MOVED

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Music has a way of making me move.  

If there’s good hip hop bee bop’n somewhere, anywhere – I can’t stand still.  Some part of my body HAS to move . . .even if just a bit. Just Dance Wii is my new favorite hobby. 🙂  

When a good worship song plays while I’m driving, in church, on a run or bike ride – my hands lift up in surrender and praise.  Ranon doesn’t even ask me what I’m do anymore if we’re driving and my arms go up.  The other day, I looked back to check on him and saw his arms raised.  MADE MY HEART MELT!  I guess he thinks raising your hands is just something you do when hear a song you like.  Love it! 🙂

Lyrics have a way of wrapping their fingers around my soul and pressing in on the exact pressure point that’s the most sensitive right at that moment – so much so that it makes me jump, smile, cry, drop to my knees, do a little jig or raise my hands to the sky.

This morning, Kari Jobe’s song, “One Desire”, consumed my heart and mind completely.  I desire many things in this life.  Right now, in this season, one of my strongest desires is to have someone to share and DO life with.  This morning the Lord used these words to remind my soul WHO my one desire truly is and will always be. 

“In Your presence Lord, I will find my strength,

You’re the breath in me, You’re my everything,

With my heart bowed low, and my hands held high,

All-consuming fire, You’re my one desire . . .”

Tears streamed down my face as my hands lifted up in AWE of the One who has been my strength – who IS my strength.  Specific memories of the ways He has provided for me over the past few years especially, flooded my mind and the words that repeated throughout the song (typed above) so perfectly articulated who He is to me.  

If the Lord should bless me with a husband someday, I will remember the words to this song and the truth that will remain: He will always be my one desire.

My heart will always sing, I love you, I love you . . .”

 

 

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Merry Early Mother’s Day

*I wrote this for my church’s Women’s Ministry Blog last month, so you may have already read this.  I am mainly posting it here to keep all of my blogs together for myself.  These are kind of like my journal entries, which I enjoy reading after time has passed by – to be reminded of what I was feeling, thinking, and struggling with at that certain season of life.  It can be encouraging, discouraging, and/or both.  It is certain to always be a reminder of God’s provision and continued faithfulness in my life.

 

I write best when I’m broken, so today is a good day to write.

To the women who deeply desire to have children and can’t, for various reasons – I acknowledge you.

To the women who have lost a child or a mom – I acknowledge you.

To the women whose relationship with your mom has never been what you desired it to be – I acknowledge you.

I acknowledge that Mother’s Day is, for many, the opposite of flowers, breakfast in bed and warm sloppy kisses. It’s a reminder of a life lost or one never brought into existence. I am SO SORRY that life is so unfair. My hope is to share from my heart and in doing so, not offend or be insensitive to others with different circumstances surrounding this day.

I’ve only been a mom for five years so I definitely still feel like I do not know what I’m doing much of the time! I wonder if part of God’s thought behind motherhood (or parenthood for that matter) is to create a sure way to keep us on our knees and humbled daily. It is possible for pride to have its way in us as parents – FOR SURE – but it never stays long. At least not at my house.

“Motherhood has rumbled over us like a freight train, rendering us in some moments out of control and humbled, positions we’re not accustomed to. We’re get-it-done women. We’ve handled everything, all the time, all at the same time. We’ve made lists and plans and back-up plans. And motherhood laughed at our plans, twisted up our expectations, and gave them back to us upside down covered with blood and stretch marks and goldfish cracker paste,” (Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet, p.151).

Today, I feel rumbled over.

Yesterday was Thursday = date night with my ‘lil man! Most Thursday nights Ranon and I head over to Farmer’s Market in downtown SLO after I pick him up from school. We park in the same place: on the top level of the parking structure on Chorro so that we can ride down in the “glass elevator.” We eat at either The Habit or Pluto’s, then we make our way up and down Higuera and stop to dance, jump in the bounce house, buy fruit and veggies or give a homeless person something (one night Ranon really wanted to give them each a stick of gum, so fresh breath it was! J )

I dropped Ranon off at school, gave him a kiss goodbye and said, “Love you bud. Can’t wait for our date tonight!”

“Me too!” he replied.

When I arrived at school later that day to pick him up, his teacher had Ranon tell me about the “kind of afternoon we had today,” which consisted of Ranon disobeying and disrespecting his teachers and ended up in “Miss Patty’s office” (code for Principal’s office).

I had Ranon apologize to his teacher for disobeying and being disrespectful and I thanked her for letting me know about this. Then I prayed from his classroom out to the car, “Lord, PLEASE give me wisdom and show me how to handle this!” One thing I knew for sure was that we would not be going on our date. I had the car ride home to figure out what would be next.

