Losing color, looking limp, and barely hanging in there • • •

Have you been there friend?

This plant has looked tired and worn down most of the last year. I’ve almost given up on it too many times to count. When I finally gave it some dedicated attention I realized it literally had no roots; it was just sitting in soggy dirt. “No wonder it’s so pale and lifeless.” I thought and I finally threw it away.

But in a last ditch, heart inspired, rescue and recovery plan I snagged it back out of the trash and whispered, “Let’s try this again”.

Incredibly it did just that.
After a lifeless year, it’s coming back, I see new, fresh growth!

The old soil was wet and a little moldy. I dumped it out, washed the pot and put in fresh stuff. I tenderly placed it back in the pot labeled “grow”, and moved it to a new window.

And so lessons appear from the tired, fading plant ~

• let’s check our soil. What are we sitting in? Is it saturated with the wrong stuff?

• what am I rooted in? Do I even have any roots, or am I simply sitting on top of moldy soil in a pot I didn’t choose, falling over from time to time?

• do you need a fresh perspective? Do you need to change the window you’re looking through?

• and just in case you need someone to whisper this to you, here it is, “Hey there love, let’s try this again.”

Day 37 Quarantine Observations

Keeping a morning schedule and rhythm has helped
Each morning we’ve been streaming a prayer and worship service that has been grounding and good. The pastor likened it to back when the first thing to happen each morning was a fire being lit in the kitchen to warm the house for the day. This practice sets the posture of my heart for the day. And then I need to set that posture again the next day, and the next and the next. Manna for today.

Leggings have become a staple
I’m not saying its a great idea, but its what we’ve got over here. I’m not as interested in maintaining myfitnesspal calorie counts or logging weigh watchers points; I should, but I’m not. It may take a minute to work my way back into jeans, but I’m not beating myself up about it.

Exercise matters
Whilst wearing my leggings, getting on the treadmill, doing a workout, or walking outside is a game changer every time I do it. Obviously good for me physically, but exercise is doing its job in the emotional and mental departments as well. Gold star for this little gem called exercise.

Empathy for all
We’re under similar restrictions yet in different situations. Though time is constant, we seemingly have much of it on our hands, while others surely feel they have less. More obligations exist as working from home, managing the education and supervision of kids, now out of school and/or daycare, is a daily reality. Some are working more shifts, longer hours, are more at risk. Some are suddenly & unexpectedly out of work, some families are looking at low or empty checkbook balances, alongside some who are still getting paid and for moment, experiencing financial peace. Its all of this and more. Some are feeling squeezed by all the togetherness under their roof, some are doing this thing solo and might be feeling isolated. Awareness of others’ positions is good. Empathy for all is important; I believe everyone is just doing the best they can.

Grace upon grace upon grace
There are varying thoughts, manners of precautions, levels of anxieties, frustrations and volumes on voices regarding COVID-19. There are disagreements, varying expectations, disparaging remarks (from every which angle of this), hopes, fears and more. I need to let grace abound, covering my own heart and flowing out. Every. Day.

Connecting in creative ways
We miss our people. One of my besties lives up the street, I walk past her house a lot (in an exercise way, not a creepy way), and not sitting across from her is hard. Family trips have been cancelled, gatherings now happening over the computer instead of homes, parks, churches and restaurants. Like you all, we’re making the best of it — we’ve played games, cleaned out closets, had dinners and happy hours together with our family and friends. Next up – download Catan so I can join my kids and my friend Barb who are playing virtually.

Showers, hair, cooking and more…
Happening in varying degrees and it’s fine.

A Sensitive Journey

She made more meals than could ever be calculated; prepared rooms, snacks, desserts and more desserts for visits spanning every season and most holidays. She unwrapped and then swaddled in love each of my babies upon first look. She set up fold out couches and makeshift beds as we brought home one, then two, then three and even four kids. She allowed the dog in the house when we all knew it was a big ask. She cleaned toothpaste laden bathrooms and washed so many sheets after each visit. My mother-in-law never complained. Not once. She provided, cared and loved for years on years.

