Archive for ‘quirks’

September 13, 2011

Gratitude

Wholly and completely inspired by Ann Voskamp’s exquisite book One Thousand Gifts, and okay maybe a little bit inspired by one of my new favorite discoveries A list of little things we should appreciate, I am instituting Random Acts of Gratefulness around here. Because gratefulness is life-giving. Because thankfulness, simple though it may sound, is a key to so many hearts, hands and smiles- and I do love hearts, hands and smiles. Because if I am not careful, the simplicity of gratitude will slip right through my mind and my focus will land on things less helpful, less worthy. Mostly because the Love He has that shines in every single moment, (I promise you it’s there, just look),  is far too great, too important, too amazing, too extravagant, too intricate, too personal and too immense  to be overlooked. Anyway, here I go, honestly details are not my thing, well, big picture stuff isn’t either, not sure what my thing is exactly, but I shall try my best.

1. Her face, my freckles, and her fathers lashes.

2. Backyard breakfast, blueberries, cheddar and rye.

3. Racing to the sky on a cool afternoon.

4. These boys falling into brotherhood just as fast as we fell in love.

5. Eleven years of learning and laughing with the boy who made me a mom.

 

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July 23, 2011

Receiving

Here’s something silly I do: beat myself up about beating myself up. I’m terrible at cutting myself slack. And I totally get that having a little grace is pretty crucial, and still, I call myself an idiot when I don’t do it. And then I waste time feeling like an idiot and then I feel dumb for making myself feel like an idiot. It’s a super fun cycle. Also, it’s incredibly distracting.

If I’m wasting time in this cycle, there’s no way I’m going to have the energy to get to the root of the actual problem.  An issue has come up in the last few months that has totally thrown me for a loop- This Amazing Guy, my Amazing Friend’s hubs, he has become my friend. And for some reason that made me want to curl up in a ball and stare at the ground. And he is truly one of the greatest guys I’ve ever known, so curling up in a ball and staring at the ground made me feel- you guessed it- like an idiot.

In an effort to break out of the cycle I decided to try and explore the reason behind the freaking out. At first I only got as far as figuring out what I didn’t believe, even that was helpful though, working through the list of lies that I thought I might be thinking and checking off the ones that didn’t apply. I gave myself a little pat on the back and a break. And then I talked to Jesus about it, and before He helped me figure out the lie, He offered me a little grace. And I took it.

I’m not awesome at receiving grace (or love, really). (Working on it.) Fancy Nancy used to applaud me for being normal and it annoyed the crud out of me. “Please don’t congratulate my normalcy.” She was pretty insistent though, “Honey, you should not be normal. Your childhood, your marriage, should not have produced a normal person- and look at you! You’re doing so good!” Like my own personal grace dealer, she pushed kindness, affirmation and mercy on me every time I saw her, there was no refusing.  She taught me how to swallow the pill. And I learned to like it. It still isn’t my default though. (I really am working on it.)

Last week though, I went to Jesus and He offered me grace because I didn’t have any for myself, and I took it, stopped beating myself up for long enough to get to the root of the lie. And it. was. awesome. Maybe someday I’ll write about that whole process, but it’s way too dear to me right now.

I will say this- So much time was spent being anxious about being around this Amazing Guy and his Amazing Wife, and hunched over studying the floor when he was around, and then punishing myself for acting like a fool when I got home. So much energy was spent pushing through that anxiety and guilt to figure out what was wrong. And then so much grace, the best medicine I’ve ever swallowed, remedied the whole thing. And we had dinner last week, and grace gulped, and that lie disbelieved- I sat across from one of the best men I know, saw him and was seen, laughed, talked and sighed, and received buckets of knowledge, a hug, and loads of healing.

You guys- grace: Really good stuff. The best.