After Ranon was buckled in his booster and I got in my seat, I turned around and said, “Ranon, I love you very much but I am very disappointed by the choices you made today. Part of the consequence for your disobedience is that we can’t go on our date tonight. This makes me so sad because I have been looking forward to it all day!”

I was expecting tears and sadness and instead I was met with a stern face that was fighting back tears and he said, “I didn’t want to go anyway.”

Ouch! Hmmm. Wasn’t expecting that! Now what?

I prayed the whole way home and told him to sit on his bed until dinner was ready while I figured out what the rest of his consequence would be. I felt like motherhood pelted me in the face with a ball of its goldfish cracker paste and yelled, “Take that, you ‘ol ninny!” My heart has been heavy and I am constantly wrestling with fear and surrender. I’m afraid that this could be the first of many reports I am to receive from Ranon’s teachers for the next several years. I’m afraid that this little life that is full of GOOD and strength will choose foolishness more than wisdom. Satan ceases the opportunity to attack my mind while I’m weak and I work myself into so many knots I don’t know how to untangle!

 

RELINQUISH CONTROL.

 

Since Shauna says everything better, again I will quote something she wrote in Bittersweet, “Logic says mothers are crazy to hope as heedlessly as we do, to love as rabidly as we do, to care as recklessly as we do, to yearn as acutely as we do, but there’s no other way. We have been made vulnerable by motherhood as we have by nothing else in our lives.”

I’m vulnerable. I’m humbled. I’m discouraged and afraid!

Morning comes and as I see a mop of blonde hair in the shadows, I pull back the covers to invite him in. I tuck him under my arm and snuggle up close. His toes wiggle against my leg and I soak up the peace and stillness for the SECOND that it lasts. It’s a new day and I am reminded how insanely honored I am to be a mom.

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When Eyes Speak

 

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     Ancient Roman philosopher, Cicero, once said, “The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.”  Eye contact is one of the most vulnerable, intimate ways you connect with someone, but have you ever thought about why that is?  Why is it so rare for people to actually look you in the eyes when they’re talking to you?  Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like it’s become some kind of past trend, like the twist or poodle skirts I have seen in old 50’s movies. 

      When I talk to someone, I am intentional to look them in the eyes.  However, as I have been thinking about this topic recently, I have noticed that I unintentionally don’t make as good of eye contact when I am feeling insecure, nervous or afraid.  Being the analytical, introspective person that I am (which drives me nuts much of the time, so I don’t consider this a pompous statement), I break it down by peeling back the next layer and asking myself: why do I look away more when those emotions are present?  Answer: looking into someone’s eyes makes me feel vulnerable. For someone who knows me well, all it takes is to look boldly into their eyes and without opening my mouth, my eyes speak.  Eyes are a window to the soul and sometimes, frankly, I just don’t want someone to see or know my soul.  My fear of being vulnerable may stem from the fear of being rejected, not appearing as “together” and strong as I want them to see me, or a form of self-protection from someone who has not treated my heart with care. At times and with certain people, I believe that it is healthy and even biblical, to guard my heart and not allow one to know it.  “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” (Proverbs 4:23).

     What are you saying with your eyes when you look at people?  Do you even really look at people or do your eyes wander?  Do they wander to your reflection in the store window as you walk by, or scan the room to see if that cute guy you met last week is there?  If we speak with our eyes, we also listen with them.  I do not feel listened to when someone’s eyes scan and shuffle.  There are certain situations where it is completely understandable and even necessary for eyes to need to be in more places than one, like keeping your eyes on your child(ren) while having a conversation, or if you’re in charge of an event, just to name a few.  My questions at the beginning of this paragraph are within the context of when there would be no reason for your eyes to look away.

     You know when you’re having a difficult day, for various reasons, and you’re able to hold it together at work or church or wherever you’re at temporarily.  Your survival mode kicks into gear and you’re able to compartmentalize whatever it is you’re doing in the moment vs. what is percolating in your soul.  You exchange the social script with an acquaintance when you pass them on your way to lunch, “Hi!  How are you?” “Good thanks, how are you?”  “Fine, thank you.”  Yuck!  I know it’s as common as saying hello to someone when you see them, but for me, I decided years ago to expel that script from my use except for when I truly mean it.  I will always say “hello” and am probably truly glad to see you, but unless I want and am able to really know how you’re doing, it ends there.  Back to my point . . .in the same day (the day where you were melting inside but were trying to hold it together on the outside), you could see someone who knows you well and, if you’re like me, if I’m in a place that I don’t want to completely fall apart, I turn around and walk the other way or look away.  BECAUSE, all it takes is one look at their eyes to unravel.  It’s like they know you so well that they can see past the façade and straight to the heart.  Then comes the question, “What is wrong?”  And then, for me at least, come the tears.  Tears are some of the eyes’ most powerful words. 

