Sunday, September 25

Sacred Sundays: Why We Go to Church

What do you do on Sunday mornings?

     We go to church. These days it feels like we're the only family in our neighborhood going to church. As I rally the girls into the car, after chasing them around the house to get them fed, and washed and dressed, we pull out of our driveway and down our street and I see everyone else at home; cars parked in driveways, men cutting their lawns, pajama clad women gathering the morning paper.

     I get it...but I don't.

     I want to be empathetic to the fact that many of these neighbors would tell me that their weeks are SO busy, that Sunday is the only "down" day they have, that they are tired, not sure they "believe" or, more and more, that their children have some sort of sporting event to attend.

     They say they're too  busy to go to church.

     I say, in the spirit of an often quoted notion on prayer; They're too busy NOT to go to church.

     As busy and as hectic as my week has been, as tired as I am, or however many lines are on my "to-do" list, I go to church because it is the only place where everything starts to makes sense again. It's like getting a realignment, finding my "center", returning home after being away for several days.

     In all sincerity, when I've missed church for a week or even two my attitude gets a little less peaceful, a little more sour, I'm more easily irritated, and less likely to offer grace where it is needed.  It's as if for every day I move away from the last worship service I've been to my heart gets a bit more discontent and anxious--

     I need the fellowship of other believers, the connection to God that comes when I praise him by singing a worshipful song, and perspective from those wiser, bolder and more mature in their faith than myself (our pastors)...I need it. My spirit longs for it. My children need to see me modeling it.

     Now church is only one piece of the need to also be praying daily, reading God's word frequently, and generally living a life in which you are moving towards God and not away... but for many, church is a good start-- it's a good place to reconnect with God, your spiritual needs and what God desires for your life.

     If you have children...well...that could be an WHOLE  post entirely on its own. Getting to church with kids is NOT always easy...especially when your spouse gets there 3 hours before you and you are getting the kids to church's not easy, but it's important. Important that they begin to see the pattern of going, the significance, that it becomes something that you do as a family regularly-- as regular and normal as taking baths, or cleaning your bedroom-- it's simply a part of life.

     On some level I realize this post is rather simplistic...I KNOW it can sometimes be hard to find a good church, it can be a challenge to figure out where you feel like you fit in,  it can feel a little alienating initially, and our children often protest against the nursery/childcare/Sunday school situations-- Press's an important and worthwhile investment

...and an investment it the same way you may put just a small sum of money into an initial investment opportunity-- even that small sum will grow. Over time you will find that the more you put in, the more you get back: your relationships deepen, your understanding deepens, your parenting deepens....everything gets deeper, wider, stronger, better...

     So, if you've fallen away...get back.

     If you've only dipped your toes...jump in.

     If you've never tried it...start the journey.

     If you have a great church, and you're already settled in...offer praise to God for that gift this morning. You are blessed.

     You may not find a perfect fit right away...don't be discouraged. Be prayerful. God WILL guide you to the place He has for you.

     I like what Katrina Kenison (Mitten Strings for God) has to say about Sundays and Sabbath:
"For most of us, Sundays have become just like every other day of the week-- a scramble to get some work done, the errands run, the groceries bought, the homework finished...In years past, Sunday was often the day when hardworking families switched gears. Church services and Sunday school, pot roasts at noon with extended family gathered around...Anything that smacked of work or popular culture was out of the question....Of course, real life in today's world is another matter all together. Given a day off, we fill it....We need time for stillness, time that is devoted to the soul's own purposes.  
Over the last year, we have reshaped our family's Sundays. Instead of making them simply an extension of the work week, we have allowed them to become something sacred...We go to church after years of believing we didn't have time for church. We putter in the yard or take a walk in the woods. We make music. The kids sit in my lap...We laugh and get silly. 
I do not feel that I am losing any time by spending Sunday morning in church and Sunday afternoon with my family. On the contrary, I am taking time back." 

    Hope you can find a way to make your Sunday sacred.

Thursday, September 22

You Know You're a Mom When...


      More and more moments in each of my days are reminding me that I am fully, completely, indisputably, inexorably a mother.

