Sunday, May 08, 2011

for my mama...

sometimes it is the unexpected, the unwanted, the unlikely that strengthens a relationship.

sometimes it is the not knowing that sweetens the preciousness of moments, of minutes, of days.

sometimes it is the knowing that you have one parent barely clinging to this life, to cause you to cling desperately to the One who gives life and in His sovereignty and with His purposes is mighty enough to take it away, when its time, and yet determines that it is not yet that hour.

sometimes it is only the sunrise and the sunset that remind you that God is faithful, since this solar system was suspended in the sky because He chose to place it there -- just "so" -- and faithfully everyday, He provides warmth by day to sustain us and rest by night to restore us.

sometimes it is okay to feel hopeless, to feel weakness, to feel desperate, to feel lost. whether we're standing or stumbling, He is Hope. He is Strength. He is the Tower of Refuge. He is the Finder, the Redeemer, the Keeper and the Guardian of our hearts, He's got our GPS coordinates. He's the Faithful One who never forsakes us. that's what He said.

sometimes it is questions and the relentless wondering & wandering that can propel us toward the truth, when we can count on nothing in this life but the constancy of change. He's the Beginning and the End, He who is the author and the finisher of our faith -- is the same. yesterday, today, and tomorrow. and He's the Lord Jesus who NEVER changes.

sometimes it is losing someone and nearly losing another that changes you forever. relationally, mentally, emotionally, physically.

today, mother's day, is one of those precious days to me -- it's a day that i've always celebrated my mama and my gramma, my sis, my aunts and my mama sisters, too! but even more so this year. this year, after nearly losing my mom last july, just down the hall in my daughter's room, i can celebrate the gift of hearing her voice from miles and miles away. these past several months of yesterdays make me appreciate the todays.

i am so grateful that my mama is a fighter. and courageous enough to allow God to be her strength when she is weak.

mama, i cannot find the right words to accurately and wholly express how much i love you. how much i need you, how much i miss you, how much i thank you. i am so boggled by your gracious heart and your forgiving spirit, by your enduring love. thank you for 32 years of tenderness and tough love, for the laughs and for the tears, for the encouragement and the correction, for the liberties and the boundaries, for the affirmation and the constructive criticism. thank you for all the walks we've been on, for all the times you've rubbed my pregnant feet (a lot, i know!), for the gift of your time and talks, for loving my children and my husband and me even when i'm grumpy.

thank you, mama {and thank you GOD}, for putting yourself last back in june/july when you chose AGAINST your PREFERENCES to be part of our trip to mexico. you put me before yourself when you said yes to my plea for help with my trenkletoes. which is such a picture of the pattern of your heart! and because of that -- i was given the gift of such a special season with you. i saw you at your absolute weakest and i saw you at your healthiest in ages. and my kids! my kids got the gift of your presence! even in the midst of the heartache + joy rollercoaster we experienced together with you. And even several days of just us daughters and you when Kristy came out! days I will treasure always!

i've heard it said that only 2 things go on forever. time and people. they are gifts: priceless, invaluable, irreplaceable.

that's what you are to me.
priceless, invaluable, irreplaceable.

and i'm so beyond blessed that even though we experienced trauma upon trauma, we did it together. and that we had the normalcy of driving each other crazy in between.

you amaze me.
and you ARE amazing.

mom, happy mother's day...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

when kev grows up...

kev declared tonight something so sweet... it needs proclaimed to the www.
bless his little heart.

my sweet boy, don't ever lose your tender hearted spirit.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

a FRAGRANT love | march 6th ponderings

I've been thinking about lemon chamomile tea this week. Especially since the doc confirmed I have Acute Pharyngitis. I blushed, but I did tell him thank you. Lemon is good for the throat, yeah? Well there's this blend of tea that is good for my soul. 

It's The Republic of Tea Lemon Chamomile.

And it smells like memories.
Memories of a raw heart.
Memories of salty tears, red puffy eyes.
Memories of an emptier home.
Memories of an ache that still comes and goes.
Memories of that first year after my Dad died.

It smells of grief and sorrow and loss and hopelessness and questions and togetherness but separateness.

