A letter

Posts Tagged ‘one day at a time’

When living takes courage.

In Bloomfield on July 29, 2016 at 11:48 am


Certainly odd for me, but I just finished reading my second book on death. I sat alone in a quiet, sleeping house sobbing, barely able to read the last chapter. His (the author’s) story hit me at the core of my being. Maybe because my mom has had two brain surgeries this year. Maybe because we just had a baby, and I can’t imagine a goodbye like that. Maybe because the author that passed was only a year older than David. Maybe because we’ve said two painful goodbyes this year already. Or maybe because life is fragile, laced with unbelievable joys and aching tragedy. But maybe mostly because life is a gift, and I want to keep seeing it that way.

It is easy to forget that life is a gift, especially when it’s hard. I’ve wanted to hide from life many days this year. I hate to even admit it, but it’s true. The urge to crawl back under the sheets has been all to frequent. Life has been hard. I’ve felt so bare. We’ve had conversations, asked the difficult questions, reminded ourselves of God’s goodness and cried bottles full of tears—mainly mine. We’ve thought about giving up on dreams and leaving the mountain climb for something easier. As tears continued to fall the other night, I think what gripped my heart the most was realizing not my fear of death, but my fear of life.

In difficult times it’s not the uncertainty of life that makes it hard to keep going, but its seeming certainty. In the face of hardship, it’s the living of life I fear. I fear that there are too many hard days still in front of me. Grappling with death these past few months, as strange as it may seem, has been freeing. The worry about getting through tomorrow is suddenly relieved when I realize all I’ve been given is today. In facing death or life, I’ve only been given today.

There is a peace in surrendering to life as it is today, even through pain. In beauty or mess, in plenty or lack, in joy or pain, the only thing that is certain is today. I think God told us not to worry about tomorrow to protect our heart in times of trouble—to not worry about bearing the weight we feel today, tomorrow. There are no guarantees. Tomorrows aren’t given to us today.

This man’s courage to live while dying challenged me.  It challenged me to live my todays more fully—more yielded and present. It’s challenged me to soak up baby kisses, savor late-night chats with my hubby after long workdays, and to have too many scoops of ice cream. It’s also given me courage to face challenging days, knowing I only have to tackle today for now. This man’s courage also reminded me of another Man we know, who courageously faced death so we could have a better tomorrow. And, it’s because of Him that we do not have to walk alone.

Love,

Bep


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Uphill climb and Lemonade.

In New York Summer on July 2, 2015 at 6:42 pm

Well, after months of planning, we—and I do mean we—opened Vacation Lemonade. I can tell you one thing, this manager is tired. I wasn’t quite prepared for the level of involvement required of me for this stand. I envisioned sitting shaded in a lawn chair, drinking lemonade and reading while they seamlessly ran the stand, unassisted. Instead, I found myself stooped over at their side, coaching every move and helping in every way imaginable. I guess they are only four and six.

Leon wants to be open daily, and after earning a whopping thirty-eight dollars on day one, I understand why. He told me yesterday he is going door to door to get “costomers”. It seems we have an Uncle Bub on our hands. He will shout down any human looking creature in sight, trying to get a sale. He asks solo customers if they would like one cup or two cups and tells them he’ll see them tomorrow. He’s an absolute riot. Sol decided to start selling toys they don’t need as well. I’m not sure how they did it, but they convinced a Rocky-like, college-aged pedestrian to take an unwanted football guy, for free. He seemed very unfamiliar in the realm of children and said he would put it on his desk. He kept saying, “Are you sure you don’t want it anymore?” I was holding back uproarious laughter. One thing is certain, besides making money, we are making memories. What more could I want?

Through this process of running the lemonade stand the kids are learning amazing lessons. Leon is learning that making money takes time and hard work. He’s realizing it will take days of work to get his desired Air Jordans. By the end of day two they each had thirty-four dollars. He requested I search eBay for Air Jordans for thirty-four bucks. He said he wanted to know what Jordans he could get NOW. Funny thing is, in watching them, I see many parallels in my own life. I wish we were there right now.

I’ve been weary this week. I’ve been tired. I’ve been short on the patience required in life, especially in this season. I’ve questioned whether I have what it takes to climb this mountain. I want to be out of debt today. I want to arrive at our goals today. But just like the boy’s lemonade stand, our adult version takes time. Unfortunately, and fortunately, our goal is far bigger than a pair of Jordans, but that means it will take more than a few days.

We stumbled across an old gospel song last night and it couldn’t have been more perfect. You might already know it. She sang it well, and now we are too: “Lord don’t move that mountain, but give me the strength to climb.” This is where I am at today: I’m needing strength to climb. The beautiful thing is, He always gives us strength to climb. So we know we’ll be okay. Both you and I.

Love you friend.

Bep

    

Doing the hard work of–work. Baby steps.

In New York Summer on June 12, 2015 at 7:27 pm

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I woke up yesterday with housework staring me straight in the eyes. I decided it was a stare-down I wasn’t going to lose. I swear half the household items snuck out of their places and scattered themselves throughout the house while we slept. I still don’t understand how a house that was clean days ago can suddenly be a clutter. My finish-by-lunch-goal was a complete failure. You can only push lunch so far into the day and it becomes dinner. At 2:30, nowhere near being finished, we ate lunch anyhow. I know you didn’t believe me before, but you probably do now–my house really was that dirty. See, I am growing in mess.

My hardest chore yesterday was getting the boys to do chores. Lord, help us! As we both know, it’s so much easier to just do it yourself. However, if we want boys that have work ethic–if we want them to be men that conquer mountains–they’ll only learn to work hard by–working hard.  Thus chore training, and many conversations on what it costs to buy something you want: bucks.

Speaking of things wanted, Leon has decided he would like a pair of Air Jordans.  In pursuit of this desire, we had a business meeting earlier today to talk about their summer lemonade stand. We’re hoping this equation is a success. I’ll keep you posted. “Two bucks for one cup and three bucks for two cups.” He’s got it all figured out. He also wants people to be able to buy a toy for only a quarter more. He said he wants to be generous. I’ve been trying to explain to him the importance of “profit” while still encouraging generosity. As you can see we’ve got a ways to go, but we are at least on the journey.

I’m journeying in my own life as well.  If I want abs, I’ve got to do the sit-ups.  If I want a clean house, I’ve got to pick up a rag. If I want a smokin’ hot marriage, I best be tending the fire.  We all want the goods, right?  We want obedient children, but don’t want to discipline or instruct. We want great relationships, but don’t pick up the phone or invest the time. Leon frequently quotes “Do not fear the man who practices 1,000 punches in one day, fear the man who practices one punch for 1,000 days.” Bruce Lee is on to something, something real good. The little things equal the big things. I will not be the sloth who refuses to roast his prey. I’m going to do the work. And, I’ll start with what’s in my hand, for it’s the diligent hand that will rule.

So, how about it, want to baby step with me this weekend? I’m starting with sweets. Not eating them that is! How about you?

Bep

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Proverbs 12

Earthly scars. This side of heaven.

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

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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.

Bep

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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?

Love,
Bep

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