Preparing.

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It’s the day before Easter. I woke up late this morning, after a middle of the night dialogue with insomnia. Sleeplessness likes to mess with me every once in a while, and I’m not a fan. But for some reason, as I dragged myself out of bed this morning and faced a day of laundry, cat boxes, groceries, and yard work, I felt strangely peaceful and alert.

Tomorrow’s coming, after all.

The kids and I worked in the yard, raking leaves and prepping gardens that I will later plant with hope and spinach and tomatoes. In that order.

We swept off the front porch and took the snow shovels that had been sitting there since January back to the garage. Also, it’s supposed to snow tomorrow, but we are a risky bunch and decided to take our chances.

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And I bought yet even more pansies. Because:IMG_7901.JPG

You can never have too many purple pansies. Never.

And I ironed, which is a twice yearly event, so that’s a big deal. Also there were the tiny boy three-piece suits to prepare:IMG_7897.JPG

Note the clip-on tie. Very important. The nine year old, Blonde, does love his ties. Red, on the other hand, not so much. Last time he wore one he clipped it to the second button on his shirt and just called it good.

Perhaps he’ll start a new fashion trend. He accessorized this with pants that were on the right way, so he’s a fashion rock star, in my book.

And then, there were these:

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Because Easter must have cupcakes. It’s in the bible.

(Ok, yes, I know it’s not but it should be.)

And then, finally:

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The redbuds are starting to show on my little tree. Things are slowly turning soft green and butter yellow crocus are all over my neighbor’s lawn and I am just so happy.

Tomorrow is almost here, and I am so grateful.

I am just so very grateful.

 

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Don’t ever settle down.

Linking up with my favorite peeps today! The theme?

 

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It’s Friday. Good Friday, which as might know, is kind of a confusing name.

Last night, we took the boys to Maundy Thursday service (another confusing name – we Christians like to keep things all a kilter), and Red was very spiritual. Seven pm services tend to do that to him. He can get all quiet and sorta pensive.

It’s also possible he was dog-tired because earlier he was running about like a puppy on pixie sticks, but you know. I prefer spiritual.

Anyhow, Red was explaining what Maundy Thursday was all about, and then he launched right into Good Friday. (If you don’t know, Maundy Thursday it’s a commemoration of the Last Supper. Or, if you are Red, Maundy Thursday is about the Last Supper and ALSO grape juice! Grape juice in those little plastic cups! We NEVER drink grape juice at home so there is GRAPE JUICE COMING. Also a very dry small cracker thing. WHICH GETS TO GET WASHED DOWN WITH GRAPE JUICE OH SWEET NECTAR.)

And yes, I have just basically confessed that my sweet boy regards communion as a spiritual snack time of sorts. It’s a process, people.

So. Anyhow, Good Friday.

Red is trying to understand why Good Friday has any sort of Goodness in it. He says, “Jesus did not go into Good Friday all… ‘Hooray!’ Ok? It’s not GOOD. It’s TERRIFYING.”

Quick backstory: We are in line to go up and take communion while this conversation is occurring so it’s all very whispered and there’s a lot of “Shh-shing” in the background.

So, then Red is quiet for minute and I can literally SEE the little tiny synapses firing away, up inside his little Red head. And then, he blurts out:

“BUT IT’S SO GOOD. IT WAS GOOD FOR US. AND HE’S ALL ABOUT US, SO THAT’S IT! THAT’S WHY IT’S GOOD! I GET IT NOW!”

You know, we all get to get them, these little God moments where God comes up besides us and smiles gently and then WHACKS us UPSIDE THE HEAD with a God moment, because we needed it. And it doesn’t hurt, really. I mean, it can make us a little dizzy, but  it’s just really cool and kinda a moment to shout about.

But, back to Maundy Thursday – where we were supposed to be sort of contemplative and quiet and pondering Gethsemane and sad, and here’s Red, completely rocking out his God moment for all the world to see. And hear.