I still have the original can that was purchased as a gift by our friend Sheila small. I keep the lid sealed tight to preserve the remnants of it's fragrance.

It triggers flashes, pictures stored in my mind's eye. Of how my 14yo sister came out to meet me on our front steps as I pulled into the driveway too fast after being summoned home.  She was waiting there for me.  Before I knew.  Before I KNEW. Kleenex, so much kleenex and a contorted, pained, tear-soaked face and hair.  I see pictures of how dark and cold the house felt on nights I could do nothing to ease the sorrow or ebb away the sound of a bereaved young wife. I could do nothing to fix it. So I fixed tea.

I worked at Shopko. It was an hour away from my house and I would drive and stare at the skies each night, dark midnight blue littered with a few frosty clouds and boasting with stars. I had one star that I searched out each night. It was the only thing that was predictable, solid in my world rocked by change.  I would sing to that star and yell at that star.

All 59 minutes home.

I just wanted to hurry and walk back through my front door so I could comfort my mom with her tea. Provide her with one predictable thing.  

You know, I don't know if she ever drank the full mug, but it was our routine. I bought her a lavender sleep mask in New York and I would warm it in the microwave while I steeped her tea. Lavender. Lemon. Chamomile. I just wanted to soothe my mom. I just wanted her to rest.  

Sometimes I would get home and find my sister and brother had shut themselves in their rooms. And Mom would too.

Sometimes the Joe Cocker song we played at his funeral would fill the house, filtering out of the crack at the bottom of one of their bedroom doors. CRY WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS... Kawow wow kawow... I NEED SOMEONE TO LOO-OOOVE... That CD got played loud and always on repeat.

I remember when everyone was closed up in their own shattered worlds behind their closed doors and that song was echoing into the hallway and bouncing off the wood floors and into the cavernous void of my heart, I just walked around the house touching everything Dad had last touched. The blinds even. Well, the blinds especially. Dad had installed the blinds and then he died. The two should not go in the same conversation or even sentence or paragraph, but that was how the chapter was being written. It wasn't real. But it was.

I remember one night, my brother, Rob, found an Eric Clapton song that spring. "Tears in Heaven." I'd either never heard it before or it held no meaning for me before. But he brought it up to my loft above the garage and the 3 of us kids cried and cried and cried as we listened to it over and over. Rob wasn't even 13. Music. It feeds something inside us. And the music from that time still moves me. Memories have soundtracks. Don't they?

We lost Dad. It was so final.

And we all dealt with our loss differently.

In losing that one person came the death of the exponentiality (it's a word, I'm in the process of inventing it) of all the dynamics of our family.

There was the death of a husband-wife relationship {affecting 3 children}, there was the the death of a father-daughter relationship and another.  And the death of a father-son relationship.

And not only those, but death came to the mother-to-daughter-daughter-son relationships when part of Mom's  one flesh died leaving her un-whole (another vocabulary word today).

It rocked me.
It rocked us.

You know, when death comes, it's because death has an appointed time. And Dad's appointed time was March 6, 1996.  

That was 14 years ago today.  

I need to drink that lemon chamomile tea once in awhile. Because it triggers a heart response and a gut response.

If there's one thing I remember from my Biology classes, it was my fascination with the design of our olfactory glands and the sense of smell. {That and my zoological study of mallards, but that's another post.}

God designed our sense of smell -- it is intricately woven into our neurological system and is purposefully connected to our memory centers -- I think it's rad.

God loves fragrance. He talks about how our praise is like incense. He loves our offerings, it's like a huge, juicy, seriously tasty porterhouse steak smoking on the barbecue. He says each one of us is fragrant. I think I just really digg that about God, imagine how our fragrance fills the heavens! Dude.

So with this tea, the aroma as it's steeping and the taste, sweet from the honey and hot on my lips, I am transported back to when I was raw with grief. After 14 years, Jesus has done some healing, I'll tell you. He's done some rebuilding in my heart and so I'm not so raw, and it's good. And healthy. But sometimes? I just need to feel that devastation. Sometimes I want to allow myself to feel that overwhelming ache/void/rawness.

I need to breathe in its steamy lemony fragrance. It simultaneously makes me yearn for the yesterdays and the what-might-have-beens and makes me long for living a life of fullness -- a life with purpose.   