July 12, 2011

Story: coming soon

You guys!! Have I got a story for you!! Sooooon. Promise. Until then I’m pulling my poetry stuff over here, because, seriously- who needs two blogs? Not me. I’ll be mixing in some old and new.  For now, here are two recent ones:

Story

this forgiven girl
flesh bared
head bowed
heart scarred and forgotten
holds hands hides eyes
stifles words better brought
into light
out of dark
hiding has never gotten her
anywhere but hidden
and hidden never helped

this One she thought Him
just like the others
then He knelt
scribbled words
up her spine
shivers
she felt more than saw
and free like a bird
into light He did draw
her hungry soul
with hands in the dirt
and then on the ground
fell tears full of hurt
and then on the ground
right where He knelt
fell all the chains
once she had felt

Run

long have i chased answers
longed for timeless truths
to tether me to ground unsteady

steadying though is that ground
and questions now
spill out of me and over me
and the grace that i am growing in allows it

the grace that He is showing me
becomes the answer

unwavering is His Truth
sure and steady is His grip
i am not lost or falling

not sure what to do but run
my feet my hands my eyes
let go of looking for anchors
and race instead towards sky

answers will not save me
questions will not bring me down
holding on so tight seems so unnecessary
when so much grace abounds

June 13, 2011

This Amazing Girl

This girl was born a miracle, a story I wont go into today, but lets just say she was saved at birth 😉  She was deemed the princess immediately and took on the title like a pro. A quiet little daydreamer who loveloveloves attention and affection.  She is not the wordiest, that would be Gracie. Emmy dances and laughs and reads and just is.

When she was about three years old, she walked in my room while I was having quiet time, crawled up in my bed and held out her soft, dimpled three year old hand. Her hand was empty but she looked me straight in the eye and said “See my keys?” We both looked down at her hand and she smiled. “I have keys but they don’t open doors, they open eyes”.  And then she bounced off to play again, laughing at my inability to see her imaginary keys. And I sat in amazement, closed my eyes and prayed and then wrote it all down.

So she’s kind of special.

Last night she brought her Bible to church.  She got this little green, pocket KJV Bible about two years ago from I don’t know where, but she adores it. (Who has a tattered and worn, highlighted and fraying Bible at the age of six? This girl.) So last night, every time a verse was called out, she handed it over so it could be quickly found and then she read it over and over until she heard the next verse. It was kind of amazing. She stood during worship and raised her hands as high as they would go, told me her shoulders hurt between songs, and then put them right back up as soon as she heard the first riff of the next song. And it was kind of amazing.

And then at one point she asked for my journal and a pen, and she wrote this.

I love you God because you take care of us and you made us and you are the Best Father in the whole entire world because you are the King and you died for us.

And it is kind of Amazing. She is kind of amazing. One of four very amazing children I’ve been blessed with- And I am kind of amazed.

May 9, 2011

Thrown

Internet- can I be honest? I am terrible at in-betweens.  I mean I suck at mediums.  Like- I can be passive or aggressive.  I can rock ecstatic or depressed.  Super hot or cold as ice? Got it.  I can be wide awake and going full speed, or fully and completely exhausted.  The radio can be blasting or off.  Steady is not my jam. Deepbreathbigsigh.

I took this picture of Cade a long time ago and it popped into my head the other night as I stood in my driveway attempting to wind down.  (I’m terrible at winding down)  This picture, oh do I relate.  That first shot, that moment where that poor kid is suspended mid-air.  I know that moment. I feel it. It’s sooo fun going up right? But that hanging up there, the view from that height, that split second of weightlessness- that’s where I’m at.  I will be caught; I’m sure of it. And I love being caught. I love His arms. I smiled all the way up and there will be raucous joy and “Again! Again!” as soon as His hands embrace me. But right now? Anxious anticipation. That’s where I’m at folks.  See you on the flip side. Love, love.

