Monday, December 16, 2013

When the Children Rise Up and Call You...

For those who have never heard it, there's a verse that says "Her children will rise up and call her blessed". It's supposed to be the ultimate goal of a mom but... what if the Children rise up and call her on her crap? Then what's a mom to do?

I have four children.  I am a stay at home mom who has home schooled them nearly all their lives.  Five years ago, we moved to a log cabin in the boondocks. I think it's safe to say... we've met.  It is a strange thing when my kids confront me with things I am struggling with as a person.  As they have grown I have strived to teach them the finer skills of reading people and situations.  They have learned well, and that is usually a favorite quality to me... until they use it on me.

 My oldest son is half past 17.  He is the age I was when I married his father.  He is still immature at times (particularly when holding a controller or air soft gun) but he can turn into an adult at the most inopportune moments.  Like, when I am behaving like a child.  My daughter is nearly 16 and she too is a changeling.  I have always said that I am raising adults, not children, and have always known that I would reap what I have sown in them.  It is harder though, as they see things in me I don't want to see myself.  I have myself to blame when they call me on it too, as I have taught them to call a "spade a spade", "better a wound from a friends then a kind word from an enemy" and that you "can't fix what you don't know is broken".  Nearly gone are my little students, and in their place are some of my favorite people. They challenge me, encourage me, watch me and listen to me. They are insightful, driven, creative, caring and increasingly... right.  I see somethings in them that are hard to see too.  I see that there are, at times, a sharp edge to the words they choose.  I see that they will occasionally say things with little tact or love in the name of truth telling, and I know where they learned that too.

This parenting thing is complicated.  I am growing up with my kids and boy do we have a lot to learn. I'm glad the youngest one is still only 7.  I can handle being the mature one in at least that relationship.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Scales Fell From My Eyes and I Saw... Shabbat

Shabbat candles lit just before sunset...
  I think it is a beautifulreminder.
 One is to "remember why" and the other
 to "keep it Holy".
A few months ago I began to fervently pray that God would show me things I was doing that he wasn't pleased with.  Over and over again he has gently brought this up with me, until I could no longer ignore it and had to do some homework.  What I learned, when I really looked, changed me.  The fourth commandment of the ten, states that God blessed the seventh day and made it Holy.  He commanded that we, our children, our servants and even the aliens living among us, do no work on that day. That pretty much covered everybody.  I never really saw that he specifically said the seventh day before.  That was, is and will always be Saturday.

Then...I was reading in Nehemiah when they were rebuilding Jerusalem.  Nehemiah would not let the market sellers in to sell anything on the Sabbath.  He made them lock the gates.  He didn't even want them to stay outside the gates, so they could come in as soon as possible. Those merchants were not God's people and yet they were not allowed to sell  or set up shop on the Sabbath.  So much for paying people who are not choosing to follow the commandments to work for me on the day of rest. This is something that bothered me every time I read or taught about the ten commandments but I never did anything about it.

When I began to research what the history of  attending church on Sunday was, my heart received it's answer.   Early Christians began to meet on Sunday to celebrate together because Christ rose on a Sunday.  They did not however give up observing the Sabbath.  They simply chose to meet  together on Sundays as well.  The first Caesar to convert to Christianity is the one who made it law to observe the Sabbath on Sunday rather than Saturday.  It was a man made change.  I believe it was well meaning... but none the less, it was a man's decision.  This was all made even more conflict ridden when later on, another leader forbid people from observing the Sabbath on Sunday.  Insert the "you want what you are told you can't have" syndrome and we find ourselves in modern day.

Here is what I know.  God does not change.  He rewards those who love his law and keep it with their whole heart.  It was important enough to him to create the Sabbath, to make a commandment to keep it in this manner, and to give examples through his own son about it. Jesus showed us that we were not to legalize it to death but he never defiled it.  Rather, He said that it was for our benefit. I believe the Word of God is true and so... I will do my best to honor the commandment as he wrote it.   As a family we looked at the scriptures and were all in agreement that it was the right thing for us to do.  Not being Jewish, we will not try to follow the laws and restrictions of the Sabbath in the way they do, but we will adhere to the Biblical description and instruction.  Once the decision was made, I cannot tell you the weight that was lifted off my heart.  Suddenly I could see so clearly the beauty of his design.  We will have a day to meet with other Christians and then work together to plan for the coming week.  We can clean the house and do the chores as a family, making very quick, light work, of a job that is long and hard for me alone.  We will have Monday through Friday to focus on work, school and activities. Then, with the setting of the sun on Friday, we will be free to relax, sleep in on Saturday, play together as a family or with friends, without any pressure, as we are not participating in commerce or working.  God knew we would need a break.  A real break.  Not a break between one thing and the next... a real day of rest.  I am humbled that he planned all this for me and I have never bothered to accept it.

