Saturday, November 24, 2012

thank you

Thanksgiving was...

And it was the pictures we didn't take...of the healing that happens when we let go of anger and resentment, of family and friends old and new gathered around the table, of enjoying a free afternoon at the zoo, of the duct tape to keep on Brianna's shoe and of driving through the hushed streets - the anticipation of shopping-to-be thick in the air.

Thanksgiving was.

Then autumn turned its leaf to welcome snow on Friday. Just a dusting. Just enough to prepare us for the great Thanksgiving to-be: the Word made flesh, dwelling among us. (But I'll keep up the Thanksgiving decorations just a wee bit longer...since I delayed putting them up until this past Wednesday.)

And today I planted hope here:

Tulips, hyacinths and snowdrops, buried in their brown earth tomb, awaiting their day of resurrection. Just about the time we celebrate His.

Friday, November 23, 2012

when you don't feel like saying it

Wednesday morning found me stuck in resentment. I knew in my head I should take the time right that very second to say "thank you" to God - and it really would have felt like a sacrifice of praise.

But I wanted to feel the "thank you" in my heart. Otherwise, I figured the words would ring hollow.

And the resentment I felt toward my children and having to endlessly referee arguments and remind them of manners and repeat and repeat and repeat my instructions and stop what I really wanted to do because they need built up, ugly and bubbling instead of the gratitude which should have overflowed.

And here's where the clock says my 5 minutes are up. But I'm not stopping here, because I need to write this out, for me, and perhaps for others who find it hard to give that sacrifice of a "thank you." If you like, join me in the rest of this post...

The fact that Thanksgiving was the very next day needled me all the more. I felt like a hypocrite, because the very things which pulled me away from our children and caused my resentment of them and their needs, were the things I was preparing for our day of thanks.

I could choose to not write about this, the ugly side of mothering. But then all that are left are pretty pictures and people who look at you, thinking you have it all together, when really you just try to stuff the ugly away and pray it will stay locked in the closet so you can move on in an unhindered walk with Christ.

But God is gracious even in these dark and ugly places.

He knew that I knew I needed to say "thank you" even if I didn't feel like it. He knew that I didn't want to say what I didn't feel.

So somewhere between the arriving with unresolved feelings of resentment at a friend's house, and leaving there, He removed the resentment. Getting back into the car, I realized I just plain didn't feel resentful anymore. And that's when the "thank you's" flowed. 

What humbles me about this whole experience, is that God honored my desire to feel thankful even when I couldn't bring myself to say the words I knew He deserved. And He knows I miles to go and volumes to learn about priorities, and gratitude and how to catch resentment before it can gain a toehold.

So what will I do the next time I find myself stuck in resentment?

I don't know.

But I do know this: I can ask God to help me in the countless areas where I fall so short of His glory and I can be certain He will meet me there in the depths to pull me out.

Five Minute Friday

Friday, November 9, 2012

the way a mom reknows herself

an activity made for quiet time
Rest time.

The time of sanity saved in the life of a mother.

Ever since Brianna was born, followed by Reese, then Luke, then Ben, I guarded this time closely.Much of my quiet time was filled with sleep, trying to make up the lost hours of new mother nighttime wakefulness.

I gave up trying to nap when Luke and Reese were young and would awaken several times when they were supposed to be asleep.

So my rest time changed to quiet time. I filled it with reading and studying the Bible, doing chores, writing, sewing and so many other activities.

But there is peace in knowing your babes are asleep or having their own rest time. And in a returning to knowing you as you and not as you in the role of wife, mother, caretaker, whatever - as worthy and wonderful as those roles are.

Quiet time is a returning time to knowing who I am when I was created by the Great I AM.

Ending here @ a smidgen over five minutes with a question for mothers and caretakers: Do you plan a time of quiet and rest for yourself? How do you fill this time and what have you learned through it?

Writing with Lisa Jo and the Five Minute Friday community
Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

parsley anyone?

Here's what I harvested from our rather neglected garden today:

It's parsley. Probably a year's worth after it's dried.

The second day of sun after a long stretch of storm grey left little excuse for staying inside all morning. Each spring, I always imagine a beautiful, well-tended garden like the ones I see in magazines. I usually start out well and rip out the weeds which dare invade the dark brown soil.  But it takes a lot of work to maintain a chemical-free green space. And time.

And then there's the inside chores which multiply when you tend to the outside ones.

So this year I end our garden story the same way I've ended it for years now...with a resolve to do better next year when things are fresh and new and the weeds have yet to gain a foothold. In the meantime, I'll spend the next six months dreaming up garden layouts and planting schedules and be praying that next year will be the year I manage to have reality match imagination.

How does your garden grow? If you've successfully tended and apple-pie-order garden, please, please share your tips. I'm all ears.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

dear November

I love you November 1st. I love you because I can go back to writing about whatever.

Don't get me wrong, October. I loved you too. Your 31 days of craziness and all. You kept me focused. You got me thinking deeply about love. But I missed writing about other nuggets of goodness and not-so-goodness in our life.

Which is why I love November. Because now I'm not required to write every day. Just when I can't help to not write.

And I can write about things like our trip up to Ontario for Ainsley's wedding and how I got all tense and anxious again when it came to planning to be away for two days because my brain was on planning overload. And how good it was to get away and how not being able to bring kids to a family wedding is a blessing in disguise because it was the first time in 9 years that we were all (mostly) kid-free and could talk and focus on one another as adults and not as parents pulled in two directions.
hanging around at the park in Burlington

And I can record our laughable tourist stop at Niagara Falls...the five-minute pit stop parking in a no parking zone so Dave and the kids could dash to the railing to look at the Falls, snap a few pictures and then dash back to the car while I prayed we wouldn't get a ticket.

And I can share these pictures...
pit stop at the Falls

drive by snapshot of the American falls

another quickly snapped pic
the one place where you can be in a different country than your children and still be in the same car

...and this video which made be feel like an alien in a foreign land even though I was born in one and made a citizen in the other.

And how imperfect moments like these are beautiful and gift all the same because they are moments we can laugh about for our lifetime.

And I wonder what imperfect moments have become polished in your mind, shined up like new pennies? Do you have a favorite tourist memory or ever felt like tourist in your own town?