Easy Like Sunday Morning?

I have often believed that Lionel Richie clearly never got three children ready for church  on Sunday morning. Then I read the lyrics today. I love when I get a spiritual application from a secular source. First though, a little background.

The devil showed  up to our house this morning in this form.

Now, it is easy to understand why a 4 (Heaven help me almost 5!) year old boy would insist on wearing these to church with his green jeans and his light blue Hawaiian shirt with green alligators on it. It’s totally pre-school Hipster.  I get that.

However, they are two sizes too big. I didn’t want him tripping and falling all morning.  I had his better interest (and the sanity of his teachers) in mind when I said no. It was not a fashion issue. I’m that mom that really tries to let them have their own personality in their clothing choices for the most part.  Had they fit, he would have worn them.

He came to me ready for a fight. He KNEW  I was going to say no. I was also running at least 15 minutes behind schedule and trying to scramble eggs and cheese for breakfast, still had wet hair, and was dealing with a screaming toddler that insisted on having his sippy cup NOW!!!!!

The following is a dramatic re-enactment.

He had made up his mind, and nothing was going to change it. Not his black canvas high tops, not his cowboy boots, not his Toy Story light up sandals. It had to be the Curious George flip flops.

I’m going to be completely honest here.

He gets it from me. By “it” I don’t just mean choice taste in footwear, but also his stubborn streak.

Annnnnnnnd I happen to know that my mom probably needs therapy from dealing with the preschooler that was Sasha. She really likes to tell the stories. Just ask her about the “pew kicking incident” sometime.

So, I did what any overwhelmed mother juggling  a hot frying pan and a slimy sippy cup would have done. I sent him to his father, and sure enough he came back upstairs, somewhat calmer, but still quietly seething and put his flip flops away. Later as I was down stairs doing my final primp, he came to talk to talk to his daddy one more time about the assignment which had been given. He had chosen another pair of shoes that were this time too small and the melt down was on the verge of starting all over again.

Daddy calmly talked to him, agreeing to go help him find an appropriate pair of shoes. He also took the time to ask him if his attitude was right, and if he was acting appropriately to get what he wanted.

An apology was necessary, but no good if he didn’t mean it.

I want my kids to mean it when they are sorry. I’ve realized that I have fallen into the trap that our culture has set, where when they screw up we demand that they apologize right away. I’m all for teaching them that they need to apologize, but I’ve realized that I’m not really accomplishing anything at all unless there is a heart change when they say it. A coerced apology is useless.

He DID recognize that he was wrong. And I’ll not forget his face as he ran to me with a sincere tearful apology that was not prompted as an expectation.

How often do we as adults though, just go through the motions of apology? Or worse, how often do we demand that we be apologized to?

Does a coerced apology really mean anything to us anyway? Does an apology with out contrition do any good at all, or is it that we just need recognition that we are right? Does that verbal white flag really change anyone’s heart?

In the words of Mr. Richie,
“I’m not happy when I try to fake it
That’s why I’m easy,
Easy like Sunday morning.”

While I still don’t always feel that Sunday morning is easy, I get what he’s saying here. But maybe from a different perspective.

Apologies can heal, no doubt. But only sincere ones. When we stand in our pride and demand that we be justified, we lose the opportunity to forgive regardless. Forgiveness, just like an apology, is also no good without out a heart change. When we demand something (an apology) before we forgive, we just made the forgiveness useless.

I think it would do so many of us so much more good if we could just make our hearts a little more easy.
Easy like Sunday morning.

A Good Work

Philippians 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

This next week is a new year marker for me in many ways….several days of new year markers actually.  It will mark the end of the 1st year with out my friend Shannon, and one year since I miscarried. ….not to mention several other remembrances that stand out surrounding these events.

But I see this last year as a very good work.

Certainly not MY good work, but a good work that I feel so grateful to be able to recognize. A good work, that helps me see beyond the pain and into the purpose, and  that the purpose is the good work.

It has been a very rich year spiritually, mentally, physically, maritally, parent-erly (made that one up, but you know what it means), and friendship-erly (yep, that one too).

My favorite thing about this good work is that it is still working.

Working to prepare me.

Working to shape me.

Working to make me transparent.

Working to use me,  not for me, not for my sake  …and working to help me wrap my head and heart around that.

Yes. This good work is not about me, but about through me….and it can be so hard to lose sight of that.

He has begun a good work, and He will see it through.

139

So.

Tomorrow is the big day. I even bought a new outfit.


