Oh, it's been a while, dear keyboard and phantom readers. It's been a long while, and it's been a long couple of months. As the days grow literally darker, so do we muddle through life a little more slowly and a little more feet to the ground rather than flying on high. Life can take its toll, especially when it seems the hits keep coming. This is when I marvel at how blessed I am that Jesus called me to himself, and that he led me to my husband, because without them I would probably cease to function some days.
1) The Devil is Real. Yeah, that's pretty much a bold statement these days, but it is true. The devil wants to turn our eyes away from the light and keep us immersed in the darkness that leads us to despair. The devil is real and he frolics in February as far as I'm concerned. Far too often, I dance quite willingly, far too often. I see nothing but a rotten pile o' poo that has nothing special to give or do. Even when I climb out and know that I am created special (and not that kind of special, dear friends), I still have a hard time convincing myself to write and create and do, because I don't feel like I have anything original or unique to give. So please pray for me, friends, as I lean toward wallowing and helplessness and feel like I'm drowning in a sea of messy rooms, crying kids and stressful work, pray for me that the devil may dance away. He's the only reason I feel overwhelmed, and I need him to go back to he..., well, you know.
2) God has perfect timing. As I was praying the other night, the light did go on, however briefly. It doesn't matter if what is on my heart has been said before - it's ALL been said before. God created ALL, so it all exists already anyway. The difference is that I was breathed into life for a certain purpose at a certain time in a certain space to say it all again, perhaps. It doesn't matter that someone else may have already written on joy, or pain, or motherhood, or crayons and diapers. It doesn't matter that there are a zillion photographers out there perfecting and sharing their talents. It finally dawned on me that if it has been placed on my heart, someone, somewhere is meant to read what I write, to see what I create, and God will speak to them through me. Not because I have said anything or done anything so utterly brilliant, but because I allow myself to be His instrument, a pencil in the hand of God writing a love letter to the world, as Blessed Mother Teresa used to say. It's not about me at all.
3) When it rains it pours, and not always in a refreshing spring rain kind of way. Like I said before, we really aren't fans of February, even though the Hubbers' birthday is sprinkled in. This year, it seems January and February teamed up against us. Between the death of my father-in-law at the end of January and all that continues to entail, the anniversary of my father's death at the beginning of January, anniversaries of two deaths in the Hubbers' family in February right around his birthday, baby J's bout with RSV and some virus-which-was-never-named that gave him 5 straight days of high fevers, and water in the basement the weekend of my father in law's funeral (which was also the onset of the bout with RSV)...whew, I'm tired... We are a little weary. Oh, and let's just add to that list that Pope Benedict XVI also tendered his resignation on the Hubs' birthday. That's the date on the letter, says he. Poor hubs.
4) God knew what he was doing when he made kids cute. It saves ours on a daily basis. With the bouts of illness, baby J is completely out of his sleeping routine, which means I am out of sleep. Our darling Li'l G is in her mid-2s, and, well, she is in her mid-2s. Apparently screaming is the appropriate answer to most any situation that might in some way not be ideal for her little self. No sleep and screaming child...isn't there a meme for that somewhere? Again, I only have 2 so far. Maybe the more you have the more numb you become to it?
5) No, we are not currently expecting a third. Many of our friends have made pregnancy announcements lately. I assure you that as of this moment, I am in no way aware that we are expecting a third. Not that our kids aren't so ridiculously adorable that we don't want to have more, but we aren't. Despite the multiple inquiries a couple weeks ago, not preggers. Apparently just in need of more sleep and better nutrition and less weight. Meh.
6) Kids are little miracles before our eyes. I'd have to revisit my Facebook post from January 20-something to quote exactly, but as I sit and watch baby J and li'l G on a daily basis, I am amazed. I am amazed that this time last year, J was being measured according to fruit sizes. Today he is crawling, sitting, pulling himself up, joyful and delicious. Have you seen his cute cheeks and toes? Delicious (though sadly stinky like his sister). I am amazed at that tiny little girl that this time three years ago was not, now is quite the independent and willful girl - not baby - girl. We probably baby her a little more than we should, but it is hard to believe she is growing up so darn quickly! She can sing songs from memory that she hears a few times, she recognizes words when we read, can count well past her fingers - I know, it's probably nothing truly genius for Sheldon Cooper, but to watch her learn something new every day is just amazing. Miracles - nothing less.
7) Simple joy. I love Lent. Many people see in Lent a deprivation - I see a chance to simplify and regroup. Maybe this is more so since I've become a parent, but I love the opportunity to be more focused in prayer and practice. This year, my big "what I gave up for Lent" is my mobile device (minus phone/texts) after dinner, and during non-work hours on the days I am home with the kids while they are awake. It's killing me, which tells me I got it right. If it were easy, it wouldn't be an attachment. If I'm honest, I'm not doing the best - I cheat and sneak a look at Facebook or Instagram almost daily when I ought not, but I do catch myself and find that each day I get more honest about the attachment and try to detach more quickly. I also find that it is so much an attachment, that I'm not sure what to do with myself when it is not in my hands. Yeah, definitely got it right. When I'm struggling, I have to remind myself daily that those little miracles are growing quickly and I need to enjoy them, to have fun, not just worry and discipline, but enjoy. I tell myself Baby J is my joy. He is simply joy personified, except when he's in distress, though even then he's really easily made to smile. Li'l G is my heart - that girl is all passion. She feels deeply and loves deeply and hurts deeply and plays the drama queen deeply. Oh, um, yeah, she does. It is all from the heart. Those are my lessons from the littlest ones in my life that I need to embrace. Life can suck out joy and authenticity, but they remind me how beautiful living out loud really is. Not just on Facebook, or for the purpose of posting a photo on Instagram, but for living - crying and laughing from the belly, twinkling in your eyes, flying through the Neverland sky, great big bear hugs and sloppy chicken kisses - that's life. The virtual world can wait.