the sacred

When Luke said “but Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” {Luke 2:19}, did you ever wonder what that meant?

I kind of glossed over that verse for a very long time, noticing it and thinking oh, what a beautiful way to say that, but not really thinking about what it was saying.

Until I became a mom.

And then… well there are just things that are just not easily expressed. Partially because we’re sleep deprived and the formation of words is just sometimes not possible. But also partially because there truly isn’t a way to verbally express just what that sweet-smelling, smooth-skinned baby that was formed from virtually nothing-but-everything and yet now somehow holds the entirety of your heart right in his eyes (how’s that for a run-on?)… what he does to you inside. There also just isn’t a way to express how exhausted you are. Or how proud. Or how much you love the person you made that baby with.

And so I thought, Mary pondered it all in her heart because of that, because how on earth can you express that.

I realize I am totally putting words in Mary’s mouth. But that is the meaning that verse immediately took for me.

But there’s something else, I think.

There’s the sacred.

We share so much of ourselves these days, whether it is our true selves or just the scrubbed and combed and decorated self that we are okay with others seeing. But we put it all out there. Is it just me, or is there this temperature in the current-day that almost implies that if it’s not published it’s not real, or important. So much of the world shares what they ate for breakfast, what their kid said, what their husband did, exactly what they’re thinking, it has almost become the norm, the expected, for everyone. Or maybe it really is just me. I can admit that.

I can admit to feeling that pressure, whether I succumb to it or not.

There is a Chinese proverb that goes like this:

“a woman has three hearts… one she shares with the world… one she shares family…  and one she shares only with herself.”

That proverb can be taken two different ways, as far as I’m concerned. Either we are most truly ourselves with just ourselves (and maybe a spouse or select few? I don’t think it necessarily has to be just you), sort of ourselves with our family or friends-like-family, and then we do that cover-up, make-up, try to look as good as we can in front of the world. And I am sure that most of us do that to varying degrees.

Or maybe it means something else? Maybe it has to do with the sacred, too? We were made to share things with each other – parts of our heart – stories and art that tell a story of who we are and what we’ve been through, I am sure of it. But maybe there are some things that, when treated as the truly sacred things that they are, don’t need to be shared. At least not with the world. Those things we share only with ourselves, or the few in our closest circle.

I am not, by any means, criticizing the content or how much other people share. Only you can decide the size of those three hearts. And maybe it changes based on the season of life you are in? And whatever you decide is just right for you. I just hope that you are not dictating the size of those hearts based on what has become the social norm for this time, or any expectations – real or false – you might feel from others. Base it on you. Just you.

So back to Mary? She pondered all those things in her heart. I can wonder all day what Luke really meant by that. I am not a Biblical scholar, or any type of scholar whatsoever.

But gosh, does that verse mean so much more to me now than it ever has.

Whether it is because of lack of words or because I just truly want to treasure the sacredness of something, just me and my guy, I am pondering so much in my heart these days.

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remember to take off your cape

A while back I posted something on facebook about how parents are superheroes.

Afterwards I worried that people might take that the wrong way, thinking I was encouraging us to have unrealistic expectations of being “supermoms” or “superdads”, filling schedules with awesome kid activities, doing all the Pinterest crafts, grow and eat organic, keeping perfect houses and having perfectly obedient children, etc. (Great, by the way, if you do any or all of those things! I like you, but you are already superheroes even before you do those things, too).

The pour-the-milk, go-to-work, wipe-the-faces, hide-in-the-bathroom-for-two-minutes-to-keep-your-sanity ordinary, everyday mom and dad stuff. That is why you are superheroes.

You, the unique parent with the unique kids. Parenting them in the unique way that you do.

But, superhero you… do you remember to take off your cape every once in a while?

Do you remember who you are without it?

Do you remember how to be that person?

You know you’ve been sitting around the Kiddy Pool too long when you forget that you are anything other than a Lifeguard.

When you start to worry that if you are not watching, something will happen.

If you don’t jump in, no one else will.

If you aren’t there, no one will be safe.

It doesn’t help that one of the kids is glued to your hip.

I think I’ve stayed at my Kiddy Pool a little too long.

