Friday, January 31, 2014

dear january

dear january.
you have acted more like summer than winter,
and for a gal that loves warmth & sunshine-you have my heart.
you are the start of things new and sometimes new scares me.
like in my head, old & comfortable imply better.

and sweet brown eyes.
he dons a new buzz cut {like his idol KD} & a hyperextended knee
 leaving him on the sidelines of the basketball court & soccer field.
this energetic boy {and his mama} need his time of running wild & free.
but i did bask in the lack of practice four nights a week.
he learned to swallow a pill & finally has a handle on fifth grade.
brought home a report card...straight As baby and an "inconsistent" in staying focused.
don't all As, imply he is focused when he needs to be?  just sayin'.

running...lots of it.  accepted a "125 mile month" challenged.
nailed it...with two days to spare.
go #teamamazing!
am & i ran 119 of the miles together.
here we are with a cup of brew to celebrate!  we planned mile #125 to be at starbucks
then walked home & basked in our accomplishment!

and i took my pants back to yoga-like i wore them and took a class, again.
lithe is not something i will be accused of anytime soon-actually probably never. "one little word" for the year.
learning to tend to me which forces bold words & drawing boundaries.
i am working on "gentle bold"-often bold in my heart comes out as angry, hot words.
and angry-hot can incinerate.
it is like embracing someone while wearing a cactus costume-all prickly & painful.
i'm learning to using words that draw lines, yet nourish the relationship.

and here are some words i read this month...
{i am so much better at reading them then jotting them down}
a million little ways by emily freeman
bossypants by tina fay
weak & loved by emily cook
loved all three for very different reasons.
and a classic...catcher in the rye by  j.d. stalinger
never read any classics in high school-i was in the non-college bound english class.
i was inconsistent in not just staying focused but attending class in general.
yep. bad student redeemed.
but holden caulfield...he stole my heart & i wanted to give him the motherly love & guidance
he so longed for
and really, do high school boys honestly think & talk about sex that much?
note: this is a rhetorical question. please don't answer it, especially if the answer is yes!

and together sweet brown eyes & i read
a week in the woods by andrew clements
the carpenter's gift by david rubel

adieu january.
glad you had 31 days.

p.s.  how did zombies become so  in vogue?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

obsession on a grand scale...

i have become obsessed with the scale.  checking it once or twice a week based on how the balance of my life unfolds.  it sits behind that door.  i grip the knob while tossing up a quiet "please Jesus" that the door is unlocked so i can privately assess this week's damage.  when it is locked, i must ask someone for a key which then could unveil my compulsion.  my preoccupation with weigh is a secret.  if others knew how i allowed that digital readout to controlled my life, the preposterousness of my actions could be called into question.  and questions force answers i don't have.

this is what it read yesterday...

an all time low.  it stuns & comforts me to see those numbers in that order.  twelve short months ago it boldly shouted 184.  how did the 4 and 8 trade places with no effort made on his part?  how does a man consume massive quantities of food, yet drop 36 pounds? more questions void of explanations other than "that's the course of the disease".  

dear scale.
love the digital readout & the beep that signals the correct weight.
that ramp for those wheelchaired bound folks causes pjm to stumble now and again,
but i find comfort in that decimal pointed numeral.
it provides me with a nonsensical assessment of pjm
and how this disease is treating {or mistreating} him.
 a concrete gage to which i can compare now to back then.
but you also beg the tough question to which i truthfully don't want the answer.
how low can you go?
troubled by poundage

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

when convictions meet challenges...

weddings.  a bride with grace & purpose & beauty. her groom, strong & confident, drinks in every ounce of her bridal splendor.  the love a couple shares in front of dear guests on their day is often so thick & palpable, like the relentless fog which blankets san francisco on cool summer mornings.

gifts have been unwrapped-duplicates returned. the honeymoon becomes a memory of warm & tropical-while sun-kissed skin fades.  a routine of daily life together finds its groove as the foggy, lusty love from the wedding can dissipate as reality shines brighter.  those promises to love & cherish one another from now until forever begin to be tested & tried by the wear and tear of everyday life.

pjm can no longer say "i love you".  yet, because of a conviction-decision-promise we made years ago, my actions continue to say "i do".  i will marry you yesterday, today and tomorrow because that one day when you ask i said yes.  and circumstances change-life gets broken, but it never means my "yes" was a mistake or is now somehow stamped "INVALID".  in fact, with him lacking a voice, i am adamant to honor the marriage we built around the love Christ designed so perfectly for an imperfect & broken world.  like a beautiful artifact, with scars & flaws,  i hold my vows dear in his broken and in my imperfections.

and there it sits, smack in the middle of our marriage & circumstances.  pjm points me to Christ.  his sick has forced me to weigh my convictions against the circumstances we have been dealt.  and i so often admit {sometimes only through a faint whisper} that i wholehearted believe in Christ-even in this.  not just as a place for our souls to live after our weary bodies fail us, but that His soul-nurturing takes place right here.  right in the middle of a dementia care facility.  heaven & earth grow closer as i am pressed toward living my convictions. and truthfully, i would never have been boldly honest about my faith without Him forcing me.  i truly would have preferred to his wife & partner for years to come, but God sees a broader landscape that is more soul growing than my narrow vision.  and because i believe, i press on.  and i have learned those wedding vows are the very convictions of my heart.  then. now. forever.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

a cup named grace...

it all started with a little too much noise and a misunderstanding.  a boisterous starbucks & a barista asking my name.  i said chris.  she heard grace.  and it feels so very right.  who doesn't need a cup named grace?

