If you live inside my house, there is no better week than Break Week. It’s. The. Best.
Early on in the break week I sent a text to my friend and said, “Why can’t I just stay home and do no work and hang out with my kids all day? Why isn’t that a thing?” Everyone is so much more fun and relaxed when school is not involved. My friend said, “You can – it’s called unschooling.” (I know, I know. Unschooling is legit to a lot of people and I know it works a little differently. But I want to do Unworking and Unresponsible and Uncooking and Un All The Things.)
Bergen checked out a book from the library by Jay Leno. For probably the sixth time.
It’s a book of jokes.
He has zero clue who Jay Leno is.
The jokes are pretty lame.
And now I’m hearing them all day long.
There’s a really cute little shop in our town. Goose Feathers.
I love so much of what they sell.
Like those gold leather fringe earrings.
Long ago we decided as a family that we would challenge ourselves to try one new meal, one new recipe or some new food each month. Sometimes we remember. Sometimes we don’t.
We heart our pasta. But this week we branched out on the traditional pasta dinner night.
Spaghetti squash. Turkey meatballs.
We all had our doubts.
I have not only never consumed spaghetti squash, I don’t think I have ever even seen it.
It’s the oddest thing.
I bought two because one just seemed so small. I definitely could’ve used just one.
Turns out – it’s kinda magical, really cool to watch it turn into “noodles” and its taste, while not phenomenal, was actually really good. You can cook it to the texture of very soft or slightly crunchy. I inadvertently cooked it slightly crunchy, which – turns out – I prefer. It was delicious when served up with our marinara and our turkey meatballs – which were truly excellent. Very flavorful. I used lots of basil. And I chocked the marinara sauce with pureed onions, garlic, carrots, basil and tomatoes. That makes it pretty healthy in my book.
These is my basic turkey meatballs recipe – and I doubled it. (They don’t photograph well so you’ll have to use your imagination.)
Did you know that Legos is creating a Harry Potter themed set?
They will even have the sorting hat!
I’ll miss this old front porch. (If I ever actually move from this house.)
Today I’m sitting on this porch and reading these verses in the Bible.
Isaiah 42. All of it. But especially verse 16.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths
I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.
I’m in love with these words.
They’re words so full of the unknown – like my life. (Like everyone’s life, I suppose, if you’re brave and wise enough to recognize that.)
But they’re words so simultaneously full of the known,
that God is in control.
The only true Known that carries any weight,
that offers any balance
and all the hope.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
I don’t want to be blind,
but I recognize that I am.
I’ve always been blind, in fact, but I’ve certainly spent a large number of decades not understanding or accepting that truth.
I am blind.
But He’s leading me in ways I do not know.
Ways I have never known.
I am blind.
But I have a hand leading me.
along unfamiliar paths
I will guide them;
The unfamiliar paths I am on.
There is no stump, no bread crumb trail, no outcropping or lone oak tree that I recognize.
Vast and wide.
Both the burned forest
and the new growth.
The longing and the peace.
But I have a guide.
One who goes before.
One who goes beside.
And the path promises no familiar markings.
I am neither in charge nor responsible for navigating this unfamiliar path before me.
I don’t have to be.
I will turn the darkness into light before them
It is dark.
Hand not visible in front of your face dark.
Darkness so strong it has a taste.
that will be
and make the rough places smooth.
They’ve been my wake and my sleep for three years.
Rough places that I’ve been forced to call home.
And the places that were once sandpaper to the touch,
bed of nails to the back,
will be made smooth.
no longer so.
These are the things I will do for you.
I will not forsake you.
These are things:
my blind eyes being lead with my treading feet on paths they’ve never known,
the light breaking forth right out of the darkness,
smooth places where once they were only rough.
These are the things.
These are the things.
I will not be forsaken.
These are the things He will do.
I like you. A lot.
I have been saying those words so routinely to my children for as long as they have been alive.
And of course I am hoping that they are listening, hearing me. Knowing what I mean and how I mean it.
But I seldom think about the idea that maybe other people are listening too.
What a gift – more beautiful than words can describe – to hear a positive story about yourself where you do something right.
In a life lived in the trenches, at the end of days filled with subtle insults from the twelve year old to the ten year old, with breakdowns over completing chores, with the Duke Power bill reaching an all time four hundred dollar high, with the always persistent question in your mind “Am I doing this alright at all?”, it’s a treasure for someone to say “I saw this good thing in you. Let me tell you.”
