Monday, February 28, 2011

The Love of My Life

One day, Mark called and Kate answered the phone. She announced to me that "the love of your life is on the phone." I took the phone and said, "Jesus?!"

Ok, I thought it was funny (Mark was a little confused, initially).

Five years down the road from our beautiful and very blessed wedding day, I can only say that marriage is infinitely better than I had hoped. Not just because it's great to have my best friend around all the time, or the knowledge that he's committed to loving me for our whole lives, but because fundamentally, he refines and purifies me (and hopefully I him) as we strive to live love in all its selfless glory. That is the greatest joy of my vocation. To grow together with Mark in holiness and therefore in love. To seek together to weed out the rotten roots of sin so that we can be fully who we were created to be without the constraints of selfishness and sinfulness.

Sounds like a nice ideal, doesn't it? And that's what it is; it's not reality yet. But the more we strive for that ideal, the further we progress. And as we progress in the growth of selfless love, the more I discover that "I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow." It's so true! That's why, when I hear the warnings about the fleetingness of feeling "in love," I can joyfully smile, knowing that the love that I experience is so much better, so much deeper, so much purer than what fades with time because it points us to eternity. How truly amazing...and to think, this is just a foretaste of Heaven! Wow!

I tried to express some of this in my Valentine's Day card for Mark. I said something along the lines of "the way you love me teaches me about the love that the Father has for me and each one of us." Yes, he was touched by that, but he rightly pointed out that what we have, and in particular this love, is a gift for which we can thank our parents, our first teachers and mentors in the faith. So, THANK YOU! It is your example of Christian life and marriage that protected and nurtured us and allowed us to be free from so many of the wounds that riddle society, eroding and destroying the vision for real love (and know to whom to look for healing for the wounds and weaknesses that we do have).

If it weren't for Mark leading by example, I don't know that I would be able to say any of this. I am so blessed by all that he is. He calls me to higher ground, to be a better more selfless person, to love more fully and embrace the crosses of our chosen vocation in order to live the joy set before us. Thank you Jesus for giving me this man to be my husband! May I truly be the wife to him that you (and he) desire me to be. ...and may our children be so blessed, and more, in their vocations!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dear Baby

I'm watching you wiggle around in my tummy. I'm a hopeless navel-gazer this time around. Your brother and sister weren't this active and it's such a treat to watch you move.

When I was pregnant with your brother, I felt led to pray that he would be filled with joy. His first word was "happy" and now, at age 3, he inquires about whether I'm happy multiple times a day. "Mommy, are you happy and tired? Mommy, are you happy and not tired? Mommy, are you not sad? Mommy, Lydia is happy. Mommy, I'm a happy boy!"

When I was pregnant with your sister, I felt led to pray that she would be filled with wisdom. At 18 months, our wise little monkey gives us much joy (and grief) with her mischievous streak and her understanding of her little world. Sometimes, as I watch her, I wonder if praying for wisdom was a good idea; but true wisdom is a precious gift, and I trust the mischievous streak will mellow as the seed of wisdom grows in her heart.

Being pregnant with you, I feel called to pray that you will be filled with faith. What a gift to have. I think this is a gift that I have been given and the older I get, the greater becomes my appreciation for it. Faith is an anchor in stormy seas and the wind in your sails on calm seas. I pray that you truly have "faith to move mountains."

A joy-filled brother, a wise sister and faith-filled soul for you my dear baby. What blessings the Lord has given my children. And how blessed I am to be your mother. I love you!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Leisure Activity #1

To add a little interest to this post, I've (finally) entered the world of public domain pictures. Hurray for me, welcome to the 1990s!

Along with the thaw last week came the Spring Fever bug. All it took was a glimpse of grass and I was infected. Bedrest, a laptop and wi-fi are a dangerous and wonderful combination and I quickly became immersed in sifting through landscaping ideas for our front and side yards.
**Since then, we've had a 12"+ blizzard.**

Our front yard has 2 small gardens containing an odd assortment of perennial plants: tulips, small irises and lilies, a climbing rose and clematis, and a tall spindly flowering-something to cap off the whole mess. While its better than nothing, it really is a mess and doesn't make a lot of sense.

So, because I know you're all dying to know what I have in mind, here goes:

2 Hydrangea plants (bushes?) on the east side of the house, spaced between our 3 basement windows.

3-5 Raspberry bushes on the west side of the house. I'm not sure how many to plant. Suggestions?

2 Peony plants in our front under-the-living-room-picture-window garden.
And a sweet cherry tree in our front yard. Except that we live in plant zone 4 and sweet cherry trees basically die in zone 4. So I'm slowly letting go of my life-long dream of having a sweet cherry tree in my yard. ...and trying not to cry about it. Perhaps I'll drown my sorrows in raspberries.