It reminds me that I'm alive.  

It reminds me that there is today.
It reminds me that I have choices.
It reminds me that I have hope.

It reminds me that the breath in my lungs is God-given.

It reminds me to breathe deeply.


To exhale.

That breath? Is not mine to keep. That breath is not mine to hoard.
I wouldn't survive if I clung to it.

Clinging to that breath would be self destructive.

3.6.96 was not the end. Even though it felt like it at the time.  It was a milestone, a memorial stone on this road I'm on.  

We really don't know when our last breath will be.

But when that last breath is released, what will have preceded it? Am I exercising my love and heart and sharing truth and encouragement and hope? Am I restoring? Am I forgiving? Am I living beyond myself?Am I living like I'm alive? Am I giving my most loved my most best? I am oftentimes not!

That lemon chamomile blend is one of the signature notes of the fragrance that is my life.

I want to choose to not be stale.
I want to choose to be alive.
And live like it.
I want to give my most lived my most best.

I dont know why the Lord gave Dad breath for only 41 years and 355 days.  But I do know that His plan is good.

The fragrance of that tea is the same. The star is in exactly the same spot. The hope, though, is larger than the expanse of midnight blue. And it's because of Christ.

It was a dark time. Everything fell apart.  But I know, know, KNOW that there is a Redeemer who takes my ashes and gives me beauty. I've seen it. I've seen it in my children, my husband, and in His word.

Will you do me a favor today?Daughters, will you love on your dads or grandads for me? I would soooo give anything to love on mine.

And parents? Will you love on your beloved and your precious ones?

They are watching and listening to everything you do and say. If you were gone tomorrow, everything that you ARE and they PERCEIVE you to be is seared into their little minds and imprinted on their hearts. {ohhh, I cant wait to smooch and squeeze my trenkletoes}  Your impact on them is profound. I know from experience, from a child's-eye-view -- I am still my dad's CHILD and his heart and hopes and his character are still forming my own heart and hopes and character. As a daughter and as a mother. I want to give my most loved my most best.

This has been one "smelly" week for me as a wife/mom/friend on lots of levels and both good and bad. I am weary of living for tomorrow instead of living ALIVE today.

I want to breathe deeply.
And exhale.
I want to cling to Jesus because He is the aroma of a love that knows no bounds.

Because I know He savors the tea and the time with me.

***Jesus, tell Dad I respect him more everyday. That I need him as always and love him as ever. Tell him his  'Rocket' said so. And give him a huge hearty hug, if you would.   

Thank you for that.

Monday, November 16, 2009

PB & Egg Sandwiches

is up working.

and loving the little vignettes that come to mind from earlier in the day.

like at bedtime, bryson hollered for me...

"yes, bryson?" [with only THE most patient & loving maternal voice]

MOM. I have a RECIPE for breakfast tomorrow, I need to tell you.
"cool, what is it?"

WE need to make 2 pieces of TOAST and an EGG. But not the kind with the OKE. Just the little eggs. [no, i didn't correct him, because he was so earnest.] No OKE. Just the little eggs, you know?
"sounds scrumptious, buddy."

kev was dying for his turn to tell his RECIPE.

this is it:
peanut butter & egg sandwich on toast, with jelly.

kevan insisted it was "gonna be sooo good, right mama?"

i am blessed with every minute i have with these babes. this busy, swamped, crazy, messy life we live is just right for me. i love these kids & would do anything for them.
one recipe at a time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

tippy? more like run head long!

okay. where did my summer go?

all of a sudden:

i have a 6 year old.

a 5 year old.

a 3 year old.

and a soon-to-be 16-mo old.

and there are christmas decorations on store shelves.

wasn't it just memorial day?

time is no respecter of persons!

one minute we are tippying along (hehehe, right) at a leisurely pace (as if we've ever taken things slowly -- 4 kids in 6 years?) and the next thing i know we've covered miles and miles and MILES of ground.

i can only backtrack, i can't start from where i left off! too much going on, too many milestones, too many stories. sad, but true!