Part of me wants to say "I know this isn't for everybody" and part of me wants to jump up and down waving my arms and cry out to you "God wants this for everybody!!!".  It's strange how after years of thinking it didn't matter what day it was, as long as you took one day not to work, (or tried to... or meant to... but didn't really) that now the scales are off my eyes and I see so clearly.  It is right there next to thou shall not murder, steal, lie or have any other gods.  It's there in black and white but I didn't see it.  Maybe I didn't want to. Somehow I convinced myself that only nine of the commandments were still important (goodness knows I wouldn't toss aside any of the others so blithely).  I am following Jesus.  I know this is something he did and I will do it too.  I love God's law.  I know the difference between loving it and being put back under it and this is not that.  I feel such a peace and excitement about it. Maybe I'm crazy... or maybe I'm on to something. Shabbat Shalom y'all!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"The Year of the Husband"

(Yes, that's really my handwritting... LOL)
It's fall.  I am a wife and mother and so, that small sentence is loaded for bear with expectation of all that is to come.  Over the summer (the long, painful, weary, difficult summer) I have let go of some of my regular responsibilities and there are gaping wholes in my calendar for the coming months.  I have been asked by many friends and fellow soldiers "What are you going to do this year?".  I was asked that question so many times by so many people in fact, that I was taken aback.  This is a very revealing question.  You see, I realized that for all the years of my life I have dedicated my "year" to something.  When I was younger, it was school or extra curricular activities around school.  For the 18 years I have been married it has been pregnancy, MOPS, homeschooling, AWANA... the list goes on, and on, and on, but there is one place it has never gone... my husband.  For the record, it showed.

In case you don't know me, or just don't know me well, the last couple years have been the hardest in our married life.  We have struggled, staggered and stumbled our way through them and we have the emotional bumps and bruises to prove it.  Over this summer we found ourselves face to face with a decision.  We literally asked each other if we wanted to be together anymore.  We knew we wanted to be parents and we knew we didn't want to change anything in the past but... did we want to go forward together any longer?  It was a place I never dreamed we would be.  It hurt to get there and it was so humbling to not know how the other person would answer.  There are not words to describe the freedom and joy that comes, when after 18 years, we both said yes.  Not "I would choose you all over again" but "I choose you".  We both agreed that we had no desire to get back to where we were.  We don't want back the relationship we had, we want something better.  We are starting over.

I am blessed to have all kinds of friends in my life.  One of my "thinker" friends (we make each other think differently about things pretty much every time we broach a subject) were talking about what I should or could focus on this year and we came up with an answer, that for different reasons, was perfectly timed for both of us.  This is the "Year of the Husband" (for the record my husband LOVED this title).  For the next year I am dedicating my time and energy to my husband the way I have for so many other people and organizations in the years past.  Being a type A planner I, of course, made a list/contract for myself.  It is already changing my life.  It is changing me.  I would never have asked for things to go the way they did the last few years but it has brought something so good... that I can say I am grateful.

I think one of the biggest things that I realized as I began this, is that I have been quietly telling myself "I could do this alone" for years. To be truly honest, "I could do this better alone".  I think some of it is our generation and having to have a "back up plan" drilled into us at every turn and some is just plain pride.  I have seen enough of my friends get divorced or be single parents, that I can honestly say I could no doubt do it alone.  The thing I needed to realize is it would not be better or easier and... I don't want to.  I am not going to whisper that to myself any more. Instead I will say in my heart, I am in this with my husband and I am so grateful that I do not have to do this alone.  

On the off chance you are interested in my little arrangement with myself, here it is...

