"Hey Mom, there's a bird in our house!" Mary told me last night.
I walked with her into the living room…
and there … flying frantically… all over the place…
was not a sparrow, robin , cardinal, blue jay, but a…
Now this is not the first time we've had issues with bats. We paid a lot of good money once to a man in a van with some type of concrete rodent protruding from its hood to "bat-proof" this old house. I've run into them in our basement, which was creepy enough, but never in our living area.
I felt my stomach twisting into double, then triple knots. And, Oh geesh, Troy was with Priscilla at a soccer game. Good old Elijah, however, my twelve-year-old, really stepped up to the plate like a manly man and chased that bat into the kitchen with a broom. Ben ran into our garage. Mary screamed (I admit to having done a good deal of shrieking myself ). Finally we got it through the door and watched with relief as it flew into the trees.
I'm posting photos I took recently of things that look pretty, smell pretty, taste pretty – things regularly featured at our weekly European Market – to counteract the image in my head of batty beady eyes and batty ears and batty teeth. I'm for sure adding all of these bat encounters to my "Things I've Survived as a Mother" list.
When life gets overwhelming, I like to look back on all I've successfully endured thus far – on all that hasn't killed me (thus making me more resilient and, I pray, more compassionate), such as:
horrendous temper tantrums thrown in public by my toddlers
emergency room visits
my husband in grad school
my husband at a six week job training out of state
being vomited on more times than I can count
losing Priscilla at IKEA when she was three weeks old (ooh, that was a bad one)
claustrophobia, exhaustion, anxiety
really picky eaters
etc., etc., etc.
These are my badges, friends – badges of courage. I know you've got hundreds as well. Go on now…pin 'em on! Just think about how far you've come!
I salute you.Read More
Well, look what fancy thing came to our little town!
A one ring circus complete with elephant rides, greasy treats and kitschy souveniers swept in all amazingly fast, setting up at the park across the street from my parents' house, and vanished just as quick the very next morning.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting much and prepared myself as I sat down on a hard metal bench in a steamy overcrowded tent to grit my teeth and just get through it (the noise, the cheesy acts), for the sake of my children.
I'll tell you what, though… those performers blew us all away! They had some crazy mad acrobatic, fire eating, juggling, rope spinning, you name it, skills! I was fascinated by them. Who are these talented people living in trailers and traveling like gypsies?
After the show was over, our little girls ran excitedly back to mom and dad's to start cartwheeling and somersaulting – to pretend they too were wearing sequined leotards and wowing spectators with their daring and graceful feats of bravery:
Farewell, you "one night only" magical source of timeless enchantment!
And now back to our regularly scheduled work week.Read More
Look, I've even got an official name for our weekly photo prompt: The Way I See It! I enjoyed this challenge. This week my mornings were busy, busy, busy, what with school starting and all. We had some really great mornings and some less than great mornings. Mornings can bring out the best and worst in me.
I long with all my heart to give my family a peaceful start to their morning. I am most satisfied as a mama when I feel I've fed them physically and spiritually. That is my job – to create and maintain within our home an omnipresent sense of security. I'm most content in general when I've sent them off, to work and to their individual classrooms, with their proverbial emotional buckets full. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail, big time.
My girls lay out their school clothes the night before.
Mornings are when I'm most vulnerable to eruptions (Look out, she's going to b-l-o-w!). I'm human – my patience gets stripped when I'm taking on a million things at once and there is bickering and lost gym shoes and forgotten homework assignments jabbing me relentlessly in the head.
I love Priscilla in braids.
Oh those breakdowns are so humbling, but keep on keeping on I must. And apologize I must. I'm so sorry I lost it, I've had to tell my children this week in the van, catching each of their eyes in the rearview mirror, on the way to school. Have a fantastic day, my darlings! I'll be praying for you!
I'm always starting over.
They're so forgiving, my children. They are hungry to forgive – to erase the yuck parts and embrace the fresh starts. I am thankful as all get out that God's mercies are new every single morning!