     Not that I'm trying not to be one... but as a young mom you still find yourself momentarily looking back and considering the "way it used to be", if ever so briefly, and only for a moment you think wouldn't it be nice to be young and carefree...if only for a moment...

     And then...

-     You are getting ready for your MOPS meeting, staring at the bags under your eyes in your bathroom mirror and feel a sneeze coming on...the first instinct of my "young" (non-mommy) self would have simply been to raise my hand to my mouth to cover the oncoming sneeze. Now my instincts are two- fold-- lift hands to mouth while automatically crossing my legs and squeezing them tight (if you don't know what I'm talking about...well, you are very, very lucky or perhaps you had a C-section...that's all I'll say about that!).

-     You are about to head out the door to take the kids to preschool and take quick inventory of your "purse" "mom" bag...and find that you have...2 lollipops, a pacifier, a pull-up, some lipstick, your phone, your wallet, several random crayons, a baggie with extra tinker bell underwear, baby wipes and small piles of crushed goldfish.

-     On a morning that your husband has taken the kids to preschool you have several extra minutes to get ready without requests, whines and other bodies to you...pull your hair back, put on a necklace and some earrings and actually tuck your black t-shirt into your jeans...your husband comes home just as you are leaving and says...."Wow! You look cute!"...I mean, we're talking jeans, old t-shirt and a little bit of lipstick here.... it apparently doesn't take much these days!

-     While in said car driving the girls to preschool on another morning you listen to CD #4: Childhood Songs by Elmo and Friends for the nine millionth time. Even though you feel as if you would rather lick the bottom sole of a sanitation worker's boot than listen to that CD one.more.time you turn it on anyway because you know it will keep the kids quiet. 

  -     You find yourself boiling over, raging mad, ready to blow your lid, not something important like an unfair lawsuit, or the injustice of poverty, or a ridiculous IRS bill, but....Green Beans!  That's right...uneaten green beans suddenly make you a raving lunatic. Ella and I had a 45 minute battle of the wills at lunch today because she will stand in her chair, lay on her chair, spill water on her chair, ask for kisses from her chair, she'd probably do a handstand in her chair if she knew how-- she will do ANYTHING from her chair at the table  lately except....EAT HER FOOD!!! It drives me nuts if you couldn't tell.... 

Ella a year ago not eating during a camping trip...things haven't changed much! 
-     Your husband goes to the pet store and spends $44 on an aquarium and dead crickets to house and feed a snapping turtle that your daughter found on your sidewalk on a random afternoon.

-     You find yourself locked in the bathroom on your own accord because either you have   a) given yourself a self appointed "time-out", or b) you can't handle answering one more question from a preschooler about the state of your goings on on the potty...needless to say, whatever the reason, I'm quite surprised by how often I find myself locked in the bathroom...
-     You find yourself really no longer caring that you are driving a 10 year old car, with 190,000 miles on it (I'm not exaggerating about that!) and filled to the brim with stuff that needs to go to the Salvation Army...except you have no time to get to the Salvation Army so you end up driving around for five days straight, to and fro, simply looking like the Beverly Hillbillies, but realize you're doing the best you can so if people want to think you're a bit trashy...well, maybe they can offer to take your trash to a drop of location for you! 

That's all I've got at the moment...these are just the front of mind, happened with the last 48 hours sorts of things. If you have a funny "You Know You're a Mom" moment, please will help me re-establish some sense of mental normalcy to know that I'm not the only one! 

Monday, September 19

A Love Letter

     If you were asked to sit down and write a letter to your children that would encompass every piece of knowledge and encouragement that you would like them to have throughout their lives, what would it say?

     If you wanted to explain to them everything about life and the world, as best as you could, from your perspective, attempting to offer them hope and encouragement for the disappointments you know they will encounter, but also hope for a future you desire them to have...

     You might give them advice on relationships ranging from friendships to marriage. You might remind them to value silence and the pockets of solitude which are sometimes hard to come by, but are so important to the health of our souls-- to appreciate stillness and prayer in the midst of a frenzied world.

