27 December 2007

music

This is how I spent most of Christmas day this year.

Once I completed my final exams December 11th, I hit the ground running with just two weeks to "do" Christmas. At a few minutes after midnight Christmas morning, I finished! Sadly, I spent so much time "doing," however, that by 10:00 a.m., I was done.

Fever, chills, aches, pain, cold, cough... you name it, I had it.

Yes, it's flu season, and this is the risk you run when you consistently opt against a flu shot (of course I'm starting to royally regret this decision). But I think (I know) this was more than the flu.

The truth is, I hit the ground running long before December 11th; I haven't stopped running since some time in the early 80s. It's who I have become, it's how I've learned to cope - to control, to find order in disorder: I run. I do. I go. I make lists, I check them once, twice, thrice.... I write them, then re-write them. I delight in completing them (perfectly), and then of course, it's time for another list. There is ALWAYS something to do, ALWAYS something left to be done, ALWAYS something else to put on my list.

This year, leveled me (literally). I can't keep up with my lists. I can't live up to my standard. I can't keep going like I'm going. No one can. There are not enough hours in the day (or the year) and there isn't enough grace to go around (or perhaps it's the other way around). But Lord knows, I'll keep trying. I'll keep pushing, fighting, going and doing until I'm done... doing until I'm debilitated - unable to pee let alone able to enjoy the most special of days with people I love.

I was forced to acknowledge this Christmas what I've probably known for a while: I'm missing the music. It's a humbling truth to face especially realizing that I don't know how to live otherwise. Invariably, I spend so much time, effort and energy obsessing, checking, re-checking, perfecting... orchestrating every detail, that I rarely experience the symphony. Precious moments are passing me by. I'm missing the music.

God, in his wisdom and mercy, placed a brick wall (a hard one) in front of me on Christmas morning . I crashed and crumbled in front of my fireplace, and for 20 hours, at the expense of Christmas spent with my husband, kids, siblings, step-siblings, Dad and Stepmom, I stopped running and could do little else but to listen.

In the stillness, solitude and excruciating pain of Christmas day, I smelled, saw, tasted, felt and heard a bit of what I've been missing. The bar is high, indeed, but the stakes are much higher.

And the orchestra plays on.

13 November 2007

'bout time

You understand what a big deal this is, right?
I thought you would be pleased.

12 November 2007

celebrating thirty-one

Yup. This is me... in the flesh.
In pink. (who knew?!?)

I turned 31 today.

This birthday was like no other birthday I've ever celebrated. No cake. No ice cream. No fuss. It was SUCH a normal day, complete with laundry, groceries and dishes. Today was extraordinary in its normality. I had a GREAT birthday. I delighted in the simple pleasures of my life today... a good workout... an extra long shower... washed hair and shaved legs... a well-stocked fridge... gas in my car... a midday nap... phone calls, emails and messages from a bunch of people I love (thank you)... sushi... a fun night with my family...

...AND beautifully wrapped gifts?!?!?
(new running gear AND a pedicure... yippee!!)

God has been good to me. I've lived thirty-one rich years.
I am totally, completely, thoroughly and abundantly blessed.


My family has retired for the night.
I've still got lunches to pack and a kitchen to clean.
Instead, I'm blogging.

And for the next 48 minutes (at least), I'll be celebrating.

05 November 2007

reflection

4:45 a.m.

I beat my alarm clock by nearly an hour this morning. I'm in a rhythm. It's become routine.

In the pitch black of my bedroom, I stumbled toward the bathroom sink to wash the sleep from my face. At some point, I expected to see my reflection as the woman behind the mirror came into focus; instead, my mother approached.

Within moments, we were face to face. I looked deep into her eyes, and eventually I realized they were my own.

I have aged.

Not in a bad way, just in reality.

I suppose I look past my reflection most of the time. I glaze over my face... yep, that's me, still 16 or 21 or 25... And then, I go on with my day.

This morning, I saw myself. Nearly 31.

This morning, I saw a woman staring back at me. Her story is written in the lines on my face. Although I've known it in my head for years, this morning, my heart realized that the girl I once was will never be again. I am more like my mother than I am like my daughter.

It's thrilling and totally absurd all at once.

I'm a woman. A woman.

Holy crap.

22 September 2007

precious three

Let me show you something...


Yep, you guessed it! Those are mine.

I know what you're thinking, and yes,
I know. It's only because I love you that you get to see what I saw this morning when I stopped long enough in the whirlwind of my week and finally looked down. I actually had flip flops on... (Yes, I KNOW).

This is the answer to that question I keep hearing lately: "Where have you
been?"

I've been busy - acclimating to my new reality. Relearning life in some ways. I'm trying to remain calm, grounded, balanced and present in midst of the currents pulling and pushing me in many new directions. Some days I float; others, I may very well drown. But on most days, my head is above water, and I'm treading: Immersing. Purging. Prioritizing. Reprioritizing. Reading, writing, rereading, rewriting and then reading and writing some more. I've put on some new hats. I've parted with others. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with a few.

Especially telling is the fact that I haven't found (or made) the three spare minutes it takes to remove my old toenail polish. Instead, I've devoted those precious minutes elsewhere. I feel like I've been doing a lot of that lately. It's been good. It's been necessary, but good Lord, LOOK AT MY TOES!!!!

Somehow a month went by, and then finally, by the grace and mercy of God, I paused long enough to
SEE. I soaked it in. I listened and heard the faint cries...

HHHHEEELLLLPPPP... Someone... ANYONE. Groom us. Trim us. Polish us... Slow down for three minutes... PLEEEEASE... SAVE US!

"I think I need to blog about this," I whispered back.

So tonight, here I am... writing. Not a paper. Not a lesson plan. Not a case study. Not a check. Not a response to an email (I'm still working on that), not your late birthday card (yeah, eventually, I'll get to that too)... just a post on my blog about my toenails.

My three minutes (and then some) are gone; they were three minutes well spent. Perhaps I'll go take off my polish now.

18 August 2007

manna

Some time last night, I paused and felt the weight of our world. It's been tough. I've been stretched. I've been pushed, pressed, and in the depths of me - down deep beneath the surface - I feel tired.

