Shifting

We have made it through the first week and a half of school with the expected amount of tears, style, and finesse,

And it’s good.

But this week, I’ve moved through the forcefeeding of breakfast, packing of lunches, and new driving route with the undeniable sense that our lives are shifting…not a huge upheaval, just enough slight changes under the surface that leave nothing feeling the same.

Dear friends of ours are moving to Belgium next week…they’ve packed up and are going, stepping out in faith, following a call.

And it’s good.

But, wow, I’m going to miss Kristyn.

I’m starting an MA program through Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond next month.  The process has been exciting and scary, forcing me to speak some important hopes out loud… which is exciting and scary.

But good.

I just haven’t written an academic paper in nine years, and have previously had trouble spelling my name post-partum.:)

November brings Sweet Baby Unnamed Sister Number Three. And as we hurl towards this finish line, I am beginning to realize that the time lapse between Olivia and S.B.U.S.N.T. was just enough for me to forget the burdens of traveling with a Pack n’ Play, and miss the memo that Crib Bumpers have been outlawed. We.are.starting.over.

And it’s good.

But, if I’m honest, even though most days I choose to believe this will be the smoothest transition yet,and the other days, I calmly choose denial – on the last few, I am just straight terrified.

We’re shifting. It’s a new season of parenting, of marriage, of life’s work. I’m feeling more focused than I have in a while, at the same time more trusting. But I’m also grieving the leaving of friends, the letting go of my baby, and yes, the selling of my car.

But, this I know from previous shifts:  even when everyone (and my car) are where they’re supposed to be, grieving can be part of it.

Shifting is movement. Movement is good.

 

Therefore keep the commandments of the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by fearing Him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land…” Deut. 8:6,7

Our Spare Oom [For Peter (and Susan, Edmund, and Lucy)]

Last month when we reconfigured our whole house, we ended up with a temporary “spare room”. Olivia’s old bedroom will soon be converted back into a nursery, but in the meantime…

We have a spare room, or as Mr. Tumnus would call a Spare OOm, or as the girls call it, quite candidly “The Junk Room.”

Can I just tell you that this is what our house, family,  and yes marriage has always needed? A place to dump, store, and hide.

And look! There’s even a Wardrobe in the Spare Oom! (And a variety of paint splashings on the wall – that’s for you Ann)

But now we must move on to the next phase of Household Readiness 2k12. The problem is that having a Spare Oom is strangely addicting…

Remember that scene in Father of the Bride?

You know the one –  when they show flashbacks of Annie running down the stairs in different stages of her life?

And we cry because the visual so sweetly captures the irreversible passage of time.

And we cry because  the scene on the basketball court is coming ( or we’ve already gotten through it, I can’t remember the exact sequence…)

And we also cry when we watch it now, because we know they made Father of the Bride 2 and that was just wierd.

(And I, for one, kind of cry, because Kimberly Williams was so brilliant and beautiful in that role and it should have opened up the world for her and instead she will be the “Girl from Father of the Bride” for her entire life and career and that is just kind of a bitter irony of great roles, thank you Jason-Alexander-George-Costanza.)

Anyways.

Yesterday was great and happy and there were no tears…just excited and nervous girls in pink polo shirts and khaki skorts.

But I couldn’t help wanting to freeze the moment, and thinking of that scene and how time seems to be suddenly quickening, and how glad I was, just this once, that we didn’t have any stairs.

Twas the Night Before Kindergarten…

and here in our home, the camera is charging next to the phone,

the backpack is packed, the clothes picked out and ready,

her sister wants  tights, and will start preschool sweaty.

We’ve visited the school, talked through all scenarios, mapped out our route, and set out the Cheerios.

And now he with his sports and I on this blog, admit that life  moves at a pace that is odd.

For when we quietly admit it, the truth must be told,

having a kindergartener makes us feel… old.

And it’s when I think over the past years that I cry…

as if somehow tomorrow proves it’s me she’s survived.

But when about to wax poetic on how far we’ve come,

I take in all that she is

   and know we’ve only just begun…

Peace, Love, and Sandy Toes

(I saw those words handpainted on a wooden sign slung over the gate to a beach cottage. It’s inspired me to come up with a mantra for my front porch. So far all I have is “If plants look wilted, please water on your way in”)

I grew up in the tourism industry. Simply put,  at a very young age I was acutely aware of the crazy crazy people out there, and that they tend to leave behind good stuff.

So our childhoods were filled with stories of Shocking Human Behavior, and a growing appreciation for the many wonders a Lost and Found can hold.  