     My hope and purpose of sharing these thoughts is to possibly put onto the map of your mind the importance of eye contact.  Maybe the next time you are talking to your husband about plans for the weekend, or talking to the guy you want to be in a relationship with but can’t, or listening to your daughter tell you about the tasty boogers she just ate . . .whatever the situation may be: be it simple or intimate, you will think about what your eyes are saying and conveying to your listener. 

“I like you; your eyes are full of language.”

– Anne Sexton

 

 

 

 

A “PLAN B” Day

I’m an interesting combination of someone who is a total planner, and yet also has a need and love for spontaneity.  Pre-mom era I was probably more spontaneous than planned (although Dan would probably disagree). 🙂  Now I’m probably 85% planner and 15% spontaneous.  Why is this?  Maybe some of you feel this way too.  My guess, for myself and I think would be true for most people, is that the more responsibilities in life I have, the more the “planner” side dominates.  Having a child who is about as non-flexible (don’t think that’s a word but I like to make words up) as they come has only encouraged this side of me as well.  

 

With all of the many unexpected and unwanted change of plans I have endured over the past several years, I have definitely grown in the area of understanding that life is neither fair nor predictable and plans should always be held loosely. 

 

Today was one of those days where, from the beginning, things just did not go as planned.  It started with my plan to help Ranon build a tractor out of his new Lego set he got for his birthday.  I have been excited to help him with this all week and have been building it up with him, telling him that I can help him with it on Saturday when we get to have a lazy morning.  He has asked me several times if he can take it to Daddy’s house since Dad is better at those kinds of things, and while I usually gladly send him off with the crafty, mechanical things for Dad to do, I was actually determined myself to put together a Lego figure using the instructions – something I had NEVER done before.  Well, the first hint should have been the age range noted on the Lego box: 7-12.  After the first few minutes of working as a “team” to build the tractor, Ranon was completely over it.  Not only was he over it but he was mixing the tractor Lego pieces with his other random Lego pieces = REALLY difficult to find the pieces I needed!  Aaaah!  Plan mishap #1.  Trying to find the tiny pieces, all mixed together was enough to want to lose my mind, but my determination kept me going and here is the end product:

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I feel the way many men (and women, not meaning to be sexist) must feel after the first time they follow a recipe and it actually turns out the way it looks in the picture. 🙂  I did it!  I’m sure it took me 10x’s longer than it would have taken Dan, but I did it and now I know I can do it again when Ranon is older and more into it.

 

After the morning Lego accomplishment, Ranon and I set off to pick-up my niece for a rollerblading adventure in Avila Beach.  Ranon and I were looking forward to it all week, so when we got to her house and no one was home, after 15 minutes +, texting her mom with no response, I started to worry, thinking something happened to someone in the family or that I got the date wrong.  Fortunately, it was the latter scenario.  My bad!  Somehow I got the wrong Saturday in my mind.  Plan mishap #2.  The car was packed with picnic lunches, scooter, stroller, rollerblades and jackets so I quickly went to Plan B in my head and decided to head to Morro Bay to checkout a new park I had heard good things about.  We ended up at Cloister Park and Ranon rode his scooter around the labyrinth of cement paths while I ran behind him.  The sky was gray but it wasn’t windy or cold, which was a pleasant surprise.  After the scooter ride and pretending we were pirates on the playground we called our ship, Ranon got cozy in the Bob (best stroller ever!), I strapped on my rollerblades and we took off to explore the paths we had not yet traveled.  

 

You will appreciate, or at least maybe will understand my sadness in this story that is about to unfold, by giving you the backstory of my rollerblades.  I got them for Christmas when I was 10 years old!  So I have had them for almost 24 years!  My parents got them big but I did have a clunker even at age 10.  I have MANY memories with these rollerblades and just assumed they would last forever.  Back to my story: I was pushing Ranon in the stroller in my rollerblades checking out the paths, turning around when we got to mounds of sand or dead ends.  We passed a dirt trail that seemed to call my name and I said, “Rollerblades really aren’t suppose to go on dirt or mud but let’s go for it and see where this trail leads!”  I had a feeling it would meet up with another cement or asphalt path.  The stroller took the dirt path like a champ.  I, on the other hand, probably was quite a sight.  At one point, I went down a little hill and was rolling, afraid that at any moment the wheels would stick and decide not to budge and I would go flying, but instead I heard something crack and quickly realized it was the right boot of my rollerblade.  It cracked 360 degrees around so I didn’t have any support.  I made it to the path, which it did eventually meet up with, then took off the rollerblades and walked back to the car barefoot.  Plan mishap #3.  Ranon kept asking me from his comfortable seat in the stroller, “How do your feet feel mom?  Can you go faster?”  I might try duct tape on this rollerblade or something before throwing them away.  I’m not a pack rat at all, but I really don’t think I can depart with these!  If anyone has a suggestion as to what I can do to repair this boot, please let me know!  Image

