Thursday, July 24, 2014

what i learned from dead birds...

sweet brown eyes & i have been at the beach for a few days.  a soccer tournament lead to the little getaway.  among the many lives left at home was a nest built beneath our patio cover.  for many years i dreaded seeing the nesting birds gathering supplies from around my yard to build that perfect basket of twigs & pine needles & string to cocoon their eggs while they hatched.  i loathed all of their productivity because i knew when the time was right for those babes to spread their wings & adventure into a life of their own, my bird-loving jack russell lay in wait on the patio anticipating the first flight on unsteady wings & he would do what jack russells do to baby birds.

unfortunately, mr. jack russell passed away this winter and a kinder, gentler spirited pup has replaced him.  his nature is to herd instead of hurt birds.  he does an amazing job of gathering my chickens back into their coop without rifling their feathers.  you can only imagine the excitement i had when birds began their annual nesting ritual.  this summer, we will have babes that will be given that chance to fly off and do whatever birds do.  each time i would walk out the kitchen door i would glance up and turn my ear in anticipation of their tiny voices.  sure enough a few weeks ago i began to hear them.  they were tucked up so close to the top of the patio, i couldn't see how many there were but could determine there were at least two by the sounds of all of the chirping.

i was sure when we returned home from our beach week, it would be to an empty nest.  but it wasn't.  when i glanced up, there was a tiny bird hanging out of the nest…dead.  i wanted to cry, disturbed by the sight of death.  i returned inside, attempting to ignore what i had seen.  but i couldn't just leave it literally hanging there.  along with a ladder & broom, i removed the bird & nest.  there was a second bird inside the nest that obviously didn't make it either.

i am not sure what went awry in that nest.  i want to believe that mom didn't leave her babes to fend for themselves.  i want to believe life, not death.  i want to believe in hope, not despair.  i want to believe gladness, not sorrow.  but the reality is those birds did not make it out of the nest this year.  and i want an explanation.  from God.  why didn't You allow these birds to fly?

but then i remembered.  in john 10 where Jesus is telling the disciples that not a single sparrow falls without being in God's presence.  God knows.  even when a sparrow dies.  even when dementia strikes a family.  He knows.  and He cares.  does he derail the train? sometimes, but not always. and this is one {or two} of those not always.  my nature is to always ask why?  why those birds this year?  why my precious husband and not another's?  but if He told me the answer to "why" it wouldn't change the outcome.  the answer would never satisfy me even from Christ himself because it truly isn't the "why" i want answered.

what my soul truly seeks, for those birds & pjm, is to roll back time & have the ending i would orchestrate.  but the verse says "when a sparrow falls…".  the when explains the why. heartbreaking & arbitrary happen.  at that ugly moment of horrible circumstances begging me to doubt-question-distrust, i chose to place my faith in Him.  knowing he is good, sovereign and present in the middle of dead birds & dementia.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

why i rode a mattress down the stairs...

i am in the middle of transforming sweet brown eyes room from boy to teen.  one of the essentials was a new bed.  he has a twin but his legs are at least full sized in length.  good old pottery barn delivered the new bed frame sunday afternoon.  the twin mattress was still upstairs propped against the banister. i was waiting for amber to come over so she could help me carry it out to the garage.  she arrived with her swollen biceps, ready to assist in lugging the awkward mattress down & around the staircase. but in the process of it all, i somehow ended up moving it down the first section of our stairways on my own.  as i stood at the landing, i yelled for amber to watch me.  i am positive i have seen this stunt performed in an old movie involving alcohol & a frat house.  please note: there was no alcohol or frat boys involved! i belly-flopped on to the mattress & rode it down the final eight stairs…in my bikini.  none of it was planned, especially the bikini part. but this few seconds of video says so much about me & what i have learned in the midst of sick & dying.  

five years ago this month i sat in a doctor's office at pjm's side.  the kind doctor explained in technical doctor-y terms that pjm had already lost pieces of his mental abilities & his brain would continue to unravel until either his body forgets how to swallow & breathe or is too weak to fight an infection.  those words & that day forever changed our lives in a multitude of ways.  over the course of the last 1,825 days i have learned life can be more of a sprint than a marathon for some of us & even though there are statistics & genetics & preventative medicine, none of us truly knows the race we have been called to run.  

when my race is over & people gather to celebrate my life, i want to be remembered for embracing the moments.  for so long i was that soccermom-churchleader-menuplanning-makeupwearing-pictureperfectwife.  and while that all looked good, it lent itself to a life of shallowness.  i busy orchestrating an image that was esthetically pleasing. in doing this, i missed out on some of the riches of living.  i invested in much of what is temporary at the cost of losing out on that which is eternal.  eternal are the relationships-memories-love we share with each other and God.  when i am laid to rest, the part of me that is left are those rich, warm memories. everything else is boxed up, set on the curb left waiting for Goodwill to collect.

