Friday, November 30, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Wonder

I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo for the last Five Minute Friday of 2012. Five minutes to write without editing, backtracking, overthinking...Five minutes of word freedom.

Today's topic? Wonder.

Ready. Set. GO!

WONDER

The season where everything is aglow...where eyes, big and small, are filled with wonder.

Trees that fill busy city centers, movement everywhere.

A small hand nestled in mine as we look at the twinkle and her sweet, soft voice fills the aisles of the hardware store.

Wonder.

In this most holy of seasons, I search for it. In her eyes, in the stories, the songs, the hymns and the carols, in His Word.

I find it in the moments when I'm least expecting it.

In the cherished books at bedtime she's pulling out to read maybe for the last season and in the willowy figure that is turning from girl to young woman before my eyes. In the way he wakes and begins to try to rub the sore out of my stubborn hip and spine, even before he opens his eyes.

The wonder is in the grace of it all in this life. It's in seeing days in moments and giving thanks in the hard.

Wonder in the details.

It's in the tears, the laughter, the captured frame. In the tentative steps and the big leaps. In the grieving and the rejoicing I allow it to find me.

It's in the you + me.

Wonder is all about fresh eyes.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Beautiful Feet

I sit here as the rain spatters the windshield, tucked in a fleece, dreaming of a warm fire at home.

I'd know those legs anywhere, but I've never quite studied them as I'm doing now. Slender, tiny, able to reach great heights; feet that seem unnaturally flexible in form. Tonight, in the silence, I'm taken aback by how small they look next to everyone else's--black jazz pants in a sea of pink tights. Much like her wardrobe, those legs set her apart.

How long has it been since I've simply watched her feet? Forced to see from a new perspective, I gain a sense of the reasons they peel, bruise, ache; with heels on releve, arches formed, toes perfectly pointed she puts them through their paces.

I briefly catch a glimpse of a face in concentration as she stretches deeply. After almost eight straight hours she must be ready to finish. Never does she slow or falter,in each movement completed she offers nothing but precision. Her work ethic astounds me.

A text comes in from the grace girl's friend. A picture message of my other babe in motion. Legs split and in a spin. Captured in a whirl. Simultaneous movement forty miles apart.

Soon she'll come to the car, we'll recount her day as I drive west toward her sister. Normal conversation, wrapped and carried from front seat to back. She's still too light to join me in the front seat. A reminder, for now, that she's not yet all grown up.

I'll hear of how the toenail is bruised and that the pointe shoes were excruciating today. She'll tell me that the Russians that I just finished showing three weeks ago are going soft in the shank and will need to be replaced sooner than I'd hoped.

We pull into our other studio to grab my Little Bit, whose coming from her company class and is full of chatter and smiles after three hours engaged in her passion.

I wet-wipe off the grime and dirt before they put on their street shoes, gently wiping in-between toes and around calloused heels; cleaning, checking and watching for wear and tear. Toes without polish, no longer unblemished.

I'm hit by it...

How beautiful are the feet...

In using our gifts, we get dirty.

Bruised.

Torn.

Limping until we find our stride.

Beautiful feet, carrying us toward the goal.

Monday, October 15, 2012

In the Waiting

Fall with the chicks is in full swing. Geometry followed by arabesques...our life moving full throttle.

We wouldn't have it any other way.

It's a season of solos being prepared for competition and a new duet partnership formed. The girls? They are in full flight. I'm on a slight autopilot, moving from place to place with a sewing basket, costumes, computer and lesson plans in hand. I know it will go all too quickly, so I'm working to cherish the conversations from the backseat and the bedtime cuddles in the midst of doing dinner planning a week in advance with fingers wrapped in band aids from one too many needle attacks.

As I write, Little Bit sits next to me sipping a slush and reading the novel she's soon to finish. The Grace Girl's math book lies between us, from when she jumped out of the car to head into class after her younger sister's finished. The iPod plays and traffic from the highway near us causes white noise in the distance. Parked under a tree for shade, it's finally cool enough to think fall might actually come to stay.

These are the moments I'm thankful for. The ones that seem insignificant now but will be what I remember in the years to come. A car that gets emptied every night from all we've brought with us, washing little pink tights, sewing pointe shoes, the sheepish pat of her hand on the bed next to her so I'll lay and hug her goodnight...this is what I'll choose to recall.

For now, I'll teach, drive, cuddle, correct, love, clean, give kisses, discipline, observe, hug, wait, wait, and then wait some more.

Because this waiting?

When it ends?

It will mean that the growing up has as well. A part of life that although necessary and beautiful, I'm not yet looking forward too.

So today?

