Thursday, March 29, 2012

open

There is color everywhere. Speckled eggs on a dish, a new can of slate blue paint for the back door, my toenails, more rose and yellow and pale blue in the laundry pile. We leave the back door open; the kids and the dog meander in and out. This I remember especially to enjoy, because it will be too hot soon enough. Right now it's all open windows and fresh air and potential.

We poke seeds into the ground: spinach and lettuce and wildflowers, and I keep finding so much happiness in little things. Watching an indie film while the floor dries. Folding whites, wiping away dust. Naptime, sadness, the luxury of mindfulness because it means there is space in the day. Scribbling with chalk on warm concrete. Weather that warrants ice cream and trips to the park and skirts and dinner outside. I feel the sort of elation and then calm that comes after you take a leap of faith. When you look around, and it's enough, and it's also okay to dream, and the deepest-rooted thing I know comes back to me:

everything is spiritual; every day is a gift. There is the seen and the unseen. I let all this swirl, lift it back up, say

thank
you

once
again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

in it

I've checked on them, finger-combed up sweaty nape of neck hair, tiptoed out. The little one wakes up at the drop of a hat lately. I planted pale yellow petunias today, and we ate turkey burgers with green chile outside, even though it was chilly by then, in the shade. I watched the new Mad Men episodes, and was disappointed with all the drama. I know, wrong show. Maybe this stuff is too depressing, maybe it makes people think their lives should be more complicated instead of less. Complicated gets too much glory. Sometimes you look outward for inspiration, sometimes all you need is to look around your own little space. At any rate, it's not going to kill my little springtime buzz.

I'm tapping away at the keyboard in bed now, his chest is rising and falling next to me and all is quiet but the tap, tap, tap and the breathing. The bare spots in the grass are filling in. There is color when I look outside. My baby looks for me all day long; we dig our hands in the dirt and he buries his face in Penny's coat and the breeze blows stray hairs out of my face. I don't want to get lost in anything, or pass the time. I'm in it, alive.



Monday, March 26, 2012

spring showed up this week


This past week was Nicky's spring break (well Ricky's too, but he does have that pesky job). We spent the first few days cooped up because it was cold and windy outside, but as the week progressed the weather turned lovely. We had some fun outings, and a lot of downtime. Now it's back to the routine for a few months before summer....

We also took a quick trip to visit some good friends and celebrate their sweet son's first birthday. I always leave our time with them feeling refreshed and validated. And there's something so special about spending time with old friends: laughing and tearing up about old times and making plans for the future, watching our kids play together (aka keeping our baby from knocking their baby down repeatedly), talking around a fire late into the night. This is the stuff of life.

And look, we went to the zoo!  It was a perfect Sunday afternoon, and a much-needed getaway.










Now back to life, with new energy. Spring is here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

blustery Sunday

It is so, so windy outside. The air is full of dust; the mountains are totally hidden from sight. I'm really glad we didn't plant the garden like we had talked about... Anyway, some phone pics from the week:


I like our little routines with these guys. These days are sweet and simple, mostly--and never am I more reminded of that than after a hectic, taxing day at work. Yesterday after I finally finished charting it was 9 pm and I was making my rounds, replacing some forms on the patient's doors and checked in on a pleasantly confused older man who I was a little worried might try to get out of bed on his own. He called, "Come in and talk a while!", and so I did..."Whatcha doing?", I asked. "Oh, just thinking." He paused. "What else can you do at bedtime?"

I'm often taken by how much babies and the elderly look alike and I just saw my sweet Silas' face in his face (this happened all the time when I returned to work after having Silas--somehow I managed to not break down weeping every five minutes but I sure wanted to). I explained that I was going to go home and sleep and who would be taking care of him that night, in case he had forgotten, and tucked his blankets around his chin, and we said goodnight. I had a good cry as I drove home, letting the day go. In my profession I often feel like I'm letting someone down, tending to the most pressing need. I don't think I've ever left work feeling totally satisfied with my day. I'm not sure that ever happens, because I see the experienced nurses running around just like I am, and staying late to chart, and dropping one of the fourteen balls they're juggling. Maybe it's just the nature of the beast. I love it except for when I hate it...

So we're off for Spring Break this upcoming week and planning a quick getaway to Albuquerque this weekend. I'm excited to maybe catch up on a bit of sleep, and hang out with both boys during the day. And maybe plant that garden if the weather starts cooperating.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

where we meet


Ah, the ache of this wounded world, yes? Like the Israelites, God sometimes feeds us manna, that which literally makes no sense to us, the "what is it?" food, and He asks us to eat the mystery of circumstances we don't understand. How to find gratefulness when we weep? Does it comfort at all to know that in the midst of our pain, God is keeping a list?  A list that turns us and the cosmos inside out and changes everything, changes me and my perspective and the way I brain-film my life: 
“You have recorded my troubles.
You have kept a list of my tears.
Aren't they in your records?” Ps. 56:8, NCV
 God does not slumber for He cannot cease to bear testimony to our hurt. God keeps a list. It's the wildest Love that drives the Father to record His child's every lament. We never ache without God attending, and He can't stand to see a tear fall to the floor. God cups our grief and puts our tears in His bottle.
...it's Love that makes God a list-keeper of our brokenness, and it's love that can make us list-keepers of our blessings. In this we might meet together in communion.
-Ann Voskamp, in this interview


Thursday, March 15, 2012

busy, noisy, dirt, etc.


The internet provides so many little chuckles. The other day I saw a cute sign or something on Pinterest that said boy: n. a noise with dirt on it. Oh, so true. They pretty much always smell like dirt unless they are fresh out of the bath. I tried to catch a few pics of Silas and me a few days ago but had very few opportune moments, except when he was of course trying to eat my face or pausing for a quick drink. That kid is rarely still (thus the blurriness).
 
