Conversations with a One Year Old

There’s just nothing like a conversation with a one year old.

Nothing.

I sat down in the rocker with Becca, age 20 months.

Oo ha oo ha!

10276049_10101538963452810_278815576255526197_nYou want to read the Curious George book?

Yeah! (said in a voice that no one can emulate, that will forever ring in my head. As only a one year old can say it.)10277845_10101540922122620_4869243155688416537_n

Okay! (Read the book, lifted the flaps, found the monkey, etc.) Okay all done!

Mmore mmore m-more!

No, all done.

Oh. (said with a sigh)

Time to rock, little one!

She snuggles down in the crook of my arm, never one to cuddle upright over my shoulder. Oh no, she has to lay like an infant, across my lap, with her baby, blankie, and water cup. With her head on the armrest and her stomach curled toward mine.

She catches my eye, and quite seriously stares deeply into my green eyes with her royal blue ones, holds of two little hands with her fingers held in the funniest little scrunched up positions and says:

TEW.

This means, Please sing me songs, Mom. And not just one, but two. Perhaps three. It also means start with the one that makes me giggle, and then do the one that makes me semi calm, and then I’ll most likely ask for one more, so at that point, it’s kinda your choice of the remaining four standard melodies.

10364089_10101539824462340_3543482985312925188_nAll that, from the word “Tew.”

But then, out of no where … She points to her eye.

Eye. Eye. No. Mou. (pointing to each as she says it.)

Oh boy … I know what I’m in for now.

Mama (points to my eye.)

Yes, Mama’s eye.

Mama (points to my nose)

Yes, Mama’s nose.

And so on and so forth. But tonight, she took it to a whole new level. She pointed to the door and said:

Da. Eye. Ja. Nose.

And then pointed to her baby, Baby. Mouth.

I just kept waiting, thinking she’d say more.

Mama.

Oh right–yes Becca, Daddy has eyes, and a nose and a mouth. And Joshua has eyes, a nose and a mouth. And does baby?

Yeah.

And does Becca?

YEAH!! Da. Ba.

Daddy and … Bop? (no) Ball? (no) um…. Sheep? (Yeah!!) Daddy read you the sheep book?

Yeah!!

That’s great BooBoo! Sleepy time now?

TEW. (serious eyes again, two hands held up in demonstration.)

Okay, Boo. Tew songs just for you. Coming up.

My word, she steals my heart. And then steals it again. And again. And again. There’s just NOTHING like a one year old.

Nothing.

Posted in Becca Boo, Dear Rebecca, Loved it., On Being a Mom | Tagged , | 2 Comments

“Hello, God, Answers Please?”

Many moms have commented on the blessing I enjoy of having my kids in a wonderful daycare. And yes, it’s a blessing! I’m so grateful to work from home, with such flexibility, with a lady who loves my kids I swear as much as I do! And you’d think on daycare days, I’d dive into work and get so much done.

But I don’t. At least not lately. I used to but now …

Increasingly, I feel aimless. Directionless. On M/W/F I get up, go through the motions with my kids, get them off to daycare, and think “I’ll be so productive!” And then I sit back, and it hits me: I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be here. 

But acknowledging that line of thinking would mean acknowledging the maybe it’s time to leave. And I don’t want to. But I do. But I don’t. But I CAN’T. Because I’m not 100% sure we’re supposed to.

What is this whole thing called “calling”?

If I don’t want to live here, can’t I just leave? If we want to move, can’t we just move? Many people would say, “Oh COURSE you can! Do what’s best for your family and go home!”

Well, what’s best? Where’s home? How in the WORLD would we make that choice? If home is where my heart is then … my heart is with my husband and kids. But that’s not an answer … So if home is where family is … then I have two homes. If home is where friends are …. I have many homes. If home is where God is calling us to be …. well, then He’d better speak soon cuz I darn well can’t stay here, aimless and wandering, much longer.

I feel like I’m going crazy. I’m slowly going crazy. With no deadlines, no aim, no goal, no structure … Just the day in day out of life, going on 8 months of only “no” for answer … The planner in me just can’t handle this. The “pressure prompted” in me can’t do this. I’m getting nothing done because there’s no reason to! Seriously. I’m going to just start packing just to pack. To have something to start and finish.

About twice a week I call my mom and cry and say, “Mom! I feel like I’m going crazy! Why can’t I just pull it together? Why can’t I just do life, and enjoy where we’re at? Why am I so listless and depressed?”

