Timeline of Grace

Journey through the Seasons

Page 2 of 10

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad

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Anyone who ever says to the words to me “your dad” can’t help but say it with a mixture of warmth, sentimentality, and a hint of humour. I’m the same. When anyone asks me about my dad, I smile to myself, and can’t quite put into words exactly what I feel. I can be speaking to someone for the first time ever, and when they realize I’m “Spencer’s daughter” it’s as though they immediately warm to me and can’t wait to tell me how much they like him.

My dad has always been a place of safety for me. I used to love to go places with him, to the hardware store, anywhere. I just liked riding in his car, in comfortable silence. It was a neutral zone in my life. Although I’m very grateful for all the health food I was exposed to by my mother, the all natural juices, co-op orders full of whole wheat fruit juice sweetened cereals, and carob flavoured peanut butter cups,  when I was with my dad, there were no rules about food. I could basically choose anything I wanted from the rack of treats at the convenience store on the way home from ballet or anywhere. It was ok. The world was not going to end from me eating a Charleston Chew and drinking something carbonated.

I know it will be the same for me with my own kids. I’ll be busy concocting some healthy version of chocolate chip cookies, while their dad will simply buy them a packet of chocolate buttons…and it will really be ok!

My dad has passed on to me many things including a love of coffee, an ear for music,  the ability to burst into fits of unrestrained laughter over things other people don’t find as funny, a heart to encourage people, and the freedom to just….be. I  have a lot of memories of my dad just….being. For most of my life I remember him enduring a 3 hour commute every day to work, and looking back I’m surprised he had any energy at all to run me to and from anywhere  in the evening. On a hot summer day when everyone was outside, in the water, or getting work done in the garden, my dad would be content sat inside on his computer, or watching a movie. I admire that in him now. In a world that doesn’t stop, in a world that values people only for what they do, in a world where jobs are never quite finished, and there is always something you should be doing, he could quite happily be content..just to be.

As an adult now, and especially as a mother, it’s easy to feel guilty when I’m doing nothing, and temporarily checking out….yet I know my dad would be the last person to judge me, and that’s a great feeling.

These days we live in different worlds. We have many differences of opinion on politics and issues, however, despite that, I believe my dad is an excellent judge of character when it comes to people he knows in real life, and I believe he has great insight into important situations.  I spent much time in prayer over whether or not to come to England when I was in Ireland, yet I was still fairly young, and when I heard my dad vocalize his encouragement to me, I felt overwhelmed with peace. In other times in my life I’ve found myself in sticky situations, or in situations that I’ve been felt extremely vulnerable and afraid to face head on, and somehow my dad has been able to wade in at just the right time with great wisdom and insight.

I remember my dad at bed time when I am with my own kids. He was great at putting me to bed. He always had time for another story, or another game, and he made it fun. He would pretend to give me horse rides from the living room to my bedroom, and in between reading stories, he would tell me stories about when he was a kid. As a mother I find bed time hard to savor, I want to rush it, to skip pages of the story and rush down the stairs to my evening, and I know my kids pick up on my impatience.  Yet I never had that sense from my dad. It always felt like he genuinely enjoyed spending that time with me. I now understand what a gift that was.

Last summer when I was visiting, he took it upon himself to drive me to Milwaukee to meet my older brother, and on the way we went through the drive through at Starbucks and he bought us both a coffee, asking if I wanted anything else…I didn’t but it felt so good to be asked.…like I was his little girl again, feeling so secure, and content. I savored that ride up to Milwaukee with him, chatting easily, drining our coffees, not afraid of any silences. 

Someone recently encouraged me, regarding something coming up in my life I was expressing apprehension about, and they said, “you just need to know that the pressure is off you….God’s already gone ahead of you, so just know that there is no pressure on you” The word was just what I needed for the situation, but later on I thought more about it, and I realised that when I think of my dad, I feel no pressure. Living overseas, naturally I miss him, I feel slightly sad when I realise we haven’t spoken or emailed in awhile, and there are many things about me and my life here in England that he’ll probably never get his head around completely, but despite that,  there is absolutely no pressure felt from him whatsoever, I only feel his love, and his approval and his pride in me, even when he may not be entirely up to speed with every detail of my life…..somehow I just know in my heart that it is unconditional….no matter what happens.

