Tag: gratefulness

The power of laughter

laughIt’s probably impossible to play catch-up here, not only because it’s been 6 months, but because it has been a jam-packed 6 months… some of the most surprising of my life.

The summary is that in February, we found ourselves very unexpectedly pregnant. The range of emotions went from terror to shock to utter bliss in the matter of about 10 minutes, and then 2 weeks later, to devastation, as we were told the baby had no heartbeat.

Miscarriage. I have checked that off my bucket list of nightmares I hoped never to face. It sucked. It still sucks. But we survived.

I remember the day I found my laughter again. It was probably 3 or 4 weeks after my D&C. We were lounging in bed on a Saturday morning waiting for the girls to come and jump on us. They did. And for some reason, I grabbed my iPhone and turned on the song “Happy.” (You so know the one). Then I started lip syncing. And dancing. Rod was watching me with the light in his eyes you can only have for the person you adore when she is being completely odd.

And I cracked up. And I couldn’t stop.

That was the day I found myself again. Even though when I look back at my early life, I see a thread of melancholy, the real truth that has arisen as I have “found myself” in adulthood is that I am a joyful person. I smile. I laugh. I embrace happiness. Having a family of my own, becoming a mama, helped me to see that and be that. And while losing a child could have been the thing that changed it (as indeed, it did change me to my core, but that’s another blog), I refuse to let it.

Death doesn’t win.

Fear doesn’t win.

Joy, love, laughter… it will, it must conquer the sad things in life. It will give us wings.

It did this year. But news of another Burton Baby certainly has also helped.  Our first grandchild will be born to Josh and Kirsten this fall! And in May, in the spirit of twofold blessings and almost 3 months to the day we lost our baby, we found out we will be having another, one whose heart is beating and arms are waving.

And I laughed…

baby burton

day 1: greater things

greaterFor a moment tonight, I thought it best that instead of blogging every day of November, I should use that time to pray.

And then someone very close to me suggested that instead of replacing one with the other, I need to do both.

I know that my life (all our lives) go in cycles of valleys and mountains, defeats and victories, struggles and successes, being lost and being found.

So I am sure if I searched the contents of this digital, running memoir, I’d find these words at least once in my recent past:

Greater things have yet to come.

It is in my heartbeat. That phrase is one I use to encourage others, because I believe that no matter what we have seen, we still haven’t seen our best days. On a general human level, there is always hope that things are going to be better.

And on a spiritual level, the truth is, our home is not this time, this world, and so obviously, our best days are in the future, when we are joined with our Creator.

Tonight, we hosted 22 people in our home, all of whom were either pastors or church elders.

For four hours, we ate, we shared, we laughed and cried, we encouraged each other, and we prayed.

For several minutes, Rod and I had the privilege of being on the receiving end of that encouragement.

What was the resounding message?

You ain’t seen nothing get.

You are accepted and gifted.

You aren’t meant for the bench.

God wants something greater with you.

God will do greater things through you.

Get ready.

This is not a message solely for us, nor do I share it to boast on anything except for God’s grace.

As I said to a new friend at the end of this meeting, Rod and I were just two dirty sinners. Who’d ever have thought we’d not only host pastors in our home, but be pastors? Religion told us there was a glass ceiling for how much God could use us, and a finite amount of his grace. Love tells us that God’s plans for us aren’t limited by anything but our willingness.

I choose to accept the grace.

I choose to receive the prophecy.

I choose to get ready for the something greater that is coming.

In this special time of year when so many of us “count down” gratefulness, tonight I am grateful for the infinite grace, which does not, as some fear, entice me to settle for a life of sin, but rather, calls me to a life of walking with Him, confident that the best is within my reach.

new, old, silver, gold

Disclaimer: I did my best with pix. I could have spent 20 years on those… ;)

It’s no surprise that I have a heart after friendship, so much that even celebs I’ve never met feel like part of my circle… like, I just know that Johnny Cash and I are going to be BFFs in Heaven…

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I fall for people hard, and I protect my friendships ferociously. And because of our travels for a few years, and the miracle (yes, miracle) of the Internets, I have friends I have 1) Never met in person, 2) Might never see again, 3) ‘Talk’ to nearly every day but rarely hear their voices or see them.

And you know what? That’s not always enough.

Looking back now, I realize that when I moved away from my very, very comfortable, in-person circle, even though I said I wanted to make new friends, I had a wall up.

And then it came down.

And then, I spent months being disappointed, disillusioned, left out, rejected, etc, because …

well, because I expected for my new friends to be just like my old friends.

Last week, my sweet hubs posted this song for me. It’s by 2 celebs who would probably be my friends <smile>. I have loved their duets since I was a child (c’mon, ’80s children… you know you belted “Islands in the Stream” in the backseat of your mom’s car and the front seat of your own…No? Just me?).

