Sunday, December 26, 2010

Go Play

Twas the day after Christmas, and in New Orleans,
My family and I awoke from sweet dreams.
A mommy, a daddy, a sister, two brothers,
All happy just to be with one another.

We had a great Christmas and I just want to say...
I hope you did too! Now I'm gonna go PLAY!!

Hee hee! Seriously. I officially have my own Wii character now. I'm gonna go play.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve

It's Christmas Eve Eve. Tonight I am making a decision. I've decided to rise above the exhausted mommy fog, clear the no-sleep-for-over-a-year haze, shake off the mental and emotional cramps that come with juggling mommyhood, marriage, career, home, and life for an extended period of time. The Christmas Celebration at our house has officially begun.

All stress set aside, all duties can wait. All worries are on the back burner. Christmas is here, I'm off for the weekend, and my family and I are going to treasure every moment!!

Here we go!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Inclusion Illusion

I've been reflecting on my own need to be included. I've been thinking about this need and how it affects my self confidence, my ability to adapt socially, and most of all, the practice of my faith.

As I've mentioned, my husband and I have chosen to practice our faith in a very organic way, through a house church. This avenue works well for us, since we come from vastly different religious backgrounds. All our "traditions" are kind of stripped away, and we focus on the important things: you know... Jesus, Him being the Son of God, the Way, the Truth, the Life. That kind of stuff.

Anyway, by choosing to practice my faith outside the traditional church building, (notice I did NOT say outside the church), I'm left without something I had no idea I had relied so heavily upon: The approval of men. I don't mean men in general. I mean people who run the traditional church building. I had, I now know, become very accustomed to hearing, perceiving, and basking in the approval and/or praise of other church members, especially leaders. I relied upon this approval and the myriad of duties and responsibilities that came along with it in order to feel "included." Thus, being passed over for a leadership opportunity, even one I didn't have time for, or being frowned upon for a personal decision meant I was not included, or at least not AS included as I could or should have been. This translated into hurt feelings, lower self esteem, and even envy of those who had more "inclusion" than I, even though their lives were less "fit" by most standards.

I've been pondering a great deal on the idea that meeting my need for inclusion this way has perhaps paralyzed me spiritually. I wouldn't call myself a spiritual invalid. Not by any means. But I have to wonder if looking to the church leaders for inclusion has numbed me in some places. I have to wonder if a great deal of church members are paralyzed in a similar way.

It occurs to me that looking to a human to place a stamp of approval upon my life and my spiritual maturity as he or she perceives it, is a bit of a slap in Jesus' face. He paid such a high, high price to declare me INCLUDED in his family once and for all. He gave his life so that I could have God's approval. Why then, do I need the approval of other humans in addition to the glorious gift He gave me?

Why have I wasted my time trying to earn the favor of church leaders, especially even after becoming very acquainted with the corruptness of such leaders? Why have I looked to another human to tell me what God wants me to do? Why have I allowed other people to make up rules that limit God's ability to work in me and with me? Where might I be now if I had spent as much time exploring what GOD truly made me to be and do rather than worrying about if I were in my proper place according to the opinion of church leaders? I don't mean where, as in perhaps I would be more "accomplished." Since I also am sickened at the time I spent trying to "move up" in the circles of a denomination, when most of such movement is based solely on politics. I mean where, as in would I be closer to God had I simply learned to cling to Him alone?

I return again to a thought. A truth, really. God Himself, through His only Son, Jesus, declared me INCLUDED. He declared me precious, worthy, righteous, and one of His very own children. I AM included. Now and forever. This is the truth I will teach to our children, and pass along to those He brings my way. Goodbye to days of stunted spiritual growth due to restraints placed upon me by the ideas of men. Hello to days of letting God lead me and show me. I no longer need the illusion of inclusion. I have the real deal, straight from God.

Guess what?? YOU DO TOO!!!

Monday, December 06, 2010

A Letter to my TEENAGER

Dear Teenager,

I can't believe you are thirteen years old. We both sure have come a long way! Just 21 when you were born, I gotta tell you, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. You were my first baby, and now you are my first teenager. And guess what... I'm still not sure I know what I'm doing.

I know I've messed up on some things. I wish I had let you believe in Santa. I wish I had been a little more fun and a little less worried about getting everything right. I wish things with me and your dad hadn't meant you had to deal with grown-up stuff sooner than you should have. I wish we hadn't had to move so many times and I could have given you a childhood home to always remember.

But there are some things I'm happy about. Remember when we had "the talk?" You wer SOOOOO embarrassed and so was I, but we did it! It was the first of many embarrassing talks for us both, but we're still talkin'! Remember when you first saw your baby brother Levi? We got you a baby boy doll and you and I took care of our "babies" together. I remember one time you were in a musical at church. You came down the aisle with the rest of the kids and you were so happy and excited. I realized then that seeing you happy is just about the most amazing experience I get to have. Remember homemade waffles on Saturday mornings? Remember playing in the rain on Upstream Street and splashing like crazy in the puddles? Remember "Soap skating?" Remember when you had to be in the hospital? I would have given anything to get you better. Remember your second grade year that we homeschooled? I loved all our fun field trips, and getting to teach you myself. Remember how we had to get through Hurricane Katrina together? Remember "WINN DIXIE!!!"?? I love hearing you laugh. I'm glad we spent time with your Granny Great, and even though you might not remember it all, you got to know her and she got to know you.

You were the most beautiful baby in the world. You were the most adorable little girl ever. Your smile and your laugh could keep me going for days. When you were born I was scared to death. I had this little person and any mistake I made might hurt her for life!! I didn't want to make ANY mistakes.

We were inseparable for the first couple of years of your life. We did just about everything and went just about everywhere together. I wanted so much to be a good mommy. These days you are almost as tall as me. We don't shop in the children's department anymore, and your bedroom door is closed more often than it's open. Some days I'm scared that there are some things you may never learn if I haven't taught them to you by now. Some days I'm scared that since I DO make some mistakes you might be hurt forever.

Then I realize that you are becoming a wonderful young lady in spite of my mess-ups. You are an amazing person because GOD made you that way,and my silly mistakes can't undo HIS great work in you. I'm SO proud of who you are, and so excited about who you will be.

I used to rock you to sleep every night, but can't rock you anymore. I'm rocking your baby brother, Caleb, while you are texting or talking on your phone in your room. I'm learning to be a more grown-up mom to a more grown-up girl. We still have a long way to go together and I know we might have some tough times ahead. But we'll get through that too, just like the tough times we've put behind us.

You were my "Christmas present from God." You still are. You always will be.

Happy Birthday, my Mackenzie!!


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Eatin' Healthy

It's official. The kids and I decided on the way to school this morning. Here's how it went down:

Me: (Handing the kids their on-the-run breakfast of chocolate muffins) "It's not exactly a nutritious breakfast, but it IS a delicious one!"

Kids: Yeah!

Levi: Wellllll... I think chocolate is healthy. I mean it has milk in it, right?

Mackenzie: Yeah, and it comes from a plant.

Me: Well you're right. Chocolate's practically a VEGETABLE!!!

We all laughed like crazy and it was unanimous! Eatin' chocolate IS eatin' healthy!!

Any kid of mine has a sweet tooth inherited directly from me. And now that chocolate is a healthy food... well...

Hee hee! Maybe I won't get mother of the year for this morning's breakfast, but it was SO worth the moment of crazy laughter with my awesome children. Even my little one-toothed guy was giggling! I'll be treasuring that moment all day.