Presents (or presence) for me

Today I am forcing myself to sit down and write as I have been putting it off for way too long. Once I get started, I usually enjoy the process but it seems that every fiber of my being fights the actual sitting down. I have finally admitted to myself that being still is not a gift I possess. Constant movement might be one of my gifts. I have found myself contemplating this more often lately as I realize my toddler is forever calling for me to “come, mama!”

I had previously noticed my frustration with that beckoning call but now I have gone a step further and allowed myself to see how hard it is for me to really answer and take the time to see where it leads. How quickly I jump back up after I sit down! How quickly I start to think about something else and then flit away to follow up on that! I am in need of practice at being present. I have always been the one trying to finish someone else’s sentences (How annoying is that?!?!) or assuming what someone is going to say. For a time, after doing some soul work, I was able to slow myself down and I disciplined myself to be a better listener. Then over more time, somewhere along the way….(ahem…likely when my attention became fully devoted to our tiny precious blessing) my attention wavered and my relationships have suffered.

I know I need to also have grace for myself and where I am at, but I also know that if I don’t recognize these things and get down to the bottom of them, I can miss out on a whole lot of beauty. I trust the process of life and I know I can get to a place of being more present and that is what I commit to do.

It actually just occurred to me that this lack of stillness is likely rooted in fear. Seems like so many things are, but as Luke 12:27-32 says, “27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,[a] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

When I find myself unable to be still, usually it is about something I am afraid I will forget to do, or it is something I feel needs to be done right away, but really most of the time it is not that urgent. My mind is in hyperdrive or warp mode or something and I miss so many of the little precious moments that my daughter is inviting me into.

Sometimes it is actually a literal worry about what we are going to eat. Not because we don’t have enough food, but because we have so many choices and I have to decide and prepare whatever it is I choose. My mind is consumed with worries like this! I worry about the schedule, the nutrition, the friendships, the time here or there. So many things that I have choosen to worry about!

So, it is time for a new direction. It is time to practice presence again. It is time to tell my mind that those things will wait, but THIS moment will not. Love is patient, love is kind, and what I have finally come to see is that love is also present. As the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words” so if I am continually telling my daughter I love her, but then not taking the time to see what she is excited about, I am really just telling her that my little distractions are more important than her. There are things that do need to get done, but my message has been stuck on absence and distration rather than presence and attention for too long. That changes now.

Did this sound familiar? If you find yourself being distracted by all the little things, what have you done to get back into the now and be present? Leave a comment! I would love to hear your thoughts or ideas!

The Sweet Refrain

“Mommy”. “Mommy”. “Mommy”. I hear the refrain again from the other room. Although I have been answering, “Yes?” the refrain continues unhindered. I have finally learned that this is my daughter’s way of requesting my presence in the room to be able to admire her most recent accomplishment. It might be a stacked up tower of toys or 20 stuffed animals lined up on the couch side by side, but whatever it is, she will gleam with pride and joy will burst out across her face. Some days I sigh as I stop my meal preparations and head into the room for the 28th time, wondering if we will be eating dinner at midnight with the back to back displays of wonder.

There was a time, not very long ago, when she didn’t address me as “mommy” and I longed to hear her call me by this exact title. Then somehow, she started saying “mommy” overnight and now I long for expanding moments of silence between the back to back requests for my attention. How will I ever get anything done?

Having become a parent for the first time in my late 30’s, I frequently consider the wisdom of having children when one is younger and perhaps has more energy, but I can also see how my 20 something self had a whole lot of growing up to do and I know I am a much better parent now because of that time to explore the world and grow. There will always be the pluses and minuses, but regardless, I am thankful to have this opportunity now, even if I don’t always make the most of it.

I hear the warnings a lot. “Time goes so fast”, “enjoy it”, “treasure these moments”. Sometimes I am in a place to be able to actually do that, but other times (many times), after 5 days of interrupted sleep, followed by an illness or two, followed by multiple tantrums of unusual size, I find myself in an emotional heap on the floor feeling like I can’t take one more moment of screaming and I’m not sure how to teach someone to deal with the disappointments of this world better than I do and wondering if I will even be able to make it to the end of the day. My daughter’s bids for attention and love are the most important opportunities in my day – these are the moments when I have the chance to show her that she is important, that she is loved and that what she thinks and feels is important. I don’t have to have the answer and yet just by responding to her, I create in her the confidence that she matters.

The reality is I don’t always make the most of these moments. Sometimes I am horribly impatient and I respond in frustration and anger, followed quickly by painful reflection where I cringe at myself and my lack of patience.  So many opportunities unrealized, so many discoveries overlooked and so many precious moments missed.  Parenting is really a heart wrenching and simultaneously glorious undertaking.  The mother I believe myself to be and the mother that shows up in these tense moments are at odds with each other, but I intend to tip that scale fully in favor of the mother I know I can be. The patient, loving, wise mother who can get to the root of any given situation and move to exactly what is needed while remaining fully myself, trusting the strength and huge capacity of my child.






The Vortex

One day, while attempting to restore order to the chaos of my life and searching for another missing piece of a puzzle and a missing piece of a toy, I finally accepted the fact that there is a toy vortex that sucks up these tiny pieces and holds them captive until the searching mother or father has gone mad with said searching, only to spit them out in plain view about a month or two later. Why must I waste so much time searching when clearly this will continue to be the result? Yes, I do seem to be drawn to beat my head against the same wall over and over again. Maddening frustration and wasted energy, I drive myself there frequently!  I have a drive to make life “easier” somehow, yet I continually choose to wander around in circles, racking my brain for the solution that will never come in this manner. If I allow my brain to go in a different direction for even a short time, typically the answer will show up a lot faster.

A perfect example; the Lego tire.

Someone gave my then almost two year daughter a little space rover Lego vehicle that included 4 wheels with 4 rubber tires. She loved taking it apart and putting things back in various places on the rover.  So of course, after a couple weeks, one of the little tires was gone. Vanished completely. This resulted in a full house search on my part to attempt to uncover the whereabouts of this tiny piece. During the search I did manage to find various other missing toy pieces, but the tire was gone. I began to wonder if it had been swallowed and had gone unnoticed through the usual “channels” and made it’s way to the dump.  I would let it go for a few days and then renew my efforts with vigor. Unfortunately, my efforts were fruitless.  Then, one day when I was helping my daughter get dressed, I noticed a strange shape in her sock that we had just put on.  I couldn’t figure out what it was, but I took the sock back off, and of course – there it was!  The tire had finally been found!  I have no idea how it got in there, but I am sure my daughter was involved.  In the end, I was pretty impressed that she was able to get the tire into her sock and from there, the sock made it through the wash and the folding process unnoticed.

Anyway, score stands at Mama: 1, Toy Vortex: 999. (The toys unearthed during the great Lego Tire Search of 2016 are not being counted as wins since this mama hadn’t noticed they were even missing!)







Into the Darkness

The idea of writing a blog has been popping up in my mind again and again like an overinflated pool toy – I push it back down for a while but then POP! Up it comes again…I suppose I have gotten tired of trying to hold it down and just this morning I received encouragement from a friend that Christ is waiting to meet me in the muck that is surely under my resistance to write. So, here come the tears – clearly I need to do a little spelunking to discover what that is all about, but I am afraid. Afraid to explore those dark spaces, afraid of getting stuck somewhere down there in the darkness. Christ is my Light and the Lord of my Salvation. I need to simply trust that He is where He said He would be – with me. Above me, Below me, Around me, Within me He is here.

When I was in middle school, my family visited some caves which is where I first heard about spelunking. I was intrigued and really wanted to go, but for some reason I wasn’t able to. I don’t remember whether it was that I didn’t meet some requirement or perhaps it was just that it wasn’t part of the plan for that day, but regardless of why, I didn’t have a chance to squeeze through the opening and find out what sort of adventure lay in the darkness.

For years I was left to imagine the excitement of exploring tunnels and cracks and crevices of that dark cavern. I remember standing next to the large rock at the entrance that had a hole cut into it that served as the test to be able to enter the cave. I would have had to prove that I could fit through to be able to go on the spelunking adventure. Years later, I was presented with another opportunity to do just that, and yet that time I was full of hesitation.

Something had changed and I can’t pinpoint exactly when or why, but my spelunking dreams had turned to fear filled imaginings…

Now I am teetering between a desire to have that unfettered excitement return, and a complacency of comfort where I question whether it is wise to venture into the darkness. As I prepare to enter the abyss, I have to remind myself again, Christ is my Light and the Lord of my salvation.  And here we go….



Starting Point

Sometimes you have to start running towards your goal even though you don’t really know the path that will take you there, trusting that you will find openings and connections along the way.  Tis blog is my way of reminding myself that even with all of the mess, I am moving forward, creating the life I desire, with as much honesty and grace as I can call up.