Tag: nablopomo2012

simply radical?

Today is the last day of my 2nd “National Blog Post Month,” though I did skip one day. This accomplishment means absolutely nothing, but I’m glad I set aside time every day to write or at least reflect on the day or a subject. Thanks to those who read every day, too!

It was not lost on me during this vacation (we are driving home now) that some of our favorite or most enjoyable times were spent in the condo… using the bathtub with the jets, letting the girls eat breakfast in bed or pack their own bags, reading, talking, being slow.

There are a few ideas colliding in my spirit right now. One is the question that always forms this time of year (and really, all the time for me, but more so at the end of the year), What is next for me/our family? Another is several cultural paradigms guiding me toward better health. I am overweight. Our family eats too much processed food. American consumerism is a disorder. Whew… that is a heavy. But a healthier, simpler lifestyle beckons me from the spiritual and physical realm. And still another is something my husband, my pastor, and more than one sister-friend has whispered in one way or another to me: I hold the keys. The keys to what? Well, I’m working on that exact picture, but it has to do with my family, with ministry, with stuff I probably don’t even realize just yet.

I am currently reading Jen Hatmaker‘s book, 7. I first read about it almost a year ago, and put it away in the shelf of my mind, possibly after writing several versions of what my 7 foods for one month might be (a struggle between onions and coffee… very healthy!). Then, some of my closest friends in Illinois started reading it, and one of them sent it to me. They were loving it because of its subject and because they thought her narrative voice is so like mine (upon making it to chapter 2 and devouring some of her blog, I have to agree. Perhaps someday she and I will compare notes over a gigantic bowl of salsa while wearing graphic tees and speaking in parentheses!…) There are many things about her words that are calling to me… the fasting, the yearning for clarity, the frustration with the status quo in American Christianity, the heart-cry to adopt children out of poverty, the feeling that perhaps I need to do something radical to jump-start a new period of growth and productivity… God’s way.

So all that is swirling about right now. I have a very busy week ahead when we return, and then 2 more weeks of shows at the theatre before Christmastime is here… our doors will be open, Jesus will be celebrated, simple gifts will be given, a trip to Ohio and Chicago will be enjoyed, and the new year will yield positive, driven changes for us. Simple choices. Radical execution. Help me, Lord!

the best part

An ode to the turkey sandwich

Ten years ago, I hosted my first Thanksgiving dinner.

It was, for various reasons, anxiety-inducing. Overwhelming. And ultimately, very memorable.

For various reasons, mainly random surgeries, I didn’t host again until last year. And then I hosted yesterday.

And I accept that our new holiday traditions will be quirky things, like “Cheese Night Christmas Eve,” or really having no traditions at all.

I planned a basic menu and let friends fill in the rest. I assigned some general-tasks. I chilled my li’l self out. I missed my family in Illinois, but we did FaceTime… twice. I was surrounded by adults going through the mountain of sales ads, comparing random things on iPads, talking about everything from replacement ink cartridges to favorite holiday memories. For several hours, I could look out the kitchen window and see 5 happy kids and one ecstatic puppy playing in the backyard. And for the whole day, we had a 6-year-old birthday princess flitting about, smiling, demanding attention, and making a little magic.

It was a good day.

While the food is always special on these days, it was the 8pm-ish turkey sandwich that was my favorite. It was simple and fresh and light on my stomach, and as I sat to write tonight, the application of that was so clear: Sometimes, when we take what is leftover, what looks like scraps, we can fashion something that doesn’t seem like any big deal into something very complete and satisfying.

For us, that is what the past year or so has looked like. Plans change? Dreams evaporate? Things don’t look how we thought? Take what is left. Build something better.

The process might be messy… it might leave crumbs on the counter or more dishes in the sink, so to speak… but the outcome just might be surprisingly worth it.

Today’s thanks

It’s been a loooong day & I am pooped. So here is a simple thank you….
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I am thankful for good news today in its various forms… a meaningful and unexpected financial blessing, the news that CHIPOTLE IS COMING TO MYRTLE BEACH, the arrival of some dear friends, and a great Dino’s show.

I love that my kids can be at work with me, that they adjust so easily to their circumstances, that wherever they are is home.

I love that the next few days will be spent together: planning, cooking, sharing time with family and with friends who are family. I love that because of technology, we will be able to share some time with people far from us.

I love Thanksgiving. Bring it on.

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editing

Every year I do this thing… going through the thousands (yes) of photos I take, and try to choose the minimum, the most memorable, the best, to showcase in books for the kids.

It has gotten easier. But it’s still hard… to me, they are all beautiful.

The thing about our digital age is how edited we can be. For example, I would rarely if ever show a photo of myself in which I am not wearing make-up, or my gray hairs are prominent, or where you can really tell exactly where those 30 extra pounds sit (like this one, which KK took while we waited for Randa in dance class). I want the prettiest and the best out there. And while I *might* show KK or Randa frowning or having a fit, I would never think of posting the same of Josh or Paige, or of Rod and me. We put our best “out there.” It is our human nature.

I think that’s ok, though. Transparency is important and truth is necessary, but intimacy can hardly be created in a few short posts or an uploaded album. I can safely say that my life is nowhere near as shiny and perfect as it might seem Online. Sometimes Rod and I argue. Sometimes I bite my tongue so I don’t berate our big kids. Sometimes I feel like I really, really need a few days’ break from my little kids. Sometimes I worry excessively about A, B, C, or what I am going to wear that day, or who doesn’t like me, or blahblah blippity blah. It’s life. Ugliness to some degree is implied, isn’t it?

Anyway, under the theme of giving thanks, I am thankful for editing. I am thankful for the wisdom and discretion that keeps us from saying, writing, publishing every thing that might pop into our skulls. The internet makes it so easy to instantly gratify ourselves not just with opportunities to vent but with captive audiences to either argue with us or pat us on the head. I have learned from a few hard lessons that not everything needs to be said or shared.

But I am proud of this family, and I am grateful for it from the bottom of my heart. I am so thankful for the year we’ve spent, and for the smiles on these faces and excitement in these eyes and love in these memories. For that, there is no editing required. What you see is what is. Thank You, God!

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unanswered prayers

Today at lunch, a friend of ours said that when he first met us, he would never have imagined having lunch with us.

You know, because if we had been running the Blank Blank Family Blank, maybe we would have been different people. Or as he said, some of “Those People.”

I can’t say I haven’t thought about it, when I wonder why. Rod and I had some pretty big plans for ourselves when we moved here… not selfish plans, not vindictive dreams, but maybe hopes that, come true, would have eventually led us to focus on the wrong things.

(But I really don’t think so. I just reread this, and I know our hearts, and I after considering possibilities for months, I simply think the Blank Blank Family Blank was just a… landmark on our journey)

We lost some stuff this past year. We lost some stability because we ‘banked’ on things that never happened. We lost control of circumstances we thought we’d always own. We lost some friends because we couldn’t give them what they wanted from us, which had little to do with who we are and more to do with what they thought we’d be.

So I am thankful tonight for:
– the focus we have
– the trials we’ve gone through
– the lessons we learned
– the friends who stayed
– the friends we made
– being together at the other side

As I am working on my annual Christmas photo project for the girls, I have a great opportunity to see where we started this year, and where we are now. God has provided. He has refined. And we are wiser, stronger people than we were a year ago. Life is not easy or simple, nor is it predictable, but it is our life together, and the unanswered prayers have added as much to it as the wishes that came true.