I love you Dad……thank you for just being. In just being, you have actually modelled to me the love of my Heavenly Father better than you imagined.

My take-away from IF Gathering, (The Esther Generation Poem by Ann Voskamp)

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Two weekends ago, I got cozy on the couch in front of my laptop and tuned in to the “IF Gathering” live stream. Christian women from around the states gathered in Austin Texas, and in their own front rooms and churches around the country to listen, pray, and explore answers to the question, “If God is Real….then what?”
I may have been the only person in the UK watching…maybe, maybe not. I always said I’d never “go back” to the States, and that I was so relieved to be living out from under the American Christian subculture I had grown up with, that helped to mould and shape me, and that I’ll always have a soft spot for, and call ‘home’, but….that I never really truly settled into. I tried, but It always felt like a shut door. Something I’d moved on from.
Yet here I am now, fascinated by what’s going on. When I tune in,  read their blogs, laugh at their Facebook statuses, I feel so relieved…..that I wasn’t the only one….and that God is doing something so fresh and new yet born out of a beautiful legacy of the previous generation….I don’t think I’ll ever get on their radar or get to meet them or work with with any of them directly, but their heart’s cries are resonating with this heart, possibly because, they are so incredibly in to Jesus…and so am I. I feel a thin thread still links me to them, and I’m drawn to what God is doing among them. I maybe feel a bit of a twinge of sadness that I’m not ‘in it’ with them, that I jumped the ship and found a new one a long time ago….but as I gaze across the (hypothetical) pond….I’m so glad to know they are there…and that they are doing this thing, God bless you Jen Hatmaker, Ann Voskamp, and Jennie Allen, fellow American Christian sisters of my generation….I’m so proud of you…and so thankful you are there doing what you’re doing…being who you’re being.From what I was able to stream that weekend, this poem, transcribed, (not published yet…and as soon as it is officially, I’ll do a proper link to Ann’s page) had me sat on my couch choking up, with tears, streaming. I want to share it with my friends…my friends here in the UK who are doing this life with me here….and those who I left behind….GET in on this!! :) 
 (From IF:Gathering)
 The Esther Generation, BY ANN VOSKAMP 
They say you should travel light
But most of our lives we carry it all on our backs
These days it isn’t our arms that stay weighed down
It’s our minds
We wake up in a panic
Its our thoughts that hyperventilate for fear
Of making mistakes.
For fear of failing or succeeding
Or fear that we’ll never move past our past
That we’ll be exactly who they said we’d be
That we’ll never be more than what was done to us
That we will continue to be taken advantage of
That we should accept shame as a companion to carry with us
That we should let the lies befriend us
The lies
started in a garden
Spoken slyly by a slithering serpent with his syrupy sweet: “Did God really say?”
And we’ve be doubting ever since
Allowing an unwelcome guest to make himself at home in our lives, minds, gardens
Keep us bound with slithering fear
that we are damaged goods
Never going to be good enough
Not enough brains, not enough brawn
Not enough guts to take anything on.
 But there is no time for being soft or weak
That at all times we have to be tough
That We’ll never be perfect that
We’ll never be worth it
That we’ll never be enough
And sometimes we feel God calling us, nudging us
Trying to show us
but somehow we stay trapped
Behind walls of unbelief and unforgiveness
Our arm’s a weary rope caught in a vicious tension
Tug of war between our fear and our calling
Between worry and peace
Comfort and inconvenience
Comparing ourselves to each other
While battling low self esteem 
Do we do what’s practical?
Or follow our dreams?
Do we take care of ourselves?
Or meet others people’s needs?
Should we fight?
Should we please?
Should we hide from who we are to put other people at ease?
And then the lies begin to echo and amplify
Loser
Time abuser
Mess producer
Who needs you?
She’s so much better
Just look at her
You actually thought that was a good idea?
Open your mouth and they’ll laugh long enough that you’ll shut your mouth
You aren’t smart enough
You aren’t good enough
You aren’t sharp enough
Who do you think you are?
Fear is our chain and it’s rattling us hard