And about twice a week she says, “Honey, give yourself a break. The unknown affects us more than we realize. The lack of closure hurts you more than you realize. This all hangs on you more than you realize. Give yourself a break.”

And that always shapes me up for a little while. Like, long enough to start a load of laundry, or maybe MAYBE do a 30 minute workout.

But seriously. I can’t call her just to have her remind me of that, like, 13 times a day!

I need a project. With a deadline. I need a purpose. I know I know—my purpose is to honor Jesus, lovingly raise my children, support my husband blah blah blah—but you know what I mean. I need to know what we’re walking TOWARD. I need to know where we’ll be this Fall. I need to know I need to KNOW I NEED to KNOW!!!!

God, please! How long, must I pray, must I pray to you? How long, must I wait, must I wait for you? (Thanks, Tenth Avenue North for those lyrics. They run through my head DAILY.)

Has anyone gone through this kind of “unknown” before? I know you’re out there … please share! I need to know there’s an end. I know in my head and heart that there is–and that someday this will be a blip on the map of our life. But right now … right now it’s just endless. So very endless.

Posted in God, On Being in Ministry, On Faith and this Life, On Moving to Wisconsin, On Working Motherhood | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Were the years wasted???

Adoption is not an easy road. Parenting isn’t either, for that matter, but adoption brings it’s own unique challenges. Written by my mom…please read!

Journey On ...

question

I have a tendency to state things rather dramatically, especially when emotions are running high.

Today, I need to say these words, even though I know they’re illogical, not true, and completely for “theatrical affect”:

“I have wasted 14 years of my life!”

An adoptive parent once said to us …

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Too Pretty to be a Pastor’s Wife?

“How you doing today?”

As I filled my water bottle at a rest stop in southern Minnesota, I looked to my right to see two older men, sitting in an office.

“I’m doing fine–how ’bout you?” too pretty to be a pastors wife

“Good, good. Going far?”

“Madison to Albert Lea. So, far but not too far.”

“ALBERT LEA? What the heck’s in Albert Lea?”

“Ha, ah, well, a church. My husband’s a pastor and we’re going to interview there.”

Short pause.

” … You’re a PASTOR’S wife??”

“Yep, sure am!”

“Well, you’re far too pretty to be a pastor’s wife. Do you sing?”

“‘Cuse me?”

“Do you sing? I mean, you kinda have to sing if you’re the pastor’s wife, dontcha? You gotta lead the choir and whatnot.”

“I do sing, and yeah, I guess a lot of us do! But there’s no choir at this church; more of like, drums and electric guitars.”

“Oooh, is this one of those churches where you get saved?”

“Yes.” Long pause. “…Is that okay?”

“Guess so. Do you like wearing dresses? Really, you’re just too good lookin’ to be a pastor’s wife.”

“Hm, I do like dresses, but I usually just dress like this.” (gesturing to my skinny jeans and tan hoodie.)

“You wear jeans to church??”

“Yeah …. lots of people do. Have you been to church lately?” (with a chuckle in my voice)

“Yep. Every week. I’m Catholic.”

Let me tell you, this conversation was one of the best ones of my life. It went on a while, and I was told, no less than five times how “good lookin'” I am. Far too pretty to be a pastor’s wife.

In the end, we talked more about faith, more about the church, a little about my kids, and I  wrote down my website and email address, promising them a free book if they email me (“On religion?” “No, on personal accountability.” “Ooo–that sounds good!”).

“You got some lipstick? You should wear some lipstick. Before that interview, you put on some lipstick, and you’ll just be all ready to go. Far too pretty to be a pastor’s wife….”

“Thanks gentleman–I just wanna keep you in my back pocket!”

“Email me and let me know about your husband’s job and I’ll tell ya again that you’re beautiful!”

I wonder if I’d worn my typical sweats and sweatshirt combo for this 4 1/2 hour drive if this conversation would have happened. 🙂

So, thanks Denny at the rest stop. You made this pastor wife’s day.

 

Posted in Loved it., On Being in Ministry | 1 Comment

How Spontaneity Helped Me Clean the Bathrooms

Tonight, from 5pm on, I cleaned two bathrooms, bathed two children, gave one haircut, made three dinners, cleaned one kitchen, baked one cake, dressed two children, painted 10 fingernails and 10 toenails, created two Easter baskets, did a 30 minute Pilates DVD, and fought some bad guys in the backyard.All because I was spontaneous.