April 25, 2011

Normalizing Normal

‘Normalize those awkward feelings that are about normal things’   That’s what I’ve been told to do. You must know by now that I am a little bit feisty and somewhat argumentative. And holy cow there is a lot of (really great!) stuff going on. But well, I’m not used to really great. And as a matter of fact, I am not used to normal. And so, there is some wrestling going on over here as I try to calm my nerves and be at peace with normal. Also going on over here, these 3 stories on replay:

A few months ago, I had a little conversation with Nancy that went something like this:
Nancy: I love you.
Me: Why?
Nancy: Because you’re special.
Me: Aww, I bet you say that to all the girls you take to the ER
Nancy: You’re especially special. He told me so.
And for some reason I just stopped arguing and received it.  She’s pretty convincing I guess, so that’s good.

Also a few months ago at the end of Kairos, I was standing at the back amidst a crowd of peeps waiting to talk to Bob Hamp, after a minute or so I decided to give up and head out. And then. He grabbed my arm right above the elbow and said “Hold on. Don’t move.” And. I. Froze. And internally all kinds of alarms went off. Because, you guys- Nothing good has ever happened when a guy grabbed me and said don’t move. But this time. He just looked me in the eye, all tall and Gandalf-y and said nice, encouraging things. And I breathed a giant sigh of relief that flipped a little switch in me. And now, I freak out a little bit less when men talk to me. Well, I don’t run at least. So that’s good.

Annnd, a few weeks ago, I did a photo session with One of My Favorite Families.
And an extremely large and very threatening, maybe even malicious butterfly flew at me. And I kinda freaked out. I mean, I ducked and maybe squealed. At a butterfly.

And that’s what I feel like I’m doing now. There is actually nothing threatening or malicious. This (really great!) stuff is like a butterfly.

And so I’m working on receiving Love, and not being terrified of men, or butterflies.

::deep breath big sigh::

To be continued…

February 28, 2011

My Little Edison

You have probably heard me say that Griffen is my quirkiest child.  This is true, he is about as different as different can be.  Griff is his own little man, always has been.  His brain works overtime, and from the outside his thoughts seem quite random.  To call him an independent thinker is an understatement.  He is something like hyper, just busy I guess, and smart as whip but unconventional as heck.  His cleverness often comes across as arrogance and his internal processing makes him seem aloof. 

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When he started Kindergarten his teacher had him tested for both ADHD and dyslexia.  He’s a brilliant kid though, so he passed both tests with flying colors.  Honestly it left us all a little unsure about what to do with his inventive but off track mind, enormous appetite for information and constantly moving body.   

Some God help and a little research helped me discover that Griff has something called Edison Trait.  What does that mean exactly, well- “They are spirited individuals who live life with passion and determination, firing out an endless stream of questions and often recklessly pursuing their own desires (like Edison, who wanted to see how fire worked and accidentally burned his father’s barn to the ground). They are conundrums, children with a profile that is both intriguing and maddening.  These children are appealing, daring and entertaining. Yet they are frustrating, demanding and difficult to raise.  Their temperament and intellectual style will shake the stamina of the most devoted and patient parent. “Forget mom doing anything except challenging this child.  These kids are physically and mentally hyper; they can’t shut off their minds.” 

Indeed.

My heart soared and sank all at once.  The first thing I thought was “Awesome, I get to raise a little Edison!” the second thing was, “Great, he’s not going to grow out of all this off track, out of the ordinary stuff.”  That was five years ago.  And he certainly has not grown out of it.  He has sort of grown into it.  I’ve implemented some of the boundaries, behavioral and dietary suggestions recommended for Edison Trait kiddos, and that has certainly helped. 

But the thing that has helped the most has been to really embrace what a unique kid he is.  He is fully entertaining and extremely bright.  And as he is maturing, our conversations are more and more enlightening.  He’s a vocal kid, in touch with his emotions and his vocabulary is endless.  His invention notebooks take over an entire bookshelf.  This year he was fortunate enough to get an amazing teacher.  I’m forever getting notes that say “I so enjoy Griffen!” and “What an awesome kid!”  It’s been sweet for sure to see him blossom and develop as he’s been not only accepted but affirmed by the people around him.    