In an exhausted, flustered moment I found myself saying words that I knew weren’t true but I felt them and said them anyway.

“You don’t know him like I do.”

Ow. Poor husband.

And you know what? He was able to calm that baby down when I couldn’t, and he was able to calm me down when I couldn’t.

And then three times I read the phrase “If you find yourself (fill in the blank with things I found myself doing and thinking) you probably aren’t getting the break you need.”

In three different places
By three different bloggers.
On three different days.

And it took a week for me to notice the pattern and say
“huh”.

My husband, in all his awesome husbandyness, has told me to take an evening off a week when he gets home from work. He’ll feed the kids and put them to bed.
I haven’t taken him up on that offer nearly as often as I need it. Even though I know that if I asked, every time he’d say yes.

So what do you look like without your cape, Superhero friend?

You’re allowed to take it off, you know.

Even Superman does ;) He spends some time as Clark Kent instead.

By the way… leaving it on all the time… does that look like trust in your Superman (husband) or in your God?

Not for me.

And trust is such an important part of my relationship with both of them. And they want me to trust them. They’ve told me so.

They love it when I do.

And my Superman and Super God know exactly what they’re doing when I’m not around.

C’mon. Let’s take off our capes and go get coffee.

What does your cape-less time look like? This is mine:

 
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I definitely asked for a water not to drink, just so I could use my watercolor crayons ;)

Five Minute Friday {Lonely}

Deep Breath. Here we go. The next words after that bolded “Lonely” down there are my first attempt at joining Lisa Jo Baker in Five Minute Friday. She puts out this lovely invitation every Friday to write for five minutes flat on a prompt that she provides (today it was Lonely), link your post on her linky at her blog, and then leave a comment for the person who linked before you. I have always admired her and the others that join her but I have always been terrified to join them! Write for five minutes without editing?? Without wondering if it sounds “good enough”? Oh my goodness… but I recently wrote like that in a quiet time by myself a few weeks ago and it was freeing… and the words actually flowed easier. I’ll be honest and say this time I paused the timer because I suddenly found myself in the middle of a tiny writing panic attack (insecurities much??!) and out of habit I fixed my typos as I typed… but next time I will be trying to just go straight through :) … giving myself some grace this time and linking up anyway…

Want to join?!? Go here :)

Lonely.

I’m sitting here, turning this word over and over in my head, silently rolling it around on my tongue, like a lemon drop, and I don’t know what to do with it.

Lonely.

Most of the time I think I am not. I crave the silence in this house of three guys and me. The two-year-old never stops talking and the baby never stops wanting the holding and I am almost… never… alone.

I crave alone. And because of my wonderful husband, sometimes I have it.

I pace the floors in the sparse minutes in between all that makes up the daily thing of mothering and I just don’t know what to do most of the time. Something keeps me from all the productive things and there are days that my fingers hover right over the screen and I seep in the news of all the people that I never really see and I realize… craving alone and being lonely can happen right at the same time.

Desperately wanting someone to say “yeah, me too!” when I bare my deepest vulnerabilities, and it almost never happens and the scary risky practice of being bare in front of my friends becomes so hard.

And why can’t we all just say the hard things and bear the truth and carry all our weaknesses right in our hands and hold them out gentle for someone else to see, and why can’t we all let grace just drip from our eyes and say “yes… me, too”?

Let’s stop being lonely…

Five Minute Friday

hello Monday

Hello little (big) boy sleeping in his big boy bed!

Hello dirt under my fingernails… goodbye weeds that have been taking over our “flower”beds for 3 years now (thank you very much, postpartum foggy exhaustedness).

Hello rosemary and basil plants.

Hello baby boy saying “Ee-yi, Ee-yi.” First word was his brothers name. Surprise? Not really. :)

Hello windows open for days. In the middle of the summer? In the middle of Ohio? Yes, and yes. It is wonderful!

Hello picture of the real state of real life… no pretty pictures for you today, sorry!

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Hello homemade dressing, homemade bread, and only all-natural goat cheese and bleu cheese.

Goodbye the bottled stuff (besides for Eli and his daddy), pre-sliced bread, and, sadly, all other cheeses for me :(

Hello not caring too much.

Hello not thinking too much.

Hello paint. I’ve missed you.

 

on days when say they “mommy” every six seconds

I am blessed to have two little people call me Mommy, but sometimes it is just hard to not lose your mind on days when you hear “mommy” every six seconds.

Today I finding myself imagining that being a stay-at-home mommy (or daddy) is like being a one-man band… juggling all sorts of roles and sometimes literally juggling multiple children, too… except the kids, unlike the one-man’s instruments, have the free will to make noise when and as loud as they want to. In fact, I have very little control over them, or anything, at all!

But maybe all of this – not the literal noise but just the whole of the moments, the measures of life, even the hard ones, all strung together – if it wasn’t surrounding and all so close to my head, would sound lovely if I could just step back and hear the entirety of the song.

Today I am hearing only one measure of the song. It is abrupt and loud, messy and unimpressive, and up so close I can only hear it out of context… but the whole beautiful song wouldn’t be the same without it.

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beautiful words

As you probably figured out by now, I’m a reader.

And because I just can’t help but share the things I love to read, apparently, today I am sharing a couple blog posts by someone else that I have just adored.

Why Your Kids Don’t Need a Super Mama – Ann Voskamp
“My kids don’t need a Super Mama. They need to see a Mama who needs a Super God.”

What To Do When You May or May Not Be a Control Freak – Ann Voskamp
In which Mark Buchanan says “Here’s what I’ve learned: Every impulse to seize control — is the Holy Spirit’s invitation to practice self-control.”

Ahh!! I so loved and needed both of those posts! And they were so timely. But then again, when doesn’t a mama need to hear that their kids don’t need a Super Mama?

And of course that second post popped up the day after I started reading Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. So ironic, because I think Cline and Fay’s words are all about control vs. self-control.

Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility

Yes, I added an another book to the list of four (now five) am already reading or about to be reading. Crazy? Nooo. I love it :)

If you want to see more links to blog posts about mama-hood that I enjoy, see my Pinterest board, Breathing Space for the Mama Soul. I try to only pin things that are encouraging to me. Nothing that induces a sense of shame, nothing about a specific parenting-style topic. Only words abounding with grace and the invitation to breathe deep and lean into a God who knows. The real words coming from the real hearts of real mamas.

 

how to not write a fifty-first draft…

The boys are both napping.

I have a cup of green tea.

I have fifty posts in “drafts”.

And I have no idea whether this one will be published or if it will become draft number fifty-one!

How do you start a post after not writing publishing one for almost two months?

So how about some books, something new, and a few swirling thoughts?

You ready? Great :)

Books.

I’ve discovered I love memoirs. Or at least two of them. Click on the pictures to go to B&N and read about them!!

Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn.      Paris in Love

Something new.

Theme days! Last week Eli and I watched The Tigger Movie with his sock tiger, read a book from the library about Tigger, and I drew a picture of Tigger for him to color. It was fun. But I think I had more fun than him :) We will be doing themed days again! I think it is a good precursor to starting Before Five In a Row with him in the fall.

Also…. Stitch Fix! If you have never heard of it, click here (I get $25 in credit if you use that link and sign up for your first fix ;) I probably can not afford to do it again unless I get credits, ha!

Basically Stitch Fix is a fun way to shop for clothes. It is also perfect for a stay-at-home mom who has precious little free time and also happens to hate the process of shopping (ahem…. me). The clothes are pricier than what I usually spend, but that doesn’t mean it would be out of your budget… I am an Old Navy clearance kind of girl. You fill out a style profile online, pick a day for them to send 5 items to you (you can ask for specific things or choose what kind of items – tops, bottoms, outer layers, jewelry, dresses) and then you choose what to keep. You pay for what you want and send the rest back for free within 3 business days. You pay a $20 styling fee, but if you buy even just one item that $20 goes towards your purchase! Basically free then ;) I kept two items – a lovely paisley maxi dress and a necklace. No, I don’t have pictures, sorry.

Swirling thoughts.

A Chinese proverb that has been on my mind for a while … “a woman has three hearts… one she shares with the world… one she shares with family..  and one she shares only with herself.”

