Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby It's Cowl(d) Outside

Arctic air has settled over the Midwest, leaving us to endure frigid temperatures.  In fact, school has already been cancelled for tomorrow because the high BEFORE wind chill is NEGATIVE six.  Apparently with wind chill we will be in the minus 30s.  How God creates these temperatures and calls it good is beyond me but I am not God so I won't question Him.  I'll take a pajama day.

But, when school, dance, and schedules force us to function, I'm using it to my advantage in "reclaiming me."

Now that we are done having children my goal is to reclaim my body.  I'm not aiming to look like a Barbie or reach any specific weight.  I want my girls to see that it isn't about a number on the scale but taking good care of the one body God gave us.

Thankfully, cowls are super trendy and in the midst of pregnancies over the last seven years my neck hasn't changed.

Isn't this cute?  My super talented mom made it. :)

Between babies and during pregnancies I've always worked out, but I've rarely purchased any new clothing for myself because I always felt like just the moment I'd lost my baby weight there was a chance (prayerfully) that we would have another little one and I'd be digging deep into the maternity wear tote again.

Now with three beautiful girls, we feel blessed beyond measure and God has given us the sense that we are complete.

Needless to say, trendy is back on my radar.  And, my form is back in my thoughts because when I replace my decade old no longer trendy clothes with something new I want it to fit for a long while.

To challenge myself, I downloaded a free zero to 5K runner app on my phone and am painfully, but happily, listening to my automated trainer tell me what to do.  I'm being forced outside of the "Oh my goodness, I'm starting to get sweaty so I better slow this train down" mentality and in the process sore muscles are indicating healthy transformation taking place.

And, while I watch good things happen, a fresh hair cut and new cowls are bringing me into the now.

Maybe if I accomplish my New Year's resolution I can even make a few more for myself.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Perfectly Crocheted Life

Blame it on Pinterest.  This desire of mine to learn to crochet. 

I've never been crafty.  In fact, whenever I saw something along those lines I liked I quickly pinned it to the board I created entitled "For My Crafty Mom to Make."  Pass the buck and let something skilled do it.  It's how I roll.

But I kept seeing all these really cute hats, and coffee cup warmers, and scarves, and ear warmers, and....

I decided I needed to learn how to crochet for myself. 

When I publically confessed my New Year's resolution my husband was so shocked I pretty much had to pick his jaw up off the ground.  I think he wondered if his love had been abducted by aliens.

The next Sunday I went to my mom's and she handed me this gift.

 I no longer had excuses.  It was time to get started. 

I tied the end and started in on the single stitch.

"How loose am I supposed to make this?"  I wanted to know.

"Oh, that's your tension.  You will figure it out as you go," my mom replied.

Loose looked like it would fall apart, and I wanted my work to look good so I made a gorgeous tight braid

and smiled at my creation.

Then I got gutsy and decided to make a turn.  I studied my instructions and my mom talked me through it.  Off I went....or should have been

But I struggled to work the needle into the yarn because my "perfect" braid was too tight to work through.

Just like your life.  You use up so much energy trying to make it look good that you leave no room to invite My spirit in to work through you.

Really, Lord?  This was about Pinterest not church.

Realizing that the turn wasn't going to be successful, I pulled the yarn and everything I'd worked so hard to make great disappeared.

The next Sunday I returned to my resolution.  This time I was intentional about being loose and airy.  At first, it didn't look so hot.  But, I made my turn and easily through the yarn the hook went.  For hours I worked, row after row, turn after turn,

And the result was a bigger, stronger, more beautiful work.

Just like when you remain open to me and fruitfully live the life I've designed.

"Is that a Barbie cowl, mom?" Grace questioned. 

I smiled thinking that in trying to make nothing I may have made something notable.

"No.  It's just practice."

She returned to playing and I looked to my mom.

"Am I ready to try a pattern now?"

"Oh no," she answered.  "You need to learn the double and triple stitch first."

Great. Lesson #2 = Patience. 

Apparently He is showing me how the right stitch mimics a more gratifying life. 

So I'm trying to let go of my own idea of perfection and open myself to His.

All from a silly New Year's resolution.

Blame it on Pinterest :)
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Friday, January 11, 2013

When Life Feels Dreary

Raindrops are hitting my window and washing over my soul.  As I look out the glass panes there are only muted views of the homes and trees because fog has settled around them.  I should be writing rather than looking outside, but blame it on the fog.  Sometimes it settles over my brain too. :)

In the distance where I know there to be trees I can only see a blanket of white.  It is as if I am separated from what I should feel, taste, and experience.  From the comforts of my recliner, my house is wrapped in this white wall.

