Friday, April 10, 2015

just hold on....I am having a moment


Living with boys is fun.
I am surrounded by them 24/7.
They make me laugh.
They fill me with joy.
I can't get enough of them.
But in spite of all the joys of living with boys,
we still have a lot of work to do in the social skills department.
When I got my hair cut last month,
Will came up to the car after school and asked,
"Do you want me to tell you what I think of your hair?"
He had a worried expression on his face.
I looked at him and said, "No. I don't. Please get in the car."
Addie got in the backseat and looked at me and said,
"Mom, I think you have a mullet."
To which I said, amid a great amount of laughter, "It is not a mullet. And you are mean."
This comment came on the heels of Addie recently mentioning how much he loves my arms
because they are so squishy and chubby.
The statements have started to erode my self confidence.
I have started to doubt myself....do I have a mullet?
Are my arms lovable because they are squishy and chubby.?
These are the kinds of thoughts that plague you when you have boys.
Then there was the moment this week, when Jack told me that he thought
Addison smelled like peanut butter,
Dad smelled like breath mints and sweat,
and that I smelled like breakfast and anger.
Somehow Will got off without having his "smell" identified.
I am pretty sure I do smell like anger.
Because once you tell me that is what I smell like... I become angry.
Even after all these years, the children have still not learned that there is a time
to speak your thoughts and a time to keep your mouth shut in hopes of self preservation.
But this week when we were getting in the car to go visit cousins,
an incredible thing happened.
As I buckled myself in, Will said, "Mom, did you put perfume on?"
Jack chimed in, "It's called taking a shower, Will."
I answered, "I put on some lotion."
He leaned forward and said, "Mom, you smell really good and you look pretty."
I almost fainted. And wept. Simultaneously.
As I blinked back a tear, I said, "Thank you, Will!"
Joy and thankfulness burst forth in my heart.
I was light headed with the beauty of it.
So that's what it feels like to get a compliment from your child.
Later that afternoon when Will came into my room I told him,
"Will, when you told me that I smelled nice and looked pretty today,
 you made me feel great. Thank you for saying those things."
He grinned and said, "Well, Mom...that's because you ARE great."
And there it was.
My moment.
Weeks from now when my kids tell me my bangs are weird
and that they can see the back of my underwear when I am picking up their toys
and that I need to stop dancing because I am embarrassing them
and that they can't believe how old I am, because really I am so old,
I will think about this moment...
this moment of high praise and love and deep regard....
and remember what it was like.....
when I was great.

Friday, March 27, 2015

dreams are mostly impossible


I have dreams on the brain.
I was talking to my friend the other day, we were talking about following our dreams.
We started talking about what we want vs. what God wants for us.
And about our Christian brothers and sisters who are walking out persecution
and even though it is incredibly difficult and heart wrenching,
could that actually be the path that God has them on?
Could it possibly be the path that He has for us?
Do his dreams for us include some hardship?
Because any kind of dreams that I have for myself do not involve any pain and suffering.
Or toil.
Or discomfort.
Or difficulty.
My dreams for myself are feel good kind of dreams.
Think rainbows, unicorns, giant bars of chocolate and large book advances.
But when I read God's word I am struck by the fact
that all of the dreams that God has for those that He loves takes them to impossible places.
To do impossible things.
And some times more than once.
As if one hernia per person isn't enough.
And there is nary a unicorn or book advance in site.
Abraham?
Sarah?
Joseph?
Moses?
Joshua?
Esther?
Ruth?
David?
They dreamed the impossible dreams that God placed in their hearts.
They went impossible places.
They did impossible things.
They didn't always get it right.
But in the course of their lives, they became more than they could ever hope or imagine.
If you are dreaming dreams that you can by chance, fulfill in your own steam,
complete with your own talents and sustain with your own provisions,
you probably are dreaming some great dreams.
But they are most likely your dreams for you...not his.
(Welcome to the land of rainbows and chocolate...I look forward to your company.)
If you are embracing the dreams that God has for you,
you will absolutely not be able to complete them in your own strength.
They may bypass your talents and skill set completely.
(Think parting seas and leading armies.)
You will probably on occasion be completely freaked out and may be exhausted.
(Think hiding in caves and saving nations)
And you will be scared.
(Take heart...you are in great company...almost everyone who dreams God sized dreams is)
But you will also be invigorated...
lifted up...
hemmed in on every side...
led by the Spirit...
given thoughts and talents and abilities that you have never had before....
and you will become more than you could ever hope or imagine.
His dreams for you...
the ones that He has birthed with great hope in your spirit,
are and always will be....impossible.
Aren't you glad that it is up to Him to make them come true?

