Servant's Heart

I've been fighting a fever and body aches for a few days now. Not something that makes caring for a two year old easy or convenient. This morning I sat in the rocking chair and told Tad we would take it easy, that I wasn't feeling well.

"Okay mom, we just play some puzzles."

He left the room and returned with blanket that he placed over my legs and then left again. Half way down the hall he turned around.

" I can have some 'nola bar, mom? You want one too?"

We spent the next hour in the chair reading while he patted my arm.

This age is just the beginning of seeing their hearts, their gifts and go to reactions to certain situations. It's becoming clear that Taddy has a servant heart like his dad.  He quickly checks on Loulie when she is upset and offers band aids like candy. It doesn't matter what the tears are over, tad is there administering a Star Wars band aid.

I thought of my future daughter in law again today and that I hope this servant heart is something she recognizes and appreciates. I pray Tad finds someone one day that he loves deeply enough to care for in sickness and health. I hope when he goes off to school that he will continue to care for others, notice their pain and offer encouragement. I hope that this servanthood is something that God will continue to grow in this little guy. He made me feel better!

Who are we asking to witness?

There are things I have lost in the years since social media made its way into everyone's lives...presence, margin,white space, time...shall I go on?  I log on to be inspired but rather than being spurred on to some creative process, I find myself just deadened by all the white noise and overstimulation. What was at first entertaining has now become loathsome and detrimental. How many "obsessions" do I have to read about before a blogger becomes content with what they have and uses their platform to promote a lifestyle of gratitude? Granted I have no time to shop so I appreciate the links for cute sweaters but multiple links a day, everything just being "to die for"--it has all become too much. And then the political posts--everyone thought they would die down after the primaries, then the elections.  If you don't believe in the sinful nature of (wo)man, you will after witnessing people tear each other apart on a post about whether or not an elected official's child has a disability, all with the protection of a computer screen and keyboard. No opinion is valued, no experience sacred. It has my brain churning on where I stand on all of this. Do I share my thoughts in hopes that someone might see some light or feel validated or reach out as a friend? Probably not--my skin is not thick enough for the barrage of people waiting to tell me all the reasons I am wrong; to believe in life or Christ or family or public school or climate change. And then if I take the stance of not getting involved, am I chickening out? Am I not engaging? What news coverage will I miss? What breaking news? What knowledge will I not gain by logging off? The internet has also given me so much.

I've been convicted since the start of the new year to withdraw and set boundaries within social media. I love the articles and education I get through plugging in online but mostly it creates anxiety and a desire to draw inward. I find myself engaging less and less with friends that post frequently. I think if we had a talk about religion over coffee, it would be a loving exchange where an all caps post on "why evangelicals are ignorant" seems to be a sign in their yard telling me I am no longer a part of their friend group, online or otherwise. It is a strange new world and yet there is nothing new under the sun. But I know that I am tired of knowing people based on what they share online. I want hugs and coffee dates and real life exchanges. I want kids running around the backyard with sweaty drink glasses in hand discussing meal planning, new shoes and heartaches of the last week. I want to be a witness to my friends' lives in real time. I want to know what their children are up to because they tell me. I don't want the highlight reel, I want my front steps to be a place where stories are told and lives are laid bare.

I've thought about why I post pictures to IG or Facebook--it is all about creating an image or selling something or sharing knowledge. When I find myself thinking about something to post or crossing boundaries in time spent on social media, I have come to realize it stems from the desire for someone to witness my life. I think we must all have that desire. That it must be innate.  We post so that others will see us--what we are doing, what we are about. Validation. I think we must have this desire because there is a witness to our lives. We have this innate desire to be seen because Christ created us as His own. He does see us--He created us for relationship with hHim. He loves us and wants to share in our struggles and pain and joys. I think of the mirror image of Christ's relationship with the church, marriage and how the greatest part of marriage and friendship is that you bear witness to each other's lives. You are not doing it alone. I love when Bert and  bring up something from our children's babyhood that only we know and laugh about. We were there--we did it together. I find comfort knowing that one day our family will have secrets and memories akin to our time together. We are in relationship and bear witness to each other's lives. I want to challenge myself in the coming weeks to find rest and pleasure in being a creation of God--that His witness is all I need. I don't want to cultivate situations or pictures or videos in the hope that my followers will think of me a certain way. Because they are all looking through their own lens. What I say and do will look different to them no matter how I try to present it. I would like to set some boundaries and find validation in my everyday existence--as a child of God, not in the next comment or picture posted.

Not a single person reads here and I do still want to document my children's lives in a space that can't be deleted, lost or crashed--learned that one the hard way. I am hoping to create some space for creativity, for worship, for presence. I hope I can come here to write and share without the criticism of other social media. Without having to see the tearing apart of communities and friends and political parties. I don't want to go viral or share. I am hoping to log off more often and shed the desire to share moments with the world but more with those close enough to see the moments in real time.