I'll put all else aside and treasure the gift of waiting.

Monday, September 24, 2012

One Year

One year.

"Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights
In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

In five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure
A year in the life?"
                                          -Rent Soundtrack

A year Sara has been in heaven and we've continued here on earth without her. Some days measured in moments, others in miles travelled without her. Not one of those without noticing the lack of her here.

Gratitude pours out for the way she lived...for the way she died. For the story she shared along the way. 

Like most who loved Sara, we've spent the better part of the last twelve months learning to live without the fullness of her in our days. Her laughter, rich and warm, that resonated from deep within her. That smile...even through her pain it took your breath away. The gift of her in our days...a gift that not a one of us would trade for all the riches in the world. 

It's been five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes that I've worked on seeing the world through her eyes even though she's no longer in it. It's a whole lot harder than you'd think. Far easier is it to view it once again through my own. But, in not eyeing it as she would, this place isn't as beautiful. As rich and full and loud.  Sara? She saw our world as a lovely place.

It's been a year of the chicks growing and learning and changing without her beside me through it....I think that is what I've missed most. Her watching along with me. I think, as a mother, you grieve differently when you have children still at home. I don't cry unless I'm alone and when does that ever happen or I cannot be seen. You put their pain before your own. For the last month, I've quietly been measuring the year without her in it. The last this and the last that...breathing and continuing and giving thanks for all that we've had and all we've been given. Days measured in moments...in life...in love. 

Loving you from here, sweet girl. 

Always...


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Coming Back...

We have no idea the power that our words hold.

A few months ago, in the whirlwind of our dance recital/piano/academic testing/prep for NYC we had house guests. Neither my head nor my heart was prepared for the conversations that would occur during what I anticipated would be a visit of laughter and easy-with-you moments.  It was not that visit.

Life is like that though, isn't it? Vastly different then we sometimes expect. Stretching and growing us. Bringing laughter and, in an instant, breaking our hearts.

In a year when it constantly felt like brave was the word of the week, I allowed myself to exhale when that car pulled into the driveway. I thought I was safe. My guard went down and my heart opened. 

I refuse to say that allowing people in is wrong. Loving others is one of the greatest gifts we've been given. I hold fast to this. I must.

You should too.

Learning to love others without judgement grants us an opportunity to share our stories...our hearts.

It can also wound us deeply. 

I've not been online much since May. I could blame this on our schedule, chronic disease, even travel. I could say that we were out living. All of that would be truth. 

Honestly though? I've been offline mostly because I allowed myself to fall prey to one's words. Words delivered as truth, not with humility but rather quite the opposite. Words I've responded to in the long days of summer.

Subjects nestled in my heart. Ones I carry with me, pray over, count as not just friends but as pieces of me.

Predicates that do in our world. Our world. 

I was told that bloggers are online only to talk about themselves. That they are the most narcissistic of peoples.  I was shocked and almost without words.  

My best friend was a blogger. Although she'd sarcastically quip that it was about her,  the life she lived proclaimed the opposite. It was always about Him, about everyone but her. That girl had the biggest heart for people...As I sat there, almost without words, my heart screaming in protest, what escaped my mouth was quiet. I'm positive my face didn't betray me. "As a whole, we're a selfish people." It was all I could utter. 

Yes, narcissistic bloggers exist. 

Yes, we live in a selfish world, full of me and I and so very little of you.

But these women and men that I read, follow, text with, sometimes even hug? They are REAL. 

Flawed? Yes. But they would be the first ones to proclaim as much. 

The bloggers I know do so to reach out, to connect, unite, encourage. They help others to learn and grow and to feel less alone. Their blogs are as varied as their lives; from food to motherhood, with religion and disease mixed in. 

These brave souls share their stories. Without embellishment, with as much of the chaos as order. Lives lived wide open, without apology. I don't see selfish, I see honest. Hearts opened as living gets processed, shared. 

I can see how, from an inexperienced viewpoint, this  blogging world may contain elements of narcissism. But, from the inside I see are lives coming together, healing taking place, friendships being forged. I see sisters lifting each other up in word and deed when one falls to her knees. 

I know that our words can make us immortal. When we've gone, they are the reminder of the weight we have in this world.  A piece of us others can hold to in the moments when our voices no longer fill the silence. 

Our words, our thoughts and musing and memories are reminders of the life we've been given...the person we were and who we hope to be. The family we love and the ways they grow. A scrapbook, of sorts, for a life lived, snapshots of moments we would rather forget, or those we'd cling to forever. 

Our stories? They matter. 







Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Five Minute Friday:Dance

I've been mostly offline this summer, save for instagram and a bit of twitter. We've been full out living. With two dance studios and eight total recitals in the month of May plus standardized testing, finishing up curriculum and a piano recital on top of all of it...sigh. I needed another me.

June held more of the same. Solo prepping for NYC Nationals, tweaking, changing, storytelling. Daily Zumba classes for the eldest rounded out the weeks so that she would stay in top physical condition.

In our home? We DANCE. We don't just twirl. It is not a hobby but a passion. One chased with sweat, tears, and full hearts. We're currently in NYC, where the Grace Girl Was accepted to dance at the Joffrey Ballet School. From eight to six she's worked on a perfection only found in the discipline of ballet. After hours? We've "cleaned" her solo for The Dance Awards, which begins the 4th and go through the 11th. She will compete for a Best Dancer title on the 5th and go on to participate in the Dance Awards Nationals and workshops. I'll go back and forth between the mini and junior rooms this year, as my Little Bit will be dancing too.

Dance. It's what we're doing most of the summer. Dancing holes in our shoes. Moving until we just cannot go any further. But really? We're sharing stories from our hearts that come out only when we're in flight. As my eldest leaps and turns and pounds the floor, she shares her year, her grief, her choice. She's putting it all out there on the dance floor...the missing, the tears...all of her will be out there for everyone to see.

Dance is how she shows Him. In a puddle a few weeks ago she stated,"I'm not YOU. I'm not fantastic painting a picture with words. Dance is how I communicate." Her desire? For others to see the Gift Giver in her. To shine for Him, to communicate her difference because of her relationship with Him, through the story she tells.

Staggering aspirations for my little "big" girl. Am I behind her?

Every step of the way.

Dance your story, Nie Nie, with your heart (as Aunt Sara always called you on her blog). No second guessing, firm in what you believe. Because your story? It is one I will always follow.


*I took more than the allotted five minutes, but made sure to adhere to no editing or second guessing*

Friday, May 25, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Opportunity

Today I'm joining my friend The Gypsy Mama for five minutes where I'll write without editing, backtracking, or second guessing.  Because in the writing? We see the blessings.


Today's topic?  Opportunity.


Ready, Set, Go....
             .   .   .   .   .


"Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can - there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did." -Sarah Caldwell

July 2010

She taught me many things, that sweet sister who best described our relationship as familyship...

Listen far more than you speak

Hear with your heart

Cherish

Dream big dreams

What is frustrating in the moment may serve one well in the long haul

See everything in life as an opportunity

When you live your life as though everything is an opportunity, nothing becomes a true disappointment. I don't mean that disappointment does not occur...I just mean that it won't shatter you into a place that you cannot recover from. Ungluing happens. It is what we do when given the opportunity to be pieced back together that counts.

By seeing the beauty in the opportunities even the failed ones we come to see beauty in ourselves. In the broken. The messy. The mistakes and the triumphs alike....by seeing opportunity as a space where we can learn, we will never truly fail.

I am thankful for 
                          ...her perspective.
                                                          ...her friendship.
                                                                                      ...her laughter.
                                                                                                              ....her beauty.

It seems hard to fathom that it's only been twelve months. Twelve impossibly long-feeling months...Of knowing she was preparing to leave, letting her go and then striving to pick up the pieces of us she'd left behind. Throughout all of it, I've heard her strong voice...

See the blessing

Seek the beauty

Be gentle with yourself

Don't miss your moments

What she was saying? Really saying? She was reminding us that every moment is an opportunity.

Today I'm thankful for every single moment.

STOP

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Piano Peace


My Little Joy feels music deeply. As a baby she would often sing what she was saying instead of actually speaking it.

When we purchased a piano for the chicks and began lessons two years ago, little did we know where music would transport her.

Our Grace Girl plays because it is required. She enjoys the keys and fingering and sound. But...she would rather be twirling.

For Little Bit, it's an entirely different ball game. Yes, she adores and chases in her leaping sister's footsteps, but her heart is equally attached to the ivories.

Two weeks ago she picked up "Fur Elise" and played it perfectly in her first sitting. No joke. I recorded it for posterity and for her teacher. She's since memorized it and has added some of her own flair.




Friday, May 11, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Identity

Today I'm joining my friend The Gypsy Mama for five minutes where I'll write without editing, backtracking, or second guessing.  Because in the writing? We work to find and see with the heart and not the mind.


Ready, Set, Go.....IDENTITY


I watch you, standing there in the midst of girls women-children that you consider your peers. Their ages eclipse yours, most by half a decade. These are your friends. Their height and weight make you appear waif-like, but you keep up with them all the same. Some even come to learn from you; you teach willingly and with a ready heart. Acceptance is what you seek in this place of yours that you've fought to create for yourself. Your passion lies here, in the leaping and twirling and rhythm of eight counts. 




