my boys are explorers! i’m convinced that if there were still unknown territories in the world they would be begging us to pioneer into uncharted waters! they love to “look around” “go adventuring” “explore” all the places.
i am so thankful for our house at apple flats where they have space to roam and wander. i’m tempted to always take off with them; i want to join in on their expeditions. a few days ago, after i’d packed a backpack and water bottle for my youngest and secured it on his back; i sat in the kitchen gazing out the window as they marched off. i wanted to follow, but i knew that mommy presence might spoil the fun.
i know that the bond my boys have is tight and strong, in some part due to the freedom i give them to explore on their own. they’ve returned from exploring- oldest carrying the youngest; helping each other tote their found treasures; all ablaze of excitement to share what they’ve discovered. i do not doubt that my presence on such trips would void some of that brotherly care and joy. i’ve a nack for spoiling the fun. i’d have limited the number of dry cattails they stuck in their pockets, or warned against wading through the frigid creek water. i’d have spied a safer route or a better way and directed them far too much.
i’ll admit i’m a bit jealous sometimes; like last week when they returned eyes sparkling, beckoning me to come and see what treasure they’d found. a huge set of elk antlers set in our yard; i mean huge! and boys were all a jumble of voices and words to tell me about the fantastic find. part of me feels like i’m missing out on the adventure! part of me wouldn’t trade their independent little boy adventures for the world. because that is exactly what i’m after- hearts that yearn for excitement; minds that are never satisfied with what they’ve read but want the experience; souls that know deeply that their Maker has great things in store for them, if they take the time to explore!
i have a friend who is writing a book. she is amazing, and when it is ready i will happily share it with you and shout her praises and unashamedly push her book. but today i’m feeling a little less. i have a friend who is writing a book; i have a friend who is adopting a baby; i have a friend who is traveling to uganda; i have a friend who’s training for a triathlon. meanwhile i’ve got laundry piled up to my ears (have you noticed laundry is an ongoing problem for me- i hate it) i made some really gross pumpkin muffins this morning for my children for breakfast. i could surely use some makeup and a hairbrush about now; and honestly i just had to run outside because i could hear my kids screaming at each other while i was in the bathroom. (ok so that’s a lie; i didn’t run. i waited and listened to see if anyone was hurt. upon deciphering that the voices were merely angry fighting boys and not injured children, i walked slowly outside to face the reality. the reality which was, my older boys on the roof of the house chucking snowballs at my littles who were on the roof of the shed…. seriously.)
some days i feel less; less of a disciple, less of a wife, less of a mom. maybe i’ve been struggling with this a lot lately; because i seem to be working it out in one form or another is several places. we all feel less sometimes. we can all look at others and wish we were more.
yesterday during women’s bible study, i was reminded of how God views me; of what God calls me. a saint, anointed, His child, beloved, worthy, heir, sister, daughter… so today as i’m feeling less; i’m trying to remember that He is more. that His words, His view, His plan is more; and He has given more to me. in grasping more; i strive to be more. not in a competitive, jealous, keeping-up kind of way. i strive to live up to the words He has spoken over me. to face my rowdy, snowball throwing boys with grace and peace. i strive to entrench myself in His word so that His words will flow from my mouth. i tackle the task He has given me with joy.
i will not be writing books anytime soon; but i will sit down and read to my children. i will tell them stories of my youth, stories of their lives, and stories from my heart. i will not be adopting a newborn, but i will love on my friend and encourage and pray for her as she mothers her baby. i will hug my children- biological and adopted -and remember the days when their hands were so little and their cheeks so sweet. there are no trips to africa planned for our family; but we have friends across the world whom i will pray for as they reach out to the lost and the hopeless. i will show the love of Christ to my neighbors and my friends down the street and be His hands and feet right where i live. i will most surely not be training for a triathlon or a marathon or even a 5k (i do not like participating in races), but i will choose health. i will do T25 with my son who loves to “workout” and i will talk a walk outside today and enjoy the sunshine.
i am feeling less today, but i am consciously choosing to be more.
some moments are all: woohoo i put on ice skates today and skated around the pond with the boys with no falling, and “mommy we won’t laugh at you if you fall because we love you.”
some moments are: an email from an old friend whose husband is ill; they found a mass on his lungs.
some moments are: i’m meeting new people and reaching out and talking and perchance making new friends.
some moments are: missing a comfortable easy place
some moments are: stretching and pulling and painfully revealing
some moments are: little boys snuggled in to listen to pirate stories
some moments are: leafy greens because i know i should
some moments are: steaming tea with too much homemade super sweet creamer because it is just delicious
just a million little moments i can soak in or miss all on a monday.
since we’ve moved halfway (actually more than half) across the country, away from our family and friends; we are taking a trip back to va in december. we are going to spend time with loved ones, keep some special holiday traditions (like behold the lamb concert at the landmark- whoop-whoop!) and celebrate early christmas with both sides of the family. which means that i have lots to do to get ready before we leave!
so for the last few weeks i have been working on christmas presents. i have pulled out all sorts of craft supplies and littered the kitchen table with fabric and buttons and beads. the boys have been busy with me; lovingly crafting special gifts for grandparents and aunts and cousins. it’s sweet to watch little boy hands working away; and little boy minds thinking and pondering over who would like which handmade gem best.