I wanted to tell him to Settle Down. I did. But instead, I just hugged on him and smiled to the little old lady in line with us, and I realized something:

There is no settling in this faith of ours. It’s big and changing and it breaks our world apart. It HAS to. And today, our world is to break. And Sunday? It will break even MORE. And it’s happy and it’s sad and it’s terrifying and it’s good. 

It’s so good. Thank you for Sunday, my Jesus. Thank you for being so brave. Thank you for loving us so deeply.  Whatever in the world would I do without you?

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Privilege

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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I’ve been working a lot on gratitude lately.

Do you know what? The thing with gratitude is, if you work it, it really works!

Say that fast five times, I dare you.

Gratitude is a conversation with yourself and God about how blessed you are. Here are some other things I am learning about gratitude:

  1. It’s just like a three pointer – you really can practice it and improve. Or, if you’re like me, you can practice it and get real close to the basket but feel better about it.
  2. It should be a daily thing.
  3. It should be an hourly thing.
  4. It’s really a minute by minute thing. You get the idea.

I think gratitude is my simplest way to worship. And privilege is right in there. I mean “privilege” in a good way, not in the “I’m taking over the world” kind of way.

It’s a privilege – to walk down the street every morning and teach my kids about writing and thinking (hopefully at the same time). It’s something I don’t take lightly. It has strings attached, little 18 year old souls that need more than just teaching. It’s a privilege to be with them and learn who they are and learn their stories.

It’s a privilege to relate with my husband. Notice I didn’t just say, “HAVE a husband” because we’re past that now. I have him. I done had him over ten years ago – snared like a 6 foot rabbit in a trap. A rabbit that was in looooove.

He’s still in love, and it’s a privilege to keep walking that path with him – the one where we figure out how to stay in love and work on it and screw up and keep working and on and on. Marriage, y’all. It’s hard core.

It’s a privilege to have these two boys. Red and Blonde. Don’t even get me started. They are just the sweetest, most intelligent, perfect adorable nuggets of humanity. While, at the same time, they are also frustrating and sometimes they have me at: “I don’t even know what to say here. Go to your room. Stay there for two years.”

It’s a privilege. This whole life is that. I was granted special permission by Christ, about twenty years ago, to have a life with him IN it.

And, it’s also totally not, because he never said anything like, “Well, I’m only going to offer out this relationship to a few folks. The special, super elite ones – with the good hair and a really great grasp on the the Old Testament.”

And thank goodness because I am very often 0 for 2 on the hair and the bible thing.

It’s a privilege to talk to Him every day. I ask him stuff and complain and then remember to thank him and keep on talking, and he actually listens.

I have a lot of blessings in my life – I am a healthy, financially ok, employed, white woman with a lot of perks that a lot of people in our world don’t even get to consider.

Realizing this, I am privileged. Blessed. Made alive with hope and wonder with the daily business that is faith.

Amen.

 

 

Surrender

Linking up with my favorite place today – Five Minute Friday.

Today’s theme?

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When I first decided to walk with Jesus, instead of just waving to him from across the room, I had a few life-changing things that happened.

Ok, that’s a totally wrong. All the life-changing things happened. Like, all OVER the place. But one of  the most immediately obvious was my taste in music.

Dana, Before Walking With Jesus: Christian music on the radio? Isn’t that just Carmen and Amy Grant? It’s dork-city.

Dana After Walking With Jesus: Christian music on the radio? It must be on, all the time, twenty-four seven, dorky or no. I am praising my saviourrrrr all the day lonnnnnnnnnnng!

Still don’t like Amy Grant music though. Sorry, Amy. You are a wonderful person.

Jars of Clay, Chris Tomlin, Watermark, Phil Keaggy… I loved them. Still do. I think I even bought a few of those WOW! ALL CHRISTIAN! cd’s because I needed a bit of variety and their plastic covers were so bright and dorky. I found out something. Walking with Jesus meant I could finally stop trying to be so darn cool about everything and embrace my inner dork, and you know what? The DORK IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE.