     You might offer them wisdom from your years of experience, you might list the values and the virtues and the moral standards that are not only good, and true and right, but will ensure that they will live their lives in the right space, the right place, the right way.

     It would be a letter of hope, it would offer encouragement, it would remind them how much you care for them. It would be a letter of love. A love letter.

     Can you imagine if your parents had done that for you? How you would treasure those words, reference them, pull them out, especially when you needed guidance and help on a hard day.

     Here's the beauty...if you haven't guessed it already...

     We have a heavenly father, our creator, who has done this for us. He created earth and everything in it. He sent his son to earth to breathe dusty air, to engage with people, to heal people, to teach people and ultimately show us how much he loves us by dying for those very people.

     Along the way, our heavenly father breathed inspired words into the hands, the hearts, the pens, and ultimately onto the paper of those very people he created. He gave them the words to compose his love letter...the Bible.

     I read my father's letter as often as I can. I strive to read it daily, in some form, and I find peace, hope, encouragement and incredibly poignant wisdom and guidance for my life in it. His word is a treasure...even though, admittedly, I take it for granted sometimes.

     I take the fact that I have half a dozen Bibles lying around my house for granted. The freedom to be able to read them without fear, for granted. The fact that I have God's word, written in my native toungue for granted.

     Until...several months ago a representative from the organization One Verse talked at our church for a few minutes about what they are doing to translate the Bible worldwide. They talked about things like "Bible Poverty" and threw around numbers like 340 million people.

     At the time I still had a hard time wrapping my mind around the project...around what they are trying to do (translate the Bible into all languages that do not have a translation)...and I had a hard time wrapping my mind around, really feeling, at a gut level, what it would be like to not have a Bible.

     And then I heard about One Verse again...this time through a blog group that I happen to follow...and I decided to check them out again...I took a look at their website and said a prayer...Lord, help me to understand the importance of this work you are doing-- I don't like how removed I feel-- how I have begun to take your word for granted. Give me a deeper compassion for these people who do not have your word--Give me empathy for these people who are hungry for Your words in their own languages...

     I prayed and then I went on my way...I thought about it over the next couple of days...I even made Scott (my husband) go to a local soup kitchen and serve lunch with me because I felt like I was disconnected from the lives of people in need...that I needed to see faces that were tired, hungry, needy.

     And then God put it into words I could understand. Not through my experience at the soup kitchen (though God taught me other things there), He just simply answered my words...

    ....mommy words...

     ...a language I completely understand...
      What if you were to write a letter to your daughters telling them everything your heart holds for them? Your love, your hope, your desires for their lives, and the wisdom you want to share with them in hopes to help them along the way? 
     What if circumstances got in the way to make the letter unreadable to your girls...they knew it existed, but could not read it? 
      Oh my...

     That tugged on my heartstrings...

     There are people who are waiting with a feverish expectancy to read God's love letter to them in their own tongue...God's hand is in the works to help this happen...One Verse, along with several partner organizations is doing the work...

Find Out More
       One Verse, The Seed Company...they are doing incredible work in our tired, tattered and weary world...they are bringing the love letter of a heavenly father to the souls, the faces, the hearts of people who have not yet been able to read their Father's letter.

      Check out their website, read about what they are doing, watch their video explaining Bible poverty....let your heart be stirred...perhaps to buy a verse of translation or at least pray for the work they are doing. Then, remember to offer a moment of praise, a prayer of thanks lifted up, for the blessing of such a letter, such words, such light, in your own life.

     For words such as....
Psalm 32:8 "I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go. I will counsel you with my LOVING eye on you." 
     Such as...
Isaiah 41:10 "Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be discouraged for I AM your God. I will strengthen you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand." 
     Words like...
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to proser you and not harm you. Plans to give you a HOPE and a future." 
    Or like...
John 8:12  "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." 

     Such promises. Such gifts. Such love.

     I would literally be lost without these words...they center me when I am overwhelmed, encourage me when I'm tired, guide me when I'm searching for answers.

