Jun 252016
 

Tears are the pain my soul displays when it has nowhere else to go

Pain are the words my soul speaks, the black shroud that makes the dimmest of stars blindingly bright

I’ve needed a rest from words lately. A lot of rest. I don’t know why, maybe because I was diving deep in search of words for so much of the winter and spring.

It is exhausting to go into yourself, into the darkened depths where you have everything chaotically stashed away in mounds that would give a librarian a heart attack. Much like the wall of post-it notes that only an author can decipher and turn into a grand story.

Only life isn’t a post-it and no matter how big they decide to make those sticky sheets it won’t all fit and the darkness will creep over like fog over a marsh when the mercury rises, blanketing over the muck with a reflective dew that disappears with the rising sun and somewhere along the broken road you place your hand in the palm of the Son who has risen and you simply rest.


And yet here I am with the thunder booming in the background and the lightening flashing down on a blackened earth and my fingers are tapping away the thoughts that linger in my head and fear greets me in places I had forgot existed and I wonder who I really am?

Am I the child that hopped from rock to rock over snail infested ponds to find a place to sit and soak up the sun, the child who looked at metal barrels laying in the water 20 years ago and wondered why someone would do that to the earth?

Am I the adult who see’s a saltwater tank and grieves the loss of corals and anemones and secretly blames Finding Nemo for the tang’s and clown fish being stolen from our oceans just to beautify someone’s home?

Am I the girl who prays for the whales and the dolphins and has considered jumping ship just to land in the Antarctic whale sanctuary to protest, protect and fight for the whales whose song often falls on the ears of poachers?

Am I the 16-year-old girl who found herself pregnant and madly in love with a child growing within or am I the mother of that child whose smile is enough to light up any room and whose tears threaten to drown me because her pain are the nails through my hands and feet, the spear in my side. The pain a parent must bare in a twisted way so that their child can be fully alive?

Is that how my parents felt? Is that what Jesus told Himself as He felt the weight of His flesh tearing him apart, the sweat stinging into deepened wounds as the sins of the world separated the darkness and the light causing Him to cry out to God, “Father, why have You forsaken me?” before the sky turned angry and His flesh became Spirit?

And then there is my son, the child who nearly drowned drinking water because his laughter got the best of him and the water rushed into his lungs and sent those watching into a near panic and as he told the story he tells me “I wondered if Darin knew the Heimlich, when he pushed on my belly I knew he didn’t.” And I wonder why I worry more about the girl then I do my boy. Is that how it’s meant to be? That the boys can brave this broken world in a brotherly solidarity where the desire to protect outweighs their fear?



A world where your lungs fill with water and moments later you are playing football in the grass with a fire burning down in the background and your laughter and the sounds of your mother and your sister chatting are what fills your world because the moment you drowned you were also resurrected with a lesson learned?

Did my child really have me in stitches on the clouded, stormy ride home and did we almost hit that blur of a deer that for all I know could have been a golden shrub? Did he really just tell me that 50,000 of my cells die every day and that over the course of 7 years every cell in my body passes and has been replaced with one that is new and fresh? Did he just tell me that a sunburn hurts because the cells are protecting us from cancer and committing suicide so they don’t mutate?

How did you become so wise young children? Where did you learn these things and when? Why is it that I see so much of myself in your love for everything and then sometimes I look at you and don’t see me at all?


I am proud of you, both of you. Because you aren’t me and because you are pieces of me that I never allowed to develop and grow. You take big leaps and tiny steps and go where the wind blows, color outside of the lines and walk against the grain all at the same time. You are far more brave than I ever was or ever will be and I am so happy that you aren’t me. That you walk your own paths.

I love that you embrace conflict and hurt and pain because as the saying goes “no pain no gain” and I want you to gain. I want to see you suffer because that leads to growth. I want you to fear because that leads you to cling to the One who alleviates the need. I want you to love fully and be passionate and chase your calling, whatever it may be, whether it’s the Antarctic whale sanctuary where you take on the poachers of the world, or into a mission field learning a new culture and language and sharing your own journey with the world in the name of the One who saves you each and every day. Maybe your dream is to be a mom or a dad and never leave this small town and you want to plant your roots down deep and firm.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, I will be in the cheering section while simultaneously handing you to God, because while this may be your journey, He is the one who holds the map.

Apr 212016
 

We stood there in the hallway choking back tears after she had been hitting refresh for hours on end trying to find out what had happened and how, she reached for me for the first time in years, her 13 year old self, and I reached my arms around her and hers slid around me and in a single moment we became a part of the same club, united under the worst circumstances, our hearts shredded by death -suicide. Her best friend from a year ago gone, just like that and I had no way to console her broken heart outside of that embrace.

