Friday, March 30, 2012

slightly controversial thoughts on time and motherhood

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This morning she poked the soccer ball on his shirt and giggled.  Ba Ba Ba. He laughed, she did it again.  These two, oh my.

We were playing in the back yard, the happiest rulers of our new acquired kingdom.  On his knees, he studied bugs as they disappeared in the brown earth.  Where did they go, I asked.  Under the grass, see.

And he decided he was old enough to be the puller of the wagon rather than a rider, so little sister got a stop and go trip as his little arms entered into a new season of life.  She pleasantly bumped along with the wind in her hair and he wore a smile larger than his three year old soul has ever seen.  I sauntered behind, reveling in this new phase.  I can do it, mama.  My arms relieved, my heart swelling.

They bloom and we get a front row seat.

I’m not even sad about it.

I mean, the blessed and beautiful thing is how adorable, helpless babies do, in fact, grow up.  They learn to feed themselves, sleep, communicate and turn into these creatures full of possibilities and potential.  I might be crazy for thinking this, but each season is just as long as it should be.    on purpose.

I believe it more every single day.  Would this great human struggle to wrangle and control months and years and days get easier if we just let it be true?

The entire world is set in motion, seasons rise and fall with the brushstrokes of the maker, flowers burst into life for moments then petals fall and become earth again, oceans swell and recede. Hours tick away without ever daring to ask our permission. We control none of this.

Babies begin in your heart and thrive in your arms and one day they start to bloom, gently releasing your grip from the handle, saying,  I can do it, mama.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

on following breezes

Here sits my desk. I was shown this spot by the most delicious breeze that sweeps in from the living room windows and out through the kitchen.  It was so convincing, I couldn’t argue.  Anne Shirley would understand, she knows a few things about breezes.  Next to me, a growing pile of boxes, no longer housing our things.  They’ve found shelves and closets and cabinets now.  Our new place.

And right here is the perfect spot for finding my own space to write and create.  Where the different parts of life meet, the playing and living, the cooking and cleaning, all these make up my days.  So here in the middle of it all, I claim this place, in the name of creativity, which is the sanity of life.

It would never work for me to find a secret corner away from it all, for this life and all of its responsibilities, they are the inspiration, the reason to create. It has to be right in the center of the action, the flow of life, the highs and lows.  The breeze showed me where.

The past few days have been a tiresome and rewarding process, the act of setting up a new home, creating the most comfortable, functional, and beautiful space that we can.  Always choosing what works best for our family, because we live here.  I can swoon over the magazine pages of perfectly manicured home just as much as the next girl, but where would the graham crackers and toys go, especially the ones I don’t prefer?  I’m learning the collision between beautiful and lived in and with the latter, the comes the first.  

Today we picked up sticks in our new back yard and took a wagon ride.  We collected pine cones and walked to the park that we can see down the street from our bedroom windows.  We watched for birds to dine at our new feeder and we only saw one little fellow, dressed in black and white, no doubt headed to a fancy gala.

The sunshine followed us inside for lunch and then the breeze beckoned me here to just write.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

how walls and windows become a home

The day is so close, we’ve been spending our free time staking claim on our new address.  It’s funny how quickly new walls can feel like home.  And every time we turn off the lights and lock the door, our sigh speaks of the growing tug back inside and the weakened desire which greets us upon returning here. 

This place where our lives have happened for one year and nine months. Big moments where our family grew and the forgotten everyday kind too.  The floors where we built towers and played trains and threw fits.  The windows displaying the ever-changing seasons, luscious green, vibrant fall hues, and long, snow globe days of white.  This year, we’ll greet spring through another set of window panes and experience it in the plot of grass all for us.

As cardboard piles grow, pieces of us detach from here, filling boxes with belongings and memories, who slip in through cracks and occupy the extra spaces. And just as quickly as we prepare to leave these walls, the new ones are eager to be ours.  It happens without awareness, new curtains in the kitchen, your favorite soap sitting above the sink, cozy blankets your child love, a new yellow bookcase meriting a squeal in the store.  The trees already studied in a short amount of time,  how one certain branch bends and shoots across in the most poetic way.  Visions of picnics and coffee mornings and dirty, little, chubby hands discovering the world. A delicious resident breeze who merrily sweeps from front to back, whispering, put your desk here.  All of this is how walls and windows start to become a home.