I am committing this next twelve months to my husband.  For the next 365 days I commit to the following;

1. Pray for my husband everyday

2. Do one purposeful thing each week just for him

3. Plan 2 dates per month where we can be alone

4. Check in with an accountability partner once a week to keep on track

5. Journal my experience for posterity

and I have... and I am... and I am excited to see what a difference a year can make if you use it purposefully.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Disillusion Of Marriage; A Must Do

Every married couple faces a disillusion of marriage.  Go Ahead and read that again... yes, I said disillusion, not dissolution (scarred a few of you there perhaps).  Some call it the "honeymoon phase".  When we marry, we are generally deeply involved in a skillful illusion.  You hear people speak of "soul mates" and "the one" in soft lilting (always complimentary) tones as we begin to walk, hand in hand, down life's highway. 

Then one day it happens.  Like a dedicated groupie watching their favorite magician performing that trick that made them famous, you sit in the front row in awe. Then the unthinkable happens and they miss by just a hair and suddenly, for you, all the magic is gone and the trick is revealed.  This once enrapturing, unexplainable experience has been reduced to smoke and mirrors.  This amazing magician is just a man. If you have ever been a fan of magic or illusion shows you know that if you are around them long enough, this moment comes.  In fact, most of the time when it does it is  because the magician trusts you enough to show you his secrets.  When it comes, it comes with choices.

For some people, once they learn what's behind the scenes, it looses all it's appeal. They have a "been there, done that, got the t-shirt" attitude.  Others will find that they are still impressed with the dedication and work it takes to create the illusion and although it doesn't impress them the same way, they still enjoy it.  Some are so disillusioned that they run around ruining the show for everyone they can.  They pull rugs, yank sheets, break mirrors and whisper in children's ears "You know how they do that right?".  Loudly demanding their money back and simultaneously making many people, waiting to buy tickets, have second thoughts about going to the show at all.

There are a small few who will respond in awe.  Having the curtain pulled back increases their interest and intrigue.  Seeing how just a man with a few tricks up his sleeve can use such simple things to do something so big and exciting is impressive.  Knowing that you have earned enough trust for them to tell you their secrets and know you will keep them, builds the relationship.  From those, come fewer still, who will work right along side them and find the secret to success and smooth transitions... together.  They will work so closely that words are no longer even necessary.  A simple touch or meeting of the eyes will tell all.  They are the lifelong partners.  The ones who know all each others tricks.  They know if they have a box, some string, perhaps a table clothe and each other... they can pull off things that will amaze and astound you. 

Disillusion of marriage does sometimes lead to dissolution of marriage but it doesn't have to.  I want to share a stage with my husband for a lifetime.  Sure, I know "how it's all done" and I have seen some of these tricks a few times, but then I look at the audience.  I see the delight on our children's faces when we do something as a team and the young couples just walking in who are watching every move hoping to be able to do what we do someday and the older generation enjoying the entertainment of it all and I remember, I'm his partner.  Our marriage is not a show but it is not just for us either.  It is a working example and a very good source entertainment for all if you do it right.  Every time we work together we are something to behold.

*p.s. This was an analogy and no, I will not be dressing up like a Vegas magicians assistant... well not on stage anyway

Friday, August 23, 2013

When Do You "Owe" Someone An Apology?

I am a mother.  Therefore, believe me when I say, I have said "You owe your sister/brother/me and apology" a time or 7. Having not been raised by wolves, I have also had this said to me.  This last week I was presented with the question in a new way.  I watched as someone gave an apology upon request and it stuck in my craw like movie popcorn.  From that moment I have had this question spinning around in my little brain like a tornado;  "When do you "owe" someone an apology?"  Here is what I came up with (With a little help from my kids... who were sat down and forced to answer this in their own words. It might have felt a little like an interrogation to some, but they are so used to me, it didn't even phase them).

You don't.  An apology is a process regulated by moral compass and belief systems.  The only way to "owe" someone anything really, is to feel in your heart and mind that you have acted immorally or against your personal belief system if you do not give it to them (credit to my 17yr. old on that one).