      God's letter to you, to us, to this world. It is a gift. Don't take it for granted. And, if you feel so led, join in helping this wonderful organization get His letter into the hands of His children who have yet to read it.

Friday, September 16

Mommy Intuition

I dropped Ava off at preschool this morning, the smile on her face as wide and bright as the sunshiny yellow shirt she was wearing. She was a ray of light walking in, garnering smiles from everyone she met eyes with.

Ava's first day of school...yes, she's torturing her sister as usual...the funny part is she doesn't even realize she's doing it sometimes!!! Ella's going to be one tough cookie...

What a difference from last year.

Perhaps you remember the saga we had last year with preschool. I enrolled her in the preschool offered by our church-- a wonderful school, with loving teachers, very well organized and attended by the children of a significant number of moms that I know, hence a whole bunch of little girls she knew too.

None of it mattered.

She cried, she clung, she was sad and removed. For the first couple of weeks it started the morning of..."Mommy, I don't want to go. I don't want to go. I don't want to go." As we would pull into the parking lot, her face would fall, as we walked through the doors the tears began.

I left in tears many of those first days.

Am I doing the right thing? She needs the socialization. So many other kids her age are in preschool and LOVE it. 

We persisted for several more weeks-- 6 total actually.

The pleading and the tears began to surface the night before, and then the entire morning of, and the entire ride there and then crying when I left.

Something was nagging, something was prodding, something was saying....It's not worth it Lisa...she's so little, so young, she may hate school for the rest of her life (or not), why start this battle're home with Ella anyway, it's a struggle to get everyone ready and out the door and drive the 20+ minutes to have her there by 9 a.m. Why are you doing this? 

That little voice was completely, absolutely, 100% correct.

It wasn't the right time for her and my mommy intuition was guiding me along.

I pulled her out and we had a much more relaxed year at home. Earlier this year (late spring) as the preschool decision loomed again, I was forced to answer the questions all over again.

Is she ready? Where should I send her? 2 days or 3?

In the end I chose to send her to another wonderful church a little bit closer to home. Her class starts at 9:30 and it takes us about 12 minutes to drive there (as opposed to the 20-25 from last year)-- this means that we all have a good extra 45 minutes or so in the morning and it makes ALL the difference.

They only offer a 3 day program for 4 year olds and at first I was hesitant, but I figured the consistency of the 3 days would help provide a semblance of structure for getting up, getting ready and heading to school that will benefit us next year. She also attended the playschool at this church last year so A) she was used to the environment and pretty comfortable there and B) I would be able to still drop Ella off at playschool...which is how I'm writing this post right now!!! (Smile!).

Addmitedly I was also slightly sad that she would not be going to school with the handful of little girls she already knew from church, whose moms I already have relationships with...

None of that matters to her.

Isn't it funny, the things that are best for our kids are sometimes not the same things that matter to us.

And, perhaps most importantly for me she is happy, safe and content...she smiles when I drop her off and when I pick her up. I LOVE her teacher. She greets every child with a smile and hug and an "I'm SO glad you're here today." I get teary just thinking about it...about how God brings lovely, wonderful people into our lives, our children's lives, to walk alongside them and love them right along with us.

In my MOPS group this year we are talking about "Momsense" the idea that when a woman, a mom, begins to combine her own intuition and her common sense that she begins to discover her Momsense.

I get it...I'm developing it...and it's so true that as you begin to trust your Momsense that you grow more confident in your parenting, in your decisions and in your willingness to choose what is best for you and YOUR child.

Of course, an essential part of developing this Momsense is a commitment to prayer...prayers for wisdom, for understanding, for we pray, as we trust, as we step forward and listen to those little nagging voices we begin to become the moms that God has created us to be.

It's pretty cool how it all it all seems meant to be...because God knows us (He created us) and He knows our children (He created them too!)...He's been developing what we need to give them what they need all along the way and is now adding in a little "Momsense" to make the journey sweeter. And for that I feel filled and blessed and grateful this morning. encouragement to you if you are in the midst of some parenting questions, or a hard season with your child-- pray about it, watch for clues from your child and then when all is said and done, trust your intuition about what you think is the right decision...chances are, it probably is.

