fickled expectation

expectations are funny things. fickle things. falling-short things, really.

and boy howdy do we have much too many of them all at once.

i know i do. did. will have again. unfortunately.

yes, i was one of the many who thought marriage would be something i would be good at.

my perception of wife-hood was one of which i totally thought i would rock. like i rocked those wrangler jeans in the barn days of my youth.

being a wife was something i totally thought i had covered. and yes, this is where i pause to laugh because i honestly thought: 

how could it not be?

how could i not have this covered? i paid attention. every compliment. every seeming act of virtuous wife. i studied it. i mimicked it. craved it. grasped for it. fell short of it. and kept on again.

that is, until i got married myself. and realized expectation doesn’t come in terms of “one,” it comes as a whole flock.

it’s not about having an expectation.

it’s about having expectationssssss. times infinity.

because sure there’s the expectation of the condition of the marital relationship. of how fights will go. or not go.

but there’s also the house.

the city.

the lifestyle.

a thousand little expectations all culminating and merging into one whole expectation of what marriage will be like.

you may not have any expectations for your spouse. at least not unrealistic ones. but what about the environment of living it all.

and in the midst of the reality of my fickle little friend, Expectations, i was affronted with the fact that being a mother would be another time of me falling so much shorter than i ever imagined.

motherhood and wifehood. and all the whimsical dreams of youth now brought to light.

how do we turn that stark brightness off? dim it down a little bit… a little less harsh… a little more dream-like.

Halmark-Card-me… there should be an app for that…

or at least an oil.

oh naive, simpleton, me.

children are the mirrors of ourselves. and our spouses. and you thought communicating with another adult was hard. or trying to understand your own self at times was exhausting enough… *laugh* *cough*

and then you try to lead a child version- understand the child, speak with the child. listen to the child. have patience with the child. and don’t lose your-self to your-selfishness along the way.

don’t take the frustrations of the child-learning into the husband-endearing, and don’t take the trials of the husband-loving into the child-growing.

going from tiny humans to grown human, and back again.

the meter running out all the while on that little introvert battery of yours…

for how do you really truly fill an introverted heart in an overflowing house. city all abuzz and never a moment to breath?

the rush of it all collides against and collapses into you, and all the while trying to catch, and rear, teach and love…

it could overwhelm a person entirely.

too entirely.

but all is grace.

all is gift.

i always wanted to be a mother. i just never wanted to be a city-mother. an errand-running-mother. a life lived everywhere but here, mother. 

i am not the mother i wanted to be. 

i wanted that life of sitting on palettes in front of fire place… reading books, snuggled close. pajama day? every day.

play outside on mountain knoll… climb the rocks… explore the untamed woods… do it all with the nose in a book.

you all can have the city… i’ll take the farm… the mountain ranges… the anywhere that herds of people are not. 

oh, the fickled expectations… if only life always fit like the pair of jeans from childhood. the ragamuffin days. the lay on the hillside, watch the clouds play, days. 

the scramble to the woods. the build a fort from fallen Aspen trees. the days of black and white, and everything fell just right. 

but you see what i’ve done, don’t you? equating the circumstance to the occupation of motherhood. that the mothering comes easy when the life comes easy. and when the winds of life blow hard, the air gets knocked right out of me and i lay down not knowing what to do.

expectations locked up in circumstance.

and everything begins to crumbled right dust.

so i name the grace gift of motherhood.

of wifehood.

of Him being All Good.

of chilled days.

and warm teas.

of log piles.

and Christmas trees.

of fort climbing.

and slide racing.

swing giggles.

wild and crazy.

i name the grace and pray that finds the Joy He gave in this life of mine.

to let it go and let it be… and maybe find a peace for me.

to give up on this grating desire for everything to lay perfect. quiet.

to live the upside down motherhood life- of mothering in the life.

and not letting the living control the mother i am going to be.

to name the grace even when everything seems to not be… as it should be.

