Friday, January 13, 2017

the boys are huge but in my heart they are still 3 years old




















Yesterday, afternoon I took Will to Target with me.
I am still slow walking so any help I can get with shopping is a plus.
Will brought Christmas money with him and said,
"Mom, I am going to check out the video games...I'll meet up with you."

I am working on releasing the children into the wild.
I still have mild panic attacks at the thought of not having them in my eye line.
But Will is thirteen and almost 5'9".
I am trying to give him small freedoms here and there so I said,
"Okay...see you in a few minutes."

I finished most of my shopping in not record time...
seeing that I move roughly at the pace of an injured snail.
After filling the cart, I made my way to the video game section.

No Will.
The toy section.
No Will.
The music section.
No Will.
I went over all three sections THREE times.
My tall curly headed boy was no where to be found.

At this point, I had broken out into a mild sweat.
I had some heart palpatations.
I was picking up speed...even with broken toes.

I made my way to the bathroom.
I stopped a gentleman going in....because I have no shame...and said,
"Could you please see if a 13 year old boy named Will is in there?
He's my son. I can't find him."

It had been about 20 minutes since I had last seen him..
The man must have sensed my desperation.
I heard him call out tentatively as he enterred, "ANY BODY IN HERE NAMED WILL?"
Nothing.

I began speed walking to the front of the store.
This means walking at the pace of a non-injured snail.

I rounded the corner and caught sight of Will.
I almost burst into tears and punched him in the shoulder at the same time.
Overwhelming relief and anger reside very closely within my person.

"WILL! Where were you?"
He grinned at me sheepishly. "I wanted to surprise you."
He held out a small bag of Dark Ghiradelli chocolate squares with salted almonds.
Tears sprang unbidden to my eyes.

Great love also resides near the relief and anger in me. I am complex woman.
"I got you chocolate."

"Will, I love that! But I couldn't find you! I was so worried about you!"
"I was at self checkout and it took me a long time
because the machine gave me the wrong change.
I had to call over a worker and show them my receipt so they could give me the right change."
So not only was Will NOT lost, he was navigating a difficult purchasing situation ON HIS OWN.

"I sent a strange man into the restroom to call out your name."
At this point Will looked down at me and grinned and said,
"Ummm, Mom, if someone comes into the restroom calling my name?
I'm not answering. That is just weird."
Good point. Don't talk to strangers. Especially in the restroom.

I took the chocolate and I hugged him.
"I keep forgetting you are so big. I love this. Thank you."
"I just wanted to surprise you."
He did. He is.

Will is surprising me with his generosity.
With his purchasing savvy.
With his kindness.
With his willingness to branch out and grow and risk.
With his giant man hands and feet.
With his ability to navigate the world around him with ease.

I am having to adjust my mom vision....and see Will for who he is.
Not little. Not full grown. But definitely not little.

It was a good night at the Target.
Even though I was imagining several scenarios where I would be running through
the parking lot chasing a would be kidnapper or bustng into the men's restroom screaming,
"I am coming to get you, Will!"

It was a good night because my Will....is growing up.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Bring it on 2017!

