>Lest you get the impression that my life is one long series of wonderful moments like my previous post, I’m gonna take the risk of posting today and let you in on the truth. Today I feel like hell. I can’t stand anyone or anything, and I wish I could crawl back in bed and stay for an extended period of time if not forever. It’s this dark, suffocating sensation that medical professionals like to call depression, I guess… or maybe just my life is suffocating me right now with it’s chaotic pace and overloaded condition. I don’t know, and I’m not sure I care. Today, I’m face down on the bare concrete of the bottom of my soul’s foundation. I’m crumpled up in a heap, and I can feel the dirt on my face. Here’s my hope: When I get to glimpse this bare foundation at the bottom, I see something. God’s still there. He is all inside that bare concrete, all mixed up in my very foundation. I can’t get lower than where He is. As the tears slip down my cheeks, I wish I could express to you the comfort of knowing that though I don’t understand why God has chosen to keep me so well acquainted with the depths of despair, He doesn’t spare Himself the experience by allowing me to do this alone.
Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.”
>Today I got a special glimpse of the heart of my little girl. Around 7:00 this morning, she came into our room to say good morning. This isn’t anything out of the ordinary. But today, she said “MOM! You’ve gotta look out the window at the sunrise!” So I opened the blinds to view a gorgeous sunrise, pink at the top cascading down to vibrant orange. We admired for a few minutes as my son came to join in. All four of us stood there staring and saying how it’s neat that God made us a pink sunrise today. Since Mackenzie’s favorite color is pink, I like to make sure she knows that God makes some just for her. Then my girl said “You gotta see it from my bed. It looks different from my bed.” Since we downsized our way to New Orleans, our kids share a room and Mackenzie has the top bunk. So we walked over to her room and opened the blinds there. A little different view, she was right. Then she told me, “I open the blinds a little every morning to look at the sunrise when I wake up.” This glimpse into her beautiful feminine heart thrilled me! She’s a quiet, passive kid who’s very likely being failed by her mouthy mom. This morning I had proof that somehow, in spite of my shortcomings as a parent, God has managed to keep intact a treasure chest of rare jewels inside my daughter. When she first rested on my chest, I feared I’d never be able to be good enough for this little gift God had given me. I was right. I’m not good enough. But He is… and she knows He is. She knows enough to wake every morning and spend a moment enjoying the sunrise He’s made. I’m often too rushed and too driven to stop and revel in such things. I can hardly imagine she got that idea from me. I fall so short as a mother, and often worry what damage I’m doing to my kids. Today I was told in no uncertain terms that it isn’t up to just me. Almighty God is investing in my children in silent, secret, unseen ways that are far beyond my imagination. He’s whispering to their souls things only He knows they need. I so often fear my children will turn out like patchwork pieces because of my mistakes. How dare I forget that Someone much more capable is molding them into who He wants them to be. How dare I leave out the fact that He is capable of making them into much more than I could ever hope to make them on my own.
> I took a sick day today. I caught some kind of yuck from my mom, called the mom of the baby I watch and warned her that she may not want to put her household at risk by placing her young one in my germy grasp today, downed some Zicam and schlepped my kids off to school in my purple polka-dotted pajamas. I did manage to get some shoes on instead of slippers, though. This is a photo of me being sick. I didn’t realize my roots had grown out quite so badly. I will have to address my hair color issue ASAP.
All that to say, though, that it was pretty nice. I sat on my porch with a pitiful bowl of oatmeal and listened to my windchimes singing a blustery sort of song as the first cold front of the season blew in. I pulled my winter clothes down from the top shelf of my wardrobe (note: winter clothes in Florida means long-sleeved tee shirts), snugged up in some wooly slippers, made my bed and then took a nap on it, surrounded by all of my fluffy, shabby chic pillows. I discovered that my sheer cotton curtains do indeed billow in the breeze when the windows are open, as I suspected they would. This is really quite beautiful. I even ate M&Ms for lunch. Comfort food, indeed! Looking forward to my sister-in-law’s visit. She felt sorry for me, as I hope you do, and offered to bring by some hot apple cider and some company of the not-sitting-too-close kind. Can you see my pouty lip from all the way over there?
I’m quite sure it will be much better tomorrow. But before that happens, I’m hoping to work in a plea for take-out dinner tonight. You know – I wouldn’t want to prepare food for my children and possibly pass this on to them in the process (wink, wink)!