And so, one day, I found Sara Groves.

And her music cracked me open, and then put me back together, on a daily basis. I own every one of her albums. We played her song, “Fly” as “our song” at our wedding. I reference her song, “Toy Packaging” every Christmas for those who need to know the struggle is real, with the toy packaging.

I just love her. She is my best-friend musician that I have never met. She writes songs about marriage, and fights with husbands, and family, and the bible, and all of it is threaded throughout with a voice that is strong in faith but still has a lot of questions.

This is me. I have a strong-ish faith. But I have a lot of questions. Like, a LOT.

Long ago, before marriage, before recovery (I am a sober momma, because me and wine broke up long ago and that’s a whole other story), before children, before a lot of things, my heart was broken into a million pieces by life and love that was lost. I am pretty sure that’s a thing that has happened to all of us – heartache so profound it threatens to scoop us up and throw us out with the trash. It’s that hard.

I would lay on my bed, feeling tears drip warm down the sides of my face and pool up by my ears, too tired to wipe them away. Sometimes my dog Norman would jump up there with me and snuffle the tears away. He was such a good pupper.

And I would listen to Sara’s song, Remember Surrender. 

You see, I was walking with Jesus, yes. But I was still hurting. And this song seemed to understand that. And with each listen, I got a little better.

Just so you know, there were ther things helped me get better:

Reading the bible. (Walking with Jesus now, duh)

Prayer. (Double duh)

Reading just about anything by Melody Beattie.

Going on long runs with Norman even when I didn’t want to (He always did, so he would drag me. We made it work).

Talking to friends. DUH.

Crying with those friends. And then praying some more. (Quadruple duh. And thank you, friends, for always listening. And always offering to pray with me. And gripping onto my hands hard while you did so, so hard that it almost kinda hurt but in a good way. I’m looking at you, Katie.)

And so, I would like to share this song with you today. If you walk with Jesus, but your heart is still sore and sad, and you just want something so badly, but it can’t be yours… Listen and get a little better.

This version has some pics with the video. They’re a little dorky. But, as you know, I like the dorky.

Throw Back Thursday Post, Because I’m Tired and My Old Writing is Still Funny. So, here.

Written last summer, August 2016.

Oh, those were some good times. 🙂

There is no “Oh no we’re not” in ‘Team’

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Linking up with my happy place: Five Minute Friday.

Today’s theme:

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Well… of course it is.

Ok, here’s the story:

I still haven’t posted my kids’ back to school pictures yet. This is kind of against nature and I am very sorry. Every mom knows that is it the LAW that those pictures get posted on the facebooks, pronto, and here I am, still just trying to make sure they’re fed and in clean underwear before they head out the door.

So, last night was Walking Night. It’s this Thing that the labrador-retriever husband came up with to help us Stay in Shape and Be a Family, all at the same time. We are a Team, after all. We go out and walk together. Or, rather, the boys shoot off on their bikes, like little nutball savages, while the husband and I, who mainly operate like ships in the night, walk and talk.

It’s better to be ships in the day, I guess.

Sometimes we even hold hands. Like ships in love.

Anyhow. LAST night I also wanted to Take it Up a Notch, by adding devotionals to the whole thing. I like to Take it Up a Notch whenever possible because my life is not chaotic or jam-packed enough and this whole Notch business seems to fulfill some basic need in me to be basically Perfect.

Ok, I’m just gonna stop with the capitals thing now. It’s Annoying, isn’t it?

So. I had my devotional all ready. And it went like this:

Both boys were instructed to take a tube of toothpaste and squeeze it out, which they did with some glee. The Blonde informed me right away, however, that this was a terrible waste of money. I just love him. He is so like his momma.