 

 

 

 

children may just teach you your own childishness

and we are all just children. the all of us here.

children.

yes, there’s a reason we’re not called God’s “adult-children.” and having children of your very own will teach that better than any writings or vocalizing on the subject.

children scream

because when those days come we get to hear God’s words through our mouths and watch our reactions in the faces of our children.

we question their refusals and rebuttals.

their disobedient acts and their flagrant disregard.

and disrespect.

their wandering hearts and their fickle emotions.

pirate tuck

we see it all.

i see it all.

i feel the hurt of it and the anguish. the desperation to get them to understand that what i ask of them is ultimately for. their. good. 

they don’t see the tomorrow that we see. a day filled with adventures and plans – which in turn requires a good rest the day prior in order to enjoy the activities of the next to their fullest.

and there is no reasoning  with a toddler.

we are asking them for something that is severely precious. anguishing to relinquish. and guarded ferociously.

their trust.

i am honestly not quite sure why we haven’t obtained it yet.

you’d think after all of the middle of the night feedings and diaper changes… the stroking of sick backs… the cleaning of sheets and clothes… and the fact that no matter how long it takes to get a meal made, they will still get fed… that we would have earned the right to be trusted by our children on all accounts.

without question.

despite all of the provisions and all of the gifting. there is a lack of trust.

of complete trust.

perfect trust.

and the belief that the child’s way will yield the best results. better than those of the parent. yes, that.

Tuck leap

you’ve seen a tired child. i’ve seen a tired child. that middle of the day meltdown where it’s so ridiculously obvious that poor kid is exhausted out of its mind- trying to control the laughter- while at the same time running down how to actually convince that child of the fact. you as the parent, or caretaker, or just keen adult observer, know this child’s needs.

most children don’t think they need sleep though. most fight it. i have one who viciously fights it.

i’m talking this kid gave up morning naps when he started to crawl. at five months.

he gave up afternoon naps when he started to walk. at eleven months.

and we did cry it out. sleeping in bed with me for nap-time. you name it, i most likely tried it.

he would scream for fifteen minutes. pause for one. then scream for fifteen more. and repeat.

for over an hour. 

he probably could have gone longer. but i couldn’t.

daddy Liam snuggle

there’s no reasoning with a baby. or a toddler. my kids aren’t at the other ages yet. but i don’t hold out much hope. because when i reflect back at my own actions with my own Heavenly Father, how much worse am i than them?

because i can understand not fully trusting another fallible human being.

but the Creator of the Universe? the One knitting together of DNA into marvels? miracles and life abounding from His touch? and my very breath evidence of His very Grace? what is the reason for not putting my trust wholly in Him and His Holiness?

why haven’t i been able to teach my heart that the more i seek the Joy in Christ, the more i will be in-Joy. en-joy my life. my children. this grace gift given at highest cost?

mirroring my attitude of child to the King back in my mind- i see all too well the screaming for my longings and fleeting desires. all the while He stands bent over stove and agonizing over what He is making for my life to become.

with calm voice and gentle hand, He repeats to me, “I am working all these things together for your good. for My purpose.” (Romans 8:28 paraphrased)

Liam toss

we teach our children to ride a bike with training wheels. looking to the day when the training wheels come off and the child flies off on two wheels and a grande feat accomplished.

one of the firsts.

and not the lasts.

us parents are already looking to the next.

we labor over the learning of letters and numbers. singing alphabets and counting to ten… so they can write their names and count their ages. for starters. 

why then do we not believe that Christ is working in us? that every refining moment has a purpose-  equipping us- readying us- for when we need those tools we will also need to know how to use them.

that is what this life is.

all moments that lead to deeper and more. all purposed and planned. diligently. intricately.

and we are meant to enjoy it all.

trusting in Him. naming the grace-gift of this life. and its moments.

even when our children are red-faced and refusing to rest their weary selves. even those moments can be a refining fire.

 

tuck's lashes

so may i encourage you as i remind myself- to not miss the opportunity to be refined. it may not be what you are wanting. but it may be what you are needing.

(a good way to tell when you are in the midst of this? when you feel like throwing a tantrum yourself. generally that means you are being told to obey a Father who isn’t acquiescing to your requests. and instead insisting that He knows what is for your best. And isn’t that just so incredibly good? Hard, yes. but GOOD.) 

waking up… to you

that half asleep, “is there someone crying or is there some animal foraging in our driveway?” thought which only proceeds to draw the conclusion that there IS in fact a child crying. and the heart sinks and the body groans. and what in the all of this world is anyone doing awake right now?

and the hubby goes to check what exactly is the cause of this at 5:30 in the morning.

his report?

our oldest, our four year old, our wild and crazy and energy, the one who shares a room with his sisteryes… him– he has turned on the. bedroom. lights.

the one year old’s room? Yep, it is right next to this one with all crazy and crying and lights-to-bright-for-pre-dawn-of-day exploding out of it. yes, he’s up too. i mean, how could he not be?

when your day starts like that? 

you may find yourself wanting it to end as.soon.as.possible. 

well, sooner probably. 

can’t we just pull down the moon like a block-out shade?

put the kids to bed?

just try again tomorrow?

can we just skip time?

how about just pushing that little reset button? and this time we remember to turn off the light by the pull chain, making it impossible for our rambunctious to turn on the lightbulbs? Can’t we just do that?