the poison that deadens our hearts
Fear of failing
Fear of flailing
Fear of the arrows
Fear of the way named narrow
Fear of the shear rock in front of you that begs you sweat and climb
Climb out of that drug dead comforting pit they call status quo
And break right up through the earth and into the life you were born for
In the now of your life while there is still time and hunger in your veins
Turn around and shake off that snake
Because it’s head’s been crushed, no pulverized
So let go of the lie.
Sometimes we imagine that God’s voice is a disappointed hard lined teacher
Who is waiting to whack our knuckles with a ruler for any imperfections
But that isn’t God’s voice at all
That isn’t Gods heart at all
He speaks tenderly
He doesn’t need to raise his voice
He speaks as if He’s right next to us
Because He’s right next to us
Because He goes before us
Because His spirit lives inside us
He starts with love
And not because He is a hopeless romantic
But mostly because
He is ALL LOVE and HOPE and SECOND CHANCES
Let go of the fanged lie and bind the wound with dressings of Truth that will heal your bloodied soul
Take that sharp edge of His Word and hack that snake creeping up the back your neck
The words
The only life hack that will hack off the lie of the snake and make your life whole
We fear that the place we think God’s love will run out or dry up
We fear that place where we think God’s love will run out, dry up, fall of the edge
And we’ll be left dangling beyond its reach
We fear that somewhere God’s love ends
 But His love never runs out
His steadfast love surpasses suburbia
Canvases from skyscrapers to street corners from porch to stoop
His love is looking for you.
Who would you be?
What would you do?
If you weren’t afraid
Could be that you’ve always wanted to come up through the ground
in some desolate place that needed a tree
To bear some fruit for someone with their tongue stuck to the dry roof of their parched mouth
To be a limb that held some baby abandoned
To be a limb that someone could used to swing over the fence and free
We were made from dust
A bit of earth kissed by heaven
made to be groundbreakers
And peacemakers
And freedom shakers
So you can take your glossy Vogue covers and use them for washing windows
Because we’ve always thought the most beautiful women have dirt under their fingernails
And could shake a bit of the very earth out of their warn and pioneering shoes
And lets redefine comfort zone because wherever He takes you
You are with the comforter
Wherever He calls you
You are always in his comfort zone
So live all your present moments in His presence
To keep company with Christ
To get in on the best
There’s a whole Esther generation right here and now and it is us.
Who come broken
Who are done being defeated by fear and worry and stress
Because it advertises the unreliability of God
 Who want hard and Holy things because we want more than hallow lives
A life more than self focus and cell phones
More than iPhones, iTunes and iLove
Who want a life of loving the least, the lonely, and the lost
There is a whole Esther generation rising right here and now and it is us
Who are done with easy
Who know that being like Christ and caring for the poor in body and soul
Means more than just caring about easing our consciences
It means living real sacrifice
There is a whole Esther generation rising right here and now and it is us
Who say now is the time for the faith brave
To sky dive and fly
To remember that we don’t have to strive to be anyone
To stop taking issue with what God made
To accept that our perfect God makes no mistakes
There’s a whole Esther generation rising right here and now and it is us
To take the weight we carry on our backs
And offer it back to the savior who already carried the weight of the world on his shoulders
Who surrender
Who lay out alabaster hopes and dreams at the feet of our Savior
There is a whole Esther generation rising right here and now and it is us
Who will no longer look for peace in opinions
But to find our solid ground in the truth
There are many tomorrows to face
But today, lets open our hearts and our wounds and our stories
To the great story teller
That our lives may be chiseled by His pen
That we may
BELIEVE
and LOVE
and PRAY
and FIGHT
and REST
and LIVE!

Still Winter, Need the Sun. Need Him.

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It’s still winter. I feel it in my heart, I feel it in my bones. I know I’m meant to be from Wisconsin, but somehow the British winter seems to affect me more than anything I grew up with. I feel frozen on the inside.