I light the candle in my kitchen.

There is something about candles, I've discovered, that brings peace and stillness in the midst of a busy home.  I've started lighting one daily.

And I stare at the glow.

Rain and fog are outside but a candle burns bright.  When life feels dreary remember He is ever present Light.

I'm having a great day.  Outside of the fact that Ava is chatting and kicking around in her crib to avoid her limited nap time and fuzzying my ability to write, I feel very blessed.  And, I have to admit, I actually love these wet, foggy days.  They inspire a relaxation that make slippers, fireplaces, and a family movie night in PJs feel totally right.

But sometimes my life isn't so.  Sometimes I feel like that blanket of white envelopes me and keeps the life I feel apart from the life I want to see.  Don't we all?

I'm praying for people there right now.  I know moments will come where that will be me.

Yet I look at this still burning candle and smile because no matter what bleak circumstances wrap around our life, He shines from within.  A still small voice that centers us whose flame never goes out.

Thank you, Lord.

{If you have a prayer request today, kindly slip it in the comments or write personally through the "Let's Connect" tab.  I'd love to lift you up.}

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Psalm 19:1

I have to admit I wasn't overly thrilled when the alarm went off this morning.  In fact, I slapped the button and buried my head under the covers in complete denial that the day needed to begin. 

However, like little clocks themselves, my oldest two girls came bouncing up the stairs, chattering excitedly about wearing their new cowls and all that they were going to be doing at school. 

My lack of love for this Monday morning was quickly buried in the requirement we all have to stay in rhythm with the clock and calendar page.

I rolled out from under the covers, slipped on my UGG slippers so as to maintain a little sense of cozy, and hightailed it to the kitchen to meet them with a smile and take their breakfast requests.

Once they were eating and hair was brushed, I made my way through the living room to the front windows and opened the blinds....still half asleep.  Still wishing I was in bed.

And then I saw this.....

As far as my eye could see there were pink clouds and glorious hues of pinks, oranges, and yellows dancing with one another to create the most beautiful, breath-taking sunrise I can remember.

Not wanting to miss it, I grabbed my cell phone and stepped out onto the front step bed head hair, mismatched PJs and all, to capture what He had made.

Maybe you were like me this morning.  Maybe you are still wishing Monday wasn't here,

But just when I want to stay in bed, God reminds me He has gifts awaiting.

And He does for you too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

When Little Hands Crossed Borders

The girls came running into the house with eager anticipation.

“Mommy, we got a letter from our sponsor child!”

The bright orange World Vision logo is impossible to miss and the mere site of it brings joy.

Hannah’s small fingers work to rip the envelope while Grace hangs closely over her shoulder.

“Oh cute,” Hannah coos. “It’s a card with Nayely’s hand.”

It wasn’t too long ago that we said goodbye forever to our now self-sufficient World Vision child. But when Nayely’s folder arrived we were captivated,

and she quickly found a home in our hearts. The letters started flying back and forth and love became real.

Recently we sent her crayons and an art smock. What little princess doesn’t love to color her world? And she sent us photos of her smiling with the new prized possessions, intensifying my girls’ longing to use their hands for her.

“Let’s make her jewelry for Christmas!”

A small dusting of outdoor snow and frigid temps created the perfect setting for indoor crafting

and Grace and Hannah Got to work.

As their little hands strung beads over string, I moved around the kitchen filling the dishwasher and organizing bills. Every mother knows you have to take advantage of free moments to get these tasks done.

“We’re finished, mom!”

Hannah’s announcement brought me back to the table where inexpensive beads brought me to tears.

“I made her name on a bracelet and Grace made the necklace.”

“Ya,” Grace added, “because we always want her to know faith, hope, and love.”

I kissed their foreheads, moved by their thoughtfulness. After all, they are five and seven. I was anticipating a random selection of beads. Not a meaningful message touch Nayely’s spirit.

When little hands crossed borders new hope was born.

Today everyone is talking about their New Year's resolutions.  This isn't wrong.  I actually made one myself.  But, as I hang the new calendar, my mind keeps drifting back to the traced hand and little plastic beads.

Print DNA. A name. Faith. Hope. And Love.

What if we simply valued people for their humanity and took time to encourage them where they were at?

In doing so, we become a people that matters to one another and the community of God is made real.

It’s not a resolution. It’s a simple way of life that could change the world, as evidenced to me by the unique connection of three little girls in two distant countries.

Do everything in love.  1 Corinthians 16:14

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