But I will keep this as a memory keeper. Sadly the kids' quote books are pretty slim but I hope I can share a few thoughts about their day a couple times a week. Because the present is too good and should be documented to preserve the memory of its witnesses.


That same old feeling

Another holiday season has come and gone. A month of my birthday and a trip to NY and Christmas and New Year and school performances and gift buying and cookie making. It came and it went. Now a blur. It's the eve before the actual new year starts for us, the REAL start of schedules and school and work. Bert went to bed early because yea...let's get a good start to the new year. But there lies the difference between mothers and fathers. He is sawing logs and I am pacing the house. Anxious. I have both the dishwasher and the washing machine going simultaneoulsy. I have paced the house collecting shoes and sorting coats and setting out water bottles and lunch bags. Another semester starts tomorrow at our new school location no less. And I am excited for what the year will bring but as usual it comes with sadness. I love it when everyone is home all day and we are on a schedule of our own making. I like the coziness of Christmas break and family gathering and friends getting together and eating too much and singing silly songs. The passing of the holiday means the passing of time and I will never again have a 6 year old and 17 month old at Christmas again. I'll admit, I have some regret. I was a little more about errands and logistics this year than I wanted to be. And I yelled. I have never been a mama that yelled, really--never. But the 5 year stretch isn't enough to keep little hands from touching and antagonizing and I found myself having to raise my voice more than I liked. I hate that. 
But as I type this, I already feel something that sounds like forgiveness. With fun there has to be discipline, it's part of my job as a parent. And I read some really wonderful things today about keeping the magic of the holidays and vacation alive in the everyday. I'm anxious tonight not because I think that the Lord doesn't have everything under His control because I know he does. I'm nervous because it's my job as a mom--to be intentional about sending my baby out into the world again tomorrow. To know we can't keep sleeping in and eating cookies for breakfast and staying up watching movies. It's disheartening and sad for something to end when it was good. And I guess that isn't regret but instead accomplishment--we did it, we had a wonderful holiday. 
January has started and I have decided I love January. I used to dread it as a let down after so much fun. But with the busy schedules of this season of life, I love how slow it is. It is usually a month of catching up...on rest, on reading, on family time. The first week of January holds a lot of sad memories for me but happy ones too.
Tomorrow morning I will (hopefully) get up early. Crack open the first few pages of our devotional--a fresh start. And then walk Loulie to her new school. Prayers for all the mamas that will be back at it tomorrow with expectations and goals. Ideas of what they want their year to looks like. I have picked three words that I hope will set the tone for our 2016...adventure (even in the mundane), presence, and margin. 
As this old feeling creeps in, I am reminded of how thankful I am that I already long for the goodness of my present life and the blessing I have been given. 


Little Stinker

TaddyCakes Dasher:
10 months old, just shy of 20lbs, can't walk, can't hold a cup, has never had a bottle
and yet......
he can open the storm door to let Bridget in and somehow let himself out. I looked over and there he is outside with this look on his face.
In addition to this adventure, he got his head stuck in the door today, climbed on top of the stepstool and couldn't figure out how to get down and unshelved an entire row at the library. This guy is a live wire....



Just when I think that age 5 has taken a turn for the serious....

I came downstairs ready for church. Really just showered and dressed for apparently the first time in a while...
"Mama, you look so beautiful!"
"Thank you, Loulie"
"I've never seen you look like this before. Really! You look like the girl from Annie."
"Ms. Hannigan?!"
"No, Daddy Warbuck's girlfriend. You look as pretty as Daddy Warbuck's girlfriend."

Friday night I walked into the den..
"Whatcha doing Loulie?"
"Drinking kombucha and reading non-fiction."

Loulie asked to please watch our wedding video. While we were waiting for it to load...
"Is this movie going to be in color or black and white?"

After watching the wedding video and asking if she can have my wedding dress...
"I'd like a cape too. Can I get a cape like yours to wear over my bun?
(she meant a veil)

Reading Loulie a book that quoted MLK...
Jumps up "I know that human.I know that human. He was a peaceful human and he had a dream. Martin Luffer King Junior!"

She also knows most of the words to "Uptown Funk." Let's hope she doesn't share at school beyond "uptown funk, i'm gonna give it to ya"


Things I am loving...

Date night! Hallelujah! Never was I able to take colicky Loulie out at this age but Tad slept through the whole movie...
Begin Again--excellent movie and even better soundtrack. Loulie and I have been dancing to it All week...

Tad's alfalfa sprout...

Loulie's VBS performance Sunday night...

How much Loulie relishes being a big sister...

She can't keep her hands off him (I can't either for that matter). And the other day she said (in her gush voice) "It's impossible not to hug him, he's just so sugary."

Babies who sleep...
Family nap time...


My biggest problem...

I basically do this to Loulie at least once a month and poor Tad suffered the same scene at about 5am this morning...