A mid-Monday blessing

May the scales fall from our eyes this week so that we may truly see.

pumpkin bread

That the Kingdom of heaven is right here in the bewilderment of our days. Not in the fictitious immaculate ways we think our life should behave.

pumpkin bread-2

May we be reminded that in the dance of repentance, our failures become gifts in the hands of a Loving God.

Compassion and gentleness are born not of perfection but in shared humanity.

pumpkin bread-3

When we think of Jesus’ call to childlike faith, may we remember that childhood contains wonder, whimsy and beauty.

But it also contains emotional outbursts, selfish moments and mess upon mess. And a child who is left alone for three minutes might color across white toy shelves.

messes-2

Or tear apart the vacuum and dump the contents everywhere. At which point they might decide to smear their hummus all over it. (Just to give a hypothetical example).

messes

messes-3

May we remain humble and open to the constant unraveling of the answers we thought we knew. And may the questions lead us closer to the spaciousness of God.

pumpkin bread-4

pumpkin bread-6

Every step across of this calendar week, may grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Five Minute Friday: Hold

It has been a while, but I am linking up with the Five Minute Friday today (confession: I went over five minutes). So if you’re interested in joining in, hop on over to Kate Motaung’s place and join on in!

I entered motherhood not realizing that I had my fists clenched.

I held tightly onto this idea of what a perfect mom is. The mom whose kids don’t watch tv. The mom who only feeds her kids fresh, organic food. She doesn’t lose her patience. She finds joy in the mundane. And she is SO playful and fun! Me as a mom was going to be so carefree and lifegiving. And art projects and creative play ideas EVERY day. And NATURE! We will spend so much time in nature!

I think that I thought me as a mom might look a little like this:

Then I got in the deep of it. And by the time I had two, all of my perfectionistic goals crashed to the floor.

But I still didn’t let go of that image. In fact somedays I still see my fists clenched around this perfect mom image.

20140917-150636.jpg 20140917-150642.jpg 20140917-150651.jpg

Tuesday was a rough day around here. There was the toothpaste that was squeezed all over Ruby’s belly and the bathroom counter. Then an hour later it was the entire roll of toilet paper that was drenched and shredded all over the same bathroom. There was the lip gloss that was smeared on her lips, forehead, and in her hair. From the moment we woke up, until nap time there were tiny catastrophes and my patience was shot. At some point, I turned the kids over to the tv to keep them busy. Then at lunch, I fed them that emergency can of spaghettios with meatballs I keep in the cabinet for “days like this.”

(And yes, my kids do eat in their diapers/underwear when spaghetti sauce is involved.

parade and messy day-11

parade and messy day-10parade and messy day-19

All the while, I realized I was keeping this running tally in my mind of my failures. Checking it up against that tightly held image of perfection.

So, my mind looked something like this: I lost my patience at that moment. I didn’t really want to engage with my kids in that moment. I fed them spaghettios with their mystery meatballs (what in the world is in those things?!). I didn’t want to play with them. I was crabby and tired. I let them watch more tv than the Pediatric Association (or whoever else) says is healthy for them. And to top it all off I DIDN’T ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF MY DAY!

All the while, to be honest, if I were to have asked my kids, the tally would have looked like this: We loved getting to watch more shows than normal. We were SUPER excited to eat spaghettios and requested more and more meatballs. We played. Our basic needs were taken care of. We had TWO baths, one with bubbles! Chalk that up to a day of childhood wins.

Someday I hope to release that image in its entirety and let grace cover my every moment of motherhood. But in the meantime it’s a gift of walking with others in solidarity of the imperfections and struggles of everyday life.

Faith, Art, and the Study of Water

Art, like faith, develops your eyes to see things more clearly.

When I was a kid, I remember looking at a tree, and deciding that it was green. I remember being so disappointed after the drawing was finished. Though they both had green, I had yet to learn how to really see what was going on in the tree leaves.

For one, there are so many shades, shadows, and reflections. It took years of learning before my eyes were trained to see.