Her body betrayed her some months ago when a little stroke in her brain caused some not so little problems with her memory. That short-term memory is kind of a big deal, and as Kalie (my sister-in-law), her husband, Kevin and I sort it all out (we don’t exactly know what to sort out, or even really how to sort it out), we partner as a team to help the one we love navigate the days in her own apartment 15 miles from Kalie, 600 miles from us. (Though she alternately travels with us to our home as we step into guiding her in this tricky ground.)

Sometimes she’s quite cognoscente of her lapses, sometimes she’s not. But always she’s afraid of being a burden. Daily she enjoys the company, puzzles, walks, dogs to scratch and meals to share ~ but lingering somewhere is a desire to not be in the way. It’s a difficult battle to win. I try to put myself in her shoes, how will I feel if my children one day help me navigate my days? How will I feel purpose in days like this?

Over all those years, each time I arrived at her house, I exhaled and rested while she worked and took care. I left with a soul and body that had experienced an intermission. This is what I want to give her now. It’s all rather complicated and sometimes tricky when you kind of need but don’t really want. When you believe you can because you don’t really notice the gaps and holes.

This journey through life is to be made together, in grace. We were created for relationship, sometimes that means baking bars to later pull out of the freezer and making up the couch, sometimes it means enjoying someone else’s soup and letting others swaddle you in a love that you paid forward over lots and lots of years. And sometimes it might just feel backwards and uncomfortable, but always we hope it feels like love.

on a journey with the ones I love,

A Day in This Life

Where is the pot? A question I never thought I’d ask a child of mine. But with this life I lead as the newish mother to this almost 13 year old boy, I find myself in situations and saying things I never thought I would, more frequently than I could have ever imagined.

I remember aching for this child while he was apart from us, and feeling full and whole when he was placed back with us. I was overwhelmed with emotion as we sat in the courtroom and claimed him as ours. I was full of joy as over one hundred people celebrated his official new last name with us.

I knew much of what he had been through (too much). I knew it would be hard at times; I had lived through that the first time he was here, when it had become unbearable. I also knew God had brought him back. Someday I will write that story, it is an amazing story that I need to reflect on in days like today, because sometimes I wonder what did we do? And I am instantly reminded it was not we who did it.

I have written about neutral before. As a mom, this is an uncomfortable gear. I don’t feel like a good mom in that place, to some who live in community with me, I may not even appear to be a good mom. (Yep, I struggle with that, but it may be more perceived than real judgment because I don’t even feel good about myself during these times, so how could I think others feel good about me. Again, if I can be “National Young Mother of the Year”, well….just sayin’)

But by the grace of God, in moments when it seems impossible, powerful feelings of love wash over me. In God’s mercy, grace reigns down and floods my heart when it is parched. In God’s sovereignty, peace captivates my heart when peace makes no sense.

Last week we had prescription pills go missing. Today a teacher overheard him talk about smoking pot with a kid at school. This is on top of other behaviors that have restricted his already restricted environment at school even more in the last few weeks.

I feel like I know the darkest parts of this child, parts that most people do not see (or sometime even believe are there) and even I am utterly perplexed by the things he says and does at times. Today is one of those times. (He is way too supervised to actually be smoking pot, but since those are his words, we will play this out and they will search his locker tomorrow. Maybe he will be impacted by the power of his words.)

Last week was good. The previous week was not good. The weekend was good. Sunday night was awful. Yesterday was really good. Even after all that unfolded Sunday evening, (he was full of rage due to some consequences he doesn’t like) I felt so much love for him yesterday and thanked God again for showing up. And then today this happens.

I understand most of the psychology involved, I am even beginning to understand the brain science behind much of it. I read what the therapists give me. I attend therapy with him (and sometimes solo for me). I get it. But I am saying that living it out in this house, in this heart is tough sometimes.

Life is good. I have an amazing sister who helps me process his behaviors because she works with kids like him 500miles away. We have friends who pray for us constantly, friends who pour into him when we cannot, and friends who display love even with all they know. I love our life. I am blessed beyond what I could have hoped for.

We all have trials, we all have struggles; mine are not special. But as I write this blog, as I walk through this year as National Young Mother of the Year, and as I share some inspiring, funny and encouraging thoughts and moments, I also want to be authentic in some of the stuff that isn’t so shiny and pretty.

God is good. All the time. He is Love. He is Grace. He is sovereign. He knows the way. I trust Him still.