Monday, November 24, 2014

words I didn't expect to hear



It happened.

This morning I heard words come from my son’s mouth that I didn’t think I’d ever hear from MY kid.

Oliver and I were in the van on our way to preschool. He’s been extremely chatty lately, as he is figuring out the world and he is starting to love language and he really likes the sound of his voice. He speaks so expressively and it’s super fun when Insoo’s around because we toss smiles to one another with our eyes as we listen to him go on and on and on with such expression and conviction. It is usually very fun.

And then this morning happened.

I wish it were just a potty word or something I could easily brush off as something he heard somewhere else. Then I could simply remind him that he should always ask us about words he doesn’t know, and gently explain that we don’t use that word in our family. (And I might even add that “if you ever say it again you’re going to get your mouth washed out with soap.”)

But it wasn’t that easy.

It started out like this…

“Mom, someday me and Isaiah and Elliot can be pastors but you can’t because you’re a girl.”

Wait.

What?

Weren’t we just talking about something else, like…which kid in our family will become a grown-up first or something like that?

Don’t freak out.

Don’t freak out.

I was a bit thrown off. And my egalitarian heart was punctured.

I paused. (I’m so proud.)

I did not hit the car in front of me.  I did not slam on the brakes or pull off the road. I did not say in a restraining from screaming voice, “Where did you hear that? Who said that? Tell me!”

I took a breath and calmly responded in my most chipper voice, “Girls can be pastors too.”

And he might have replied, “oh”…but I am not even sure because he moved right back to the topic of him being 4, and his brothers being 6 and 8, and how cool it would be if they were all the same age and they all turned into grown-ups at the same time. He moved right along.

But I was left in the dust with the heartache that my 4 year old has not “heard” this somewhere else, he believes it because in our family, Daddy is a pastor and he’s a boy. Mommy is a girl and…well, what does Mommy do anyway?

It takes me back to the day a few months ago when my 8 year old, while complaining about heading off to school said, “Why do we have to learn anyway? Mommy went to college and she doesn’t do anything.”

Indeed. It was not my favorite moment. I can’t even remember how I responded to that one.

They are children. They are children! I will admit I’m slightly annoyed by the 8 year old’s comment but I am not taking it too personally because he is 8.

They are kids, but they are my kids, and there’s a nagging question…is my being home with them teaching them that that’s all girls can do?

Many people do argue that women can’t be pastors, but in our family we don’t believe that. Yet my child has this impression because—because I stay home.

Am I doing any good?


I met for coffee this morning with my dear friend who, 8 years ago, changed her whole life and moved to this city to care for her grandson. Before, she had measurable ministry.  Before, she had projects and deadlines and she got things done.  Now she struggles to feel productive…she feels like she is not “doing anything”.

I see what she has done as sacrificial and absolutely heroic.

We both, teary-eyed, understood each other in this place of having immeasurable work.

I have many more questions than answers. I don’t know if I’m doing things right. I don’t know if I’ll ever know.

But in the car this morning, I did turn the conversation back to women in ministry, and a little more than that. I said,

“Oliver, what if our whole family were pastors? And what if you guys didn’t have to wait until you were grown-ups, you could be boys? And we could all be pastors together?”

I looked at him through the rear view mirror, his eyes big and bright as if to say, “Really? We can do that?”

“Let’s do that!” I said.

And he smiled his big Oliver smile.

Monday, July 28, 2014

almost drowning


It’s one of the fondest memories of my life…the one where I almost died.

Triathlon Day!
Cough cough...it was "sprint" distances, before you become too impressed.

Maria and I had trained together that summer, which was one of the only slices of time in my whole adult life that I got to live close to a sister! So fun! 

The shirts we made ourselves were great, celebrating Mom and her sister who had both, at that point, beaten breast cancer. "They beat breast cancer, we can beat this!" our backs boasted. Little did we know that just a year later Mom would lose that fight. But on that day, her death was nowhere near my mind as her huge smile greeted us at the finish line--but mine was!!

I am not the greatest swimmer. I trained at the pool with my sister who effortlessly zipped through the water, while I huffed and puffed my way through every. slow. lap. So it's not like I jumped stupidly into a lake with no preparation involved. But the lake was very different than the pool, with it's neatly marked lanes...and of course I couldn't touch the bottom.

There are these people called "swim angels" who are out in the middle of the lake with floaty noodles to help anyone who needs a little break. I was comforted knowing these people would be out there, and I did know how to swim, and of course I had trained, and I thought I would be ok.