 


Yesterday we tried again; he paused long enough to show me where my mouth is. 


Nicky's a little easier to capture on camera, as long as silly faces are involved. Here we are hanging out before his piano lesson (he learned the C major scale). He smelled like little kid + dirt + recess.



 Ah, boys.

Camera embraced.



Monday, March 12, 2012

like a poet

Sometimes I sit with my unsettled-ness for a while. Sometimes I fling it away and run free, a happy dance of denial on my feet. Like a boomerang, it returns. Sometimes he takes it, holds it, and I rest. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you, he reminds gently. I learn to doubt my heart, not his. And he gives vision; I see a little more of that horizon. His goodness fills all the hollow spaces. His kindness makes me want to be more kind.

Like a parent who wants a child to walk, he allows me to wobble and fall, hovering close behind with arms out. Like a mother, he holds me close and whispers tenderness. Like a father, he has a big lap and a hearty laugh and when he says good job all is right and well, even when I all I want to do is be able to call mine on the phone and feel my place in the world again. Like a friend he offers his presence. Like a teacher he sets down a complicated book in front of me, gives me paper and pencil, and says wrestle with this for a bit. But if it gets to be too much, you can set it down for awhile. Like a counselor he says Go outside, laugh with your children, walk with that sweet husband, remember the broken all around you, remember my eye is on the sparrow too, call your friends. Laugh, and be broken. Love, and be broken. Eat, and be broken. Let being broken be a part of you, to where you can feel all my love for this beautiful messed up world and love it the way I do. Like a coach he says trust the process. I know how this will make you stronger.


Like the poet of poets that he is, he offers life and mystery together and when I remember his heart, there is always, always hope.

Pinned Image

Sunday, March 4, 2012

week in phone pics


This morning we woke up early to three chirping smoke alarms and of course, no spare nine-volts. The interval between each chirp was just long enough to sort of drift off to sleep again, then the next one would come along, cruelly. So we got up and Ricky made tea, and the boys snuggled for awhile before Nicolas said "I'm ready to switch from boring time to having fun time", and went to play. He is all about tops right now and begs me to let him stay for daycare after school so he can "battle" with his friends.

This week:

  • we enjoyed warmer temps and more blooming trees, and endured the dreaded spring wind
  • we got our hands in the dirt to plant just a few flowers (couldn't help myself)
  • Nicky started piano lessons
  • Silas discovered Nicky's old little tikes piano
  • Nicky showed us how much progress he's making with reading. We're working on it every evening for a reading challenge his class is doing. I'm amazed at the pace these kiddos are going!
  • Ricky and I had a breakfast date, along with Mr. Silas. I can't remember the last time I just sat at a coffee shop. We need to do that more often.
  • I decided that for my 29th birthday, which is coming up soon, I want to get a tattoo. I definitely want some script on the side of my foot, but picking the perfect words is proving to be a challenge. I think I've narrowed it down to two phrases that are quite meaningful to me. And I really do want to put a bird on it but may have to restrain myself, sadly.
Today we're going to church and helping some friends move, and hopefully going to the indoor aquatic center this evening. I can sense the shift that happens this time of year--I just want to be out and about. I guess I'm done hibernating (for now anyway)...

Happy Sunday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

bread crumbs: on being still

{bread crumbs: hints, big or small, that seem to fall in front of me just when I need them.}

I've been reading Lauren Winner's new book Still: Notes On A Mid-Faith Crisis for the past few weeks. I first discovered her in college when my room-mate lent me her memoir Girl Meets God; I still read it every other year or so. Anyway, something stuck out to me a few nights ago. One of the things she writes about is her struggle with anxiety. She decides to give up anxiety for Lent (I love the bravery of such a statement):
The desert saints said that the beginning of renouncing a thought is simply noticing it. That is what I'm doing in my quarter hours--I am noticing, and naming, and then for a few minutes, quarantining  a distraction.
But the desert fathers say something more: after noticing a thought, replace it with prayer. So that is just what I try to do to my anxiety this Lent--not just ignore it for quarter hour increments, but sidle up alongside it and pray. (89-90) 
This idea of just spending some time with anxiety (or in my case the almost paralyzing discontent that creeps up sometimes) and noticing it, then praying through it really spoke to me. I tried it yesterday. I spent some time with my discontent, asked it what it's name was. Sometimes it's just advertising telling me I don't have things that I want (turns out most of the time I don't want them, not really), or Pinterest telling me I'm not creative enough with my throw pillows or my marriage, or any number of outside sources streaming false information into my mind. It's all the same lie of not enough. So I spent some time with that lie (disguised as my feelings) and eventually it showed its ugly face. And I prayed. I held up all my feelings, true and false, asked for help, and help came in the form of peace.

But say that feeling of discontent came from something real--something that really needed to be changed or fixed, then spending time with it would reveal that as well. Sometimes discontent is just the push I need to make something happen. Most of the time, I'm finding, that is not the case. It's just the not enough lie blinding me to the blessings that surround me.

I used to think I should be harder on myself. Now I mostly try to be kinder to myself, in the hopes that the outflow will be better. God lavishes grace on me daily, and I am desperately in need of grace to lavish (or even to dole out in teaspoons, that would work.) What goes in must come out, and there is no way to be there for other people if I'm not there for myself too.

I will not run away from stillness. It is uncomfortable but it is fruitful. I love this prayer she mentions:
O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God.
-from the Book of Common Prayer, 832.
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