It's not getting easier.

Right now, we are supposed to be camping. Needless to say, we're not. Holding. Waiting. More waiting. It was the right decision... again. Still, that doesn't make it any easier.

"Give us today our daily bread..." the simplest, yet most profound of requests. It has meant more to me lately than ever before. And You have. You have.

"There is a light... that shines in the darkness..." the words resounded in my ears as you met me before the sun.

Today, YOU were my bread. YOU were sufficient. You are.

Thank you for my run. Thank you for my oatmeal. Thank you for our morning. Thank you for our adventure. Thank you for my journey. Thank you for your mercies.

Thanks for today.

13 August 2007

dream girl


Six or Eight months back, my sister (whom I adore) went on a rant... a tirade, really. She was hot, she was impassioned, she was utterly disgusted - about the hype, about the press, about a movie: "Dreamgirls."

When the Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations came out, she was flabbergasted. When Jennifer Hudson took home the Globe and the Oscar for her supporting role, Folayo was annoyed. And perhaps one of the most satisfying moments for my sister of early 2007 was when "Dreamgirls" didn't get an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture (alright, I'm exaggerating slightly, but the point is that she abhorred this movie, and I have heard about it several times since the beginning of the year).

You'll never guess what arrived in my mailbox in a thin red envelope just in time for the weekend...


Heeding my sister's advice, Paul and I opted against seeing "Dreamgirls" in the theater. Nonetheless, I still wanted to see the movie that had polarized so many moviegoers (and families). "You either love it or you hate it," was the word on the street. So Saturday night, after the kids went down, Paul and I plopped on the couch and braced ourselves...

Folayo and I just got off the phone. We chatted for a while about this and that, and then came the moment of truth. It was time to drop the bomb on her: Paul and I REALLY enjoyed this movie. Needless to say that she was speechless!

In my opinion, Dreamgirls was a spectacle. It was big. It was huge. It was cheesy, yes, but it was stage on screen. It was a musical for goodness sakes - a good one! Yes, it had all the makings of a disaster - Jamie Foxx AND Beyonce - but they were easy to look past. I even remember thinking how much more I preferred Beyonce as Deena than as herself. I loved many of the characters. I appreciated the colors, the choreography and the costumes. I thoroughly enjoyed the music. I was blown away by so many of the vocal performances. I really, REALLY liked... no LOVED this movie.

Twenty minutes in, I remember thinking: "so far so good." Forty-five minutes in, I kept wondering when the bad part was coming. Then after about an hour, Jennifer Hudson rocked my world with one of the best five minutes of performing I have EVER seen on screen (THAT GIRL CAN SING!)

I was entertained, enthralled - totally and thoroughly hooked. I had a lump in the back of my throat and tears streaming down my face when the picture ended (in spite of Jamie Foxx), and I even seriously considered watching it again last night before I sent it back today. It was two hours and ten minutes of my life that I don't want back - two and one-sixth hours well spent. My only regret as far as "Dreamgirls" is concerned is that we didn't fork over the 20 bucks to see it on the big screen.

Pardon the thump. That would be my sister dropping out of her chair to the floor.

I would definitely contend that "Dreamgirls" was one of the best pictures of last year (better than "The Departed," in my opinion), and I wholeheartedly agree that Jennifer Hudson
EARNED her Oscar. She was incredible! She rocked that role, owned the screen, carried the cast and her voice literally took my breath away. Not only would I watch "Dreamgirls" again, but I would buy the soundtrack and gladly fly to New York to see it on stage!

Oh that? Yeah, that would be Folayo gagging and dry-heaving.

I suppose this film had no where to go but up, with the Folayo-imposed expectations I had for it. Why am I surprised?!?! Despite the fact that we get along so well and she cracks me up like NO ONE else can, in so many ways, my sister and I are yin and yang. She's 5'10 (+), I'm 5'4 (-). She's an extrovert, I'm an introvert. She's big picture, I'm details. She's a character - witty and sarcastic, drama and sarcasm are pretty much wasted on me. She the youngest, I'm the oldest. She's sassy and single, I'm married with children.

She's the life of the party...

...I'd rather stay home.

She's Folayo, I'm Abi. We have agreed to heartily disagree.

While she was in town a couple weeks ago, Folayo gave Paul and I tickets to go see "Once" at the Landmark Theatre before the end of the summer. Her words at the end of our conversation this afternoon went something like, "If you don't like this movie... we are no longer sisters."

I have a feeling I may be in the market for a new sibling.

14 July 2007

a blip

This is Betty, one of Paul's business town cars...

This is how we found her earlier this morning...



I'm sorry, but WHO DOES THIS?!?!?

When I got over the initial shock that someone with nothing better to do on a Friday night happened to stop at
my house and chose my husband's shiny black car, as the canvas on which to vomit vulgarity in silver spray paint, I was bummed, then angry.

"Why would one do this? HONESTLY. Who is the despicable jackass who has such little regard for others, no bearing outside of himself, no concept of submission, reverence, consideration or even a shred of common decency? HONESTLY?!?! Who is the arrogant coward who has the audacity to behave so maliciously or perhaps flippantly, in either case, SO disrespectfully?"

Whoever he or she or they may have been weren't considering my husband, my children, my neighbors or me. They weren't considering the fact that this was one of the first Saturdays in months that my husband didn't have to work - that he actually got to relax a little and sleep in - that we made plans to spend the day as a family. There was no regard for the fact that this car is literally a vehicle by which we put food on our table, clothes on our backs and that this unexpected expense is not really one for which we have extra time, room, resource or energy. He or she or they never stopped to think that this "good time" would rob peace from my neighbor's sunny Saturday morning as she shook her head in disbelief pondering - even if just for a moment - the safety and security of our neighborhood. Or did he or she or they think of how it might pierce my husband's heart - even just for a moment - to have "f*** you" be some of the first words written into his life this morning... or how it would break
my heart to see a seed of sadness in the eyes of this man I adore when he asked me, "What did I do?"... or how my daughter would experience genuine disappointment as her daddy was heading out the door and she said, "I thought you were going to have breakfast with us today, Dadda."