I’ve gone through seasons of vigilant exercise each morning, springing out of bed and switching on the DVD player. This has not been one of those seasons. I am pushing it till the last minute, with my only real saviour being the ultimate deadline of the school run.

Every morning, I am struggling to wake up.  I am dreading that moment of coming out from beneath the warmth of my duvet. The day stretches before me and all I feel is a sense of dread. It feels like some sort of exam that I haven’t revised for, and where at the end of it I’ll be graded, and each grade will accumulate over time, resulting in some final verdict over my life.

It’s not the truth of course. I know that in my head. I know these things. That I’m loved, that I’m valued, that my worth is not the sum total of what I’ve managed to “do”, that the Holy Spirit empowers me, and that the Father isn’t just leaning over a cloud marking my report card. I know. But it’s cold.

I think I just very often forget Him.

I forget Jesus.

I forget that when I say His name, over and over again, that it feels a little bit like falling in love.

I forget that He shines like A million Suns ablaze, brightening every day, not because he gives me warm fuzzy feelings, but because he is beautiful.

His light gently nudges me out of hiding. His warmth melts my heart that often freezes over from hurt, disappointment, and offense.

He is, my Lighthouse that leads my racing mind home, to the truth.  He is the beauty, that everything we see on earth only hints to.  He is who He is. He doesn’t need reminding. We do. And he knows this.

So for those of us who need some light to shine into our dark minds, who feel the cold in our icy hearts, and who often can’t manage more than just….saying His name. I’m with you.

Come on my soul…..Awake, Spring is coming.

sun shining

 

That Mum

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I get wound up
When I hear them say
Look at her
She doesn’t even play
with her son
she’s on her phone
She doesn’t care
Shame

I get fed up
When they hover
over their playing child
over their exploring baby
So scared of being
judged for not seeing
their children
unable to just be
Normal

Would you like to trade lives
With that mum
who can’t face ‘inter-acting’
as you like to say
with her son
because she just needs to breathe
Home’s a depressive space
laundry and endless mess and countless jobs undone
She’s never learned to do.

Overwhelming
So she comes out
to get a break
to give her kid the chance to play
to make mistakes
to be accepted amongst the ranks

But he bites and hits
and oh look!
she doesn’t notice
or at times she overreacts.

Would you trade your life for her’s
Just for one day?
Would you spend one night in her house?
with a disinterested or non existent partner and all her fears and self doubt?

Give her a break
Let her finish her cup of tea
Look her in the eyes
when you ask her how he’s sleeping
or If she’s sleeping
let her vent
Assure her it’s normal
That yours did the same
even if they didn’t.

We get into our cars
She covers her pram
We feel the heat come on
it warms up our cosy space
while she walks up the hill
every single day

But we sigh when we hear him scream
We wonder what she could be thinking
He’s so out of control
She’s just on her phone
We forget as we sit in our comfort zone
That she feels so alone

Give her a break
She’s one of us
That Mum

 

Run from Grace

Running from Grace
Because I
know better
how to deal
with me
Running from Grace
terrified
preferring to hide
to inflict my own
punishment
on me
because it’s safer this way
no one has to know
Just me
as I scream
silently
trapped in a prison
I made myself
because I thought it would help me hide
from the shame
yet it seeps in
like floodwater
I’ll never really be free
Until I realize
Grace
has found me

 

Emotional Chocolate

It’s been a long time
Since I’ve indulged
in a weakness of heart
My resolve
dissolved
At the prospect
Of my heart
temporarily brought in from the cold
A warm fire
of flattery
A distant image of a dream
defrosting my frozen tears
of disappointment
Melting
In that moment
Alone with it,
not in a room
But in my heart.
Connecting
Always In a crowd
No words
Just that warm feeling

Exposed
As fraudulent
Known to be a lie
Distance is now kept
The truth at my side

But
There are days
In which I’m turned up side down
Less than, Worse than, Never going to be more than….
Frustration seething, Anger spilling
Lost in my own life.
And in that moment
It comes towards me…with a smile
And I see that chance
to find Respite
in Deception
Escapism
Knowing full well
How futile
Unreal
The illusion
Regret
Felling mental
then hopeless.