Now if we assume that you have a strong moral compass and belief system (which does improve ones chances of not being in prison so I highly recommend it), then we can approach the question again.  I believe that you can indeed "owe" someone an apology.  I think that when you have upset, hurt, or emotionally wounded them by your poor behavior or attitude, that you do indeed, "owe" them one. As my 11yr old put it, "When you hurt someone because you are hurting, not because of anything they did". There are times when  people (especially young children) do not want to apologize and may not even mean it when they do, but we hold them accountable because they are still learning to respect others.  Most apologies (in my opinion) come from words we say or actions caused because we are tired, angry, frustrated and or just grumpy.  They are out of character for us and so, we say we are sorry for not treating people the way we have promised to treat them.

When do you NOT "owe" someone an apology?  This is where I think I got some proverbial popcorn stuck in my teeth.  When we say something that upsets, hurts or offends their self image or ego because your opinion is different then theirs and they feel you being right makes them look... wrong.  Perhaps you  hit a soft spot they're not ready to face yet. When you said what you meant and meant what you said to be heard not swept under the carpet. There is a difference between saying something catty to hurt someone purposefully and saying something honest that stings because there is truth in it, and well... sometimes the truth hurts.

It all really comes down to this;  Perhaps you can "owe" someone an apology, but an apology itself must be given.  It's a gift.  Like with all other gifts, it means very little unless it is given and accepted freely.  If you have to press someone to "give" an apology by telling them you think it's "owed", be very sure that it is really about helping them stay in their character and uphold the standard they want to  have for how they treat others (everyone needs a little constructive criticism from time to time folks) and NOT smoothing ruffled feathers because someone didn't agree with someone with more pride, power or, heaven forbid, both.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Friendship; Revised.

     For those that have known me awhile, you may know that I have a little experience talking about friendship.  I am an expert at getting it wrong and therefore, am uniquely qualified to help others, simply by avoiding my many missteps (I'll take self deprecating humor as a defense mechanism for $200 Chuck).  Tonight I got a bit of a schooling from my daughter... about how far I have come.  My son had surgery yesterday and my birthday was just one week ago.  In the last month I have received an unbelievable amount of love, generous gifts and affection.  Over and over again I have been humbled and spoiled by people who owe me nothing.  Some of them I feel that I, in fact, owe deeply.  I was talking to my daughter about how difficult it is for me to accept these gifts with grace.  Everything in me wants to say that I cannot accept them.  There is a fear of being indebted but even more than that, of just feeling unworthy and like a charity case.  My pride jumps to my throat and chokes me.  I want to say I do not need any of these things and yet each one has been like a balm to my heart and soul.  They have watered a dry and weary land.  I was somewhat lamenting about this to my daughter (a very frightening rear view image of me in so many ways) and she stopped me cold.
     "Mom, this is what comes of reaping what  you sow" she said.  "What?" I nervously asked (that phrase has been a negative one most of my life).  "Mom, you have told me so many times that friendship must be nurtured and fed.  You only get the relationship that you build.  You teach others how to treat you by the way you treat them.  Isn't this just a reflection of the loyalty, love and affection that you give to them?  Aren't they just responding to the love they feel from you toward them?"  Um...
     I can honestly say that each and every one of the people who have gone out of their way for me in the last month are people that my heart loves.  I would never think twice about doing everything in my power to be there in their time of need to love, spoil and show affection.  Yet I do not feel as though I am worthy of the same at all.  As I type that, I cannot help but see my daughter's point. I know (to my core) how wonderful it feels to have people to love and yet it is so hard for me to allow people to love me.
       We are called to love everyone and to put others before ourselves but friendship is something else.  Friendship is indeed a ship. It is a journey that two people choose to take together.  It is a choice.  It requires two people deciding (for their own separate reasons) to protect, defend, encourage, hear and support each other through the good, bad and ugly.  Like a ship it must be guided.  It must be steered and maintained.  Like ships, friendship has seasons in which it provides more pleasure (perfect summer days) and seasons in which it is hard work (scraping and repainting the bottom during fall and winter). But one cannot be without the other.  There are friendships that bob gently at the dock where the waters are shallow and safe.  There is a comfortable peace and relaxation to them that can feed your spirit. Then there are some who slice through the calm waters and refresh you with the breeze.  The ones that scare me the most but bring me the most joy, are the ones who sway and rock at the whims of life's open waters.  Although challenging and risky, they are the ones that feed your passion for the wind and waves.  For the record there are also friendships that become like the rocks just under the water that are dangerous and can damage your boat and your life.  Avoid those (oh sure, I could say more but another time perhaps).
     I have come a long way.  I used to see friendship as a permanent bond and I would mourn the loss as though it were a death.  There was a time when I judged my worth by how many friends I had and how long I had them.  Many times I felt as though being friends with certain people held higher value because of how they saw me and how everyone else saw them.  Now I know that friendships are living breathing things.  They grow and change along with us.  Thank you to all the people who have taken precious time, energy and risk to be my friend.  Please know that I do not take you for granted.  I now need to rethink the phrase "reap what you sow" and what positive things it could mean in my life.