We carry life with us, the good, the bad, and the ridiculous, whatever we remember.

Old and new. 

Endings and beginnings.

All packed into boxes, loaded then unloaded.

Soon, we’ll walk around these hollow rooms and pay our last respects to this place, whispering thank you and good riddance and remember when.

And turn off the lights.

One last time. 

We’ll close door, resign the keys and in a blink, walls and windows cease being a home.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

from the pages: Anne’s House of Dreams



It was a shore that knew magic and mystery of storm and star. There is a great solitude about such a shore.  The woods are never solitary—they are full of whispering, beckoning, friendly life. But the sea is a mighty foul, forever moaning of some great unshareable sorrow, which shuts it up into itself for all eternity.  We can never pierce its infinite mystery—we may only wander, awed and spellbound, on the outer fringe of it.  The woods call to us with a hundred voices, but the sea has one only—a mighty voice that drowns our souls in its majestic music.  The woods are human, but the sea is of the company of archangels.
-Anne’s House of Dreams, L.M. Montgomery

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Monday, March 12, 2012

the things we carried and humanity made beautiful

Currently intoxicated with the signs of spring, whether winter is over or not.  Fresh rainy air streaming in windows, still claiming a slight chill, but delicious when mixed with the right amount of sunshine.  Soon the dull canvas of dirty brown will come alive with green and the birds will welcome it with their song.

Until living in Minnesota, I never fully gave spring the credit it deserves, that magic it declares to the world, the power it has to bring the earth back life after the oppression of winter.

We’re moving in two weeks and all the work is happening, little by little.  I’m almost delirious at the idea of no longer having inconsiderate neighbors playing basketball upstairs at four in the morning to accompany the loud drunken noise from the ones below.  And the beauty of having our own laundry room again, after one year and nine months plus a yard, glorious green space to spend hours and hours just beyond our door.  I already see blankets under the shade of trees, kids playing and iced coffee. 

The process of searching was incredibly draining, unsure if it would be a local move or to another state, but in addition to that, given our simple budget, I was certain we’d find ourselves in another apartment situation, giving up the extras that we so desperately wanted.  I carried around a great cloud of apprehension as I didn’t want to face the disappointment that might come, if that was the case.  How terribly human of me.

In the days after signing our lease, I began to realize how I had made it harder on myself by carrying this burden, because our prayers, they are not wasted words spoken into the void.  The truth is that there is no void, no space where God does not hear our pleas and recognize the softest whispers of our heart’s desire.  He knows.  And in thinking about our new place, I see the answer to each one of those needs and wishes.

Often, we pick up a burden we were never intended to carry, we buckle and feel all the impossibilities and this is too hard, but when we are done trying, the fog clears and we see the presence of the one who was in control all along.   

The presence that takes our frail humanity, a character so tragically flawed and pens the most beautiful stories.

Stories impossible for us to create on our own.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The little tea pot that could

Currently watching a train movie with a very similar name for the 345th time and the coffee is black as night, except, we all know night is actually blue.  Blocks are turning into trains, tall zebras, and things to throw on the floor as I sit here ready ready to witness more of the great thaw of 2012. 

Last night, we took our little family to the store.  Our children laughed with puzzled faces as we tested out all the comfy looking chairs and touched interesting pieces of furniture.  Surely, they felt the injustice of being just onlookers.   We brought home of a fantastic rug in the remarkable colors of grey and yellow, no one is shocked and a new tea pot.  The latter is kind of big deal.

It was 2007. We were cute little newlyweds, living in the nicest and largest apartment that we have lived in to date (funny how that works, huh?)  After a marvelous week in the Smoky mountains, we come home to wedding gifts and our first home furnished with secondhand items galore.  It was perfection.

And we were totally and completely broke.  You know, as it should be.  Pay check was coming in few days and so began the list making of items we could not go without until that day.  Sheets for our bed. And a tea pot to boil the water for the French press. So sleep and coffee were the priority, some things never change. 

There we were standing in front of tea pots both grand and small, poor and beautiful, when we realized we had no frying pans or spatulas.  And that was the day we brought home the cheapest, smallest, little stainless steel-esque tea kettle in all of creation. (plus a skillet + spatula).

That little guy saw us through year 1, 2, 3, and half of four.  He boiled our water after two months worth of sleepless nights upon welcoming child #1 and a whole year of sleepless nights with child #2.  He traveled from our first apartment to our second to my brother’s basement to here.  A faithful friend, reliable and steadfast, always whistling the same strange tune, despite his very forlorn appearance.  Poor old guy, what a champ.