Wednesday, September 14

Somersaulting Through Life

The morning started out pretty well...the skies are blue, the weather is beautiful, Ava is in preschool and Ella is in playschool for a couple of hours...pretty nice, huh?

So here I sit at Panera all ready to cross things off my "to-do" list and as I start plugging away all I encounter is people not feelin' like helping a momma out today! 

Really?! Come on people. 

Here's the deal...Ava is supposed to start gymnastics this week...Thursdays 6:40-7:30--  Scott and I recently joined a temporary book study on parenting with 3 other couples. We planned to meet on Tuesdays, but the next couple of weeks were kind of nutty for everyone so we decided on Thursdays. This all kind of happened simultaneously, so it's not like I didn't plan well or write it in my calendar. The kids are supposed to go with us and we start at 6. That kind of poses a problem with gymnastics, huh? 

So, here I am at Panera, all ready to just call and see if Ava can take the 5:30-6:30 class for two weeks so that I can get her to gymnastics and still make it to book study (albeit a little late, but still make it nonetheless) and this is what I get from Miss Gymnastics on the phone:

"Well....because it's the first couple of weeks we really can't switch the kids around, but she can make the classes up in October if you can't make it." 

Really?!!! Is my 4 year old daughter who can hardly do a somersault really going to mess things up that much if she joins the other 4 year olds who can hardly do somersaults in the 5:30 class for 2 weeks. Really?! I mean what if I decided to just be really annoying and call her back and simply switch her to the 5:30 class and then arbitrarily call back in October and decide that 6:40 is going to work better for us after all... I'm not going to do that, but seriously I'm feeling a little annoyed and part of me wants to. 

Help a momma out here...this should not be a big deal. 

And then!

I've been loosely training for another 1/2 marathon in October...I realized this morning that I thought I had a chiropractor appointment at 5:30, which is o.k., except that Scott has band practice at 6:30 and I really wanted to get a run in. So I called this morning to see if I could reschedule. I mean, this lady books like 6 clients an hour, I'm sure my one little 10 minute slot at 5:30 is not going to mess things up that much...and the likelihood is that someone will call today and want to get in...right? 

Apparently, not so much...this is how that conversation went. 

"Well, um, we could switch you to next week, but then we have to charge you a $25 cancellation fee for today's visit..."

Really lady. You're going to throw that at me, even though it's 10 a.m. and you'll probably fill the spot? "Really? I'm sorry about the situation, but my husband and I were just looking at our schedules and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to make it." 

"Yes, I'm sorry, but there is a cancellation fee...."

I'm very annoyed in my head, but I say something nice like, "O.k. I'll try to be there." 

But seriously, I'm thinking, Lady, you know I have two small children and that I'm the primary care taker until my husband gets home. Some days a chiropractor appointment is NOT at the top of my priority list...especially when he has to go out again at night, do you really not understand that? It's not always easy to know the day before what's going to be happening the next day...Help a Momma Out! 

So anyway, not super big deals in the grand scheme of things, but isn't it just the way that these little random details can infiltrate our days, our to-do lists and our lives sometimes and wouldn't it just be nice if people tried to make things easier....especially when the things should not be a big deal on their end either. 

I can tend to take these things personally. By the time I got off the phone with the chiropractor I was on the verge of tears right here in Panera.

Not because either situation is that big of a deal, but because in the bigger picture of motherhood, it's gosh darned hard to keep your schedule straight sometimes, to get everyone to the places they need/want to be, to fit it all in...You feel like you're trying to do your own somersault's and cartwheels and back handsprings just to keep everything on time and in order. 

Maybe the lesson is to stop scheduling so much...

Maybe the lesson is to be more and more adamant about staying on top of my calendar...

Maybe the lesson is simply that sometimes people don't care if you're a mom, they're not going to be flexible and so I need to learn to be emotionally flexible in those moments....

Deep breath...move forward...

Thanks for listening! 