And So…
I look straight ahead,
Past
my Emotional
Chocolate.

 

 

Post natal Doula work, Judah, and Ann Voskamp.

My heart is full tonight.
Maybe it’s because I’ve just returned from a day doing what I realise I absolutely love.
Maybe because today I realised how much I don’t like telling people what to do….but how much I Love being a safe place for them to come for information and 100% support.
Maybe because I’m reminded of how precious that hard, difficult, soul destroying, sleep deprived, draining, time of life was when my little ones were babies.

It was an unusual dynamic tonight when I got home. Both Jon and I returning from “full days” of work. Iona was left with a friend for an impromptu sleepover and so I brought a disappointed Judah home with me. We decided we’d make up for it by letting him stay up with us a bit later and fall asleep on the couch next to us.

I look over at him. He’s got his sister’s pillow pet with him so he won’t miss her too much. His gaze is far away.  Sometimes his tenderness is enough to shred my heart.
How long has it been? since I’ve held him in my arms until he fell asleep?

Today I held a little baby boy, full of wind, rocking him and winding him for his exhausted mother, remembering it so well….remembering how it felt…willing them to drift off to sleep…desperate to put them down. Yet as I held this little one, I felt privileged.

My mind drifts back to Judah, and his most recent loss.  When he was told the facts, he didn’t really respond, it didn’t sink in. But the other day when we called in to see my mother in law, he took a few steps into the front room, and then just stopped…dead in his tracks, and just stood there with such a sad look on his face, staring at Granddad’s chair, empty. We asked him what was wrong and he just gave a bit of a whimper and turned around and buried his face in the furniture. There are just no words….he’s lost his mate…one of his biggest fans….Thank God for the hours spent on puzzles, connect four, and simply being together watching Micky Mouse on the telly. Time spend just the two of them. Time I am so glad he had…and so pray will be clear in his memories for the rest of his life.

So tonight Jon and I sit in our front room, with our little lad snuggled on the couch. We’re not hurrying him off to bed…we’re not rushing through a story, we’re unashamedly spoiling him with as much fun as we can muster on a Friday night when we’re both exhausted.

Before I left the new mother today we had a chat about parenting styles……I said “you will never ever regret the time you spent cuddling…no matter how hard it was….when I look back, I am more likely to feel sad over the times I rushed things, and where I wasn’t fully present, never the times when I spent that extra time…just being with them”

Judah is breathing deeply now…fast asleep…..having drifted off after spending time with his dad….hearing stories about Hobbits, and watching images of Hobbits on Youtube along with the gorgeous soundtrack. (Jon has been telling the kids his own version of the Hobbit every night at bedtime)

I pray he remembers….

“Judah what should we get daddy for Christmas”
Judah: “I want to get him a picture of his dad”

At the moment I’m reading a lot of Ann Voskamp’s blog.….her big thing is thankfulness…..Many years ago now I was told Gratefulness was the secret to surviving a hot sticky summer sleeping on the hard floor in a remote village in India….I didn’t get it then…

The weight of Judah’s raw emotions touches me deep inside. I remember his high pitched scream as a young toddler, before he could speak. He has never been shy about expressing what he feels and now that he’s talking, he’s scarily articulate about his likes and dislikes. You always know how he’s feeling…and most of the time…he seems to be overflowing with

Joy

Judah: “thank you God for trains, thank you God for cars, Thank you God for planes, thank you God for food…..and thank you God for Granddad….Amen……and with all my heart….Amen”

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Judah’s name means praise….

I’m starting to get it.

 

 

 

Advent, Day 19

author’s note: When it comes to anyone’s life, all those who knew the person have a story to tell. I fully appreciate my story is completely different from someone else’s, and is in not the whole story. My story is a snapshot, nothing more. There will be those that knew the person for many years before I did, and knew them much deeper and were closer, and I welcome their own stories. 

