Whispered Things

Looking at my post for today, I just wasn’t feeling it. Does that ever happen to anyone else? Knowing how crazy the day was going to be – soccer, an impromptu visit from my sweet mother and father-in-love, pumpkin carving, playdate hang-out – I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to writing until much later.

And, by then, I was feeling pretty wiped out.

Sweetman, in an effort to help me decompress after the day, put some mood lighting on and talked me into taking a deep breath and getting quiet.

Forsake The Twitter and The Facebook and The Instagram. Power down the phone and the plans and the list.

Just. Get. Quiet.

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I was reminded, again, how often time is given to me, as a grace.

In between the chewing of the candy corn, to be completely honest, Here’s what I heard in the still of the quiet:

Pray more.

Be present.

Listen intently

Hug harder.

Eyes on Me.

I’m going to get tactical about weaving these whispered things into my days.

Into my People.

Into my heart.

His grace floods my busy, once more. And, again, I’m so grateful.

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This post is day 25 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

Twenty Four Hours a Day

Earphones firmly affixed to my ears, I sat listening to “Autumn” by Ryan Stewart, as I wrote the other day. Tears streamed down my face. I’ve noticed that epic music does that to me a lot, lately. Blame it on shifting hormones as I enter this next season, lack of sleep, the sheer beauty of notes strung together for effect; or, more likely, a combination of the three.

Whatever it was, I was taken in by the sweeping sounds in my ears and thoughts fighting their way to the forefront of my mind.

My children continue to grow up, no matter how many times I demand they stop. Time, it seems, won’t listen any better than they will. They both march on at breakneck speeds.

I’m left tearfully acknowledging that the first front tooth really is about to fall out. The first shirking of a goodbye kiss at the bustop is just around the corner. And, of course, the glaring reality that my children will not always need me.

It cuts.

I’ve defined who I am, this last decade and change, as a wife and mother first. Even as I struggle to make my written words conform to the pattern of my heart, I find my identity still resides far more firmly in the wife/mother camp than in the Author one.

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But, something else plagues my thoughts, as the melancholy tune streams through my headphones. Sitting next to Sweetgirl as she wiggles her front tooth for the eleventy-hundreth time, I realize that with each post I craft, article I submit, and thought I express, I am, indeed, remaking my identity.

Even as it is involuntarily changing.

I’ve been intently seeking opportunities to forge my path as Writer. This blog has most definitely provided that.

As the song ended, as if on cue, I came to the realization that for everything there truly is a season.

Oh, that Solomon! So wise.

My mind started working through the reality that my time as Mama is not over. My time as Author is just beginning. And, they can peacefully co-exist. Maybe, even, bring clarity, one to the other.

I’m working through it all, knowing that if I fall more into the wrong camp at the wrong time, Grace will lead me back.

And, He doesn’t identify me as anything other than Loved.

Twenty-four hours a day.

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This post, by the skin of my teeth, is day 24 of the Write 31 Days challenge.

Smitten With Grace

Watching The Three Caballeros with Sweetboy  and Sweetgirl, the other day, I was reminded that families can have rituals that make no sense what-so-ever, to other families. And, they don’t need to.

Watching this Way Retro movie, that my children adore, I was given about an hour and twelve minutes to reflect on how this came to be a comforting ritual for us.

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Sweetboy’s Autism Diagnosis was something we almost felt relieved to hear. Listening to the child regurgitate entire portions of “Blues Clues” at 22 months old, was unnerving, to say the least. His preoccupation with the handy-dandy notebook being exactly right, even more so. Terrible Two’s aside, we realized that his reactions and perseverations weren’t that of your average bear.

Once we were given an idea of what we were up against, we were able to redirect our energies into seeing how Autism could work for him instead of against him, as it had for the previous year.

We always said that our Sweetboy was like a 1,000 piece puzzle. And, up until we heard the words, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, we felt like were being given one piece at a time.

Frustrating.

Achingly frustrating.