Well, whoever you are, in spite of your disregard for me, for my family, for my neighbor, for my neighborhood, for my day, for my property (I could go on)... I'm done with you, and I'm moving on.


We're over it, and we're over you.

The paint will come off, your worthless words will be washed away and your miserable life will continue apart from ours. This post is almost over, which means that you are an all-but-forgotten blip on our radar. You will not steal another precious moment from any of us.


I'm going to go enjoy the rest of the day with my family.


12 July 2007

blogged

Not sure how it happens so fast, but I'm back-logged... I'm blogged once again.

At least ten posts are dancing around my brain, and somehow, they need to find there way down to my finger tips or off my camera. In time.

It's been a BUSY few weeks. The pace is a lot faster and fuller than I'd typically care for, but lots of GOOD stuff is going on. I told Paul earlier tonight that I just feel eager and excited when I think about life . Opportunities and possibilies are endless. I feel genuinely delighted when I stop to think and to process. It's a good place to be.

How are YOU?

My students just left a bit ago. Class 4 in my Bradley series. I LOVE this class. It's comprised of three totally intriguing, totally diverse couples... each investing time, resource and self to become aware and informed participants... PARENTS (rather than passengers) in childbirth. I still can't believe I get to do this. I get to be a part of something so sacred - over and over again. Tonight was sweet. It was tender. It was funny It was inspiring. It was awesome.

It's 10:35 now, and I'm sleepy. 9+ posts are still stewing, brewing and waiting to be born. Not tonight... ah well.

Nah-night.

27 June 2007

closing thoughts

Paul is working, the kiddos are sleeping, the dishes are done, I'm prepped (somewhat) for class, and tonight, my house is still and humming with silence.

A few minutes back, as I brushed my teeth and washed my face, donning jammies and a do-rag, my mind wandered from place to place...

"Today was a good day... hmmm... I have to remember to email my students before class tomorrow night... I should go do that now so I don't forget... OH, I also have to remember to call Sarah about Friday... It was so good to talk to Sara yesterday... so good to see KTB today, too... hmmm.... Maybe I will read a little before I go to be tonight... I'm sleepy, maybe not... I did it!... I finally found a pair of shorts... I wear shorts?!?!... I really like those shorts... why are they so wrinkled?... a linen blend, OF COURSE... I really don't like the light fixtures in here... I'll definitely need to add them to my list of projects for the house... hmmmm... Cole doesn't have a baby book... I can't believe I STILL haven't started it... He's 2... Second children - they really do get the short end of the stick sometimes, don't they?... I wonder if he'll even care... He'll care... I'll add it to my list... Hmmm... Something must be done about my eyebrows... GEEZ, look at these things... Since the tweezers are out, I suppose I should check my chin as well... Oh... oh... oh my, they're back... 1(ow)... 2 (ow)... 3, 4 (ow, OW)... good thing I have dark skin... wait... 5, 6?!?!... That's IT!!! I'M A MAN...
I've got to go write about this..."


Alright, goodnight.

18 June 2007

being transformed

Yesterday was a big day for my family. Not only was it Father's Day and Cole's 2nd birthday, but it was also a day marked by victory and breakthrough for me.

Six months ago, in jest, I stripped down to my skivvies and put myself out there for the world to see. By mid January, with all joking aside, I made a decision that the time for change had come. There was no turning back.

So, eighteen weeks ago, I began a life-transforming journey... a journey that ended (and began) yesterday. I haven't written much - well anything - about it, because I wasn't sure how to put words to it. Actually, I'm still not so sure. The short of the long is that 18 weeks ago, I began the Prism Weight Loss Program.

When I started this program, the daunting task of dropping the 28.5 (not 15) lbs. I picked up over the last six years was before me. What I didn't realize at the time was that my weight had very little to do with the journey on which I was set to embark. The last 18 weeks have been spent releasing a lifetime of baggage - dealing with and truly discovering ME.

Today, I am a new person. I have been freed from a TRUE addiction to refined white flours and sugar (yes, ME). I have been freed from the snares of emotional, uncontrolled and purposeless eating. Today, I am healthy, whole and triumphant. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I have taken total responsibility for my choices and actions, I've changed my perspective, and I've seen positive fruit in my life, my family, my friends and my future as a result. I have beheld and embraced the woman God created me to be, and today, I am closer to her than ever before.

I am being transformed.

Yesterday, when I stepped on the scale for the fifth time since I began this program, 34 lbs and a lifetime of hidden defeat, discouragement, frustration, lies, guilt, shame, negativity, ignorance, insecurity and
bondage were gone. Today, His mercies are new, His spirit is here and a new journey of truth and liberty begins.

I am grateful for the 127 days and the lifetime struggle preceding them that have brought me to this point. I am grateful to Kristin, who in passing spoke the word "Prism" into my life over four years ago and to my Father for bringing to mind at the PERFECT time this word that lay dormant in the depths of me. Today, I am grateful for my four dear friends who have recently begun their own journeys.
I
am grateful for every other life that will be impacted by each of them.

Yesterday with laughter,
tears, hope and gratitude, my family and I celebrated a monumental day of life, love and liberty. It was a day we will never repeat, but always remember. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

06 June 2007

eleven days

1 day, 2 days... 5 days, 6 days... 8 days... 10 days... ELEVEN DAYS LATE.

I spent the better part of the week before last absolutely FREAKING OUT as I tried to imagine life with a newborn once again. In fact, I'm having hot flashes and breaking out in hives just thinking about it.

It's not that I didn't love that time. I did, but I'm glad it's over. There was something - many things - SO sweet about those baby days. But for me, there is something even sweeter about watching my babies become persons. I love to watch them walk, talk, play, run, think, reason (sort of)... engage. I loved cleaning out my basement and giving away our baby stuff. I LOVED saying goodbye to diapers the first time, and I CAN'T WAIT to do it again. I have loved discovering the special little things that make Maya, Maya and Cole, Cole. I try to treasure every day, but I am also so eager to watch their lives, their stories unfold.

Well, in case you were wondering, I'm not pregnant.