So often in the past my fear has been that he would get lost in all the Go Go Going! Of his mind.  It can be a challenge for him to relate well to others because he is so internally busy.  My heart has ached for him as he's had to work through some tough issues.  God has really helped me put it all in perspective though.  I've struggled with wanting to help him steward his gifts, trying to explain the importance of listening and being respectful, and making sure he doesn’t feel all wrong or inadequate. There is honestly a careful balance for me between being enthralled with his brilliance and wit, and getting absolutely frustrated at his lack of focus and attention. 

This handing my worries and fears about my kids over to God has been somewhat revolutionary with Griffen especially.  It’s freed me up to see him for him.  I can understand his uncommon strengths and weaknesses, and lay aside my frustrations to help him with his.  And he in turn has become more secure and easier to connect with.  We laugh together often, mostly at his jokes.  Where there was sometimes tenseness in me and insecurity in him about his quirks, there is now a confidence. 

He is exactly the kid God created him to be.  And to further confirm that, here are his notes from church last week:

"Hear and obey faith is the foundation God wants us to believe him. Faith is believing no matter what. God wants us to immerse our faith in him. the book of Salma's has over 100 Iwills in it. Note to self have great battles and victory. God delivers everyone. Believe in god t'ill the end. assignment: read John. I can prophesie"

I don't even know how to explain how melted my heart was when I read that.  And then last night we had this conversation:

Me: You're a smart kid, you know that Griff?
Griff: Yes, actually I'm one of those people that is aware of their intelligence.
Me: Well you do you know why you are so intelligent?
Griff: Because I'm good at transferring information into knowledge.
Me: Okay.  And how do you think you're able to do that?
Griff: Basic logic and quick wit. 
Me: Okay. And where do you think you got those?
Griff: Are you trying to get me to say that you're smarter than me?
Me: **Sigh** No. I'm trying to get you to acknowledge that God gave you your intelligence.
Griff: Well of course He did. He gave me everything. He made me. He made everything.

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I love, love, love that I get to be his mom.  I love that he came to me just last week, put his arm around me and said “I’m glad I get to be your son.”  I love that imperfect as we both are, we are exactly who God created us to be and becoming more so all the time. 

 

 

February 18, 2011

Believing

(Note: This is a most incomplete thought, and only about a tenth of what I have written on this subject in the last two days…trust me, much more to come…)

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I kind of hate my smile, true story.  Check my profile pics, you won’t find a toothy grin I promise.  The tricky thing is, in real life people don’t just rummage through my Facebook page- they see me.  The other tricky thing is, I laugh a lot.  And I laugh big and loud; I can’t help it.  And so, my smile is mostly all over the place and there is nothing I can do about it.  Tricky thing number three, I discount my beauty because of it.        

Griff said something funny the other day, as he does.  I laughed and then Gabe, my Sweet One said “Mom, your teeth are big.”  I replied with a sarcastic little “Thanks buddy.”  It wasn’t that my feelings were hurt, it was more of a mocking little acknowledgement that I was right.  It was a nod to my own silly notion that my big giant, eye hiding, face swallowing, big teeth baring smile somehow made me less beautiful.  He cocked his head to the side and then, my eight year old boy, my Sweet One, grabbed my face in both of his hands and got very close to me and said “You. Are a beautiful woman.” And he meant it with all of him; I could feel it.  He wasn't discounting my beauty and didn't want me to either.  What a gift. 

How often do we disqualify our beauty like that though?  I can not tell you how many times I have sat with a woman while she looked through her photos and criticized herself.  I have heard the most outrageously gorgeous women tear themselves apart. I’ve done it too, I’m too fat, too thin, my ears look funny with my hair like that…  I’ve said it all.  But really, can we stop this? I mean, it’s pointless. 

Look, I am going to try to love my smile a little more.  Actually, for a couple reasons, I am going to just go right ahead and believe that I am beautiful.   

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First- because Gabe Sees well and he speaks the truth.  I recognize this gift in him and it is beyond important to me to call out the greatness I see in my kiddos.  He is blessed with vision and the ability to speak honestly with boldness, and I want to encourage him to do that as often as possible. 

