myopic horizons and give us His life-sustaining view. If we seek, we will find. If we lose our lives, they will ironically be saved. If we give, He will shake and press and make room for more. Because what we reap, we will sow. And if we thirst, He satisfies.

 

I thirst. My face turns. And I blush that there He is. His eyes watching. Willing me to turn my wandering heart. He humbles me with His patience and how can I not thank?

 

#586 That He is there and His promises are true

#587 little birthday seeds in Firefly’s hands, waiting to be sown

#588 a cool, summery breeze

#589 little songs, made up by little hearts and voices

#590 unexpected turns

#591 strawberry cake and candy flowers

#592 sweet birthday get-togethers

#593 cool water running over toes in August-like heat

#594 carousel rides and little girls in bathing suits

#595 that my should-have-been-a-boyscout sister had an extra shirt after a swimmie diaper malfunctioned (not mine, in case you were wondering) 🙂

#596 even him, just waiting for me, for my heart to slow

#597 pink lemonade and chaco tans

#598 tiger lily blooms

#599 a wonderful community and wonderful neighbors and wonderful wonderfulness 🙂

#600 SIX HUNDRED!!!!!

#601 determined independence and little sandals being put on by her own little hands

#602 just the waiting, the searching, the learning of myself

#603 that he likes to hear my thoughts, the thoughts I used to be so afraid to share

#604 pink and turquoise balloons

#605 iphone auto-correction

#606 sweet friends and their hearts for Haiti and orphans and nannies

#607 hose water, trickling

#608 giggles, giggles, giggles

#609 crying through Fancy Nancy

#610 that we are never alone

#611 that He can light fire where there is no tinder

#612 make-shift black out curtains and sleeping in just a little

#613 that there are more gifts than I could ever count

 

The Beauty-Seekers

Still a Wallflower

For you sweet readers, I am sorry for the long in-betweens. We’re here battling sickness again this week (it’s a tough winter, no?) . As the three of us girls stay close to home and to each other, and as I watch my two little girls interact, my mind settles here again.

A post from not so very long ago.

 

 

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I watch her eyes follow her big sister. The Dove observes the Firefly and everything comes earlier because she’s been watching. The talking, the crawling, the climbing, the walking all come before I’m ready and I’m unprepared for the surprise. At about 10 months, she begins playing dress up. She’s watched her big sister clothe herself in the costume gowns and necklaces, and Dove begins that early too. She brings a hat to her Daddy one evening, and indulging her, he places it on her head. She gives us a look of excited curiosity and crawls, quick as lightning, to the over-sized mirror in our hallway. She looks at her reflection and smiles, satisfied. My Man and I look at each other in nervous disbelief. 10 months old and she’s already doing this?! She’s been watching someone . . . and Firefly cannot possibly fathom her effect.

You can learn a lot about a man by studying his beloved, can’t you? She is his reflection and sometimes his mirror, but you learn what he values and how he loves and things he won’t necessarily tell you himself.

 

And I wonder.

 

His bride is far from perfect and she is cleansed, but still being sanctified, so for this analogy, you have to ignore her dust-propensities . . . but what of her beauty? What does the earthly Bride tell us of the Heavenly Groom?

 

I watch as Dove watches her sister. She tries to keep up with her and she tries to mimic her and she tries to learn of life from her . . . maybe she learns more from her big sister than she does from her parents?

Like Dove, I watch and learn. I learn from you, dear sisters.

 

I watch a young woman as she and her husband anguish in their infertility. They cling to the Life-Bringer and hope shimmers. They cling to each other and love is sown. I learn from my little sister.

 

I watch a friend struggle for unity with her husband as they seek God’s plan for their family. She waits. They find unity where least expected. I study this.

 

I watch a daughter of the King wrestle lies of being unlovable, abandoned and alone. She wields the sword of truth and she is a warrior. She teaches me.

 

I watch a woman of faith contend with her husband’s unfaithfulness. Within herself, she daily fights for her marriage, forgiving again and again the bleeding wounds to her soul. She illuminates. I watch her.

 

I learn from you, my sisters. I am just one in the cloud of witnesses, watching you run your race.

 

I toddle, arms outstretched.


Wisdom Nuggets from the Trenches

No matter whose amazing book we may have just read, or whatever eloquent interview just played on the radio, or even that astounding blog post we may have just happened upon, when it comes right down to it, some of the most life-changing, attitude-adjusting words can come from the women in the trenches next to us.

 

I’m not even kidding. There have been several times in the last few years that a friend has casually said something in passing and while she’s already moved on to the next topic, I’m still trying to catch my breath from what just came out of her like it was nothing.

 

Let me explain. I’ve said before that I am a perfectionist. But you’d never know it by looking at my life on the outside. My house is usually disorganized . . . well, really, my life is a bit disorganized. You see, unlike the perfectionism which drives most women to be Superwoman, my particular brand of perfectionism usually paralyzes me into doing nothing. Start some new project? Well, you see, I know it won’t come out the way I want it, soooooo, I just don’t do it at all.

 

This is a suffocating, boring way to live, and by the grace of God, I am working on this. But my fellow-mama, well, really just woman-friends, the ones who’ve been right next to me, fighting in the kid-raising, house-cleaning, husband-loving trenches? They help release my tightly-clenched, perfectionistic grip.