Cole turns two in eleven days, which means that a week from Sunday I will no longer have a "baby" in my home. Wow.

There is a part of me that still can't believe it and even feels a twinge of sadness about it. But for the most part I feel glad. I feel relieved. I feel thankful, and I feel blessed. I have been given an amazing daughter and an equally amazing son. I have been given 3+ years of the indescribable blessing of parenthood and hopefully, a lifetime to come. I no longer have babies, but kiddos.

At the end of those eleven days, was a minus sign - a sign that affirmed that it's time for my family to move on - to move forward. That feels good. REALLY good.

So, this is what doesn't feel so good. The fact that Cole turns two in eleven days means that I had two babies the last time I had somewhat professional pictures taken of my two kids. It's been a year. A year?!?!? Perhaps it's time to head back to Kiddie Kandids.

Is it hot in here?

05 June 2007

straight and narrow.

Long ago, before the day of modern farm equipment, a prarie farmer was capable of plowing straight furrows.

"How?" I asked myself this morning.

At daybreak, he would ascend a hill, climbing until he reached its peak. With the expanse of the praire beneath him, he would drive a stake conspicously marked by flag into the high ground. Then, traveling downward, he would make his way back to his plow.

With an arduous day of work ahead, in the golden heat of early morning, he looked only to the flag. Pressing ahead - a remarkably straight path behind him - he would plow until he reached his destination.

I think that's pretty profound.

30 May 2007

bolder loner

So, I did it. Yep, I ran my second Bolder Boulder solo (well, there were 49,999 other folks there too)... and I had a blast.

Monday was a BEAUTIFUL day. The sun was shining, Boulder was buzzing, people were EVERYWHERE and in great spirits, and my family was there at the finish line to cheer me on. It was just FUN! I felt like this was the first race (hee hee, it sounds funny to say that I "raced"). Scratch that. This was the first running event in which I have participated that I thoroughly and completely ENJOYED. I took it all in, I looked around, I said the "hi, hellos" and "how are yous," and had a genuinely good time in the process.

There was no pressure, there was no training, there were no hard feelings when I stopped 5 minutes into the race (running event) to go to the bathroom, and although I don't have the official results yet, I think I even shaved about 5 minutes off of my time from last year!


The Bolder Boulder is GREAT. If you live in Colorado and you've never done it, you must. Heck, I'll do it with you. And if you choose not to, that's cool too - come cheer somebody (me) on!

As for me - partner or no parther - as long as I live here and have one good leg, I'm running this race (yes, RACE!!)

(John Yates, you are not off the hook! I'll meet you in Boulder next Memorial Day!)

psalm 139

I have read it before - countless times in fact as an expecting momma. In my line of work, these words are honey to the soul - the softest, warmest, coziest of blankets to wrap around the little lives growing and forming within.

Yet with no baby in my belly and no mother to encourage, You brought me here this morning. Tenderly, you embraced me - my Father - and held me close. You wrapped your arms of poetry around me. You nourished me and spoke healing words to the tender, wounded and broken places in my spirit.

You are GOD, yet you are for me. You know, You understand, You comprehend. You were before me, You are behind me. You are within me. OH... I don't even know what to do with that, except to cry. Thank you for loving me, Lord - without strings or stipulations or exceptions. Thank you for being here with me.

1 "O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting."

29 May 2007

perfection

He had more to say to me this morning.

"And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." ~2 Cor 12:7-10

Yeah.

27 May 2007

babel

"What are the actions you are having trouble incorporating into your life? What attitudes about your identity are contributing to this?"

These are the question I read early this morning that precipitated a long twisted train of thought that ceased at patience
(and the lack thereof) when it comes to parenting my kids. Although I've made so many strides in the last six months, and I am smack-dab in the middle of an amazing season of growth and transformation, almost on a daily basis I feel disappointed or regretful or humbled by some of the ways in which I handle myself with my children.

Why are my weaknesses so great and SO glaring when it comes to parenting my kiddos?

Maybe because we spend SO much time together. Maybe because I'm the mom, and I'm the one that has to be the grown-up and have it all together. Maybe because I am a planner, a perfectionist and the quintessential type A personality. Maybe because someone on Oprah (during the 15 minutes last week when I happened to be watching) said something to the effect that our children - in all their flavor and fury - are reflections of their parents, which means of course, that those little and enormous things that absolutely grate, my children probably learned from me. Maybe because ultimately, I am responsible; I am to steward, shape and shepherd these little lives, and I will be the one to give an account for the condition of their hearts and souls and minds in these pivotal and precious years and the many more to come.

Now, I'm not saying I'm an awful parent. I'm not, and I know it. My children are loved, honored, cherished, respected and most importantly, they know it. But I AM saying, that I could be better - that we could be better. I'm saying that I want more for them. I want to be better.

"Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing, my brethren, these things ought not to be so..." James spoke to me this morning. Indeed.

Paul and I watched this movie last night: Babel. It's been on the brain since it ended. It was unsettling, intriguing, challenging, provocative and one of the best films I've seen in a long time. Although my reality is so far from each of its characters, as a parent - as a human - it resoundingly spoke to my life and experience. Drifting in and out of sleep last night, and again, as I was stirring from it this morning, I pondered the heart - the statement - of this film. What was it that these disparate, yet so brilliantly intertwined individuals shared in common? What was it that resonated so deeply within me? Was it their passion? Their shortcomings? Their desperation for more?

It was a story about "the necessity and impossibility of human communication," someone at Netflix boiled it down so eloquently. The necessity and impossibility of human communication.

Isn't this the truth?

Every fight. Every war. Every divorce. Every estrangement... each a relationship slowly unraveled with the toxic thread of miscommunication. So often we speak in languages that those around us fail to understand. Perhaps we don't even understand. Eventually, we feel angry, disappointed, hurt, misunderstood, frustrated... inept.

I know I am not sufficient to love how I want to love. I am human. I KNOW that HUMAN communication is absolutely necessary, yet utterly impossible. Reality is that in this life, I will hurt and I will be hurt. Jesus Christ himself, said that in this world YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE, but then he said to take heart and to be of good cheer. He is sufficient. He is God. He is wise and able, and He has overcome the humanness of this world. He is the fruitful, unifying, empowering, impenetrable thread of perfect communication.