Here you feel at home


I whisper to you as you sleep and repeat again and again while you are in the waking moments that this is not who you are...it's what you are gifted at. Yes, you use your body and spirit to create beauty in motion, but you? Well, you are our daughter; one created by the King to do and be and dream. I remind you that your identity lies in Him.


I hope you hear me. 


Growing up is a series of steps and leaps, much like your dancing. Learning choreography that is in tune with the world while using your artistic flair to sparkle. YOU are beautiful, just as you were created. Please, in this place we live in, don't lose sight of the lovely that is imprinted within you. 




Your identity is unique, set-apart, as rare as the numbered stars in the heavens. Make it yours. Don't rely on others to create it for you. 


Be you. 




From the inside out.


STOP

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Bit of Silence

Confession: I started this post on Thursday. It us now Tuesday eve and i am sitting here in the car at dance (with a pup on my lap) attempting to finish it from the iPad. It's how most of the last few weeks has gone...so I'm rolling with it.
. . . . .

My voice has been silent for the better part of the last few hours.

(Insert wide eyes and gaping mouth expression here)

In the whirlwind of the drop offs and pick ups and more drop offs and pick ups I've chosen silence.

It has been glorious

The chicks have been busy with end-of the-year rehearsals and performances and even a competition for the Grace Girl. I've been sewing costumes and pointe shoes and putting hundreds of miles on the vehicle. The professor? He's been illin' with pneumonia. A quarantine was issued and much cleaning done. After eleven days and an antibiotic he's finally at 50%. We've missed him. With a compromised immune system and two lives who depend on my cape-wearing antics, me getting sick isn't optional. So, hugging (or being in the same room for that matter) wasn't happening either. I'm thankful that the cleaning and disinfection procedures are just about over.

Note to self: Add obsessive hand washing/sanitizing/disinfecting to the list of things the girls will need to "get over" when they are older...SIGH

So, that's where I've been lately...surrounded by noise and activity and craving stillness. In the seeking of peace during the chaos, I've been able to give thanks for the blessing of activity in my days. In the acceptance of the now, I find gratitude.

A gratitude that fills me up

The sound of the breeze rustling in the tree above the car doesn't hurt either...

Stillness.

"For you alone my soul in silence waits." Psalm 62:1

Friday, May 4, 2012

Five Minute Friday: REAL

Today I'm joining my friend The Gypsy Mama for five minutes where I'll write without editing, backtracking, or second guessing.  Because in the writing? We find pieces of ourselves that have gone missing, that we're looking to unearth...even if only for five minutes.


We find the REAL.


Ready, Set, Go.....


REAL

It's what we are sometimes when no one is looking.

No one but the One who created us. He's always looking. He knew what He was doing when He made you...an echo I plant for myself in my head and my heart.


It's hard.

It's messy.

It's full of tear stains...of "you're better than me" moments...of awkward, uncomfortable silences. It is a place where we generally run from, breathless, hoping that no one has actually seen us.

Real can hurt.

But...


It is only in the real that we can find each other, find ourselves, find Him. In the acceptance of what we are and what we were and what we might never be, or in, perhaps, the dream of what we hope to become...


In those things?


We see the real.


Much like a flower before blooms appear, or the sky as rain passes through, there is a bit of bare before the beauty.

And in that bare?

Real becomes visible...




...It is where the lovely hides.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Distinct Squeeze

An unknown author once wrote, "You can't wrap a hug in a box, but you can wrap a person in your arms."

A statement which was proven false just a few weeks ago.

A package arrived, ferried over seas, over islands, thousands of miles from it's origin.


Destination? A southern front porch. 

Sender? One sweet friend and her adorable daughter.


In favorite hues it came, with love exploding...delicate practice embroidery done by a hand that not long ago learned to form letters. Pastels abounded. Gifts fit for princesses. The chicks were floored, in awe. As was I, working to control the tears that this box brought to my throat; whelmed with the pure generosity of it all.




As it always goes, the Mama was last into the box. There, I found nestled gently, a beautiful note, tied with ribbon and specific instructions...


Always one to obey, I promptly did as instructed by my heart-filled friend. Handing the camera to the eldest,  I unwrapped my "hug-in-a-bag".


The girls desired a squeeze from afar as well, so I gently removed it from my shoulders and placed it 'round theirs...


Warmth...Security...Friendship...Love...

COMMUNITY

It's what arrived on a warm April day, completely unexpected, from the other side of the world. A friendship, beautiful, which blossoms despite miles and the seemingly small fact that we've never spoken or met face to face.