Now, let's see what you came up with! I'm super excited! My ground rules here are simply to keep it clean always and to be supportive of one another's work. Click on the different participating blogs if you get a moment and leave an encouraging comment! Thank you, thank you in advance for sharing a bit of your unique perspective with us.
Next week's The Way I See It challenge will be: Home. Feel free to think outside the box! What defines home for you? What makes you feel at home, even when you are away from your brick and mortar home or the hometown you grew up in?
Happy picture taking!
I sure do love you, darlin'!
I like this poem so very much because of its emphasis on continuously moving forward, even while fully understanding the journey will be long and ever fraught with eye- twitch-inducing challenges and frustrations. What gets me no where in a hurry is plopping down on the floor and pouting…or worrying…or making excuses for why I'm sitting on my bum motionless: Life's not fa-a-a-i-i-r-r! He's not fair! She's not fair!
Isn't it all just a matter of perspective, really?
What if I viewed my screw-ups, betrayals, rejections, disappointments not as obstacles to eliminate but necessary refining fires to pass through – as my only hope for burning up the pride sitting all heavy and obtrusive on my shoulders? Pride is the worst. Pride makes me forget I need God, and forgiveness. Pride makes me arrogantly summarize the intentions of others, and judge their actions having never walked even a block in their shoes. Pride trips me up and slows me down.
I want to wake up determined to scale the daily mountains set before me, instead of recoiling from them with resentment. I can't afford to waste energy on pining over "could have," would have," should haves." The last line of the poem is particularly powerful, I think. I'm only a threat to hell and hate (...to that bridge in the darkness where the sentinels stand guarding the border with their half-slung rifles, warned of the likes of you.)when I'm no longer blinded by a ravenous sense of entitlement. I'm only truly dangerous when Love/Christ is all I want or need.Read More
The photos in this post are from our last hurrah of the summer. This past weekend we got together with our dear friends at Mary's godparent's gorgeous house in the woods. Thank you, Lamberts! We love you!
This house is silent…and I'm trying to feel sadly nostalgic about it but, Oh my heart, this house is SILENT, and I'm flooded with gratitude for the quiet (Am I a horribly selfish mother?).
This morning I woke up at 5:45 (that's a.m.) to gather myself before the onslaught of back to school, "MOM, WHERE ARE MY…." questions, and to make the bacon (which I burned) and swedish pancakes my children had requested the day before.
Mary made it to the table first, in her school uniform shirt that hung nearly to her knees. She looked nervous. "What if I tattle on someone, Mama?" she asked me. "What if I don't know math?"
"Oh, baby, you'll do just fine." I know she'll do fine. How is she old enough to do fine without me all day?
Then down they all came, my older three children with the inside jokes I don't understand, noisy and lanky – their ginormous personalities ablaze. They were not interested in me walking them to their classrooms. "That won't hurt your feelings mom, will it?" my twelve-year-old wondered.
"No," I assured him. And I mean it – it didn't.
See, I've been praying extra hard for a healthy, tougher, layer of mom skin to protect my tender heart from my kids' budding drive for independence, their necessary questioning of…well, everything it seems sometimes. I'm lovingly toughening up to protect them as well, from me – me and my lapsed memory of what it's like to be raging with hormones. My own mother is handy for that – she remembers all too well my own delightful coming of age awkwardness. "My bangs look HORRIBLE! I'm not going to school!" I may or may not have yelled on a few occasions.
This is a brand new door I've just walked through. I'm still squinting, obviously, while my eyes adjust – I'm trying to get acclimated to these fresh surroundings.
My plan for today? Finish this blog post, for one, then tidy the kitchen. Oh yes, and to be thankful for you all with your kinder than kind birthday wishes! After that? I honestly couldn't tell you.
I'm taking this home alone thing on one minute at a time.
Blessings to you all and your families as you too begin anew this season!
Let us be patient with ourselves, and our offspring, spouses, co-workers, neighbors – ever mindful that our individual paths toward salvation are as varied and exquisite as snowflakes. We are many, we are incomparable, distinct, yet praise be to God, we are one.