She sat at my table and she said, “My friend was at your house once.” (I figure it must have been more than a year ago, thinking back to her last drop in.) “And she told a story that Otto walked into the room and you spontaneously said to him, ‘I like you’.” The friend added, “She meant it. She really just meant that she liked him. You could tell.” She went on — “And since then we’ve been saying ‘I like you’ to one another because of how affirming is it to know that you are liked.”
How generous for the first friend to share that story with her friends. And how thoughtful for the second friend to share it with me.
The power of good words can never be underestimated.
You are liked.
Sometimes it’s better than being loved.
What I NEED is some sunshine.
I can diffuse all the orange plus cedarwood plus lavender that I can buy (and you should too – it smells bright and cheery, unlike everything about February) but if some good old fashioned sun doesn’t start bursting forth from the clouds soon, I cannot guarantee the future of anything. It has been TOO long. Sure, there were glimmers on Sunday – it was a lovely day, in fact. But it was just ONE day. ONE day of sunshine.
That is NOT enough.
I am using more capital letters than I usually do.
I’m guessing I’m not the only human to struggle with this distaste of darkness, of gloomy weather, of muddy lawns and dirty dogs and soggy everything.
Last week I looked at another house. Fell in love with the kitchen. And the wood floors that were so very pretty. Could not fall in love with the fact that there was only one bathroom. Increasingly each day I am recognizing that six people sort of struggle to share one bathroom. Especially if one person feels it is her personal requirement to go at a sloth’s pace whilst in said single bathroom. A. Sloth’s. Pace.
(I understand that having more than one bathroom is a luxury and I am legitimately grateful that it is even a hint of a possibility for my family to actually one day acquire such a luxury as TWO showers.)
It was disappointing to decide that the house wasn’t a good fit and the lousy thing about February is that every disappointment seems worse than it actually is. That’s what February does to people. Homeschoolers all want to quit homeschooling in February. Spring seems forever away, even when the forsythia stick out their sweet yellow blooms to try to help you along.
Exercise in February is laughable. Get up early to run or walk or do yoga or, you know, anything? Nah – give me the covers, a few more pages of a novel, the snooze button eighty bazillion times, someone please bring me a cup of tea to my bed, anything except get out of the bed early. And, heaven forbid, if you wake up to the sound of MORE RAIN hitting the roof. It’s over then. All over, buddy.
And going out at night? For exercise or for fun. Doesn’t matter. The answer is NO. Nah. I’ll pass. It’s already dark and it’s raining AGAIN for the love and I’ll just stay right here inside my dry home. I can’t do anything or go anywhere after 6 o’clock until the next daylight savings time crawls its way back. It’s just the way it is, alright.
Do you see why I need sunshine? Can you hear it?
I bet if the sun would start shining that I would find a perfect house with a bright and pleasant kitchen, two bathrooms and a field overlooking a stream and some woods. Probably a porch with mountain view even. A giant oak tree for a rope swing. I bet sunshine would help Bergen finish his math lesson and would help Otto forget to whine about his chore list this week.
Sunshine has magical powers and I’m diminishing over here for lack of its presence.
Life with children (or with any other humans actually) is unpredictable. No wonder they call it a roller coaster. One minute someone is laughing, one minute someone is crying. In one afternoon the living room is pristine tidy and smells like oranges and cloves and the next afternoon the living room is littered with magazines and blankets and smells like coughing. At this point in the parenting game, I’m pretty certain all I’ll ever learn how to do is ride the waves, with no genuine hope of controlling the tides.
Yesterday I stopped by a friend’s house to pick something up. She has four kids and a long term house guest. Their home was abuzz with laughter and kids were reading and playing and laughing and being loud and being normal. It was fantastic and regular and I laughed at the picture it presented because it looks so much like the picture my house presents too.
Despite all their mess (and it’s SO much mess y’all) and their mountains of Legos to step on and art pens left out and library books in unsanctioned rooms and cereal bowls scattered hither and yon, I do love these people and this life with them. They’re funny and they’re family.
And this little snapshot of life from last night that I’m going to relay here reminds me that there are moments that these people just make me laugh and remind me of what fun it can be to live together.