Sunday, September 11

The Things We Didn't Know

Haha...I have to start this post out with a little chuckle because what I'm about to say kind of makes me laugh...partially because it seems so obvious and mundane, partially because we've all "been there" and partially because I have come SO far and grown SO much in the last four years...

...nutty as they've been.

I had one of those moments earlier today when I was remembering what it was like to not be a parent-- to be young, married, childless and in the midst of young children who are not yours.

Kind of crazy, overwhelming, and irritating...quite frankly...depending on the kids.

Those moments always kind of made me raise my eyebrows, drink a little more coffee (or wine, depending on the moment and situation) and serve as a reminder to enjoy my "free" time just a little bit more...

Alright, that last one is not completely true...because you never, ever, truly understand how much kids change your lives enough to change the way you live before you have kids. You simply:

A) just try to avoid kid ridden situations more ardently for a while and,
B) allow those moments to serve as a really good dose of birth control for a while.

Now that I'm on the other side I just kind of laugh at moments like this morning...the moments that prompted this blog entry about being childless in the midst of many small children.

We just returned from a short family "vacation".  Participants in this "vacation" included Scott, myself and our girls, my sister, her husband and her two boys, my parents, my brother and his wife (who are expecting), and then, just for the last night my other brother and his girlfriend. We all stayed in one house together. It was a large house, but was still one roof.

I keep putting the word "vacation" in quotes, because, I really need to explain...perhaps I should link you back to the last "vacation" Scott and I took with the girls to Erie, PA just two short months ago.

This pretty much had the same feel.

Fun to see new places and new things, but not really relaxing...except maybe for brief, brief moments...and vicariously through my brother and his wife who read books, played games, and drank coffee sans children in the midst of the chaos.

Here is what this morning looked like (and, for the most part, all 9 mealtimes over the last four days)...Scott was making omlettes in the kitchen while everyone attemtpted to sit around a 12 foot, solid wood dining table on long benches while simultuaneously feeding our children and putting out the "fires" that kept errupting. There were four kids...this morning, for example...

our vacation dining room

1. Ava (4) had already finished breakfast and was tapping people (like my brother's 20 year old girlfriend) on the shoulder with one of those stick ponies (with the soft heads and the long poles) that you pretend to ride on to say "hello".
2. Noah (3) had just finished going to the bathroom, and came running into the dining area, pants and undies around his ankles proclaiming that he needed to be wiped.
3. Ella (2) was being tattled on for hitting, scratching and otherwise just being plain crabby and mean to all other kids for most of the weekend.
4. Landon (1& 1/2) was attempting to run away from Ella, get someone to play with him and and opening and closing doors as he hobbled around simultaneously trying to keep up with the other kids and stay away from Ella...and sometimes Ava who liked to try to pick him up under his arms as if he were some sort of life sized doll and carry him around the cabin.

This was all before my brother's lovely 20 year old girlfriend got up to go to the bathroom herself and us parents, all being happy our children had left us alone long enough to eat finally heard Ava and Noah tapping and yelling at the bathroom door..."Kaylee, Kaylee...what are you doing in there? Let us in!"

We finally hollered from the other room that they should leave her alone.

My brother (who is expecting with his wife) filled my younger brother and his girlfriend in at the dinner table that these sorts of things happen roughly "every 12 minutes" or so...

...and he wasn't joking.

Aaron...the young, unmarried brother, admitted that it was all a little overwhelming this the nicest way of course...

"I don't know how you guys do it," he added with wide eyes and a grin.

And Cliff and Dani, the expectant parents said they were taking notes.

I laughed a little to myself because I know that many of those "notes" might as well have just been left for trash in that very cabin.

I wrote some of those notes myself...

Like the time I went out to dinner with friends, while I was pregnant with Ava, and was thinking about how chaotic the table was...and wondering why their kids weren't sitting in their chairs, eating their food, or generally just being peaceful and enjoying their meal...

my kids will be different is of course what I thought.

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

did you hear that laughter wherever you are?!

Oh, the things we didn't know.

I suppose I wouldn't have it any other way...perhaps because I don't think there really is another's just all part of serving your time as the parents of toddlers and young children.