Also, I’m believing because I want to.  Honestly, who doesn’t want to have their face taken in and told they are beautiful?  When I tell my girls, (and fyi, I try to throw in smart, funny and brave just as often as I say beautiful), they do not hesitate to agree.  Never has Emmy said, “Oh, but my hair looks awful today.” And Grace has certainly never given pause to the thought that she is anything but wonderfully radiant.  I hate that we lose the ability to see ourselves as the lovely creations we are.  The truth is, regardless of your perceived “flaws” (I hate that word), you were created in the image of God and you are amazingly captivating.      

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I’m not going to ask some cliché questions like “When do we stop believing people when they tell us we are beautiful?”  I am aware of all the ways that we can become jaded, all the lies that are thrown at us, and all the imperfections that these damn magnifying mirrors draw out.  And hey, shout out to all the females who do believe.  But man, I so wish I could make every woman believe.  Goodness, I so want to figure out a way to help us all love ourselves a little more…  I’m not going to name any names, but Lady, Friend, Sister, Girl, Woman-  You. Are beautiful. 

 

February 16, 2011

Kisses

(Word of warning: this is mushy and gushy and lovey dovey, and there is almost no point to it except to express my absolute, unending adoration for Him and His sweet kisses.  Also, no pictures again, because this is not about me and it is also not some nature/tree metaphor. This is about Him and how amazing He is.)

Kisses, how I love them… even typing the word is fun.  I wrote this poem the other day in a little moment of wanting… Valentines Day and all that jazz… 

This subject keeps coming up though.  A friend of mine did exclaim the other day while eating an especially scrumptious treat “I think me and God just had a little mini make-out session.”  Another friend wrote on someone’s Facebook wall, “Like kisses from heaven this season and you are to my life.”

And then there is this line in one of my favorite songs that keeps getting changed up-  “And Heaven meets earth like a… some kind of… kiss”.  Some versions say sloppy wet, some say passionate, one says unforeseen.  I like passionate best, but it still falls short…

Can we talk about kisses from heaven?  Is that cool?  Can we talk about what amazing treats they are?  Am I gonna lose you if I go all sensual about God?  Am I allowed to say He is the realest thing I know, and sometimes when He expresses His love generously, as He is known to do, in quiet moments, with softness and grace, it not only suppresses, but fulfills every earthly desire I have.  And sometimes, He just absolutely melts me.  I’m not going to play out the whole intimacy metaphor here, but this kiss thing, I gotta get it out.  I will do my best not to get all Lover of my soul with you, I’ll save that for another time; I’m going to try to keep it to just kisses…  And I’m going to try to explain these kisses without using metaphors and quotation marks because they are so much more than real. 

How do I begin really?  How do you explain what a kiss is?  This meeting of lips, sometimes parting of lips, declaration of True Love, most intimate of expressions… I will spare you all the little adjectives, (for now), and just say- He relates to me this way.  (And I am ever so glad that He does.)  In my house, in my room, cup, Bible, pen, journal, mascara or blanket in hand- He comes in, and whispers, breathes, sees, holds and ::sigh:: kisses me.  You still with me?  Know what I mean?  Raise your hand out there if you’ve ever experienced one of these passionate, sloppy wet, unforeseen moments with Him.  Goodness it is wonderful.  Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about, maybe you don’t even want to relate to God this way- Oh but you should.  I’m telling you, its bliss. 

Do you know that moment in a kiss, a good kiss, when you get lost?   That brief span of time when you’re eyes are closed and you aren’t even paying attention to what you’re doing anymore, you’re just there, unaware of the whole rest of the world, caught up in (oh look here come all of those adjectives I was trying to spare you of), warmth, softness, sweetness, breath, movement… all doing their things, and you’re just along for the ride? 

