Thursday, April 17, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Glue

It's Five Minute Friday time! Come on over to Lisa Jo's and link up. It's five minutes (ish), one prompt, and a community of encouraging women that you wont be sorry you've met. So jump on in, the water's fine!

Promt: Glue

Go.

Brokenness. These last two weeks I have been surrounded by brokenness. Minds that have fissured and cracked. Hearts that have crumbled to ashes and hope that has been shattered. The stories, oh the stories that call out from the pages of charts and the news reals and the lines after lines of court documents that show their struggle and crime. Broken.

Broken hearts and broken relationships. Bonds that should be forged by the cord of three strands-tested and worn. Words of hate and fear emulate in the darkness of this world and I wonder where the light has gone.

It is Passover week. It is the time of death and rebirth as Good Friday waits on the cusp of a new world where the Jews are told again to register and the hospitals and foster homes are full of lost souls and broken hearts.

And I wonder where God is.

And I long for his presence.

And the holiday approaches and I remember the words spilling the story of rolling rocks and shaking ground.

Where there is power greater than principalities and crowns.

Where blood has been spilled and thorns have been pressed, breaking the skin but not breaking the spirit-because it cannot be broken. 
Because
 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created through Him and for Him.17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.…Colossians 1:16

And he is coming. Because he is not broken-he is the glue. He is coming. The darkness is running. He is coming. He is rebuilding the broken hearts. He is coming. Can you feel the earth moving to meet his feet? 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

If You Fall

This path to motherhood. This winding, dangerous, prickly path has not landed me where I had planned. It has taken me through the valley of the shadow of death and my cup has often felt empty. Wanting. I have been lead behind waters filled from my tears and comfort has been hard sought. Through the infertility. Through the adoption process. And through mothering.

Mothering is not easy. It is a price paid in the sweat of a fever and the tears of piercing words spoken by a heart that is hurting. When a child is confused and scared they become angry. When all is ripped away from them and suddenly they are thrust into a family that is not their family and told to behave and listen and obey. But their little hearts are longing for the home and a peace that they have never known. And you, the instant  mamma, the sudden daddy,  you are left with the pieces and the pain. Broken hearts litter the family room floor and words cut like razors to your core. And your heart, battered and bruised tries to reconcile the pieces and fit together how this ever came to be your dream. And you wonder if it ever really was. And if maybe things would have been different.....

And then you scold yourself for even having such thoughts. Because deep down, a midst all the rubble of broken attachments and misguided trust, you know that there is a child that just wants to be loved. And as much as you want to hear that simple word-mamma-and know that it is directed at you, you also know that there may never be a time that it comes. And yet you will wait. You will memorize the verse that tells you how mercies are new each morning. And you will tell yourself that if you get new mercies, they do too. And you will find yourself lending your heart to their hurts and registering the pain of longing when they say that they only have one friend at school. And you  find yourself falling with them, each bruised knee a bruise to your heart, and each hurt feeling a scar on your soul.

And you will fight. You will fight for that peace. You will fight for a classroom and a teacher and anyone who will advocate for this child when you cannot. Because you know. You know that sometimes the most difficult to love need that love the most. And you know that mistakes are never made when it comes to family and how they are chosen. And that there is a plan. Even when that valley is dark as midnight and the waters are not still. There is a plan. And you have but one job: to love.

But sometimes you need reminded. So you may find yourself sitting alone in a hotel room on a work trip, or flipping through Facebook or a blog and you might stumble upon a YouTube. And recognizing the artist name, you follow the link and find it is a love song, sung by a mamma for her babe. And you remember that promise, the one that was given and the one that you made. You remember what it really is to love, and what it feels like to fall.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Be Where Your Feet Are

We had visitors tonight. They walked through our neighborhood and brought with them Tracs and Bibles. I don't mind these visitors-these young men with their sharp ties and black pants. In fact, I applaud their efforts. They walk for miles, fulfilling the requirements of their faith and their church. I always want to invite them in for cookies, but then I remember that I'm a horrible homemaker and the last time I made cookies was, well, I don't even know. So typically I give them a nice smile and nod of encouragement after we have a few words they head off towards the next house on their list. That's what I expected when I opened the door tonight. But that's not quite what I found.