I looked online to see if the Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas were there this time of year and sure enough, it said they were, so we headed North on Highway 1 to see the hideous freaks of nature.  Even though I took Ranon to see them with my brother and niece when he was 2, he didn’t remember them, of course, so I was describing them to him as being one of strangest creatures I’d ever seen.  He kept referring to them as the “Weird-ees.”  On our way up, last minute I decided to drive him by Nitwit Ridge in Cambria so he could see the strange house someone built out of trash and treasures.  Since Ranon loves to collect trash and seems to be a hoarder by nature, he started telling me that he wanted to put trash all over our house to make it pretty.  Great!  What had I done?  I reassured him that we didn’t want to be Nitwits and to keep the trash in the can please.

 

We didn’t stay long at the Elephant Seals but he really enjoyed seeing them and thought the way they ran was hilarious.  Other times I have been to see the Elephant Seals I have felt like it should have been rated PG-13 or maybe even R so I was preparing to have to distract him at times.  The mating season must have been over because there was none of that going on, which was a relief!  

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I haven’t driven North on Highway 1 in a long time and was reminded of what an AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS place I live in.  Seriously, San Luis Obispo County is breathtaking.  There were so many trails we drove past that went out to the rocky shoreline I wanted to run on.  The jagged ocean mouth is not one that makes me want to dive in but leaves me speechless and in complete awe of my Maker.  He is SO creative!  Even with the Elephant Seals, what was He thinking when He created those things?  What an imagination!  

 

We stopped at a store in Cambria on our way home to get a little treat.  Ranon got a “Rocky Road Cluster” and I got a chocolate covered graham cracker and we split them to share.  So yummy!  We took a different route home on Hwy 46 – so we made a complete loop and every inch we covered was stunning.  I love where I live!  I love random, spontaneous adventures and am thankful for the plan mishaps and our “Plan B” day.

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2013 Recap and a New Year’s Bah-humbug

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I have always been one who prefers organic over man made, anything, really. Pool or Ocean? Ocean!  Homemade pie or Marie Calendars? Homemade! Breyers ice cream or Dreyers? Breyers! Gel, combed hair or bed head? Bed Head! Ranon’s bed head is too amazing to try to tame! I wanted this year’s pictures to capture SIMPLE, REAL and PURE = US.

If a New Year’s “bah-humbug” existed, I would be one. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions and I stopped saying, “This year is certain to be better than the last.” Frankly, it just hasn’t been the case for me and my life over the past several years. If I don’t expect the new year to be better than the last, I can’t be disappointed when it’s not. Sounds awful, huh? I will say that no matter how hard I may try, I cannot completely sever the hope day 1 of a new year brings. I still journal on the last day of the year about the highlights and ways God provided and showed up in my life. I also journal about the trials and greatest challenges of the year. Then, on January 1st, 2014, I titled my journal entry, “Dare to Dream,” and wrote down my dreams for 2014. I wrote them in pencil, as a physical reminder that they may not happen and could be erased at any given moment. I have learned never to write LIFE in Sharpie because there is nothing permanent or predictable about it.

2013 was an incredibly challenging year, as well as encouraging because of all the ways God continued to provide and guide. His faithfulness never ceases to amaze me!! So why am I still so prone to wander, doubt, fear and raise my fist in anger when things don’t go my way? “Oh for grace, to trust Him more.”

November of 2013 marked 1 year since I went back to work full-time. I am working full-time as a Legal Assistant at The Buckley Law Firm in downtown San Luis Obispo. When I went through my divorce, I told friends and family, “You couldn’t pay me to do what I am paying my attorney and paralegal to do for me!’ Since then (among other reasons) I have learned to never say never, because here I am, now getting paid to do what I said I never would do. AND I am actually, really enjoying it even!!  I am SO thankful to have a job I look forward to going to each morning.

Ranon started a new Preschool in August at ASI Children’s Center on Cal Poly’s campus. I put him on the waiting list when he was 15 months old and 3 years later, they called to inform me that a spot had become available. WHAT? Are you serious? It has been SUCH a blessing! Ranon goes 2 days a week there and gets to drive down to SLO and back with me. His school is 5 minutes away from my work so a few times a month I meet him for lunch, play the guitar for his class, or attend parent meetings.  The fact that it is so close to my work allows me to be more involved on the days he is there.  The place even serves him breakfast, snacks and lunch!!  Talk about an added bonus of not having to pack a lunch!  He gets to spend a few days a week with Dan, then on Fridays he rotates between friends and Nana. It is SUCH a blessing to know that he is being loved and taken care of while I’m at work. Ranon will be 5 in February and continues to be full of life, curiosity and surprises.  I try to write down some of the things he says because they are so random and hilarious but unfortunately, I know there are more times I forget to write them down than do.