So what do I do with that when the reality remains that
I will make mistakes and frankly, sometimes I will make choices as a parent - as a human - that just suck.

This is where He left me this morning...

"Who is wise (or able, or sufficient, or godly) among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic (and human). For where envy and self-seeking (and suckiness) exist, confusion (and miscommunication) and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom (and hope and life and PERFECT communication) that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." ~James 3:13-18

Be true. Be meek. Be pure. Be wise. Be merciful. Make peace.

14 May 2007

today

It's not that I haven't had anything to say. There has been something to be said every day, actually. There are countless pictures and stories and anecdotes and the most random of thoughts tucked away just waiting to be unleashed. I guess I've been a little preoccupied, a little behind, a little tongue-tied.

The last month... the last six months have been... I'm not really even sure what the word is. SO much has happened. So much has changed. I've grown and been stretched and been challenged and been blessed more than I can articulate. There is a new post in my head on at least one but more like two or three occasions everyday. And now, I'm backed up.

Today, the post in my head was about my Mother's Day. I was going to write about the lovely and simply perfect day I spent with my three favorite people on the planet. For no reason and every reason in particular, it was one of my favorite days that I have lived. All day yesterday, I kept thinking how blessed I am. Much more than usual, I was intensely aware of that truth. I relished in every moment of my day - acutely aware, absolutely thankful. Today was supposed to be the day that I stopped thinking and started typing.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Indiana, a mother, a daughter, a big sister once again has suffered the unthinkable.

One moment, my beautiful friend, Juli who with her family had just begun to come out on the other side of heart break, was making a latte for her little brother. And the next... once again?!?! I don't know how to say it or to wrap my brain around it. I'm sorry, but WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON?! This isn't right. It is SO unfair. It is heartbreaking and tragic and surreal and stupid and so difficult to understand, let alone accept...

17 April 2007

virginia tech

After a day in the dark - uniformed, unaware - I finally caught wind of the news.

My head is spinning, my insides are empty, and I feel heartbroken for him. For all of them.

"I look to you, heaven-dwelling God, look up to you for help.Like servants, alert to their master's commands, like a maiden attending her lady, We're watching and waiting, holding our breath, awaiting your word of mercy.

Mercy, God. MERCY..." ~ t
he Message, Ps 123


honey

Yesterday, in response to a comment I made, someone teasingly reacted by calling me a name - a biting, awful name. It's ironic because I honestly couldn't be anything further from all this word represents. Nonetheless, it was spoken.

Ordinarily, I'd simply call this person on his insolence, then allow his words to roll off of me as quickly as they came. Yet today, in spite of the frivolity and jest with which this word was delivered, and further, its absurdity when attached to me, its bite continues to sting. Today, I feel hurt. IN SPITE of intentions that meant me no harm, the heartfelt apology that followed and the fact that there is neither substance nor truth to what was said,
a piece of my spirit is wounded.

Today, in a day and a country privileged with the blessing of free speech, in an era of countless published authors (aka bloggers), in the wake of the Don Imus debacle, and to every single one of us who may not have impudently vomited harmful, hateful words all over public radio, but have carelessly spoken (or thought) the same poison for which this man is guilty, I must say - I MUST SCREAM - that OUR WORDS HAVE POWER!

Yes, within each of us is also the power to receive or to dismiss anything that is put into the universe. INDEED. Nevertheless, I refuse to accept this as an excuse for imprudent speech. Regardless of our "intentions," WE MUST BE RESPONSIBLE. I am sick of the apologies - getting them and giving them. Frankly, it is not enough to apologize after the fact. We must be accountable for our words BEFORE they proceed from our mouths. Much more importantly, we must begin to be accountable for our thoughts and the intentions of our hearts that manifest themselves into cutting words we may later regret.

It takes neither competence nor creativity, imagination nor ingenuity to negligently drop f-bombs around
(for my little kids to pick up), then dismiss them as innocuous "means of expression." GIVE ME A BREAK! Why do we continue to poison our communities and ourselves with colorless speech and even worse, unbridled thought?

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Perhaps it is naive of me, but I believe our time and resource are better spent not only thinking, but speaking those things which are noble, true, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, edifying and worthy of praise. In the Good Book, a wise man wrote:
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."


INDEED! May my words be as well.

09 April 2007

run with me

OK there's one more thing... this afternoon I received a t-shirt, bib number and registration for my second Bolder Boulder. 49 days to go.

I LOVE this Colorado tradition, and I'm definitely looking forward to doing again. The catch is this: I don't want to do it alone. When I asked my husband to join me this year, he pretty much laughed in my face. Since then, I've thrown the idea out to a handful of friends and gotten many "I'll-think-about-it" types of responses (translation, "Uh, no thanks!"). So, I have shamelessly resorted to putting the request out in cyberspace.

I'm looking for an interesting person with whom to run (jog) the Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day (Happy Birthday, Auntie Fo-fo) and potentially the Denver 1/2 Marathon in October. Friendship isn't even a prerequisite here (although, playing that one out in my head is a little creepy). Scratch that. Friends (past, present or future), friends of friends,
colleagues, associates, acquaintances... all (most) are welcome to apply!

Interested?

man's chief end

I read something early this morning that I've been pondering ever since. It said:
"Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever."

This is a pretty bold and profound statement. There is absolutely no room for gray with a decree like this one; it either is or it isn't. So, I've been asking myself all day, "Is MY chief end to glorify God and to enjoy him forever?"

Is it?

Because if it is, there would be evidence, right?
My thoughts, my words, my time, my actions, my relationships, my energy... my life would proclaim, "YES, indeed this is true."

I've been searching and digging and wrestling to determine my answer today. I've been trying to see beyond that which I want my answer to be to that which it truly is. In all honesty and sincerity, are there facts and irrefutable evidence in my life that supports the truth of this statement? Can I whole-heartedly testify and demonstrate that my purpose is to live for the glory of God? Is it true that my significance - my hope, my end - is found in knowing and loving and serving almighty God? Do I really - in the core of my being - believe this?

