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Monday, August 20, 2012

Bathtime for Little Three

 
    I recently had the joy of being able to photograph The Daughter as she gave her newborn son, Little Three, his first sponge bath. No comments are necessary. Enjoy.














All clean and smelling so very sweet. Love that baby smell.

God's in His heaven and all's right with the world.

Running Chickens Resting Birds

Caption:  When you see chickens running, it's not hard to believe they're descended from dinosaurs...
  
 Oh dear Lord, have I ever been the chicken. Running around like my head is chopped off. Home. Porch Repair and cleaning. Booth stuff EVERYWHERE. Tagging and sorting...endlessly. Trips to East Nashville. New baby. Did I mention JOY?! Paying attention to Little One while watching the world unfold for Little Three. Seeking to love The Daughter well during this time of change in her life. Squeezing in time with precious Little Two. More JOY. Setting up my booth in the new antique mall. Painting. Hauling. Unpacking. Arranging. Rearranging. Legs tired. Back aching. More to do. Trying hard not to obsess. Whew.
 
The mornings have been cool. No humidity. I grab my coffee and head outdoors to sit in the quiet. My mind is already racing. And then.

The chickadees call me to prayer. And to rest. And to remembrance. They spend at least an hour each morning in my pear tree. Richly laden with ripening fruit, its woody sweet fragrance woos them from afar. Arriving in a darting and swooping chatter of squeaks and tiny trills, they seem to play some meet and greet dance that is theirs alone. I chuckle as I watch the flurry of their activity. At last count, there are nine of them. Just enough for a party. My, they do have a good time.

But wait. It is not long before the quiet descends in the chickadee's world. Occasionally I will see one twirl and dart or hang upside down as only chickadees do, but a pervasive and enveloping sense of peace soon covers the tree. The tiny birds have eaten their fill of the ripening pears. They are satiated and satisfied. So they rest.

Rest.

I close my eyes in sleep each night, but the busyness of my dreams often rouses me one, two, three and sometimes four or five times every night. It seems that I am ever forgetful in that place of dreaming...the carseat in my car has vanished along with the prices on all of the items in my booth. I am running, running, running, but something or someone is always just beyond my reach. I open my eyes to more tired.

I get it, Lord.

Between the restless nights and the lesson of the chickadees in the pear tree, I see what you are showing me. The weariness of restlessness is the product of a cluttered, all-too-busy brain. Not enough soul silence. Not enough time just sitting in your Presence long enough to be satiated. So today I am stepping back. I am posting after a drought. I am meditating on one of my beloved Psalms, the Twenty-Third. You know the one.

"He leads me beside the still waters....He restoreth my soul."

This running chicken is choosing today to be a resting bird.

Amen.


The running chicken photo is from mypetchicken.com; 
the little birdie is from animalphotos.info

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Introducing Little Three

    The world has shifted for us again as Little Three has made his grand appearance. And a very welcome one, at that. Any August baby that arrives eleven days early is a champion in my book.
    The Husband and I are so very thankful that we have been blessed to see "the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Little Three is our first grandson after two adorable granddaughters initiated us into the wonder of grandparenthood. As I told one friend, "Our cup overfloweth with joy." And without further ado, here is why. Meet the newest member of our clan!
The sweetest little face you ever did see..

Guess who was so excited to see her baby brother? 
As she met him, she asked her mommy, "Is he borned yet?"

 Little One has NO IDEA how much her life is about to change!
And that's a good thing.
Her mommy and daddy gave her a baby boy doll to take care of
that is about the same size as her baby brother!

And then the "big" family arrived. Little Three is in for a big treat where family
is concerned. We are loud and loving and there are lots of us!






And now...let the wild rumpus begin!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Prayers for the Overwhelmed Mother


Sometimes all you have is a quick arrow. There's not even enough time to get down on your knees.  Just like that. You pull back the bow and send the prayer heavenward. The cry leaves your heart and instantly wends its way to the heart of the Living God. He knows. He sees. He hears.
 

More often than not as a mother of young children, my day started off with a run...not a run out in the neighborhood where I could grab a few minutes to myself, but instead a run to the bathroom accompanied by a quick splash of water on my face. On a good day, I would take a minute or two to brush my teeth before I headed upstairs to pick up the wailing child out of his or her crib and begin chasing my toddlers, but sometimes I could not even take the time to do this simple task. No matter how quickly I moved, my day was already off and running, and I would be stuck playing catch-up. Do you ever feel that way? Rest assured, you are not alone.

As I rounded the stairs, I would ignore the mess that would greet me. I would grab that baby, find that sweet sugar under the neck and head back down with the rest of the crew to begin the daily ritual. If things were relatively calm (that was always a 50/50 proposition at best), I would find time to put on clothes that matched (and were clean), brush my hair, and perhaps put on deodorant and maybe a little make-up, but trust me, that was not the norm. (If I told you how many times I changed out of my pajamas or bathrobe just before The Husband arrived home in the evening, you would be sure that I was lying.)

Forget that long hot shower to help me wake up or a steaming cup of coffee to accompany me during my quiet time...the shower would have to wait until the long day neared its end, The Husband was at home, and the little ones were down for the night. The quiet time would usually end up as a few stolen moments snatched here and there from an already busy day.

It's why my old Bible is splotched and stained with who knows what and usually vied with the open cookbook for the place of importance on the kitchen counter. Part of Colossians is missing because it did not survive a bowl of spilled cereal that helped the thin rice paper pages to totally disintegrate. That Bible has completely come loose from the spine, but tucked here and there are notes on scraps of paper and if you flip through the pages, you will find some that have been underlined and starred over and over again. That Book and its Truths were my lifeline. Granted, it was one that I did not avail myself of nearly enough, but even now I can remember many of the scriptures that sustained me through the moments that became days and then somehow strung themselves into years. 