Advent is a season of waiting.

Today I spent a portion of the day in waiting…
Yesterday morning the phone went off in the early hours of the morning and my first thought was as I lay there dreading getting out of bed, was “ugh, it’s the LLL helpline and I’m getting too many phone calls because it’s the Christmas season and everyone’s taking a break” However ten minutes later my mobile phone went off and it was Jon’s brother. It was that phone call, the one you never think you’ll actually ever get. It was Jon’s dad. It sounded serious, an ambulance was coming.

Several years of staying on top of cancer, keeping it at bay, fighting it, treating it, living with it, experiencing a good quality of life despite it…..that’s all I’d ever really known of Brian having met him five years after his initial diagnosis. Despite him being weak, not 100%, etc, he was always still very much here, real, and alive.

I made breakfast for Iona and Judah, and simply explained that Granddad was in the hospital, and that he might be going to heaven soon. As we drove to school, Iona said “mummy….I just heard a voice just now in the porch, saying “thank you Iona” what could it mean?? I heard it at school as well earlier this week”

Iona Grace…the one who’s arrival caused Brian’s face to turn from pale to shinning in a mere few moments of meeting her for the very first time. The Grandchild he thought he’d never have, let alone see. There she was, perfection laying there asleep in that hospital cot bed. Her birth was a blessing that he could have never earned, worked for, or made happen in his own good will or strength. The life event that caused him to perhaps consider the fact that maybe there really was a God….who had the capacity to not only make the world, but who cared about the little things….the little beautiful miraculous miracles that happen to us. And so began his journey….late in life, a life well lived, a solid marriage built on love and respect, generosity, and peace, a life that prioritised family, hard work, and wisdom and diligence. Some would argue he didn’t “need” anything else….but something about her birth challenged that notion, and he began his faith journey…something we all watched unfold over the next seven years.

Years which saw him say goodbye to his precious little girl as her parents took her to South Africa for a year. Years in which his wife battled and fought her own battle with cancer, and in which he was able to be her source of strength. A second grandchild arrived, a boy…….and then the beautiful miracle of seeing his second son and daughter in law become parents to two beautiful twin girls. “We are so blessed” was something he repeated many many times upon being with the family.

So after an emotional day of not knowing quite what was happening, whether or not he’d “rally” or not, we found out this morning that we had……hours.

We notified, we summoned, we gathered…..and we waited. Jon, Matt, and Barbara all sat around his bed. I closed my eyes, I prayed, I hummed a worship song…..too quiet to make out, but I knew his spirit could hear it. We waited until it was time to let him go….and we sensed the presence of angels…and of Jesus. Death is so spiritual. It’s a passing from one world to another. It’s not just about the body shutting down…it’s about letting go….and it’s not easy. Brian sank into a deep and peaceful sleep….and I heard a voice in my head saying “We have him” and I looked up, and i knew he was gone…..

Later I had to go pick Iona up from school. We sang Christmas carols in the main hall and heard the Christmas story. It was beautifully simple.  I told the headmaster, and he told me that apparently Iona had announced in Assembly today that her Granddad was very poorly and would probably die today. Yet as much as we’d prepared her, she still burst into tears when I told her. We talked about the seven years he got to be a Granddad, we talked about the voice she heard, whether it was her hearing his thoughts, or maybe an Angel sending her a message….but we agreed Granddad had said goodbye to her.

“It’s going to be the worst Christmas ever” she cried out at one point. Yes, it’s going to be sad….but it’s because of Christmas that we know we’ll see him again. It’s because of Jesus….coming as a baby….that death no longer holds any real victory over us. Yes it’s going to be sad….I feel the heaviness of this loss sink in. I’m worried for my mother in law, I’m wondering how we’re going to cope with all that needs to be done…

When I began this month, the Advent, this is the last thing I counted on happening.
I’m not waiting so much now to celebrate something that’s already happened…but settling into the waiting, the waiting for the ultimate beautiful ending…when he comes again, ending this bleak midwinter sadness.