the one thing on my mind tonight is my oldest boy, bryson, my "strong boy" i call him. he's lost his first tooth. and it feels like it was yesterday, but it was 2 weeks ago! and now the other one is already growing in! what??? where is my pause button?! he's just my baby. but he's sooo not anymore. he reacted in just the way i thought he would whenever i thought about the teeth-losing season commencing for him. he was quite... panicked. upset. distraught. he is, after all, my reserved child. the one who wants no attention on himself. the one who resists change. (unless it's the 3 outfits he puts together throughout a typical day, depending on his choice of work, school or play at any particular quarter of an hour.)

he bit into a braeburn apple and his tooth... broke!!! it was FALLING OUT!!!! aaaaggghhhh! i guess it was only 11 days ago, i won't be so hard on myself. it happened about 12 minutes before we needed to pull out of the driveway to head to a nutrition appointment and it kept bleeding. and bleeding. thankfully i had a crumpled up papertowel that i rolled into a swab-like scroll to slide between the narrow space left by the "unbroken" teeth. ah, my boy. i gave him a big hug and congratulated him on officially transitioning into becoming a big kid who was about to get grown-up teeth. mmmmmmyeaaaah. didn't provide much comfort for the little man.

but by the time we got back into the tahoe after our appointment, he was tired of me asking [jovially] if he wanted me to pull it. ;) (mom! stop asking me that! no. i don't need you to pull it.) and then before he buckled his seatbelt, it was out! and we had a party. i told him he could have as much sugar as he wanted -- so that he could make his other teeth fall out and just hurry up and grow. "Mo-om! That will make me too hyper."

and a few nights ago, i must say that my youngest trenkletoebearer has sprouted several teeth without permission from her guardians. she had gotten her molars a few weeks ago, lower, which i knew she was working on. but excuse me? last night a third tooth in the bottom front had cut without my motherly instinct indicating to the fatherly protector that it was henceforth about to erupt thru the surface of our dear sweet girl's gums.

what is this world coming to?

and that's just the update on TEETH around here and i'm out of breath.

well, i shall breathe deeply... (oh, please do it with me... breathe IN .............. breathe OUT..........).

because let everything that has breath Praise the LORD!

we'd not survive this busy season without Him.

i'm so grateful for my babes and my (hunkahunkaburninlove) babe. we are in the midst of so many things! but most importantly of all, in the midst of His love and our intimacy as a family. i'm so grateful.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy 4th!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Turning 3!!!

Yesterday I caught my two youngest spending some time together in the boys' room. Kev was showing Karsyn his favorite book. I hurried and snapped a few pics, but (as usual) as soon as Karsyn spotted the Mom and zipped over to "help" me lickety split. But I love the silhouetted moment!!!

Kev's been practicing and wanted me to take a picture of how "Gon be Fwee on my Burtday!"

Father and Groom... final thoughts on relationship to Christ.

As we realize and accept the truth that we are not just God’s lump of clay, sheep, servant, or even friend, but also God’s very own child, we can experience tremendous healing from childhood wounds and disappointments. We can allow God to be the Father or Mother (He possesses the good qualities of both genders) that we so needed or wanted. We can be free from the burden of trying to perform or produce for Him when we understand that He loves us not for what we do but because we are His daughters. As wonderful and healing as a father/daughter relationship is, the groom/bride relationship promises the most intimate connection of all.

Once a woman becomes a bride, the focus of her life and priorities change, and all other people and priorities pale in comparison to her primary love relationship. Again, this metaphor illustrates a much deeper truth—God desires for us to love Him passionately, to find it delightful to simply be in His presence, and to know Him personally both publicly and privately. He longs for our focus and priorities to become aligned with His.

God has always longed for this kind of relationship with His chosen people. He said through the prophet Hosea, “I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord” (2:19-20).

God extends to us an eternal commitment of love, a love so deep, so wide, and so great that we cannot possibly fully understand it. This gift should inspire us to reciprocate with as equal a gift of love as is humanly possible. What started out as an engagement relationship between God and His own in the Garden of Eden will come to fullness at the wedding supper of the Lamb when Jesus Christ returns to claim His bride, the church.

So how can you cultivate a bridal love for Jesus and enjoy this intimate relationship that He longs to have with you? By falling in love with Him and attempting to pursue Him as passionately as He has been pursuing you all along.