i don’t always let the boys craft with me; sometimes i’m too intent on getting it done. sometimes, i just don’t want help because i know i can do it better myself. sometimes, i don’t want them to mess up my stuff. sometimes i’m selfish, and stubborn. but the weather forecast is cold and snowy this week; so we are going to work on finishing up all our projects. the living room/kitchen will be a mess, and we will probably not get all the laundry folded. they will put things together not the way i would do it. we will have to wash away paint and glue. i will have to bite my tongue and let their creative juices flow unhindered. (there will probably be some cookies made because creativity makes you hungry) we will enjoy crafting together, and i will choose to enjoy the process.
today i had some plans; and surprise, surprise life happened and my plans didn’t. maybe that’s why i don’t like planning so much; because i can make all the plans i want, and then life happens and my plans don’t. today i wanted to take the boys for a short walk to collect leaves and rocks so we could do a fun project together. well we made our way down to the creek and our short walk turned into: pirates, and raft building, and fort hunting, and indians, and sword fights, and spears, and fun boyish adventure. and all my plans for rock painting and fall crafting took a back seat as i reveled in the little boy world that i get to live in. because my plans are not so important. sometimes they get interrupted by little boys, sometimes by relationship building, or caring for others, or moving across the country to follow some bigger plans than my own. good things are so often not planned; i need to be reminded to be flexible and let the good stuff happen!
my hubs was working at a ranch when we first moved here; mostly building, fixing, restructuring fences. it was tough work! fences need to be built strong and right according to circumstances, use, and environment. in c.o. ranchers must take into account: elk migration, snow, grade of the land… fences must be checked and mended often to keep out what needs be kept out and in what needs be kept in. so i’ve been doing some thinking about fences.
somewhere along the way in some part of our history someone began putting up fences in our lives. who built the fence that separates our “christianity” from our parenting for instance? or from anything in our lives for that matter? who built the wall that disassociates my love for Jesus from my cooking; my discipleship from my hobbies; my relationship with God from my friendships? when did we divide the source of life from our daily life? when did the church building become the home for our “christianity”?
voddie baucham in his book family driven faith says “there is to be no sense of categorization in life that places biblical truth on one side and parenting on the other. we are called to employ biblical truth in every aspect of our lives, especially as it pertains to multigenerational faithfulness and the discipleship of our kids…”
somewhere along the way i’ve tried to go it alone. i’ve disregarded biblical instruction, and i kind of just wing it. does that happen to you? do you get frustrated with your disobedient mouthy child after a rough morning and sit back and go “what am i doing?” “i’ve created this mess because i haven’t raised my child biblically”. i want to cast the blame on disillusioned souls who have gone before me. those that built the fence; those that have compartmentalized life and built walls around each little box. but then i remember: fences need maintenance and walls need mending.
and i realize that i put a lot of effort into keeping all things separate; too much time wasted on building fences. i could be spending my time pulling all facets of my life together and realizing that they all intermix and bring shape and function and form to each other. because when i am daily in the word and practicing what i read and study; i am softer with my children and the kinder self i want to be. when i take the time to teach truth to my boys and speak with them about matters of the heart in a loving way that seeks to inform and see change rather than hand out punishment for bad behavior; i see the fruit in their little lives. when i allow Christ’s love to pour into every aspect of my life; my life is fuller and richer and more complete. and as i write i know that this is what i want. i also know that breaking down fences takes a bit of time, and it can be hard, and it can hurt. i may tear down a piece and rebuild it several times before i finally get out of the habit of building fences.
“…Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in our walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall…” ~Robert Frost~
how is it that books and movies stir up such emotions within us? do we become intoxicated with the romance or comedy or tragedy of a written word or act? do we imagine that our lives should be something more? do we wish we had lived differently and so endeavor to lose ourselves in someone else’s epic? or is it because we all long to find our place in the greater story that we know exists; because we know there is more to this earth than what we make of it? because we long to be more aware of the depth of the story that we are a part of, but that we choose so often to ignore?
as i walk down the street gazing at each house i pass my mind wanders and i imagine all that lies behind those doors. as i vacuum, my thoughts conjure up fairy tales of princes and distressed maidens and noble warriors (mostly because my dear boys have no desire to hear tales of romance). as i walk through woods i feel the enchantment and seek for a glimpse of the spirits that reside there. our world is not one dimensional, and i fear that many have lost the true wonder and mystery that exists just past the lampposts of reality. there is intrigue that hangs at the edge of our imaginations waiting to be grasped and pulled into the realm of sight.
i want to instill in my children a view of the world that sees past what we think we experience in the day to day. i want them to feel their place in the great epic of mankind and recognize that their lives are not mere passages of time, but great stories woven with battle and heartache and suspense and joy and love and all the things of great tales. i want them to know that there is more to this life than what we can see with our eyes.
and so i read them stories and encourage them to read good books; i tell them tales of adventure and i weave bits of their personalities into the characters. i try to encourage them to seek out truth but also to expand the scope of their imaginations.
(this is what i get for listening to andrew peterson today and watching a jane eyre movie and reading romans.)
i will return to journey to co next post- promise!