This summer, I was painting a few scenic pictures and I realized, I hadn’t yet learned to see water yet. I could look at the water, but the reflections, refractions, shadows, and waves were beyond my comprehension. So I studied others that saw water better than I did.

IMG_3505

And I tried variations of styles and techniques.

IMG_3626

I think that one could spend her entire life, studying and painting just water. Each year, would fold new wrinkles into her brain about the way that water and light react.

I think that is how it is with art. You can learn and practice and always come out knowing that there is so much to learn.

Likewise, is relating to the mysteriousness of God. I could spend the rest of my life studying and experiencing the love of God and I would barely begin to see through the eyes of faith.

The Kingdom of Heaven is Inefficient

My life is incredibly inefficient.

Take tonight, the basement (which we had cleaned and vacuumed yesterday), needed to be cleaned and vacuumed again. It had something to do with the amount of pretzels that were crunched into the carpet instead of eaten.

So the kids and I jumped to it. Or rather, I jumped to it while Ruby threw crayons on the floor (which she then had to pick up) and Judah got distracted by a balloon.

So we finally get the floor clean enough to vacuum and I turned it on.

Something I must mention is that to the kids the sound of the vacuum is translated: LET THE WILD RUMPUS BEGIN! And they run laps around me while I try to vacuum, for the pure joy of it.

Tonight, Jason came down and joined in the Wild Rumpus, which turned their usual unbridled enthusiasm into joyful hysterics. They were all three leaping around, darting in front of me and falling to the ground.

I was multitasking– trying to vacuum while not causing serious injury to them, the vacuum or myself. It was a jubilant affair to say the least.

I was reminded me of something I have been wrestling through lately.

It is this: God giving us any part in His Kingdom is wildly trusting and inefficient. 

He could certainly have gotten things done faster and more efficiently without us.

I would have certainly gotten the vacuum done faster and more efficiently without the Wild Rumpus Brigade.

But I would have missed the joy. I would have missed the companionship. I would have missed being drawn out of my task-oriented mindset and into the game. They turned a job into delight just by being a part (albeit counterproductive).

And I hope that is the same story for God.

These are my people.

greentree festival-3

These are my people. The ones that teach me grace. The ones that humble me. The ones that challenge me.

The ones that I celebrate life with. The ones I watch cartoons and read books with.

The ones that I do dishes and laundry with and for.

These three people are the biggest gifts in my life.

greentree festival

A Monday Morning Blessing

Monday morning may bring it surprises.

Calling the plumber for the kitchen sink. Sibling bickering and multiple times outs. The kid that got her head stuck in a clothes hanger and will-not-can-not stay out of the makeup drawer. Company audits and stressful work.

May this Monday morning with all its uncontrollables and constant changings, comfort you with divine paradoxes and mysteries.

In our weakness, we are strong. In our insignificance, we are heard and known.

May your limits draw your towards the Finite.

And may you live in the truth, that regardless of how life appears, we are travelers moving from strength to strength towards the One who is our Strength and Peace.

Live a Life of Love

walk in the way of love

I’ve been thinking this week about my time working in the nursing home and what it taught me about life and love.

There was a woman in the memory care unit with Alzheimer’s. She and her husband had been missionaries overseas for a good portion of their marriage. She had written three books, and her husband lent me these books. They were faith-filled pages of a life that had experienced much of God’s love.

By the time I met her, all those words had been erased from her mind. All the memories were gone. All the of the ability to communicate had long disappeared too. She sat most of the day in the dining room, looking lost.

But her eyes still shone. They shone with kindness and peace, even in the midst of the most confusing and disorienting time of her life.

Everyday, her husband came and took her for long walks. Everyday, he took her back to her room and removed her shoes. Then he would gently massage her ankles and feet, before reading her a book and tucking her into her bed for a rest.

There was a love there, that bore all things. This was no easy road, for the husband or wife. There was a heavy weight for both the bear.

But everyday, they chose to walk in the way of love.

Joining in with the community of #givemegrace this week.