What twists and turns await us in 2014?  What does God want to teach us?  How does He want to use us?  If you know me well, or even a little I guess (since it doesn’t take long to notice) I am full of questions so my list of “dreams” for the new year turns into a list of questions.  Today, right now, my hope for 2014 is to embrace each day for what they are and trust God to fill in the gaps and take care of the rest.

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Smells Like a Sunset

It’s been a little over a year since I last blogged and for some reason, I got the urge.  Today.  Right now.  I am a total “Mary Poppins Blogger” in that, you never know when my ramblings will come or go.  Hopefully while they’re in town, you will enjoy.

Ranon woke up at 3am with a fever and hasn’t gotten any better as the day has progressed.  I guess he climaxed with a good heave ho into the bowl, but after that he’s been sleeping, mellow and chill’n on the bed (so you know he is DEFINITELY not feeling well when he’s calm and relaxing during the day!).  It’s almost impossible for me to be indoors when the sun is shining, especially knowing that it’s suppose to rain the next few days, so today isn’t exactly the best day to be housebound; however, I have made the most of my opportunity to be domestic.

I started out trying a new recipe out of a book I’m currently obsessed with, Bread and Wine, by Shauna Niequist.  My goal is to have tried all of the recipes in the book (by no set date, just eventually).  I made the marinade this morning for the “Maple Balsamic Pork Tenderloin,” which called for 1/4 C of beer.  So what do you do with an almost full bottle of beer when you don’t like to drink it?  Since I don’t like to waste anything, I decided to look up some recipes and ended up making beer bread with it.  (Side note: you know you’re getting old when you’re no longer carded for alcohol!  I rarely ever buy alcohol, but it’s the first time ever that the cashier didn’t ask to see my I.D.).  When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  When you have a bottle of beer you don’t want to drink, make beer bread.  I just had a slice and it is AMAZING!  It doesn’t taste anything like beer so once I got past the nasty smell of beer while I was making the bread (and after it sprayed everywhere when I opened the bottle), the bread has made it worth the mess it made for me to clean up.

I tried another recipe from Bread and Wine, “Breakfast Cookies.”  They don’t have any sugar, eggs or flour (not that I have anything against either but most of the world seems to these days).  The best part about them is they have coconut oil, shredded coconut and chocolate chips!  I’ve decided that anything with chocolate and coconut in it is guaranteed to change your life.  I had one fresh out of the oven and it was delicious!  Breakfast bliss in a bite for quick grab ‘n go work mornings.  Hallelujah!

During the few hours that Motrin kicked in, Ranon helped me carve our pumpkin.  I tossed them with some olive oil, garlic salt & Worschestire and they’re currently baking to perfection.  Since I don’t know how long I will stay healthy for, I feel like a squirrel gathering her acorns for the winter. I’m trying to get as much done as possible today so I can be prepared for being sick in bed.  That’s usually the cycle: Ranon gets sick first, then me.

With all of the mixing, measuring, dicing, and baking, my house smells like a sunset.  Sunsets are on my “favorite things that are free” list (see past blog) and are my version of a slice of heaven.  Since I can’t see the sunset today, it decided to come to me in aromatic form.

As I’ve been typing on my couch, Ranon has been sleeping on my bed and just a few minutes ago he woke up soaking wet = too much gatorade and I forgot to have him put a pull-up on.  My bad!  So what do you do when your down comforter gets doused in urine and you don’t have a washing machine to do laundry right away?  While I’ve embraced my day of domesticity, I’m not about to hand wash an entire laundry basket full of urine-drenched clothes and comforter.  I hand washed my clothes for 5 months as a cheap college student while traveling through Europe, as well as when I was in Uganda, so it’s not that I’m above it.  Today, it’s just not going to happen and I will warmly appreciate having Dan do a load for me tomorrow while he has Ranon.  🙂

Tomorrow will be cold, wet and rainy and maybe when I walk in the door after a day’s work, the sunset will still be lingering, waiting to greet me.  I hope so!  If not, a slice of beer bread with butter and Zucchini Walnut soup will do.

More Than Sight

“I want to touch the earth, I want to break it in my hands, I want to grow something wild, and unruly . . .” – Dixie Chicks

When I see something that makes me curious or that I find extraordinarily beautiful, seeing it isn’t enough for me.  My senses are greedy.  I want to experience whatever it is that rouses my heart.