Please?!

i know that button exists, by the way.

i just haven’t found it yet.

and then after hours of children with too-dark-circles under eyes, and a lunch which in short does not “go well,” at. all., why not load up the three children and head to the post office? i mean what could possibly happen there? 

you know, besides a child running around with one end of the waiting-line-rope unhooked from one of the anchor poles, chasing after her brother screaming “look a hook!” and something that sounded like maniacal laughter coming out of her after that sentence as she stretches in an attempt to loop that hook onto her brother.

meanwhile, the four-year-old (remember him?) yeah, he’s crashing into the greeting cards and ripping them out faster than seems humanly possible.

i hear him saying something about finding Spider-man and wanting to keep him.

and then? his sister joins him. and, after they’ve mutilated that to their disturbed satisfaction, they take to running from their mother (aka myself), who is chasing after them with a 26 pound “baby” strapped to her chest. bless my ergo-baby carrier. life line. god send. it’s not just a baby carrier y’all. it’s the only way to survive! (- there’s a reason why strapping a child to its mother is a pattern across the globe)

i know the way to make them stop. it’s to make the face. you know the one? Yep, the one that comes with the voice. the one that makes everything ugly. and let’s just be honest, it’ll only work for a couple minutes-  and quite frankly i just wanted to stay as calm as possible.

i may end up having to buy 15 “anniversary” cards and another 10 “best wishes,” but i will not lose my temper. i won’t. i don’t know how to handle this. i look them in the eyes and tell them to calm down. pull them to my legs. pick up cards as best as i can with a mega child tied to the front of me. and then?

i turn back to head into line.

there’s an adorable older woman in front of me. and bless her, she has the children wait with her while i grab envelopes. and i try to make sense of what is the difference between “priority” mail and “priority express”- yeah almost didn’t catch the +$10 price tag on that one! 

mail

my daughter pipes up in line. my son just finished telling the lady his name is “Tucker,” and Maddi gazes up at her and asks, “Who’s your name?” 

the lady replies, “Joy.”

i only half listen as Maddi replies, “Ooooh that’s a GOOD name!” her hands to her cheeks as she tries to fully express just how much she likes the name.

within two minutes my kids are trying to “swing” on the waiting-line-rope and the baby is squirming every which way to try to watch me and them and everyone else while trying to not drop his pacifier. i grabbed the envelopes, paid for stamps, and got the “h” out of there.

“Mrs. Weasley’s “howler” would come in handy right about now.”

that’s what i am telling myself.

i doubt i’m the first. (if you’re not a Harry Potter fan, then you probably don’t understand the reference, so you should now go read the books, or at least watch the movies 😉 )

i could see me using her exact wording, “if you put another TOE out of line…” yep, that’s how i felt. but i don’t have the red hair and i don’t think i wear motherhood quite like she does. a woman you want to sit in the kitchen and just listen to, while at the same time knowing she is a force to be reckoned with.

(she may just be the epitome of my motherhood role-model.)

unfortunately, i cannot send screaming letters that explode into balls of fire after they’re done shrieking my reprimands to my children. it would be nice though.

The phrase “I’ll try again tomorrow,” morphs a bit to “Am I really going to try this again tomorrow?”

There must be an easier way.

There was something that stuck with me for the rest of the day though. You’ve probably already guessed it.

“Joy.”

is there a more beautiful name?

she didn’t give anything more than that, just the word- which at the time I found a little bit like God was smiling at me through the chaos, and a quiet voice in the back of my head telling me i can choose joy. here, in this moment. this crazy. this wrecking of government property. i can choose to find joy. to name the grace gift. to name it all.

and in the car with the kids going crazy and me crying on the phone. yeah, i can still name grace. speak truth over myself and my children.

as i put lavender and cedar wood oil combo on the bottoms of feet and put the mayhem to sleep- praying for sleep- and thanking for grace. and joy.

 

 

a daddy’s day

from father’s day to father’s day- and everything that has passed from then to now.

see he became “Daddy” when i became real… and you never understand what it means to not have something real until you’re losing it.

when “cancer,” “masses,” “chemo,” “radiation,” and “tired” – worn to and through those bones of dust tired– become the family vernacular… when anytime before this time seems a distant dream… 

yes, you find yourself with face pressed close to floor

and the only words are wept to the Father who knows.

