The Summer Files: Day 55

As I write this, The Children are beating the fluff out of each other with their pillows. It’s a nice alternative to what transpired earlier. The shouting. The pointing of fingers.

Even The Canine found a dark corner in which to hide.

The three-year difference is rearing its hormonal head as The Daughter shifts into pre-teen WhaTeVer. Her language is changing, somewhat like the confusing of tongues at the tower of Babel. She speaks Unicorn-Angst, while The Son speaks Ninja-Play. I act as the interpreter, which is a lot like putting your head into a blender. Now press chop. Yeah, summer is awesome.

I work at home (at job # 1), which means in the summertime, I run nowhere fast. Imagine clocking out and driving home for things like, mediating between unicorns and ninjas, cleaning the unidentifiable mound in the fridge before it molds, sweeping piles of corn flakes from the floor, and all those fulfilling things moms do. The productivity as far as work goes, is as good as it sounds.

Job # 2 is at night, and not at home, but the hours drag into the wee morning, which combined with Job-Home and Job-Mom, keeps me from being Supermom. Yes, the house is messy. Yes, my kids get into stuff when I’m running on Unicorn fumes. Once, another almost-mom came to visit, looked around the house and asked if my kids made their beds. While looking at my kids’ unmade beds.

I wondered, briefly, how her head would fare in the blender.

Chop.

(Btw, I work at a retirement home, going on seventeen years now. I’ve never once heard a retiree say they wished they had cleaned their house more often.)

The nice thing about being home for the Child-Babel years, is that I get to have really cool conversations with my kids (I’m grateful that I get to do this rather than leaving it to a day-care provider). Like how God made them unique, which means they aren’t supposed to strive to please their peers. Even if that means being less cool in order to find their destiny. And so they can learn God’s language.

Even if their friends’ paths are bedazzled in perfectly sculpted rainbows while theirs looks a little more Jackson Pollock. That’s okay, because God knows how to speak to each one of us.

I’m not sure how far talking goes. Words let loose in the air can fly away from their intended eardrums. But I’m here.

And God’s here with a plan.

The Perfect Gift

What’s to be found on the day after Christmas? The things we received are nice, maybe even needed, but they don’t satisfy–and that’s what we’re really looking for isn’t it? That thing that fills the empty/hurting places.

My greatest gift this year was the ability to attend my kids’ Christmas performances (all 5 of them) without any conflict with my mysteriously increasing hours at work or the stomach bug that resides with us this month. Jesus hears every prayer, every longing.

We were also blessed with a white Christmas–such winter magic is a raritysnow-xmas in Arizona.

And finally, the reminder that Jesus showers us with such abundant grace when we keep our eyes on his star, and not on our disappointments. What’s a disappointment when we have unconditional Love?

Love

I sketched my daughter sulking on the patio
because sometimes you have to see that a bad mood is a choice you sit in.
But while I drew up the chalk to make her lash
and blew her hair wild like the wind that caught it,
I was the one who forgot she was grouchy
and just saw her as precious.
I think that’s how God sees us
all the time.

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Grace and the Doppelganger

My kids are sweet, round-cheeked, kitten-cuddly miracles. But they have doppelgangers. Oh yes, these creatures of darkness bear fangs. They shout and push their competitive natures into my peace at least three times a day. It’s a tug-of-war about which creature got more juice, who got to sit on Mommy’s lap the longest. Who got the most violent…

“Mommy, he hit me, and threw my baby bear!”DSCF1156

*sigh*

But I know what it’s really about. It’s why when people come to my desk at work and dump their bad day into my lap, I know better than to take it personally (although I do bite on occasion). It’s not about who got served first. It’s not even about the doppelganger who complained about the staff member that refused to personally clear the snow around their car, de-ice the path from their car to the front door andwipeofftheirshoessotheydon’tslipontheimportedtile. It’s really not. And when someone flips you off in traffic because you’re only going 5 miles over the speed limit instead of the expected 15, it’s really not about how much they dislike you or your driving decisions. Like my kids, what they’re really saying, in the deepest parts of their heart is: “What about me?”

People hurt. And they display their pain in various ways. Revengeful natures, criticism, anger, jealousy; it’s all a masked plea to gain the attention of our parent.

“Do you see me God? How much do you love me, really?”

Even those of us who know Him forget how much he has already done for us. Would I, like Him, sacrifice my son for the jerk who spit on me? No, I wouldn’t. But God did.

His only beloved son, who at one time was a child–a round-cheeked kitten-cuddly miracle, minus the doppelganger side.

My kids hear me only when they’ve quieted down and taken their masks off. Otherwise, they get consumed by The Creatures, blinded to how much they’re loved.

A good plan for the New Year would be to live in grace. To give it, receive it, and give thanks for all that’s been given to us. That’s where we find peace.

A pocket full of grace

100_2670Sometimes we don’t make it to the remote in time to silence the tragedies, giving a moment for the world’s monsters to prey on little ears. Boston, Texas, car accidents, poisoned envelopes. Days like these burrow into our skin, Sending pricks and stings to frame our attitude.

Noah mows down the landscaping with little feet like a fierce motor, collecting rocks to fill his pockets and dirt to fill every crevice he can find. It’s his frosting in a world waiting to be dressed with his experiments.
A fierce wind exposed his mischievous nature – rocks were propelled into the neighbor’s yard.

“Don’t ever throw things over the fence – you might hurt someone!”

His head sank while his upper lip resumed its pout position. “Kay, Mommy.”

Pockets get an inspection before going into the washer. Take out the rocks, wash away the dirt, and invest in prayer. Lord, let him hear you above the wind.

Ghosts of terror fill the living room again as we sit inside. The glow from the TV paints us in its fear-song.

Some people cry out, “Where is God in all of this?” Others can’t find Him in a world full of hurt and ugliness so they turn their back on His existence.
Can a world that has rejected God learn recognize His voice again?

Most of the time He can be heard in moments of grace.

“Mommy, There’s something in my pocket for you.” Noah shows me his little smile after the news blasts its latest fear alert and I’m wondering what kind of trick he’s playing on me. I switch to a cartoon and reach into his cargo pocket only to grasp nothing.
“What is it, Noah? I can’t find it.”
He smiles again and tells me in his sugary sweet voice, “It’s a kiss.”
And Mommy melts.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. 1 Kings 19:11-13
God is in the compassion of rescuers, volunteers, and all those who bring forth goodness in the midst of evil.
He is the root of love, although you have to stop and let that sink in past the smoke and debris, deep inside to where he knit His signature into your DNA and realize that evil is not sovereign.
And it will never be as powerful as a pocket full of grace.

How do you recognize God’s voice? Does He speak to you through other people or in unusual ways? I love hearing from you!