And then…

We felt like with the diagnosis came 500 pieces. It was a grace. It was truly a grace in every sense of the word. It was an unmerited favor – as no one owed us an explanation. It became an honor to carry this mantle with our child. And, to be brutally honest with you? We now view the wiring of our child’s brain as that of done with finesse, by a Master Creator.

There are so many gifts that Autism brings into this family. When we  see roads and maps and cultures and weather, we get to view them through such intense lens, through Sweetboy.

And that, is a grace, too.

Endowed by The Giver of all Grace.

And we are grateful. We are.

From the first time that Sweetboy’s eyes lit on Donald, Ponchito, and Pablo, he was smitten with their quirky ways. Just as we have become smitten with Sweetboy’s. Viewing that movie, through his eyes, became something our entire family could enjoy together.

And, just like that, it became a ritual. Something we could do together. An activity that we could all, every one of us, experience and enjoy.

Grace, indeed.

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This post is day 23 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

Would someone kindly remind me never to auto-schedule again? 9:45 am is O9:45. Got it Missy? Get it? Good!

 

Twenty-Two Times a Day

In my sidebar over there, where I introduce myself, I tell you that I try to remember that I’m saved by grace, mishap by mishap.  And I do! There are days… Oh, there are days, where it feels like I’m stumbling through a dozen mishaps, one right after the other. And then some.

Anyone else have days like that?

Hours like that?

And, it’s not even Monday?

Sweetman and I are attempting to establish healthier eating patterns around this house. But, there I am, reaching for the candy corn right in front of little eyeballs? At 7:25 in the morning.

I get good at telling the sweetkids to remember to speak about others the way Jesus speaks about us. And then I turn around and utter harsh words about the turtle driving in front of me.

The Twitterverse calls, and I answer. So lost in a sea of favorite-ing and replying that I forget to set an alarm to leave in time for an important doctor’s appointment.

In fact, just this morning, this happened:

And the littles in this house need underwear, for the love!

But then, Grace is faithful to enter into my myriad in-competencies. Softly He enters a momentary mishap and overwhelms it with His kindness, gentleness, and humility. He is waiting to rain down on my mishap mania. And when He does, I am washed clean.

Again.

And again and again.

Like last night. I had some harsh words for Sweetman, venting them from the safety of the kitchen. I know that each one that ejected from my mouth was more rotten than the last. Until, That One grabs a hold of my tongue, and helps me determine, in my heart first, that an apology is needed. Only, as I round the corner, I find that man clickety-clacking away, with his earphones on, never having heard a word of it.

Thank you, Grace.

Whatever mishap I’m mired in at the moment, the daily grace waiting for me is immeasurable. Literally. More than I could ask or imagine! And He provides it all, every time, already knowing that I was going to need it.

While I’d like to think that some of my ridiculousness must shock The God Who Made Me, the reality is that He is never surprised.

There is an indescribable beauty in that truth – that I can’t surprise the God of Grace.

It brings comfort in the midst of all the mishap mayhem.

At least twenty-two times a day.

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This post is day 22 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

Day 22. I don’t want to overstate here, but Y’all! Commitment and I may end up coming to terms. Stay tuned.

Beyond the Twenty-First Time

Six years ago, I was bopping along in my car, oblivious to the need around me. A new song debuted on the radio station I was tuned to. As I listened, I had to put my turn indicator on and pull my car over.

To get my weeping on.

Monk & Neagle’s song, The Twenty-First Time was that powerful, for me. It overtook every excuse I had ever given for not recognizing Need. Grace took that opportunity to reach in, grab a hold of my heart, and gave it a much-needed shake.

I hope you can overlook some of the heavy-handed images that were chosen for this video. I am praying that Grace will reach in and touch your heart, in any way, for the good of the deeper message within the lyrics. And I deeply hope that we will all be willing to keep looking way beyond the twenty-first time.

William Shakespeare famously said that “When words fail, music speaks.”

May it be true here, today.