(I am such a girl, no?)

Tomorrow is the day I run (mostly) my first 5k!

I say first like I’m going to run them all the time. Truth is, one of my goals for this month is to sign up for a 10k to run sometime in the next few months.

I have to say. I’m kind of stoked not because I love running, but because I’m actually doing this. Truth be told, I have not fallen in love with running yet. I wonder often if I will.

I wonder enough sometimes to wonder if this marathon idea was a stupid idea and whether or not I should just be a 5k girl from here on out.

Then, I went to go pick up my “race swag” this afternoon.

Here is the number I got.

At first I didn’t notice, but then a very good friend who knows I love Psalm 139:14 reminded me that  the number was no coincidence.

That was my birth verse. A reminder that GOD Himself made me and I’m made “fearfully and wonderfully”. A reminder that God knows me pretty well and that I am made to do this, and I can do this and way more if I keep my eyes on him. A reminder to praise Him for it especially.

But since it was only the 139 here…I decided to reread the Psalm.

The whole Psalm.

I’ll admit, I’ve been having trouble connecting with Him lately. Ever since I finished my reading of the entire Bible. Busyness, lack of planning, Daylight savings, teething babies.

Lack of priority.

But, “He understands my thoughts from far away.” (vs2b)

And when I’m ready to throw in the towel, “I can’t escape His Spirit, or flee from His Presence.” (vs7)

…because He shows up like this…

Most of you aren’t even going to see this until tomorrow after the race is already over.

I just had to share this little God moment with you all. It was a huge encouragement to keep plugging away.

Running.  It turns out it’s been a good place to share Him.
And, just like in everything else I learn to give to Him, “He’ll lead me in the way everlasting.” (vs24)

Work Out Wanderings

Tonight I ran for 20 minutes straight without dying.

This is huge.

No. Really. This is a big deal for me. I have never enjoyed running in my life, and while I won’t say that I just loved running for 20 minutes straight, I didn’t hate it either.

Two months ago I was happy just to run for one minute straight. I would say this is progress.

It also means I am beginning to really believe that I can do this marathon thing.

For real.

Also, I sweat so much I could feel it dripping from my elbows.

I’m sorry that was TMI. True though.

My schedule over the last two weeks has also forced me to do some working out in the evenings instead of the morning. Again, I am often the only one there, and when I arrive most all of the lights are off.

Except that one can light over (my) treadmill. It’s like having a spot light.

Pretty cool for the Blondie air drum solos for girls with purple…er, blue…pig tails.

Yes, blue. As you all know I was going for purple tresses, but what I have not told you (though many of you know) is that I am pretty much color blind. The eye docs call it color deficient, but I can tell you that I can always see the first “test” in the color blindness test book and then I am done after that.

So, all that to say, it turns out my purple hair is actually blue and I can’t tell personally.

So who wants to go to Sally’s beauty with me this week….because right now…the blue is fading and the blonde is starting to show through and it is a special green color.

There are no bible verses about green hair. I checked.

She has plenty of time….

this girl….

has Plenty of time.

Plenty of time to have an army of magazines tell her that outfit is all “wrong”.

She has plenty of time before the culture of her peers makes her feel that this kind of “spunk” makes her stand out and not “fit in”.

She will have her whole life to question and obsess over every detail of how she looks.

There will be years to think about how she could have posed better for the picture.

There will be too many years to obsess over what she eats.

Plenty of years to be chained down by what the media tells her is attractive.

So for now,

I’ll teach her to exercise because it’s fun.

I’ll allow her the confidence to imagine herself as one tough cookie.

I’ll let her dress herself, and encourage that sense of style that only she has.

…and if I’m lucky,

I’ll have raised a girl who has plenty of time…

to be herself.

Perfectly Imbalanced

Balance…

…is it really all it’s cracked up to be?

I’ve been thinking on this ever since I gave birth for the first time. That’s when all this talk of balance began.

How to balance work and motherhood. (read all the books)

How to balance being a mother and wife. (took all the bible studies I could sign up for)

How to balance all the things on your checklist. (I was highly “effective” and had the planner to prove it)

Then came kid number two, the one we lovingly refer to as “Mobil Entropy Unit 2”.

And the scales began to tip and I started rethinking this balance thing.

Balance. Meaning the scales had to be even, …right?

Was my family really supposed to carry as much weight as my career did?

That was balance?

