Friday, July 25, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Finish

(part of my Five Minute Friday writing challenge)

I bow down to the word "finish." It's in big shiny capital letters--FINISH--in my brain right next to "I love my children fiercely" and "God is faithful" and "Creation is stunning" and "Let's take care of the widows and orphans." It's there like it belongs, looking around saying, "What, guys? I'm one of you. I matter. Quit looking at me that way."
photo credit

If I'm honest, I live most of my days to cross finish lines. Good days are marked by how much I've accomplished, by how much is behind me rather than here, now. I throw these finishes into a pack and show it off (to myself?) at the end of the day as a great and worthy prize. See what you've done! You're really something. And there it is: who I am is suddenly tied up in what I've done. The bigger the pack, the better.

And then a funny thing happens. I put the pack on--proudly, I might add--and am crushed by its weight; it's too much.

That's the moment when I get it: if who I am is tied to what I've done, then I'll be utterly unable to carry that responsibility. I'll always feel guilty that I haven't accomplished more. I'll keep beating myself up for not being enough, doing enough, wanting enough, trying enough. I'll make new finish after new finish so that I feel better about myself. I'll never ever ever finish with all the finishing.

When I can stop long enough to remember that, I get to that beautifully hard place of giving up and giving in to something better. I get to a place of dependence and desperation that I was made for. I get to lay down my heavy load and exchange it for one that's easy and light. Who I am is tied to Whose I am rather than what I do, and there's deep rest there. It is finished.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Three Things Thursday

Thing One: A first--house cleaning
Anyone who's ever lived with me would agree that I'm pretty neat and clean. But having kids sort of redefines "clean," if you know what I mean. Like my house is never all clean at the same time anymore. And wiping down the blinds, washing windows, and vacuuming under the furniture? I've pretty much given that up entirely. I chalk it up to "being human." BUT. There's nothing like having company over to get your butt in gear on these kinds of things, so I hired a couple of ladies to deep clean my house before a baby shower I was hosting (I figured it'd be the only way to have my whole house clean at once, since less than an hour before everyone came, my toddler was crushing his pancake into the floor and the toy box had inexplicably exploded in our living room).

Y'all. Worth. Every. Penny. They spent nearly SEVEN hours in my little house. The canisters that hold my flour and sugar looked brand new. My fridge was cleaned out. I actually felt good about my kids eating off the floor. The inside of my freaking fire place was shining. Best cleaning job I've ever seen and now the latest addition to my yearly budget.

Thing Two: Two Moo conversations
ME: Do you want to go on a walk, bud?
MOO: No, want to go on an adventure.
(So, naturally, we went on an adventure).

As we drive by McDonald's: "Mommy, there's Old MacDonald's!"

Thing Three: small changes, bit impact
After four years of living in this house, nearly a decade of marriage, and two kids (and their toys), it was time to get rid of some college furniture and make a few changes so that our living room a) looked like adults lived it in, and b) didn't look like a toy box had just vomited everywhere. So, a few lamps flanking the sofa and pieces of storage furniture later, I'm really pleased with how such small changes really make the room more inviting. I even had people the baby shower (see #1) compliment my decorating, which was hilarious to me since I've always said that I missed that expected part of womanhood (decorating). My secret: make friends with people who are good at it, steal ideas from their house, and ask them lots of questions when they're at your house. Apparently I can be that person for you now. (But not really.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


It's been five years since Phil and I went on a trip together, so when we had the opportunity to travel to Vancouver to celebrate his dad's Lifetime Achievement Award with his company, we jumped on it. The trip was entirely impractical--two days of traveling for two days of being there--but worth every inconvenience and cost.

What made it worth it:
The look on Phil's dad's face when he saw us. He thought it was just another company trip and had no idea that his sons were flying out to surprise him. When we got there, it was dinnertime and we were going to put our bags in the room, freshen up, and surprise him at dinner. But when the elevator doors opened, he was stepping out, so after a "What are you doing here?" and a wink from us, he was beside himself excited and emotional. Smiles. Tears. Hugs all around. After all the years he's supported and encouraged and gone out of his way for us, we loved every second of giving that to him. The scales will never be balanced, but we hope he felt an inkling of the gratitude for and pride we take in him.

The time away together, uninterrupted. It took a little while to get used to not having kids, and of course we missed them terribly, but it didn't take too long to adjust to life without them either. After all, we've had many more years without them than with them. With the exception of a mild panic attack on the plane (see picture of what I envisioned being my impending doom), we soaked up our time together. I read two books and two magazines, we went on a date, we (tried) to sleep in, we drank our coffee hot, we walked and talked and spent lots of time with other adults. It was glorious. And the reunion with our kids was pretty awesome too.

The beauty of Vancouver. We packed in the activity in our short 48 hours in Vancouver. The highlight by far was hiking Grouse Grind--1.8 grueling miles of steps with one breathtaking view at the summit. Many thanks to Phil and his brother for making interesting conversation to keep my mind off my burning thighs.
photo credit
We also biked the seawall, which really did look like this picture for 9+ miles. Blue water, blue sky, distant mountains, city skyline, green space. All in one. About as close as I get to Heaven on Earth, I think.
photo credit (pardon the lady in purple's backside)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Exhale

photo credit
So I don't really know if this is going to be a thing. I'm not that great at sticking to resolutions and new kicks and all that, but I came across this writing flash mob that sounds fun and interesting and challenging and I want to try it.

Here's the idea: write for 5 minutes, unedited, on the prompt found at Lisa-Jo Baker's Surprised by Motherhood blog. Post to your blog, link on her blog, and get feedback from a fellow contributor.

So, here's my first (only?) FMF (what all the cool regulars call it):

Prompt: EXHALE

Breathe out.

You know those days with the little people when you’ve done puzzles and played outside and done fireworks at 7:30 a.m. and gone on a walk and cooked and played cars and looked at far away places on maps and read books and played cars again and pulled out all the stickers and gone to the park and changed clothes twice because someone peed out their diaper (again) and somehow it’s still not even dinnertime? That was today.

Breathe out.

Those days when your brain is 20 steps ahead and you’re fighting to be present present present. When you know you need to


But you don’t. You frenzy, move, stress out, get impatient, rub your hands down your face and have to walk to the other room to count to ten because MY GOODNESS did he just do that again?

Breathe out, girl.


Push away from all that.


Be still.