Probably the last time I used any sort of “refreshing” face mask was more than ten years ago. I can’t even remember when I have last used one. So my children would be unfamiliar with them. Riley sells a charcoal mask that I’ve heard people rave about and so, last evening, I decided would be a good time to try it out. I stood in my bedroom, applying the mask by the mirror. It’s gray and looks nearly black when it’s dry.
I had the mask pretty much all applied when I heard footsteps and Bergen popped his head into my room. I made a face of surprise for effect because I knew he would laugh. I was right. He cracked up. A lot. (I looked pretty weird.) But what was more hilarious to me was that when he finished laughing, this twelve year old boy who, to my knowledge has never, or only rarely, ever seen a girl wear a face mask, asked me a question. With a grin he said, “Want me to go cut some cucumbers?”
I’m guessing movies have influenced my son’s knowledge base that when girls wear face masks they also wear cucumbers on their eyelids?
Anyway, I said yes because why not.
Then I went to the sofa to lie down quietly for the ten to twenty minutes you are supposed to wear the mask. During that time Piper and Otto also got a good laugh. And then proceeded to get lotion and give me a foot massage. Because that’s what cucumber wearing mask wearing moms need? I don’t know where they have received their education on these matters but I am not complaining.
As I was on my sofa enjoying both the quiet and the foot treatment, I figured I should embrace this mask more often if it has magical powers to produce sons who cut up cucumbers for me and children who offer a foot rub.
When I walked to the sink to wash off the mask, London informed me that she had taken pictures of me (and edited them for her own amusement). I should have known not all of the kids would embrace treating me with dignity whilst charcoal masked.
Unscheduled. Awry. Shifted. Not as planned.
Those are all the correct words to describe this week. Mostly stemming from car issues, nearly nothing that I thought was going to happen or scheduled to happen actually occurred as planned or anticipated. All. Week. Long.
Some days my car would start. Some days it would not. Some days I spent trying to get it repaired. Some days it looked repaired. Some days it did not.
Also, several of the kids began to feel off this week – a cough there or a fever here, light headed for one, extra exhausted for another.
Again – changed up all the plans.
I’ve got no game for the car issues. I have to call in back up every time because under the hood of my Yukon is one dynamic mystery to me.
But the issues inside our home? Those were easier. I have been pushing elderberry syrup on my kids like the magic elixir it seems to be. And I’ve been mixing up what my friend Hilary calls a “cocktail” of essential oils and applying them to the spine in what I am learning is called a rainbow technique (do I sound crazy yet?) and you guys, I am telling you, it’s working. I won’t pretend to understand it, but it is working.
Anyway. All that schedule off and plans changed and mix ups here and car not starting there have my week haywire so I am writing Five Finds Friday on a Saturday because I want to and because I can.
One of this week’s journal entries was to describe a friend. The kids were asked to describe the person without naming them so that we could all try to guess who fit their description.
Otto chose Bergen (which I thought was pretty precious brotherly love) and I was laughing disruptively when I read his entry.
He has blonde hair. He is a friend that is good, nice and mean sometimes. But mostly nice. He has a shirt on that he never takes off. (Unless he is changing, that’s when he takes it off.) He is older than me, just like my other friends are. He is fun – really really really really FUN. He has bones for sure. He eats food from the floor.
For me, I really couldn’t control my laughter at the line – “he has bones for sure”.
Years ago my girls met their friend Quinn. They were all so tiny then. (Just little elementary kids. Hard to believe, isn’t it?) The girls have attended a co-op together and have both been in Book Club together.
Quinn is growing up in a family passionate about Jesus and loving orphans and adoption and expressing all those passions in purposeful and tangible ways. Quinn’s mother (and my friend) Melinda has traveled to China and to Ethiopia. Their family adopted Sam several years ago – the story is amazing.
(Also, completely unrelated and absolutely trivial – I have adored Melinda’s curly locks since I first met her. They’re just perfect.)
Quinn has the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia this year with her mom. (This is something I would love to do with my kids one day.) In order to help pay for her trip she designed and is selling these t-shirts. I love that – taking her skills and creating a product to raise the money for her trip. And she’s just fourteen.)
They’re great t-shirts and they’d make a great addition to your t-shirt collection.