The One who Comforts fully.

and it’s a drawing of self to Him, of clenching tight to His robes, and of realizing that- though it is dark- and the light seems to never be coming-

this suffering.

this aching.

this just may be holy ground. 

so we bend down low to undo dirt encrusted sandals

and we open our hardened palms to receiving – when all we really want to do is clench white knuckled tight to these things of this life that are good … and ache us raw to think of losing – to open the hands and maybe to be able to see this, the hard eucharisteo.

this life of mine began with my Heavenly Father’s plan who gave me to this Daddy of mine.

He gave me to the man who loves to sail the untamable oceans- because He knew how important it would be for me, to have a Daddy to teach me to love the untamable times of this life. 

He gave me to the man who cares more for his Heavenly Father’s opinions than those of any others.

to the man who wakes early to steep his soul long in his Father’s Word- how life-altering that can be for a child to witness in her daddy’s life. 

He gave me to the man who loves and serves deeply and diligently.

the man who is slow to anger, and the most patient i have ever known. – because, yes, God knew i needed a man like that to be my daddy – one that would love me and suffer with me – because patience is suffering, and it takes truly patient people to always truly love and like their child. 

a man who would walk through the all of this life with me as all as he could… all the while teaching me that the One I needed more than anyone or anything else was Christ, and that when he would fall short, Christ never would.

a daddy to point his child back to her Father, knowing his imperfections enough to not take on the trials of this world without fully leaning into the One who has overcome the world. 

one who blesses me and believes in me.

and maybe he isn’t the world’s perfection of “Daddy,” but he was created to be the perfect Dad for me, and I was created to be his.

that, to me, is enough.

so, “Happy Daddy Day” to a truly wonderful man

– i have been extra ordinarily blessed to have you as mine.

 

Image

entry eighteen

and how is so much wrong so fast? and why do the scales of life tip heavy to anger and irritability? a constant, rip right through your gut and straight out your throat – hot anger.

and why doesn’t time freeze?

dressing the baby in an outfit he’ll wear for the last time today. and it has come.

here.

now.

and it’s too fast.

the last time this clothing will be worn by a child from my womb- and have I missed most of it? has my energy been spent doing dishes and mopping floors – and thoughts consumed by these trivial mundanes when they are not actually being accomplished in the moment of the here and now?

when I have nothing to do but give in to sleep and still the list of the daily chores goes and rushes my mind- so I can be sure as to not forget a single one when it’s, you know, tomorrow?

and do I find my children’s laughter as important? to read their favorite lines for the thousandth time that day?

and what is true importance?

am I raising up children with an eternal outlook on life- the kind of young people who know what it means to live all out full tilt for the Kingdom- or am I teaching them to find their worth in the clean of the day?

and there’s a need for smiling more. for finding more of the joy. for putting away as you go and if something is missed allowing it to be found at a time.. one that is not now.

for laughing more.

for more pages and less screens.

for soft words and silly songs.

for just an actual enjoyment of the day that is given right gift. the now.

for writing the Scriptures on their hearts and for guiding them a little closer to their Heavenly Father. for teaching by action and not by diction. for allowing room for messes and ugly and for it to be okay when they just can’t control every emotion that bombards their tiny beings.

for grace.

for thanks.

for joy.

yeah, more time for joy.

for less putting off until tomorrow.

because the outfits of today may not fit tomorrow. and the growing doesn’t stop. and time is a never ceasing torrent of minutes. and days will never come twice.

little man coos

Liam’s crooked “got a secret” pure joy smile

a boy-child’s intuition

a girl-child-not-quite-two’s ability to make every expression heart stopping and hilarious

a husband home from work on days when the body isn’t strong enough

wedding invitations that cover photo wires

lit by glowstick toddler faces all awe and giddy

entry seventeen

“If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief… atheism.” (Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts 148)

and how easy to choose stress in motherhood. to let the fears of this world wholly consume until there is no trust left inside the depths of this heart. no longer does anxiety come upon me as I contemplate my own life, but now as I look at the three lives entrusted to my care. stress. my mind is prone to gallop full speed into lands rich with anxiety and cares that are solely of this world. and trust is absent.

to believe. it’s a verb. an action. a choice. to wake up to every day and choose the cares of this world and the blackened fear that accompanies- or to believe, to trust, that God is not only God, but that He is good. and the thankfulness of the soul builds up the trust in the God who has made all the things good.

to choose to name thanksgivings. to receive the joy from the trust that is built upon the act of naming thanks.

blue eyes color of Colorado skies perfect there on my daughter’s face

the strength of my family as my father battles the cancer 

and is this the ugly beautiful? that beauty can be seen out of something so unbelievably ugly? that the very thing that could easily cause the rush of fear has in fact created a stronger trust? that community rises up and takes breath right out of lungs while the waters rush to the eyes- because of the loving trust of One who is greater. who is good.

