…the journey

I am a work in progress… I am aware that I am a work in progress… I am choosing to be an active participant in this process of growth.

Owning that I am a work in process is part of my growth… It’s a journey…we are all on one. There are times when I have kicked and screamed along the way, I can remember times of gripping onto the doorframe as the current of this journey insisted I be propelled forward despite my protest…so many times I have been perfectly content to set up camp… make my air bed nice and cozy, build a stunning fire and settle in. This I know is a coping mechanism…I recall many times in my life that I have tried this strategy. One time in particular, I was sharing with a close and dear friend who told me with some degree of sternness and a whole lot of love: I see and hear how you are feeling right now and I am so sorry you are in this place, however, you may NOT set up camp here. You must pack up the tent and collect yourself… gather what you need and move forward. Your journey is about growing… ‘wave to the folks in that town… ’cause you’re just passing through’, she said. She checked in on me by phone, via email and in person throughout this trying time to be certain I had travelled safely through this town I thought for sure was to be my next place of residence. She loved me, she encouraged me, she saw things that I did not see.

Along this journey, I have gathered certain tools I thought were helpful but am now growing to know that I may also stop using tools that are no longer working for me. This is NOT easy! (Added to the list of things I am working on) . After all, it’s hard to be a work in progress…

I look at it this way… I am thankful for my knowing … I want to be a part of my growth, to encourage and love myself… I want to do my best to be the light Jesus intends for me to be…

I am a work in progress… and today I am encouraged.

Take time today to think about where you are at in your own journey… we are ALL on one…Are you pitching your tent in a town you should just be passing through ? Are you holding the doorframe as the flood of the current rushes through?

I would encourage you to embrace your journey … It’s YOURS! Be kind to yourself, allow yourself grace… ask for help when you need it and cry when you need to… When trusted others seek to assure you and help you ‘un’ pitch your tent… Let them… We all need one another… and when you find a tool in your box that isn’t working anymore… toss it out the window on your way outta Dodge!

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knowing…the long story…and the short

You are a firecracker…lit the moment your beautiful coffee brown self was placed in your loving mamas arms on the day you were born

You were three when we met… going on fifteen…you enter a room with presence…

Your knowledge so vast for your small frame…I wonder how you hold it all without falling over…so many volumes already written in your memory

You are just one year older now…since I have known you…and I have come to know you well…synchronized…your moods recognizable

Such a joy to always see your raised hand …anticipation to answer…and more…to grow us with what you know beyond that

We sometimes shake our heads…your teachers…and your mama too…I have seen it…in awe of your shining brilliance that you know not yet the full magnitude of…

I’m grateful for you in my heart… You have blessed me so…challenged my humor…and brought forth in me the desire to hear both the long and the short version of the story before I decide which will feel just right…

…to know you

I have been trying to pay some mind to the reel of thoughts that have been spooling from deep inside my ADHD self of late…searching for paper to jot it before it is lost or muddled with the next thought. In my attempt to be mindful and quiet externally, internally my mind is speaking rather loudly.

I am a teacher… It is a preschoolers last day… here is a clip from my reel to capture the joy she has been to grow with…

it was picture day…
you were fabulous…
your sweet true heart revealed through my lens that day… though we had just met…

a twirling dance…
marching band…
arm poised…knees snapping up and down in unison
as you lead

a strong commanding voice that can quiet to a suspenseful hush…
eyes light up and dance as a story is shared with friends…
leaning close to soak in the magic…
as your own imagination exhales into others

a delightful balance …
so pleased exploring and learning …
finding yourself…

humble to reach out…
embracing others …
as you share the beautiful YOU you are growing to be…

…my one thousand; and learning I am enough

I picked up a new book yesterday at church… One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. IMG_1067

Although it was Fathers Day, we showered daddy with love and sentiments early and settled in for a relaxing afternoon. I opened my book and began. I read in the kitchen and on the porch, and in the living room. I dozed a bit… Ran out to the market, made dinner and read some more. Then I made a decision, one of several pretty monumental ones for my weekend I must say. I went on a search; I somehow knew right where it was, at least my heart did. A beautifully woven ribbon journal… Perfect for my journey. You see part of being me is the feeling of not enough… I didn’t do enough, say enough, think ahead enough, and so forth. A brave friend of mine summed it up so dearly when she said, “I am so sorry that your ‘not enough’ button got pushed so intensely.” And that’s what it was… Circumstances and specifics aside, that is exactly what had happened… All of my passion and work that I poured out at the close of our school year suddenly disappeared like a wisp of smoke as a candle is blown out.

