Tuesday, April 26, 2011

on dining

We have a dining room now. I mean, we had one before, on Pine Street (it was the only place to eat at in the house), but now we have a breakfast area, an island with bar stools, and the dining room.

Needless to say, this leaves us with more than enough options in regards to where we eat as a family.

Breakfast is around the island. In the mornings I am at my "multi-tasking best". Things are cooking, coffee brewing, juice, milk, eggs, oatmeal flying everywhere...all on top of packing up to four lunches. So, you can imagine what it looks like after everyone gets out the door...something like my fridge threw up all over the kitchen. Breakfast is crazy, loud, messy, and I love it.

Lunch is easy going. Sometimes I even forget about it. Lunch is quiet..usually just me and Zibby. Lunch is peaceful, simple, and more often than not...easy to clean up.

Then there's dinner.

We have a table off the kitchen that we usually sit at. And it works out fine. But, I kept looking at the poor lonely dining room. Up until just a week ago, we had only eaten in it a handful of times. It seemed so sad and wasteful not be eating together in such a pretty room. A room made for one purpose...sitting down and enjoying a meal together.

So, now my goal is to have dinner in the dining room. We have done this twice now, and I have to say we seemed to linger a bit longer. We relaxed, well, at least the Mommy and Daddy did.

Dinner is not perfect around here. Last night alone, all three kids ended up "reflecting" in their rooms for being "ill-mannered." The table was still a disaster, along with the floor...but that's what it's all for anyway.

Aaron and I were just talking about how un-social our society is becoming. If we can raise our kids to be engaging, concerned, and compassionate adults, I think it might start around the dining room table together.

As you can see from the picture above...we have a long way to go.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring Favorites

A quiet afternoon with watercolors and my sweet girl.
A favorite vintage find...Little People, the way I remember them. (The kids love it!)
This dog, Lottie, has been a true blessing to every one of us Kookies.
Mamo's sugar cookies...made by Abby Sue this year.
Six Flags for spring vacation.
Cotton Candy Girl.
This place was so fun...rainy, but hey...we're Oregonians.
Dr. Suess was born in Springfield, Mass. The kids loved the sculpture garden.
With the Lorax.
Love these faces.
Aren't they beautiful? (thank you Grandpa for the vegetable oil idea!)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

He is good.

Injured again.

I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that I cannot run in the Vermont City Marathon.

We have lived in Massachusetts for almost one year now and I cannot begin to express how lost I still feel.

Just when I think I have grip on living here, life decides to throw another punch...this time it was a low blow.

So, here I am, on my knees, trying to catch my breath.

Can't the bell just ring already?

Doesn't God see me failing?

I'm not the right girl for this kind of life. I want simplicity.

Running was my anti-depressant. It was a gift to my soul. It kept me focused and purposeful.

Why does God take away the good things? I was a better person when I ran, a better mom, and a better wife.

I'm sure this looks like a temper tantrum of sorts. And maybe it is. But, I feel like I'm caught in one of those dreams...you know the kind, when you are surrounded by evil on all sides, and you open your mouth to scream at the top of your lungs, but not a sound comes out of your empty throat. And you begin to feel helpless. You feel forgotten. Desperate. Alone.

I sat down at the piano the other day. I had come face to face with this brokenness. Not just my own, but of so many lives around me. Good lives. Godly, righteous, saints...stripped bare by the very hand of God that had formerly blessed them.

I sang and I wrote...

"I don't know why He takes away sometimes,
but I know that He's good.

I don't know why He lets His children cry,
but I know He cried too.

There's just something in the dieing,
there's something in the loss.

There's healing in broken,
and life born at the cross.

It's like that blessed morning, when one empty grave proved it all...

In the taking away He gives.

In the taking away He lives, He lives.

In the taking away, He's making a way for me,
to see...that He...

is good."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When they ask me, I'll tell them...

"What were you like when you were little Mom?"

Very blond, very sunburned, covered in freckles and band aids, and almost always outside!

But, one of the things I remember the most about being little, was trying my best to just be a normal kid without a care in the world.

Unfortunately, for me, life was not as carefree as I would've wished.