At least the kids want to be in the same room as what will seem like just a few years I imagine we'll be dealing with protests about how much time they actually want to spend with us.

To my brothers and their women...It's not that bad. I swear.

...Or, perhaps you just get used to it.

three of the four "trouble" makers

Saturday, September 3

Big Dreams, Small Tasks

Earlier this week I found out that a friend, of a friend, of a friend (basically someone I've met before, but don't really know), published her first book.


Yup, that's what I thought to myself. Literally. Grrrrrrrrr.

It was the very same day that I had drawn the world's longest and largest, hop scotch board that started in front of our next door neighbor's house and made it all the way up our driveway.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself. The smile on my daughter's face and the delight she had shown as we drew the hop scotch board together were a much welcomed change of attitude from the sometimes moody, contentious, four-year old she could be lately....especially when her little sister gets in her way (or after she eggs her little sister to get in her way, and then pounces on her for being there).

I was pretty proud of myself until I found out that that friend of a friend of a friend published her book that is. Then I got kind of peevish, introspective, and started questioning my own worth, goals, and successes on a day to day basis.

Now, perhaps you don't go Grrrrrrrr when you hear that someone has published a could probably care less, but perhaps you go Grrrrrrrr when someone you know gets new furniture, the very style and color and type of furniture that you had been eyeing for centuries, and trying to save responsibly for and then they just go out and get it.


Or perhaps, someone's kid is walking before yours, talking before yours, or adding and subtracting complex numbers by the age of 3 1/2.....Grrrrrrrr. 

Or someone you know gets a really fancy new car...shiny....bright....leather seats....not as "momish" as they car you're driving....Grrrrrrrr.

How about the mom that shows up at the pool with her three kids in ....gasp....a BIKINI!!!!

Grrrrrr.....Grrrrrrr......double and triple Grrrrrrrr to that!

See, I like to pride myself in not being super materialistic. I drive a pretty old car, and I'm o.k. with hand me down furniture. I like to go shopping, but am not enamored with name brands....I just like to find a good deal. Juicy? What's that? A new fruit shake? A brand of gum?

But you go and publish a book on me...with three kids under your belt....and I just melt with....


Alright....there it is. We all have a vice, right?

I'm not super materialistic, but I have a bent towards jealousy. For me it's the book/publishing thing....for other mom's I know it's the stage their kid is in, or the school they're going to, or the types of clothing they're wearing.

At the end of the day...God has been telling me a few things...

No, unfortunately for my jealous self he's not saying, Lisa, jealousy is a good thing. It's what keeps you going, keeps you motivated, helps you to get your own goals accomplished.

Nope. That would be our culture's take on jealousy.

God is saying....with raised eyebrows...."Lisa...."' I can hear his booming a mother yelling to her children hiding in an upstairs bathroom playing with water. She knows exactly what they are up to even though they think she does not.

"Are you her?"


"Are those the plans I have for you?"

Apparently not (sarcastically, until I feel guilty)....ok...Not right now anyway.

And, not to get all strange and start comparing God to a woman...but I can literally see him, like a well-intentioned mother, with his hands on his hips, his eyebrows raised, saying more to me in that the silence, than even needs to be conveyed with words.

He's also been telling me, showing me, that jealousy is a joy stealer. You're feeling all good and content that you engaged well with your daughter, or made a good meal for your kids, or you're feeling completely o.k. with your crappy old car, and then wham...

...the little weed of jealousy sprouts up over the beautiful little flower you had been admiring and you find your joy the ugliness of jealousy.

And so...I resolve myself to go on and be content with where I am. Blogging. Journaling. The occasional freelance piece here and there. I jot ideas down for books and essays and stories...all in tattered notebooks and post it notes and random scraps of paper and then I go on my way.

I draw another hop scotch board. I color another picture with my daughter at the kitchen table. I complete the tasks set before me.

And I live...with big dreams....while I complete my small tasks.

And each day I resolve myself to trust, again and again and again. I resolve and I trust, over and over, day by day....that God knows exactly what He's doing with me.