I understand it all to well though, growing up here I have been to some 30 funerals, a large majority because of suicide, and I have attempted it myself, on more than one occasion, seeing it as the only way out, to escape the pain of the day.

My throat grew tight like my allergies were acting up as we stood there in what seemed to be forever while not long enough. I didn’t want to let my sweet girl go because I just wanted to console her, to tell her it was all going to be alright, but there is nothing right about 6 teens killing themselves in the last 3 months. Nothing at all.

I knew then that this time it was different. This time she really was hurt. The other kids were simply faces with a name to her, not someone she had loved, I never imagined that my daughters heart would first be broken by death instead of a boy in the halls of the school.

Questions I couldn’t answer came flowing from her in those 24 hours after Facebook broke the news. Why don’t the boys grieve the way she does? Why is everyone dying? What happens next?

So we spend the week sitting with each other, saying not a word, the snap chats from her friends pictures of walls without words, solemn and in their grief they are forever united as well. They are the kids who survived. The kids who were friends with the girl who died. Titles they don’t want to bear that will follow them through life.

So this mama turned to what she knew and prayed. Prayed that eternity will unite them in God’s light. Praying for peace, understanding, help. Asking friends to pray because I don’t know how. Knowing that where two or more gather in His name… He is present, uniting us all.

Feb 192016
 

I clean the bathroom on Thursdays unless it needs it otherwise. Call me crazy for leaving it a full week before doing it again but Thursday seems to be what works for our family so that’s what I do. This week though I have been feeling sick still from the flu I had last week. Exhaustion comes simply from thinking and naps have been a must for the past 10 days or so. I did clean the bathroom last week so I wasn’t really behind. Yet yesterday I just slept most of the day and had no energy so it got moved over to the to-do list for Friday.

Isn’t that how everyone wants to spend their Friday evening?

I woke up from my long nap around dinner time, everyone had eaten and I had no appetite yet again. I sat on the bed contemplating whether or not being awake was a good thing and I wondered how babies sleep in such awkward positions without being stiff. This extremely deep thought forced me to conclude that that is why babies cry -stiff joints after a good nap.

I pulled out my planner to see what I hadn’t done this week and the list was a mile long and the bathroom stood out to me like a sore thumb. After some deep Biblical talk (yes seriously) with myself about cleaning the bathroom to serve the Lord I got off my butt and went upstairs and used that highly toxic mint scented toilet bowl cleaner and wondered to myself how on earth getting cancer was godly, then, I noted that I am only going to use natural cleaners once that bottle is gone.

I removed everything from the counters and wiped away, got mold out of the window, finished with the 7 toothbrushes and toothpastes, refilled the soap dispenser and then pulled out my trusty and equally toxic Lysol wipes and quickly gave the outside of the toilet a once over. Then, it hit me.

I was cleaning the bathroom to serve God and my family BUT I wasn’t doing it with a servants heart. Revelation right there on the floor. I pulled out a few more wipes and torqued my body around the toilet and wiped it properly, I was actually pretty grossed out by how much my once over missed and continued to clean. This time while talking to God about how I need Him to continue to work in my heart to help me make the mundane into something that can bring Him glory. Yes, I want my toilet to shine, not just for me, but to show God how grateful I am to have a toilet to clean, a family to mess it up and the cleaning supplies to get the task done.

I grabbed the toilet brush and scrubbed away while humming some of my favorite worship songs and for the first time in awhile it felt like cleaning the bathroom wasn’t a chore, but a duty asked of me by God.

When I was done with that I cleaned the mirrors in the rest of the house that didn’t have a streak free shine despite having just been done, because I wanted them to sparkle for God instead of just being half-done or done incorrectly just so they could get a check mark. I swept the floor around the dog crates, put 2 gallons of water in the fish tank and wiped down their glass.

I am still behind on my chores for the week, but I am excited to be approaching them with the mindset that I am serving not only my family, but the One who has gifted me all that I have.

Growing up I often heard that cleanliness was next to Godliness, and while I don’t believe that to be true because we all have different standards and ideas of what clean is, I feel that God is moving in my heart to do the job to the best of my ability whether I am wiping up crumbs, scrubbing a toilet, or simply taking care of myself. He isn’t calling me to be perfect, He is calling me to serve.

Jan 312016
 

I have been seeing so many people talking about the KonMari method from the books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and her new book Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up both by Marie Kondo. So, I decided maybe this was for me!

I have been a perfectionist of the worst kind for several years. I am either all or nothing. Meaning, if I can’t do it all perfectly, I don’t do it at all. This either leaves us with a very clean house, or now that I am in pain most days, a very messy home that seems to be falling apart around us.

I have spent a long time placing the blame for the clutter on my family. They don’t want to part with anything and the house is cluttered, but MY SPACE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE! When I began to learn a bit about the KonMari method of decluttering it really hit home for me. What is worth my time and my pain to keep tidy and clean? From there I purged down my closet but I didn’t follow the rules of pulling out every article of clothing that I owned and placing it in a pile and going through each one, touching each one and seeing if it sparks joy while deciding to donate, toss or keep.

This afternoon I did just that with my clothing. Some of which had been stored in bags that I haven’t looked at in a few years. Since I already did my main clothes last week I didn’t pull those items out again as I know they are all part of my wardrobe that definitely spark joy. Here is the floor of my bedroom after I pulled everything that I had stored out. I am shocked that I had so many things stored, some of which still on hangers! Please tell me I am not alone?!


It only took me about a half hour to do my first sort through. I did 3 piles that I knew would work well for me. Keep, toss and maybe. This giant pile was quickly split in half which left me thinking “do I really want to hang up these things and keep them?”

So I went through the keep pile again and only kept a few pieces. A dress for my daughter that is brand new and will likely be worn to a school dance, a button up shirt, 2 leather skirts, a leather jacket, my pink spring trench coat, my white leather jacket and 3 tanks. Funny enough, these were ALL items I had been looking for and was upset that I couldn’t find. I had assumed they must’ve been lost in the move and I was looking to replace them. I am definitely happy I found these things! It saved me money and are pieces that I LOVE!


I also kept a stack of things my grandma made that bring me joy. They don’t fit but they have sentimental value. I will have to re-evaluate these items when I get to the sentimental portion of the KonMari method! For now, they stay.


And this is what I am getting rid of. I would have loved to be able to donate everything but unfortunately most of the things that were taking up space in my life were torn, stained and embarrassing. They served me well at one point and they definitely showed it! The blue bag is what I am able to donate. It includes pyjamas, pants, shirts, skirts, and even a set of sheets. I am excited that this bag will be able to bless others. I am also excited that I won’t be hurting my back anymore moving these things around just to tidy up.

I am definitely feeling like this method is something that is going to work for me. I am excited to get through all of my things so that I can then move forward to the kids and help them tidy up their lives and only have things that bring them joy as well. Who knows, maybe the rest of the family will catch on too!!!

This in total probably took me about 45 minutes, including pulling everything out of storage, dumping it out, sorting, sorting again, bagging things up and moving them to the door to be taken out by my dad. A task that had literally waited years because I didn’t have the time ended up being super easy and more than fulfilling! I would love to know how you declutter and how you keep things organized. Have you read through Marie Kondo’s books and did they help you?

This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

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Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list). 

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

$16.99 USD
Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has revolutionized homes—and lives—across the world. Now, Kondo presents an illustrated guide to her acclaimed KonMari Method, with step-by-step folding illustrations for everything from shirts to socks, plus drawings of perfectly organized drawers and closets. She also provides advice on frequently asked questions, such as whether to keep “necessary” items that may not bring you joy. With guidance on specific categories including kitchen tools, cleaning supplies, hobby goods, and digital photos, this comprehensive companion is sure to spark joy in anyone who wants to simplify their life.
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Jan 302016
 

I woke up this morning and within an hour I had made tea, had a banana, washed the dishes from yesterday (wasn’t feeling well) and put them away, moved everything off the counter and wiped it down, cleaned the stove top, changed the trash bag and swept the floor and was working up a little bit of a sweat.

My muscles started to scream at me for water. I drank 32 ounces within a few seconds and remembered that I keep forgetting about me.

More importantly though, where was God?

As I guzzled water down fast the thought that God was searching for me when I wasn’t seeking Him was crossing my mind. Then, the words, “man cannot live off bread alone” slid into my head rapidly followed by fueling my aching soul with water from God’s well instead of my own.

It was definitely one of those moments where you are like “okay God, I am listening, I get the point. Slow down, take care of myself physically AND spiritually!”

As mama’s we forget to take care of ourselves and as children of God we tend to put our Bible studies at the end of our to-do lists instead of as part of our daily routine.

I have been studying the book of Ruth with Hello Mornings the past few weeks and it has been great, but today is Saturday and there was no reading for today, but God beckoned me anyway.

“Make ME a habit. Not a chore!”

So, I am going to focus on giving God the best of my day instead of fitting Him in.

How do you keep His Word on your tongue and have you heard God speak to you without any doubt before?

Jan 212016
 

I had everything pulled off the counter and was wiping the far-to-reach corners of the backsplash while standing on a stood (short person problems) while she sat and talked to me from the table. I had planned to start dinner and then go sit down and hang out on the internet. Maybe watch some YouTube videos or scroll through social media, but instead I grabbed a rag and had started to scrub and before too long the counter was clean and even the crumb trays on the toaster had been wiped to a shimmering shine.