God can do that; He does.  I have been lost completely in His presence, surrounded by all of those things.  I have been mesmerized by His closeness.  I have been kissed by Him.  Not that lusty kissing; not that handsy mess of wanting.  I’m talking about a knowing, giving kissing, that ILOVEYOUSOMUCH! Let me show you right now LOVELOVELOVE!!! kind of  kissing. 

Look, analogies aside, because He is the realest thing I know- On dark nights, on bright afternoons, with light and words, and ground and sky, He has held me tightly, in the tenderest hands, leaned in close and breathed right into my being.  In packed rooms, in my car, while I cried, while I smiled, He has pulled me close, touched my face and infused me with Love

And now… well, nothing else will do really.  And isn’t that the point?  ::sigh again:: 

Lucky me, I’m totally spoiled on kisses from heaven.  Love, love.

 

February 15, 2011

New Friends

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God has Super-Blessed me with a plethora of wonderful and amazing New Friends. Hi!!!  I am glad to know you and so super excited about getting to know you more.  And I thought it only fair to make you aware of some of my “quirks” while there is still time for you to turn and run in the other direction…

– I am firmly convinced that black birds are the devils minions. There is a fair chance that you will have to “guard” me from these evil flying creatures at some point.  I just can’t get past the beady eyes, nasty beaks and creepy claws, plus they are always staring at me.  They freak me out and I am pretty sure they have all been sent on a mission to get me.  Trying to convince me otherwise would be an exercise in frustration.

– I got a little extra dose of that “Mama Bear” thing.  It is near impossible to offend me personally, but I can get rather fierce if I feel my friends or children might be hurt in the slightest by unkind actions or words.  Not that I’ll punch you or anything.  I’m more of a diffuser, unless I feel like you need to be punched. (kidding.) (mostly.)

– I believe there is a difference between Hip Hop and Rap music.  And I love Hip Hop, along with every other style of music from Indie-Folk to Classic Rock.  Except for Country, don’t even get me started.  The commercial junk on K104: Crap.  Rakim, The Roots and Talib Kweli: Good Stuff.   

– I can’t not dance if there is good music in the general vicinity.  I call it being “dancy” some people might call it being “nine years old”. There’s no way for me to sit still when there is a good beat or a great tune in the room.  My feet auto-tap and my hands, well… as Bridget likes to say, I like to “bang on things”.  If you need to have a serious conversation with me, keep Timbaland and Kari Jobe as far away as possible. 

– I’ve mentioned this before, but really it can not be overstated: My eyesight is awful.  If you’ve recently had your hair done and I didn’t notice, this is why.  I wear contacts and I have glasses, but my vision can’t be corrected back to 20/20 even with very strong prescriptions.  If you want to go somewhere with me we’re going to need to sit up front, and you might want to drive.  I’m just sayin’.

– I love words immensely and I hang on to them forever.  They stay with me though my brain gets fuzzy on many, many other details.  It’s totally possible that the offhanded comment you made at lunch the other day was just that, an offhanded commend, but  I will probably be able to quote you a couple of years from now.  This almost never comes in handy. 

– I am a shopping miracle. I know this sounds weird, but you should take me shopping and see.  Things on my list magically appear and are almost always half their normal cost.  I’m not even kidding. It’s a total blessing and it has happened on many occasions.  The downside is I will not buy things if they are not insanely good deals, and I will discourage you from doing so as well, even if it is on your list and in your budget.  If it isn’t cheap and perfect, we’re not getting it.  Makes shopping with me a mixed bag of misery and euphoria

– I need to hold babies if they are around.  I will take a number if need be, but it is absolutely necessary.  I may not even know them that well (or at all), but if there is a tiny human, I want it in my arms.  Babies make me insanely happy.  If they’re crying I will bounce them.  If they need a burp that’s fine too; I don’t even mind getting spit up on.  If they are happy, I will kiss them.  I take that back, I’m kissing them regardless. 

And so there you have it New Friends, a very brief list of some of the quirks that I am aware of, I’m sure there are hundreds more.  Old Friends feel free to chime in 🙂

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