“I shake my head at the blinding wonder of it: Trust is the bridge from yesterday to tomorrow, built with planks of thanks. Remembering frames up gratitude. Gratitude lays out the planks of trust. I can walk the planks – from known to unknown – and know: He holds.” (One Thousand Gifts 152)

perfect chub of baby hand held close to perfect round cheek

sideways baby smile – the response to hearing my voice – and the wonder of that full of love overflowing all consuming feeling

the baby-turned-child-turning-boy in fast-sleep in my husband’s arms

the laughter of late night friendships

a day of quiet

sun strokes dancing in daughter’s strands of hair

the boy joy of running down grassed hill

the child wonder of the nature that surrounds

the child like faith.

the unflinching trust in the parent’s provision.

and why as parents does that slip through fingers like the boat’s hull slips along the water’s surface? the water forgets the boat’s presence, and have I too so easily forgotten? and am I teaching my children to trust or am I teaching them to fear? do I clutch for a handhold of this world and strive to hold their hands a little tighter when their lives are not in my hands at all?

these lives labored into this world- and the laboring didn’t end in the delivery room- it just began there. but these lives, these three, created in womb and gifted to me are three things more that are required to in turn be entrusted back to Him. to be name-thanked and grace-given, and trusted to Him completely.

fifteen

It’s happened two times; two times since I became an adult, since I reached this age of independence and self-sufficiency… it has happened twice. When the phone rings and knocks the breath clean out of my lungs. And to breathe feels like drowning. And to communicate the shock is near impossible for the words are thick and weighted deep in the heart and the blood rushes faster than ever, but thought becomes sluggish and is never birthed forth into spoken word.

And it’s a feeling of helplessness.

Of out of my hands and out of my control.

And I cannot even be there to bear witness.

Or to comfort my own selfish heart.

To hold his hands or to see him hold is second grandson for the first time… because that hasn’t happened yet. My son is one month old, and has never been held by his grandfather. And that makes the tears pile behind closed lids. The water gathers and I swallow it back. Because crying won’t help anything. It’ll just wake the reflux filled infant sleeping in a basket at my feet. And tears don’t cure cancer.

I wish they did though. Because I can do that. I can cry.

I can pray. But I think I can cry better. And I can be desperate and sleep deprived and unable to put thought into words.

But oh, I could cry. And if tears could heal we’d all be well.

Now I crave to know every medical term in the books, and even the ones that haven’t made it to text yet. To fully understand and comprehend just how bad everything is. Because the internet makes everything appear death, and the doctors make everything appear controllable, and I won’t know the difference. I wish I could understand. but I don’t. I just don’t. My mind is fuzzy and my words empty. (And only partly because I am a mother of three children three years of age and under.)

The other part, the main part, is that in the midst of crisis I process slow.

Looking back to the first time I had gotten a phone call that shook me to the core- to when my little brother had been diagnosed with two brain aneurysms- one as large as a golfball– and I was in this same city, hours away from my family. I wish I had been there more but honestly I feel like my time in that hospital was a blur of pointless – I let things  happen around me and didn’t even try to understand. It’s what helpless looks like. But at least I could be there.

Seated. hands open. desperate to grab hold of anything and everything, unable to touch a single thing. and the rush of the ones in the coats with the knowledge who God has placed in the situation are so busy acting that they cannot fully explain to my confused and chaotic brain.

And here I sit again. Helpless. As my father walks into the unknown with the rest of my family beside him- I sit in this other city. Aware of what is happening by what I receive over a telephone.

And here it is. It’s come. The hard eucharisteo. And do I thank Him? And can I name it? And how does anyone find the joy in the times such as these?

My elocution is lacking. My words are far from beautiful.

So here it is. Written down in black and white. And I am in the midst of walking through it. And God is in the midst of it all.

