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Archive for September, 2009

Sabbath

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Rest.

It’s not something I’m getting a whole lot of these days. So instead, I’ve been reading about it. Author Wayne Muller wrote a very insightful book on the subject titled SABBATH: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight In Our Busy Lives.  

Sleep deprivation has certainly nudged me toward an honest inventory of what is and what is not realistic to take on in this season. But well beyond my present need to sleep long enough that my left eye stops twitching sits the deeply spiritual practice of Sabbath. I’ve dabbled in this realm. I’ve stuck my toe in its waters a time or twenty. In each instance I’ve found myself wooed back to modernity’s shores in no time at all.

More than anything, Muller’s words have inspired me to take another dip – this time with more resolve than the last. It’s easy to push the practice aside, seeing it as irrelevant, impossible (especially with young kids), or simply not realistic with one’s present obligations. It’s something nice, but not necessary. What Muller has challenged me to see is that by not taking the subject seriously, I’m the one who is ultimately missing out. Much is being said, whether or not we’re choosing to stop and take the time to listen. With that, I’ll sign off with a few of my favorite quotes from the book that I’ve happened upon thus far.

“Sabbath requires surrender. If we only stop when we are finished with all our work, we will never stop – because our work is never completely done. With every accomplishment there arises a new responsibility. Every swept floor invites another sweeping, every child bathed invites another bathing. When all life moves in such cycles, what is ever finished? The sun goes round, the moon goes round, the tides and seasons go round, people are born and die, and when are we finished? If we refuse rest until we are finished, we will never rest until we die. Sabbath dissolves the artificial urgency of our days, because it liberates us from the need to be finished.” pg. 83

“We stop because there are forces larger than we that take care of the universe, and while our efforts are important, ncessary, and useful, they are not (nor are we) indispensable. The galaxy will somehow manage without us for this hour, this day, and so we are invited – nay, commanded- to relax, and enjoy our relative unimportnace, our humble place at the table in a very large world. The deep wisdom embedded in creation will take care of things for a while.” pg. 83

“During Sabbath we take the time to bless our children, place our hands upon their heads, our fingers in their hair, and pray for their strength, and courage, and happiness. We rest wtih them, eat with them, play with them, walk with them, listen to their stories and their worries and their laughter, and remember to whom they belong. All the video games and cable television and computers and clothes and CD’s in the galaxy cannot place a single hand on a single head and grant this Sabbath blessing.” pg. 160

  

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Grace

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It’s not every day that a teddy bear hamster owner can tout over the fact that their furry friend has managed to take center stage at show-and-tell for two consecutive years in a row! But Grace Hannah pulled it off. She has now been showcased in Hannah’s Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms.

 This year, she showed up on the scene with less hair than last year (earlier this summer her entire backside was bald). Hannah insisted that she was simply shedding her coat for the warmer weather. When I suggested that maybe old age was the culprit she would hear nothing of it. And, what do you know, GH has now begun growing what Hannah refers to as her “winter coat” so that her bum is no longer bare. She’s more than a little pleased that mommy seemed to be wrong in this matter.

Yes, I know that GH’s days are indeed numbered. I’ve already thought through most every detail of how this will all go down. Phil thinks I’m a bit morbid for doing so, but in delicate matters such as walking my heart-broken daughter through her first animal death, I need to have a plan in place (we’ll be burying her in Grandma Jo’s backyard right along side my childhood hamster, Snoopy). Okay, so I admit that I’m a little bit wierd! But, until then we’ll continue to enjoy our eight dollar rodent and her daily adventures with Hannah Grace. 

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Kindergarten Art

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So, this is my favorite thus far to make its way home in the kindergartener’s Hello Kitty backpack. She just looks like such a happy sheep 🙂

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12 Years

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“In this day and age, marriage  liscences should be treated like driver’s licenses in that they should expire after four years. Then you look at each other and figure out whether or not you want to renew it or not.” – Jenny McCarthy

Had Phil and I entered the deal with this mentality, I can assure you that on more than one occasion we would have let the card expire. We’re humans. The perpetual habit of leaving all lids half screwed on can drive a person more than a little crazy a decade later. Falling asleep in the middle of the other person’s nighttime musings is a fairly irritating pattern… to the one pondering.