A friendship of words, of the heart....from the One who created us to be in relationship with each other.

A friend loves at all times. 

Which brings me back to boxes...


Which do, indeed, wrap and carry hugs.


Monday, April 23, 2012

The Project

I've been hit and mostly miss for the last few months...but for a most excellent reason.

(in)RL

Yep. I've kept silent about it, but today (in)courage tagged me in a Facebook post, so I guess my anonymity flew the coop.

Smile


In addition to all of the normal (wait, did I just call this nest schedule normal???) that goes on around here, I've been working since January on Sara's Story for the *gulp* upcoming webcast that will go live this Friday, April 27th and continue throughout the weekend.

Have you signed up? If not, I'm encouraging you to do so here. I promise that this will be an event you absolutely do not want to miss. The gang over at (in)Courage has worked tirelessly to bring you a conference of unmatched quality. Pure excellence. Faith, love, friendship and beauty all wrapped into a weekend event viewable from your home. Or, if you're near one (see a list here)  a meet-up. As of today, there are 422 meet-ups happening around the world. Yes, you read that right...around the world!!! (in)RL is global!

Here's the trailer for Sara's Story...




Thankful for words that shape lives, for hearts that reach out, and for friends on the journey.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Listen

It's 10:24 p.m. and my right hand is gently dusting the shelving as my left gingerly picks things up and places them down again. I pray, "Dear Lord, please, please, don't let me drop something precious with this throbbing, swollen grip."

I'm bone tired. The professor is at a conference receiving an award and I'm here playing zone defense. I prefer man-to-man coverage. There's been more zone than I like lately...but I work on choosing the gratitude and finding the joy. I listen to Ann's voice fill up the quiet of the car and pump loud over the thumping of the washing machine. The girls rush down from the dance room to see if we have a visitor who speaks over helicopters. I laugh, thinking that Ann Voskamp probably never raises her voice to that level. She finds the gifts. Tonight, I'm seeing only crumpled up wrapping paper.


Still, I listen...


I have read the words more times than I can count on one hand. I'm hoping that hearing them will assist in the cementing of my attitude. I am a gift finder. I've always been one, but it's the making of this joy list that adds life to my days lately.

I get the girls wrangled into bed, snuggled and kissed and prayed over. I work on not lamenting on all that I've  missed out on and things done incorrectly in the waking moments...instances of doubt and judgement, with my voice louder and more critical that I desired. Sighing, I try to make these last few minutes before dreams peaceful.

Heads rest on pillows. The internal dialogue begins. It is late, and the tone is ugly. Defeating.


Instead of counting gifts no matter how small I focus on what still needs doing...a floor still to be washed and laundry to be transferred and then folded, the dishwasher unloaded, the pup to go out three more times, vitamins to place on the counter so we don't forget them, and...

There is always more to do.


Always.


Words echoing, paraphrased in my heart...It is in the counting of the gifts that time seems to slow.


In this season where I should still and recall all that He has given to me, all that He gave for me, the counting is all the more important.

For it is the gratitude that helps my heart to open fully to Him, the giver of it all.


"Every good and perfect gift is from above; coming down from the Father of the heavenly 
lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows."
James 1:17 





Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hello Spring

Hello warm weather

Hello landscaping project

Hello rubber mulch that is supposed to keep the hue for a decade


Hello fluffy puppy who thinks lounging in the landscaping is a great plan


Hello sweet girl doing laps around the house


Hello fragrant snapdragons that decided to return this season


Hello signs of life peeking through


Hello, lovely Spring...I can't wait to see what you have in store



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

As Long As It's Called Today...

In the last few months, I've bitten off  a bit more than I can chew. Between homeschooling in both the seventh and third grades, two new dance studios, piano and tumbling lessons, the house, a work project, a new puppy and then ahem re-landscaping the house last week, I've gone a bit coo-coo-la-choo. I'm behind on the normal, my inbox is a disaster, and my time here has slowed.

Not a new occurrence for me.

I enjoy challenge.

I go full throttle.

I realize exceed my limitations.

Of the heart


Of the body


Of the spirit


I'm a work-in-progress.  I know that. It seems that my online friends seem to have quite the insight; I've received sweet words of encouragement that lift my heart. Perhaps I'm learning the art of transparency.

Here in these wordsI'm finding freedom.


In sharing the truth of my story, I'm giving myself permission to be me, just as I am.

Just as He intended me to be.


I am incredibly thankful to all of you for the gift of seeing me where I'm at and sharing the messy and the beautiful. That's real community.