I have this personality that I’m cursed with. This personality that works so. much. better. under pressure. Under deadlines. Under expectations, standards, and goals.

Well let me tell you, there’s not a whole lot of those things in our lives right now.

For the past 6-ish months, my husband has been around a lot. I mean, a LOT. So, I’ve had a lot less on my plate. It has been a blessing … and a curse.

Because when there’s less on my plate, I get less done. When I have all the time in the world, I get less accomplished.

Now, I’m not complaining; help is good. Help is wonderful. A partner in this life is an amazing gift!

But today, something amazing happened: Our kids fell asleep in the car. Miraculous, I tell you.

So I looked at Erik and I said, “DRIVE!” and we ended up in Milwaukee. 

There was so much to do at home. Bathrooms to clean, cakes to bake, Easter dinner to plan, baskets to fill, workouts to do, guitars to restring, pedal boards to fix … all before Easter Sunday.

But instead, we chose spontaneity. And you know what? After a wonderful family fun day 90 minutes from our home, we reentered “real life,” and I got SO MUCH DONE.

The bathrooms got cleaned. The kitchen got swept. The almost 4 year old’s hair got cut. The bills got opened and sorted. The workouts were accomplished. The children were bathed. Etc. Etc. So on and so forth.

10176161_10101534191421000_5051930694433857001_n-2Why? Because spontaneity early in the day forced a beautiful, glorious deadline into my life.

Thank you, pressure prompted me, for embracing spontaneity so you could actually clean the bathrooms. I like this new tactic.

Posted in Life Observations, Loved it., Myers Briggs, On Doing Life with Erik, On Fun with Family, On Randomly Being Me | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Thankful on Easter Eve

10176161_10101534191421000_5051930694433857001_nTonight I am thankful.

Thankful for a sunny Spring day, albeit a little windy and chilly. (Trying to focus on the positive)

Thankful for frilly blue princess dresses that flutter in the wind and make strangers smile.

Thankful for a husband who is so present and “in it” with me on this parenting journey.

Thankful for friends who ride the highs and lows of life with us, and stick with us when everyone else turns away.

Thankful for coffee. Always thankful for coffee.

Thankful for prayer. Always ALWAYS thankful for prayer.

Thankful for two kids who are learning to play together. What a joy that is to watch unfold and grow …

Thankful for P90X3. Never thought I’d say it, but I am.

Thankful that when I went into the bathroom tonight to brush my teeth, I saw a book sitting on the back of the toilet. I see that book every day when I go into the bathroom, but tonight of all nights I decided to pick it up (I haven’t in months) and flip to the page I was last on. Of all things, the topic was … Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem, His Last Supper, His betrayal, death, and resurrection.

Of all things.

I was going to finish up my bathroom routine, and crawl into bed and maybe check Facebook. I was going to turn off the light and drift off to sleep. I was going to maybe feel a titch guilty that I never did get to my Bible today … today of all days, with tomorrow upon us.

But instead I followed a super random prompting to pick up a book that I actually don’t really care for (which is why I haven’t touched it in months) that has sat in the toilet “magazine” basket for a while now and spontaneously read a brief but touching description of what my Lord did for me so many years ago.

Thank God for spontaneity.

Spontaneity brought freedom to me today. It brought laughter to me today. It brought motivation to me today. And spontaneity brought focus to me. In the last moments of my day, a spontaneous choice to pick up a book helped me made good on my intention to remember what tomorrow is all about.

Happy Easter; He Is Risen!

Posted in Loved it., On Choosing Joy, On Fun with Family | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

When You Finally Get the “NO”

People always say “Oh, God’s never not answering you. His answer is just ‘not yet’.”

Trust in the Lord

Doodled this in church on Sunday (it helps me pay attention!) Obviously my spirit was pulling up all the Scriptures I memorized as a kid, and reminding myself to wait with patience!

People say “It’s in times of waiting, hoping, dreaming, wishing, begging for answers that we are shaped, molded, and challenged to trust.”

People encourage “Just keep holding on! Keep your chin up! The answer will come–at just the right time.”

Well, so, what do you do when you finally get the answer? And the answer is “NO”?

You thank God.

You lift your hands in worship.

And remind yourself of the truths that …

God is sovereign–over all.

God is good–answers or no answers.

God has the best for you in mind–and the best often takes time.

God uses all things for good–even seemingly silly long waiting periods that end in “no.”