Do I? Do you?

The implications of resolutely standing on these words are enormous.

ENORMOUS.

08 April 2007

sixth

Last weekend, Paul and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. This week, we began our seventh year - our sabbath year - together.

Our long weekend began at the Izba Spa in Denver (wow). Three-point-five rejuvenating days in the mountains followed. Throughout our respite from reality, I fell in love (and in like) with my husband and best friend all over again. During the silence of day 2 (I think it was some time after my FOUR HOUR nap), I began to realize the full extent of the noise to which we've grown accustomed. It was good and SO important for us to slow down and just to be together.

In a few short days, we talked, walked, laughed, cried, cooked, cleaned, danced, dreamed, vegged, explored, rested, nested, reflected and reconnected.
We pranced along the surface and delved deep down too. It was good. Sweet. Absolutely precious time.

On the way home, we stopped for dinner at Benihana (yum), the restaurant at which we enjoyed our first meal together as husband and wife back in Marina del Rey six years ago. Then... it was over.

Although the sun and our children had retired for the night, the volume and cadence of our life, which in a weekend had all but diminished, quickly escalated within moments of stepping in our front door. Back to real life. For a day or two, I was grieved and wanted to go back, but tonight - in the stillness and quiet of my post-anniversary home - I am utterly pleased.

I found an AMAZING partner, whom I love, like and genuinely respect. Together, we get to parent and love two AMAZING, curly-haired children. Tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that one and hopefully many, many more days to follow, we get to walk through the ups and downs of this AMAZING journey called life. Sometimes it will be manic and noisy, other times it will be still and serene. Regardless, we get to do it together.

07 April 2007

a thought

I kid you not, this was the first thought that came to mind this morning...

"Besides meeting Jesus, meeting Paul and birthing my two children, potty training is the best thing that has ever happened to me..."

Yeah.

22 March 2007

tonight

Although I know reality couldn't be any more to the contrary, some days I feel like I'm in this thing on my own. When I close my eyes to pause, I feel the weight of world aching in my shoulders, and I feel tired. Really tired.

Then, I take a deep breath, open my eyes and move on.

18 March 2007

christmas letters and blogs

"There are two things that make me laugh: blogs and Christmas letters," he smugly began. He proceeded to pontificate about why lonely people choose to spend so much self-absorbed time and resource on these two laughable pastimes.

Christmas letters and blogs. CHRISTMAS LETTERS AND BLOGS... I know what you are thinking if you a know A THING about me. Could any two things scream Abi T more than Christmas letters and blogs?

Perhaps I am deeply and utterly alone. Perhaps I am so self-righteous and so self-absorbed that I must devote an entire web log to myself, another to my family, another to my business and then, as if that wasn't enough of me, then, I find it necessary to tell everybody about it once a year. Perhaps.

Or perhaps not.

With all due respect (oh no, here she goes...), I believe that there is more.

Perhaps for some, there is peace, solace and a healing outlet in the cathartic world of Christmas letters and blogs. Perhaps they offer a means by which to stay meaningfully connected to oneself and to others. Perhaps they are a precursor to community. Perhaps they are the only vehicles by which some are able to expose pieces of themselves and allow themselves to be unveiled because they have been mocked and ridiculed or simply overlooked in the "real" world. Perhaps they are the only reason that some will actually download pictures off their digital cameras.
Perhaps some people just need to process. Perhaps they may begin with social commentary that sparks compassionate action and ends with prolific, eternal gain. Perhaps they are the canvas upon which a masterpiece is painted or a timeless epic is drafted. Perhaps they are the person with whom one can share that random, but insanely funny thought he had on the way home. Perhaps they are the means by which a woman can share the testimony of her dying son with tens of thousands of people around the world and proclaim the mighty name and grace and love and mercy of Jesus in a way that it can finally be heard.

Perhaps, kind sir, you are reading the wrong letters and blogs.

Perhaps if you look more closely, you will find story and after meaningful story of struggles and joy, pain and endurance, significance and banality, love and loss.
Perhaps you will realize that many people would keep writing whether or not anyone was reading. Perhaps you will encounter a rant or two, or perhaps you will find poetry. Perhaps you will become a part of somebody's story - the legacy of someone who was purposed and fashioned in the image of the master architect, artist, storyteller and blog author. Perhaps you will laugh or perhaps you will cry or perhaps you will find a bit of yourself if you stop laughing and start listening. Perhaps.

Or perhaps not.

11 March 2007

mommy

There was a moment. I think it was right after that final push, when my baby... a girl?!?!?... emerged and they put her on my chest. I sobbed - relieved, overwhelmed, overjoyed - eternally and instantaneously transformed. One second I was me, then the next I was more; I was a mommy.

I remember wondering both times I was pregnant, "How will I know what to do?"

"You just know," someone told me.

I'm still blown away by the fact that she was right.

Prior to January 2004, I could sleep through anything... everything. I couldn't be aroused, couldn't be disturbed and certainly couldn't HEAR anything once my head hit the pillow. But the moment I brought my baby girl home... amazingly, I could still sleep through everything but one thing: my child. Suddenly, I could hear her breathe, hear her sigh, hear her cry - all the way down the hall, behind a closed door. I was a mommy, and I could hear my baby.

Tonight, as my son was half asleep, fishing for his passy, in his room across the house, I could hear and feel him. I was roused from the deepest of sleep, to help my son. We shared a brief, sweet moment just now. I loved on him, put him back down, and he drifted back to sleep. I just knew.

Sometimes, I still can't believe that I have two children. I'll see or hear them, then realize, "Those are mine?!?!?" I'm a mommy. I'm THEIR mommy. I hear my kids. When they are upset, in the depths of my being, I know what to do. I am wired to love them how they need to be loved. We are connected. I hear and feel them from across the room, or around the corner, or down the hall...

Recently a friend asked me, "So, how do you know what to do?"

Without even thinking about it, I responded. "You just know."

I am absolutely in awe that God put this in me. Absolutely in awe.