My Martha self took charge and flooded my brain with memories of my ‘not enough’ moments. I spiraled a while and hung out there… In the muck…and sadness. And then I decided to write those moments down. I worked fast and furious typing out any moment I have told myself I just wasn’t enough. They began shortly after I was born and continue into my adult life. This was a painful but necessary process and my initial intention was to share those in a post. And then I found the book… And my journey took a different course. God knew all along where He was bringing me.
I kissed and hugged my husband and littles, despite my children’s protest at my departure, off I went to my overnight shift. I arrived a few minutes early so I squeezed in another page and a half already silently compiling a list in my head and in my heart to get the ball rolling.

It took a while to settle my overnight charges and before I knew it I was gliding on ink skates across my pages pouring out an introduction to my journey and what ended up being the first twenty six items on my list of a thousand…I had a hard time falling asleep with so many things dancing in my head …in the wings…awaiting their debut. I was soon up to rescue my dear charge who had tipped herself out of the electric recliner and onto the floor…I prayed fervently for the strength to pick her back up and after the fifth try or so she was safe and sound back in the chair and settled for a quick snooze before waking for the day. It was almost four am as I sat next to her, my hand holding hers in reassurance that I was right there… It was an ‘ I AM enough’ moment… One rewarded with what will end up becoming number 27 on my list. I call it the quartet at four…the sun was begging for a few more moments of rest as the moon demanded its night was done…it was the groggy crossover from night… To dawn. The birds began their serenade…

As the book dares, I have begun the list of a thousand things I love and in naming those things, I will be filled with enough … Enough love and enough joy and by claiming that… I will be certain in my heart that I, myself, will be more than enough!

…i wonder

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i wonder lots of things in a day…some of them deep and thoughtful, some just pretty amusing…a peek into my wonders for today:

as i lay here in our family bed surrounded by my sleeping littles, I wonder if they know with certainty how much I love them…

…i also wonder will my daughter vomit all night tonight as she did last night…

as my husband tirelessly searches for a way to unlock my stored iphoto library so i may email some needed photos to my children’s ministry leader…i wonder if he realizes how much i appreciate him…

as i spent an hour navigating through the automated phone system at our mortgage lender today i wondered…will i EVER speak to a flipping customer service rep??

and at the same time i wondered why the automated voice was assuming humanistic qualities by saying, “let’s see if we can find someone to help ‘US’ “now that freaked me out just a tad!

each time i look at this photo of my then 2.5 year old daughter holding this fragile bubble in her hands i wonder…how is she now almost 12?

what’s on your ‘wonder list’?

…are those mens’ pants you are wearing?

the fear? BALLOONS!  the reason? flashback!  I am three years old and am running at top speed BANG! right at my heels  BANG! Just ahead of me…I pause for a minute and look back and BANG! at my feet again…the culprit?  my seven year old brother and a box of snap caps…the ones that surely are comprised of a smidge of explosive gunpowder wrapped up in a delicate little package…that when you throw them to the ground…BANG!

It only gets better from there…a little bit older and it was lit m-80’s.  As an adult, I have a serious phobia of balloons. Yes it is true, just ask my children.  I used to tell them I was allergic so they wouldn’t think of bringing them near me. Now, they know the whole story.

These days I try to be brave.  A dearest friend was having an open house at her bakery a few weeks back and she asked if I could order and pick up some helium balloons.  I took a deep breath and called the local grocery store and ordered four helium balloons.  I truly expected that they would be of regular size.  You know the ones, about the size of a child’s head. Well guess what?!  Much to my horror, these balloons were almost three times the size of my own head!  And here I was in the market, I had to hold them and attempt to look non-commitable as I waited in line to purchase them.  I must have looked quite interesting…four hunormous pink and red stalkers, looming dangerously close to my delicate ears.  I cringed the whole time as I leaned my head to one side in case they popped…my left hand stretched up and stiff in order to keep them as far away from me as possible.  I talked quietly to myself and continued to try to go to my happy place.  That’s when it happened…a very jolly elderly gentleman behind me in line struck up a conversation and if you can believe it, it had nothing to do with the balloons.  I was shocked.  He began asking questions about…my jeans…drawstring tie, boot cut…’just like the ones I was issued in the Navy!’ he said, ‘are those men’s pants?’   ‘why no…Unionbay Jeans…for women’ I assured him as I smiled, accepting his kind compliment to how I fit into them.  Seriously?  And it did not stop there.  In his effort to comfort me I suppose, he piped up to the rather amused cashier that he had just seen me floating across the nearest town…and then he asked if I would like help getting them to the car…in the event my feet leave the ground as I stepped outside.  ‘I think I’m all set’ and ‘thank you though’ I kindly replied.