There isn't enough good to write about my life as a very little girl. I've often felt like the best thing I could do was to just forget about it...almost like pretending it never happened. I rarely talk about life before 1985, and for good reason.

The truth is that the first nine years of my life are like a bunch of puzzle pieces, jumbled up in the closets of my memory. It takes too much time and emotion to try and figure out how they all fit together, so I leave them back there.

Sometimes a few of those memory pieces start locking together on their own and I'm faced with the truth of it all.

I've learned that talking about it only makes my family sad. So, I keep those doors closed.

The only one allowed back there is Jesus. I opened those doors to Him when I was ten years old and He has been transforming the darkness into light ever since.

No matter how hard my first nine years of life were, they are an important part of me. In fact I've even learned to be thankful for them.

I want Abigail, Benjamin, & Elizabeth to see God's goodness in it all. The best way to do that is to be honest with them.

God doesn't cover things up, He makes things new.

We know true victory when we are brave enough to face the darkness, hand in hand with the Light.

We are not called to wear our past like a badge or a burden. There is no need to let it hold us back or define who we are.

The past is the truth, be it good or bad. But when the past threatens the peace of the present, there is only one thing left to do...deliberately hand it over to the Everlasting God.

So, as the kids grow older I will be as honest with them about who I was and where I came from.

And I believe that they will see a very good God in it all.

A God Who sees, a God Who cares, and a God who saves..."to the uttermost!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A time to play...

A neighbor asked me the other day when Ben was going to start playing football.

I guess Ben could be at baseball practice, or wrestling, maybe even playing lacrosse (a popular one here.)

The truth is, Ben only gets to be a kid once. In just a few short years he will begin to see himself in a different light.

For now the forest is full of trolls.

Today he can play with his piles of Lego's without looking at the clock once.

In the light of his eight year old eyes the world is full of endless wonder.

And so I ask myself, why waste all this precious time on a field full of limits, lines, and boundaries?

For now he hears the "call of the wild"....and I like it that way.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What Nine Looks Like

Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of the little woman that you will become. Today was one of those days. You are lovely my Abby Sue.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

About running again...

Okay...so long story short here:

About a month an a half ago I slipped on the icy driveway and tweaked my lower back. (I mean so bad the kids had to pull me into the house.) I was scared. I was alone. I was hurt. I could not move without "tossing my cookies."

So, over the past few weeks, I was more focused on walking comfortably then training for a marathon.

Then, yesterday, I ran. In fact I ran for a long time.

It felt like I was flying.

Today I ran again...and although it wasn't pain-free, it was mentally liberating.

You may guess what I'm getting at here...

I decided, "You know what? I'm running that dang marathon. I'm running it even if I have to drag myself across that finish line. Forget about qualifying for Boston. Forget about even being anywhere near as fast as you were last year. Just pick up where you left off and run the race set before you girl!"

God gives, He takes away, and He gives again.

This song says it all for me:

So piece together these little mysteries
It isn't hard to see the writing on the wall
Triumph and tragedy, only God can be
Both the builder and the wrecking ball

Read more: JILL PHILLIPS - WRECKING BALL LYRICS http://www.metrolyrics.com/wrecking-ball-lyrics-jill-phillips.html#ixzz1IhjF0kDM
Copied from MetroLyrics.com

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just Jesus

I don't know about a "purpose driven life" and all that stuff.

It seems like everyone is running around half blinded by all of their "purpose" these days.

I know a little bit about what life looks like without purpose.

It's scary, vulnerable, dark, and then....depressing.

But, is that always a bad thing?

When purpose is gone, I'm left looking at who I am, without the bells and whistles.

Then I begin to realize that the Bible doesn't really talk about "finding" our purpose.

I haven't read anything in His Word that promotes making achievements, accolades, majors, medals, honors, goals or even ministry, the focus of our lives.

Maybe when God strips us down to nothing then He can really start something.

I love my husband, my kids, my family, my church, my friends, and running until my lungs explode...but God keep me from making these precious things my purpose.

I read a lot more about loss...death...humility and servitude in the gospels.

The beauty in each is the True Life that springs out of them.

"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me , let Him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor." (John 12:24-26)

Yep...there it was all along. The stuff that's hard to hear and hard to live....

But, everything I've ever wanted.

Just Jesus.