OK, back to bed.

06 March 2007

after

Think back, if you will, about five months to the deepest, darkest, DIRTIEST secret I disclosed in 2006. Do you remember? Perhaps I should refresh your memory...

(Cue the basement theme song... )

horns:
bah.......... Bah.......... BAH.......... BAH, BUM

percussion:
bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum...

horns:
bah.......... Bah.......... BAH.......... BAH, BUM

percussion:
bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum...


Yes... NOW you remember
(though everything within you tried to forget).

Well, I am thrilled to report that after two plus years of DEEP denial, five more months of absolute dread and dismay over the prospect of actually DEALING with my problem, and three intense days in the dungeon of my house, this disaster...


...is a now a distant memory in my past.

Say hello to the present (you are NOT going to believe this)...




Step 4 - the recovery... check.

Consider us RECOVERED.

YESSSSSSSS!

28 February 2007

my toes

Do you remember that Judy Blume book from the third grade: "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." No. Actually, I think it was called "Blubber". Do you remember "Blubber?"

Judy Blume. There is someone I haven't thought about in a LONG time. She was such a pivotal figure in my prepubescence - one of the first to let me in on the enigmatic secrets of becoming a woman. I wonder how Judy Blume is doing... I wonder what Judy Blume is doing... I digress.

So anyway, "Blubber." Honestly I remember very little from that book, other than the obvious. There was this line, however, near its conclusion that came to mind this morning.

"I can see my toes," she said.

After a lifetime of burden - years of carrying around baggage that blinded this little girl to what was behind, beneath, around and within her - finally, she let it go. After searching and working and finally surrendering, she eventually looked down, and for the first time, she saw her toes.

There was a moment this morning, when I felt like she felt. This is a lot to get into. Far more than I intend to disclose at 4:30 in the morning, but the short of the long is that I can see my toes. For years I have been weary - carrying around burdensome baggage, blinded by a figurative (and somewhat literal) belly of extra weight. Even in the years when the scale read what I wanted, I was lost and unable to find pieces of myself. Somewhere down deep, I was crying out, "Are you there God? It's me, Abi."

Today - this morning - I can see my toes.

I feel free. I feel light. I feel joyful and peaceful and thankful and blessed. Lies that have bound me for years are unraveling. Boulders of mistruth and deception and isolation that once pinned me to the floor have rolled away.

"Come to me,"
He has gently enticed year after year, pound after pound, "and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light..."

This morning I looked up, then down. I looked within and around and realized that He is here, that I am free and for the first time... ever... I can see my toes.

19 February 2007

blog slacker

What is my DEAL? It's been weeks. No words, just thoughts. I have SO much to say. I am full... overflowing, yet totally and completely overwhelmed and devoid of the right words. Maybe I should take my own advice. Just start, right? Indeed.

Not today (sigh).

03 February 2007

hard to say goodbye

It's been a little while, hasn't it? I'm not sure how more than two weeks have passed since I wrote last. I suppose I've had a lot going on and a lot on my mind (You would think that this would be my cue to write something groundbreaking or profound). Not so, not so.

Actually, I've been thinking about a pair of pants.

Do you have that pair of pants? You know, the pair that hugs you in all the right places, hides your flaws, accentuates your assets. Jeans, maybe. The fit is just right - EVEN out of the dryer. Perhaps you are the proud owner of the perfect little black dress or an impeccably-tailored power suit that just looks good or the classic shoe of all shoes.

Sadly, I have no idea what it's like to be you.

My pair of pants is ANYTHING but perfect. If you have known me for any length of time, you've seen the pants that I'm talking about. Through my days as a bachelorette, through marriage, three jobs, two pregnancies and two babies, who are now toddlers, I have shamelessly worn these tattered, elastic-wasted, stretched out, non-descript, shapeless, black-faded-to-something-not-so-black pants.

I'm that girl - the one you see in the grocery store with her nasty pants dragging on the floor. The one at whom you shake your head wondering how and why she made THE CHOICE to put on those raggedy knickers that do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for her. The walking, talking episode of What Not To Wear, proudly parading in a pathetic excuse for pants... yeah, that's me.

The worst part is that I KNOW. I can't blame it on ignorance. I KNOW. I know how horrible those pants looked three years ago, (let alone last week) yet I continued to wear them. Shameless.

The good news is that I decided enough's enough, while I was out one day last week. I bought not one, but THREE pairs of comfortable, yet practical workout pants to replace my vice. I made the call and told Paul that the end of an era had come. It was time for us to say goodbye. He actually squealed.

The bad news is that that was 10 days ago.

"I'll just wash them one more time, before I throw them away" I said to myself. Then I proceeded to stick them back in my drawer.

"I just have to wait until ARC or DAV or Salvation Army comes back to our neighborhood," I momentarily convinced myself.

"I'll just wear them when I paint," I even rationalized last night.

I guess you could say that I'm having a hard time letting go. Regretfully, I simply cannot promise that I will ever throw my pants away. With that said, however, should you ever see me walking around in public in those dilapidated black pants, you have my permission to smack me.

13 January 2007

crowned in peace

A few days ago, after a pretty rotten week, I sat in silence - feeling despondent, defeated and dejected. "Lord, give me some hope and mercy, some perspective and peace," I prayed...
...And then, He did.

10 January 2007

kandid perfection

I realized just before Christmas that the time had come. Maya was now a few weeks short of her third birthday, and Cole had just past 18-months. Oh no... OH NO!
Yes, the time had come for us to make the DREADFUL trip to the photographer to get pictures taken.

In an effort to spare myself the frustration of a mall photographer at Christmas time, I decided to wait until after New Year's to make the trek.

"This shouldn't be so bad," I naively thought to myself when I got up early for the "big day" last Thursday morning. Right.

"Mama, my tongue hurts," Maya complained as she came down the stairs and joined me on the floor for the tail end of my workout.

"Really? Say AH," I responded (BIG mistake), as she stood and towered over me.

To my dismay and disbelief, "Ahhhhhhh" was followed by a crimson shower of vomit. Instinctively, I put my hands up in a feeble attempt to protect myself and the carpet. "Got it... Oh, SICK!!"