And the it was yesterday, that we were standing in that store, when my husband declared he would not be making the move with us to next place.  Without a moment of hesitation, I picked out a beautiful green thing, twice as large and five times more pretty.  I came home and tossed old faithful into the trash.

Just like that.

This morning, I must pause and pay tribute.  Thanks little guy, couldn’t have done it without you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

KONY 2012

In 2006, I said yes to a wild adventure when I took a job based out of Los Angeles.  Our company traveled the United States presenting a message of character and hope to thousands of students.  My route took me from Baltimore to San Diego and many places in between.  It was a tough job, living out of a van and hotel rooms,  but it was exciting and new.  And of course, it changed my life, because I met this guy there, now I pick up his socks and he listens to me rave on and on about things like Downton Abbey and why it’s ridiculous that he says he does care who Katniss ends up with in The Hunger Games. 

During my time in California, I was able to visit some friends who were doing the same kind of thing, traveling the country, sharing a new message, and falling in love.  I remember visiting their offices one weekend, which was a great big warehouse, full of supplies and tools that they used to tell a story.  They had a dream to make a difference.

Today that story is blowing up all over the internet as their latest campaign for justice and hope is gaining momentum.  A great force of evil needs to be stopped and children need to be rescued.  As the film says, because were you live shouldn’t determine if you live

As people, we often wish to turn our eyes from injustice, because it seems so great and we can feel so small, but our voices together, a voice that cries out for action, hope and love, nothing in all the universe can be louder.

So, if you haven’t heard what this is all about, find out more here or watch below and then use your own voice however you can.  Please know it is about 29 minutes long, but you won’t regret it.

Kony 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just a day.

Today is just a day filled with regular hours of caring and cleaning, placing meals on the tray and wiping them off again. Gathering the pieces that landed on the floor.  Collecting tiny treasures of  joy shared between them, watching the meters of silly and sweet sweep across counterclockwise to full. Moments of watching the sunlight cast vertical shadows across the floor covered in toys and old quilts. The kind where content softly lingers in the air.  A day with long naps for babies and getting lost in a book, again.  Building  towers that they knock down with delight.  Repeat.   I watched her push up and stand and studied those wobbly delicious little legs. 

I caught a glimpse of my future, when that little boy wanted to help with the packing.  He sorted toys in the bins and stacked them on a pile of boxes.  Cars and monsters spilled over the edge with every step, but he noticed that I noticed and he smiled in a way that I felt like he was grown and helping his mommy. It was his idea and his eyes sparkled.  With his arms strong and the sleeves of his blue hoodie pushed up, all of a sudden he wasn’t three as he marched across the room, for the quickest moment that I didn’t miss.

One of the sweet days of motherhood that’s not extra heavy or hard or anything.  The kind we all need.

A day that could easily get lost in the mix of weeks and years, because it seemed to be ordinary.

Except that it wasn’t at all.

 

Linking up with Just Write

Sunday, March 4, 2012

LTTS: Play town

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Here’s our scrappy play town, perhaps the most fun project yet from the Little Things to Sew Along.  I’m still plotting more buildings, because they are cute and silent. Silent toys are the best.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A feast for your eyes and your soul: Hugo

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I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you  of know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. – Hugo Cabret

At first your imagination is invited to dance by mesmerizing scenes of a 1930’s Paris train station,  idyllic cafes, flower stands, and intricate clock towers with breathtaking views.  Then you meet a charming, orphan boy, with magic eyes, who is searching for answers and hope after losing his father.  Along the way he helps to bring color back into the lives of others as they reclaim their lost dreams.

I hate movies like this, I said to my husband, as a few little tears rolled down my cheek, movies about the great beauty of purpose and connectedness in tales full of oddities and adventure.

Except, I don’t hate them at all, you knew that.

Because the story they tell is my favorite kind,  about a world rich in wonder and hope, a reminder that within each of us lives a gift waiting to make the world brighter and more beautiful.  And there is struggle, there absolutely is, but that makes the ending even sweeter, because nothing great ever happened without a cost. 

And the best part? This story belongs to us all, if only we dare to believe.

Have you seen it? What is your favorite kind of story?

Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do... Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your purpose... it's like you're broken. – Hugo