Sometimes We Need to Be Told to STOP

I’m reading a book about Living a Hands Free Life (by Rachel Macy Stafford). It’s good.

But how do I implicate the ideals into MY life. Baby on both hips, one in the belly, cup of coffee in hand, two binkies in tow, don’t forget the silkies, or a snack, or my phone.

But-  live in the moment with hands free to grasp the remarkable. Relish the sweet.

Sometimes life is simply relish. Great on a hotdog at a picnic, but a nuisance the rest of the time.

Sometimes we need to complain. And be tired.

And sometimes we need to be told to stop. Just stop complaining. Just shut up and hold your babies- forget the rest.

Feel the wind on the cold days and smile for the crisp breath. Bask in the sunshine and shade on the sweltering and smell the sunscreen kissed skin.

Savor the sweet in the moments. Even the picnic relish moments.

There were nine steps listed for hands free living. I took one. Set the phone down photo(ironically I’m typing this on my phone. But both kids are asleep, one in my lap, so cut me a break).

But it’s true, my world is over saturated and I feel compelled to share every great moment. Maybe for you, probably more for me.

A moment isn’t less good if solely consumed by myself. If Facebook doesn’t tell me how “liked” it is, I get to decide for myself.

The crickets are chirping outside. And I love it. Lots of people do, that’s why a lot of money has been made on nature recordings. So we can decide when we want nature to interrupt and equalize our internal turmoil.

And then nature shows up unplugged and it’s a nuisance. We didn’t decide or initiate the album.

We are control freaks, it’s time to slow down. Set down. Enjoy the moments alone as they come. Forget about the rest. At least while they’re happening.

Teach my kids the beauty of the un-announced. And the joys of right now with them. Not right now with them shared with the world. Just them.

They are the world.

  • J
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Will of Steel

“Please help me to know the will of my Father – not a scrupulous nervousness, nor yet a lax presumption, but a clear, reasonable knowledge; and after this give me a strong will to be able to bend it to the will of the Father.” – Flannery O’Connor in A Prayer Journal

I love this quote.  It is so thick and hard to digest.  My favorite part is the last line…

give me a STRONG will to be able to BEND it to the will of the Father…

crooked-forest2
Epitome of strong enough to bend? (Crooked forest in Poland.. picture from http://unusualplaces.org/crooked-forest/

So interesting because usually we think of strong wills as unbendable.

But she’s right.  It takes a very strong will to bend to the will of the Father.  On good days it can be hard – let alone the days where it is difficult and even seems illogical (especially to earthly standards).

So, here’s to working on a will strong enough to bend.

-S

Not my Nature

“…do I tell her this- that there is enough loveliness, enough beauty, enough love in the world- enough food in this world- if we would just share? That the problem of evil in the world isn’t a problem for proof of God- but a problem of our own turned inward hearts.”

In this time of terror and fear, this time of heartache and famine, of finger pointing and political games, viewed and discussed again and again…the begging for proof of a God who cares comes up.

A God who sees and watches over and protects.

We got that, but we also got a God who gave us free will, we are not blind followers or prisoners chained. WE are His chosen -if we chose. We are his hands and feet.

And yet we too often we follow lies, and fears, and its easier to believe he doesn’t care and we must protect our own.

He is the God who amply provides. He gives, and yes he takes away. But he is good, and it leaves only one option to me.

We are either instruments of love or instruments of evil. Every choice we make can be narrowed down to this.

not natureAnd with evil so publicly broadcast it is easier to believe the truths of evil, to believe evil triumphs, to believe we must hunker down and take care of ourselves first.
But I chose long ago to believe in a savior born lowly to transform this world, to conquer sin.

That evil will not, does not, triumph despite the battles raging.

My God is good so I will continue to be that good, to spread the love the most and best I can. And I will not be afraid.

It is not my nature, or my truth.

  • J

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

Have you ever loved someone and yet known your time together was up?

Life was pulling you apart and it was time to go another way?

12523879_10108019975451724_824804053015536692_nToday is officially my last day at work before moving from Kansas City, Kansas later today. I’m leaving a place and people I’ve grown to love.

I’m a Michigander, born in Denver, whose heart was stolen by the people and places of KCK.

From school to the mission, there are so many compassionate and passionate (two of my favorite characteristics) people working to make, not just this city, but the world a better place.

It is a city of diversity and opportunity.  It is a city growing and changing, yet warm and welcoming.

And I will miss working and living in it.

While I’ve created relationships that will last a life time, I will miss this place that so quickly became home…

A place I have felt seen, accepted, and loved (which is not easy to say for someone with social anxiety).