She talked and I talked back. We talked about school, how she finished her homework in her gym class because she can’t participate because of her knees, we talked about boys and “ships” and girls and their “ships” and all of that stuff. She showed me a few videos of what she found fun today and talked about her best friend not using his phone today while on the school bus so he could actually talk to him.

Yeah, I was present. I was present for the moments that make memories. I don’t want to be remembered for napping all the time and for being on my computer when I am conscious. I want to be present. I want to be the one that the kids talk to while dinner is being prepared. I want to help with their homework and learn about their interests.

It fascinates me that social media has given us this amazing gateway to be connected and yet we are excruciatingly disconnected from the ones that mean the most. I am not one who has their phone in their hand or beside them at all times. I don’t even have a phone. But, that’s not the point. I have spent so much time being depressed and hiding out, hiding behind the screen and fostering relationships with people I will likely never meet that I am guilty of neglecting the ones who sit right in front of me.

And while Jesus was The Gift, the ultimate Present. It was his presence that gave us redeeming grace. What would Jesus do? He would sit in the kitchen and talk over chores or leave the chores to wait. He wouldn’t say the internet is bad, but he would likely say real life is better.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Jan 202016
 

Standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes while my girl reads to me the lost chapter she is writing for The Giver for her English class and I can’t help but think how much like me she really is. Only, this sweet child doesn’t know how to type very well and is growing increasingly frustrated because her typing isn’t able to stay caught up to the story in her head, giving her a case of writers’ block, which, I am definitely familiar with. I put the last dish to dry and wiped my hands and went and sat beside her at the table and read what she had, her paragraph cut short mid-way through and her having no clue where she was going with that thought because typing had hindered her.

I lean in close and she pushes her computer over to me and the story springs back to life, only this time my fingers are the ones bouncing up and down off the keys and she says to me with a bit of amazement in her voice “how do you type like that?” and she leans down real close with her face nearly on the table and her eyes staring horizontal across my fingers as they tap away and she watches me type, like she had never seen me do it in the 13 years she has walked this jagged line.

Within a few minutes her story is complete and she is proof-reading it, looking for spelling and grammar mistakes before I transfer it to my computer where software will do that. She edited away like she had done it a thousand times and deleted the odd sentence or paragraph that didn’t really make much sense and then I transferred it over to my laptop for a run through the software and to print.

I have been doing a lot of dishes lately. Yeah I know, I am a mom and that’s what we all say. But really, my mom normally does the washing up but I have been doing it the past month or so. There are a couple of reasons, one being that I really hate having dirty dishes in the sink and beggars can’t be choosers… I absolutely hate having to clean the sink to grab a glass of water or to fill the kettle but a family of five does that to you, even with a dishwasher, so I have been purposing to stay on top of the dishes just so I can save my sanity.

But you see something happened when I started doing the dishes. The girl child, she started sitting at the table while I do them. She comes out of her room and sits and chats, about everything and anything and that is the BEST REASON EVER to do dishes! She puts things away for me too which is also helpful, but praise the Good Lord for the 20 minutes a few times a day that she comes out and is simply with me. I enjoy our time together. I had no clue that we would grow our relationship over dirty dishes. Had I known, I would have started doing them more often a long time ago!

I am definitely a mom in the minority when it comes to having her kids do chores. They don’t have any designated chores. Why? Because they go to school from 8-4 and have homework when they get in and I don’t work outside the home and I would rather my children go to bed at a decent hour and worry less about chores and more about getting a good education, focusing on their grades. They help when they are asked and they often offer, which is fun because I get to see where they really enjoy doing things and where they don’t.

If my kids had chores I wouldn’t know that my son likes to work outside with my dad, especially when it comes to working on the tractor or anything with tools. I wouldn’t know that my daughter likes to cook, especially for me, and that she has a servants’ heart and takes great care in the things she prepares and how they look and taste, because once it becomes a chore, we treat it like a chore and school is a big enough chore for them right now and I absolutely love seeing what they have created or found while doing what they truly enjoy.

FYI my daughter is a bit OCD and does her own laundry on weekends and puts it away. Her bed is either completely unmade without a bottom sheet or made to the point you are scared to wrinkle it. My son is not a clean freak and is quite messy. He needs help cleaning his room and getting those types of things done because he has no clue how to even start, but if you say a wall needs built he’s in there like a dirty old sock (is that still a saying?) ready to help out!

I am so blessed to see some of the Proverbs 31 woman come out in me and to be able to, prayerfully, be a good influence to my children.

My daughter said tonight that her favorite song is inappropriate and my response was “sin is often easier, but it isn’t better.” I left her to think on that. Maybe we all need to think on that.

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