She always felt it when the train went underground - this sense of eagerness, of hope and of secret excitement. It was as if normal existence were a photograph of shapeless things in badly printed colors, but this was a sketch done in a few sharp strokes that made things seem clean, important - and worth doing.This is the nature of the New Year. The nature of this new life into which I have been thrown. The fresh, the clear - they take me forever to sort. I have mental lists. I make small goals.
- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (p. 25)
Lots of them:
*Getting out of my pajamas
*Getting Piper and Bredon changed and dressed.
*And feeding, the kids must be fed.
*Making the bed is a huge accomplishment. It is made today.
*A shower (without Pete in the house) is a bonus
*Making meals for myself
*Taking my pills
And there are other goals, bonus goals, the
*writing a post for the day
*visiting my online friends while babies nap
*cleaning out my inbox
*grabbing a photo here, a photo there
*figuring out the paypal so we can order my new computer so I can
*process my photos and
*fix my html code in my blog template (oy!)
I move in circles, slow circles.
My mental lists tangle with the hearts in this house. I keep quiet, breathing slow and trying patient, staying me for them, for me, for you. I try not to panic when everything goes crazy at once. "Just do the next thing."
The next thing that meant an ER visit Tuesday to find out that I have gallstones and need to have my gall bladder removed. Which means that I have to add to my list
*researching gall bladder and lyme treatment issues
*calling people who know
*planning different meals to stay healthy and push off surgery
*praying for wisdom and timing with my breastfeeding baby
*crying. I want that on the list. It hasn't happened yet.
And I added worrying yesterday.
My major goal yesterday was to clean and vacuum the living room before Pete arrived home. And maybe do the dishes. Which was his goal. If I did them, he would probably find something else to do. But I didn't get them done. He did. And we made dinner. And we had had a small, quiet window that felt sane. It felt like us.
I do have other goals. Long term goals. Small goals. Things I can see happening. Things that might not happen, but I'd like to try for them anyway:
*learning how to make Lightfoot Creamy Tomato Soup
*reading to my children
*creating a flash website for my photography
And then there is the grateful and the happy things to list that I breathe in and out and barely have time to count, the
*baby scent in my nose
*IV without dextrose
*sun in my eyes as I type (oh, it is beautiful, isn't it?)
*numerous comments and emails from friends
*love that goes around what doesn't fit in my arms
*showers with my toddler
*hope that surgery may help the Lyme
*quality time with my husband, even in the ER
*eyes to see
*gasping astonished moments because God chose me to know Him
*phone calls with my mother, my friend, my new confidante
*a love story God wrote
*little girl time
*visits from family with perfect timing
*emails from friends I didn't know I had
*emails from friends I do know
*toddler messes and imagination
* "yes" that lights up little girl eyes
*baby smiles that light me up
*naptimes to hide in kitchen and gain perspective
*light that falls across my bed into my rocker and onto my son
*the sound of baby breathing at night - one on each side of me
And my not-alone, those friends who have taken the time to offer me their "I see you..." in these last weeks of silent crazy:
*Ann who has so often given to me
*Lyla, a fellow introvert who emails and offers
*Anne, who followed God into my life
*Sarah, who found rest in my restless
*Corinne, who knows and cries and comments
Love Does That*Cassandra
All day long a little burro labors, sometimes
with heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries
about things that bother only
And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting
than physical labor.
Once in a while a kind monk comes
to her stable and brings
a pear, but more
he looks into the burro's eyes and touches her ears
and for a few seconds the burro is free
and even seems to laugh,
because love does
- from Love Poems from God by Daniel Ladinsky
I considered putting this in an email, but then I thought it might encourage someone else by being here.*Laura, who tells me I'll capture the sky
Beauty heals. Beauty restores. Beauty is somehow deeper and more powerful than all of the other things we know to be true about our life in the fallen world. Even when
we don't have the answers yet and when life is not organized properly, if we can stop for beauty, however simple, every day, it can do an amazing work of grace on us.
I've noticed that beauty means much to you and that it charges your personal battery like it does mine.
Every time it happens, I'm astounded at how much beauty restores and strengthens me, even when my problems are not yet solved.
But I have to be deliberate about seeking it. Beauty doesn't just come to me often enough to nourish me in the hungry places. I have to search for it and arrange for it.
So here's a prescription: take a beauty vitamin once a day. A picture you adore, a vase of flowers (especially in winter), a bird on the window, music that soars, a book of poetry. As much as possible, surround yourself with it. Don't feel that you have to "earn it" by getting to a place where you feel like there is room for it. Just do it now, in the midst of the mess and the confusion and the sense of being overwhelmed.
I wish -- how I wish -- someone had told me this when I had babies.
I hope it helps.
*Elise, who sends prayers and wonderful advice
And you, my friend, with your world weaving in and out of new son and helper daughter and less sleep and heart-cracking love... I've been meaning to pop in and share something...*Jennifer, who listens and feels what I feel
Every time I see Gideon and his stiff-step walk turning the corner into his sister's room, and I hear her shriek of excited laughter as she runs to pull him in and hands him a toy and begins jabbering to him, I've thought of you lately. I've tried to instill in Eliana a *peace* about her brother being around... to point out how very much he loves her and admires her and wants to be with her. And so far, I haven't once heard her ask him to leave her room. (except when she's changing! :)
So I wanted to share... cultivate that love between Piper and Bredon. Constantly point out, Oh, he loves you! See him look at you! and exaggerate... Oooooh, Bredon, look at sissy's (or whatever you're calling her to him- Pip?) toy, or book, or dress- isn't it beautiful? Isn't it fun? Thank you, sissy!
Gideon is alight, Eliana is alight, and I'm loving their relationship.
May He give you eyes to see, my friend. (And may I add that I'm praying you into the Light, in this time of potential dark...)
*Jessica, who shares in this time
*Faith, who gave me courage to trust
*Bonnie, who prays and writes simply what I can't always say
*Glynn, who gives helpful courage and kind affirmation
*Holley, who asked for my heart at (in)courage
*Heidi, who asks how I am every day, who is blogging again
*Arianne, who wrote to me even in her own sadness - in spite of my joy
I leave you with a happy award today, given to me just last night by another friend, Amy at Haven Space. If you like, consider yourself tagged (but I don't have time for memes right now... *wink*)
And there are more of you; if I were to write out the words that are living in my heart and giving me courage, I'd be writing all day, and I started this post yesterday. You have given me so much extra courage. I have felt your prayers. I wish I had time and energy to encourage you all in return.
Normally, I have a plan. A prayer, really. Something specific to ask God for. But here I am two weeks into the New Year, and I can't begin to nail down anything specific. Maybe I would ask for
*one day at a time, because I can't live a whole year at once right now
But I don't really know what to ask. My prayers are mostly wordless right now, the aching, breathing, tearing-up kind that wend their way past ceiling into atmosphere that is not comprehensible by flesh and blood.
Ann suggested naming the new year. The only name that has come is Immanuel. This year offers me time, hope that I will
*look for Jesus as God with us
*speak more of the Gospel than I have
*pursue His heart in caring for other hearts
It is not much; it is so much. I laugh at that statement. My whole life is such a paradox right now.
I have thought many times in the past few days how we live in the mind, and I want to stay awake, to live for what isn't tangible, even as the tangible calls me into itself with baby cries and dishes and laundry and food. Really living is a miracle.
I think only God could figure out how we can do this and learn to love Him. There is so much that is worth doing. I only know what to do in the moment meant for it.
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)