A letter

Archive for the ‘Spring in New York’ Category

Earthly scars. This side of heaven.

In Spring in New York on June 5, 2015 at 1:31 pm

I’m thankful it’s this week. I’m thankful my Mama is here and that last week is over. I’m thankful–the spilling and brimming kind of thankful. I’m not sure any of us were prepared for last week. I thought I was, but I was proven wrong.

It’s not that we haven’t had to trust before. You know we have. This side of heaven we have faced the possibility of loss before, several times. This time felt different.  Maybe it’s that I’m more adult now. Maybe it’s because we had a few weeks to think about it. Maybe it’s because we knew too much about the surgery and what she was going to endure. Maybe it was because it is my own mother. Maybe it’s because moms aren’t supposed to suffer. Maybe it’s because I wanted to remove her from the experience altogether. Maybe it’s because I didn’t want her to have this scar. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t prepared to imagine life without her. I guess that’s not a maybe.

I realized, tears pouring last Tuesday, that I wasn’t actually fearful. I felt peace. Yet, through peace, I knew there was one outcome I didn’t want to face, even if He was with us. I was trusting. My raw emotions weren’t the absence of trust but the reality of my human heart. I know God holds us. I know He was holding her tenderly through the whole process. He was holding us each so tenderly. I know He knows the times and seasons. I also knew there were no guarantees other than His goodness. I’ve known His sustaining grace in so many paths. I was just not ready to walk that path. Seeing her face across the screen just wasn’t enough. I wanted to touch her and squeeze her so tight. We both sat the night before, with dad, tears streaming, trusting Him with the gifts most precious this side of heaven, each other. This loan of life we live on earth, isn’t what we are ultimately made for. But it is what we are living now. And though one day it will seem short, our earthly days are real. Though one day we’ll feel no pain, we experience both pain and joy in the most tangible ways right now.

That our hearts were made to love this deeply is amazing. And to think that we are only tasting a touch of its wonder, halting. The beauty of loving even through tears, is a gift. And His heart for us so much more than we could ever imagine. Eternity will be incredible, but earth a gift. In the deepest sense, I’m cherishing these earthly gifts.

Brimming in multiple ways.


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Visiting the past.

In Spring in New York on June 1, 2015 at 10:23 pm

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We just drove past a huge COOK OUT billboard and instantly we were taken back to Bonte’ and Lee’s front porch.  Hickory, how we loved you and the life we shared in that season. David can still remember the feeling of the wood on his bare feet, and I can feel the heavy moisture clinging for dear life. Those were the days. It’s been eighteen days shy of a year since I’ve seen Bonte’. I’m not even sure how that happened. Well, actually I do. My heart might burst seeing them tomorrow, and we get to meet Ms. Margot James Watson for the very first time. We might just eat her.

Driving those roads again, the ones we drove so many times before, is strange. It’s an achy, happy feeling. Our life in Virginia and law school seems so distant, though some of its memories still feel near. As you well remember, those years for us were laced with hardship and surprises, with loneliness and life-long friends, with beauty and pain.

Familiar places are good for our souls. They remind us of things forgotten, and give a peace to our hearts that few things can. I was realizing during our drive that the best thing they do though, is remind us of where we’ve come from. The good times in life then, were gifts hidden in a challenging season. I didn’t even want to go to Virginia. But, then in the end, though I was elated law school was complete, much of what Virginia held made it hard to leave. So much richness was waiting for us there. So many friendships that surprised me. So much growing we didn’t know we needed. So much steel being built in our bones.

Revisiting this chapter, put wind in my sails.  It reminded of the goodness that waits for me in this season, too. We can so easily forget the faithfulness that carried us to now.  Right?  We might not be able to see all the goodness just yet, but we’ll for sure look back and see it.