Friday, April 5, 2013

What I Miss...

     Some of you might be thinking that at my age there really cannot be that many things that I miss.  Some may even be so bold as to wonder if I truly know what those words mean.  I assure you with a broken heart, that I do.  I write this bravely, knowing that my mother can no longer find her way to this page.  She has always been my biggest fan but Alzheimer's has taken her far away from me most days.  We still talk and I love to just watch her face.  It is so different now.  Every time I am with her I try to memorize her.  I am what my husband likes to call a "sheep in wolves clothing".  For all those fans of the Veronica Mars series I guess I would be a burnt marshmallow.  I have been burned so badly by so many people that I would prefer that is what they see first.  A hard, chard exterior.   I am the girl who bleeds internally because I will never let you see the pain I am really in.  The life of the party that cries herself to sleep. 
     I miss being young.  I look in the mirror and I am a bit surprised each time.  I keep expecting to see the girl that could be and do anything.  I miss the way I used to be able to talk to my mom.  Really talk to my mom.  Don't get me wrong, she never really understood me, it's just that she never got bored of hearing what I had to say.  She thought I was one of the five (she had five children) most interesting people in this world.  I miss that.  I miss education, music, writing, art, dreaming and all the things that we took for granted that we had an hour for each day in our youth.
     I  miss how I believed that everything would be alright in the end.  I am a born again Christian.  I know how the story ends and so I know that indeed, in the end, all will be set right... but that is not what I mean in this context.  Life is so hard.  Bad things happen to good people.  Saved or not, we must suffer the consequences of our choices in life.  I am surrounded right now with people I love that are living that out.  I miss the confidence that I had in myself when I thought I was invincible.  I miss feeling like I knew it all because now... I don't feel like I understand anything.  In my very first blog post I said this would be my diary to the world and I suppose that tonight, I am proving I meant it. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Who Gets Three Anniversaries a Year?... I Do

One of my many claims to fame is that I was married twice before I was 18.  Of course if you know the rest of the story, it was to the same man.  That gives me two legitimate wedding anniversaries a year.  Today however is our third anniversary.  It is the anniversary of the day Ben came home from Europe and the day that we officially knew that we were going to be married (sooner than later as it turned out).  You see, Ben's family wasn't very excited about our engagement.  By that I mean that they sent him to Europe for 6 months hoping that our less than 3 month old relationship wouldn't make it.  The odds were certainly in their favor but alas... it stuck.  He ended up coming home early (but not before skiing the Alps and staying in a lovely chalet in Switzerland for 3 weeks, cause he's not stupid).  He changed his ticket without consulting his parents (again, not as endearing as one might hope) and flew home three months early.  They were so happy to see him that they told him if he continued to date me, he would have to live somewhere else.  He asked my father if he could live with us until graduation and of course my father refused.  Having a boy live with his unmarried daughter under his roof was not an option.  He did however offer us a compromise.  He would drive us to Idaho (I was 17 and so he would need to sign the papers) where there was no waiting period and get us married.  So, Ben went home for 10 days. We skipped school on Friday, March 31 and returned on Monday morning to school... married.

     Our story is a wild one. This is only a wee glimpse.  We were supposed to be a cautionary tale but instead we turned into the fairytale.  We have watched far too many marriages fall all around us over the 18 years that we have been married and I thank God everyday that He has held us together.  So there it is.  I have three anniversaries every year!  This anniversary is handy for Ben as it helps him remember the important one is in 10 days.  We try not to bring it up to my father however as for him it is the anniversary of when he got the first phone bill from Ben being in Switzerland (we thought Germany was expensive) and realized that for the same price, I could have gone with him!  Have I mentioned lately how great my dad is... and generous... and forgiving... LOL.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How did I end up in Zimbabwe?