in this season of pjm+sick, i have been overwhelmed not by just the HUGE decisions like where to safely place him but also the littles including reordering checks with or without his name {i know, many of you are saying "debit card"...hello 21 century-but the delivery pharmacy for pjm & my bug guy-they need checks still}.  so a cup, or even a few drops, of grace randomly sprinkled about my day remind me God is here in the middle of this mess.  and that He loves me and my precious family and my broken husband.

hebrews 4:16 says we can approach our God of grace with confidence knowing we will find beauty and mercy in our times of need.  and yes, i know at the end of me {and pjm} there will be this beautiful presence of being with Him...but today-yesterday-8.3 months ago, i lose all focus of Him.  the complications of wearing many hats exhausts me...tending to sweet browns & that new common core math while balancing visits with pjm and attempting to keep a pulse on our businesses, are nothing less than taxing.  i do not deny having help from family & a very competent CPA but in the dark of night and some days even in the bright of the noonday sun, it is overwhelming & intimidating.

and that's where the cup of named grace can be found...somewhere between the hope of yesterday and the mercies of tomorrow, He is ever-present in my today of messy.

dear God.
i want to say i am so unsure of how i made it a year,
but then when i search the very depths of my soul, i find Your grace.
thank you for a year of tender mercies when life was beyond crazy.
thank you for children that kept their focus & loved our family more than themselves.
thank you for friends that held space to allow me to grieve the presence, yet loss of pjm.
for girlfriend dates-surprise parties-vacations in mexico to embrace family.
thank you for teaching me when it is dark & scary,
to walk toward Your light however dim is seems.
and for the gentle humbling which forced me out of comfortable
and into living life fully engaged.
Your goodness & grace have been served up generously.
i am blessed & loved.
grace aka chris

and a shout-out to my girl, amber.
i told her the "mama bird" thing wasn't working for me
and this blog redesign was all her!
while that's not her "day job", didn't she do am amazing job!
i think yes...don't you?

Monday, January 6, 2014

resolve for the new year

while chatting with a friend the other day, new year's resolutions came up.  we are all searching for that habit to either abandon or embrace as we hang the new calendar.  once i didn't each chips or fries for an entire year...including tortilla chips and i love me some chips & guacamole.  another year i worked out 201 of 365 days...more than half was my goal.  but, those are the only two i have made and kept.  and since i am not four, my ability to make a pledge and stick to it for an entire year is a fraction away from impossible.

i was explaining to her that yes, this year i did have a resolution but of a different nature.  not one that will test my willpower or brute strength or even determination.  instead, one of nourishment-of me-of my soul.  i have spent the majority of the past 11 years caring for the hearts and needs of my family.  first for sweet brown eyes and then when he was in kindergarten, i began to detect subtle changes in pjm's memory & behavior which lead us to this season.  in the midst of all of the parenting and care-giving, i had little time to think about what i needed.  when there were quiet moments, often i was exhausted and would drone out on tv & internet or catch up on a few moments of sleep.  so the focus this year is to nourish me...which sounds entirely selfish as i peck my way around the keyboard.  but truly, that's my cherish & strengthen-to give me what i need to grow and live and feel alive again.

in the quiet of my mind, i wondered what exactly that looked like.  i bask in calculating plans and challenges for myself in month-long increments.  i formulate rules and rigid timelines i must adhere to...some i tackled last year were journaling a pray every day, donating to a cause each day of the month instead of shopping, and of course there was carb-free february.  what i realize is i operate best when there are rules in place, yet the regiment becomes my god.  however, my intentions were to draw closer to God thru abstinence.

example: i love internet shopping.  genus idea.
ruben, who drives a brown truck, delivers boxes to my front door.
i retreat to the privacy of my bathroom, equipped with a full length mirror & soft lighting, unlike the cramped fluorescent dressing rooms.
i try on a variety of outfits with all my own accessories & proper undergarments.
winners are hung in the closet.  losers are packaged back up & brown, truck-driving ruben whisks them back to where they came.

but for 30 days, i decided no amazon-nordstrom-zappos.  instead it was the watoto childrens choir.  the alzheimers association.  temecula-murrieta rescue mission.  but my heart had not changed from this shopping hiatus.  i did not draw closer to God during this time, i just filled my time shopping for charities instead of clothing & accessories. my motives & efforts were valiant but the finished product was the same.

2014 will be about nourishment & gentleness.  eating & drinking that i which love-i am fortunate weight is not an issue, so i will savor crusty french bread and indulge in creme brûlée.  cherishing time alone & seeking peace for weary soul while leaving holes in the calendar for breathing room.  sustaining those peaceful friendships that bolstered me during this season.  filling my days with activities i hold dear like sewing, running, reading, homemaking; while incorporating others i have been afraid to attempt. what it isn't is a written game plan of intense guidelines i then use to evaluate personal performance because this cycle too often leaves me feeling substandard.

while readying myself for bed later that night, i saw what i hope 2014 holds for me...

wash inside out...that was 2013.  all of my insides were exposed for all to see & it wasn't pretty.  

dear target t-shirt.
my mantra was tucked inside you so nicely.
gentle cycle.  tumble dry low.  iron only if needed.
treat me with care.  don't over dry me.  apply intense heat only if essential.
proper care will make that $14.99  pullover last
and it will nourish my soul as well.
target consumer
p.s.  i purchased you with my red card on dec. 2nd...hope that 5% doesn't haunt me with that breach in security.

dear 2014.
i'm seeking the gentle cycle this year.
a year of  tumbling on low, leaving the soul withering heat of 2013 behind.
and when a hot spell of life begins to dry this soul, retreat promptly.
and allow the cool of God's living water to wash my parched soul.
happy about a new beginning