I know we are both good at reminiscing for the sake of nostalgia, but I think we need to revisit the past from time to time in a different way. Not because it’s always pleasant, not because it’s entirely good, not because it was perfect or pain free, or that we did it all right. We need to look back and see the faithfulness. We’ve made it a long ways. We’ve gained strength, we’ve grown, we’ve loved more, we’ve grieved, we’ve rejoiced, we’ve conquered mountains, we’ve aged and grown in wisdom, and though we have some scars, they even prove that we have healed.

I guess this might be the very reason they built altars of remembrance with stones. So they didn’t forget the goodness.

What do you remember?


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A pile of legos. The road to a Master piece.

In Spring in New York on May 27, 2015 at 9:48 am

Our last day of school was Friday which meant the purchase of promised lego sets.  I found this “amazing savings” store blocks away that had the knock off version of lego sets–big ones–for cheap.  So, come Saturday we had one thing on our mind.  If only I would have known they were closed Saturday. Ten stores later we finally retrieved two enormous clearance sets. Happiness was all around.  Who knew how many hours it would take to help construct these sets for 7-14 year olds. And you know Leon and Sol are neither 7 or 14.  Needless to say, I’ve had a lot of thinking time.

Today, staring at a pile of lego pieces I was thinking how much I always want to be at the end goal. I want the mansion, the huge G.I. Joe fortress, but don’t really want to put the 687 pieces together. I especially don’t want to have to read the manual, which, is ridiculously silly. I want the be an amazing parent and have obedient children, but when I am less than an amazing mother, and have less than obedient kids, I am somehow shocked as if I have nothing left to learn. I realized how much I want to wish away hardship or challenges rather than seeing them as this gifted opportunity for growth and adaptation.

I am realizing I can do little to change the circumstances that come my way, but I have this ability to change me.  I can learn new ways of responding to situations.  I can learn to parent better if I am willing.  I can have a cleaner house, or in my case a more messy one, If I’m willing to let things go a little.  And, isn’t this what He’s doing in us anyhow?  Isn’t He molding us, shaping us more into His image?  This implies that we are not exactly like Him yet, that transformation will need to take place. Paul’s flawless words paint a perfect picture.  “And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like Him.”

So friend, I’m going to be the first to admit I don’t know everything I need to know.  I have things to learn.  My mansion is not yet complete.  I am not entirely like Him, yet.  I’m also looking at the instruction manual a bit differently.  He knew we would need it to get to the desired outcome.  How refreshing.  What an incredible master builder that gave us such detailed instructions.  If that very thought doesn’t lift the load of perfection right off your shoulders, maybe you should read it again.

One day at at time,

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That was an actual person’s cart of paper towels at Costco.

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2 Corinthians 3:18

When to-do-lists don’t get done…

In Spring in New York on May 21, 2015 at 9:56 pm

Well friend, here I sit.  Or should I say, here I sit in bed at 8:36 p.m. hot packing my angry lower back and praying my children remain tucked until morning dawns.  There are few guarantees, but I have not heard the bedroom door creak in the last 6 minutes which is hopefully  an indicator of sleep.  Today was one of those days.  This week was one of those weeks.  Maybe it’s because I told you I’m working on “messy happy”.  Maybe it is because occasionally there do not seem to be enough hours in a day.  Maybe it’s because I try to conquer the world in a day rather than the world one day at a time.  Maybe I’m just cranky and an overachiever, perfectionist who doesn’t have a large enough soul to let things slide.  If this is what I signed up for in “growing in mess”, I may have to re-evaluate the contract.

Okay, okay, I’m probably being a bit dramatic.  But in full truth I don’t do well when things aren’t done.  Every day this week, I have gone to bed and at least half of my to-do-list remains undone.  I’m sure you know the feeling.  I think I should just scrap my to-do-list to the curbside entirely and just going about my day singing “Que Sera, Sera”. Do you ever feel this way?

I think every mother feels this way though, at least from time to time. We start a task and someone needs wiping.  Then we referee world war four in the front yard before being reported by the neighbor.  We put the last pile of laundry away only to see dirty hampers spilling over.  We finish cleaning up lunch only to start dinner, and in the midst of it all we are paying bills, loving husbands, dreaming dreams, not to mention tending our own souls.

