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Who but You...

I curled up in my favorite chair just after five in the morning.  I had awakened by Joel’s cry and rushed upstairs to give him a drink of water and then instead of going back to bed for maybe another hour, I went ahead and stayed awake.  Fixed the coffee.  Pulled out the Bible and the devotionals that don’t see enough of my attention.  There.  I said it.

I settled in, got comfy, with the familiar story of Noah.  Big ark.  Lots of animals and everything that creepeth and crawleth.  Rain, rain, more rain.  Dove.  Rainbow.  New world (for a little while, until we messy humans made it a trainwreck, again.)  I have a toddler.  I am completely familiar with the two-by-two-ness and we even have a Mrs. Noah for our toy ark.  Got this one covered in the memory-bank, Lord.  Thanks.  Give me a bigger challenge.  I know it’s early, but my brain can handle it.  

I love when we are taken by surprise with what’s so familiar.

Me and probably everyone else knows it rained for forty days and forty nights.…

Before you at this altar...

I watch him for the longest time.

He’s on the floor, his camo-panted legs in the air.  Before he starts tugging on the toes of the socks, I watch his clasped hands, just in front of his face.  And he stares.  He’s so still, just watching his own chubby hands.  He releases them, sets them each free, and they open and close.  He pries at a thumb.  

He’s mesmerized with... himself.  With the sheer beauty and intricacies of his own hands.  The way his knuckles bend.  How he can swing his foot up to his mouth.  And I watch him in all of his sweet, babyness and wonder... when did I stop seeing myself like that... as... a creation?

Not just someone who is here or who serves or who does this job or that job of volunteers in this space... but real, alive, flesh, bone, marrow... creation.  Intended, purposed, special and loved all because the hands that hung the moon and hinged the stars... He saw me before I was formed, loved me proud and knowing all the ways I’d misstep and fall, badly... He kni…

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Tonight as I showered, and ran the soap through my hair, I was reminded of that one episode in Grey's Anatomy.
It’s that one where Meredith is covered in the remains of a member of the bomb squad following a homemade piece exploding and Cristina and Izzy, all three in scrubs, pull Meredith into the hospital shower and wash her hair and rinse the blood from her face.  Meredith seems hollowed out, empty, unable to cope with what just happened (and who could?!) and her friends - her sisters in the truest sense - gather around and they don’t talk.  They just offer love and clean water, as their hands aim to push away what covers their friend - they rinse away the shock and the pain and, well, the plain blood.

I am blessed with some of the best friends a girl could ever have.  They are the ones who climb into my second-story apartment when I locked myself out.  They are the ones who never forget that we love the same ice cream or my favorite little things.  They are the ones who have pr…

And I know He's watching me...

I break half of a fresh snickerdoodle and hand it to him.  He nibbles carefully and looks up at me; in love.  "Mmm... warm!"

I point for him to go sit on the bottom step, that way the crumbs are isolated, and he plops down, swinging legs and seeming to munch thoughtfully on this unexpected treat.  Travis fusses from the blanket where he's surrounded by toys and I look up and over the kitchen counter and say, "Just a minute, bud.  Momma will get you some beans!"

Huh?

One gets a cookie coated in cinnamon and sugar... the other... pureed green beans?

Hardly seems fair.

And iTunes is playing me a version of, “His Eye is On the Sparrow” and I think how He gives what we need, over and over.  And how it’s always good until we compare.  Until we really look at the plate before us and go, “Wait a second... why have I been eating meat and potatoes?” We glance at the plates before someone else and our heart pounds, “Where’s my chocolate cake?  Where’s my apple pie?  I want don…

They want proof of all these mysteries I claim...

I had barely stepped into the room, little brother in my arms, when Joel looks up from his animals and barn, crossed his arms defiantly and said, “No, baby Travis!  MY living room!”

My eyes widened and I readjusted the baby on my hip.

“... ‘Your’ living room?  This isn’t your room!... Do you own this house?”

My two and a half year old stares blankly at my face.