So much was worked out and through in our spirits as we spent this time hoping. So much crushing–the good kind–of our prides, our arrogance, our expectations. So much building–the necessary kind–of our faith, our trust, our reliance. On HIM, not us, of course.

And so much more will be too. The wait is not over.

We finally got our answer. And we still don’t know what’s going on. Isn’t that just like God? Love it. Absolutely love it.

I’m so thankful for our “no,” because it’s clear. It’s exactly what we asked for–clear, right, and just in the nick of time.

So, what do you do when you finally get your answer and the answer is no?

Say THANK YOU! and fall back to your knees in faith and gratitude.

Posted in God, Loved it., On Being in Ministry, On Faith and this Life | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Plodding through the Airport

I’m plodding

I thought this to myself as I traipsed through yet another airport.

Is that an output of my state of mind right now?

YES.

I’m plodding. I’m not strolling, skipping, speed-walking … But plodding. If you know me, you know that’s not normal.

life has me down right now.

Stop. Scratch that. PARTS of life have me down right now. A big part (my husband’s job, our future, where we are going next, so yeah pretty big stuff.) But not all of life has me down. And that’s good to remember.

What did I do about it today?

I sent up “rocket prayers” (thanks to my sixth grade teacher for that lesson on prayer!)

I asked three Godly friends to pray for me. And pray they did. And I felt it.

I watched two ducks paddle down the river in San Antonio during a rain/wind storm–and wished I was them. (They looked so happy!)

I did what I love (teaching QBQ!)

I even found myself singing an old Sunday school song:

I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart … I’ve got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart ….WHERE?! Down in my heart to stay!

But I’m still plodding. And you know what? That’s okay. The plodding I mean. Sometimes, all we can do, is plod on forward, seeing the good, asking for prayer, clinging to hope, singing silly songs of reminder, and desperately looking to Christ.

Posted in God, Life Observations, On Being in Ministry, On Choosing Joy, On Faith and this Life, On Learning to HOPE, On Traveling | Leave a comment

Trust in the LORD

Could’ve written it myself. 🙂

ERIK LINDEEN

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

Its a Bible verse I’ve had memorized for almost 3 decades.  However, actually living out the truth of it is a whole other matter! Its an easy verse to quote to your friends who are going through a tough time.  When YOU are the one in the dark valley, when YOU are the one that is confused, frustrated, and running out of patience, it is much harder to believe that God will make your paths straight.

And yet… And yet I look back and I see God’s hand on my life and I know that He WILL make my paths straight and He WILL lead and guide me to the right place.

When Kristin and I were engaged and…

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I’ve Been Half-Lying

“God is sovereign!”

We’ve all said it. Complain, complain, critique, question, complain … “But it’s all good–God is sovereign!”

I’m know I’m guilty of it. Saying that TRUTH but not wholeheartedly believing it. I mean, I BELIEVE God is sovereign. I know it to be true. But when faced with a choice to truly ACT on that belief and, as my friend put it, have an “ultimate out on the limb trust and free falling in a waiting pattern” moment, it’s stink in’ hard.

Really, really hard.

It’s one thing to say “God is sovereign!” when you feel in control.

It’s easy to say, “Yep! Trusting God on this one!” when you feel it’s in the bag.

It’s simple to say, “For sure–God’s way it what we really want, no matter what it is.”

It’s much more difficult to release control. To realize that you can’t answer all the questions. You can’t control all the answers. You can’t avoid your past, and you can’t change it, either.

Life happened, for better or for worse, and every little piece of your life will follow you wherever you go, because, for better or for worse, (I think “for better” even when the experience was a “for worse”), it defines who you are.

And in ministry, it makes you the kind of “minister” you are going to be.

Battling infertility shaped me.
Not having a home church for years shaped me.
Finally understanding and valuing community because of our first life group at Discovery Church shaped me.
Following God’s call to Madison, WI changed me.
Dealing with disappointments, hurts, broken relationships, and loss of community worked me through the ringer.

And through all this, I’ve said, “God is sovereign!” Because He is. And always will be. And right now? Well, He’s really, really, really pushing me to wholeheartedly, out-on-a-limb, completely and utterly TRUST. IN. HIM.

He’s molding. Molding, punching, reshaping, breaking, working working working on this clay. And guess what?

He. Is. Sovereign.

Posted in God, Infertility, On Being in Ministry, On Being Infertile, On Church Planting, On Faith and this Life, On Moving to Wisconsin | 2 Comments