Friday, May 22, 2015

Kindness leads

Elmer walked past me with a small stick in his hand, and it grazed my foot. At nearly two, my flinch caught his rapt attention & he turned back to me.
 I was certain in that moment that he would scrape me again with the stick. He's such a little boy & I thought he would be eager to reproduce the results of the first scrape.... I watched him as he tenderly bent his tiny body and kissed my foot before walking away...  & I don't know why the softness of his response moved me so much.
Sloan & I were talking about kindness the other day & she said, with the certainty of one who has tasted the truth of their own words, "changing parts of your personality is hard.."
"But I'm so glad it's possible..." I replied.
"I know. I've done it..."
& we can learn, can't we? To be kind? To kiss the wounds inflicted by ourselves or others... to minister to the hurting, to pause mid-stride and heed the whispering admonition of a loving Father who bids us to become holy...

Friday, May 8, 2015

For the mama who is afraid of change

   There are a lot of words written about the wistful pain of saying goodbye to the baby years. It's so easy to wax poetic about that single damp dainty curl at creased neck, about tiny clutching starfish hands, and the smell? Ohhh, the smell of newborn baby - the mere memory of it makes me tear up. Babies are amazing. Those years are intense and we're immersed. Half drowning, half swimming, sleep deprived and constantly hungry, it's nonstop service - and we rise to the occasion, meeting every need and crooning over every sorrow. And I think it was partly the exquisiteness of the baby years that made me feel a certain trepidation over what was sure to come next.
   Little legs stretched out. Appetites blossomed, babbling words became complex ideas expressed. They pushed me away in the most normal, natural way - like a skilled swimmer using strong legs to push away from the side of the pool. They came back to me. They made me laugh. They entered, and exited the awkward stage, emerging with more grace and poise than I could ever have imagined.
   And maybe this transition is tempered in a way for me, because I do still have a little one in diapers who isn't talking about moving out, graduating college, falling in love or getting a credit card... Yet. But I feel like I was so deceived. I thought this phase of life was gonna be all sadness and melancholy and nostalgia. I thought the goodbyes to childhood would choke me and that my grief would steal my joy. Nothing could be further from the truth... It's amazing. That wild hearted faery princess twirling her dress around her skinny white legs, the one with sky blue eyes and hair as fine as dandelion fluff? She's still mine. Her hair is tamed - sometimes. She traded her velour Barbie dress for blue nursing student scrubs. But those ageless eyes will never change, and that fiery passionate heart didn't disappear, it only miraculously discovered both it's source and destination. It beats still, only what used to beat with questions and sometimes confusion, now beats with purpose and determination. It's breath taking. Her sisters and brothers follow close behind - just like they did when I had a flock of stair step tinies following me in years gone by. Now the stair steps are uneven as my second born grew taller than my first, and they no longer all trail behind, but instead some skip ahead or walk beside. My third and fourth born are taller than I am, and just this morning, my fifth grinned at me with a cock of her eyebrow, "back to back, mama?" There are piercings and hair dye. We listen to post secondary plans and make arrangements for graduations. We pay excruciating attention to both crushes and love songs. We've lived through acne and algebra. We've breathed a sigh of gratitude after no-injury fender-benders and broadened our music appreciation to include the taste of several eclectic teenagers. None of them stay little forever, and it's good and right - and even exciting... Yes, exciting... to experience this truth.
   So, grow little ones.
   Mama has learned not to be afraid.
After all these years, my first born is still teaching me. And as I snuggle my littlest one, tenderly trailing my fingers through his uncut tresses, breathing deep the fading scent of babyhood, I stretch my heart just a little more and  lean in deep to her instruction.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

after you...

     I live in Canada - the land of reputed politeness and niceties. It's an often true reputation that pervades our culture and humor over the never ending stop at the three way stop with each idling vehicle nodding to the others genially, "After you... I insist..."
     I had a day dream the other day while I was sitting in a worship service in church. A man had invited guests to his home. It was a dinner party, and when the first guest arrived, he was given the task of opening the door for the guests who would arrive after him.
     As the doorbell rang, he ran to open it adding urgently, "No! Don't take off your shoes, leave your coat on... come here. I will serve you your dessert." While the host in the kitchen continued to prepare the meal for his guests to eat, the pseudo-host organized those who came after in a most bizarre fashion.
     He got them to switch seats, to sit, but then to stand, he asked them to eat different courses of foods out of turn. As a spoon of soup was brought to one mouth and a creamy dessert brought to another, the other guests looked at each other in confusion, knowing that something was awry. They waited for someone to take the first bite. The pseudo-host glowed. "Oh no! YOU eat. I don't need a thing. I will watch you all and serve you. I will fill your plates and bring you your next course. I will witness your satisfaction and you won't need to witness me getting my fill.
     Finally the real host gently stopped him, "Friend... I invited you here as my guest. i am the host and what you are doing isn't appropriate behavior.Your attempted kindnesses are not only robbing your fellow guests of the experience I intended for them, but you have chosen hunger over partaking. This isn't right."
     I opened my eyes and they rested on the pastoral staff in the front row - eyes closed, arms raised in worship.
     And it was like a little wave of understanding washed over me in that little moment of wonder.
Invited to God's house, they attended. Ushered to the throne room, they worshiped. They ate, they drank - not waiting for another guest's first bite, but partaking at the invitation of The King. Each course delivered in it's time. No guest's need escaping the tender eye of the holiest of Hosts.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters" - isa. 55:1a


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mini blogs...

