Finding Beauty that Heals

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Beauty is the bedrock under all of life. Sometimes, like bedrock, I have to dig deep to uncover it. Other times, it is so present it’s overwhelming. It’s everywhere, easy, free for the taking.

Today was one of those times.

Coming on the heels (or rather, smack in the midst) of a time when beauty has been well hidden in my life, the contrast is so obvious it’s laughable.

I’m basking. Yes, this is a stop-and-smell-the-roses, appreciate-the-moment-while-it’s-here kind of thing. There’s some kind of truth in those tired old phrases.

The electric green grass.

The whispery, shivery breeze.

Watching my littlest boys play in the dirt, loving them so much I can’t stand it.

Playing music I love in the car with the windows open, each note isolated and lovely and somehow still a part of everything else.

No matter how much it seems like it won’t, spring always comes. The harder, excruciating kind of barren winter beauty, the kind that empties and cleanses and shapes us, only lasts for a season.

I say this to remind myself — when beauty is hidden, dig for it. Find it. And when it is all around you, grab it. Drink it. Soak in it. Stop and notice every little blade-of-grass bit of it. And gather it up like a treasure. Pile it in the storehouse of your heart.

Beauty, even remembered beauty, heals.

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Blue Christmas

 

barnstarThe holiday season this year has not been merry for me. This past week has been particularly trying, exposing for all the world to see my poor parenting under stress. Yesterday I dropped off my two youngest boys with a friend while I rushed to keep an appointment. Both boys were sockless in late December, the baby still in pjs, his face orange and messy because he ate mac and cheese—yes, fake fluorescent-orange powder, boxed mac and cheese—for breakfast. This morning’s breakfast was Christmas cookies . I reason that they can’t be any more sugary than donuts or Pop Tarts or Lucky Charms. Right? Continue reading

Running toward Joy

woman-runnerIt’s a late-summer Sunday evening. I’m training for the Baltimore half-marathon, my first-ever running race. Today’s goal is eight miles, the farthest run yet. I’m chugging up a long, gradual hill on the last leg of the run at a pace barely above a walk. I can barely see my two training partners ahead, both veteran runners who, without meaning to, naturally and steadily increased the space between us. Desperately thirsty and hungry, all I can think about is how much I’m craving watermelon. My legs hurt, my back hurts, my right hip hurts. Three of my toes, smashed against the front of my too-small running shoes, throb so agonizingly I almost stop. Almost.  Continue reading

Lent for Mothers

Photo by Jennifer Balaska via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Jennifer Balaska via Wikimedia Commons

My dear friend Kristen, mother of three boys ages four and younger, recently posted the list below on Facebook. I loved it so much, and she graciously gave me permission to reproduce it here. Here’s why I love it. First of all, it made me laugh. I identified with every single one of her penances. I love that there can be as many different parenting philosophies as there are parents in the world, but there are also so many things that all mothers share and understand. I also love this list because it is so encouraging. It’s so easy at the end of a long day at home with kids to look around at your toy-cluttered house, laundry piles, and spaghetti-crusted dishes and wonder what in the world you have to show for your day. This list is a reminder of all we mamas lay down for the sake of our babies and families.  Continue reading

I’m a Writer

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Photo by Chance Agrella via Freerangestock.com

There’s a comedy skit where a would-be writer moves in to an apartment next to noisy neighbors. When they get too loud, he calls the cops, protesting weakly, “I’m trying to write in here! I’m a writer!

It’s an inside joke between me and my brother – we say it to each other when I’m talking about writing-related business. There’s always been a little part of me, though, that believes I am that stereotype – the whiny dilettante that always tells everyone how I do some writing work, or want tohope to, would really like to be a writer.  Continue reading

Early in the morning, my song will rise to thee…

Photo by runrunrun via stock.xchng

Photo by runrunrun via stock.xchng

“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35

I crave the peace of early mornings. The silence is almost physical – a soft and welcome assault on my ears. I was never a morning person, but with three children, mornings have become my refuge. Sometimes I am productive, busily putting things in order, finishing leftover chores and making breakfast before anyone is awake to distract me. Sometimes I am contemplative, praying and listening for God in the quiet. Sometimes I am blessedly unproductive, resting in the stillness before the day requires anything of me.  Continue reading

Guest Post: Faith and Motherhood

 

I had the privilege to be a guest blogger for a good friend: author, pastor and father, Adam Feldman. You can find my post about how motherhood has impacted my faith here, and while you’re at it, look around and enjoy his writing!

I met Adam and his wife Kim several years ago, when their church was meeting in the living room of someone’s house, none of us had kids yet, and we had a lot more free time to spend at coffee shops, reading and writing and talking. It’s amazing to see where we are now – Metanoia has grown by leaps and bounds, we’ve all had a bunch of kids, jobs and life changes, we see each other much less, but our hearts are still close.

I love when that happens.

At the end of the day…

“Thus far the mighty mystery of motherhood is this: How is it that doing it all feels like nothing is ever getting done?”

Rebecca Woolf

This is what goes through my mind as I finally lay myself down in bed tonight. I yelled at my kids, there are dishes in the sink, and I’m just pretending not to see the pile of laundry in the corner of my room.

But…I got one-on-one story time with my littlest, talked with my 5 year old about when our unborn baby got its soul, and painted my daughter’s fingernails.

And that counts.

Starting Over

Sometimes you have to admit when you’re beat.

31 day blogging challenge? I’m beat. I’ve always been someone with plenty of intention. All kinds of intention. I just have a hard time on the follow-through. I was determined to write 31 posts on one topic, even if they weren’t published consecutively, but I realized that at least in this instance, my blind will to finish my commitment was keeping me from moving forward – I got stuck on 31 days, and let all kinds of other writing ideas and inspirations disappear into the creative ether.

There is something to be said for keeping a commitment for commitment’s sake. In fact, it’s something I want to practice much more. But not now, not today. Today I’m moving on.

Today I’m thinking about new things. About a new year, a new day, a new life. A new baby growing in my belly. An unexpected gift. Though logically I should be anxious, this new little one was so unplanned that I can’t do anything but accept. I smile to myself to think about this little secret seed I carry, safe and warm and hidden, in one of the coldest, dreariest months of the year.

I’m beat. I’m tired. But I’m hopeful and expectant. Things are changing as they always do. I’m letting them change, letting them pull me, lift me, take me somewhere new.