Friday, May 22, 2015

Rise...

The weekly reckoning...
1598. A walk downtown with Brooklyn and Tobin, and the rain holding off until we got back to the car
1599. Finishing rearranging before company came
1600. A glorious thunder storm 
1601. Three real notes in the mail
1602. Having help with the grocery shopping (so much easier not just-us-three)
1603. Managing to replicate Adam's stir fry, since he worked late and wasn't there to make it
1604. Brooklyn bravely getting through church, lunch out, and an evening baby dedication having gotten up early and with no nap
1605. Adam's parents and grandma being able to come for the day
1606. A family photo, all four together (we don't even have a decent pic of all-three-together, preTobin, so this was exciting)
1607. Car tripping to Fayetteville not just-us-three
1608. Brooklyn cautiously exploring nature at a rest stop
__________

1609. Watching the fireflies rise, while sitting on the back porch talking to Adam

I was a frog-catching butterfly-chasing kid. I dug holes (after acquiring a permit from my Dad, which included the agreement that any holes I dug would be well marked and filled in before mowing day) and got up at 2am with my Mum to watch a lunar eclipse (and eat popcorn, because why not?)

Laying on my back on a trampoline in the summer, I'd watch the bats whirl while I waited for the stars to come out - and the fireflies. Their slowly strobing migration from grass to sky has always been my favorite part of summer.

They start in that undecided time between evening and night, creeping earth-born up the blades of grass, like tiny fallen stars. My grandparents have a huge old oak tree, twice-lightning-struck but still strong, under whose shadow they seem to rise the thickest. I'd scamper from point to point, chasing elusive Will O' the Wisps, until one finally landed in my grasp. I've never had the heart to fill a jar - I open my hand and wait breathlessly til they blink, then hold them up to speed their journey to join Cassiopeia and Orion.

There's a sort of peace, I've found, in watching them drift upward like fragile prayers. It's a reminder of an infinitely creative Creator, who made both stars and lightning bugs, who made and cares for me.
__________
 
1610. Visiting with knitters
1611. That people still care about fountain pens
1612. Walking around my favorite part of Fayetteville - 'twas the perfect sort of day for it 
1613. Mum helping Brooklyn with her breakfast while I was stuck with Tobin
1614. A lovely visit with my sister-in-law and niece
1615. Local coffee with a drive thru, and the subsequent Onyx Delight
1616. A good morning at Adam's parents'
1617. Tobin's sweetly sociable nature
1618. Painting With a Twist with Carolyn - so much fun!


Combining One Thousand Gifts with Five Minute Friday - every week, a flashmob of bloggers gathers, internet-wide, to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing!) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then links up and shares a little comment love. For more posts, more info, and/or to join in, head here!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Whitespace Challenge


I spent the beginning of this year practicing pauses - examining the power of the small moment, seized in the midst of a busy day. As part of that, I journaled my way through Bonnie Grey's book Finding Spiritual Whitespace. Her whitespace is my pause, although she went a little deeper into it than I did; validating whitespace, discussing how to find it, and presenting ideas for incorporating "shots of rest" into your daily life.

Practicing pauses is definitely something that I need to continue doing, regardless of what point of the circle I'm at. But it's also something that I want - introvert that I am, I embrace opportunities to step back and take a deep breath (or a sip of tea). The trouble is, when walking away (even for a moment) isn't an option, I begin to feel trapped. In the back of her book, Bonnie included a Whitespace Challenge - a list of ideas (categorized as creativity, adventure, community, and soul care) for creating whitespace in your life - and it struck me that a lot of her ideas would allow me to pause without pausing.

For example, under Soul Care. she suggested "Signal[ing] your body to physically rest knowing Jesus will carry you through." Things like playing ambient music or enjoying a better view (going outside, decluttering, hanging new art). Reminders that even when I feel overwhelmed with a toddler on one hip and a baby on the other, I am being carried gently in my Father's arms.

As I worked my way through past Hope*ologie prompts, the phrase beautiful dwelling arose. I loved its duality - both a verb, to dwell beautifully, or a noun, to be a beautiful dwelling. It's a lifestyle, overarching every aspect of my daily existence, and it's one that I'd like to begin pursuing. Bonnie's prompts seemed like a good place to start - I'm starting with Soul Care, and moving forward from there, as needed.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Little Critters


Such a big boy! He's getting better and better at grabbing things and putting them in his mouth - and he can hang on pretty tightly (I've had to pry Brooklyn's hair out of his grip several times).


He also grabs his own shirt in an attempt to move in the desired direction. It doesn't work, but he's starting to be able to roll and squirm his way around, taking a butterfly route to whatever-he's-after. I tried laying a blanket down for his Evening Rotations, but he ended up orbiting it instead of laying on it.


According to the {admittedly inaccurate} Step on the Scale Alone then Step on with Tobin and Subtract Method, he weighs about 15 pounds. He may pass Brooklyn! (Which might be just as well - she desperately wants to carry him, and I'd really prefer that she not.)