“This is not your room.  Who owns this house?  Daddy owns this house!  And Daddy gives you all these nice things...”

I felt my throat closing in on itself.

It’s... it’s not mine, is it?  I mean... none of it.  Literally, nothing.  No... thing.

And all this we have... the computer to play with, the cell phone to keep in touch, the cute clothes to feel, well, cute.  The new shoes, the clean sheets, the milk in the bottle, the creamer for tomorrow’s wake-up, even my (ha, “my”) brand new Yankee Candle.  The wedding ring I wear, the husband I build a life with, the boys I grew inside my own body and birthed to life with my own effort, deep…

Make a plan to get ahead...

He says it while I roll cookie dough between my hands.

"Mommy!  The dragon... laughs!"  

He's playing make-believe with his Fisher Price Little People and in his mind there's a big dragon, probably like the one he saw advertised on Disney Junior last night before bed.  I smile and encourage the play and say, "Oh, no!  He's laughing at them!  They better go hide!" and he courageously stashes them beneath the ottoman that matches the chair in the corner.  I rotate dough into cinnamon and sugar and coat evenly, completely.  Smiling at him and the little brother playing and drooling nearby.

And I think in that moment of pure happy... how the dragon, that Satan... how he must laugh when it all falls down.  He doesn't need to roar to scare us.  He doesn't need to shock us.  He doesn't need to tear us apart with vicious teeth and razored claws.  He only has to laugh... to mock... to criticize the joy, the peace, question the security that we have se…

There's a place I've been looking for...

The day dawns (can you say it dawns when it's still black pitch outside?) early.  Too early.  The boys shared a room - their ultimate destination - and the night before last was the second time we've made the attempt.  The first was remarkably good (with the baby sleeping until like 4 a.m. and not waking Big Brother when he did wake) and I had high hopes for the next go 'round, but told myself to be realistic.

The good thing?  Travis trucked on through and slept until 4:30 a.m. before wanting to be up to eat (he's a champion!)  The bad?  Joel, however, was restless and awake it seemed all - night - long.  At 3:30 a.m. he was absently (annoyingly) tapping his yellow pacifier against the rails of his crib.  Why?!  A question you shouldn't even bother asking a two year old sometimes.

While the baby slept great (7 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.) he wasn't too keen on the idea of going back down at 5 a.m.  But Momma wasn't too keen on the idea of getting up just then.  Norm…

The rains came down and the floods came up...

We all want a Pinterest life.

And I hate even saying "Pinterest" because it's an overused example these days for "striving for the pretty life", when in fact it can prove to be quite useful.  But as with everything, you need boundaries and self-control and time management.  All those fun things that being an adult bring.  Things like responsibility and doing your job before having fun.

The bottom line, though, is that Pinterest is all the lovely things you want and desire, all in one place.  My Type A, super in-love with the idea of organizing everything down to color-coordinating my closet, thrills.  It was love at first "pin".  I've been loyal ever since.

We all want to show the pretty.  We immediately tag pictures on Facebook where we look good and even faster untag photos that are less than flattering.  I do it.  You do it.  Your best friend does it.  We all want to be seen at our best, especially online.  Wait.  No, in person.  We definitely…

Singing blessing...

I love having kids.  One reason why?  It means I'm constantly learning.  I thought I would be always teaching but I find I'm the student (and sometimes aptly the child) more and more.  For instance, one thing that I am learning over and over again is waiting.  Waiting and putting off everything I want or need to do because someone very small always, always comes first.  And they have to come first.  I've heard it said to never pray for patience.  Wrong.  If you never want to learn patience, don't have kids.  Just a head's up.  Pretty sure I'm going to be learning patience for the rest of my life now.

My boys teach me beautiful, Biblical truths.  They don't even know it.

Yesterday I walked into the living room and Joel launched into an immediate first confession: "Sorry, Mommy!"  I took in his sad countenance and how he was all slunched (my new word: a combination of "hunched" and "slouched") against the end table next to the co…