But very early on I realized I was not going to be ok. The splashing all around me was so chaotic--all the people--all the water I was breathing in as I was trying to break away from the crowd! I wondered if I was hyperventilating. I tried to calm myself down with self-talk. "You're going to be ok...you're going to be ok." I physically tried to catch my breath. I floated on my back, and each time another swimmer passed me, splashing more water into my mouth, I'd panic again, flipping over to breathe. I looked around to humbly accept a noodle from a swim angel...but no one was free--every single one was taken. What do you do when they're not available? Wait in line in the middle of the lake? I think you're supposed to wave your arms over your head to alert a lifeguard that you're drowning...I was too embarrassed to do that. But I needed help. Then in my panic I imagined myself dying and someone delivering my wedding ring to my husband of only one year, and I decided to quit being embarrassed and make sure I lived. I spotted a lifeguard way out of the way and began to swim over to her. I cared nothing about my time. I admit, I did care a little about my pride, but again--the living thing pushed me through the pride thing.


I rested there for a while, holding on to that dear lifeguard's buoy. I didn't even make eye contact with her. I'm not sure how long it was, but I rested until I knew I was ok to go on again. I made it to shore, where my sweet sister waited for me to continue on together, and we eventually made it to Mom's beaming face as she embraced her sweaty daughters at the finish line.

I'm reminded of this story because life has felt a little bit like I might drown lately. I'm using my regular go-to's...the self-talk trying to convince myself everything is ok. The lay-on-my-back for as long as I can in my bed tactic. Even the regular "angels" in my life that usually give me rest just don't seem to be working lately...exercise...friendship...cleaning...control...they're just not available or working right now for that little fix I think I need, and I'm being forced to wave my arms in the air and humbly admit--I need a lifeguard.

God's so gently reminding me that I can choose to not drown. He's nudging me to swim to Him as my only source of rest and life. But how to really-really do that is such a mystery. Isn't it? If only there were just a formula to follow...things that have worked for me in the past.

This week, there was a day I clung to this buoy, these words that have so often held me up: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."  (Romans 15:13) And the reminder of these words, this truth, mystical as it is...(because it is)...allowed me to catch my breath that day. 

I am certainly not ready to swim to shore yet. I have more resting to do. I might just let the Lifeguard carry me there, actually. Yeah. 

Yeah, I think that sounds good.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Holy Hiatus!

Well...after one and a half years of disappearing off the face of the blogosphere, I've decided to show my face again! :) I have to give a big shout-out to my brother and sisters who, for months bugged me about this thing, and probably after it seemed useless, finally gave up. Also a shout-out to my sister-in-law who, as far as I know, might STILL be checking this site every day for photos of her nephews.  You guys are the reasons I started this blog to begin with! As a way to virtually keep up with family while living so terribly far apart. 

A summary: last you heard, Oliver turned one. Now he's 2 and a half. :) One second he tells me I'm a princess and the next second he is the biggest little rascal you've ever seen.  Elliot started kindergarten and hit momentous milestones such as losing teeth and going on a sleep over! Isaiah now reads and asks deep questions about life and death but still loves Buzz Lightyear. I started VLI (Vineyard Leadership Institute) through church, and Insoo wrote a book. And that about sums up life over the past year (plus). 

                               

My reasons for the hiatus were complicated and simple, unknown and known, intentional and unintentional. Life got crazier and the blog just never made it to the top of the priority list. I needed to actually spend more time living instead of writing...planning instead of reflecting...trying desperately to "get on top of things"...yeah, that didn't happen.

I stopped reading all other blogs (besides my sister's)...I tried a simpler way of documenting our life which lasted for a while, but now that has fallen to the wayside. I hardly post on facebook anymore and now I find myself with no method of "remembering"...and when you have a brain like mine that is NOT good. Seriously, I wonder where the line is between "mommy brain" and "dementia" because my brain just does not seem to work these days.

So I need to have a way to remember.

And this week I've started panicking a bit.  Isaiah's turning 5 in two days. And while yes, 5 seems SO old, it's even more than that. He's the first birthday of the year in our family. Our kids have been 2, 4, and 6...still pretty little in my mind. Now we're on the road to 3, 5, and 7 and that's just not little anymore! And while I'm SO excited about our kids growing up and our family growing up, it's always a challenge to not feel like you missed something.

I know I'm saying nothing new or brilliant, nothing that EVERY mom (and probably every dad) feels. It's a universal feeling, I know. But I personally need a way to combat it. And for me i think this is blog is the best method.