After the initial pleasantries and our individual establishments of faith and lines drawn in the sand, one of the young men kept pushing. I know this isn't the typical fashion of their church, and his partner seemed a little taken aback by the other's continued pushing. Ultimately, we came to one major impasse: he stated that God speaks through a profit and not to each person individually, and I disagreed. Again, I don't know that he entirely spoke for all of his church, and I have nothing against his church, some of my very closest friends, women of astounding faith, are members.

But we triggered a conversation, he and I, and I have a question to pose to you: what is your mission field?

See, this isn't the first talk of missions I've had this week. Just the other day a student and I were talking about missions work in our field and what it truly means to be a missionary. When you're learning to be a nurse there is a huge emphasis on time management and I often tell my students to be where their feet are.

Isn't the same true of missions work? Can't we be missionaries right where our feet are?

I remember growing up and looking at the pictures of families posted around the giant world map on the bulletin board at church. Push pins were planted into countries and territories far away from our little congregation in Montana and it all seemed so exotic. It was still exotic when I boarded a jumbo jet for the first time to fly around the world for my own missions trip. I remember when that first blast of African air hit me like a sticky sweet blow to the chest, and I was hooked. A lifer. I cannot wait to one day return to this place that stole my heart at eighteen.

But I can't go right now. Because right now I have a house full of munchkins and a room full of nursing students. I have a hubby who needs me and a hospital of patients that I help care for. But isn't that missions work also?

Isn't is missions work to wake up every morning and do what God has called you to do that day? Even if it doesn't seem as glamorous as boarding a plane or climbing on a rickety old bus? I think it is.

I think putting a meal on the table is the work of a missionary's heart. Driving the car pool is a lesson in patience, and a ministry of love. Throwing in another load of that never ending laundry is like the rinse and spin of the missions field. 

You. Yes you. You are a missionary. You, mamma who feels like you can't save another sock from the dryer, let alone a soul-you are a missionary. You, husband who spends his time putting bread on the table is feeding the hearts of the lost. You are a missionary. You are right now, smack dab in the middle of your very own missions field. And
 God? He speaks to you, all you have to do is listen. Even if you aren't leading the masses, but are herding children. He has a plan for you, and a voice that whispers to your soul.

Because here's the deal: one soul is no better than the other. One person's salvation does not mean more than another. So whether that new believer is born in Africa or Atlanta, God smiles.

Be where your feet are, friend. Take pride in the field of missions of which you work. Love the souls and the people that you see each day, because that may just be a heart that is hurting and needs his love.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Writer

It's Five Minute Friday time! Come join us at Lisa Jo's and link on up! (And check out her new book, you will love it!). 

Prompt: Writer

Go. 

It's taken me oh so long to call myself a writer. But I always have been. From the moment I could hold a pen to paper and made my first journal out of glue and lined paper and the cardboard of a cereal box because I couldn't stand not putting down the words any longer. I am a writer because when asked what I would take on a deserted island my first answer is always a journal and a pen. 

I am a writer, because it is my therapy. I work through the issues of the day and the chaos of my heart by scrawling down the letters and the stroke marks of the world on my shoulders. And I wonder if any one reads it, and if it matters that they do. I am a writer and I wrote down my story. I scored my heart and pulled back the curtains of my soul to let others know that they are not alone. And I get discouraged. 

Discouraged because the words remain unread. Discouraged because my publisher sends me a tiny check that says no one is interested. Discouraged because Amazon has quite literally more than a million books above mine.  Discouraged because I wrote for awareness, but the fickle hearts remain who don't want to hear the story or recognize the problem. Discouraged because I know there are women out there who know this pain and feel lost-but they don't have to be. This book, these words are my baby. The only thing that I will witness from conception to birth, and I've been told still that the story isn't worth reading. That this "has never been my problem, so I don't have any need for it." I've been told "I had MY babies". 

