Wednesday, January 27, 2010

no use crying over spilled...

Some days I feel a bit full. On the verge of overflow, to be exact. Rather like a cup that might "runneth over" - but not in the best way. In the "I'm Not Sure How Gracefully I Can Handle One More Challenging Thing Today" kind of way.

I imagine adding ice cubes to a drink... the level of the liquid rises a bit with each cube. Add too many too fast - and the drink will spill over the top. It's inevitable.

Yesterday felt like one of those days:
We started out with a really rough night - very tired mama and very tired girls. (clunk-clunk... a few ice cubes)
Girls who had both started coughing - out of nowhere - in the middle of the night. (clunkety - clunk... a couple more)
Poor, fussy, teething Meriel - just didn't feel like herself all day (clunk)
Hazel's running a low fever (clunk)
A wet-pants accident in the high chair at lunchtime - very rare these days, and therefore all the more frustrating to this mama... (clunk)
Naptime struggles with both girls (clunky - clunk)

You get the idea. Before too long, I felt myself starting to spill over the edges. And as I tried to catch myself, hold it all in, control the spillage... I realized something.

Maybe it's not so much about trying to not spill over, or not be spilled by someone/something. Because -let's face it - the ice cubes are gonna come. Life is going to hand us challenges and tough moments - some bigger than others, but even enough tiny ice cubes pile up to overflow a cup. So trying to NOT spill might be a bit futile.

Perhaps it's about what comes spilling out. If my heart is full of grace and patience and my mind is full of the words of my Father - THOSE will spill out. But if my heart is focused inward, if I am playing the martyr, if my mind is busy with MY wants and desires... then ugliness will trickle (or gush!) over the edges of my cup.

For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Matthew 12:34b)

So today - I will try to relinquish my attempt at controlling the ice cubes and the spillage... and just focus on what I'm filling myself up with. And if/when I fail... I will fall back onto the grace of Jesus, and begin again with new mercies tomorrow.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

would you like fries with that?

What if life were like a restaurant, and you could simply order things off a menu and have them brought to you on platters?

I'm not talking about stuff - but experiences.

Tired? You could order up a Good Night's Sleep Appetizer - your choice of featherbed or memory foam.

Or when you're stressed - simply put in a request for a Well-Timed Vacation entree - you choose the duration, location, and up to 3 guests to go with you.

A well-trained, polite staff would be there to bring things out, beautifully presented on trays and platters, to refill your water glass, and to make sure that the everything has been to your liking.

And then you could always send things back - "This is not what I ordered."

It *sounds* idyllic. And as much as there are bits and pieces about the scenario that are truly appealing... there are a few problems with the whole layout.

First, menus never tell you everything about what you're ordering. And if they did, it's unlikely that you'd actually read the entire list, because who wants to spend their time doing that? Then when it comes, it's not quite what you thought you'd be getting... Or perhaps you *do* read the whole description, and then change your mind about ordering the most amazing dinner EVER because it has something in it you've never heard of before - and that freaks you out a little. How many of my life experiences have gone that way? If I had known the whole truth about some experiences of my life - would I have opted out before even trying them?? Or waited until I felt more "ready" for the challenge? And let's be honest - how often would I really choose to go through those "learning" seasons of life if given the option? I shudder a little to think what it would look like if I was in charge of the shaping of my own character.

Then, of course, there's the issue that restaurants need to prepare ahead of time - so customization (while sometimes feasible) is typically minimal. You can't ask them to add just a dash of cinnamon to the blueberry pie before it's baked because that's what you'd do if you were making it at home - so you take what you get. The Life-Restaurant would remove some of our ability to take life and make it our own - and while there are days when I might trade leaving my own personal stamp on my life for the simplicity of ordering from a menu... I wouldn't be willing to forgo that forever.

