Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday {reflection}

I have to admit something deep and personal.  I have a very short attention span.  I have learned to compensate by learning HANDicrafts which give me the ability to focus.  BUT...this is a bit awkward in church especially since I sing in the choir.  Excuse me everyone, this sermon is great, but I am going to just whip out this sweater I am knitting...

Yeah, I just don't see that playing well.

So, I write.  Sometimes I write sermon notes, sometimes I write my own take on the day's scripture or sometimes I just write.  Just in case this horrifies you, I don't write when I hear the sermon the first time...just the second or, sometimes, third time...we do church a lot.

Today, I wrote about something heavy on my mind and bladder these days...having a baby.  Specifically, those first few days of being a mother.  I know it is Father's Day, but I have never been a father, so I really can't comment more than I am grateful my husband is a good one!

To future self: This is Ollie.

Dear New Mother,
     These first days are so difficult and overwhelming that I wish I could sit right next to you and help you through them.  I wish I could ease the transition from woman to woman-mother, and I hope someone is there to help you bear your shock.  There is no way to prepare for the tearing arrival of a new born life.  There is no book to read that will give you more than a glimpse into the wonderful, glorious devastation of motherhood.  A child gives you a new life and one simply cannot--should not keep on with life as was.  This gift of a child cannot arrive without changing you utterly, but like any change it isn't instant or painless.
     Those first days are huge and your soul struggles to lurch forward moment by moment.  I know you are tired, desperate, wounded and terrified.  I know you are amazed by this new life and also wondering if you are enough for this child.  Hear this one thing: this child is God's child and while you are most certainly not enough, God will not abandon God's child.  You are deeply called to guide this small one toward the God who is the Creator and true parent of all small ones.  So, know that you are not alone, and there is a reason they come in small packages.  Parents get to grow up with their children.  Never be afraid to learn, but remember that you have been given unique stewardship of this child of God and are perfectly tailored for the task.
     These first six weeks remember that God's community surrounds you.  As you struggle to feed your baby and yourself, learn to ask for help.  Expose yourself to opportunities for others to show radical hospitality to you.  For six blessed weeks, give yourself permission to hold your baby and let that baby smell work its magic.  Let your house fall to shambles.  Eat peanut butter crackers.  Take baths.  Cry.  But do not be alone.   Reach out when you need it.  Love your baby and let others love you.  Know that the pain eases, that those cloudy eyes clear, and soon your tired eyes will see a smile bloom over that little toothless face that will leave you breathless.
     Hang on, Mama.  I love you and I am proud of you.  The life of your child has just begun and it is miraculous.  Your wild, compelling, unyeilding journey into motherhood is before you.  Put your feet on the path and let it astound you.


A Mother

Saturday, June 15, 2013

There was a time...

Luke and I celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary this week, and because it is a stereotypical mile stone in an marriage, I feel that I should give some reflections about my personal growth and how deeply and profoundly my life has been changed over the past nine gloriously varied and busy years.

Year 1: I fretted about forgetting to wipe down the kitchen chairs when they got dusty.
Year 9: Rejoice with me!  My chairs never get dusty!  How did I reach this state of cleaning-nirvana? I have employed the peanut butter method.  Have three children smear each chair and most of the table liberally with peanut butter and then rinse with milk.  This method is actually dust repellant, because I haven't seen any dust on those chairs in roughly four years.  Butter, jelly, honey, syrup, spaghetti sauce and ketchup work equally well although I would discourage the use of oatmeal or granola because those substances are actually part concrete when dry.

Year 1: I felt guilty about sleeping past 10:00 am on Saturdays because...I have no idea: I just did. 
Year 9: I have shed this burden completely.  I feel set free and totally released of my overwhelming guilt.  Again, what soul-cleansing practice did I employ?  I have learned to deploy children at two hour intervals beginning at 4:00 am who populate my bed with knees and elbows in increasing numbers making my repose so forced and uncomfortable that I haul my tattered carcass out of bed at a truly respectable hour.

