Why We Should Not Keep Our Burdens To Ourselves

Pain is a great equalizer. To experience the grief, loss, hurt of someone else — whether we are physically present in their pain or not — draws us together and crumbles barriers.

Too many times I have distanced myself from others because they were different from me. I could not relate with them. I either placed them on a pedestal of greatness — beyond my lowly reach — or crushed them beneath my expectations, ideals, preconceived notions of righteousness, justice, normalcy…

And then, in an unexpected moment, I am made aware of their sorrow. Suddenly, they are just as human as I. My heart breaks, and I am convicted of my pettiness, selfishness, arrogance. We are fellow humans, this anyone else and I. We are created in the same image. Powered by the same process. Desiring similar things.

Perhaps this is a small part of why God still allows pain. Pain is one of the few things that causes a gut reaction to care, to love…without prejudice and without reserve.

Posted in Christianity, faith | 3 Comments

Of Knees, Chins, and Coconut Sugar Scrub

Meghan likes to slurp on knees and chins.  Not sure why. It’s just her thing.

So if you are holding her in your lap, pretty soon she will focus on either your knee or your chin with that determined stare.  She’ll think for a moment…probably planning the slurp in detail, and then she will open her mouth, lean, aannndd slurp.

This causes no small amount of laughter from the siblings and the parents.  It never ceases to amaze me how every child can be so different.  Again and again I find myself thinking, “but Jonah and Abby never did that!” Nope, they didn’t. Meghan does.

So, throughout my pregnancy with Meghan and continuing after her birth, my skin has been very unhappy.  I did not wear any makeup for months because I couldn’t.  My face was just too dry and scaly.   I was finally able to heal my chapped and bleeding lips with dedicated use of an expensive tube of specialty lip balm, but no matter how much lotion/facial cream I used, the rest of my face would not be appeased.

Then about a month ago, I began using a daily oil cleanse and a weekly sugar scrub on my face and after the very first use, my face has been so happy.  I have completely quit using all other facial cleansers and lotions.

At this point, you may be thinking, my goodness this is random.  What on earth does this have to do with Meghan liking to slurp on knees and chins?

Well, yesterday I was holding Meghan shortly after showering and using my sugar scrub (made from coconut oil and sugar).  Pretty soon she started giving my chin the stare.  And then she leaned.  And slurped.

And then…she grabbed onto my face with both her tiny hands and began licking and slurping all over my face.  She had tasted the coconut and sugar and she wanted more!

Scott and I laughed so hard.

Jonah and Abby definitely never did that. *grin*

Thanks to Tsh at Simple Living for the idea on How to Clean Your Face Naturally

Posted in family, Fun Stuff, Just Relaxing, Kids | 4 Comments

Stretching

I watch him as he walks into the building without me.  His body has been stretching taller over the past few months and I know it won’t be long until he will be able to stand toe-to-toe with me and look straight into my face.  His stride is confident, but relaxed.  My son is becoming a man.

This isn’t the first time that I have dropped him off and watched him walk away on his own.  In fact, over the past few years he has been not only more involved in individual activities, but he has also become a true help to me.  He often runs into the store to buy the item I need for dinner so that I don’t have to wake Meghan from her car seat. He takes walks and bike rides by himself and plays outdoors for hours, outside my sight and calling range, but within the borders we’ve discussed. This moment was no different than so many other moments over the past few years.

And yet it was.

There was no difference today, except that my heart and my eyes paused to really see, and suddenly months of moments seemed to careen into the present and I fully realized who he has become. And in that brief moment, I also caught a glimpse of the man he will soon be.

Sure, he’s a tween and still learning the balance between funny and obnoxious, concerned and bossy.  And he’s our firstborn, which means that we are still learning the balance between freedom and boundaries, guiding and controlling.

I watched in him for this bittersweet moment and wanted to hold him close, preventing any more time from passing. But at the same time, I couldn’t wait for the future when I will be able to see all that my son is.

Posted in family, Kids, Parenting | 4 Comments

Watchful Moments

I love watching you, little one, in the quickly passing moments of these days.

Those long lashes on beautiful sleeping eyes…

The smile on your lips as you unlatch from my body with your tummy full and content…

And the giggles as you play with your daddy.

Hearing you “sing” with us during church,

even though the attention of those around us makes me feel awkward.

My heart is full when you reach for your brother or sister, your big eyes focused joyfully on their faces.

And when your fingers stretch toward my mouth, reaching for a kiss on your hand…

or stop short, clutching at my clothing as if trying to keep me close and within your grasp.

