Friday, January 27, 2012

Cheer Up!

I've been overwhelmed the past couple days. My to-do list is lengthy, my prayer list longer. Many of the needs are weighty, serious. Some seem like I've been laying them at His feet for ions. My heart throbs with impatience, longing to see an answer, wondering how much longer I have to plead. Yes, God has granted peeks at answers, literal "glimmers of hope" to remind me that He hasn't forgotten, that He's still at work. But for whatever reason those glimmers have dulled and keep slipping from the forefront of my mind where they ought to be.

Last night I hit the breaking point. Funny how it's the little things that push me over the edge. The pup -- yeah that cute little thing from a couple posts ago -- decided to dig in the mud at bedtime, track it all over my new carpet, and initiate a rousing game of keep away when I tried to hose off his feet. I thought labs were supposed to like water ... ? Someone forgot to tell Koa. As I knelt and scrubbed carpet, my eldest, who should have been fast asleep, softly crept next to me and told me to close my eyes and open my hands. I resisted the urge to tell her I wasn't in the mood and send her back to bed. Instead, I complied and felt a piece of paper fall lightly into my palm. On my knees, emotional, I opened my eyes and saw evidence of a child who hadn't yet considered sleep. Instead she had been making a card.

Dear Mommy,
Cool down, I love you.
I hope you feel better in the morning.
You know, have a fresh start. :-)
I love you lots,

Of all my children, this is the one I fight to understand. She is an anomaly to me and we have had our share of duels. In my struggle to relate to her, I haven't always been nice. (Or I could say, in our struggle to relate to each other we haven't always been nice.) I get frustrated, impatient, desperate for simple obedience without the constant questioning the brilliant mind she got from her daddy demands. Her compassion, empathy, concern for this undeserving mama humbled me. No, that's not completely accurate. It simultaneously warmed and broke my heart.  Grace does that.  Is mom-guilt part of the gig? Does it have to be? I'm not particularly a fan. If I could just achieve perfection, it wouldn't be an issue, but alas, I can't seem to get there!

Sometimes I read Peter's promise that "love covers a multitude of wrongs" (1 Peter 4:8) and it seems too good to be true. That there can't be enough grace to cover the days that I'm rotten. Tender moments like last night make me think that maybe there is. That maybe my kids know, despite my tantrums and faults and failures, how much I love them. That just possibly, by God's grace, I'm doing something right and they are learning to look beyond themselves, love, empathize, forgive. Huh. Maybe in that little card that now hangs on my refrigerator, God was giving me another glimmer of hope. A message to remind me He's still working.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Paper Snowflakes

I have these paper snowflakes hanging from the chandelier over my dining room table. They are tiny, delicate, delightful.  And they remind me of my mum.  When I was pregnant with #3 and the hospital was too full to induce and babe had no intention of forcing their hand by coming on her own, I was restless. It's amazing the things you have time for when it hurts to move and your body is swollen past what seems to be the bursting point. So we entertained ourselves with jigsaw puzzles and answering strangers' "when are you due" questions (their alarmed "oh no is she gonna deliver right here" reactions were great!)...

...And cutting snowflakes.  My mom, my eldest, and I.  Three women, three pairs of scissors, three kinds of snowflakes.  Some boxy and awkward from little hands still learning the art of handling scissors.  Mom's, lacy and small and beautiful.  And mine, ever so wanting to be like mom's but never quite losing the squarish look of a grammar school snowflake.
As I glance at the intricate paper slowing spinning above my table, I am lonely. I miss the camaraderie and companionship of doing something as simple as snipping snowflakes together. I'm disappointed that distance prevents us from enjoying such activities.  The longing makes me ponder days gone by when ladies would gather around a big farm table and quilt and chatter. Or can the harvest and chatter. Or whatever ... and chatter. See, while I like the handiwork, it's the chatter I miss, long for. I was reading one of Ann Voskamp's recent blog entries about generations gathered around a sewing machine and that same yearning nerve was touched.
Doesn't it seem like the Titus 2 thing would happen so easily in such a setting?  That the younger women would naturally learn from the older?  That not only would the art of keeping a home be handed down, but that that big comforting table and the ladies around it would offer wisdom and respite and reassurance for the young mom, whose quiver is full not only of kiddos but laundry and interrupted sleep and middle of the night self-doubt.

Somewhere with all our women's rights and equality, we've lost something valuable. While we were fighting for equal rights and recognition and gaining the opportunity to pursue dreams once unreachable, we abandoned the days of gathering over fabric and needles, wood stoves and canning jars.  The super-woman complex was born, and we proved we could do it all and do it better.  And we walked away from the support and camaraderie of that big table.  

I desperately wish we could find our way back.
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Friday, January 13, 2012

A Girl's Best Friend

I sat down to blog about something completely different, but I ran across this pic and had to brag about this guy who's stolen my heart.

As an only child, my siblings were my two dogs. Unlike true siblings, though, there was no rivalry; we were best pals. I remember as a little tyke, perched on the deck in my back yard, ice cream cone in hand, between my two terriers. I'd take a lick, pass to the right, take another lick, pass to the left. Doesn't get much better than that!

When my husband and I got married, I knew we needed a dog. 12 years, 3 kids, new furniture, and lots of hemming and hawing later, we finally got one. By then I was hesitant. I still wanted a faithful side-kick, but was fully aware of the work the new family member would bring (and was mindful of my long-anticipated new furniture!). Not for a minute did I believe all the "but mo-0-0-0-0-m, I'll do all the work. I'll clean poop and walk him and feed him and and and..." I knew when we got a dog I needed to be ready for a fourth kid. It took watching #1's grief after the death of her frog to convince me it was time.

It might sound funny, but I immediately started praying. I don't deliberate well. Once I make a decision, I'm full speed ahead, let's get this thing done. I accomplish a lot with this mindset, but I also have a tendency to run ahead of God. With last winter's depression and overwhelmedness still fresh in my mind, I did not want to get wrapped up in the romanticism of a new puppy and miss a possible "wait" whisper from God. So I prayed and looked at newspaper ads. Long story short, we found a breeder that had pups available. And a short few weeks later we brought home a 10 pound yellow fluff ball we named Koa. Isn't he the handsomest thing you've ever seen!

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