If I am being honest, 2016 was not my favorite year.
I try to be upbeat but my health took a nose dive.
For about 12 months there...my body thought it was 90 years old.
3 months of shingles. 2 months of physical therapy for my hips.
And 5 months of three broken toes and bent foot bones.
(Did you even know that you could bend your foot bones? It shouldn't be an option.)
And so it is with much joy that I sing very loudly
(and invite you to join me) in bidding adieu to 2016....
Nah-nah.
Nah-nah-nah-nah.
Hey! Hey! Hey!
Good-bye!
I am super happy to see it go and with a slight gangster limp I am heading into 2017.
I have traded in my orthopedic shoes for Doc Martens and Converse.
Reinforced steel toe or rubber toe guard, anyone?
And I am ready for the "new" part of the new year.
I used to be adverse to change.
Now I am thinking....
BRING. IT. ON. 2017.
I am begging for some change.
Let's get some new and different up in here!
On the home front...we are moving into a tiny house in 3 weeks.
Bring it.
On the book front...Queen of the Universe and Hope Sings come out.
Bring it. And bring it.
On the speaking front...my friend, Rene and I are co-teaching a morning track
at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer's conference....the conference we met at 17 years ago.
Bring it.
On the church front, I will starting our 12 year of leading kids ministry. With 3 new teachers in tow.
Thank you, Jesus. Bring it some more.
On the marriage front, Scott and I headed into our 21st year of marriage. We still like each other.
That is no small thing. Here is to more date nights as the kids get older.
Bring it.
2017 will usher in our youngest, Addison, leaving the cloistered halls of elementary school
and launching into junior high. Will will be a freshman in high school.
Jack will be two years away from college.
BRING. IT.
Am I in any way prepared for any of these new seasons this coming this year?
If 2016 is any indication...no.
No, I am not.
Because life is crazy. It never goes the way you think it will
But it is also good.
That is going to be my focus this year...count on the crazy...lean into the goodness.
There will be some changes on the blog, facebook, pinterest, and the website.
Because...why not?
And I am launching the Susanna's Good Things Newsletter, coming your way each Friday, (because Friday is always good.) full of fun, encouragement and free books to giveaway!
You can sign up for it here.
I am excited about 2017! It is about to be brung. Bringed. Brought. You know what I mean.
Here is to a good crazy new year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

ACE on earth...goodwill towards men



















We Aughtmons are minimalists when it comes to outdoor Christmas lights.
For the last 3 years, I have hung the simple marquee lit sign reading "Peace" across our carport.
Until this year.

After I stood on a chair (not up to safety regulations, I know) and looped the sign on
its appointed nails and flung the extension cord over the roof,
I turned it on and it read, "ACE".
I should have done that first.
Because I did not have the energy to climb back up on the chair and take down the sign.
So I have left it there. Unlit.

I have another marquee sign that I place on the top of the book shelf next to our fireplace
that reads "JOY".
It was, too, losing some bulbs. So I thought maybe I could change some out and either
have "PEACE" or "JOY"...instead of "ACE" or "OY"
I asked the boys which they preferred.
Addie said, "It depends if you want joy on the inside or peace on the outside."
A rather deep thought for Christmas lighting. How about both?
I tried switching out the bulbs on the "JOY" sign. Now none of them light up.

So I decided for my own Christmas present this year I would buy some new marquee lighting.
Because I love words. Especially those that beam out goodness.
It would signify the new season that we are headed into with our move.
They arrived yesterday.



















No H.
This only works if I am Burt from Mary Poppins.
Which I am not.

But somehow this seems to be where I am at.
Searching for complete PEACE, JOY and HOPE.
After a long recovery from broken feet, finishing out a stressful year of non-stop writing
and now launching into a new phase of family life....

I am almost there...but not quite.
I think that is where Jesus comes in.
I am half lit with longing.
Still healing with a sort of gangster limp.
(I got lapped by an 80 year old in a walker at the store the other day.)
Anxious for this move to be over and done with.
And I am asking Jesus to come into it all.
With the brightness of his love.

It is who He is.
It is what He does.

The One who was born in a stable, amid the muck and bellow of animal cries,
is used to bringing peace, joy and hope into crazy situations.
He does it with angel choirs and brilliant stars and extravagant gifts.
And He does it for you and me.

Loving us right where we are in the middle of our every day lives.
Bringing His glory and holiness...when we have none of our own.
And that is beautiful and heart wrenching, isn't it?
That He would leave the perfection of Heaven
and pierce the imperfection of our lives with His deep unshakable eternal love?

So this Christmas, I am filled with great heaps of gratitude.
Because of Who He is and what He has done on my behalf. And yours.
I am here, heart open, holding out hands to you, saying,
"Isn't it so good that He came?!!!
and "What in the world would we do without Him?"

So because of Jesus...on this cold December morning, I am wishing you truckloads of OY....
An overwhelming sense of OPE no matter what your every day looks like at the moment...
And an all-encompassing blanket of ACE on earth...goodwill towards men.

May the One who loves you most of all surround with you His Presence.

Merry Christmas!