My friends and I laugh that so much of our lives with young children was not about "living" the life we envisioned, it was about surviving the life we somehow found to be ours. I called it controlled chaos. However if I took the time to look around me, it was obvious that I did not have the control, I only liked to pretend that I did.

It doesn't matter if you have one child, or two, or three, or four (like I had) or more. When you are in charge of someone else's well-being, it gets crazy. And messy. And it is totally time consuming. Yes, one child is very time-consuming. It's why I never look askance at a harried mother no matter how many or how few children she has in tow. I know. Been there. Overwhelmed with one. Overwhelmed with two, three and four. My theory is that whatever time you have, the little person takes that and more. Children are greedy for time. They don't mean to be. It's a consequence of the fall. They are demanding. Heck, life is demanding. 

My inability to control my life and my toddlers' lives is what drove me to my knees. I learned to pray. It became as necessary to me as breathing. In fact it seemed most days that I kept up a running conversation with God. I asked for help. A lot. Every day. Sometimes over and over and over again in space of an hour. I prayed for patience with the unending demands of toddlers and babies. I prayed for the ability to accomplish tasks that I disliked then and dislike now: the endless washing and drying and folding of clothes, loading and unloading the dishwasher, cutting coupons, going to the grocery store yet again, and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning whatever mess happened to be at hand. I prayed for wisdom. I prayed for deliverance. I laughed. I cried. I prayed when I was angry, when I was frustrated, and when I was thankful or grateful. I prayed. Sometimes it was just one or two words, sometimes it was a whole bunch of sentences hurled in a great heaving, hurling mess of emotion, and sometimes it was a scripture. Yes, I prayed scripture back to God. I actually learned to pray His words more than my own.


Psalm 16:8  I have set the Lord before me, because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-control.

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock in whom I take refuge. 

Psalm 19: 14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Isaiah 59:1 Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save.

Psalm 61: 2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.

Isaiah 64:8 Thou art the potter and I am the clay.

Psalm 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits.

2 Thessalonians: The Lord is faithful and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears. 

Matthew 6: 8b Your Father knows what you need before you even ask him.

2 Sam 22:30b With the help of my God, I can scale a big wall. 

Raising children is like scaling a big wall.
It's hard work, but is oh so incredibly rewarding. 
The view from the top of the wall is amazing. 
Trust me. 
No.
Better yet, put all your trust in Him.



       





Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sacramental

I did not write these words. My old friend Frederick Buechner (I know him well through his works)  did. I wish I had because they certainly ring true for me. Today and always.

A sacrament is when something holy happens. It is transparent time, time when you can see through to something deep inside time. ...In other words, at such milestone moments as seeing a baby baptized or being baptized yourself, confessing your sins, getting married, or dying, you are apt to catch a glimpse of the almost unbearable preciousness and mystery of life.

Needless to say, church isn't the only place where the holy happens. Sacramental moments can occur at any moment, any place and to anybody. Watching someone or something get born. Making love. A high-school graduation. Somebody coming to see you when you are sick. A meal with people you love. Looking into a stranger's eyes and finding out he's not a stranger.

If we weren't blind as bats, we might see that life itself is sacramental.


    The Daughter is on the cusp of pregnancy. Her belly is swollen with the child she carries. Her movements have slowed. She has become very purposeful in these last few days as she awaits the birth of her son. However her toddler, Little One, is still running and jumping and skipping through each day with the same rapidity and a seemingly unending supply of energy. It is a paradox to watch the two together. One like quicksilver and one who is gently turning inward as she prepares herself for what lies ahead.

    I see in both the elements of grace. The dance of life in its ever-changing beauty. Both moving inexorably toward what, for them, are uncharted waters. Little One will soon have the gift of a sibling. And The Daughter and her husband will stretch open the circle of their arms, their lives and their home to welcome another child, a son this time.

    The grace is that the love will not be diminished. It will only multiply, its fount the source of all being, the One who gives life and breath and everything else to His children.

     We are waiting, mindful to see with eyes wide open the "unbearable preciousness and the mystery of life" revealing itself yet again.


  Hands that cradle
Hands that are eager to welcome


Mother And Baby
Hands that will soon be open to the wonder of it all
 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Cupcakes Anyone?!

Martha was on the bandwagon long before anyone else knew that there was about to be a national cupcake explosion. Now we have Cupcake Wars and cupcake stores on nearly every corner (at least in Nashville, that's the case!) Long a favorite for the birthday party crowd, cupcakes are now being served at weddings, business meetings, and other more formal occasions.
Polka-Dot Cupcakes
There are Flower Cupcakes






Animal Cupcakes
Source: family.go.com via Lisa on Pinterest
Source: cutestfood.com via Lisa on Pinterest

Source: cutestfood.com via Lisa on Pinterest


Nature Inspired Cupcakes
Source: google.ca via Lindsey on Pinterest

Source: flickr.com via Lindsey on Pinterest

Sesame Street Cupcakes
Source: flickr.com via Lisa on Pinterest

Disney Cupcakes

Event and Holiday Cupcakes

Source: bing.com via Lindsey on Pinterest

Food Inspired Cupcakes

Retro Cupcakes


Theme Cupcakes

Store Inspired Cupcakes


Wedding Cupcakes


It's totally fine to get fancy, but sometimes simple is sublime!


And that's a good thing!