I have a theory...it's that most of us actually don't give ourselves enough credit for living life doing the best we can in the very moments of our individual lives.  That feeling we have when we look back with nostalgia and say, "Where did the time go?"...I think that feeling is connected to so much guilt for not having been who we wish we had been...not having been MORE...not remembering more...not having appreciated more...not having loved more...all these regrets we feel in the silence of the "now".  I think it's a way the accuser can really get at us.  (Is it just me?)  

I need to be able to remember these years--yes, to cherish my kids. Yes, to be able to show them things and recall moments and funny stories. But also to remember that I did the best I could with who I am right now. I want to have evidence that I was in the game, not sitting on the sidelines.  I want to look back not with guilt but with gratitude that I walked with God, and lived life with my family, and made mistakes, and learned, and grew and changed, and Loved.  

I want to remember my story. Our story. Because it's worth remembering.


                                

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Last "First"

Isn't it amazing that we have a God who knows exactly what we need? And He knows how to bless us far beyond what we can even ask for?

Oliver is very much the picture of God's very best for us. Even when we thought we'd "try for a girl" :) Even when I'm still struggling to figure out this "mommy of 3" stuff and I can't believe it's been a whole year and I still feel like such a newbie with this challenge.

Oliver is this amazing and perfect gift.
He is light and love and brilliant joy. He is hopes fulfilled and dreams come true.

And we got to celebrate his first year yesterday!

It was a simple and sweet little party. (I'm sorry, Oliver, that we didn't throw a big bash like we did for your brothers...please have grace for your mama who just couldn't pull it together amidst the craziness and chaos of life right now. It doesn't mean we love you any less!!)

The boys were excited to give him (and share) his new bath toys.

Oliver really enjoy hearing "Happy Birthday" sung to him by his cousins on the phone. He was even trying to sing along!

We shared some cupcakes.

There was a bit of a mishap with the birthday balloons:

And we discovered he wasn't the biggest fan of his smash cake! His first time eating cake was definitely not a hit.
However, the "funfetti" cupcake scored a little higher in his book.

He's talking up a storm now--it seems like he's learning a new word every day. So far his list includes: Mama, Dada (or Daddy), buhbuh (brother), bahyah (balloon), bah (ball), Papa, Ah-men, Ah-duh (all done), hi, Isaiah (very close!), and Ehhhhuuh...or some sort of attempt at Elliot's name.

He's walking all over the place, and keeping us all on our toes.
He's blowing kisses (so cute) and giving big hugs and open-mouthed kisses when asked...or not. He really loves to plant great big kisses on unsuspecting older brothers!!

He's really grown fond of Isaiah in the past month or so! Whereas Elliot and Oliver were more of an instant bond, this new friendship with Isaiah has really blossomed lately. It's so beautiful to see their relationships growing even at this age.

He got his first hair-trim by yours truly--the very day after he turned 1!

And he also joined his brothers in the BOYS bedroom! This is really huge, and I'm still HOPING it works out. Insoo and I have been out of our room for many months trying to get Oliver to sleep well, but it came time for us to have our bedroom back! So we gave it a shot the very night he turned 1, and so far it seems to be going well! We're still crossing our fingers, and I'm sleeping worse than I did on the couch because I'm so worried about the boys waking each other up and all that jazz...but I think the results will be worth it!! (The boys certainly think it's pretty awesome, too.)

Oliver Jude, you make my heart burst with love! You complete our family so perfectly. You bring your brothers great joy and your parents such gratitude. You are a masterpiece from heaven, and I am so blessed to be your mommy. Happy First Birthday, my baby...I love you so.



*Disclosure: Thanks to the creative and talented sister of mine, Andrea Hydeen, for all the matching cute birthday stuff you might see in these photos!!! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ten Things I Love About You

1. I love that you always cut our boys' fingernails.
2. I love that you play hard!
3. I love your great smile, and your amazing laugh.
4. I love that you take time to teach.
5. I love that you show affection easily.

6. I love your worship, and your music making.
7. I love that for a date night at home you would: spread out a backyardigans blanket, set out a rose, pour some white zin, use chipotle napkins, and surprise me with cheese sticks. Perfect in every way.
8.I love that you keep smiling for pictures even when I've taken the family waaaaaaayyyy past the photo-taking-time-limit.
9. I love that you take the boys fishing.
10. And most of all I love that you're forever mine. Happy birthday to the one I love.