DAILY BLISS: Silence. No music, no little voices, no tv, just open windows and silence.
>Okay – remember how I said I hoped adding a porch would bring about a lifestyle change? Well, so far, so good! I have this huge lantana bush in my front yard. I never even knew that it smells in the evening – I have discovered this since my porch happened. It smells almost like orange blossoms or jasmine – that sweet kind of smell.
Lo and behold, that sweet smell attracts little tiny hummingbirds!!! I had no idea that they lived in Florida. Now, I am spending every dawn and dusk outside stalking the hummingbirds.
This is definitely a change in lifestyle. Normally, dawn is spent guzzling coffee (not that I don’t do so on the porch), and dusk is spent collapsed on the couch. So, at least I’m outside.
I am completely captivated by their tiny bodies and their thrumming wings. They almost look like big bugs and I would have mistaken them for such were it not for my observant brother, who pointed them out to me last week. He bought a feeder for them on the same night, but so far, they prefer the flowers. I guess I can’t blame them too much.
That could suffice for my daily bliss today, but…..
DAILY BLISS: Parent/teacher conferences and straight A’s all around (well, straight S’s for my kindergartener, but….same difference!)
>I must say that, as of late, my duties and responsibilities have so consumed my time, that my heart’s voice has been somewhat muffled. Does this ever happen to you? You’re just going about your business and something deep and profound just bubbles up out of you, unprovoked, at completely the wrong time. That happens to me a lot. I try to balance my inner life and my outer life – my temporal and my eternal. By balance, I mean that you could take the extremes that I wobble between and come up with a sane and normal average. So, I guess my roles have just elbowed their way to the front of the line and have kind of taken over. I’ve been kinda missing myself. I hope I can say that without sounding too schizo.
So, I just want to say thanks to a couple of friends who gave me a pause which helped me to remember to think today. I had a great time chatting with Becky today. We talked some about taking responsibility for mapping out one’s own life. We talked some about listening to the voice of our Heavenly Father and not evaluating our reality by comparing it to someone else’s reality. Also thanks to a high school friend, Tim, whose blog I faithfully read (http://bridges4christ.blogspot.com/). He posted, I guess, yesterday about grace. This has been something that I’ve been chewing on in my own life for a little while. I’ve talked a little bit here before about accepting the gift that God offers to us in the form of grace. I think that we perfectionists, we goody-two-shoes, try really hard to make it on our own. We punish ourselves severely for our mistakes (well, I know I do anyway), and try so hard to make all the right choices. But I think that this behavior actually rejects what God has offered to us. Imagine that! Rejecting a gift from God! Well, I have long since decided that I’d rather open the box and enjoy the present, if that’s not carrying the metaphor too far!
So anyway, my brain has been trying really hard to reconcile those two moments of thought today. How do you take responsibility for your life without punishing yourself for the inevitable mistakes? Sheesh! I think they’re connected somehow, these two conversations (well, I guess I didn’t really converse with Tim, I just read his blog and subsequently posted an utterly mediocre comment). At any rate, this is not a desperate quest for answers, just a “hey – here’s what I’m thinking about today” kind of a post.
I feel like I’m trying to push a stalled car here. The first push is always the hardest, but once you get it rolling, it gains momentum. My trains of thought are kinda stalled out right now. This is taking a lot of effort.
So, my friends, thanks for reminding me to think today!! I am enjoying it immensely. BTW, I promise I’m not as dense as I sound in this post.
DAILY BLISS: The discovery that I am not above Shrek Ogre Essence bubble bath. It sorta smelled like green apples, I guess. Desperate times, you know.
I had just sat down to my lunch when I heard a rumble of thunder. It has been a while since I have heard any thunder, and during this intermission, I have attained an entirely new front porch – the perfect venue to take in God’s beautiful way of watering His garden! So, I grabbed my bag of apple slices, headed out the front door, and snagged a front row seat. By the time I sat down, sheets of gray had already begun to roll in from the north, telling me that the sun shining through the slats in the railing would be soon departing.
Then, my wind chimes quietly informed me that they would be narrating this particular performance, standing as interpreters between Mother Nature and myself. They conferred with each other in hushed tones as the sky rumbled and forewarned. Then they began to sing to me. It was a Gentle and Sweet sort of a song and the trees bowed in agreement with their interpretation of the scene.