Friday, March 20, 2015

sometimes dreams don't look like I think they will


My dream has always been to be a writer.
Even when I didn't know it.
From the time I was a little kid learning to read, loving the images and the
feel of words in my mouth.
To moments in junior high,
when I wrote an entire story shaped around the beauty of teal mascara,
To my afternoons working with kids as a college student, when I entertained them with
stories of tiny fairies who lived in strawberry patches and rode bumblebees.
Writing has been a constant theme.
But my writing had always been for me. For my pleasure.
It fulfilled something in me.
Sometimes I would show it to my parents.
Because by law they had to say nice things and tell me how brilliant I was.
I shared it with my sisters and my close friends.
Anyone who felt safe and who I knew loved me already.
But mostly, I was too scared of rejection to share it with anyone else.
It was too connected to who I was for me to let anyone critique it.
Because it felt like my soul was being critiqued.
And then came slow realization of knowing that I wanted what I wrote to be read...
even if it crushed me...because keeping my words to myself felt like hoarding.
And if I didn't begin to let people in...my writing would never grow or change or be
more than a thought that I hid away in one of my many journals.
So began the painful and long process of my words being rejected and turned down by
professionals...editors...agents...publishers.
It was turned down a lot....
by all sorts of people....
in lots of different ways...letters...phone calls...emails...face to face...for about 10 years.
10 years is a really long time. You can get wrinkles and gray hair in ten years.
Sometimes I tucked the dream away for a year or two and nursed my wounds.
I would say things to myself like,
"They are dumb...they don't know what good writing is."
Mostly, I felt dumb and really thought I probably didn't know what good writing was.
But eventually, the notebooks would come back out.
The new word document would be pulled up.
And the words would come pouring out one more time.
Because when you have a dream...a real dream...it can't stay tucked away forever.
But what I thought my dream would look like began to change.
And one thing I never realized as a kid was that dreams are really hard work.
A dream coming true is less like a Disney movie and more like a live birth.
It is still beautiful.
But most likely it will not be sprinkled with fairy dust. There may be some screaming involved.
But here is the thing,
God has some dreams with your name on them.
They will turn your life upside down
and flip your heart inside out.
They will probably look absolutely almost never like you think they will.
But beautiful things happen when God births a dream in us.
Heart wrenching, mind blowing, achingly beautiful things.
They may not look like we think they should look or feel like we think they should feel.
But they are the things that make life good and exciting and real and full of hope.
So....
Follow them anyway.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

what aunt jenny smells like

Within the space of a week both of our cars have decided to give out on us.
They are good cars.
Nice cars.
But they are getting on in years and every now and then they need a rest.
Normally, we would be able to get by but having to drive to both Napa and San Francisco
the past two days, we decided to rent a car.
When I picked up the boys from school in the new black Toyota Corolla,
they actually ran to the car.
With joy. And vigor. Like they had won a prize.

They yelled back to their friends, "It's a rental!"
When they got in the car, they turned up the radio and kept saying things like,
"This is so awesome!" and
"I love this car!" and
"Can we keep it?" as if it were a puppy we could bring home to stay.
We drove out of the school blasting Tay-Tay Swift and breathing in new car smell.
The boys in the back seat were running their hands over the interior like it was velvet.
Jack was sitting up front with me,
syncing his Kindle with the music system by using the car's blue tooth.
It was the closest I have ever seen him to being in love.
He said, "Mom, this car smells like Aunt Jenny."
I started laughing...I know what our van smells like...5 year old milk and sweaty socks.
"What does Aunt Jenny smell like?"
"Money!"
That is a high accolade for an almost 14 year old boy.
Apparently, Jenny's car does not smell like death and onions and Jack appreciates this.
When I called Jenny and told her what her nephew thought she smelled like,
she laughed and said, "Why not? I'll take it!"
Tonight we turn the car back in and go back to real life and a stinky van.
(A stinky van that we are very thankful for actually...don't take me wrong!)
But for today, we are driving to Napa in style, living  it up,
listening to loud music, using the back up camera to parallel park
and reveling in smelling like Aunt Jenny.
It is going to be a good day.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

ode to coffee...a poem of love


Sometimes the simplest things are the most profound.
Yesterday, I was given this coffee mug as a gift
after speaking at a mom's group.
It speaks the truth, people.
Here is my love poem to coffee.

Coffee, coffee
You are so sweet
Filling me up 
Each sip is a treat.

Coffee, coffee
You're so toasty
My favorite is Peet's
So strong and roasty.

Coffee, coffee
I won't spit you
The real truth is
I just can't quit you.

Coffee, coffee
Big cup or small
My heart is yours
I love you.
That's all.





Friday, March 6, 2015

just in case you have some troubles

Yesterday our 2002 Honda Odyssey decided to take a break.
From us.
100 miles from home.
Luckily, there was a repair shop close by and we were with family.
I texted Scott who was back in the bay area, "Call me now! Car emergency!"
When he called he requested that I define "car emergency" in my texts.
Like "Car Repair Emergency." That way he knows we are all alive.
So we are back home.
And our van is still in Davis.
Hopefully, the repair shop will call and say,
"False alarm. It is totally normal for a car to buck like a bronco on the freeway.
You just need more air freshener...because your car stinks...did something die in there?"
I had a mini break down on the way home.
Mostly because I am scared of what the repair guy is going to say when he calls.
I threw up some prayers looking out the passenger window like,
"Okay, Jesus, how are you at healing engines?"
and
"Do you know of a car fairy who could drop off a new smell free car at our house
before we get back home?"
I get so worried about how we are going to work everything out.
The daily struggles of life can weigh me down.
BUT...I don't want to get pulled down in the muck of anxiety that
keeps me stressed and fearful.
So I am trying to look up.
To the One who is not worried at all.
I told my Mom and Dad this morning,
"I couldn't have broken down in a better place! With better people!
Thank goodness I wasn't traveling by myself. I was safe. The kids were safe."
The One who is not worried at all was already taking care of us.
And this morning I read this verse,
"The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles."
All their troubles.
Not some of their troubles. Or half of their troubles.
All their troubles. That would include van troubles.
He must be pretty amazing to be able to shoulder ALL of our troubles, don't you think?
So I am keeping my focus on him today and the promise of his deliverance.
If you have some troubles, feel free to join me.