I seek to experience life as a participant, not only as a spectator, which has often times has gotten me into trouble.

When I was nine years old, I was going up an escalator in Nordstrom’s with my mom and little brother.  We passed by a mannequin that was displaying something flashy.  Her hair and outfit looked too pretty to simply give it an approving glance as I slowly went by.  I reached my hand out and before I knew what happened, I was standing on the escalator step with the mannequin’s wig in my hand, leaving behind a bald beauty!  My mom was mortified and my brother didn’t know what to do.  I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful or funny, I just meant to touch the wig.  I wanted to FEEL her hair and touch her dress and somehow the wig just came off!

Fast forward ten years when at the age of nineteen, I went to Hawaii for my first time.  Growing up in Southern Orange County, I was obsessed with the ocean!  I had seen clear water in Surfer magazines and movies, but never before in person. It was dusk when we arrived and when I saw the clear ocean water, it took my breath away!  There was no way I could just stand there and look at it!  I had to FEEL it!  I grabbed my brother and dragged him in with me, fully clothed (I even remember what I was wearing, although I’m not proud to admit it: overalls!  YUCK!).  I kept going under water, trying to take it all in as best as I could.  I mailed sand in envelopes to friends on the mainland, trying to share with them a piece of Hawaii as something they too could touch.

When I was twenty-one, I traveled throughout Europe as a student on a study abroad program with my college.  When we visited Stonehenge in England, I was so excited to be in the British countryside, instead of following the group with the tour guide to the ancient stone pieces that, in my opinion, are overrated, I took off running in a field of sheep, frolicking as if I were one of them.  My professor was very upset with me because, come to find out, it was during the time that Foot and Mouth disease was rampant among livestock.  Ooops!

After thirty-two years of living, I agree completely with the Dixie Chicks when they sing about wanting to touch the earth and break it in their hands, to grow something wild and unruly.  Me too!  It’s not enough just to look at it.  It’s easier to experience things with all your senses when you’re a kid, mainly because as an adult, if you were to do the same thing you did as a kid (i.e. run into the ocean with all of your clothes on or frolic in a field of sheep) you’re viewed as, “inappropriate, strange, obnoxious, or immature.”  Either that, or people just assume you’re drunk.

It seems as though, in many ways, adulthood dulls the soul.  In other ways, it has awakened my soul in that it teaches it more about what it needs, loves, dislikes and is good or bad at.  As an adult, I have grown to know and accept myself.  I still make myself stop to smell a rose when I pass one, and I can’t sit still to good music.

No matter how old I get, I never want what is expected of me to choke my need to experience. To touch, feel, taste, smell, DO.

Do you desire to touch a beautiful sunset?  Run in the rain?  Make a snow angel?  Put your kids’ words in a bottle to make you smile in years to come?  When is the last time you have felt compelled to DO and not just see and hear?

When we got out of the car tonight, it was a full moon and I crouched down with my three year and made him stop to gaze at the moon for a minute.  He asked me, “Mom, when can you take me fishing on the moon?”  It took me a minute to put together where on earth he got that from, then realized that it’s from the little boy on Dreamworks he sees at the beginning of so many movies, who floats up to the moon on balloons then sits and fishes on the moon.  I answered him, “Let’s go tomorrow!”  He must not have believed me because he then asked, “Really Mom?  Are you being serious, because I really want to go!”

In a way, being the mom of a young one with an incredible imagination awakens my imagination and forces me to live life in 3D.  One-dimensional life is too boring and slow for an active kid.  It’s too boring for me at times.  You probably won’t find me running with sheep in a field or destroying mannequins, but if you see me bent over in my running shorts with my nose in a rose, or swaying back and forth in church to the beat of worship, you’ll know that my soul is smiling, engaging as many senses as possible in the moment.

Bread . . . Rock? CAKE!!

 There are always ideas, hopes and dreams that tornado through my mind daily and my default tendency is to spend WAY too much time trying to sift through all possible scenarios of what the outcomes might be.  Each dream is drenched with fear, which leads to worry and anxiety in my mind and heart.

Why am I prone to anxiety and fear?  Of ALL the many times God has proven Himself to be faithful, not only in action but in Word, I continue to be quicker to tie knots in my stomach and contrive answers to hypothetical problems than to surrender and TRUST HIM.  I usually always get there, it’s just not my first response.

God has been teaching me a lot about recognizing the captor of my fears and anxieties, which stem from lies, then to stand in agreement with God and tear down the lies and replace the walls of my mind with TRUTH.  Taking my thoughts captive!!  It’s a discipline I have to do several times a day and it really is AMAZING to see the power in God’s WORD.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,  and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

Recently, an author of a must read for anyone who has been through or is going through a divorce, Flying Solo, quoted Matthew 7:9 in her book in relation to reclaiming confidence to TRUST God with EVERYTHING.

