Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2 going on 12

I asked Reed about "school" today. He goes to MDO and loves it. I only know he loves it bc he cheers every time we pull into church and gets excited most every time I ask if he wants to go to school.

I hear that his school friends come home talking about Reed this or So & So that. Not Reed. In fact today I wanted to know a little more about So & So*. I ask if So & So was his friend, nice, mean, kind, funny, if he shared, etc. He said "no" to it all. I waited a minute, changed the order of the questions, and he said "yes" to it all. I asked if C was his friend, if D was his friend, and if So & So was his friend. The first two are his friends for sure, but he said "no" to all 3. 

So then I asked if Reed played today. This was our conversation: 

Me: did you play today?
Reed: no
M: did you sit still all day?
R: no
M: so what did you play with?
R : ...stone cold silence... 
M: did you play with blocks?
R: yeah 
M: did you play with stickers?
R: yeah 
M: did you play with playdough?
R: yeah 
M: did you play with a chainsaw?
R: yeah

Moral(s) of the story:

1) My kid will answer whichever way he thinks I want to hear 

2) He already hates talking to me about his day 

3) our MDO is better than yours bc they play with chainsaws**

* not child's actual name
**they don't really play with chainsaws

Monday, September 29, 2014

Lessons From A Train

I've always enjoyed counting train cars. For as far back as I remember, I've been glad to get stopped at train tracks. I can't explain it necessarily, but I enjoy seeing the types of cars, watching the train blaze (or sometimes crawl) past, and observing the sometimes awesome sometimes terrible graffiti. I count the train cars if I am stopped from the start of the train, otherwise I just checkout the graffiti.

Tonight, I was stopped by a train. 99 cars. The train passed by, start to finish, in less than 5 minutes. My eyes were literally blurred when the last car passed by. I almost couldn't blink because of the speed. And it got me thinking. Where was the train headed? Was the conductor just ready to get home, or were they running behind schedule? How far had that train traveled? Obviously the train cars were empty, but what had it carried or what was it about to carry? And then I thought about myself. When people look at me and my life, are they happy to stop and observe or am I an inconvenience? Do I present people with a breath of fresh air and a chance to breathe or are they just ready for me to move on? Am I weighted down with 99 things on my mind and passing by my surroundings too fast to take it all in? Do I groan under the weight of life like train wheels sometimes grind when the cars are full?

I want people to enjoy my presence. I want to be a refreshing break in people's day, rather than an inconvenience. I want to enjoy my surroundings instead of racing all over and missing the scenery of life. I don't want to be so weighted down by the cars of busyness, selfishness, to-do lists, etc that I emit a squealing groan of "I'm so tired." "I'm so busy." when people ask how I am. I want my life to be covered in incredible graffiti made up of joy, love, forgiveness, happiness, lessons learned, hope, and faith.

What kind of train are you? Next time you get stopped by a train, think about your response. Can you see the beauty in being stopped by the train or are you irritated? And then take it a step further - if you were the train, would you be blazing by causing a blur of busyness as the after effect? Or do you take in the surroundings? Are you covered in awesome "graffiti" - love, hope, forgiveness? Or does your graffiti look more like stick figures of bitterness and selfishness?

(All images from here)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Real life is...

Real life is tip toeing through the house at 6:45am so Reed won't know I'm awake yet. I have 30 things on my to do list but once he's awake it all seems unimportant

Real life is giving Reed a bath only when he asks for it because bath time is never less than 45 minutes and at 8 o clock at night we just don't have time for that... It's moms bedtime 

Real life is waking up looking forward to nap time because every mom knows that's the most productive hour or two we'll have all day!

Real life is reading a magazine next to the diaper genie (without your glasses) bc Reed wants you near him during bath time, but I better not acknowledge him because he's busy playing with Ducky and Shark...

Real life is more tv time than I'd like...but how do you resist after you've heard "turtles PLEASE!" a bajillion times? Plus he's just so happy watching them 


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Today I will go straight from a visitation for a precious woman who has been healed completely from cancer to a baby reveal party for a family who 8 years after their "youngest" is having another bundle of joy. 

The Lord gives and takes away. 

It never fails to hit me in moments like today of just how fragile life is and just how little control we have. We work so hard sometimes to get our life the way we want it - right house, right number of kids, right job, right income level - and then work even harder to maintain it. However, God's ways are higher than ours. He has plans for our future to prosper and never harm, despite what it feels like.  

No matter what life brings, I pray I am faithful to praise The Lord. Whether he gives or takes away...blessed be the name of the Lord! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Playing hooky

Tonight this kid and I played hooky...

We've entered the "two's" - call them terrific or terrible, it really all depends on the minute :) That alone is enough for most moms to say "oohhh" and understand. It's fun most of the time though. His independence is amazing to see. His thrill of learning by experience/doing is exhausting but fun to help him with. Some days I worry that Reed doesn't enunciate his words enough or think of friends who have kids who can count to a billion (or ten) without getting stuck or sidetracked and wonder if I need to do more. But then Andy and I get told by the Preschool Director that Reed's a leader and we watch him "work the room" at his birthday party where he had actual real life friends - not just the kids of my mom-friends- and I think, "No. We're doing alright." Some days I get overwhelmed by it all. Other days, like tonight, I was able to rejoice in the fact that Reed successfully used a fork to eat his spaghetti! It's the little things y'all.

