Tuesday, August 16, 2011

some encouraging thoughts (from other people)

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.”
~C. S. Lewis

"A mother…by her planning and industry night and day, by her willfulness of love, by her fidelity, she brings up her children. Do not read to me the campaigns of Caesar and tell me nothing about Napoleon’s wonderful exploits. For I tell you that, as God and the angels look down upon the silent history of that woman’s administration, and upon those men-building processes which went on in her heart and mind through a score of years;—nothing exterior, no outward development of kingdoms, no empire-building, can compare with what mother has done. Nothing can compare in beauty, and wonder, and admirableness, and divinity itself, to the silent work in obscure dwellings of faithful women bringing their children to honor and virtue and piety."
~Henry Ward Beecher

These quotes remind me that it is a high yet humbling calling to be a mother.  I also see that it is a messy one.  Tasks do not go as hoped or planned.  Hiccups and roadblocks will happen.  It is the nature of motherhood (and life).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

vans, vegetables, and vacations

How did these months pass so quickly.  David headed back to school this week and I am reflecting on (as I am prone to do) on the summer past.  It was busy.  Sure, some folks think that because David is a teacher his summers are full of leisure.  We wish.  Not so but it is rather productive (or as productive as we can be with a toddler and an infant).  Our summer involved selling our car to purchase a van (a transaction that amazingly happened on the same day--I thought it would take forever to sell our car from craigslist but I am still getting calls about that car).  Our van, or swagger wagon, has made things easier, esp. in terms of packing up for trips.  Oh the room!  It is fabulous.  We are also enjoying all the storage compartments and power doors. 

Before Judah arrived, I rented a tiller and David tilled a part of our yard for a garden.  We were well advised by the folks at Lakeland Yard and Garden center and have a had a great harvest of tomatoes, cukes, squash, and okra.  We had a great harvest of parsley but caterpillers ate it before I could harvest it.  Bell peppers didn't do as well but there is always next year.  I look forward to it.  It has been a joy to tend. 

We got to go to gulf shores for a little R & R with my parents.  It has been the first time going on  vacation since David was born so although it was fun it was also not a trip to the beach as we remember it.  We've entered into a new stage of life.  We loved being in such a beautiful setting, in a great condo.  David Jr. enjoyed the beach and the pools with his daddy.  David took a course this summer that kept him pretty busy.  He took his required translation exam and passed with flying colors.  That was not a surprise to his wife who sees him work so hard.  I'm proud of my intelligent husband who is passionate about latin and all things related. 

We have been married 5 years now.  What a jam-packed few years it has been.  I'm continually grateful for this relationship the Lord blessed me with.  I don't deserve it but I'm thrilled to have a godly husband and now these two precious children.  More on that later (maybe--if i get around to it).

I never really look forward to David going back to work but here are some things I do look forward to:
-- a regular schedule
--cooler weather
--pecans! from our trees
--delicious apples and all things pumpkin
--a wedding for David's friend
--Judah's baptism
--David's 31st birthday soon after
--mama's bible study starting back up

Happy August!

secret identity

I love being a mom...mostly.  Sure there are weeds to pull up, and the toil (oh the toil) of backbreaking (esp. with my hulking boys) work that comes with parenting.  But as my little tykes sleep (at the same time, like they are now so that I can write you this post) I am filled to the brim with joy, thankfulness, and love.  Can any other occupation be so emotionally complex as parenthood?  One of the major downsides to parenthood for me has been the constant scrutiny I am under for how we choose to parent.  No, this is not a post on why I am justified in choosing my parental methods.  That is another post for another day (and that day may be a long way away).  This is really about my personal response to such scrutiny.  I confess that I like people's approval.  Nay, I LOVE people's approval.  I yearn for it more than I like to admit, even to myself.  Do I know that it is empty?  In my head I do.  I know that people's opinions are like chaff in the wind--it changes direction in a heartbeat, swaying to and fro.  But this is an emotional addiction that probably dates back to before I even started talking. 

So, with the scrutiny comes what I interpret as disapproval and judgement.  With disapproval and judgement comes a drop in confidence and a rise in insecurity.  Apparently, as is becoming more clear to me, I find my identity in others approval.  When others think I'm ok than I feel ok.  This has the potential of turning me into an approval junkie. 

However, the Lord loves to place us just outside our comfort zone.  So in my parenting adventure I have received much input.  Some of that input is uneducated and/or unhelpful.  Yet, I am faced with the knowledge that So-and-so believes me to be a poor parent.  I am faced, therefore, with my idol.  Yet another "golden calf" in my life.  It takes practice for myself to let go of the approval that falsely promises me love and peace.  I want my identity to be found in stronger stuff.  The stuff of Christ.  His approval is all that matters and I receive it freely because I believe Him when He tells me that He loves me (and my family), is shaping me, and will complete that work in me.  God's peace is long-lasting whereas others' approval is so short-lived.  If you don't have God's peace, seek it whole-heartedly.