What is my conclusion in this all?  What resolution have I found?  What peace have I met to calm this storm.  We both know. It’s not a maid, though I wish, It’s not a super power, though I wish that as well.  It’s not even the ability to re-start the day and do it perfectly, and I know we both wish we could do that daily.  It’s this kiss of grace, that meets our lips held tight with frustration.  It’s the mercies in the morning that greet us no matter how the day before finished. It’s the strength that meets us when we are weak, when all we can say is “help”.  It’s the cleansing shower, that washes expectations of perfection to the wayside and reminds me I’m but dust with out Him.  He’s okay with it, it’s why He’s Savior. Somehow that’s what I’ve been trying to be.

So tonight, laundry half done, bills not paid, groceries not purchased, and house not cleaned I’m sitting back and drinking grace, remembering His strength is made perfect in weakness.  He came to rescue because I needed it.  I’ll drink to that, won’t you?


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The mess of happiness.

In Spring in New York on May 19, 2015 at 1:50 pm

I was awakened early on Saturday morning by Sol’s gentle poking, informing me that breakfast was ready in five minutes. The thought of a four and six year old making breakfast alone is not a welcomed one, especially early on Saturday.  Thankfully the smell of bacon reminded me that David was actually home this Saturday.  Hallelujahs all around.  As I walked around the kitchen corner, I was welcomed by quite a site.  Every inch of counter space was covered in some sort of substance, be it, flour, powdered sugar, bacon grease, egg remnants and the likes.  It would have been easier to count the clean dishes in the cupboard than to tally the dirty ones.  At first glance I could only think one thought–I needed coffee.  But shortly after, my eyes met this grinning, aproned, very freckled red head standing on top of a stool, with spatula in hand flipping french toast. And, grinning is an understatement.  He was glowing.  He was proud.  He was full of non stop chatter and one thing was certain, his love tank was full.

As you know, I almost ALWAYS choose the option of less mess.  I hate mess, I love tidy.  I hate disarray, I love order.  But in a moment like that, seeing his happy little face, made all the mess in the world worth it.  Well, it’s Tuesday and I can’t stop thinking about real life and happiness being messy.  That one Proverbs has been haunting me too– where there are no oxen, the stable is clean.  In my mind, clean always equals happy.  But if I got my clean, all the time, it would prove one simple thing, that life wasn’t happening.  Mess, comes with living.  Happiness also comes with living.  And, isn’t happy living what we are supposed to be doing? Aren’t work, and play, and people, and messy breakfasts, the components actual life is made of? Do I really want to escape to the end of the day when all is in it’s place? Well, actually, I do, and will go to bed with my house in order as usual.  However, I’m going to, and need to remember, and you’ll probably have to remind me, that this is life, we are living it, and most our happy comes with mess.  I think it’s how it’s supposed to be.  Unfortunately, you’re just better at messy than me.

Growing in mess,


P.S. Knowing you love bacon, you should see if your Costco has the same bacon I found this week.  It is the FATTEST bacon I have ever seen.  You’ll love it.  It’s by the turkey section, and its FAT.

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Selfish wine…

In Spring in New York on May 14, 2015 at 8:59 am

I received two of the sweetest mother’s day cards this year.  Both arrived on Saturday. The first was from Sol.  It was precious. He even used the scented markers–we know all too well from our childhood–to make the flowers he attached.  His card was delivered almost as promptly as the sun rose complete with batting lashes and the sweetest smile.  He melts me daily.