Your energy and enthusiasm for exploring your world

inspire me and open my eyes again to the wonder around me.

These beautiful moments with you remind me again of all the beautiful moments

that I have been blessed to enjoy three times now.

And I want to stretch my mind, my memory, my soul, to remember everyone one.

Posted in family, Kids | 1 Comment

Is this as good as it gets?

The living room looks like our bookshelves have had a violent case of the stomach flu.
There are not currently enough clean dishes in the kitchen to serve the next meal to my family…even when I figure out what to serve for said meal.
Oh, and if my sweetie and I plan on going to bed anytime tonight, I’m going to have to start putting away the laundry that is currently hanging out on our bed.

But as I walk by my son’s bedroom, I seem him crouched on the floor, working at the puzzle that we have been enjoying together for the past week. It feels like a hundred things are pulling at my attention, presenting their urgent requests, but I pause at the door, then walk into his room and crouch down beside him, scanning the unclaimed pieces for the next fit. He looks up at me and smiles. I smile back.

And as we both start scanning puzzle pieces again, I think: life doesn’t get any better than this.

~~~

Meghan’s been teething for weeks. Her usual sleep routine has been disrupted by fussiness and frequent nursing. Even when she’s nursing, wrapped in my arm, she is still often fighting the pain and discomfort…kicking against my stomach, pressing her face close and then flinging her head back. She hurts, and even nursing doesn’t completely help.

But then in the wee hours of the morning when my brain is heavy with exhaustion and her body can fight no longer, she settles into a peaceful sleep. Her mouth still mimics the sucking motion as her lips brush barely against my skin. She is cocooned against me, safely held in the curve on my arm that so perfectly fits her small frame. Her round cheeks beg to be kissed and as I softly stroke the top of her head, I think: this is as good as life gets.

~~~

I walk into the kitchen, sleep-deprived, still debating whether the cup of coffee or my still-warm bed is going to win preference when I glance at the white-board on the wall. “every bodey rocks” is scrawled across the board with hearts and circles and squiggly lines. I can’t help smiling. It’s the work of my middle child. My artsy encourager. And even though I’m exhausted and not yet wanting to face another day, I know,

This is as good as it gets.

Posted in awareness, family, Gratitude | 5 Comments

Currently Playing Favorites

Favorite Verse: Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24 NIV

Favorite Activity: Checking the garden to see if anything new is growing.

Favorite Song: It’s Amazing, by Jem

Favorite TV Show: Big Bang Theory

Favorite Hot Beverage: French Vanilla Cafe

Favorite Cold Beverage:Freshly made iced tea

Favorite Homeschool Subject: Grid Perplexors, by Mindware

Favorite Scent: Baking bread

What are your current favorites?

Posted in Fun Stuff | 4 Comments

Which comes first, the heart or the tongue…

“…for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45b ESV

Judging from what comes out of my mouth, you might not always see how black my heart can be. I’m usually pretty good at controlling my tongue. Especially in front of those who do not see me on a daily basis. So you might expect that my heart is much the same. Disciplined, thoughtful. But you would be wrong.

The truth is, I’ve worked to tame my tongue, but at the cost of my heart. It wasn’t intentional. I thought I was doing the right thing.

I’ve held my tongue and smiled at the person whose attitude I didn’t like or whose personality grates against mine.
I’ve held my tongue and remained silent to the person whose words hurt and wounded.
I’ve held my tongue while lashing internal judgment upon myself.

I’ve held my tongue, but released the negativity inward. I’ve allowed my heart to hear the abuse I know better than to speak aloud. I’ve judged, condemned and abused myself and others in verbal attacks that only my heart has heard.

And so my heart has been poisoned again and again.

But that kind of poison does slip back out.

It slips out in my emotional outburst to my undeserving husband.
It slips out in my frustration with my children.
It slips out in the shape of my insecurities and fears.
It may even slip out in the disguise of pain and fatigue.

And yes, my heart is not all black. I know that. God has shaped and transformed so much of my life, my heart, my attitude. I am so grateful for the that, and I acknowledge His power over and through me.

But I am realizing how much damage I can do when I internalize negativity. I’ve felt justified in doing so because I was controlling my tongue. But the point of this verse is not to control the tongue first, but the heart first. When the heart is clean and pure, then the tongue will be too.

So, I’m choosing to accept the pain and hard work that will come as I allow God to clean up the poison in my heart. Practicing gratitude is helpful, but not enough. It’s time to start changing the internal dialogue as well.

Posted in faith, Gratitude | Leave a comment