A kid that won’t sleep for the first two years of his life will make you start thinking crazy, and he will give you plenty of time in the night to do it. When you go for so many nights with out a good sleep and you can’t do anything about it…you can barely begin to see the ability to control balance for what it really is, an illusion.

The end of my  (already diminishing) career was about imbalance. I was forced to decided between family (both physical and faith) or a 4 hour afternoon of selling mammon.  There was no way to make the scales break even. I had to CHOOSE to tip the scales that day.

Full on motherhood brought new balance issues.

I had to balance me time and mommy time. Daddy time and kid time. God and I time.

I had to balance all those activities I was in charge of so I would feel balanced as a woman since I no longer was balancing a career.

Then came the news that kid number 3 was on his way, and I began to think I was suffering some sort of a short term “chemical imbalance”.

I was balancing ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!

So I purposely became very imbalanced in my prayer life. The scales became very weighty on that side. And you know what happened? Peace.

I quit trying to balance interior design with warmth and heart in my home. I began to write scripture on all my windows and dared the neighbors to care. I didn’t fear being that “crazy neighbor”. And you know what happened? Comfort.

When it came to saying “yes” and “no” to busyness during this time of my life, I began to let the “no’s” weigh more. And you won’t believe what I found. Rest.

I realized I was chemically imbalanced…in a good way. There was more happy than there was sad.

I began to realize that the movers and shakers, they aren’t balanced at all. They are sold out to their passions, be it good or bad, and they are the ones that change things.

I want to change things.

Then,

just this week, over tea, my husband ( I like to call him Mr. H.O.T.T., head of the table)…brilliant man that he is spun my perception once again. What if, we balance each other?

Whoa! right?

…how often do we let others help us achieve balance that we think we need so much.

never.

We believe the lie that we are

meant,

supposed,

expected,

and even can do it on our own.

And we let it wreck us and depress us.

I realized with the hearing of my husband’s wise question, that part of the Joy I found last year, came from the balance of friends and family that carried me through hard times. God ordained relationships to bring that balance back to my life.

Relationships that tipped the scales toward Him once again.

Here’s the trick though. I had to let them.

There was me way over on one side of the scales trying to cope and balance all by myself those first few days.

And then my friends and family way over on the other side….until I nodded and they all came rushing over…(I smile here)

…to once again make me perfectly imbalanced.

My Semi Famous Cookies

This is a recipe that I have changed and updated over the years. I give a batch to every mom that I doula for when I go for a postpartum follow up. They make a great gift, and a good cookie for the kid set too.

I started playing with the idea when I had my first child in 2004. I had read that rolled oats and whole wheat could help boost your milk supply when breast feeding. When I went back to work I was desperate to keep my milk up since I didn’t have as many opportunities to pump while I was at work. I hated oatmeal, but I knew I really liked cookies so…I fiddled around with an oatmeal cookie recipe or two and this is what it has become now.

By the way, the first time I tried this for my milk supply, I went from pumping two ounces from both breasts together to pumping 6 oz from each, but I ate tons of them because they were so stinking good! Unfortunately, I think my body became kind of used to it because with in a week and a half I was back to the two ounces. I could lay off the cookies for awhile though and do it again in a week or two. It was crazy.

I can’t prove the effectiveness by any means, but it at least gave this mama a little confidence boost if nothing else. I’ll give you a strange way to tell if it’s working…(this only works if you used the fenugreek listed below)…your armpits, …they will start to smell like maple syrup.

I swear. It’s totally true.

A Note for the Dads: These cookies will not make you lactate if you are not already lactating!

Ingredients:

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (I have also used raw sugar before)

3/4 cup salted butter (the wonderful amish butter is best if you can get it, I have a source if you need one)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg (farm fresh is best)

1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups rolled oats (do not use quick oats)

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp fenugreek ( optional…this herb has been shown to improve lactation…if you are pregnant though, hold off on using this in your cookies…It can also stimulate labor.I find my fenugreek at Dekalb Farmers Market)

1 cup of chocolate chips (totally optional but highly recommended. Also good is white chocolate chips and dried cranberries)

1. Heat oven to 350. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter and sugars until cream. Add the egg, water, and vanilla until totally combined.

2 Add the already combined dry ingredients minus the oatmeal, a little at a time alternately with the oatmeal.

3. Fold in chocolate chips

4. Drop dough by the teaspoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

5. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before storing in an air tight container.

This makes roughly 5 dozen cookies and they do freeze well.

Feel free to share with your pregnant and breastfeeding friends.