The second card was delivered under much different circumstances.  Though the day started well, I can’t say it continued in the same manner.  I’m not sure if the fact it was Saturday and I was wishing my man was home, or the fact that my mother’s day card was delivered at such an early hour, but it was rocky sailing for most of the day.  After several hot-tear breakdowns, one being my own, I decided naps would be the perfect solution to all of our woes.  As you know, assuming napping will be a guarantee with children the ages of 6 and 4, or just children in general, is almost as certain as winning the lottery.  And you know I’ve yet to win the lottery.  I should have chosen path number two and let them watch a movie while I re-grouped in my own bedroom alone. None the less, I chose the more appealing one.  Needless to say, I accomplished every type of parenting you should NEVER accomplish.  I threatened things I would not do, I used a louder tone than I intended, and intervened 6-7 times before I split them up, just to name a few. Kids-1, me-0. Finally, Sol was out!  Praise God, he was the one most in need, other than me.  At this point I was hiding under my blankets wondering how I could be such a mother.  Leon’s final instructions were modified and simple; forty-five minutes of him staying in the room, doing whatever he wanted quietly, no sleep necessary.

I must have dozed off for at least five minutes before my alarm went off, and Leon must have been out of the room for at least five minutes as well,  but we’re not going to worry about that.  What I found outside the door made my heart sink and swell simultaneously.  “I luv mom.  Mom heart (drawing) selfishwine”. This was the first time Leon had ever written something unprompted and unassisted.  I read and re-read it several times trying to decipher what he was saying.   I love selfish wine?  I love self? I wine a lot and am selfish?  There were not really any positive outcomes I could see.  And, after a day like today, who knows what he could be saying. I finally asked for an explanation.  “I was going to write more, but I didn’t know how to spell everything.  A man is going to sell me fish, salmon, and I am going to buy you wine and make you a nice fish dinner.” Tension left, and I was staring at sweetness bottled in a red haired, freckle faced, blue eyed boy.

What Leon just proved to me is something I should remember more often.  Things are not always what they seem upon first glance. Most often they are quite different, and much more beautiful.
Still learning, and drinking grace.

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Tending souls…

In Spring in New York on May 12, 2015 at 9:53 pm

Hope you had a great mother’s day.  We brunched at home and it was perfect!  The boys got new shoes this week and Sol claims to jump higher, and Leon can run faster.  I wish I could say the same, but I’m pretty slow and not so springy.

Well, I’m sure you’re still wondering, and so are we, kind-of.  Yes, we’re still waiting.  Our waiting has changed though.  We are waiting less on “something to happen” and waiting more on us “making it happen”.  When heaven seems silent, it’s our time to work like it depends on us, we already know the rest depends on Him.   His part is not always easy to see, or I should say, His timing not always visible, but our part is in plain view.  We’ve been given hands, feet, brains and courageous hearts.  And, we are quickly learning that courage is action not an emotion.  One foot in front of the other.  One day, then the next.  One daring leap of faith, then one more.  Thus is the nature of our life at the moment.  Don’t be surprised in a few months if we are lawyers, designers, film makers, writers, and musicians all simultaneously.  Stranger things have happened.  And, I’m sure this is as surprising to you as snow in winter.

All of this has led us to tending our souls more attentively.  We’re realizing if souls aren’t tended, then hearts go frail, and life’s vitality wanes.  And, as you know, souls even go with us on vacation (not that we’ve had one).  Maybe you can serve as a post-it-note reminding me of this small yet monumental task of soul tending if I am ever to forget it again.  The health of my soul is the health of my life.  Period.  This is a big deal.  I think you should do something you enjoy! And, take note of things that drain you.  It’s not a suggestion, it’s an order.  Refresh your soul!

Our 67 day mentor, Mr. Lopez, said something that has been in my head all day.  He was talking about the daily grind being what life is. We all have one–a daily grind that is.  If I am trying to escape the grind as my life goal, then I have much deeper issues going on.  I love this thought.  The goal shouldn’t be to escape. Living should be the goal.   My thoughts are beginning to rabbit trail, just like my dad, so I’ll stop before you can’t find me.  I envision a picnic and lengthy conversation over this one, soon.

To living OUR personal daily grind, well!



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