The song is called, “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” and it’s sung by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

The message to me: you can’t rush intimacy. You can’t rush history.

But you know what else? You can’t erase it either.

My old friends? They’re still my friends. We can pick up where we left off. We can celebrate and share burdens across miles. We can reminisce just like always, and on special occasions, we can still have nights to remember.

My new friends? We are creating history. Today we share the laughs that will be next year’s inside jokes. Today we meet each other’s kids and parents and learn each other’s stories so that 10 years from now, we can recall them and say, “Remember?”

To the old friends who remain,
…the ones from kindergarten, the ones from college,the ones from teaching, the ones from the mommy-ing, the ones from the gospel years…
I cherish you. I always will.

 oldfriends

To the new friends who are along for the ride…
…the ones who have gathered around our table or shared your own, the ones who have loved my kids, the ones who visited the hospital, the ones who stand barefoot in the backyard, the sisters and brothers who’ve seen me laugh, cry, sweat, squirm, and flourish in these last 2.5(!!) years,

newfriends
I cherish you.  And I sure hope some of you are fixin’ to be my old friends.

To my best friend, who has added brother, sister, girlfriend, shopping partner, mommy date, and so many other roles to his Husband, Love, Best Friend, Partner In All Things status during various times since May 2011~

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you’re still the best.

 

invite / accept

invitedThere is no greater gift to me than an invitation.

I love being invited to come, to share, to participate, to dine, to join, to stay.

I love it when my children are extended any of the same.

I love to open up and invite others in… sit, take off your shoes, open my refrigerator, pet my dog, hug my girls.

Be in my life. Save me a seat for yours…

~

The past weeks have involved some serious inner growth. I have been looking at relationships in a new way. It is all due to some disciplined study of how God loves {without expectation}, how leaders approach people {with something to give rather than something to gain}, and understanding compassion {others’ needs over my wants}. Something in all of this mix has blended together and filled my cup. Along with this is a realization: nothing will ever be like it was. Nothing will ever be like it is in my best-case scenario. People can never fill the gaps we have in our own hearts. But God… He can. And then ~

– it becomes rewarding to hug someone because she needs it, and let it go, and be ok.

– it becomes just fine to hang out at home all day on a Saturday, with my family, doing chores and doing nothing, because they’re my people first.

– it becomes acceptable that some people are only in our lives for a season, because we learned, we loved, we grew, and maybe we do the same for others in our seasons, too.

– it becomes a step of maturity to let intensity and need fade into peace and security, knowing that people who love us are “here” for us even when they aren’t always active spectators in our everyday.

– it becomes more important to be available and open for others than it is to worry about dry spells and empty spots on our agendas. In fact, it becomes freeing not to have an agenda at all!

I think I have spent a good portion of life waiting on an invitation to the in crowd, the cool lunch table, the front row, the VIP room… and now as I find myself in a new phase of life (we will call it settled in), the most important – most invitinginvitation in my eyes is the one to someone’s home, someone’s heart, someone’s life. Let me in, even though you have some piles of paper in the counter. Let me in, even though we’re both disheveled and gun-shy. Let me in, even though it’s risky to trust someone, even though friendship is hard, even though….

I’m grateful tonight for the invitations I’ve sent, even the ones rejected. They mean my heart is open.

I’m grateful tonight for the invitations offered, especially those I thought would never come. They are always worth the wait.

 

our weird family

{I am going through the 50-something posts I have saved in DRAFTS and finishing a few. This one was one paragraph long, from November 2012. It’s fun to see where a few months will take an idea…}

I had a conversation with a friend about…oh…six-ish years ago. Which means I was barely 30. Which means, I was practically a baby.

We were talking about the age difference between my husband and me (13 years, if you care to know), and I said it didn’t seem to matter much, (except when it came to parenting stuff, but I wasn’t ready to admit that then…)

My friend, around the same age as my husband, gave me gentle advice. It went something like:

I just know that the way I looked at things changed a lot between 30 and 40.

I have blinked, and here I am… closer to 40 than 30. The cute monikers I used to throw around for our family (“two in high school, two in diapers”) no longer apply. We are settled and grown up (all of us…except the ones who shouldn’t be yet), and we are not waiting for anything to happen to make us ok. We are simply… our family.

But you still can’t look at us and figure us out.

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You never could.

hulkus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because these are our kids:

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Some of them are old enough to bring me my favorite treats…on the same day! IMG_4937

 

 

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Some of them are still little enough that their weirdness is still adorable… IMG_0057  IMG_4932IMG_4863

 

And some of them just don’t care about being weird. They have taught me well…IMG_5018

They wear us out, daily…

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And they keep us feeling alive….

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I would not trade this weird family for anything.

I wouldn’t have traded it when I was 30, but now, I know more things, and my perspective has changed, and I realize the beauty in our blend, the grace in our glue, and the love in our lunacy.

Who needs normal when you have this?

theburtons