This quote by Elisabeth Elliot :
Part of what you have received is your age. Have you accepted the exact number of years and months and days God has granted to you so far? Do you lie about your age? Do you hate growing old? But old age is one of the stages of the journey with the Shepherd. Make use of it as He intends.
Relatively often, we write letters to people. Regular old letters that arrive in actual mailboxes. Last week London decided to write her letter to her nephew – Maddox. Who was appropriately thrilled and awed by receiving such an adorable letter in his own mailbox.
Real letters, guys. Go write one.
I’m ditching flavorful this week and giving you a new word – FREE. (Well, basically free, you know how this goes.)
Grove Collaborative is sponsoring another incentive to join and my week has been too derailed to give it its proper post.
So here it is in the most simple of forms.
New members receive the following:
- Mrs. Meyer’s body wash
- Mrs. Meyer’s body lotion
- Grove Collaborative loofah
- 60 day VIP trial
Also, I just always want to live inside their photographs. And bathe in their tubs – never in my own. It’s not photo worthy at all. But theirs sure are.
I love their body wash but I haven’t tried the body lotion yet – mine will come this month actually so I’m curious to see how it is.
Existing members receive a free lip balm. (Seriously, their lip balm is my favorite.)
I told you guys a few weeks ago that I was delving into the world of essential oils in a kind of professional way. (Sort of how I do everything – kind of.)
I’m entering Young Living like I enter a swimming pool – I’m a toe dipper. A wade in first and then take forever to finally dunk my entire head under water. I have friends who are high dive jumpers. They’re all in. There might be a circumstance or two in my life where I have jumped all in, but those tend to be the exceptions for me. I like to test the waters.
For Young Living my go-to person to swim ahead of me, to whisper encouragement and to give a nudge, is my friend Bri. Bri is the sister of my friend Jo. (All in the family, you know.)
If you order essential oils through me, you’ll definitely be getting to know Bri. So I thought it would be both fun and beneficial to have a Q&A session about once a month highlighting essential oil uses and ideas and answering your questions and mine too.
First, let’s learn a little bit about Bri. Tell us about you and your family.
Okay! On the regular stuff side, I’m in my early 40’s, have 2 boys (14 and 10) and my husband’s name is Chad. We have a Rottweiler named Scout (from To Kill a Mockingbird) and live in Michigan…..though my heart really lives in the Carolinas. Other tidbits are that I LOVE being outside, it feeds me. I need my two sisters like I need the air in my lungs. And, life hasn’t been a walk in the park, but I’m thankful for all of the experiences that have led me to who I am now.
How did you first discover essential oils?
I always had these nagging stomach issues which included frequent stomach pains (UGH, also included frequent trips to the bathroom). A friend offered me some peppermint to help and it took my pain away within 10 minutes. I was sold. Nothing had helped before that and it opened up a world of solutions to other issues for me.
What drew you in to try at first?
We all have those issues that seem to plague us: headaches, leg cramps, stomach pain, anxiety, etc. And, I had been so very frustrated at never finding answers or solutions to those issues, just cover ups or a pill. Oils gave me support and relief when nothing else did. And, I realized that just “living” with these issues is a lie that none of us should have to believe.
And then what pushed you over the edge to really understand, embrace and educate others about Young Living?
When you love something you want to know more about it, right? So, I found myself reading and researching and just wanting to know more and more about how oils can support our bodies, I wanted to take full advantage of them. And, I just kept thinking that every single person on the planet could benefit from these amazing oils.
What’s an essential oil you use nearly every day – or pretty often anyway?
So many to choose from. But, I definitely use frankincense every day. I keep it in my bathroom and roll it on my wrinkles (though they’re not so prominent now!) on the daily to help support my aging process…… Frankincense is AMAZING for our skin and needs to be one that you use daily, you’ll thank me later.
(Sidenote: I took Bri’s advice here and this week put a roller lid on my Frankincense and put it in the bathroom to use daily. I’ll admit – the wrinkles in my forehead seem pretty set in
stone skin so I am curious if this could possibly help.)
One of the things I love best about essential oils personally is just their smell. Maybe that’s not deep or meaningful for dedicated oil users, but I love for my house to smell good and I find a simple and small pleasure in choosing a combination for the day. Can you give us two or three of your favorite scent combinations and what benefit those scents might have?
(By the way you guys, I’ve started keeping a list of these combos in the Notes section on my phone for quick reference.)