so i have spent the last few years embracing the memory making.  what will my children remember most about me?  that she always had every hair in place, cheered quietly from the sidelines, menu-planned each meal for the week ahead? or that she embraced life mid-stairway, grabbed a mattress and rode it downstairs…in a bikini.  and when she landed at the bottom she laughed from deep in her belly, drug the mattress back up the stairs and made them ride it down too.  

so i rode the mattress downstairs because i don't know how long my race is or how many more miles i will be allowed to run.  but be careful because your teeth are supposed to go with you into eternity-so don't knock them out. ever.

dear pjm.
thanks for teaching me life is to be lived robustly
because our days are numbered.
i can't believe what has transformed in five years.
i am sorry it took losing you for me to embrace the mattress & ride it down the stairs.
while you would never have thought that was kosher,
you would be proud of me.
love. always.
p.s.  so glad i didn't knock any teeth out.  you know how weird i am about people missing teeth.

Monday, July 7, 2014

a little anger...

dear God.
today was a hard day.  and i was pissed at you.
in fact, there is a dessert slice serving of me that is still chocked full of anger.
it seems what i want & what You what are opposite ends of a spectrum.
and my wants are reasonable. noble. and most of all honest.
and somehow Your ways are bold yet gentle.  and most of all for the highest good.
but today i just want my way and not Yours.
and that makes me realize how much i love & trust You
because i am counting on You to hear me.
give me.
grant me.
free me.
love me as i stand in the middle of my sticky confection of want.
purveyor of hostile desserts

Thursday, July 3, 2014

dear mune…{pronounce it like moon}

dear mune-

somehow may, you blended yourself into june without my awareness.  perhaps it was all of the celebrations between the two boys that distracted me.  celebrations of endings with anticipation & excitement about how the new season will unfold.

summer brings a schedule with so much flexibility which i tell myself & others i love.  but when i tuck myself in at night and bid farewell to another day, i struggle when days have little to show for themselves.  i long to tick off more items on my mental "to do" list then i actually did.  i yearn to measure a day in tasks accomplished instead of basking in the rest of warm days.  i am trying to shift my focus-work at resting instead of rest from working.  will you try it with me this summer?

i do have four little hooves hustling themselves around the backyard.  napoleon, the pig, squealed his way into our lives.  he gets along well with the chickens & my sweet blue eyed rex.  it makes home feel a homier & countrified.  and he has verified all of those pig sayings.  there is truth to everyone of them…squeal like a pig-its LOUD & attention grabbing. eats like a pig, pig-headed, happy as a pig in shit. napoleon has proven all of them to be fact. they aren't just some old saying repeated generation after generation.

and i randomly learned i have been wearing bobby pins incorrectly all these years.  did you know there is a top & a bottom to them?  the bumpy part is supposed to go against your scalp.  i never knew that-and now that i do, i still don't always put them in correctly.  my hair doesn't seem to care how i wear them.  it stays or doesn't regardless of how i install the pin.

and i found this blog that i love.  jessica has turned my summer into the season of the salad. couscous & quinoa give any salad more texture and add heartiness.  and there is something for making your own vinaigrette.  it's so simple-some oil, an acid like vinegar or juice and seasoning.  shake it in a mason jar.  the oil to acid ratio is 3:1.  i just eyeball it & tailor the dressing to match the salad ingredients.  she also salt & peppers her lettuce prior to adding in the balance of ingredients.  it seems to make a difference-call me crazy, but it does. really. and last, this recipe, sangria berry crumble, is easy & amazing.  i made it for dessert and there was not an oat or tidbit of fruit left.

and i have been busy reading-here are a few of the books i have completed
grace (eventually)  anne lamontt
the wild water walking club  claire cook
the fault in our stars john green
attachments rainbow rowell
and the book of jeremiah in the bible…it was a long read, got to be honest.  lots of wrath & unhappiness & nations not listening to God.  and it made me realize that's how life is.

and my pjm…just feeling quiet about him & me. i try and tell myself all of this is God's plan & timing.  somedays i believe it and others i don't.

and as i march myself along into july, i do it was lots of sunscreen.  i love the sunshine kissing my skin, but sometimes it leaves spots that my dermatologist likes so much he cuts them out and keeps them for himself.  so i slather myself up & seek more shade.

summer kisses!