"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today..."
Heb 3:13


How may I care for you today? Share your needs and I'll be praying for them...or if you don't desire to leave it in the comments, feel free to email me instead. 





Tuesday, March 27, 2012

On Being a Fairy

"I've decided."

"You've decided what?"

"I've decided what I'd like to be when I'm older."

I knew this would be good, but nothing could have prepared  me for what came next.

"I'm going to be Einstein. Or, you know, maybe Sally Ride."

"Albert Einstein?" I managed to say, the smile showing only in my eyes.

"Yep. But without the hair. He had CRAZY hair."

She was serious. This wisp of a seven year old had plans. Apparently big ones.

"You know what Einstein did, right?" Her father asked gently. I was so proud of him. If I'd been driving we may have been off the road at this point. His grin huge, all but hidden from her view by the angle of the seat. "Well, you do love school. You have to love it, a lot, if you want to be the next Einstein...You may be able to do it...", his voice trailing off as he shrugged his shoulders and smiled at me.

I was also proud of the Grace Girl, who had managed to keep her snark to a snort.

"Yep, he did research. Relativity. He worked really hard. He was inspired."

I love, unabashedly, this little joy child in our home...her big ideas, her work ethic, her heart.

The Grace Girl chimed in, asking, "Don't you mean Amelia Earhart? I think you mean her."

"No," replied Little Bit,"I mean Sally Ride. The first woman in space."

I smiled. Big. Our English review for the standardized test was working.

Until this conversation, our sweet girl with the sparkling eyes had always told us she was going to be a fairy when she grew up. She wanted to fly. To soar and swoop and be higher up in the air than anyone else.



Suddenly, the car felt cramped and my heart was squeezed. In my head, all I could hear was a small voice saying, "She won't be little much longer."

We left the conversation there, as we pulled into the garage and tumbled out, heading to our various activities.

Later, sitting next to her over a bowl of soup at the dinner table, I said,"I thought you wanted to be a fairy. What happened to that dream?"

She smiled wide, looking me straight in the eyes."Mama, I'm never going to turn into a fairy. See, I have skin. No wings. It was a silly dream I guess. At seven, you can't very well tell people that you want to be a fairy when it's not even a possibility. I'm human."

She had a point. Being ever a realist, what came out of my mouth next surprised even me.

"You could be Tink at Disney World. She flies on a safety wire. She's a human who is employed as a fairy."

Little Bit's eyes glimmered. "I could still be Einstein," she said, "But maybe I could do that as well. THAT sounds amazing. I'd even wear wings that light up!"

That you would, my joy child, that you would.

In that moment though? It was my heart that was glowing.

In our home...


We'll still dream of soaring...with a whole lot of physics and math on the side.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Loud

Our life is loud. It's filled with passionate voices, daily piano playing, and lots of music as the background to the daily activities we take part in.

It's my heart, beating hard and fast as the elliptical cycles and I try to outrun disease activity that may someday make more still than I desire.

It's in the crowds of people I try to avoid at the grocery store by shopping in the odd hours.

Loud.

The girls don't mean to be this way. They can't help their voices going up in pitch and volume with excitement and desire for attention. I often ask, "Are you just getting off of a helicopter?" To combat my desire to hiss "shhhhhh...." I turn to humor.

Because the loud? It gets to me.

I am a girl of quiet.  I love music, but will often turn it off and go mute for periods. I crave silence. The older I become the less likely I am to fill up the space with sound.

I think, though, that maybe it is not the loud that I take issue with. It's the lack of peace with which I associate loud.


Hmmmm....

Peace to you, dear friends. In the loud and in the silence...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

No Matter The Tongue...

...He's One Great God.




So thankful for a Savior whose love echoes around the world and back.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Keeping Close

I carry His words in my heart, knitting them in and working to live them out.

But...

There are those days I need a visual reminder.

It has been one of those days.

So, I've captured images that give a glimpse of promises He has made to me that I'm carrying on the outside...

For patience, for love eternal, for the hope I'm being renewed...In the knowledge it is all possible only through His grace alone.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Empty


Today I'm joining my friend The Gypsy Mama for five minutes where I'll write without editing, backtracking, or second guessing.  I'll write to find the beauty in the words...writing on empty in order to uncover a piece of me in this week that was crowded full of kids and deadlines, a  new pup and midterm giving husband.


Ready, Set, go.


EMPTY .  .  .
  
It's where I'm at right now, after a week where my limits were exceeded on Monday and then left in the dust. Where were the energy police when I needed them? No one stopped to give me a ticket or permission to slow myself in the chaos of the week.