                        “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” – Matthew 7:9

I went back and read the verse in context of the surrounding verses and even though I have read the passage several times before, it jumped out and clung to me this time!  God’s Word truly is LIVING and ACTIVE.

The image of my son asking me for bread, and trying to picture myself giving him a stone, was a clear, simple reminder of God’s love and plan for me.  I love my son more than I can describe (which those of you who are parents can understand without me describing) and there is no way I would ever give him a stone if he asked me for bread.  If he asked me disrespectfully or with a demanding spirit I might make him wait for bread.  If the bread was still cooking or too hot that it could burn him I might also make him wait.  If I didn’t have any bread, I would give him something else, like a cracker or apple, or something else that would satisfy the same desire: hunger.  It may look different, but would address the same need: hunger.  I would never give him a stone.  It’s irrelevant to his request and wouldn’t fill his belly.

When I thought of it this way, it made it easy for me to believe and accept that if this is what I would do, me who is selfish and fallible, I can only imagine what God has for me when I ask him for bread!  He often doesn’t only give bread but a 3 tiered cake!!  (Or for me, I’d prefer a chocolate filled croissant 🙂 .)

The image and lesson from Matthew 7:9 has been on replay in my mind all week so I wanted to share it with you.  If you are asking for bread and your basket remains empty, WAIT.  Be patient.  God has something beautiful for you.  If it’s not bread, he will change your heart’s desire.  This is my hope and prayer.

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

A Technicolor Morning

I’ve been staying with my parents for the past week at a beach house in Morro Bay and the weather has been abnormally beautiful!  Abnormal for this time of year because usually Morro Bay in the summer is foggy, cold and windy.  Almost every day it’s been clear and the sunsets at nights are like a water-color painting.  There is a view of the entire harbor from the house, including a view of Morro Rock.  I wake up in the morning, open the blinds in my room and think, “Thank you Lord!  A perfect day to go to the beach!”

View of Morro Bay from the beach house

This morning, when I woke up my road bike was calling my name!  Screaming, “Emily!  You have got to take me for a spin!  It’s too beautiful outside to sit in this garage!”  I couldn’t wait to go.  I got Ranon and myself breakfast, then left him with my parents for a bit and off I rode, anxious to explore new territory.

I couldn’t decide which route I wanted to take since there were several different ones I wanted to try, so for time’s sake and to be on the conservative side (translation = make sure I was back ON TIME) I chose a shorter route on a road I was recently introduced to: Turri Road.  It’s this gem of a road that winds its way between San Luis Obispo and Los Osos, through rolling hills and fields with grazing cattle.  I’ve ridden it once before but it had been awhile, so I was excited to re-acquaint myself with it this morning.

Picture of Turri Road on my bike ride this morning

I usually like to ride with my ipod, but since I forgot it at my house (in Atascadero) I was forced to embrace the sound of silence and time with the Lord in prayer.  The sun was warm and I quickly shed my arm warmers.  Sky was blue with blotchy clouds.  The words to a praise song kept going through my head, “Oh Lord, Oh Lord, how Majestic is Your name in all the earth!”  I rounded a corner and my eyes widened and I gasped out loud when I saw a field of PINK, PURPLE, RED, WHITE, and YELLOW Sweet Pea flowers!!  (The picture won’t do it justice!)

Field of Sweet Peas on Turri Rd. (Note: the picture is with Ranon AFTER my bike ride. It was so beautiful I had to take my family back to show them!)

I said aloud to the Lord, “Wow!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!”  Not only did He bless my eyes and soul with this piece of beauty, but he spoke to me through the flowers.  Yes.  You read it correctly.  I believe he answered me this morning with these Sweet Peas.  If God has used a donkey to speak to people before (Numbers 22:22-41), I am sure he is capable of speaking through flowers.  No, I didn’t hear an audible voice, but I believe it was Him answering me.  I’d been asking Him for clarity on what to do about something: do I do what I WANT to do, thinking it would most likely be ok, or do I play it conservatively and not do anything, trusting God even more completely to do whatever He would, or wouldn’t do.

I believe that the flowers were his answer in this: I chose the conservative route on my bike ride.  The route that was option B.  I really wanted to bike to Montana de Oro, but knew I would have been pushing it.  Because I turned down Turri Road, I was completely blessed by the unexpected gift of the field of Sweet Peas!  Is it too far-fetched to connect the dots here and also see that it was God’s way of saying, “When you choose the route to trust me COMPLETELY, even if it’s not YOUR first choice, it will always be better and I will bless you more than you can imagine!” (Ephesians 3:20).  I don’t think so!  At least, this is what it meant to me this morning.  He answered me and gave me the clarity I had asked for.