“All of us travellers
Through a given time
Who can know what tomorrow holds
But over the horizon
Surely you and I will find
Emmanuel….God with us”
– Emmanuel God with us, by Amy Grant  

Advent, day 10…7 years of mothering

For My Seven Year old Daughter

This day should be about you…
But I sometimes struggle
To draw the line..between where you start and where I end

Seven years ago you were born
But Seven years ago..I became a mother
Seven years ago, I woke up to this new life
Never to fall too deeply asleep again

The cord was cut, quickly
Letting go was slower….my first instinct was to try and control
To manage, to overcome, to get through it
But you wouldn’t let me….you taught me…it was safe to let go
To survive on instinct.

Seven years I’ve been learning,
Lactating-
I’ve been with other women birthing
You’ve been becoming, growing, being, finding your feet in this life

I’ve been facing up to issues
Dealing with this anger deep inside me
Dealing with the hurts, the insecurities
The vulnerabilities that you don’t let me hide from

I’ve worried over you as you’ve gone to school
Wondering if it’s right for you
I’ve been at a loss as you’re growing up in a world
advanced in years and miles from my own childhood

You sound different than I did, you use different words
Your have a little brother
You go to school
You have grandparents who you see every week and who know you well

Yet I give you church every Sunday, bible club, and baking with a kitchen aid.
Bits of my own childhood that span the differences between us
We’ve found Narnia,  like I did with my own mom
and this summer we swam in a midwestern lake.

 I can’t imagine what’s going on in your mind
-You are allowed to have secrets-
We are close but somedays we’re strangers
And that’s ok

Seven years into this…

Seven years of life,  of being  a daughter, four years of being a sister
South Africa that you won’t remember
Yet it shaped you profoundly
(barefoot in the church quad in the middle of winter)

Here we go……another year…..another snow, spring, and summer….
another harvest moon
Let’s fill it up with memories
with dreams, Let’s make more room
For you to grow…..your story to develop…
As I take another step back…
and continue to let go

 

 

Advent Day 8…Birthday Party Day

It feels like I can never quite think much about Christmas until Iona’s party is behind me. I think one of my favourite things about being a mom is throwing kid’s parities. However I do stress trying to plan them, and there is a huge relief when they are over, as well as a sense though of satisfaction. I’m probably a bit like my mom when it comes to this stuff. My creativity just runs away with me and I suppose it’s one of the ways I express my love and appreciation to my kids for who they are. There is the juggling act though of making sure it doesn’t cost a fortune, and that I don’t overspend and that I somehow manage to be creative and make a really special party without going over the top. So the theme for today’s party was BRAVE…which is one of my favourite Disney movies. I love the Scottish theme, the fiery Merida, the adorable little brothers, the mother character, the fact that it’s a story about mums and daughters, and the highs and lows that come with that relationship. My relationship with Iona is nearly 7 years on now….and some days it feels like 17, while other days, she’s still my little baby. So today we celebrated with

Bear Shaped Sandwiches

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Bear Shaped Crisps

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Whisp Cookies, and Jammie Dodgers which remind me of the change your fate cake :)

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we assembled and decorated Scottish looking biscuits. DSCN0291 DSCN0292 DSCN0293

made little whisps

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Played Pass the parcel and included forfeits, like having to act like a bear.

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Whisps were hung from the ceiling.

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We made magnets to take home the reminded us that we are BRAVEDSCN0326

And we Feasted

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and now it’s all over. My back is aching, I twisted my foot hanging up the whisps, I stepped on a push pin at one point…but as always, I’m glad we did it :) I even missed church this morning as did not want to be screaming at everyone for the two hours between church and the party. I never miss church. I’m one of those people…you know I grew up going to church ever Sunday morning and although I’ve moved on from my legalistic upbringing….it still feels totally wrong to not be in church on a Sunday morning. I had to run to Tesco for a few last minute things and I just felt so sad….seeing all the people…not in church. It’s not that they’re missing out on just whatever happens to be going on…but many are missing out on Him….knowing Him….knowing that He is with us. Emmanuel. :)

 

 

 

 

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