This went on for quite some time, and I deeply appreciated the romantic sensibilities of the song. But, after much discussion among themselves, the copper tubes decided it was necessary to change their song. It became a Gusty and Excited sort of a song and the trees agreed even more strongly.
They were soon joined by the percussive thumps of fat raindrops on the wide, green leaves of the hibiscus to my left. This began slowly and loudly, but as they were joined by more and more drops of rain. In their excitement, they began to take over the song.
The wind chimes conceded, fading into the background, agreeing with each other that this Thunderstorm sort of song was even more magic than theirs.
My nose was forced to accept the sting of wet dirt and grass, and the chimes sang only when they felt they had something important to say. Soon, though, the performance became so exuberant that my jeans were quite damp, from the ankles to the knees, and I knew it was time to come back inside so that the rain could feel comfortable doing whatever it wanted to do, without fear of offending me by soaking my new porch.
Ok. Everybody knows the story of Esther, right? I’ve known it since I was a kid, but I’ve never thought about Esther’s predecessor much until the last couple of days. Vashti was queen before Esther. She got stripped of her royal title and banished from the kings presence as punishment for her refusal to appear before him so that he could show her off during a drunken party. I’ve never noticed before how her stand caused such great fear among the men. They were afraid her refusal would inspire other women to do the same.
Esther is often praised for her courageous act of approaching the king to intercede for her people, but no one mentions Vashti and the courage it must have taken for her to refuse the kings command in the way she did. She had to have known there could be severe consequences for her actions. Yet, she still stood against the king’s lewd command. Her stance was a threat to the men. They were frightened by her assertion of control, fearing that she would remove control from them.
Vashti lost her royal title as a consequence for refusal to obey the king. I wonder if she felt alone, afraid, or even regretted her unpopular stance. It’s not easy to live an inspiring, passionate life, unapologetic about your beliefs. Sometimes, owning your passion and going for your calling can be a lonely thing to do. So, hey Vashti, thanks for going for it!!!
So just for fun, here’s a pic of my latest accessory! Another ear piercing! With my short hair, I’m havin’ fun bedazzling my ears!
Today is a big day for me.
Today is a day that I celebrate life.
This the anniversary of magical and miraculous happenings.
Six years ago, on this date, I nearly lost my own life bringing a tiny new life into this world.
My baby daughter was born six years ago today. Birth is such a safe event anymore that we tend to treat it mundanely. But this particular birth was an entrance befitting the daring and dramatic soul of my little one! She comes from a long line of dramatic women, so I should not have expected less. We have come to refer to this day as “The Day That Emma Happened.” People that don’t know any better call her an old soul. She’s just that kind of person.
So, we had a pixies and ponies party in our back yard with real ponies and three tiny little girl pixies running about with flowered wings and crystal crowns. It was a lovely evening, made even more splendid because it coincided with a beautiful harvest moon glowing in a cloudless sky. Breathtaking.
So, I’m happy to be alive today. I’m rejoicing in life today. I’m tearfully grateful for my incredible daughter. Breathtaking.
Those of you who know my heart, and those of you whose hearts are like mine will understand when I simply say that real magic can only happen because of real work. But it’s ALWAYS worth it!
DAILY BLISS: Real ponies in my back yard!!! Hee hee!!
>I made a late-night coffee run last night. I actually ended up with apple cider, which was a good thing, since I have a hard enough time sleeping as it is. I love reading the little quotes on the Starbucks cups – you know, “The Way I See It #(insert random number)?” Anyway, I’m driving, it’s dark, and I glance at my cup. I’ve gotten this one before. It’s a question about why my opinions are less and less strong as I grow older. (BTW, I threw away the cup and can’t find the quote on their website. If I find it, I’ll post it.) I stop and think – this is a profound question. It’s true for me – I am certainly less dogmatic than I was at eighteen or so. And I wonder why that is? The author of the quote offered a multiple choice answer. All of the answers could have been my own. I pondered this as I hit the red light next to my street. Then, the real question hit me: Why are coffee cups the deepest, most thought-provoking thing I’m reading lately? Could it be that:
A) I’ve gotten too lazy to look for good reading material
B) I’m only reading at 10:00 in the evening
C) Starbucks philosophy is just that good!
Picking out a novel in the bookstore for my son’s book report. It’s really great to pass on my love of books – oh wait! Maybe I just answered my own question. I’m spending too much time in the children’s book section!