Well, Kansas City, you know I love you and all you are becoming.  Take care of the people I love, but it’s time for me to move on.  I’m sure we will see each other in passing and will remain friends.

You will always hold a place in my heart.

Love always,

A Woman who found Herself, Discovered her Strength, and Hit her Stride in your loving embrace.

Goodbye Suburbia

white breadWe recently moved out of white bread suburbia. A street picked from a happy film or advertisement.

I’d been praying about the move for awhile, long before the house was for sale.

It was, it is, lovely and safe and completely undiversified. It has all the perks of white bread, yet felt lacking for me and my children.

I want to raise them on a street with all walks of life. With opportunities to meet people who are different than us, who struggle differently, with the chance to be unhindered by appareance because our arms are already open. Yet, I also want to keep them safe.

Does safe mean comfortable?

God answered my prayer, and here we are. In a big beautiful house – so not in suburbia. And I wasn’t prepared for my own insecurities. I wasn’t expecting to find my comfort in an alarm system rather than my neighbors (who all seem very kind, yet different).

Still, I have zero doubt this is our home, our place to set in some roots. We looked at countless houses, we do not agree on much of anything let alone homes. And we stumbled quite accidently into an open house 5 minutes before closing…and BOTH liked it, and BOTH thought this could be our home. And it’s a 5 minutes walk to school and my parents.

Yet, my flesh stumbles and I’m humbled by my weakness, willing heart, and rampant mind.

We’re used to playing outside, and my Nici shouts hi and waves… to every single person who walks by (and it’s a busy corner) and he nudges me, “say hi mom, wave”. If I’m being honest, people passed I wouldn’t have said hi to without his nudgings.

And we’re slowly starting to meet everyone, at least the walkerbys, the likes we never saw in suburbia. And his little smile and waving hand is reaffirming we are right where we should be.

And God is good, and for the most part people are good.

And we are safe and loved even if I am still getting comfortable.

  • J

Just a Little Push

So, pretty much all my question holes for next year have been filled in.  (At least all the ones that can be at this point.)  I’ll be teaching in a new district, in a new school.  

Truthfully, I thought God might be taking me out of education…but He answered the prayer I had been praying: close every door except one- so I that I would know his will.  So, I figured God would be using my skills I had been developing to teach new kids in a similar (if different) setting.  Again, I was wrong.  I’ll be teaching in a different context.

Why do I always think I know God’s plan?  He seems to always direct my feet to the path that I didn’t see coming.

But, I’ve been praying God’s will not mine for a long time.  That is clearly what He did and not at all in the way/path I had visioned (so very typical for our relationship).

c0e88c4798c48923b13f422b9c7f3325It does make it easier to go into the new and relatively unknown knowing that He picked this place, this job for me, and me for them.  There is so obviously work He wants me to do there and something there for me to grow in as I serve him.   

I will admit though- I feel a little better in the short term when God pushes me out of my comfort zone along the lines of my vision.  But, God’s ways of pushing me out of my comfort zone is just never any of the ways that I expect.

But ultimately, His vision is so much better than mine -both deeper and longer than anything I see.  And I really do want Him to use me in ways He sees fit. I want Him to put me in places where He can use me and it pushes me to grow.  He always knows best and I hope to always go where He leads with a willing heart.

Be full of joy all the time. Never stop praying. In everything give thanks. This is what God wants you to do because of Christ Jesus. Do not try to stop the work of the Holy Spirit.- 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-19

– S

Isn’t Life Funny?

I’m a bit behind in typing up blogs (although some new ones do get typed before old thoughts). This blog was written last November…

God has a funny way of changing our plans and filling our hearts. Especially considering just this morning I was, am, feeling guilty for thinking, “I don’t want another child, I want to sleep through the night”….

I have the perfect family, no really, I am blessed that way. We speak too much, too loudly, feel too strongly and only know the deep waters, and are immensely flawed.

But we love fierce.

And love, conquers all.

And so while we have the perfect family I sit here feeling incomplete.

oddsThe odds are I’m done being pregnant (may the odds ever be in our favor). I don’t think Chris or myself could handle another 15 months of hormones and adjustments.

My heart is full, but it isn’t complete yet.

So I pray.

I contemplate foster care, and adoption and mourn for those not tucked in. For those who question love and soul ache for family, who have never known the comfort of what momma should mean.

And deep down I know our perfect family isn’t complete yet.

I just don’t know how or when.

But love is too costly to waste.

  • J