Then, I said, in my church lady voice:

“So, boys, now I want you to put the toothpaste back IN the tube.”

I then made the very overused, this whole toothpaste gag has been so done before thing, analogy that once your words are out there you can’t put them back. It’s not actually a BAD analogy by any means. I had figured that since we were starting up school again and that they might, well, hear stuff and say stuff because school is basically the Child Thunderdome where they learn interesting concepts like “fart train” and such, that this whole toothpaste thing would be memorable and important.

Oh, and it was. It was really, really memorable, y’all.

It started when Red, who was playing with his toothpaste like it was fingerpaint, decided to paint his brother’s face with the gooey stuff. I laughed. Brother laughed. It was all good clean minty fun, right? Learning moment. It was a learning moment! And then Blonde followed suit with some of his gooey stuff, and that’s when the screaming started.

You see, gentle reader, toothpaste is MINTY.

Minty + eyeballs = screaming.

Let me provide you with a short re-enactment:

Red: OH NOOO MY EYES MY EYESSSSS THE PAIN THE PAINNNN!!

Blonde: NOOOO MAKE IT STOP MAKE IT STOP MY EYEBALLS ARE ON FIRRREEEEEEEE!

Red: I AM DYING! AS WE SPEAK RIGHT HERE  JUST GONNA DIE. FROM DEVOTIONALS!

Blonde: MOTHER I WILL NEVER DO DEVOTIONALS AGAIN! BAD! BAD!

Both: AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I WILL NEVER DO DEVOTIONALS AGAIN!

 

And that was my first try at family devotionals.

Toothpaste: 1

Devotionals: 0

 

We will try again. We will fight the good fight. We’re like the military. We never leave anyone behind.

Also, we flipping MINTY FRESH.

We are minty team, and as I have explained, numerous times to both boys: We are all stuck with each other, I’m sorry, but you can’t just go live with another family.

But next time devotionals will involve four pounds of M and M’s, soft music, and maybe the Care Bears.

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I Tweet, Therefore I am.

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Y’all. I’m supposed to be fasting from social media right now.

See? See how well that’s going? This is me… fasting.

Allow me to explain:

When I started the Congo fast because my evil friend Kate suckered me into it without my full knowledge, comprehension, or understanding, and I did it out of the goodness of my heart and because I am totally spiritual and my goodness this is all a load of hooey.

ANYHOW. When I started the Congo fast w/ Kate for our Sunday school class… I thought… Well. Food. I have to fast from food for 40 days. That’s nearly impossible and as we all know I have caved like a Neanderthal about twenty times in the 40 days, but who’s counting?

As God is my witness, I thought the tortillas were going to be it.

But, as Kate has so patiently reminded me, also about twenty times, the Sunday school class does exceed 40 days. So, what are we gonna do for the other portion? Just sit around and talk about how fabulous we were for fasting?

Ok, so along with Chris Seay’s A Place at the Table, we read this gem:

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I use the word “gem” because I have so few of them now, BECAUSE JEN KEEPS TELLING ME TO GIVE STUFF AWAY.

Ok, seriously. Here’s more explaining: We decided to also tackle, along with food the other items that Jen mutinies against. There right there on the cover for you: clothes, spending, waste, stress (har har har), waste, and MEDIA.

MEDIA.

YES IN ALL CAPS.

Guys. You can take my clothes and help me recycle and give me a budget and make me eat corn tortillas ’till the cows come home (that we can’t eat)

BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO PRY MY MEDIA FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS.

Here is the very real conversation I had with Kate about this whole media thing, yesterday:

Kate: I’m fasting from media and it’s going okay. How about you?
Me: *leans forward to the microphone* I cannot recall.

That’s a pretty fabulous Ollie North, right? And for those of you who are too young to understand my cheap mimicry of the general and his memory recall issues, what I REALLY said is something like this:

Me: NOOOOOOO. This is so HARRRRRRD. I’m eating rice and beans – you can’t make me NOT watch Netflix TOOOOOOOOOOO.