 

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Back when I was in my last year of nursing school, I had a friend about 20-25 years older than me tell me, “You can do anything for a year.” She was a nurse herself. She had lived the life I was currently living and my weary soul sopped up every ounce of her words. She was right. I did it. I frequently think about her words in parenting. Because when you’re taking care of a newborn who’s waking every two hours and you’re not getting any sleep? It feels like life is never going to change. That you’re going to be stuck with no sleep for the rest of your life. Thankfully, in parenting (at least in parenting young children), there are rarely things that you have to do for a whole year.  Children hurry along through their little phases so quickly and just when you’re getting used to them, you’re left with an aching heart, wondering how that phase was over so quickly….

 

Potty-training?

 

Teaching a little heart not to whine?

 

Pulling a little climber off the dining room table for the fourth time in 5 minutes? (Ahem, this would be me)

 

“You can do anything for a (fill in: a few weeks, a few months, a year).”

 

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When I was pregnant with my firstborn, several women shared mothering advice at my baby shower and a little nugget stuck with me.

This was from a woman with seven children. She lived in the trench.

 

“When you walk in a room and find your children have created a disaster and you just want to cry? Take a picture of it. It gives you a bigger perspective and will make you smile.”

 

Oh, have I taken this fun advice to heart….

A recent "tent" made by Firefly.

Crayon . . . on our glider's ottoman. It all came out. 😉

Dove is ALWAYS getting into my makeup....

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And then there was the time a friend and I were talking about keeping our houses clean. I was talking about how I just never have time to mop or dust as much as I used to and how I thought her house always looks nice.

 

This mother with three children replied, “You know, my house is rarely clean. I just keep up on clutter. Every time I walk through the house, I carry something with me that needs put away.”

 

Hmmm . . . that sounded manageable.  Much more manageable than keeping up with two young children 24/7 and have a spic and span house. I’ve found her words empowering. Clutter. A manageable enemy. And if I do keep on top of it (I’m still working on it!), then it’s much easier to actually clean because I have a clean slate.

 

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And last, but certainly not least, I have a friend who completely changed my attitude about being a good mother. She’s one of those girls who when you meet her, you instantly feel like you could tell her anything and she would still give you a big ol’ hug and send you home feeling like you’re the most special person in the world.

 

We were at a women’s Bible study one day, both at the coffee/tea counter, grabbing something warm to drink beforehand.

 

“Hmmm . . . I’m not sure which tea flavor to choose. I already had my mug of coffee this morning,” I said, trying to make small talk.

 

“Oh?” she asked with her raised eyebrows. “Are you still nursing the baby or something and watching your caffeine?”

 

“Oh, no. I just try to be good and limit my coffee to one mug a day,” I explained.

 

“Well, let me tell you something, girl,” she said, like she was letting me in on some deep secret. Little did I know, she was. “I’ve found that I’m a much happier mama if I sit down at 4:00 in the afternoon and have me an oreo and another mug of coffee. If I get that little boost in the afternoon, I can make it through bath time and actually be a fun mama while doing it. I’ll work on my caffeine intake in 10 years or so when the boys are putting themselves to bed.”

 

I’m telling you, girls. That was revolutionary thinking to me. Because she showed me to look at the big picture. Not every single detail of my life is going to be perfect. But so what? There are some battles just not worth fighting in particular seasons of life. So, if an extra cup of coffee helps me be a happier mama? I’m going for it.

 

So, listen to your friends, dears. One little sentence might just rock your world.

Wallflower

I watch her eyes follow her big sister. The Dove observes the Firefly and everything comes earlier because she’s been watching. The talking, the crawling, the climbing, the walking all come before I’m ready and I’m unprepared for the surprise. At about 10 months, she begins playing dress up. She’s watched her big sister clothe herself in the costume gowns and necklaces, and Dove begins that early too. She brings a hat to her Daddy one evening, and indulging her, he places it on her head. She gives us a look of excited curiosity and crawls, quick as lightning, to the over-sized mirror in our hallway. She looks at her reflection and smiles, satisfied. My Man and I look at each other in nervous disbelief. 10 months old and she’s already doing this?! She’s been watching someone . . . and Firefly cannot possibly fathom her effect.

And you can learn a lot about a man by studying his beloved, can’t you? She is his reflection and sometimes his mirror, but you learn what he values and how he loves and things he won’t necessarily tell you himself.

And I wonder.

His bride is far from perfect and she is cleansed, but still being sanctified, so for this analogy, you have to ignore her dust-propensities . . . but what of her beauty? What does the earthly Bride tell us of the Heavenly Groom?

And I watch as Dove watches her sister. She tries to keep up with her and she tries to mimic her and she tries to learn of life from her . . . maybe she learns more from her big sister than she does from her parents?

Like Dove, I watch and learn. I learn from you, dear sisters.

I watch a young woman as she and her husband anguish in their infertility. They cling to the Life-Bringer and hope shimmers. They cling to each other and love is sown. I learn from my little sister.

I watch a friend struggle for unity with her husband as they seek God’s plan for their family. She waits. They find unity where least expected. I study this.

I watch a daughter of the King wrestle lies of being unlovable, abandoned and alone. She wields the sword of truth and she is a warrior. She teaches me.

I watch a woman of faith contend with her husband’s unfaithfulness. Within herself, she daily fights for her marriage, forgiving again and again the bleeding wounds to her soul. She illuminates. I watch her.

I learn from you, my sisters. I am just one in the cloud of witnesses, watching you run your race.

I toddle, arms outstretched.