      I have roughly a dozen jobs.  None of them pay in cash money but I work them none the less... and therefore I need (and thankfully have) a good counselor.  About  a year and a half ago I added on another job.  The part that gets ugly is that I didn't want this one.  I really didn't want this one.  Did I mention that I didn't want this particular job? Oh, I did? Good.  The problem with taking on a job that you don't want is that it not only doesn't pay in cash money... it doesn't even pay in the long run.  It does however build resentment, anger, frustration and hurt.  For your average girl that would suck, for a girl with compulsive control issues... it causes relapse.
      I have fought internally over this because the job was a very worthy and necessary one.  There was no one else to do it.  People and children were counting on me.  I felt such guilt that I didn't enjoy it because it was such a wonderful, noble thing to do and it was for the church for goodness sake!  You aren't supposed to resent serving God! What in the world was wrong with me?! Who actually says out loud I don't want to teach the gospel to the children of my community?You know... besides me obviously!
     Although things have been hard for the last 18 months, the last few have been what the laymen might call a breakdown.  In addition to loss of sleep, anxiety, nightmares, marital problems, and lots of crying (which I detest), my need to control some part of my life has resulted in a pretty major struggle for me with my addictions and compulsive behaviors.  For anyone who has had a night of tossing and turning with stressful or frighting dreams, you know that the next day is just... hard.
     I am a dreamer.  I almost always remember my dreams in vivid detail and I rarely have one that I do not understand.  My dreams these past few months have been filled with things like, me being timed to complete a puzzle but when I try to tell them there are pieces missing, they assure me they are all there... so I count them again and they are not and still I must work the task.  Another had me "shopping" through a warehouse with a list and I was not allowed to ask for help to find the 1,000 items and get them checked out before the time ran out.  Are you getting the gist?  I did.  The straw that broke the camels back was me telling someone about my dream from this Tuesday night. I'm gonna guess you can interpret this one too.
      I dreamed there was an earthquake at a large school.  I knew that my youngest son was in a class in the basement.  I kept trying to get to him but the other adults kept telling me that I had to help the other children around me first.  I carried and dragged out as many as I could until my hands were bloodied and I was exhausted.  Word came that they were starting to get the children from my sons class and I was so tired from helping all the other children, I couldn't even stand up to try and go help my own boy.  I woke up sobbing. I'm going to go with... I think I feel like I do not have enough time and energy left for my own family because of all I am doing for everyone else... You think?
     My counselor had this to say: "Amy, I am not a missionary to Zimbabwe.  Does Zimbabwe need missionaries? Yes, I am sure they do but I am not called to be one because I am called to be a mother to my daughter.  If something, even a good and noble thing, is stopping me from doing what I need to do to minister to my own daughter then it is not what I am supposed to be doing. You are called to care for your family.  If this is causing conflict in your marriage (understatement of the year) and stopping you from caring for your own children then you must quit."
    So I am leaving Zimbabwe (not the country... the parallel ministry) because I don't belong here.  I am leaving before I die trying.  I will finish out the year because that is what type A control freaks do even when they are at their flakiest but I will leave.  I quit.  I will still be a wife, mother of four, homeschooling mom, cook, driver, Sunday School teacher, daughter, house cleaner for two homes, book club member, Elk Homemaker, writer and chief boo boo kisser (you know... taking it easy) but I won't be visiting Zimbabwe!

Friday, February 1, 2013

This is How Coffeehouses Get a Reputation...

Oh the joy of being a verbal processor.  For some people, a coffeehouse is just a location to imbibe in a hot beverage with some alternative music selection playing in the background, drowning out the brilliant insight (right along with the not so brilliant), separated only by table space.  For others, it is a land mine of possibilities and a location to forever picture in the minds eye when referencing "the moment" when clarity struck the heart like a branch of white lightning on a moonless night.  Wow, that was pretty poetic... even for me.

