What Is There to Love About Today?

What is there to love about today? Well, on first glance, not much.

Our 4yr old woke up at 3:30am ready to be up for the day. (Daylight savings time anyone?) Someone backed into our van yesterday so I’m dealing with all that. My husband is out for work this week. And now, I’m tired. What IS there to love about today?

There’s always something. I’ve been listening to Kate Bowler’s podcast “Everything Happens” while I clean up after the kids go to bed.  She and her guests are heartfelt and funny and living grief in all kinds of different ways.

But tonight, while picking up and exhausted and listening I was thinking about my own perspective. About what I hold dear and what I do with my time and what love is and why it matters. (You know, all light things to think about.)

I am reminded that there is no place like the present to begin.

So what is there to love about today…here’s a short list…

…My son is anxious about his standardized testing and he chose to talk to me about it.

…My daughter has already finished 2 books we got from the library just yesterday and was excited to share with me that they are based on the authors real life and that maybe one day she can creatively share about her life.

…My (more than exhausted) 4 year old managed to follow through on a few tasks. It seems small but late toddlerhood is not for the faint of heart and any obedience is delightful.

…My daughter made us all laugh when I went to tuck her in and said their room smelled weird.  She started belly laughing and said “MOM!  It’s because we FART when we go to sleep!” Well, okay then. (And also, can you please make sure you aren’t hiding dirty clothes anywhere all the same.)

…Our baby girl has so many words, but today she asked to sit and when I went to sit her next to me she chose my lap instead. I know these days are numbered and I was grateful to hold her there.

So, even when we are tired, and spent and crabby and too self focused, we can always stop and choose something else. Something lovely.

I love this quote from Mary Oliver…

It is what I was born for –
to look, to listen
to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over…

And so…I begin again…seeking that which is love and lovely.

Advertisements

Movies, Memories and Movement…

It is how it makes you feel. When you sit in the movie theatre and cry when the daughter and father embrace. When you lay in bed later in the evening and wonder what would happen if countries shared what they had and it was received as gift. When you read and re-read that one italicized paragraph because it perfectly declares what you’ve been thinking for a long time.

mumbling midnight mom movies

Between Blank Panther, How to Stop Time and A Wrinkle In Time my head and heart are spinning. It is a reminder, art speaks to us.

My husband and I were talking in the car today and I was recalling how growing up music wasn’t a big part of our home. So much so that I never really CHOSE what I liked until college and by that time several decades of music had come and gone.

Whether reading or film or music, putting words, thoughts and emotions into contexts not our own changes something in us.

Perhaps questions arise, or memories are recalled or something new is unwrapped.

For a very long time art in any form (except maybe food) has been at the far bottom of my to-do list. Between kids and work and marriage and life, it hasn’t seemed important, even trivial.

Maybe it it just the season I find myself in but currently, art is where I am meeting God, looking at His world and pondering my own purpose through movies and books and the music of my children.

It is often hard to discern what is frivolous and what is necessary. I often think we put way more into the “necessary” column than is truly necessary.

Yet, there is a place for beauty. I think of all the ways God shows us that He is WITH us. There is sunrise and sunset, colors across a canvas. There are ancient scriptures, words to be read and pondered. There are communities, people where that God image is revealed back to each other and shown redeemed.

Thankfully, God is not a single note played over and over. Instead, He is a complicated and beautiful symphony, heard best when each part is experienced.

And so, I sit, and listen…ready to hear the symphony of grace.

 

WDIDT: Dug in the Dirt #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?

img_4986

We are still newbies in the world of homeownership. We’ve lived in our house less than a year and it is our first home.

When we moved into our home it was cold and the ground was frozen solid. There was nothing growing. So, we waited.

For a full year we have let our yard grow. Outside of mowing the lawn we have just watched and waited.

To our surprise we discovered we have a butterfly bush, a hydrangea bush and a large amount of peonies.

We also have A LOT of weeds.

The weeds are about to overtake the plot of peonies. So, we decided to move the peonies and dig up the weeds.

And so, I tucked my littles into nap time, pulled out all the gardening supplies and got to work.

We had researched how and when to move peonies. I was able to cut them down, dig them up, see the “eyes” (the part that will grow next year) and then re-root them.

It ended up being about 3 hours worth of work AND I had roots with eyes left over.

Now, I can not wait until Spring to see what happens! The peony patch has been hidden in our back yard. Now, they will bloom in the front of our home right off the front porch!

I was reminded today how fun it is to dig in the dirt. I’ve washed my hands and soaked them and done dishes and there are still traces of dirt.

It is a little bit like life. All the moments we experience leave a trace of where we have been.

What did you do today that left a mark?

image

WDIDT: Away Message #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?

pexels-photo-58420-large

Weekends can get filled with a lot of things. Errands, sleep, kids activities, friends, chores. Recently, my weekends have been filled with a lot of work.

Confession: I like working. Resting is hard. I’m a worker bee by nature.

What Did I Do Today: I put an “away” message on all my email. 

I know, this seems like a super small thing. There are all kinds of studies about rest, quiet time, meditation…books about time, a 4 hour work week and the fringe hours of your life.

I know, I’ve read them but it is a little hard to fight our natural bent.

BUT! I do want to do better. I do want to spend fully focused time with my family, learn a better rhythm of rest and just be.