Finally, in restaurants, we feel that we deserve to be completely pleased when we walk out the door because we paid for a service to be provided for us. And that makes sense. By Life-Restaurant-Logic, that gives Christ the right to dictate what is ordered, served, in what order, at what pace... because HE paid for my life. I've done nothing, and really - have no "right" to demand anything at all... and then the whole dream scenario fails.

This is all just an elaborate metaphor to remind me that although there is a piece of me that wants to say "Um, excuse me - but this isn't what I thought I was ordering when I asked to Be a Mama!" or "You mean being Grown Up comes with these side dishes no matter what??" - the truth of life is better than whatever scenario I could dream up.

Because the truth is that God loves me. My life is a gift, and the experiences I am given - while not chosen by me - are chosen by my Creator. And His love is better than life, His grace is more than I can wrap my mind around, and His peace passes my understanding.

So I tuck my napkin in my lap, and say "Yes, please - I would like fries with that!"

Saturday, January 09, 2010

a preponderance of evidence

I miss this blog.

It gives me a space to think organize the thinking I do All. The. Time.

And when I don't blog - to me, it almost feels like I'm not thinking. But not really, because I know that I am. But as far as my bloggie peeps go (if there are any of y'all left out there) - as far as you can see, my brains have been pureed by the two small children in my life, and I'm left with little coherent thought.

It just ain't (quite) true.

True - life has been busy lately. Holidays, traveling, pottying, doctors, present-making, and day-to-day-life-ishness have made the blog slip down the priority list. As it should, really.

But the thoughts and the thinking - they never take a break.

So grow not weary, oh faithful followers - I have much to share. It'll just have to come out slowly, in little bits and spurts as my days and minutes allow. Although all evidence points to a loss of valuable output here at Heartful... my heart is full, my brain is busy, and I miss sharing the heart and the thoughts with everyone.

For today - The Daddy is out of town, and I've already been interrupted 6 times writing this eensy weensy little post by a little blond pig-tailed chef, who is grinding coffee beans and making egg & fish soup for me... - so I'll keep it brief.

Lately I have found strange comfort in things beyond my control. I have not historically been a person who likes non-control (put mildly). But for some reason, my days are less rippled, my thoughts less turbulent, and my heart steadier when I've allowed myself to lean back into the passenger seat. There aren't as many buttons over here, no steering wheel to speak of - and no brakes or gas pedals... but there's a radio, there's a seat-warmer (*love those*), and there are mirrors and windows to see what is around me - coming and going and passing by.

I may not be driving, but I'm enjoying the ride.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

were there fireworks?

The New Year experience escaped me this year - or perhaps, it would be better to say that I released it from any obligation to provide extraordinary entertainment, purpose, or meaning for my life. I know we moved into a new decade - but it doesn't feel all that monumental.

Perhaps as we grow, the passage of time becomes less and less a thing to marvel at - and more an immutable fact of life.

Perhaps I'm just not a "party" person - the lure of big crowds, fancy food and drinks, sparkly outfits and loud music cannot override the call of comfy pjs and a warm spot on my couch.

Perhaps I've risen above the need to assign meaning to a specific amount of time, dictated by the calendar.

Possible answers, and mostly way more flattering than the truth... that my life has an ebb and flow right now that really squeezed out the need for a "new year."

Motherhood keeps me constantly re-evaluating myself, my time, my goals.

I don't need a new number on the calendar to remind me that time is passing and things are changing - I can see growth, joy, pain, change and love in people and circumstances all around me, all the time.

I have hope for the future.
I have love in my house.
I have two little girls who - for the moment - will not turn down a single moment I offer them.
I have faith in a God Who is in all and above all and holds all things together.
I have uncertainty and unknowns in my life.
I have a place to lay those burdens down.
I have gifts to offer my friends, neighbors and family.

So instead of ringing in the New Year with sparkles and screams - I nod quietly in its direction, recognizing and appreciating the gift of a clean slate... and yet knowing that there is far more in the hands of my Father than in the hands of resolutions and goals... and that the one thing that is in my hands is my response.