My patience lies there too, plumb run out, as I cringe at myself after correcting my little about, of all things, brushing her teeth with excellence. Who brushes their teeth with excellence? I mean, good gracious, we brush them well, but excellence is reserved for other items, like speech, education, our treatment of each other, sharing what we believe...we do those things with excellence.  In the empty, I fear that my excellence in other areas was a bit kaput this week.


Sigh


Empty is where my energy level sits, even before I rise from bed...a part of  my SLE  & JRA I've come to accept over the last three decades. After six straight weeks of dance travel weekends,  disease activity amps up. Sometimes I wish it ran on empty.


In the empty though, I see Him. The One who graciously covers me with unending grace and shows me sweet mercy.


Grace and mercy I need to grant myself in the midst of this empty.


Empty that can be filled up so I can become more like Him.


STOP
.   .   .   .   .

Thursday, March 8, 2012

They Call It Puppy Love

Sorry I've been mostly absent this week; I've had my hands full with our newest member of the family...

She's four pounds of fluff and cuddles, and has been a full time project in addition to all of our other regularly scheduled activities for the last four days.

We chose a breed that is a fantastic family pet, has a charming personality, does not shed, and stays small so I can easily handle her when my hands/wrists aren't in top form.

She's had her first bath, played for endless hours with the chicks, and goes with us in the car everywhere  (I want to create a fantastic traveler).





The only issue right now is changing her sleep schedule and wake-up time to better work with mine. Hmmmmm....any suggestions?


Welcome to the nest, sweet Maizey Blue!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday's Playlist


A friend and I were recently discussing having a “soundtrack” to our day.

Do you have music that fills your head?

Or does it fill up your heart? 

If I was to ask my Little Bit this question, the pondering would be immense.  My babe, whose fingers grace a piano for at least an hour a day, loves music. It fills her up inside and bubbles forth as she hums and sings and fingers her piano from memory in all of her spare moments. This child? She goes to bed listening to George Winston on the piano and awakes with a song in her heart.  It fills her up.

The Grace Girl is different than her sister, but not really. She doesn’t spend hours at the piano a week, simply the required amount. She hears music with her body. I watch her, dancing in her moments, to the music that fills her head. Toes pointed, arms positioned, she just hears it in a different way.

Outside of prayer, music is the main way that I connect best with our God. It’s where I experience His presence most fully, where I am most at ease with myself, where I can close my eyes and rest myself in Him.

I am so incredibly thankful for the distinct ways that music surrounds each of us.

.   .   .   .   .

In my ears right now? “Rock of Habitation”. It’s the peace solution to the incredibly chaotic studio that I’m currently waiting in. What’s on your playlist today?


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Missing Mess

My girls are missing a piece of their heart and this week  I am struggling with how to help them heal.  The mother in me aches to be able to put it right.

I cannot.

We've done okay with the whole grieving process thing, due in part to the sheer amplitude of our schedule. I think, each in our own way, we have worked to layer over the pain with activity. That was working well.  Our ability to falsely cope and carry on with our lives was astonishing.

Sigh.


Back in September, when we lost our girl, we cried, we did the silent sobs, we knew in our hearts that it was for the best, and we trusted that God's hand was in and over the entire situation. We still believe all of those things. We do...with every part of us.

It's the empty without her that causes the pain. The way her face pops up on Facebook and Skype and the sweet tone of her voice coming from Little Bit's iPod on the nights when all she desires is to reach out and touch the computer screen and have her Aunt Sara firmly planted on the other side. In those moments, my heart breaks for these girls of mine who loved her like I did and who went to her to explain the messy and the beautiful in our world.

I think part of it is that we're closing in on six months. Every day brings something the chicks would  like to share with her, and all of those days keep adding up. I understand, my loves, I do...I miss her too. I think everyone who was touched by her feels this space she so vibrantly filled in life.

This afternoon, after scolding my little, I asked her what in the world was going on with her...that she didn't seem at all like herself. Her response, complete with tears all in a row sliding down those rosy cheeks, hit me like a ton of bricks. "I don't know, Mama, I don't know what's wrong with me. I just know that all of this missing has me a mess inside."

I stopped, right there on that pastel rag rug where we'd done a fancy conference with a piece of our heart who happened to reside in Iowa no more than six months before. How could I begin to make this right? Scooping her up, cradling her like I'd done years before, I whispered into her head promises of remembrance, joy, beauty...all things that my heart sister would've said.  Tears slowing, my rocking coming to a stop, we both took a deep breath and I realized that it's in the recollection that we are able to heal.

As a mother, I need to be intentional in the remembering. My girls need to hear the stories and see the photographs even if it tears me in two at times. They need to be reminded how deeply they were loved so that they, in turn, can share her love with those around them.