I got on a redecorating/organizing kick last week, and one thing I did was cover a couple of diaper cases with some cute (hedgehogs and foxes!) Duck tape to make bins for Tobin's room. We have a dear little heart cut-out side table that didn't really have an application in our home, so I made it into a dresser of sorts for his toys and blankets.


We three went for a walk downtown one day last week, and also had a mid-week zoo adventure all-four-together. It was a cool day so the animals were fairly active, and we managed to stay ahead of the school field trip, so it ended up being a lovely outing.


Brooklyn loves being able to participate and work in things. She's very aloof (unlike Tobin, who thrives on being the center of attention) and prefers to do her own thing, quietly investigating at her own pace, then sharing her discoveries (and seeing if she can convince us to fill our pockets with rocks and leaves and twigs and flowers and...)


We managed to get at least one good picture of the four of us together (making that the first of its kind - we never even managed to get one of the three of us, before Tobin was born) at church on Sunday, after Tobin's dedication. Adam's parents and grandma, and my Mum, came for the day, which was nice. And then we came back with Mum, to spend the week in Fayetteville - we haven't been since February, and Adam's super-busy with work. We've got a lot of shenanigans planned for our few days here - I'm sure it will be grand!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Follow...

Last week's gifts...
1576. A stay-home recovery day
1577. Encouraging, unexpected, handwritten mail
1578. A book to read while snuggling Tobin to sleep
1579. Dempsey Bakery having apple fritters - I hadn't had one since last summer
1580. Adam being able to pack up his event day-of, instead of having to come back the next morning
1581. A gloriously stormy night - perfect sleeping weather!
1582. A sympathetic mama to sit in the the lobby with, while both our Small Persons made more noise than is considered appropriate for a church service
1583. The sit-down Sonic, and Brooklyn's excitement over a cup of ice water
1584. A Voxer book talk
1585. Rearranging furniture and moving pictures, and Adam not minding
1586. Ideas and the time/energy/money to see them through
1587. Reading a Psalm with Brooklyn over breakfast, and her paying some degree of attention 
1589. A random mid-week zoo trip, all-four-together
1590. The cheetah being talkative
1591. Upcycling a bunch of empty boxes into cute, useable storage bins
1592. Having enough in my Paypal for a She Reads Truth study kit, and the accompanying print perfectly filling a blank my rearranging had created
1593. Brooklyn waking up happy (she's been rather fragile the past week or so)
1594. Tobin's adorable attempts to propel himself using sonar 
1595. A drawer of too-big clothes, for when Brooklyn has unexpected growth spurts 
1596. Walking downtown with Brooklyn and Tobin, and not getting rained on
1597. Simultaneous long naps for both of them


I was planning to write this post last night. And then our internet went out (firmware updates) 15 minutes before the prompt went out, and didn't come back online until this afternoon, at which point I was in the thick of laundry and attempting to convince Brooklyn that Tobin probably didn't want to read The Cat in the Hat and consoling him when she disregarded me and "gave" (threw it lovingly at) him, through the haze of an exceptional headache.

Now that everyone's in bed, and I have a cup of tea and Chris Tomlin's song "I Will Follow" on repeat, and I found a pretty picture of me writing in an attempt to conjure some inspiration, nothing's really coming. I was hoping for something about following trends or something, but really I'm just ready for bed.

That's how it goes these days - I used to wake up with Plans and Ideas, or at least a sense of adventure. Now I feel like I'm always five steps behind, never catching up, from the time I wake up until I collapse into bed at night. Someone posted recently about getting up before their kids - I usually reject that, because mine don't get up at a consistent time and because it's usually late before Tobin falls asleep and I'd like to have a little time with Adam after, but I'm beginning to wonder if it might not be worth it to try.

To spend a little time reading and praying, maybe journaling. To start my day with a shower, to feel fresh and awake, instead of being wrenched awake by a crying baby (or toddler - I suggested that she call for me, instead, but the idea hasn't gone over yet) and then trying to fit one in in the evening, when Tobin is fussy and wants to nurse at 15 minute intervals. To possibly even knit a few stitches until someone needs me. To take what little control I can over the time I've been given, instead of blindly and hurriedly following my nose, like the white rabbit who was always late. Every second is a gift, after all - but it's hard to appreciate when I'm tripping over each one, stumbling on to the next one in line.

Blending One Thousand Gifts with Five Minute Friday - each week, a flashmob of bloggers internet-wide gather to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hunger

On Tuesdays we've been practicing pauses - last week, I wrote about living with an attitude of plenty, and this week, a defense of pauses.