I have a weird track record of having things, places and people removed from my sphere of influence and my life with little to no notice.  Living this way makes a person learn to not look back much and try to forever be looking for the new adventurous opportunity.  Sometimes, a person finds something that they really genuinely love and are passionate about.  That thing that makes them feel alive and purposeful. When this thing is removed, they may try to move on (as I have) but find that they cannot ignore something so ingrained in who they are and want to be (as I have).

MOPS.  It stands for Mothers Of  Pre-Schoolers.  I am no longer one.  I served in this ministry for over 10 years of my life.  It has been the source of my greatest joy and my greatest pain.  It wasn't until this week that I really realized that it still holds my heart captive in a way I could or would not have imagined.  I miss it.  I miss it so much.  I look back and see all I learned.  I look ahead and see how much I have to offer.  If it were not for the mentors I had at that age and stage I could never have had the confidence to be the mom I needed to be.  I want desperately to give that to other young moms now.  I want to be a part of them learning to trust themselves and have confidence in what they are doing and how they are doing it.  I feel a desire and call to be a voice of reason and hope in a time when they are bombarded with opinions and information that most times just makes it all harder.  As I spoke to my friend about how I cherished the opportunity to just "be there" for these moms with young ones, I was forced to face the fact that I do know what I am called to do and I am not doing it (not right now).  The number one thing I have to offer is the confidence in yourself, that comes from a seasoned mom (with kids a couple steps ahead) admitting what worked, what didn't and why I think that might be.

Public Service Announcement:  Coffeehouses are dangerous places.  They make you end up telling tales you meant to carry to the grave, admitting mistakes, gazing long into the mirror of the soul to find what you fear, desire and love... to be the same thing.  You have been warned.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

For Auld Lang Syne...

 I think that something got lost in translation.  I had a nice long talk (I really don't do any other kind) with my children on New Years Eve about the meaning of the holiday.  I was stunned to learn that they only knew it as a day to make resolutions and look forward to the new year... WHAT?!  I quickly assured them that it was about neither!  The word resolution is not about making goals.  It is about resolving.  You can only resolve what has already passed.  You can set goals for the future but not resolutions.  New years Eve is about resolving.  The most famous song ever written about New Years Eve is right on the money... only so few actually know the words that it is not surprising there is confusion.  I walked my children through each verse and I think Raven put it best with "Oh gosh, that makes so much more sense and has such a beautiful meaning! I never thought of it that way!".  It occurred to me as I read through so many posts today that maybe my children were not the only ones who didn't get it.  So, here we go... New Years Eve class.

Auld Lang Syne was originally a Scottish Song that was translated over time into many languages and has become a  hallmark for the holiday because it truly embraces what it represents.  Lets take a look at it shall we? 

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne my dear, for auld lang syne
we'll drink a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne

The first thing to clarify is that 'For Auld Lang Syne' means  'For Old Times Sake'.  The second is that the "cup of kindness" is many times represented literally by a cup of liquid but means exactly what it says, a cup of kindness.  An acquaintance is someone you have met.

And surely you’ll buy your cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne

This means that I will pay for what I have done and you will pay for what you have done but we are choosing to wash it away with a cup of kindness and releasing each other for any debt emotionally or physically to one another.

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

We have had our good times and do not denounce what  made us friends.  We have walked through part of life together and we will not forget that.

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till nigh ;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

We have struggled and grown together in our childhood or as grown children but time and circumstances have divided us.  Conflict has divided our hearts in the time that has passed.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

I will give you my hand and you will put yours in mine.  We will choose to wash away the past with kindness for old times sake.

It was meant to be an annual practice to keep our hearts from filling with bitterness and strife.  We have instead taken time each year to practice breaking promises, in the place of practicing resolving conflict and forgiveness. Yet we wonder why we are so much better at one than the other.  This year I beg you.  Please do not practice breaking promises to yourself or to God.  Instead, practice forgiveness and ownership of your mistakes.  I promise you that one will usher in a truly NEW YEAR and the other just a broken heart that may not even be your own.

For all those love birds out there... the tradition of kissing your love on the stroke of midnight is to take love with you into the new year.  It is to pull the one you love into an embrace and kiss them, thereby choosing to bring their love and your love for them with you into the new year while leaving all the past behind.  For the record... not a bad idea to do everyday!