Tag Archives: mother

Hindsight 2020

Unicorn bath bomb swirls colors into steaming water. I watch, mesmerized, massaging coconut oil into my hair, a makeshift mask. I bless each dark strand that comes out in my hands. Its replacement will most likely be the color of wisdom.

Hindsight 2020 playlist fills the room with music. All the songs I didn’t know I needed this year, compiled into one list, inspired by Bethany Cabell’s annual Thanksgiving Playlist on Red Tent Living. I always choose random, not chronological, order when I listen.

Chili simmers in a crock pot on the kitchen counter. Just thinking of it’s recipe source, crock pot owner, and preparer brings tears. Such kindness surrounds me. Deep care.

I climb into hot, scented, sparkly unicorn water, letting tears fall. When a heart breaks brings sobs from a heart that has been broken for longer than I care to admit.

I have never been alone in this. Never not loved. Each song reminds me. Each link-sender seeing me in a vulnerable posture of heartache.

And yet an small place inside, a small person, just wants to be held. To not hold everything. To not be responsible for all of the intensity and pain in everyone else.

I see her. Feel her. Invite her to rest in the embrace of water and sparkles and love. I breathe in sweetness and spices and exhale grief. I hold her and let her be held.

Weeks to (New) Months

October 1 finds me reflective and with a deeper understanding of what the phrase weeks to months actually means. When Mom began chemo the first week of September, it was to give more months, not years, according to the oncologist.

Chemo was brutal. One round caused such misery that to continue for a few more months of torture to extend days was not sustainable. Mom chose hospice care instead, allowing her to live more fully and with more presence in this season.

Mom looks beautiful in her brightly colored turbans!

Eight weeks and three days since the initial heartbreaking scan, life settles into a routine of change. Each week grows day by day, then adds up with the next to create another month. And that is what we are given, a string of days, weeks, months.

We won September, full of family visits, kids settling in to school, and shifts in business and work loads. We practice turning towards each other. There was a photo shoot to capture us with Mom.

Mom and I share a moment during the photo shoot before our own mini-session. She is always radiant in red.

October brings new rhythms and boundaried settledness. Time and energy are precious resources. The walks across town, to and from my parents’ house, a sort of sacred rhythm, ground me in presence as I transition from mother to daughter and back again.

Sighting a heart shape on the brick walkway or a changing leaf from a nearby tree bring comfort and calm to the sometimes-chaos of my heart.

A heart-shaped blob on the sidewalk reminds me that love is all around me. I only have to keep my eyes open for it.
Change is the constant.

I drink coffee outside with Mom this morning, our usual Thursday routine. We enjoy the crisp air and birdsongs and sighting of a butterfly on the fence. Mostly we enjoy the rhythm and ritual and the gift of a new month.

Look closely to see birds on top of the fence and a butterfly resting, as well.
Mom wearing the prayer shawl made for her by a dear friend, Rosie.

These are the moments that matter in the weeks to months that remain. Thank you to all who continue to offer such gentle care, kindness, and understanding as we navigate the present while looking ahead to the uncertain future.

Flock

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly, not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 1 Peter 5:2 NLT

Here is today’s word and page. The verse says it all. This is truly where I am right now in life. Posting this from my phone and signing off to spend the evening with my love, after I read to a child, of course.

Purple

She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
Proverbs 31:22 (NLT)

Today finds me in Proverbs 31I knew immediately I was going for purple, my favorite color.

I began with a base of Inktense purple.

Then I waited and looked through magazines for inspiration, and this happened.

I don’t have a step-by-step, but here is today’s creative process described by one of my children who spends quite a bit of time with me.

Aighty, so my mom worked for three hours straight (no exaggeration and no bathroom breaks) on this one page, constantly saying, “Oh, this looks pretty good, but it looks like I could add something.” And she sat there flipping through all on-hand magazines with her bony tendrils trying to find the thing that the picture looked like it could use. Finally, she said, “This looks good.” AND THEN SHE SAID, “But wait…. it could use something….” Eventually she accepted the fact that it looked fine and she just went with what she had.

I guess time really does fly when you are absorbed in what you love to do, and I needed this creative space today. (And I am positive it wasn’t three STRAIGHT hours and that I took bathroom breaks.)

Here is the open journal. I find it interesting that purple is opposite mountains. Also, there is something added after the above page was finished. Because it could use something.

I really love this page. And here is a post about one of the Proverbs 31 women in my life. I love her a lot, too.

Now it is time to put this day to rest.

Goodnight, Friends!

Focused Writing

It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to uncover them.
Proverbs 25:2 (NLT)

My day began with these words. Pondering the privilege of discovery I wrote, Jesus, what will I discover today? Little did I know. It is only half over.

This day is full of mixed feelings. My heart is acutely aware of its longings and desires and the difficulty of being finite. As dear friends converge in Seattle to begin Externship training and others gather in Austin in anticipation of the Brave On conference, I am here doing what I have been called to in this season.

I have been called to stay and uncover what it is God has for me in this place, under my own roof, with my own people. Instead of packing a suitcase and saying goodbye, I am unpacking our story and saying, I’m here.

Here looked like quite an adventure on the ride to school.

Teen son was up and about early enough to drive. I sat in the passenger seat and Little Mae was in the back. The careful drive began.

At a slow intersection while stopped at a sign, student driver put the car in park to adjust his seat. There were no other cars around, it was not a dangerous situation, but my anxiety began to mount.

Opening my mouth to begin a lecture, another sound came from the back seat. A frantic, terrified, gutteral scream rose from somewhere inside Little Mae. My heart stopped as I looked out the side window, fully expecting to see that we were the victims of a car-jacking.

SPIDER!!!!!

Turning in the direction of her scream I saw a huge spider on the back of my headrest.

Pass me a tissue.

I spoke in the calmest of voices, fully expecting a lunge, scurry, or sudden movement from the spider and the ensuing chaos that an inexperienced driver and panicked 10 year old would bring.

I was not thinking that I would have to feel the spider through the tissue as I gripped it gently and tossed it out my window that, somehow, I had rolled down. I felt it. I did not squish it.

A collective sigh released from us all as the driver took the left he had planned. We debriefed the series of events and how good it was that the car was stopped and not driving. We laughed and maybe cried (not the driver), and my heart continued racing, flooded with adrenaline, well beyond morning drop-off.

Everyone made it safely to school. I made it home. The day continued.

Washing breakfast dishes, I looked up to see a pink flower blooming on the hanging plant above the sink. It is a transplant of this one and a special sign to me. I posted its picture on social media and a friend commented tradescantia/spiderwort .

Of course! Spider redemption, if only in word form. I had to laugh as I rejoiced that I now had a focus for today’s writing.

Moments of Laughter

Not all has been sad in my world. Though the tears often eclipse the smiles, I am trying to focus on the splashes of joy that creep up and surprise me. One of those moments happened last Saturday.

It was a rare afternoon plan that came together at the last minute. Two of our daughters were at a middle school retreat, our youngest was with her cousin, and teenage son was recovering from a band all-nighter.

Steve’s planned weekend away with friends was postponed, leaving him home unexpectedly. We decided to seize the opportunity for a real date away from the house. That is an important part of the equation. This was a last-minute plan.

We decided to visit Crozet, an area Steve had traveled to for work and wanted to return to together. We would do wine tasting, get lunch, and end with coffee, keeping all of the activity together in the same location.

Another key point of this story is that it was bachelorette weekend for our soon-to-be daughter-in-law. I found this out on Labor Day from my adult daughters. They were attending the weekend festivities to be held near Charlottesville.

For this reason, I wanted to avoid wineries in that area and keep it all in Crozet. That is why we chose King Family Vineyards over Jefferson Vineyards .

Our drive over the mountain was relaxing. We marveled over getting away and actually doing something fun. Though overcast, it was not raining, and we enjoyed conversation. When we arrived at the vineyard and pulled into the parking area, Steve received a text from our oldest.

I think you would enjoy being the person behind the counter doing wine tastings for people (my paraphrased version of her words).

I would! Mom and I are at King Family Vineyards to do a wine tasting  (my paraphrased version of his response).

Immediately Steve’s phone rang with our daughter’s voice on the other end.

That is where we are right now!

Looking up past the parking area and towards the tasting room we saw her running towards us. At picnic tables on the lawn beyond, with a bountiful spread of food and several bottles of wine, were 18 women celebrating the bride-to-be.

I could not believe it. Laughter was my only response. That and profuse explanation.

I had intentionally stayed off of the bride’s social media sites to avoid creeping on the events of the weekend. I had intentionally chosen a winery that I was certain they would not choose (though if I had investigated further, I would have noticed that this one accommodates large groups, which I learned in the tasting room).

We said hi to our daughters and daughter-in-law (to be) and laughed together at the coincidence. We made it clear that we were there to do our own tasting and would not intrude on their picnic space. We made a crazy pre-wedding memory that could not have been planned.

And there was joy.

Menu Plan

I am no Heather. I realize this. She inspires me, though, and allows me to be just who I am in all of my imperfection and mess. Though I try to resist comparison, it sometimes creeps up on me. When this happens, I work to change my thought pattern to one of inspiration.

One area of struggle for me is menu planning. I have a mental block, an aversion, to it, though I have prepared hundreds of meals and fed my large family daily for years. In theory it should not be this difficult, but in practice it is another matter.

Recently I was in Heather’s kitchen and noticed her menu written on a chalkboard hanging on the kitchen wall framed by an elegant frame. There was a Scripture verse printed on it, opposite the week’s menu. My mind went to the white board in my kitchen and to the possibility of writing a menu plan in similar fashion.

I decided to take action when I arrived home, claiming the lower left corner of the board for my  plan. I listed Monday through Sunday and wrote down what I would prepare each day. At the end of each day I wiped off the day’s meal and wrote what I would fix the following week.

In essence it is a continual meal plan. A continual feast.

It has been a few weeks and the new menu plan has been serving me well. Now if I could get the grocery list under control!

For the curious, this is what my kitchen whiteboard looks like today

It’s not the most beautiful and could use a Scripture verse or two, but it’s doing its job. And my grocery list rhymes.

Free Bread

It says card declined.

The cashier looks at me inquisitively. I return his gaze. I have no idea why my bank card would be declined. I insert it again.

Still says card declined.

His face grows bored. The checkout line lengthens. I glance apologetically at those waiting, wishing I had tossed the checkbook into my purse this morning.

Ok. I’m going home to get my checkbook. Can you keep these to the side for me?

My cart waits at Customer Service. I exit Food Lion full of second thoughts about today’s grocery visit. Maybe my card knows something I do not and is trying to keep me from the constant grocery spending hemorrhage that seems to be taking over.

Daily I stop in for bananas or bread or milk. There is always something written on the marker board in the kitchen. I don’t have my usual photo of it but certainly I can remember the items.

apples, oats, both kinds of bread, butter, block of cheese

There is marked down meat, always a find. I add it to the cart with the apples. Rounding the back of the store I remember bacon and coffee cream.

What else was on that list again? We need juice for lunches.

I am glad to see that juice is on the same aisle as oats and add two boxes of Capri Sun to the cart.

Piling items on the checkout conveyor I remember butter and cheese. Hoping that the lady in front of me will move slowly, I run to the dairy aisle to grab them.

Returning with time to spare, my card is declined and I drive home for my checkbook.

Bread! That’s what I forgot. Two kinds of bread!

At Customer Service, one of my favorite cashiers collects my check, making small talk as she enters data into the register. I ask if I can leave the cart there to grab bread.

Oh! You could have gotten bread first and paid for it here.

I assure her it’s okay, hoping it will give me a chance to see what’s up with my card. I grab four loaves of bread and enter the express checkout line.

Another friendly cashier rings up my purchase. I laugh over the events of the day when she asks how I am doing.

Somehow I continue to hold the illusion that I will get my act together one of these days!

Yeah. those ducks are hard to get in a row.

Mine are quacking all over the place!

Laughter ensues as I insert my card only to have her tell me,

If you have ninety cents that’s all you need.

Looking at the screen, I see that the total is $12.90 but that I have earned $12 in rewards, making the purchase $.90. Surprised, I fish through the change in my wallet, taking out quarters and nickels to make up the difference.

For a minute my ducks all lined up and handed me free bread, and it was beautiful.

Change of Plans

I’m sorry I don’t have any quarters.

The cashier apologizes while fishing through her drawer for $.58 in coins to add to the dollar bills handed me as change for my $6.42 purchase. I quickly pass the paper money to my husband and prepare my hand for the pile of coins she is counting.

That’s okay. I actually prefer dimes.

I am speaking truth. I do. Dimes remind me that I am seen and that there is enough ~ enough money, care, resources. I watch for them and notice where they appear. On the floor of a closet I am cleaning, in the dryer, on a walk, there they are. I collect them.

We say goodnight as my husband, dog, and I exit the neighborhood Dollar General. I am grateful for its re-opening in time for the start of the school year. It is my go-to for last-minute necessities that arise. Along with the needed item, I feel care in my hand, heavy with coins.

Would you keep these coins in your pocket for me until we get home?

My husband obliges, and I pick up the pace, eager to see how many dimes I will find when we arrive.

This Sunday night is different than last when I was anticipating back to school week for my children. They headed back to school, then one returned to do school at home this year. With this change of plans came uncertainty, sitting in the tension between withdrawl from one program and application to another.

I know this  unexpected turn of events is for the best this season. That is how we do it, year by year. I am thankful for resources, space, and time. For knowing my focus.

I am thankful for an unexpected handful of change containing no quarters and four dimes reminding me again that I can trust.

All will be well.