[photo by David Mao, via Unsplash]

"As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you / you alone are my heart's desire, and I long to worship you." {paraphrase of Psalm 41:1} In the end, the purpose of pausing is not for selfish pursuits (although, I do definitely benefit) - it's to gather my breath and rest in my Father's presence. The obstacles that arise, the phantoms that whisper lies of Importance and Worry and Busyness in my ears, know that strength lies not in my own efforts, but in placing my concerns in Hands much larger than my own - and so the pauses are worth fighting for.


What inner obstacles rise up to keep you from pausing?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Contageous


Baby giggles are the best - you can't help but laugh with them. And even their concern and frustration are cute.


Tobin's in the process of learning how to roll over. He can roll, but it's usually an accidental byproduct of attempting to grab both of his feet at once - he's such a roly-poly that when he curls up, he turns into a ball and rolls accidentally. He finds it very exciting and slightly magical every time it happens.


His squirming and tumbling makes Brooklyn very nervous. He makes lots of little noises that she translates as distress, and she wants to help but isn't sure how. Usually she just settles for a hug - she's all about hugs lately, offering and requesting them at random.


On Sunday, we 'ventured to the sit-down Sonic downtown - Brooklyn was highly intrigued by the concept of ordering by telephone, and ecstatic about her cup of water with tiny ice and tater tots (with ketchup - everything needs ketchup now, since Adam put some on her meatloaf).


They're both getting over a sniffle - Brooklyn had it first, and despite the enforcement of a noses-must-be-wiped-before-kisses-can-be-given rule (which was about the extent of what I could do) Tobin caught it a few days later. I never cease to be amazed by the patience of small children when they're not feeling well - Tobin remained all giggles, even with his stuffed-up nose, and Brooklyn just wanted to be held. Every time she sneezed, she'd say "Nose?" in a sad tone, and come to have it wiped.


Adam and I have escaped thus far - I'm going to attribute that to prayer and diligent hand washing. Our counters are awkwardly deep, but Brooklyn loves to stand on a chair and wash her hands with me, even though she can barely reach the water.


We've got a rainy week ahead, but that'll make preparing and packing for a trip to Fayetteville next week easier. Hopefully everyone will completely well - then the only thing we'll be spreading is smiles!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Meet...

This week's gifts...
1552. Brooklyn and Tobin's naps overlapping so I could sit on the balcony and just Be Still
1553. Lots of letter writing
1554. Watching Fringe with Adam and Tobin, after Brooklyn went to bed
1555. Being near a bank mid-errand, since they locked my card again (it was actually me this time) and we needed groceries
1556. Successful completion of all errands in record time
1557. Figuring out where I was on a knitting project I'd set aside over a year ago and didn't have clear notes on
1558. Being able to do Walk for the Waiting all-four-together, even though Adam had to go to work right after
1559. A peaceable day at home with Brooklyn and Tobin (since we all got up early)
1560. Sitting and knitting at PF Chang's while waiting for a gift-carded takeout order
1561. Adam back from cleaning up a recruiting event in time for us to go to church all-four-together
1562. Frappuccino happy-hour at Starbucks - drinks for both of us for the price of one!
1563. Going for a walk downtown and discovering an art garden by the river 
1564. Seeing three different turtles on our walk (one that folded up completely, so Brooklyn got to hold it, and one that was friendly and curious, and came to look at us)
1565. A brief nap
1566. Listening to an audio book with Brooklyn - she was surprisingly interested
1567. Blowing bubbles on the balcony 
1568. A cloudy not-too-hot day so I could air out the bedrooms
1569. Taking turns holding Brooklyn, and ultimately convincing her to sleep in her crib 
1570. Waking up feeling better than yesterday (sick mamas aren't the most patient of nurses...)
1571. Brooklyn taking an hour long nap with me on the couch 
1572. Getting a much-needed boost of energy and calm at 4pm, when I was pretty much done for the day 
1573. Grocery shopping for next week accomplished, before the storms started
1574. Sitting on the balcony with Tobin while Brooklyn took a long nap, writing and enjoying the breeze

1575. A grace-filled online community


I have always been a Seeker of Adventure. Walking my path with a journey mindset, I approach the bends with a sense of wonder for whatever may be around it.

Or, I used to. It seems like there started being more dragons than fairy gardens waiting to surprise me, and I began to walk more slowly and less excitedly, nursing my burns. I kept going, but with a furtive caution that gradually grew cynical, fancying danger in the shadow of every beautiful thing.

But then I began to encounter others on my formerly lonely trek. Others who tended beautiful gardens and invited me in, others who had faced the dragons and learned to find the beauty even in their razor-scales.

My journey is still slow (or, at least, it feels that way). But I have something new to look forward to as I approach each curve in the path: the joy of new friends that I may meet along the way, traveling companions from whom to derive mutual encouragement, hugs (virtual or in-person) for the hard days and celebration for the good ones, fresh eyes and renewed hearts that can see the good and the gifts when I'm bogged down by the belief that everything is bad.

Mixing One Thousand Gifts with Five Minute Friday - every week a flashmob of bloggers, internet wide, gathers to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here!