I'm only working part time but it's plenty! I'm so thankful to be in a work environment that I enjoy. But it's hard to balance being a wife, mom and employee. Balance. It's important to me that I have balance. It won't always happen, and I'm learning to accept that. I'm also learning that staying home from church periodically is better than constantly battling with my son to put down the plastic golf club and put on shorts. It's hard for me to stay home from church. I love ministry! It was my calling long before it was "our" calling so to put it aside is tough. But my son is also my calling. Middle school kids will exist long after Reed stops being a toddler, graduates from high school and moves out. My window to influence Reed is short. My window to teach him to count, use a fork, and to clean up his room is getting smaller. So I work on balance; some nights its ok to stay home and watch Cars & Turbo (I'm just glad we're out of the Little Mermaid phase - after watching it 90 billion times it's not as cute). Sometimes its ok to battle for shorts and shoes and put him in the carseat against his wishes. Sometimes we need family nights, other nights we need date nights. He might cry when we leave, but he's seeing a healthy marriage modeled. And that matters more than any blog I could write, any chore I could mark off the to-do list, or anything else...modeling for Reed what I want for his future. A healthy marriage, a healthy perspective, and a love for the Lord. And sometimes a love for the Lord, means skipping church.

Friday, June 13, 2014

He can...but will He?

This week I found out someone we know has an inoperable cancerous mass. The other details don't matter. It sucks.

When people hear things like this they often say things like "God's in the business of miracles/healing"." Or "God can do anything." And it's true. I don't deny that one bit! In fact I whole heartedly believe it. However, these statements -they don't seem sufficient. They feel empty. They're what you say to fill up space, because how do you really respond? How do you explain that you'll pray along with them, wrestle with God alongside them, and support irregardless. 

I've been reading Job again recently. The thing that's striking to me is that Job asks God a lot of questions, says he'd be better off dead and yet he's still defined as full of integrity. That never changes. He wrestles with God's plans and actions but it's ok. 

Jacob wrestled with God, walked with a limp the rest of his life, but is still mentioned in the Faith chapter (Hebrews 11). 

So the reason I don't say "God can do it; pray for a miracle" is simply this... He can. But will He?

Paul prayed 3 times for God to remove the "thorn in his flesh" but He never did. People pray for babies, but sometimes God doesn't grant it. I've known numerous people who have died from cancer...kids, teens, aunts, grandparents, friends, newlyweds. God could've healed them. But sometimes He doesn't. I don't know why. All I know is this...

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8, 9 NLT)

So I pray. I beg for a miracle this time as I have the other times. But I am also wrestling, because He can, but will He? 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sgt Nuevo's Zombie Brigade

Thursday night I had an awesome, weird, random and incredible experience...I walked 3/4 of a mile (roughly). 

Whoohoo. Big deal right? Everyone's done that at some point in their life. But this wasn't just any walking. This was walking on a two lane windy mountain road in 40 degree weather. I had a police car in front of, and behind, me, and I was walking with Matt.

Let me back up. Several months ago, I signed up to participate in the Carry The Load event in Dallas, TX. This is a non-profit fundraising event that has several purposes- 1) to restore people's understanding of the true meaning of Memorial Day, 2) honor the fallen military, fire, police etc who died for our freedom, and 3) to raise funds for national organizations who support our nation's veterans. I've raised over $650 personally and my team (SGT Nuevo's Zombie Brigade*) has raised over $1500.**

I'm very excited about this event which is a 20 hr event in which people walk or run however long they want/can during the 20 hrs. The idea is that these heroes pushed themselves to their personal limits, so for 20 hours let's honor them by pushing ourselves and "carrying their load". I plan on walking/running 12 hours solid. 

So back to Thursday. Dallas is the final culmination of a national relay that started in NY at the end April. As the relay goes across the country to Dallas, people who signed on to be the designated load carriers walk, run or bike various legs of the relay until reaching Dallas. They usually walk about 10-12 miles within two legs a day. Matt was walking through Dunlap (just north of Chattanooga) around 8pm last night (CST). 

I told my friend who lives in Dunlap and she agreed to go with me. I had no idea what to expect. I knew during the day legs that they could have anywhere from a couple people walking to hundreds. But nighttime is very different. After having the wrong location for the start point, finally finding it, and catching up to the relay, I see one lone guy carrying the Carry The Load flag. He has a headlamp on and is being police escorted. My friend stayed in her car and followed so I wouldn't have to walk back somewhere later. 

Matt is a college student - he'll graduate in December with a business degree. His dad had an office job in the Air Force but never went overseas. He, on all accounts, is not someone who'd seem to have an interest in doing a relay across the country. But after a professor mentioned it in class he decided he needed to. Matt wants people to realize the incredible sacrifice these men & women have made, but also the sacrifice of the families, like mine, who are changed forever whether because of a loved ones fatality, injury, psychological change, etc. So he walks. He's walked in pouring rain, extreme winds, up mountains, during the day, at night where all sorts of animals rustle the leaves, sometimes with a police escort...but usually just all by himself until his leg is completed. 

So for 3/4 of a mile or so I walked with him. He was startled initially but seemed thankful to hear my story and have some company for those few short minutes. It reenergized me for Dallas! Im excited to have this chance. I'm thankful for all the men & women who will take Memotial Day seriously this year, in whatever way they choose, and honor those who've paid the ultimate price.

*the name comes from an intensely crazy workout regimen that my brother created; we found the document listing all the exercises on his laptop when we were planning his funeral

**if you would like to donate to my team, I'm asking you to donate for my friend Brenda to get her to her next fundraising level by visiting http://tinyurl.com/Brendaparrott