With a one-two punch, the second heave splattered through my hands to my face and hair, and the third left a scarlet mess all over the floor beneath me.

Yeah. We didn't make it to the photographer that day.

The 24-hour bug was gone by Saturday morning. "Maybe today," I thought to myself as I got out of bed. Not so, I realized when I entered Cole's room and discovered a mysterious rash that had broken out all over his face, neck and chest.

No, we didn't make it to the photographer that day either.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING could have stopped us (me) yesterday morning. We were all up early. No vomit. No rashes. No problem.

After breakfast, I got the kids dressed in their Tuesday best - a perfect little bow perched atop Maya's curls, and every hair on Cole's precious head was in its place. The kiddos looked perfect. Just perfect. At 9:50 a.m., we dashed from the house, jumped into the car, raced up the road and merged onto the highway.

We would be at Kiddie Kandids by 10:06 a.m. PERFECT!

I screeched into a parking spot, and sprung from my car to open the trunk.

"Oh, no. OH, NO!!" Paul forgot to put the stroller back when he used my truck last week. (This may not seem like a big deal to most, but ANY of you mothers out there, try to imagine getting ANYWHERE in a mall - IN A HURRY - with two toddlers and NO stroller... Yeah.)

PERFECT. I thought to myself, biceps burning, as I curled my 30-pound son in one arm and tugged my 33-pound daughter with the other.

At 10:16 a.m., we got to Kiddie Kandids to discover that my immaculate children would have to wait to have their pictures taken. Three other moms with their perfectly-dressed newborns (NO, NOT NEWBORNS?!?!?) beat us to the two photographers taking pictures that morning.

Claire-bear. Sweet, little Claire-bear, would you give mommy a smile...

"20 minutes," the manager said with a grin, and handed me her Kiddie Kandids card. "We'll see you back in 20 minutes."

"Perfect," I thought to myself. I had a sweater to return anyway. "We'll run to Nordstrom and come right back. This will be great."

We made it back to Kiddie Kandids with three minutes to spare. Unfortunately, the perfectly-dressed, totally sedate newborns and their well-meaning mothers didn't get the memo that their time was up.

Come on, honey. You can do it! Will you smile for big brother?
KYLE, come over here...


"We're running a little behind," the smiley manager explained as she led us to the holding area in the back of the store.

Within 10 minutes, the whining and fussing and squirming began. "When do we get to have our fixtures taken???" After 20 minutes, in a moment of desperation, I sprung for the $5 mall buggy and strolled Cole, who was rapidly melting, around the tiny studio.

25 minutes... 30 minutes... 35 minutes...

Give momma, just one smile. ONE smile, sweetheart.

"OH, we should just leave," a muffled voice surfaced from within.

"Are you KIDDING?!?!" a bigger, stronger, resounding voice rebutted, beating down the first...

"I'm so SORRY, Ma'am," Smiley Manager said as she approached
(Perhaps the huffing and eye-rolling and muttering under my breath as I strolled my squirmy, perfectly-dressed toddler around the store gave it away). "Sometimes, these things just happen - especially when we have newborns first thing in the morning," she droned.

Unable to mask the aggravation seething inside, I lied with a weak smile,
"No problem, these things happen."

40 minutes... 45 minutes... 50 minutes...

Just one more pose, honey. I know you're tired.

56 minutes later, it was our turn.

Smiley Manager escorted us to the "studio" in the front of the store and introduced us to our photographer, "What's-His-Name." I greeted him with a contrived smile as I clutched my toddler with one hand and desperately clung to the end of my rapidly fraying rope with the other.

"I don't want to have my fixture taken... I want to watch NEMO... I'm getting hungry... I want Cole to go first," Maya nagged from behind.

Within minutes, my exasperated, perfectly-dressed son was sprawled on the floor spilling over with tears, while my red-faced, perfectly-dressed daughter was jumping up and down, pounding her fists, and screaming, "I don't want to have my fixture taken," front and center in the Kiddie Kandids window for all passersby to witness.

I couldn't hold in my anger a moment longer. "THAT'S IT, I'M DONE. WE'RE LEAVING!!!" I exploded.

I threw Cole into the $5 buggy, yanked Maya by the arm as she stumbled to the floor.

"GET UP," I screamed, as I pushed Cole and the buggy and dragged Maya down the LONG mall hallways, through the food court, and FINALLY out the front door.

The frigid outdoor air wasn't enough extinguish the fire in my chest and face, as we rushed to the car. I was annoyed. I was embarrassed. I was livid.

Honestly, I can't remember being that angry in my entire life.

I was unable to speak to or even look at my children (or anyone else) for most of the day yesterday. I was SO angry. It wasn't just STUPID Kiddie Kandids. It was everything. How could they have behaved so poorly? How can
they be so selfish? When do they stop taking? I HAVE NOTHING LEFT TO GIVE.

Why am I so ANGRY???

"Anger is a secondary emotion," I heard someone say recently.

So what was the primary emotion? Frustration? Disappointment? Bitterness? Resentment? All of the above?

I won't pretend to know the answer, because I don't. The only thing I know is that I left this experience with a profound awareness of my brokenness and imperfections - ashamed of how I responded to the entire situation. I am SO far from perfect, so far from sufficient. I have all sorts of emotions bottled up inside, that have yet to be unleashed. I need grace. I need mercy. I need love.

The perfect picture is just not so. The reality is that sometimes my kids get rashes and throw up in my face. Sometimes they have tantrums and meltdowns, and sometimes I get frustrated and REALLY angry. Sometimes, I need a break, and I don't get it in time. Yes, sometimes I even explode at my children.

Yet, today is a new day (thank the Lord). I thank God that children are resilient.
I praise Him for the unending grace that comes in the face of glaring imperfection.
I rejoice in the hope of knowing that His mercies are new EVERY morning. In this very moment, my kids are playing and running and squealing and laughing as they terrorize my house. They are perfect in all their imperfections.

Cole is almost 19-months now, Maya will be three in less than two weeks, and I still don't have my perfect pictures.

I don't know that I ever will.