Everyone loves good smells, right?! It’s a huge part of our brains and just quality of life, so that’s a great place to start with oils, just enjoy their smells! I LOVE trying out new combinations and find myself delighting daily in their aromas. One that I’m loving right now is Orange (which supports our happy emotions) and Peppermint (which can help wake you up). It smells bright and happy. I usually put about 3-4 drops of each in my diffuser. It depends on how strong you’d like the smell, so you can always add less or more. You just need to experiment with what works for you.
Another combo I love is Stress Away oil (smells like the beach and I can feel my shoulders go down from my ears when I put it on my neck….) and Lemon (again, bright and smells clean). You can’t help but smile when you smell those.
Since I hope to do one of these Q & A sessions each month with you Bri, I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with too much info at once. I know, for me, that adding one small change weekly or so is helpful to make a lasting change. With that in mind, can you give us one oil and one use that could become this month’s go-to?
That’s great Lacey and that’s my jam. I like things to be easy, simple and NOT overwhelming. So, I would recommend trying lavender this month to help support your sleep. Just put a few drops onto your pillow (It won’t stain the sheets because YL’s oils are pure and pure oils don’t stain) and sleep well. Whenever I do this I find myself giggling and smiling because it just smells so darn good.
Thanks! I love talking with people about oils!
See – isn’t Bri great?
What I’d love is to have you guys share any comments or questions for the next Q&A session we do. You can ask Bri about specific oil uses or Young Living facts or personal use ideas and stories, totally up to you.
If you are interested in placing an oils order or becoming a member, use the link below.
I’ll be placing my personal order tomorrow night so if you want to try out a specific oil and want me to just order that one for you, let me know and we can work that out too. Frankincense – right?
(And, in the nature of full disclosure, when you order a kit, I do receive a monetary compensation from your order. So – thank you!)
Bri also has a Facebook page called Live Deep Oils that you can join to get educated about oils.
The kids are watching Cars Three and I don’t even know how we justify THREE movies about cars that can talk and have feelings and relationships. But then again, I think they’re sort of cute movies. So. You know. Whatever.
(I’m so grateful that (for now) my two teenagers and one nearly teen will happily watch a cartoon with their younger siblings even though they also have of late embraced the world of Thor, which is unbelievable to me as well. Not so much the very fit immortal who comes to earth so much as the fact that my kids are old enough to watch those movies is what I actually find unbelievable. Although his level of fitness strikes me as unbelievable but again, whatever.)
This weekend nothing that I planned went as I planned.
Which is probably evidence of someone’s plan that is not my own being enacted.
Saturday morning found my car’s battery dead. It was raining of the torrential variety and my neighbor and I both felt inadequate to the task of jumping the car in the rain. She loaned me her truck and kept half of the kids so that I could drive the other kids to their event in town. That was super kind of her. We picked up a friend of the kids and then, spontaneously, my friend Hilary and I both enjoyed a cup of tea at Tandem while we waited for our kids to finish their class. After that we ended up taking the friend back to our house. My dad called and said he was going to be popping through town that night so I figured he could help me jump the car in the morning and the rain seemed like a grand excuse to stay home anyway.
Hannah came over and she and I, both grown ups, agreed to play Otto in Monopoly. (He’s eight, remember.) And then, after like seventy-two thousand million hours, Otto beat both of us. We did not let him win.
I have a standing belief that I am incapable, unable, unwilling to cook dinner on Saturday nights. I cannot recall when this “tradition” began, but for some reason my meal-maker abilities run flat out by Saturday night. I cannot do it. Our dinners Saturday night are creative and on your own. If you stop by Saturday night (unless you were specifically invited and I break my tradition on the occasion of your invited arrival) you will be finding something to eat out of the recesses of the fridge or the cabinets. Cereal and a side of carrots, with six peanut butter crackers? Yeah, sure. There’s enough spaghetti for only two? Best of luck to the first two who discover that. The kids never complain and it seems to be a well accepted fact these days.
Dad arrived in the evening, with arm loads of things like glazed donuts and chocolate glazed donuts and peanut m&ms, plus milk and paper towels and half and half for the coffee someone will make him in the morning.
We didn’t bother to jump the car until the morning.