The distress did not end there…we had a carful of our family and really no place for the balloons.  We crammed them in, (my husband crammed them in as I cringed on the opposite side of the car, sure they would all pop then and there…but they didn’t.  It took a bit but at last they were in…limiting my ability to see.  And then I drove…slightly hysterical that one would surely pop and I would veer the car into oncoming traffic!  To top it off, I had to stop at two places prior to arriving at the bakery.  On the first stop, while I was fetching something from another nearby market, one of the balloons popped, leaving one child crying and slightly hard of hearing.  I thanked God in heaven I was not in the car when it happened and offered condolences to my son…(not that he could hear me).

One more stop and then we made it to the bakery where I leaped out of the car as soon as I put it in park. I implored my husband to remove them from the car and to tie them on the building sign outside of the bakery.  He graciously did so…I was so thankful!

Needless to say, the open house was fun and a success and still somewhat overshadowed by the sheer terror of those larger than life balloons…
Funny how our childhood sometimes dictates our life as an adult!  Made me think honestly about my own children…how much I love them and how funny they think it is that their Mama is scared of balloons!  I also thought about the love and faithfulness I have for my friend…a love that gave me the courage to face my fear of balloons. I would love to say I won the battle…at the very least, it provided me with some humor to write this post!

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…turning the big change into spendable cash

change…well established that change and I are not fast friends.  There are times in life when you can very successfully avoid change.  When you can maneuver your way around it to almost completely minimize the effect it has on your plan…your comfy structure…your cozy routine.  And then…there are those ‘other’ times.  You know the ones, the times of change that leave you anxious and out of your mind worried about what will this look like? feel like?  be like?  These are the times that can leave you feeling like nothing will ever be the same again a permanent detour…like things will never feel like they did prior to that ‘event’.  Major transitions like job change, living situation change, marriage, divorce, death, birth…and so forth.  One of these big changes that I am dealing with right now is the transition from preschool to kindergarten.  Not I of course…but my last born…my baby boy.  Perhaps you can relate…I have been working on dealing with the fallout from this transition as I simultaneously attempt to reassure my son that it is all going to be okay.  This is a bit tricky when I am questioning in my own mind…’is this really going to be ok?’ ‘how will I feel when I am not there if he needs me?’ ‘how will I feel if he is not there when I really need him?’  I can see that he struggles with this too and he has a lot of questions to ask about the change.  Problem is, he often says to me ‘can we not talk about that Mama? I don’t want to think about it right now.’  So my concern is that in two weeks time, he will be in kindergarten and not here at school with me.  With new teachers and classmates in a new environment how will he cope?  Better yet, how will I cope? So how will I turn this change into an asset? How can I make it into spendable cash?  Here are a few ways that I will be trying:

Take advantage of moments to have six feet thick ice conversations.  (Yes, that is the beauty of me!  Six feet thick ice conversations are the ones you can have without worry you are going to fall through the ice and not get back out of the freezing water.)  When it seems safe, venture out on the ice a little…have a conversation about the upcoming change and then scoot back to shore.

Visit the school and make it familiar.  This will help you and your child feel more comfortable and you too will be able to envision your child in that environment.  Take a few trips to the playground together.  This will give your child familiarity too.

Remember to attend the back to school bbq or ice cream social…a great time to meet other families and also the teachers and other school staff.

Don’t pressure your child to talk but be ready to go there with them when they are…practice listening and be sure not to minimize their concerns…work together to come to solutions.

Take it day by day…or as I am right now, minute to minute!

any ideas?  I surely welcome your input