I feel like every once in awhile I clear my throat & realize that I haven't been using my voice very much... There's a little sting in that because I want to heed that little whisper that reminds me, "let everything that has breath praise the Lord..." & my praise seems to come in mulling over his fingers swirling the colours in my life... So I'll breathe in some grace & breathe out some praise, & share a couple little 'Facebook status' style updates with my people. Here you go... 

1. Lemme tell you, after a dozen years of homeschooling, it's a queer little ache that comes to you in waves as your oldest moves beyond the walls that hold you still... But there's this strange euphoria that chases that ache too. Our little team mate is out in the world, pursuing her education. She's sobbing in classes that are stretching her capacity to empathize, care for and nurse... She's working hard, learning and growing. She's going to be amazing. 
So I pick up that little grade 2 reader & watch a stubby little finger trip over the bold font... I correct math tests, fold laundry and read. We pray, we eat, we school, we live... conscious of both the ache and the euphoria that are inevitable parts of this wonderous wandering.. 

2. (An *actual* Facebook status...)
 Fine. 
I'll admit it. 
Doctor Who wrecks me. 
Sloanie & I started watching the series on netflix months ago - & it's not the cheesy science fiction veneer that cuts to my core & exposes my vulnerability... 
It's the little hints sprinkled like faery dust through the lines that linger long after they're spoken. They burrow like seeds into my mind and as this silly show unveils aspects of life and humanity that we're not to speak of, shouldn't even know of, must pretend never happened.. those little seeds start to grow into full fledged ideas. Who am I becoming? What matters? Why does it matter? 

"How long should we wait?"
"The rest of our lives."
"Agreed." 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5 NIV)

Aaaaaand... Now you all know what a nerd I am. 

3. Neil is at a trade show this weekend. I guess he has a "booth" there... I try to picture these trade shows, but all that comes to mind are science fairs. Are there other adults there with better booths than Neil? Did some guy's boss have an unlimited budget & he has a cooler booth than everyone else? Does one person have the equivalent of the volcano booth that erupts every once in while while the guy looks cocky, but the judges are unimpressed cause they see it every year? Did one guy light up his booth with lights powered by a potato? What on earth does Neil's booth look like? I asked him all these questions and more... But he just looked at me sternly and said, "yes. It's like a science fair." 
It's probably not nearly as interesting as I'm imagining. 


(The picture is just a bonus...)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

artsy fartsy

    It's amazing how much of music is intuitive. i don't remember being as blown away by a distinction in any of my babe's musical tastes as i have been with Elmer. We play a game where we'll take turns choosing a piece of music to play over the speakers while he's playing at our feet. His response is usually immediate and definitive. He either likes it and starts to move and react, clapping, bobbing his head and dancing - or he'll ignore it completely and continue what he's doing. His tastes are sometimes different than mine, he'll fling out his arms and turn his face to the sky during a song that doesn't move me or he'll start his wiggly dance while i'm changing a diaper and i hadn't even noticed the song had changed. Sometimes he'll dance and shout happy baby sounds while i play and sing and sometimes he'll just pull on my clothes asking me to stop so that he can have my full attention.

    And then there's Gage. He's six and can sing with more emotion than Barbara Streisand. He was in my room the other day and i stopped outside the door to listen to him sing to himself in my big full length mirror. He was making up a song about going to Kelowna to visit his grandparents and i couldn't help but get caught up in his lyrics. He drew me in with the complex conflict between his desire for the road trip and wondering if he will miss and be missed at home. His little voice trembled as it rose higher and higher, louder and louder.... conflicted and more conflicted. He repeated little melodic phrases, he used syncopation and rhythmical riffs, he repeated lyrical themes and used every dynamic and vocal inflection he could think of. He changed the rhythm as it suited him, some of it rubato, some of it following a stricter meter... He embellished with long anguished notes or quick staccato; haphazardly creating little phrases as he worked his way through his song... and i kind of sat there thinking - he's just experimenting with musical ideas he couldn't even name - to *create* something. It's so similar to a child taking up a paint brush, dancing, making a craft or forming something out of clay... Like, 'what can you do, voice, to express what i'm experiencing in my little six-year-old boy existence?'

    It's kind of weird to me, how much of what i think of as being something you need training for is really just open to everyone to enjoy. How much expression do i shy away from because i think i'm not good enough, that i might make a fool of myself, that the end product trumps the experience of creation?

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