But I will continue because this is my baby. This blog. This book. The new work in progress that is now well on it's way to finished. This is my therapy. I am a writer. 

Stop. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Prayers for Oso

Six days ago my a post on Facebook alerted me to the tragedy that has happened in this state I now call home. Initial reports of a landslide and tragedy began rolling down my feed and across the news. As time has passed and the news gained more speed and the number of those missing steadily climbed. Each morning the news updates have broken into regularly scheduled programming, and I've watched as the lead officer on the search team has grown more haggard and weary by the minute.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
Families have begun talking as well. One daughter spoke of her mother, who was babysitting her four month old daughter when the slide hit. Both were lost. Two generations, with one in between were washed away with the thick mud. And this is not the only story of loss. Over the last few days there has been little joy found in the rubble and thick mud that once was the thriving Oso. Entire houses have been demolished, with no recognizable trace that they were once even there.

But there are reminders. Scattered pictures and the history in paper of a person will be found buried beneath the earth. Under a pile of damaged siding, reduced to slivers, may be a solitary shoe. And people are still missing. Portions of homes may be found, identified, but their occupants, their wives and mothers, brothers and sisters, children-are not. And families wait.

Photo Credit: National Geographic

They wait through their candle-lit vigils. They wait through the reports and the search tallies. They wait for some closure. They wait for peace and healing and a hope for tomorrow. They wait.

And I wonder if they wait for answers. I wonder if they know how much of this horrendous tragedy had been predicted. Because the truth is, it was. Fifteen years ago Lynne Rodgers Miller and Daniel J. Miller submitted a report to Noel Gilbrough of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and HDR Engineering that discussed the history of landslides along this path of river, and the likelihood of tragedy in the future. The report includes this:
"The gradual changes in landslide geometry resulting from failures at the toe can reduce stability 

of the entire slide mass (Miller and Sias, 1997), thereby increasing rates of activity upslope and 

increasing the potential for a large catastrophic failure. " 

and this: 
"The potential for large-scale destabilization also exists over the western portion of the landslide. 

Current activity is concentrated along the western portion of the toe with headscarp advance into 

a large, old, downdropped slump block. This block sits at the base of Whitman bench, buttressing 

a slope with over 200 feet of additional relief to the top. Gradual reduction of this block by mass 

wasting reduces loading of the toe of this slope, with the potential for triggering renewed 

slumping of Whitman bench.

The statements above are not predictions, but inferences based on observations described above 

and on analyses described in previous reports (Miller and Sias, 1997). I currently have no basis 

for estimating the probable rate or timing of future landslide activity. The primary conclusion to 

be drawn is that mass wasting activity will persist for as long as the river remains at the toe of the 

landslide."

The evidence was there. The history of previous landslides and catastrophe was present and accounted for. And I wonder if they knew.

Knowledge or not, one fact remains: nothing can replace the loved ones lost and the families that have been shattered. All that is left is the hope in tomorrow and the prayers for those who are still trying to survive. One minute at a time.


References:

The New York Times

Miller, D. & Miller, L.J. Hazel/Gold Basin Landslides: Geomorphic Review Draft Report. M2 Environmental Services. Letter to Noel Gilbrough.
October 18, 1999.

Conscious Uncoupling

Apparently Gweneth Paltro and her hubby are getting a divorce. Oh no, wait it's not a divorce any more-it's conscious uncoupling. Yes, conscious uncoupling. See, what I learned on the news this morning is that we live longer now, beyond the previous 50ish years and into 80ish years and we're just not meant to be with one person that long. Silly humans. According to the doc on Good Morning America, they are divorcing from the term divorce. Because this is better for the children. Because it's giving children the opportunity to model love. You know, by breaking those vows and promises you made.

 Um, what? 

Let's go to the source. According to Gweneth and a clip on GMA, "Being married for ten years is hard". Ya think? Yes, it is hard. It's hard to put your wants and needs second to some one else's. It's hard to put down that pair of shoes because he wants a new bow. It's hard go to Mexican for your date night (again) because your spouse doesn't like to branch out. It's drives me batty when I do the laundry and have to pull the t-shirt from out of the sweat shirt for the 10,000th time, when I've asked him to separate them BEFORE putting them in the hamper! I agree, Gwen, it's HARD.