If anyone has experience with raspberry bushes, I have a question, taking into consideration that a) Our house is a south-facing ranch/rambler, b) I'm hoping to plant the raspberries next to the house running the length of the west side. Will they get enough sunlight planted there?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Addendum to my last post, and praying for a fence

First of all, how exciting that I have a following 200% higher than I supposed. ;) Just teasing, but really, thank you for your comments, they helped me clarify a few things in my own head:

- Leisure time is important and, as Mark pointed out last night, he doesn't feel bad about leisure time. (Yes dear, I know that, thank you.) But, more importantly, he commented that perhaps the difficulty is that I live, work and leisure (can that be a verb?) in the same location and that may be what's causing the difficulty in the mental separation. Sounds about doesn't offer much in the way of a solution, but knowing where this is coming from seems a good start.

- I also wanted to clarify that I am extremely blessed by the outpouring of help with the kids, meals, etc. that friends and family around here are providing. The burden of bedrest is made so much lighter because of that help. As I told Mark, "the things I have to complain about aren't worth complaining about." So, please forgive my ungrateful tone in my last post. I think I was mostly grumbling about the fact that bedrest provides the "perfect" opportunity to catch up on all the parts of life that I dislike the most (scheduling, bills, calling this that and the other companies inquiring about x,y and z issues, etc.) and while I can accomplish these tasks while on bedrest because they require little movement, they also must be done when the kids aren't around because I can't get away from grabbing hands and backs-that-want-scratching and button-pushing fingers...which means naptime, my 1.5 hrs of solitude, are highjacked. Oh dear, here I am complaining again. Will I never learn?!

- And lastly, lest you think I've morphed into an other-worldy creature who must be busy all the time, I should honestly admit that as much as I dislike doing nothing, I often find myself doing exactly that because my brain says, "I can't/am not up for doing real work right now, but I have a bit of time right now. If I spend that time doing something leisurely that I enjoy, I will feel bad that I didn't do real work, so as an alternative, I shall do nothing, and then I can't feel as bad because it's not like I was doing something else." Twisted, aren't I? I think I've been that way for most of my life.

So perhaps my new goal in this area will be to be more attentive to when and why I am wasting time, and work to balance that time with work and leisure.


I'm praying for a fence. A black chain-link fence to go around the perimeter of our backyard. Please pray with me!

God has dumped miracle after miracle on us/our house and I feel bad (can I not get away from the dumb bad feelings?!) asking for a fence when He just gave us a free roof and siding!!! But, I am trying to trust that it's good to ask, so please pray along with me and then we can all rejoice together.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Straining to hear the distant call of the elusive Leisure spirit

Does anyone ever read this? I know I used to have a dedicated following of 2, sometimes 3, people. I've nearly stopped largely because a) it takes too much of my time and b) it takes too much of my time. Yes, I know, that was repetitive. But it's time that I could be spending a) with my kids, or b) doing any household chore you can possibly think of. To sum up: I feel bad blogging, and I feel even worse when I'm trying to justify it taking that time. So I slowed to a crawl and feel inclined to give it up, regardless of how much I might enjoy it (in those moments when I can say "to heck with feeling bad.")

But if I peel back a layer or two of this "feeling bad" moldy onion, I also have to recognize that I would feel the same about any leisure activity. That just doesn't seem right. Right? Crafts, reading, exercise, the occasional nap, correspondence (hah! not on your life; my hand starts cramping and I miss whole words and then send a scribbly scrawly nonsense letter. Wouldn't you feel special receiving one of those?) Any of those are things that it seems my friends do, and do frequently, and don't appear to feel bad about doing them. Do you? I mean really? Do you feel like you should be doing something else, or reading another story to your toddlers? Let's be honest, the to-do list of a mom and/or homeowner and/or human being is ENDLESS.

Please don't tell me "well, I make sure I have balance in my life by scheduling my time so I have an hour of x,y or z and then an hour of leisure time." Because even if I do that, I spend that hour feeling bad about the to-do lists, esp. the ones that could seem leisurely, or at least will give me some mental peace: organizing the baby clothes (which I'm currently doing, on bedrest, as best I can.) Painting the stairs (which is on hold for a few months; I can't imagine painting and newborn care go well together.) Or any other jillion things that require spreadsheets and filling out forms and phone calls and gathering information and stops at the post office, etc. that really aren't leisurely at all but must be done and when they are done I feel a weight lifted from my shoulders...perhaps that's it? Perhaps the question is: how can I justify and enjoy leisure time when there is a weight on my shoulders that will not lift until it is all dealt with, but dealing with it all right now might be the end of us all? So I just feel bad. And the kids are grouchy because I'm not reading them a book.

And now they are awake from their nap and I haven't done the 3 easy things on my naptime to-do list because I was trying to enjoy leisure time.

And I'm on bedrest for crying out loud! The one (ahem, second) time in my life I am ordered to remain still and do nothing. But I can't do nothing because that's not leisure it's lazy boring nothing, and surely I can at least fold clothes, read books, sort through stuff, make phone calls, reply to emails, pay bills...gotta say, bedrest ain't what it's cracked up to be, it's just normal life made more difficult and complicated. And they say stress isn't good for the baby. Pardon me while I quietly pull out my hair (wouldn't want to scare the children!)

Well, how was that for a rambling post, let me see if I can follow myself:
1) Does anyone still read this?
2) How do in incorporate leisure time when there's so much to be done and you know you'll feel better when it's done?
3) Bedrest is the pits.

Ta-da! ;)