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This post is day 21 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

It Only Took About Twenty Years

I attended a large blogging conference, a few years back, as a brand new blogger. One of the events that was pre-arranged was a “Birds of a Feather” breakfast. You essentially found the bloggers who you felt like you most identified with. I loved the idea of this. It was fairly easy for me to determine where I thought I fit in.

But, when I arrived at the table and everyone introduced themselves, I found that although we shared a desire to write humor, the ways we went about it were radically different.

I kept looking around and asking myself where My People were? After about twenty years, I’ve figured it out.

How about you? Who are your People? Aside from the ones who share your roof, what types of people make you feel the most comfortable?

I’m curious.

And also, nosy.

It never ceases to intrigue me how certain seeming types of people will feel most comfortable around folks who are nothing like them. I think of my funny friends who feel most comfortable with intellectuals discussing Academia and scholarly things, all the live long day. Or, the Think Tanker who whips out the one-liners faster than I whip out the Devil Dogs.

But, what really boggles my mind is how it took me so long to figure out what so many others realize pretty early on. Or, pretty easily.

When you find your People, you just know it. Some folks like to call it “finding your tribe“. Whatever you call it, when you finally do, you’ll find yourself feeling a sense of confidence that then allows you to float in and out of other groups of People much more freely, too. It’s such a great thing to experience.

And feel.

And know.

Are you already there?

If you aren’t, keep at it. You will make mistakes along the way. But, you will find the people who get you. They will be the ones that sharpen your thought process, lighten your load, and encourage you in all of the most important ways.

Grace allows for lots of wiggle room, here. I promise.

He gave me about twenty years worth.

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This post is day 20 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

Click my 31 days of Grace button above to go check out the previous 19 days. If you want. But, you don’t have to. No pressure.

Interrupted by Grace on Day Nineteen

I had another post planned for today.

But God…

Sweetboy informed me, this morning, that he hates it when I “go all psycho” when we need to get out the door for church.

Y’all.

I couldn’t even.

I had to take a minute and just slump down and cry.

There are Sundays where we all pitch in and work as a team to get out the door. It takes the type of planning and forethought that I’m sure even Bobby Fischer could appreciate.

Honestly, the child is right. It’s a rare morning, Sunday or not, without some sort of “For the love, child, GET YOUR SHOES ON” statement being made as I wrangle everyone out of the house. All The Planning is something I’ve let slide. Plus, it wears me out. So I don’t plan often. Or enough.

Clearly.

In that moment, I just wanted to hang up the towel and sit on the couch with some coffee and have a good pity party. Wouldn’t lamenting the fact that God forgot to give me a stronger “planning gene” be a better use of my time than sitting in church with my mind going over and over that terrible horrible conversation with Sweetboy?

No.

And I could feel Him gently nudging my heart, and telling me so.

The kids were nowhere near ready, but I was. So, Sweetman stayed behind and they did church together, at home. Sweetboy was picking out some worship music and Sweetgirl was running upstairs to get her pretty pink lamby Bible, as I left.

Why did I leave without them?

I needed to.

My own heart needed to be able to get quiet and be surrounded by the voices of some faithful. It needed to glide into a pew and worship the God of grace. More importantly, sometimes, this girl needs to retreat and regroup.

I really needed to do that, most of all.

And here’s what Grace whispered: “You are here. Be still and let me remind you of what I have overcome so that you can come confidently before me.”

So, I did. I got real still and just tuned my heart to grace.

And when I got back home, everyone was happy to see me and share what they’d done for “church” at home.

We all snuggled in as I explained how hurtful it was to hear that mama gets “psycho” in the morning. Sweetboy then explained how yucky it makes him feel when I’m rushing, rushing, rushing some mornings. Important apologies, laced with all sorts of grace, took place.

It become painfully clear that even though planning takes a lot out of me, it is in the best interest of my mission field down the hall that I do it. And, I do believe that God will honor my desire to provide a less chaotic kind of morning routine.

Grace interrupted my morning to rain down on me, even as it showed me the need for some change. That’s what Grace does. It loves me too much to leave me where I am.

I am so thankful.

Yes indeedy.

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This is day 19 of my Write 31 Days challenge.