If my Saturday night dinners are lame, and they are, my Sunday morning brunches generally make up for them. We love our Sunday morning brunches. But they don’t happen at 8 am. They’re BRUNCH, for the love. And their goal, in their largess, is to keep me from making another substantial meal that day. Also to sit still together and chat after the week before has ended and before the next week begins. Brunch’s official title is Sunday Morning Meeting. (Sunday evenings are filled with church and grocery shopping, so the evening meal is a quick fix for all.)
Thankfully Dad brought the cheese and milk and extra butter and we served up some delicious grit bowls with sausage and eggs and biscuits and jam. Thanks to Dad, we even had orange juice, a treat I often forget. Also thanks to Dad we began Sunday Morning Meeting far earlier than any of ur internal clocks would have chosen. But he’s Dad, so you go with the flow.
Finally we decided to jump the car before Dad hit the road north again.
It all seemed to work alright. Dad insisted that Bergen and I watch the jumping the battery process. Which I did as I have watched so many mechanical feats my dad has forced upon me, with my face trying to pay attention and my mind knowing that I will almost always call for back up if this task is ever required of me.
Turns out, it wasn’t just the battery, it was the alternator too. Which is kind of worse, you know.
An alternator that my dad drove to Auto Zone and found. I’ve never purchased an alternator before. It’s so small for so many dollars. Actually, more accurately, I should say, I still have never purchased an alternator. But I now can say I have watched someone else purchase an alternator. (My dad is a hero.)
Divinely, and I do not use that word lightly, our good friend and talented mechanical guy Matt was able to be a hero as well and put in the new alternator. On a Sunday afternoon. What?
So, yeah, it was a plan changer, the whole battery/alternator issue. But it was also crazy amazing how tidily the problem was figured out and dealt with over the course of two days. And our whole house just kind of rolled with it. Shifted plans. Said no to a couple of things. Yes to a couple other things. And all the while were cared for, fed and just absolutely fine.
Because sometimes life is like that. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, and then it does.
I had no mental space this week for reading Charles Martin novels because I exhausted all of my emotional energy on watching the last two episodes of This Is Us. Those writers. They are so talented.
I also watched my first ever Super Bowl and turns out, it was kind of fun. Sausage cheese dip and good company help that out too, of course.
In honor of that Super Bowl viewing, here’s something funny. A Bad Lip Reading. (Here’s hoping there’s no creepy ad that comes up first for you guys. When I went to this link the ad was for the newest Fifty Shades movie. I want to start a rant right here about that, but I won’t. I’ll just say – y’all. That such a movie even exists for “entertainment” is GARBAGE.)
She’s been making cool stuff since I’ve known her.
I mean, she was five years old when I first met her so her cool stuff making skills have dramatically improved with age.
(Although, she was a pretty clever little kid. With really great hair.)
Now she’s a grown up. She HAS a kid. (With really great hair.) And a husband. His hair is great too.
Now that I’m typing this, I’m reminded – Maggie and I have had a lot of different roles together in our lives. First I was her babysitter. Then I was her teacher. She was the babysitter for my kid. And now we’re just better than regular old friends, we’re framily. (Yeah, we made up that word before some cell phone company claimed it as their idea.)
In another odd turn of life events, Maggie is actually living at the farm, in the same house, where my family spent a darling decade of happy days. (The same house every child except Otto first came to call home.) And, ironically, in the first photo of little Maggie, she’s standing in the same yard because that was her first home as a little kid too. What a special place, I’m telling you.
A gifted potter (I still cherish the five remaining pottery plates I commissioned from her college pottery making days), she has taken up the art of weaving.
And she’s really good. Plus, you guys, she’s just the coolest human.
You can follow her designs on Instagram at Grayson Girl Designs.
Their bread was a real hit this week. The one recipe makes three loaves (although one was certainly smaller than the other two) and the texture is dreamy perfect.
I’ve been reading a book called God Has a Name by John Mark Comer.
In one of the chapters Comer talks about the different ways that we approach God. One way is based on what we have done and how God sort of owes us. One way is based on what we’ve suffered and had done to us and one way is based on what God has already done, on HIs mercy.
I’ve certainly been guilty of the first approach. Coming to terms with that personal tendency to feel that God owed me a certain life (like a bank account I’d been making deposits in all my life) was actually a piece of the story of my nevertheless tattoo and my journey through a Redemption class at my church. This approach is pretty much useless and self-serving and terribly inaccurate.
