Thursday, October 19, 2017

Life as a first draft.

Photo by:  Ben white

"Life is a wild and unpredictable first draft." 


I heard this recently in a video we were watching at a moms group that I attend.  I loved it.  It got me thinking about life, especially my life lately.

My life up until now has been somewhat predictable.  I grew up in a small town, finished High School and went on to college and graduate school.  I worked in Youth Ministry for 15 years.  I got married and had two children.

I had achieved pretty much everything I had set out to achieve when I was 18 or so.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy by any means.  I had many struggles and set-backs along the way.  But I got there.  I felt as though I had written a chapter.

And now, here I am at age 38, facing down the empty page.  Staring at it, wondering what it will contain.  In the year since I retired from ministry, I stayed home with my children, taught a class on writing your life story, wrote a curriculum series and became a substitute teacher.  I never thought I'd do any of those things.  But I did.

My life lately is less of a daily, predictable slog of the typewriter.  It's more of a wild ride with an IPad in tow; writing the story as I go.  And isn't that life really?  It's not predictable.  Especially life as a follower of a wild and unpredictable God.  Life is about discerning our mini callings and life callings.  Seeking them and living them out.  Life is trying something, failing and trying something new.

Right now, I couldn't write one of those essays on "Where I will be in Five Years."  I don't know.  I honestly don't.  I'm discerning, creating, living, loving and seeking out my next callings from the Lord.   There's something exciting about that.  There's definitely something to having a plan and sticking to it, but there's also a grand adventure in the daily revelation of God's grace as he leads me.  He's writing that wild first draft and I'm along for the ride.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Cotton candy as big as your head.

I love Fall.  I love the gorgeous warm days, the changing of the leaves, the pumpkins.  I love apple cider, sugar donuts, and an occasional pumpkin spice latte.  Most of all, I love the Fall festivals.  I take my kids to many of them.  For the most part, they are free entertainment and they contain many of my Fall favorites.  My daughter and I attended a well-planned one at a local church. We had a blast.  My daughter enjoyed the pink cotton candy as big as her head. 

Sometimes you just gotta revel.  Life is hard and there are not a whole lot of the mountaintop moments.  Sometimes you need to revel in the small pleasures.  Enjoy that cotton candy.  Carve that pumpkin.  Run that 5K.  Enjoy it and remember that life is all about the little things.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Stars

Photo by Austin Neill
Last night, we were driving home with the kids and it began to get dark.  It's getting earlier these days as Autumn begins its descent.  My two year old is not used to being outside after 5:00 pm, so she was excited about the the darkness that was painting itself upon the sky.  "Nighttime,"  she repeated several times as she stared in wonder out the window of the car. 

I smiled and put my head against the head rest at the end of a busy day.

When we got home, I stood outside with her in the driveway.  I remembered that she has probably never seen the stars before.  One of my absolute favorite things in life is showing my kids something or watching them experience it for the first time.  The. Best. 

I held her little body in my arms and pointed up to the sky.  "Look at those little dots of light," I said.  "Those are stars."  "Stars," she repeated in absolute awe.  I also pointed out the moon.  A reverse "C" shape in the blackness.  Scooping up the stars.

She just stared. 

Later, as we got her PJ's on and began to sing her to sleep, she said, "Stars.  In the SKY!"  She continued to be in awe and wonder at the beauty of our world's creation. 

God reminds us in Psalm 147:4 that he "determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name."  How amazing and wonderful that we have a God who knows.  A God who numbers the billions upon billions of stars in the universe.  A God who knows all of the stars and also knows you.  A star among the billions. 

Look up tonight "In the SKY!"  and remember.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Teach to Learn

"Teach in order to learn."  ~Baba Hari Dass

This week I began my new mini calling as a substitute teacher.  After 15 years as church youth director, I am re-inventing myself and discerning my next calling. My sister suggested substitute teaching.  It's flexible, I can work whatever days I want/can and if my kids are sick, I can stay home.  So, I thought, "Why not?"

I was a bit anxious.  I remember how students treated substitutes when I was a kid.
My friend wrote to me on my first day and said to do this "As if" I was already the best, most strict teacher I could think of.  I loved that advice, although I felt as though I was a doggie-paddler channeling Michael Phelps!  I've never been a lead teacher in a classroom setting (although I've worked with kids and taught Bible lessons for 15 plus years!), so I wasn't sure what to expect after only a half-day orientation.

I'm following the advice of this quote above from an Indian Yogi.  I will teach in order to learn.  On my first day, I taught 24 squirming, fidgety, sweet and eager to learn 1st graders.  They probably taught me more than I taught them.  They were eager to help, to show me the ropes.  They also loved drawing pictures of characters in our book and really wanted to write the letter "E." 

My second day I worked with potentially autistic two year olds.  I loved this as well, but in a different way.  My experience as a mother of a two year old came into play.  My quiet personality fit well with the children who weren't yet able to communicate well through speech. 

I'm scared out of my mind some days, but I also welcome the opportunity to be stretched and grow as a person, teacher and mom as I teach in order to learn.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Grey's Anatomy and my last day on earth.



If I were to write a 4th grade English assignment on how I spent my summer, I'm sure I'd mention the many trips to the water park with my kids.  The trip to Six Flags for my son's sixth birthday.  The four (Yes, four!)  birthday parties for our family.  (We are all born in August, and let me tell you, planning that many parties is exhausting...)   I'd mention the one night spent at the beach with my husband in the midst of flash flooding and the "vacation" to a kiddie amusement park.  I'd also mention the hours and hours of driving my son around to his various Vacation Bible Schools, cooking classes, Lego builds and birthday parties.   It was a lot.

But, I did get a tan, so there's something.

My guilty pleasure of the summer, if you will, was watching Grey's Anatomy for the first time ever (I know...I know!)  I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.  My long-time spiritual director encourages me to do this kind of thing.  So-called guilty pleasures that have nothing to do with my real life.  Something to watch that takes me out of the real world for awhile.  Anyway, I enjoyed it.  I didn't "binge watch" it like normal people do.  The only thing I'm binge watching lately is Thomas the Train.  But, I did watch three seasons over the summer.  George and Meredith and Izzy became my stand-in friends and I wanted to "catch up" with them every evening.  I do get annoyed with Meredith's narcissistic tendencies and the on-call room activities, but it's fun to be in a different world for awhile.

A few Grey's quotes have stuck with me.  Like this one: "If you knew this was your last day on earth, how would you spend it?"  My first thought was, "Wow.  That is so profound."  I wanted to go out and live that life right now.  I wanted to go to Italy and write a book and show my kids the Grand Canyon.  I had my passport in hand, just staring at it.

Then I realized, if it really was my last day on earth, I'd probably spend it just like I am.  I can't shirk all of my responsibilities and go out and live just for me.  I still have to get my son to the bus and my daughter to preschool.  I have to make sure they have hot meals and my husband has clean towels and uniforms.  Does responsibility keep us from living the life we want or is it just part of our lives?  We can still live a life of adventure, creativity and love in the midst of these daily monotonies.

Right?

I'm hoping that's the case.  Because life would be pretty boring if we didn't.

Meanwhile, I'll live the life I'm living and focus on the important things.  Like gearing up for the "This is Us" premiere...

Monday, July 24, 2017

Monday Meditation

Photo by Jared Doyle







"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' 

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

~2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Meditation

Photo by Caleb Jones









"Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August."
~Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty