This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Nuggets

Sometimes you can be going about in your usual way. You can be reading. Dozing on the couch. Driving down the road. You can be walking through Trader Joes wishing their samples weren't always so bizarre. And God will drop a nugget the size of a water droplet in your heart. In your brain. 

I was doing something mundane a while back. So mundane I can't even recall what it was. And I began to think about my role as a teacher and the almost absurd amount of favor God has granted me in my very first year of working for the public school system. My thoughts were a jumble of clips: isn't it cool that I get to teach these kids? Man. I see the fruit. God you are so faithful to show up. How cool to watch these lives transform before my eyes. Wouldn't it be cool if I could reach them spiritually? But aren't I? I mean do I have to say "this love is from Jesus" for them to understand that it is? Isn't that what the Holy Spirit is all about!?

And then came the nugget. In one breathe I thought how cool that God called me to this job. What a crazy turn of events. How unreal that he worked all that out so I could go get that job. 

And in the next breathe. In the flash of a synapse. You haven't been called. I've sent you. I've sent you out. 

Is it me or did this situation just get weightier?? I've always given God credit for this job, but I have viewed myself trudging down a path before me. I see the path. I choose the path. I walk along the path, and presto. I find a job God has for me. But there's more to it. 

What I'm trying to say is that I've not just taken a job. I've been sent out. I keep company with the disciples of the new testimant. We are like a club. I've been prayed for. Called. Trained. And now I've been sent. 

Every step. Ordained. No part cavalier. No part without purpose. 

Where will you send me, lord? Make me brazen like David. Make me audacious like Esther. Call me out where only your grace can direct my steps. Send me, Lord. I am ready. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rainbow Gang

I've got all these children who regularly want. Food, clothes, shelter, rides, jokes, snuggles, quality time, acts of service, read alouds, basketball partners, coffee: their needs are endless. Sometimes I wake up to the barrage of their wants and want to simply pull the covers up over my head and pretend I'm someplace happy. Easier. Some place with a maid. 

But honestly, I wouldn't change a minute of my time giving to and loving on my kids. Because wrapped up inside all those minutes of games and practices and supply runs and friend shuffling and band aids and errands exists inside jokes and giggles that turn to all out guffaws and lines that we will mockingly quote for the rest of their lives. 

One of my favorite things about our family is the amount of inside jokes my kids have. They are like a movie quoting, mock making gang. They even call themselves The Rainbow Gang. They made shirts. No kidding. 

We are all jumped into the gang. If you are here for as much as one evening of dinner, you get jumped in. Your fighting is futile. You'd have to come back a couple times to get a shirt, but really it doesn't take much. Especially if you don't make us have to clarify when we are kidding. Let's just assume it's always and we will let you know if seriousness is coming. 

Sincerely, 
The Rainbow Gang

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Why I Like Mike #32: Hey Sailor

Ever have those days when the people around you all seem to be speaking one language, crazy town, and you are left speechless? I mean they say something, and though you rarely are left speechless, this minute, it isn't that you can' t think of what to say, it's that you are just confused that you are needing to say anything at all? I've had a day rather like that. One one hand you have those speaking crazy town. On the other you have wise "real grown up" counsel reminding you that sometimes standing strong in your convictions will isolate you. Not by your choice. But they will isolate you. Make you a lone reed. Sometimes you are left hurting for a few minutes.

You know what's great after those minutes? Husbands.

Well mine was anyway. I grew up in the straight food stampin, free school supply giving, you better not wear red or blue anywhere on your person (stick with canary yellow. Canary yellow wasn't gang related) ghetto. We look out for our people. Even if those people weren't really your friends, if someone showed up with their crazy hanging out, you looked out for your people.

I didn't have a neighborhood. I had a hood. We watched Stand and Deliver and didn't understand why everyone thought the kids had it so bad in school. It looked normal to us. Going to high school? Well then you walk through metal detectors. They check your back packs. No, your locker isn't private property and probably, if the Dean finds your weed, he's going to smoke it.

I once woke up near midnight to go pick up heavily inebriated school mates from a party. Apparently when word gets around that you are a designated driver your friends have no qualms with waking you  in the middle of the night. So, at 2 am, we were turning our next to last corner and one of the girls in my back seat decided she didn't like the attitude of the pedestrians crossing the road- an 11 year old girl and her 15 year old sister. My soon to be ex-friend passenger and the older sister went fist-to-cuffs. Me? I stood calmly on the sidewalk with Little Sister assuring her they were just being idiots and she was safe with me. I looked out for her. She was from my hood. While these other two girls broke noses and later brandished weapons, this kid clung to my waistline and said, "thanks."

This is what I expect from people. Keep me company and tell me everything is going to be OK when the crazy talk starts. That's what The Man did for me today. He had my back. He was loyal and loving and reminded me over and over that he was there for me- just a phone call away. Nothing says romance like a man willing to stand up for his woman. It's probably a good thing he was at work when all this happened. It was DEFINITELY a good thing he was not wearing this sailor's uniform in front of my face. Five is enough kids. I need to go fan myself.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Summah Summah SummahTime

That Will Smith knew what he was rappin' about. It's all I can do to put on pants these days. I have summers off, on account of my day job. I am a teacher. Ahoy. I teach. So for the entire two weeks of June that didn't include work days, I have done a whole lot of nothing.

Do I have regrets? No. Not even one little letter.

In fact, I have accomplished much with my nothingness. Think The Nothing from The Never Ending Story. That thing made all sorts of impact leaving greatness in his wake. (Terrible. But Great).

I have:

Read no less than 4 books

Exercised regularly, still keeping my 6 aye em routine

Visited lakes

Visited an ocean

Drank coffee

Snuggled besties

Moved over 4,000 pounds of bread (ok, I had a little help from some awesome youth kids for this one)

Listened to some new music- indulgent, but new- Megan Trainer & Sam Hunt

Caught up on So You Think You Can Dance

Watched Lorelei and Luke be on again, off again, and then on again to infinity

Snuggled my kids around a few good movies

Dated The Man

Went to a different state- twice

Began editing a new book. Yep! A new one!

Spoke before about 40 Rotarians to procure some funds and community involvement in my classroom this coming year

Led 8-10 kiddos in an alternative VBS- this year, we are going into the city to do random acts of kindness. No crafts or snacktime for us. Except Slurpees. There are always Slurpees.

Started a new Instagram feed. Follow me here. 

So basically, I'm living each minute however I feel like it. I'm Julia Roberts- a fly by the seat of my pants, moment to moment. That's me. 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Beautifully, I'm in Over My Head

Busy is the new fine. Have you noticed that? 

five years ago:
"How are you?"
"Fine"

Modern day:
"How are you?"
"Busy"

Why is this something? I'm ok, really, if the busy is something worthwhile. For instance, are you busy loving the city in which you live? Is it so busy because you are sewing clothes for the needy and don't have a second to watch tv? Did you jam pack your calendar with out reach to your neighborhood school so you haven't the time for sunning by the pool? 
Or is it more, "I'm so busy. I haven't _____" fill in the blank with something vital like showering, spending time with Jesus, or dating your spouse. 

Sometimes busy and busy are as different as busy and fine. When you're busy for Jesus, you get it when you read that Abraham got up early to obey. That Jesus got up early to pray. Joshua stood and faught all night- under the still sun. You get caught up in Jesus and his word and his plan and his work. You get this supernatural stamina and peace about you even when the busy collides with life. 

As I type, I'm in the questionable smelling cafeteria at the hospital. My mother is upstairs grumbling and irritated as Ms. Havisham at doctors and nurses wanting her blood and her consent to do surgery. She's listing the ways she is too busy for surgery. 

Want to know the weird part? I started writing this blog yesterday. Before this was happening. But it doesn't matter. Every day for each of us is seeming to look the same. It's, "hurry hurry! Eat this delicious meal I prepared for you so we can get on to the movie!! We have to make the previews." Then we sit for the previews and find that we keep checking our watch. "We need to get home and get to sleep; early soccer game!!" Gah. 

I'm not pointing out my mother because she's behaving a certain way. I'm bringing her up because this is usual for each of us. All of us. 

And why shouldn't we be? Busy loving. Busy caring. Busy paying 100% of our attention to whoever God puts before us and beside us and around us. As long as THAT is our long list of busy. We have a kropog of time here on this earth. I don't want to waste a minute of it wrapped up in simply being busy. 


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ever have those minutes where your sleep is restless and you sigh more in the day than usual? And then, you take stock because the worries aren't worth the stress of it all. You don't need to live like that! Figure out what's causing this uneasiness and dump it like a cheating boyfriend. Right??! 

Except, when you finished cataloging the parts of your day, you realize your life seems to be doing ok. There's really not much to cut out. You add another sigh and dig a little deeper. "What is it? What's creating this funk?" You ask yourself where'd you come across these droopy shoulders, only to realize the weight spread oppressingly across them comes from those around you whose hurts are so big and too much for you to carry. Your sighs are seeping with empathy, and the cracks in your heart are from their pains.  They are hurting and you are wanting so badly to hold them and hug them and love them and tell them "even this is going to be ok. This? It's not small. I won't say it's small. But it isn't so unbearable that it will pull you down. This? God has even THIS." 

And then you sigh heavily and curl up on the couch. Your sleep is broken. Your mind is always just off task. And you would give anything to rip that aching from your friend's hand and heave it into the abyss where it probably came from in the first place. "Here satan. Have it back. Go sell crazy someplace else; we're all stocked up here." 

You know what I am finding? I'm finding God doesn't want me to shoulder the burdens of others anymore than he asks me to carry my own. That's mercy. His mercy says "Here I am. Take this." And he hands us his yoke. A burden of peace. A smothering of grace. A whole gravy boat of beautiful. A tidal wave of "lean not on your own understanding." 

That's what I want. To trade my ashes in for his beauty, even if the ashes were never mine. Because really, no ashes are ever mine. Jesus took those singed pieces of our souls and died on the cross and payed no mind to our uncomfortableness over the whole thing. 

We want to take from him with our left hand and give him something with our right. But who would want what we have to offer? I want Jesus and that is all. I want him and his peace and his joy. Take your ashes. Take your anvils. Take your crutches. I'll take Jesus. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mostly

Mostly I've been up to my eyeballs. Detroit? Well. Detroit was the most intense couple of days I've spent on purpose. 
My days there included at least 8 meetings, but probably more, a new coffee favorite straight from the early 1900s when it used to be a butcher shop, and some very vulnerable hearts. Oh. And a spider and her baby egg sack cooked right into my omlet. The previous words are not a joke. Spiders and baby egg sacks are never welcomed near me. Never. 

After Detroit, I came home for less than 48 hours to cook, clean, cook, grocery shop, pack, and cook. 

I also had some coffee and missed Detroit. Not Detroit. Hamtramck. I promise that's how it's spelled, and I promise if you go there your heart will creak. Some forgotten hinge will rattle away the rust. 

Then began the second leg of my spring break journey called "Can We Survive Bodega Bay in a Tent Trailer?" The answer to that is mostly yes and then no. We left a day early, right around the time the emergency weather system said "seek immediate shelter". It worked out ok. Samuel found a sea snail the size of his head, my children all decided they enjoy catching crab and digging for clams, some realized they hate seafood, others realized they love it, and then we freed Rick. Rick the sea star. He's back in the wild. And just in time because we left to head home and got trapped on the winning side of a snow storm. This also worked out just fine because the winning side of the snow storm included a two night sleepover with my most favorite family ever and IKEA. Snow? What snow? 

Upon our arrival home, I broke standard protocol and cleaned out my van and started laundry immediately. No waiting. It helped that this may be the first time I've arrived home from a trip and not been completely exhausted. It helps that my children are older. It helps that we got to decompress a bit in Sacramento. It helps that we packed all of our favorite clothes, and if we don't wash them now, we will be hosed.

Also. It helps that I spent nearly all of my hours lying in the sun and reading a book. Oh teen lit. I love you. 

Shortly after the last bit of laundry was finished, the last precut celery stick remaining from our trip was eaten, and Right after I found my computer cord it was time Elijah's surgery. 

This kid broke his nose in 6th grade. It all seemed too painful to take him in for a rebreak, so we embraced his slightly crooked nose. Until he became a man child and not only was it no longer slightly crooked, it was hindering his breathing. Surgery. 
He's been down and out and sad and bummed. This mamma's heart almost couldn't stand to watch, but then I found myself just staring at him all the time. When he slept. When he sat. When he watched tv. I'm grateful he didn't ask me to stop. It's like he knew I was filling up wth him. I needed to notice his eyelashes, the curve of his lip, and his sweet face and fill up with him. We've been on this road with him for too long not to. 

So. Now. Now I have the capacity to be here and write and blog and share and breathe. But only just now. A minute ago would have been too soon.