For someone who was a part of all of the details of our life, who went on every trip, car ride, and walk alongside us, she's been missed mightily in the moments of our days. The missing is normal. But I need to work on reminding  the girls that although loving means letting go, it doesn't mean that it comes to an end.

It may just look a tad bit different.




Monday, February 27, 2012

The (in)RL Conference and a Giveaway

My friends over at (in)Courage are putting together an amazing conference that we all can attend!


SQUEAL


Imagine it, friends, a low cost, available to anyone who has internet connectivity conference....a place to come together and learn, grow, feel...all from the comfort of your own couch or perhaps along with a group of other women in your community.

A conference unlike any other done before, and created especially with you in mind.


I'm attending. As soon as I hit post, I'm heading over here to register on the (in)RL site; it's  only ten dollars!!! I'm so excited about it, I'm even planning on sponsoring a few others who might not be able to otherwise join us. Hint: Giveaway coming....stay tuned for details below.


Unlike other major conferences that some of us cannot afford to attend that occur around the country, (in)Courage and Dayspring are bringing this one right to us...a way to connect, to create community, to expand our world. I promise you that it will be incredible and heart changing.

Don't just take my word for it though, grab a tissue (this trailer gets me every single time), watch the video, think about it...then race over to the (in)RL registration page and sign up to join me!




Giveaway:


I will sponsor three readers to attend this conference with me, as chosen in the the comments. Please watch the trailer and then give your thoughts on why you'd like to join me at  (in)RL.  If you've already registered, please comment and encourage others to attend alongside us! When the contest closes at midnight on March 1, 2012, I'll post our winners and ask them to contact me with info to get them registered.


***This contest is in no way sponsored by Dayspring or (in)Courage and I not receiving compensation of any kind for the promotion of (in)RL.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Grit


Today I'm joining my friend The Gypsy Mama for five minutes where I'll write without editing, backtracking, or second guessing.  Writing because it brings me joy.  Five minutes to share, to unite, to process our hearts. Just five minutes. 
Ready...Set...Go!



Grit is the sand that smooths us, refines us, changes our hearts and our ways.

Uncomfortable? YES.  
Easy? One loud, emphatic NO. 


But necessary.  My God uses the grit in my life to shape me into the woman, the mother, the wife and friend he desires me to be. I don't enjoy the dirty, the pain, the scratch of being made into a new creation. I want to stay the same...but don't we all? It is oh-so-much easier to maintain than it is to change.

But if I never go through the fire, I cannot become the masterpiece He has chosen to make of me. 

I want to become the transparent, beautiful glass that is formed when heat and sand meet...I want to reflect Him well.

I cannot do it alone. I need the grit. I will embrace His plan to smooth, mold, create me in His image.

Bring on the grit.

STOP







Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Knitting Together

It's a crazy week around here; I feel like all I do is pack, unpack, repack and then pack again.

Notice a theme?


So, with that said, I'd like to hear about your week and ask how I might be in prayer for you over the weekend.  What's going well and what is heavy on your heart?  How may I love you?

Let's come together and pray for each other...leave a request in the comments and know that it will be lifted up. Let's further knit this community together, one request at a time.

Love to you, friends.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Five Minute Friday:Delight


Today I'm joining my friend The Gypsy Mama for five minutes where I'll write without editing, backtracking, or second guessing.  Writing because it brings me joy. Peace...and delight, which just happens to be the topic. Smile.  I know I'm a few days late, but we traveled again all weekend and I wanted to make sure I was here today with all of you, so....
Ready...Set...Go!
Delight.

She's the feeling that bubbles from deep inside and wiggles and tickles until it bursts forth into a grin on your face or light in your eyes.

She arrives when I'm snuggling my little loves close, knowing that each moment is to be treasured and tucked away, because this time is fleeting.

She fills me when I watch my girls pursuing their passions. Slender fingers on white and black keys learning intricate fingering, or toes pointed and legs extended in leaps that are gravity defying.  My heart  grows bigger as their worlds expand.

I find her in the most unlikely of spots...in the cloud shapes as Little Bit and I lay on a blanket in the shade and gaze up to see what the heavens hold.  From a whale to a winged dog, delight is present in my babe's smile and her enthusiasm. I want her to stay with us forever.

In the small, quiet moments, she comes to me in sweet memories of laughter shared, prayer answered, fingers intertwined and time spent cheek to cheek with those I love. In refusing to take anything in this life for granted, delight is most present.

Delight. Known to cause beaming smiles and sparkling eyes. She's forever welcome in my world.

Stop.