The wailing, I tell you, was heard one county over.

I ask you, what about all my quips? Where will the quipping go, if I cannot post about it? It will be like I don’t even exist.

Really. How can I live without the tweetings?

What if my children do something adorable? (rare, granted). Or the cat? What if the CAT does something adorable (hourly). How will I live without talking about it?

So, here is my announcement: Our Congo fast and its 40 days is over this Sunday. After that, I will be walking away from my computer for a week.

I will miss you *she waves weakly* Don’t you worry about me… *fading away* I’m sure I’ll be… just… fine *drops to the floor in a heap and makes sure her pose is flattering for a selfie*

Social media, y’all. It’s addictive stuff. I mean, really. If a tree falls in the forest and no one takes a picture of it for Instagram, does an angel lose his wings?

Or something like that.

Now, the only people I have yet to tell are the children. They’ll be joining me in this fast. No Netflixes. No Wii Rockband.

The cries will be heard from two counties over.

Pray for us.

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I’m the Dog. I’M THE DOG.

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Best. Movie. Ever.

So, in today’s post, one of us is going to be the dog.

And, as so often the case, I really REALLY think if you just stay with me, it will all make sense at the end.

That’s how I feel.

Really.

Today I’m linking up with my oh so happy place, favorite people: Five Minute Friday!  The theme??

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Right now, I am writing this on the couch, because I can’t move. I can’t move because of two neurotic and highly co-dependent beasties have wedged themselves in on either side of me so closely that I can use one as an armrest and the other ones heartbeat is thumping up against my thigh. That sounds kinda weird, but she has a really pronounced cardiac rhythm going on. I am kinda impressed. She must have just finished her bootcamp  workout.

I give you… exhibit A:Photo on 4-28-17 at 11.59 AM #2.jpgI loooooooooooove you. That shiny, silver thing has come between us, yet again, but still, I loooooooooooooove you.

And, also, exhibit B:

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I loooooooooove you too. Not quite as effusively as the Missing Link dork-dog to my left, but you know.

Anyhow. Here I am. Stuck in the middle with you.

And, as I am typing away, I hear it: A sort of squeaky rumbling. It’s a weird sort of gurgling, actually. I look around the room for the culprit, but my living room doesn’t house a lot of things that… gurgle.

It’s the dog. I’ll just take the suspense away, right here. Hosmer’s stomach is jangling with such intensity that, clearly, he’s hungry. Like, LOUD hungry.

Honestly, it’s hard to type over all this racket.

But, yet… he remains varnished onto my side. His precious bowl of Doggie Lickums is right there, in the other room, but he’s seemingly content to sit here and rumble.

It is rare that I ever allow my stomach to get to this stage of gurgle (Hosmer is at, like, DEFCON level light red or two or whatever is really, really highly bad), but if I did… and about ten steps away was a bowl of chips? I would get up and go to the chips. It doesn’t really matter if I was cuddling with the husband prior or not. Food wins, when the stomach is in high alert.

Besides, I know too that I can always eat a few chips and then GO BACK to the husband on the couch.

So… basically? The dog would rather starve to be near me.

Perhaps I am exaggerating a little, but you’re not here. The rumbling is like that scene when the T-Rex finds the poor people in the jeep in Jurassic Park. Ominous. Thumpy. Has its own soundtrack. Jeff Goldblum is involved. That sort of thing.

Ok, so HERE IS MY POINT (Hallelujah!)

We need to be the dog. We need to be like this with God. And… since I am so happily wedged into my Congo fast these days… I get it. I am needing to be more dog like. Content. In the moment. Furry and sacrificial. That sort of thing.

I apologize for making you the dog. It’s the best I’ve got today. And truly? Dogs are awesome. We all know that.

 

And then, there’s this guy:Photo on 4-28-17 at 12.13 PM.jpg

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