I don’t think the second approach – coming to God in a lamenting manner about the train wreck of life – is out of place. There’s a time and there’s a place for crying out and God is not afraid of your cries.
But the book has been a good reminder for me of coming to God through that last approach. Relying and counting on his mercy. Speaking the truth of what God has already done. Of the promises God has made and of the Truth of who He is.
Piper and Otto were both able to take a horse back riding lesson this week.
The miniature horse was a show stealer. Our friend Chloe taught the riding lessons and although she is a teenager herself, she is skilled, patient, talented, enthusiastic and good at what she’s doing. And I love that she is creating and embracing an opportunity to learn a skill, to earn money, to build a reputation as a committed and reliable young person. That’s lovely. (And if you want her to give your kids instructions or horse riding lessons or just a farm experience, let me know – I’ll share her info with you.)
Growing up on a dairy farm, one of my routine chores was the care and keeping of the calves. I was in charge of giving bottles and training the calves to learn to drink from a pail.
Today my little Lacey (named after my mother and grandmother and so on – as it was a maiden name) took her turn at a task as familiar to me as the dirt driveway we lived on.
She laughed and let the calf suck on her fingers and both she and Otto even let the calf chew on their ears – which we all know they wouldn’t keep doing if they lived on a dairy farm for long.
It was sweet and lovely and I treasured watching my children enjoy a slice of farm life.
I don’t have to tell you guys – parenting is hard hard hard work.
A single day can hold so much, can’t it?
There’s the subtle disrespect and the blatant type too. The kid who helps his sister do the chores and the same kid who cries later because his sister won’t share her flashlight. The continual reminding to get their tasks completed and the endless questions about what’s for dinner and why does this have to happen on that day and why can’t that other thing happen instead and where should this go and what do you think we should do with this. The mess that trails and plagues our home every hour on the hour. The clean up and the mess making that is a steady cycle on repeat.
All of this is true.
In one day, sun up to sun down.
Of course there’s the good too. In the same day. Shared laughter over nonsense words. Trivia games at lunch over tomato soup and grilled cheese. Capable kids who do not need my help to ensure their breakfast is served and consumed.
Today we took a little hike at a nearby state park. Satisfied the boys’ longing to throw a fishing line in water. (Which, in turn, dissatisfied the girls’ longing to not watch their brothers fish.) Found an old school merry go round, or as I like to call it, a sick maker. (Or arm breaker. Whichever.)
This new system I’ve attempted to begin of actually having separate bedtimes for the two age ranges here has met with some favor – from the 12 and up crowd, of course. And some strong disfavor from the ten year old. The eight year old hardly has an opinion as he is asleep as his face is heading the direction of the pillow each night anyway. But what it has created amongst the big three has been a fun renewal in their companionship and camaraderie.
They’re playing Spicy Uno with their extra hour. They’re laughing and creating inside jokes. Tonight they baked bread. Yeah – that was poor timing and really too late to begin such an undertaking, but if you’ve ever had three teenagers (well, one is almost a teenager) who wanted to actually do something like bake bread together, you’d sort of be a moron to say no. I even heard London utter a phrase that I wanted to bottle. A sentence I wanted to freeze in time – like write the letters across the air in the kitchen where we were all standing. “I love being homeschooled,” her mouth said. I tried to remain chill. (My inner voice whispering, “Play it cool, Mom. Play. It. Cool.”) And Bergen said, “Yeah, it’s fun.”
I wisely left the room but listened with both my ears and my heart from the next room undetected because that same kid today was a less than eager hiking participant. I guess it’s all both and everything and nothing, isn’t it? Parenting. And life. Teenagers. And grown ups.
We’re still circling around and dancing slow and awkward and just figuring out where to put our feet and just when we hit our groove, well, I guess then is probably exactly when I’ll be shopping for towels for college or decorations for their dorm or a used Craigslist sofa for their new apartment.
And so deep sighs and picking up shoes left on the stairs and hugging tall as me kids good night and singing favorite songs to the baby of us all and making giant pots of spaghetti and inviting extra kids over to watch movies is what I’ll keep doing tomorrow and the next day, until the sofas need buying and the towels need purchasing and the dorm rooms steal their attention.
Parenting. You know it’s not for the weak or the weary, even when it makes us both.
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