But here's the deal. I'm not a marriage expert, but I do know this: it's hard for him too. I know that on a fairly regular basis I drive my hubby nuts. I know that he's set down that bike he wanted or the new gun, because it was more important for our family, so more important to him, to spend the money elsewhere. I know there are a million little quirks I have that drive him fifty shades of crazy. Why? Because we're two different people. And marriage is hard. 

But that's what makes it worth it. If things were always easy, what would there be to fight for? In our nation, the divorce rate is upwards of 50%. Every 16 seconds a marriage ends. That's over 16,000 divorces a week. 

Sorry kids but conscious uncoupling sounds to me like just another way for Hollywood to make their choices seem more glamorous. Let's just call a spade a spade, shall we? It's a divorce. Nothing sugar coated about that. It's a broken promise and trod upon vows. And I wonder, how many times is it unnecessary? Don't get me wrong, I know that in certain situations divorce is absolutely necessary. And only the two people involved can make that decision. But is it really absolutely necessary in over 50% of marriages? 

Marriage is hard. It's really hard. And sometimes you look at that person sitting across the table from you and you wonder how in the world you got here. You may not be in love with them that day. And guess what? They're not head over heals for you some days either. But the reality is that even if I left-even if I threw in the towel on those less than perfect days, I would never find a person that I was in love with every single second of every single day. Because I'm human. And we're fickle creatures, us humans. So it comes down to one question: Is it worth it?

Is it worth it to get up every day and love the man who lays in the bed next to me, even when he doesn't separate his shirts? Is it worth it to keep on keeping on when some days I just want to run away? The answer-yes, it is. Here's why:

I made a promise. I made a vow before God, my family, my friends and that man that I would love him, honor him and cherish him every day of my life. Even if I don't want to. 

He made a promise to me, in front of all the same people for all the same things. 

We made a promise to each other before we ever walked down that isle that divorce wasn't going to be a word in our vocabulary. It's not just the two of us in this commitment, and a cord of three strands is not easily broken. 

It's the things you have to work for that you cherish the most. And maybe this is just my own opinion, and probably I'm going to get some backlash from it, but even if it's hard, even if loving that person is the last thing you want to do today (or this week, month, even year), isn't keeping that promise worth it?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Grace For Mom Challenge

So here's the deal. Us moms, we're busy. We're transporting to basketball practice and skating lessons. We're chasing toddlers and soccer balls. And our life, it get's messy. Yesterday I had a little hissy fit over a commercial about perfect moms (you can check that out here.) and this morning a friend of mine posted a picture of her kitchen, where she was "keeping it real". Now this mom-she's a rock star. She has girls in skating that she loves, supports and is their biggest fan. And I love that she posted a less than perfect picture. Because that's what motherhood is, right? It's messy. It's not all the laundry folded or dishes washed. So I think we need to celebrate that. Let's give each other a little grace and a little love over our messy kitchens and disarrayed living rooms. Let's start a revolution, one real mom at a time.

I have a challenge for you. Do you think you're brave enough?

Here's your mission, should you choose to accept it: Send me a picture. Yep, that's it. Send me a picture. Of real life. You can post in in your comment below, or tag  me on Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtag #GraceforMom. If we all bend a little, if we all show that we're human, and not the carbon copies that we see on TV, don't you think we'd all be a little happier? Maybe we'd realize that we don't need to compete for Mother of the Year. Perhaps we'd see that we'll all be a little stronger, a bit better of a mom, if we weren't stressed over the state of our floor should some one drop by.

I'm not saying we should live in filth, but I am saying that life get's messy. We all need a little grace, and sometimes playing outside is more important than mopping that floor. So, are you in? I'll start things off. Here's my pic.

See the coffee creamer? If I'm home, it doesn't leave the coffee pot. Come on over and I'll fix you a cup.