These sorts of things certainly aren’t the deal-breakers in a typical relationship – our own included. Yet over time I’ve come to recognize them as opportunities for the offended to make a choice. Will I let the little things get under my skin or will I let them go? Will I opt for graciousness or settle into a scorecard mentality? What sort of tone do I want our girls to sense in our home?

Twelve years into the deal, I’m thankful that Phil has chosen humility over entitlement. He’s modeled this in countless ways. I love this man.  

This year’s anniversary turned out to be a pretty typical day … which somehow made it feel really special. Like so many days, we laughed, compromised, ate, planned, executed, pondered, walked, misunderstood, forgave, prepared, articulated, read, worshipped, nurtured, disciplined, communicated and slept.

Hannah informed us that she would like to take us to the beach to celebrate. We packed up dinner and headed to our favorite spot along the coast. She blessed our meal and thanked God for providing mommy and daddy with an anniversary to celebrate. I glanced over at Phil and smiled. It is by grace alone that her prayer was answered.      

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1

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Dinnertime at the beach

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The Girls 

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The Fruit of Boredom

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“Downtime is where we become ourselves, looking into the middle distance, kicking at the curb, lying on the grass or sitting on the stoop and staring at the tedious blue of the summer sky. I don’t believe you can write poetry, or compose music, or become an actor without downtime, and plenty of it, a hiatus that passes for boredom but is really the quiet moving of the wheels inside that fuel creativity.” – Anna Quindlen

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A Short-lived Pity Party

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It was hot today…again. I realize that it is all a matter of perspective. And, yes I know that most of the nation endures far more dramatic weather patterns than those of us living along the beach. Still, we coastal dwellers  basically FREAK OUT when the mercury climbs above eighty degrees. And it has been doing just that for over a week now. It seems that a better part of the state is presently on fire and frankly it leaves a girl feeling cranky.

Along with this weather, Hailey has developed a bad case of eczema tucked within all of those otherwise endearing rolls of fat. The creases in her arms, her armpits, her legs and chin are all radiating red. Add to this a missed morning nap, and I had quite the crabby baby. Her otherwise varied interest (cooing, sticking her fingers in her mouth, playing with her tongue, kicking her legs and sleeping) narrowed to two – being held and nursing. Both caused us to sweat profusely…and become even more grouchy.

After taking Hannah to Kindergarten, Hailey and I came back home and plopped in the recliner. I fed her and she finally fell asleep … on me. I decided to follow suit. A half hour later I woke up dripping and glanced over at my little sweaty baby whose hair was curling from the perspiration on her head. As she began to stir I noticed an ant crawling over her cheek – heading right for her nose. Disgusted by the combination of way too much sweat and an uninvited ant (who I know typically brings 5,000 of his closest friends with him), I flicked the insect off  my daughter and rose up out of the chair in a huff.

For a moment, the scene felt like the proverbial straw. Yet almost immediately my attention turned to a woman … a third-world woman. She represents millions and yet in my mind she feels so specific as well. I don’t know her, yet we share so much in common; a love for our children, a longing to care for and protect them and a hope for their futures.

This woman has haunted me since the birth of Hailey. She seems to pop up all over the place. As I nursed my child in those first few weeks, I was reminded how fortunate I was that I had the nutrients to do so because often, she doesn’t. When Phil lost his job she showed up again reminding me that provisions of savings, contract work and random refunds are all first-world privileges that are far from her grasp. And in the sweaty heat of this afternoon, she appeared once again, helping me to see that where she lives it truly can feel hotter than hell and it is there that she sits on the ground with her baby- trying to keep the flies off her precious one.

So far this woman has offered up tremendous perspective. I’m guessing she may require more of me in our future. Not sure what that will look like in our lives. Today it amounted to a prayer on her behalf and a cancellation of the pity party I was about to throw.

*Two books I plan to tackle with regard to this subject are Rich Christians In An Age Of Hunger and The Hole In Our Gospel.  I would love to hear any book suggestions that you might have.
 
*I watched A Walk to Beautiful while pregnant with Hailey. While Phil initially questioned my judgement on the timing of the film, I found it to be incredibly eye-opening at that season of life.

 

 

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