And because Isaac just woke up I am hitting publish. No draft number fifty-one! At least not today ;)

Have a lovely Tuesday, friends.

metrinome

The day itself may be kept to the time of seconds ticking away on a clock, but your life doesn’t have to.

You belong to a God who is outside of time, in control of it, the Maker of it.

And so when the baby falls asleep in your arms, if you don’t have to pee and you find yourself wanting to just stare at him for a minute and feel the soft, heavy-with-sleep warmth of him, admire those long lashes and natural pouty lip that always seems to appear when he enters dreamland, do it.

Every thing else will keep.

You don’t need to rush, dear one. No, time might not stop, though you might want it to sometimes (and you might want it to rush ahead sometimes, too, and that’s okay). But you can slow the metronome that you set your life’s pace at. Ignore that ticking second hand. Choose instead to dance to the song that the days bring you, tempo changing as it does.

letting go

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Photo03071021We lost an hour last night… or this morning, or whatever.

It was the easiest daylight savings transition with the kids. Ever.

Want to know what we did? Nothing. For the first time in Eli’s life, we did nothing to prepare.

We didn’t slowly move Eli’s bedtime by 15 minutes every few nights. We didn’t agonize over his nap. He got up (rather early, but he’s been doing that), played at church, and when it was 1pm and we told him it was time for a nap for the first time in weeks he got up and walked to his bedroom! No asking to watch Timmy Time. No tears. No fighting. And the same just happened at 7pm.. the same bedtime he has had almost his whole life (after we survived the first frantic colicky months).

We did nothing. I didn’t try so hard to control the situation.

And it turned out fine!

Better than fine… it was one of the better days in a month.

I believe in a God who can and does take wonderful care of my life and who doesn’t want me to try to hold my life together on my own on my small, wobbly hands. But for some reason when it comes to certain things, especially those involving my children, I begin to doubt that He really means that. He gave my children to me to love and care for, and children need to eat somewhat healthily and get the sleep they need, and I often tend to take on those tasks on my own. I ask for help, I beg for it, I pray… but I still hold myself responsible for their non-napping days and poor eating habits, despite my best efforts. Today I felt as if God took over the parenting… He intervened, maybe setting the day up just right in ways I couldn’t do or maybe He was just God. Maybe He knew I was exhausted and saw me lying on the kitchen floor sobbing yesterday before my husband sent me downstairs for a nap… or maybe He really does love me and care about my kids more than I realize or admit.

I don’t know. I just know my Jesus is awesome and today am feeling abundantly loved and that my kids have slept without any intervention from me…. besides just lying them in their beds. Isaac even slept in the bright church nursery even though this was the first time I told them he likely didn’t need to nap.

So I don’t need to control my life, huh, God?

Okay. I think I can learn to deal with that 😉

smashed

What do you think when your kid misbehaves?

Are you like me – tempted to look at his behavior as spiteful, because our relationship isn’t “good”, or… proof that you’re not doing this mommy (or daddy) thing right?

When he pulls the crockpot off the counter while trying to turn the nob, and suddenly shards and raw meat are everywhere, and it was the new crockpot that was supposed to replace the one that broke… just as accidentally… well, I cry…

And I call my husband. And I clean up the shards and raw meat as the crockpot-smasher stands near and says “what happened?” and other soft things in a very concerned voice… and I say “you broke it,” and I manage to match his soft voice…

And after I’ve picked everything up and wiped it all down, he grabs the broom and begins to sweep the already clean floor, and then he asks for a paper towel and wipes it down.

He didn’t need to clean the floor. I cleaned his mess already. Because I love him.

I don’t need to clean up my mess … He did it already… because He loves me…

was mad. The morning already wasn’t going well. And more things happened right in the middle of all of this. I mis-texted a friend when I meant to text my husband… but it ended up being one of the best things that happened this morning because she is awesome and encouraged me instead of shaming me. But after a while I realized… I didn’t know what I was doing when I spoke the soft words and cleaned the messy floor… but God spoke into it afterwards and now I know… I’d gladly let any material possession be smashed for the opportunity to (even unknowingly) teach my baby – and myself – about grace…

Also… he read books to his baby brother this morning :)

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