Eucharisteo.

entry twelve

“In this wilderness, I keep circling back to this: I’m blind to joy’s well every time I really don’t want it. The well is always there. And I choose not to see it. Don’t I really want joy? Don’t I really want the fullest life? For all my yearning for joy, longing for joy, begging for joy – is the bald truth that I prefer the empty dark? Prefer drama? Why do I lunge for control instead of joy? Is it somehow more perversely satisfying to flex control’s muscle? Ah – power – like Satan. Do I think Jesus-grace too impotent to give me the full life? Isn’t that the only reason I don’t always swill joy? If the startling truth is that I don’t really want joy, there’s a far worse truth. If I am rejecting the joy that is hidden somewhere deep in this moment – am I not ultimately rejecting God? Whenever I am blind to joy’s well, isn’t it because I don’t believe in God’s care? That God cares enough about me to always offer me joy’s water, wherever I am, regardless of circumstance. But if I don’t believe God cares, if I don’t want or seek the joy He definitely offers somewhere in this moment – I don’t want God.                              Blasphemer.”

– Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts 130

And this is where I am. And here is where I sit. And the choice is set before me. And I react. React to the stresses and the pains and the emotions in ever-increasing tumult that well up inside of me. I choose. Because it is a choice… however much I wish to deny it.

My heart longings and my flesh abilities do not fit together in these final weeks of child-still-in-womb. And where is the God-grace and why do I turn blind eye to it? My mind does not first thank and re-joice, but rather it dwells on all the inadequacies of my own self- things that I cannot change. These God-given-graces that flood my days and I count them as burden and ugly and not-good-enoughs to name-thanks for.

And why?

Who am I to judge grace? And who am I to not be sehnsucht for it? I understand the joy that comes from the naming of grace-gift – the ugly beautiful’s and the easy beautiful’s – I have experienced it, however finite that experience has been. And yet I still don’t live in constant seeking of it.

And then there’s the “far worse truth.” My rejection of God, the grace-gifter.

And it’s still here, this prideful control of mine, this stern lip and stubborn chin, and the flickering ember that just won’t completely die that lies deep inside of me- in all the rebelliousness it can muster in this moment. And it clings to control. And for what?

To let go and let God’s grace gifts be named and recognized fully… To relinquish this childish control and fall deep into the Father’s well of joy… And why not?

staying up past bedtime giggles

the squeals induced by a dog-friend being in our home

my son who wants my arms to hug and hold him -(will I see grace when he is too old for me to kiss his tiny pink lips?)

a daughter who won’t let me go – (and when she refuses to stay? will I see it then?)

To bottle this time- to be fully here- and then I resent the aching of this weary pregnant body and I long to escape its restricting skin- to run and laugh and play a different role than the one I am able to at this point in time. … But is this not grace too?

a body that carries life inside of it

a child being formed safe within

tangled mess of fringe on blanket’s edge

the worn hole in husband’s shirt

the candle-left-burn-scar on coffee “table” from a childhood party at my grandmother’s

the droop of the sunflowers as light gives way to night

the painted messes of colors all wrong on bedroom walls

And this. The heart calm.

entry 9

I painted last night. Long strokes of too light color. A discouraging beauty- to see the need for a second coat before the first strokes have even begun to dry. Too late I drag my weary body to bed. Legs and feet and fingers and arms feel swollen and sluggish and don’t bend properly.

And yet there’s a feeling of satisfaction.

The morning comes and throughout it’s course I pause in the doorway and examine fresh color on walls. The need for a second coat is still apparent if I stare too long a time. But a glance? And it looks all lovely and peace.

a lightening of space through the newness of fresh paint

My body aches as the kids wake and it groans. But they grin. And they jump, and they beg. They clamor and they eat. And then they want to eat again. My body screams throughout my insides- and the aching surges deep.

putting swollen pregnancy feet up on couch for a two minute rest. 

We go to Target. We come home. The kids eat lunch and I ignore my flesh and the desire to sit and let kids watch another show. But it’s hot outside and the moisture in the air could almost choke my swollen self. I grab plastic food bins and water. Brushes and paints. Put kids in suits for swimming.

the brain power to only give children two paints instead of all six.

my son telling me that the red and blue paint make purple- the very thing I was going to tell him. 

Two healthy kids, covered in water, at play together in glorious sun

There’s a battle here in my heart though. Through the midst of these joys and the re-joicing- there’s a struggle to stay in the joy and be all here in this perfect now. And to wholly give thanks for all grace gift. I haven’t done so today.

For in the midst of the joys and the midst of the crazy happy I have given way to the stresses of this world and chosen them over the thanking of the graces of this day. The desperation I feel and the choice I make for my own self instead of slowing down and taking the time to meet my children where they are. To bend knee and bend low and speak to them so that they hear and understand. To encourage them in obedience. To have a patience that exceeds my own.