So, step 1, set boundaries. Step 2, make yourself accountable to those boundaries.

So, I said no email, told my husband it was a done deal and I meant it and then informed those who might be affected by the change.

It is a small thing, but I’ve already been able to enjoy my afternoon more! Less rushing, more listening and an overall sense of rest.

Small things matter. An out of office email, a phone on silent, a screen free day.

People will always matter more than things, money or success. The less email I read and respond to this weekend, the more time I am fully with the people that matter to me most.

Today, I am determined to not let the work of living deplete the one life I’ve been given.

What boundary did you set today? 

A Home and Me

House

The other day I was outside with the kids and the Mail Woman came around back and stopped to chat. We’ve only lived here for a few months and we hadn’t yet met. She smiled and said hello and then

Are you related to the woman who lived here before?

We aren’t and I said as much. She looked around at my 5 kids outside doing various things and she smiled. She looked back and said with a deeply gentle and almost sad voice,

Well, she would sure be happy that this house is full of all these kids.

We shared a few other words and she went on her way.

This is the first, and likely the last, home we will ever own. We waited 10 years to buy a home and have lived in a couple different towns and cities before landing here. It isn’t my dream location but there are so many great things, including family, here. Yet to be honest, it took me years to want to settle in and call this place “home” and when we did decide to buy this house, I wasn’t always and haven’t always been excited about it.

But the Mail Woman’s comment made me stop in my tracks. It wasn’t as much what she said as how she said it. The woman that lived here before us valued children. And family. And even her mail woman knew it.

The woman who came before us was married and had a handful of children. They moved in when her oldest child was 6 years old and now he is grown with grown children of his own. She lived here for 43 years.

It’s a beautiful historic home, very common in our town. Yet it doesn’t seem as if it was the home itself that she loved. What kept her here all those years was what filled it. The laughter, the joy, the kids.

She kept this home so well. For being over 100 years old it is in impeccable shape. It still has original wood floors, wooden pocket doors that work and original cabinets and woodwork through out. Mrs. Blanford may have loved it here, but she obviously kept this home for the people she loved most.

Her children had to sell this home because she passed away. Yet, her love for them never did. Her heart, her values, live on in her kids, and now in mine.

I’m not much of a housekeeper, I would rather play outside with the kids or spend hours dreaming about my work, but that one comment from the Mail Woman has given me a new love for this space.

As Mrs. Blanford kept this home for her family and now mine, I will keep this home for my family and the next.

As it has been said before…my favorite thing about my home is who I share it with. For my kids and the many that may come after.

*****
Small wonder

Linking up with Kelly today as we seek to see, enjoy and appreciate the #SmallWonders of life.

Time…Is NOT running out

traffic-car-vehicle-black-large

Take a moment. Think of everything you need to do today. Think of everything you need to do this week. Even this month.

Now think about someone telling you to stop. For an unestablished period of time. Starting right now.

What is your gut reaction? Do you beg for 24 hours to get organized first? Do you “stop” in theory but the reality is that you are still going strong? Do you welcome the break and figure things will take care of themselves?

For most of us who are stopped dead in our tracks we panic. Sure at different levels and in different ways but underneath it all is a sense of panic. TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

This exact scenario happened to me. I am here to assure you that time is NOT running out.

This is an invitation to slow down.

Time has always been and will always be. (The theology and reality of this is long and complicated and I could be wrong…I know, but hang with me.) My personal summary is that in the beginning (time word) there was (time word). And in the end (time word) there will be (time word). In the most literal sense time itself is not running out.

This should help us feel relieved. We are not at the mercy of time.

As I have sat in this for going on 6 weeks I have gone through many feelings:

Panic: What is going to happen with _____?
Fear: If I don’t _____ who will?
Regret: If I had only done ______ then I wouldn’t have to deal with my current situation.
Numb: Whatever. ________will get done somehow.
Wondering: Well, if I can’t _______, what CAN I do?
Relief: I couldn’t do _______if I tried, glad I don’t have to try right now.
Acceptance: Just because I can’t do _____, doesn’t mean I can’t _____.

The clock is still moving. The world is still turning. And I am still a part of it.

You see, in accepting that time does not rule me I feel like I have been given the gift of perspective. If time does not rule my days what does? What ARE my priorities?

To get to this place I had to stop completely. Can you stop? Will you? Even for a moment?

Now that I am nearing the end of the stillness I start fresh. Clearer. More aware.

I am not ruled by time. I am only limited by capacity. What can I do? What can my one single person Handle? Manage? Process? Give?

I’m still sorting this out but I know my family is a big part. And the work commitments I have made. My husband matters a great deal. Our community both church and local have a piece of my heart.

If time were my ruler I would look at that list and feel defeated before I even began. I don’t feel that way. In slowing all these areas have still required attention and all have received it. Not because of time but because of who I am.

This is the place I am called to right now.

As I look at it today I don’t see a full calendar or feel overwhelmed with lacking energy or endurance. Instead, I see a list of things I have been called to love and in my heart and soul know, my God given capacity is enough.

Time is not running out. I am not chasing her and she is not chasing me. Instead, I am walking in the ever growing knowledge of who I am today and what I can do. Right here. Right now. For it is the now that matters most.