Saving Your Life

Saving Your Life

I peeked out my upstairs, bedroom window on November 1, about 8:00 am, and looked out into our backyard. Amidst the sunlight peering through fall leaves and the dew glistening on the grass, I saw . . . A tiny storm trooper running full speed through the yard. My little four-year old neighbor. Our dog barking her head off alerted me to this visitor outside. I couldn’t quite get my early-morning brain to pull thoughts together and figure out why he was there, and where his mom was. We had celebrated Halloween with friends and their littles the night before, so I wondered: Did he sleep in his costume last night? (Makes total sense) Did we forget someone when we all went to bed last night? Then, I found my phone and saw this text:   After dying laughing, I searched my son’s room and found the mask under a pile of toys and clothes. Obviously. I ran outside and delivered the mask to the little storm trooper and his super-mom in the mini-van. That one is only topped by the text from earlier in the week that made me DIE laughing. I can’t. Cannot. The image of my 100 percent stylish, Type A, take-on-the-world friend hoisting herself onto a mannequin to strip him down made me sit right down and laugh. Which always makes my day brighter. There was also this honest lament made me howl: I mean. Tiny Sister Friend KNOWS the truth about her favorite clothes. She won’t get to wear them again. Probably not ever. Who among us has not felt bummed about a favorite...
Listening

Listening

“Spread the map on the table, with the coffee stain Put your finger on the places, show me where you’ve been Is that California, where your teardrops dried? You drew a circle around Georgia, can you tell me why?” A season of quiet does not mean that nothing is happening. Often, it means that things are becoming, growing beneath the surface. Things are stirring in the heart. That has been true for me. After I marched and wrote about it, I felt hurt and hushed by some of the reactions. I felt the impulse to explain myself, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t have to. So, I decided to shift my attention. I let the noise do what it will, and I turned my face to work that I love. Nurturing friendships, caring for my family, finishing projects, making a home. It’s been a while since I wrote here. A time of listening rather than speaking. I gave myself permission to simply be quiet, to receive the gifts that are before me, and to listen carefully. I heard what I needed to hear. I realized that I do not have to fill the silent space if I want to be quiet. I can be still. I can listen for the Spirit’s voice, for my own voice. It’s there. I can attend to the people who teach me everything, my beloveds. The little one who runs everywhere he goes, who laughs at the things I might miss. The one who listens to me, knows my heart, and loves me well. We have a beautiful home together. I’ve heard so...

#WhyIMarch

I told my sister I was proud that she was marching, but I could not do it. I was very anxious about being in crowds upon crowds of people. Then, she decided to march close to home, in Atlanta. I decided if I could name the reasons I should march, then I would do it. Here is what I came up with. This is why I plan to march on January 21, 2017. Because marching is a visual signal of the multitude of people who have something to say. It’s one thing to claim “alot of people.” It is quite another thing to see the impact on cities around the globe when people show up by the thousands, stand in city streets, and speak. This visual reminder becomes part of our imagination when we talk about “We, the People.” Because I am choosing to have trust in those who love me. I am trusting that they will love me more than they dislike my views. There is some risk for me in marching, in that my presence there will offend some family and friends. My husband and my Dad wholeheartedly support me marching, even thought they will not be there. I know that others may be surprised, offended or confused that I would participate. I am trusting that they will continue to love me in spite of how we see things differently. I have listened when they share. I have respectfully watched Fox News when it is on in their homes. Mostly, I don’t bring up political thoughts, because I am usually not interested in that being the focus....

Hairnets and Hope: #stophungernow

My friends and I made over 12,000 meals last Sunday afternoon. If that number sounds staggering, it did to me, too. We hosted a meal-packing event with an organization called Stop Hunger Now. In less than two hours, we worked together to pour, package, seal and box thousands of meals. The meals will go to areas of the world where hunger and starvation are a crisis. We know that the number of people in this world who are hungry is staggering. When I first heard about this organization, I knew we had to host a meal-packing day. Our congregation needed this event. I needed this event. We needed this moment of joining together in work that reaches people in need. To be sure, my congregation does a lot of faithful work to help people in need. But something about the simplicity of the work – scooping, bagging, boxing – set next to the complexity of world hunger seemed like just the sort of challenge that would impact us. We got busy planning. We set the date and invited people to come. The one question I heard about 12,000 times regarding these 12,000 meals was: So, how does this work exactly? What will we do? It was difficult to imagine how the whole project would come together, especially since a major selling point of our invitation to people was: This is an event for the whole family. All generations from preschoolers to senior adults. We had never done an event exactly like this before, and some folks had a hard time understanding how we would get it done. My friend Jeff leaned...

Just Like the Story

I’ve learned a little something about parenting a preschooler: there is always some kind of liquid on the floor. Maybe water because you splashed the sink full of legos when you were supposed to be washing your hands. Maybe juice, because who doesn’t carry juice to go potty? You can’t set that stuff down, it must be carried throughout the house and the cup must be lid-free. Maybe (usually) the liquid on the floor is pee. Because, boys. I’ve come to terms with the wet floors in my house. So, I was surprised by my almost four-year old in the bathroom screaming at the top of his lungs, “MOM!! Come quick, it’s a ‘mergency!” The ‘mergency was that he became distracted while standing at the potty. What was supposed to go in, went everywhere but in. ALL over the floor, his clothes and his feet. We are a tad bit high drama around here, so with fair warning that this was an emergency, he began to weep. My job was clear: calm, wipe, flush, wipe, then scoop him up. “My feet, mama! What will we do?!?” (I have no idea where he gets his flair for the dramatic) “Freeze!” I said. He froze in place. I scooped him up, ran some warm water in the sink and plopped his pee-covered feet into the sink. His tears became laughter as I tickled his dirty, little toes with soap. “Mama, we are just like the story!” I wasn’t following. “You are like Jesus, and you’re washing my feet ‘cause I’m the disciple.” Lord, in your mercy. Hear my prayers. He remembered...

7 Ways to Survive Temporary Solo Parenting

This is a picture is from Day 5. The fifth day of the hubs being out of town for work recently. My dear neighbor had asked me that afternoon, “What are you cooking for dinner?” “Um, cereal? Cereal is about all I’ve got in me.” We were fine, really. This is not a complaint about the trip, which was great for Jake. I have no room to complain, because trips away are infrequent in our house. Often when they happen, I am blessed to have my mom or sister visit. Even as I share this, I completely get the fact that my set up is pretty fantastic. But I realized, on about Day 4, that I was making a mental list of little nuggets of wisdom I had collected to share with anyone else who was facing a couple of days of parenting solo until their spouse got back. Just as quickly, I realized there are a few friends who could write an entire book about temporary solo parenting (TSP). I called my friend Angela who parents like a champ while her Air Force husband is frequently sent out on short term assignments called TDY. Her words of wisdom made me spit out my cereal laughing. My friend LeAnn survives the occasional business trip away with hilarious texts and the genius to have a babysitter at the ready. My friend Alyson is superhero mom who parents her three young kiddos while her husband is deployed out of the country for months at a time. Over holidays. Holy. Cow. I collected some of our best practices (read:survival tactics) here. An...