Year 1: I routinely procrastinated about putting things away.  Non-perishable groceries would stand on the counter for two days or more before I got around to putting them away.
Year 9: Over the past nine years I have tried many methods to motivate myself to be more compulsive about putting things away including stern talks, time-outs, bribery and motivational quotes displayed under the unsorted mail and spaghetti noodles, but the most successful, by far, has been the leave-it-out-and-lose-it method.  If I leave a box of cereal out, Annabel has solemnly promised to cut it open and dump it on the floor of her bedroom.  If I leave yarn out, Laine has taken an unbreakable oath to wind it around every object in our home then cut it in to tiny strings which will then be glued to the freshly peanut buttered table.

Luke, I am raising my wine glass full of unsweetened, decaffeinated tea to us--our life, our love and the last fragments of our sanity.  If I could go back and tell that 15 year old girl who fell in love with you so long ago one thing it would be this...he is the real deal!  Also, you aren't fat, no really, you aren't.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Awake and Dreaming

So, exciting news!  I have a thought on dirt.  Actual dirt.  Please, understand that the following image is actually a result of far too much thinking and cyber surfing to be truly healthy, but I would like to announce that I have...PLANTED ACTUAL SEEDS.  To be fair, we have also planted blueberry plants, apple trees and one rose bush, but they are all far from harvest...years on fact.  So we improvised.

For the last year, my family has been remodeling our basement holiday style.  As in, building a shed over Labor Day, framing in the room over Christmas and painting over Easter.  My dad and husband have done an incredible amount of work, and I have made an incredible amount of plans for others to do.  We have finally stumbled into the unpacking and setting up part and I feel like we are at mile 20 of a marathon.  We are so close, but I am so tired and my under arms are chafed.  That part puzzles me too...

In the great unpacking of the horrible-closet-of-doom, I happened upon about 862 reusable shopping bags.  I may or may not have a thing for bags.  I just can't get rid of a bag.  Even if it is a stupid bag that will never be of great use, I feel as if somewhere, sometime I will regret its loss.  And I hate regretting loss.  So, I pack them away for the day when I will need them.  

Turns out in this particular quarter acre of life giving earth, only about ten square feet get summer time full sun.  This particular spot is right next to our driveway.  Now, I am not a germs girl, but I do hesitate putting food into soil that gets road wash.  Call me crazy, but it seems to lessen the overall healthy effect of gardening to be planting in nasty car-poop dirt.  Probably there is a parable in there...

I came up with a few really bad ideas...burlap bags on my deck (read:dirt party), giant rolling bins (read: plunge of death into a creek) and clear-cutting our lot (read: it takes forever to cut down a tree with a butter knife).  Then a kind of nirvana-upcycling epiphany happened.  Reusable shopping bags are for bringing vegetables home, so...why not grow vegetables in them?!  Right?!

Welcome to Pinwheel NanoFarm where the ragged ends are knit together into one beautiful life.

PS: I am not crazy...the adjacent sunny, flat, perfect field is not ours...or that bad boy would be full of seeds and weeds by now!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More Than I Can Chew

Here in our home, we specialize in taking on at least as much as we can carry, and soon we will both have both arms full all of the time.  The newest Lingle arrives at the end of October, and we are thrilled to be having another girl.  After three "surprises," we decided to find out who this little one with be just a bit early.  I have never felt more settled or more inadequate as a mother as I do right now.  We wanted four children, but I really didn't think we would ever do it, and I had no idea we would acquire them so quickly.  61 months from oldest to youngest.

But it suits us.  We are all tumbled into our home in a mishmash of giggles and arms and noses.

We are all growing up.  I have learned some real truths about motherhood and marriage this year, and maybe, if I ever get enough sleep or time, I will jot them down here.  Laine learned to ride a two-wheeled bike and do his own laundry this week.  Annabel has given up her plugger (pacifier) by dint of losing it in a river on a short vacation an hour from new pluggers (let's just say no one was sleeping-in on that trip).  Oliver has moved upstairs into his very own bed in the big kid room.  (Currently it is still a crib and this Mama isn't taking that darn rail off until he is six.)  So, here we are, poised on the edge of summer, waiting for new life and new adventures.

Yes, I have bitten off more than I can chew, but it tastes good!