2 miles further down the road, I saw in the distance a bright yellow patch of flowers!  ANOTHER vibrant blessing of flowers!  Couldn’t believe it!  I was blessed in double portion this morning!  My prayer passage for the week is out of Isaiah 61:7, “Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion.  Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs.”   

Field of yellow flowers at the end of Turri Road

When I see something beautiful, it’s not enough for me to just look at it.  I become so overwhelmed with excitement I have this urge to do something more!  I want to taste, touch and smell it.  I want to be able to magically scoop it up in my arms and rub it into my skin.  To do anything less feels like a waste.  Like I’m not making the most of its grandeur.  I feel guilty to not do something more with the gift God has blessed me with.  Maybe this is one reason why I’m even writing this blog: I feel like I am DOING something by sharing it with others.

Some of the best things in life, I have discovered, are unplanned and unexpected.  This morning’s bike ride was one of these times.  I wonder if I come back to Turri Road on July 19th of 2013 if the flowers will be there again?  Even if they are, the fact that I will be hoping or expecting to see them won’t be the same as rounding the corner on my bike this morning without any idea of what I would see.  I was shocked by beauty and blessed by God’s answers in the flowers. 🙂  This truly was a Technicolor morning!

Summer Fun

Me and Ranon in a tree on hike to waterfall near Bass Lake, CA.

When you don’t have a kid in school and you don’t really work outside the home, it’s hard to tell when summer officially “begins” since most days, weeks, months already feel like summer.

I guess we could be normal and go by when the calendar says it’s summer, but I prefer declaring it myself: when it’s hot more than it’s cold, when swimming pool covers are taken off and sunscreen bottles are the featured display at Target.  NOW it’s summer!

We’ve had an amazing summer so far and each day I thank the Lord that I get to be at home with Ranon to enjoy it.  For those of you moms who work, either by choice or necessity, this is not to say at all that you don’t get to enjoy summer with your kid/s.  Not at all!!  This is just my choice and the way I have chosen to spend and enjoy it with my son.  I wanted to clarify that in case any offense is ever taken with statements like that. 🙂

Highlights of the summer so far are:

  • 4 day vacation to cabin near Bass Lake (I will expound on this experience a bit more further in the blog)
  • Swim lessons (just finished day 3 and 6 more to go!
  • Lemonade stand – Ranon made $4.50 in 15 minutes!  We had to turn customers away because we ran out!  I got plenty at the store so now we’re really ready for business!
  • Beach days
  • Slip ‘N Slide, sprinklers and water wars outside
  • Thursday dates for frozen yogurt (we did this in the winter too because we love it so much, but now we enjoy it even more since it’s warm out 🙂 ).

So 4 close friends of mine and I took our kids (9 total, ranging from 2 months – 7years old) to a cabin right outside of Bass Lake a few weekends ago for 4 days.  15 people for 4 days in a 3 bedroom cabin might sound more like torcher to most, but for us, it really was an adventure and a blast!!  I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but was SO grateful when it ended up working out well.  The same 4 friends and I (as well as others) do a “Girls Weekend” to the cabin every year, and now we’ve decided to do a “Mom trip” each summer.  No dads.  Just moms and kids.  While dads definitely usually get to be the “fun one”, our kids won’t ever be able to say their moms weren’t fun either.  Went for hikes, to the lake a few days, got milkshakes at my favorite milkshake place on Bass Lake, lots of picnics, the park . . .

While the events and sentiments I’ve shared about our summer adventures have held a lot of laughter, smiles and joyful anticipation, to stay true to my desire to be transparent and paint as realistic as possible in hope to encourage any mom reading this who might think that these memories haven’t also held tears, discipline and disappointment. Trust me!  There have been days of summer laced with tears (both mine and Ranon’s), misbehavior, disobedience and cancelled plans because of fits thrown.  It’s life.  Real life. My and Ranon’s life.  It’s not pretty or perfect but the joy outweighs the sorrow, and these days, there is more laughter instead of tears.  This is HUGE for both of us (mostly for me) since I’ve been in a long wintery season where tears were more common than laughter.  Thankfully kids seem naturally wired to laugh, which I’m so thankful for, otherwise I don’t know if Ranon would have known laughter until age 3 (exaggeration, but you get my point).

We’re enjoying our summer season and are excited that we still have half of it left and more fun to be had!  Can’t wait!

Me: “Smile Ranon!”
Ranon: “Wait Mom! I gotta boogie and it’s a good one!”