I’ve long since traded one tourist town for another…and for a while I naively thought that they quarantined the Shocking Human Behavior to the other side of the bridge tunnel.

They didn’t. They can’t.

This past June, the girls and I were having a picnic on the palace lawn (yes, I hope your daily life uses that phrase) and a family passed us, in conflict. Well, really the Dad was screaming at the son in that really horrible, terrifying way that made me wonder if he was suffering from more than a rough night on a rollaway bed. It was awful. It was sad. It was very, very public.

And they were both wearing tri-cornered hats.

Truth stranger than fiction, my friends.

And surely, if you have ever visited Disney World and you weren’t having the tantrum, you witnessed someone else’s complete cognitive and emotional meltdown, while wearing the Mouse Ears.

Is it the high expectations and cost of vacation that does it to us? or… Is this who we areand we can keep it concealed from the general public in our homes and daily routines?

Both options are a bit frightening…and as one whose local economy depends on vacationers choosing to leave their homes…I propose (drumroll please)  Pre-Vacation Family Seminars…group therapy, some visualization, a few role plays, and yes etiquette classes on how to interact with hospitality employees.

Make your budget. Learn that tips are not your leftover change and come up with a rotating schedule of who gets the roll-away bed.

In exchange for enthusiastic attendance and participation, vacationers receive a free night at a hotel, or gift cards to the seafood buffet.

And, (I’m really on a roll here!) like Triple A cards, these tourists will have small cards that say, I have been approved to go on vacation, and  participating merchants, vendors and tatoo parlors will recognize them with additional incentives.

Brilliant?!

Enjoy your last few weeks of summer vacations, friends…whether there are sandy toes or tri-cornered hats, may there be peace and love…

—————–

photo credit

These Shoes Were Made for Walking (Well, Kind of)

They just may not have been made for running, climbing trees, or face offs with playground mulch. Thus, they are not deemed “school shoes” (we have those and they also sparkle but have sneaker-like bottoms).

But, people, these shoes  – they make us so happy

and this mother who is having a hard time finding shirts that do not tie with a bow in the front or back (why maternity clothes why?) vows once again that the search is worth it… that most some days form trumps function, and aesthetics triumph over practicality.

And so we discuss the great European cathedrals and the power of beauty and detail…no wait, we don’t. Because small children do not need to be reminded of what they already know…yet.

Instead, they bound out of bed in the morning, eager to face the day, if only for another chance to wear sparkly shoes.

Apparently I’m just not a great summer blogger. Then I get motivated and my computer has an emotional meltdown, followed by wordpress having a stroke, followed by my posture starting to slump so horribly as I sit here that I am currently Sophia’s height. Only then am I reminded of the Doctor’s pronunciation that I am mildly anemic today followed by his sincere question, “Haven’t you been more tired?” I had no response ( are we grading on a curve?) as this was the first appointment to which I had bravely brought both pairs of sparkly shoes and their owners…and they were quite facinated by the equipment.

And so now to bed, for tomorrow is a new day of red meat and green leafy vegetables (or, let’s be honest, dietary supplements…)

Hope your week has been lovely, and if you live in Dallas, you are sincerely in my prayers…West Nile is frightening, as is insecticide being dropped from the sky. Head east friends, there’s a bed and breakfast around here calling your name!

A pot of soup, a prayer

Yesterday I came home and cooked a huge pot of chicken noodle soup – I think it was 95 degrees and we were still wet from the pool. It turned out decent, but honestly, I  wanted the smell in the house as much as we needed the meal.

 When life swirls, the kitchen can be a place of comfort and clarity, (yes, especially with My Brothers Friends Girlfriends Cake still in the refrigerator. )

But when I make it out of there, somewhere along the way,  I have come to love, need, hunger for prayers…Here’s a favorite by Walter Brueggemann.

And Then You

We arrange our lives as best we can, to keep your holiness at bay,

with our pieties, our doctrines, our liturgies, our moralities, our secret ideologies,

Safe, virtuous, settled.

And then you-

you and your dreams, you and your visions, you and your purposes, you and your commands, you and your neighbors.

We find your holiness not at bay, but probing, pervading, insisting, demanding.

And we yield, sometimes gladly,

sometimes resentfully,

sometimes late…or soon.

We yield because you, beyond us, are our God.

We are your creatures met by your holiness, by your holiness made our true selves.

And we yield. Amen.

(October 1998)

If you love poetry and need prayer, or love prayer and need poetry, or are hungry for clarity in a world swirling, this volume is a favorite. Yay for the Great Room Switch which brought forth lost book treasures!