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The Journey to Our Own Home

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I haven’t written in a looooong time. That’s not like me. I need writing. It’s cathartic, healing and just plain fun. But let me tell you, the last 3-4 weeks have been MADNESS up in here. I haven’t blogged because we didn’t have internet for most of that time and because I’ve just been crazy busy.

Well, things have settled a bit so it’s time to share what we’ve been up to! Let’s start from the beginning…

It all started with some major purging, which felt AH-MAZING! Here’s Luca posing on top of Caleb’s glorified sound system back from his college years. It’s time to let it go. Like yesterday was time to let it go. But that the great thing about moving, it gives you incentive to get rid of the stuff that’s been clinging on for way too long.

IMG_0045 Next, we had to prep the rental house for moving. This meant removing our beloved “Praise Tree” that we used to hang photos of things that we are thankful for. It’s made from old fence boards from our backyard. It’s so sad to see it go!

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So, our new house is a fixer-upper. That’s an understatement. It’s like the mother of all fixer-uppers. Off to Home Depot we went to load-up on all our supplies. We laughed/cried about the fact that we NO JOKE could have bought something from EVERY AISLE in that store.

 

IMG_0048Finally, escrow closed and we were able to get in the house and get to work! The home was built in 1955 and we bought it from the original owners (well, technically we bought it from their children who inherited the house) and so there was a lot of mid-dentury charm. Some of it we decided to keep- some of it not-so-much….

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I’m super stoked on the classic 1950′s pink bathroom but the wallpaper made me nauseous, it had to go!

Next was painting…

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Painting….

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Shout-out to Caleb’s dad, Scott, who flew out from Texas for a whole week to help us!!

And more painting….

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One of the cool things about purchasing an old home is that we are finding cool memorabilia around, like this beautiful flag. It was found just in time, on July 2nd! It was rolled-up in the garage but we let it fly proud again on Independence Day.

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Then, guess what?? MORE PAINTING! Check-out that awesome wood-paneled wall. Gag me.

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Thank you Ash!

I love that we found the perfect gray... "Iced Cube Silver" by Benjamin Moore.

I love that we found the perfect gray… “Iced Cube Silver” by Benjamin Moore.

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The Cerioni’s ROCK!

Look how much better that wood paneling looks!!

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Gotta love my silly hubby!!

Underneath the wall-paper in the guest bathroom, the walls were, you guessed it: PINK! So, yay, more painting!!

Thank you Mom and Ed for coming down to help us out!!

Thank you Mom and Ed for coming down to help us out!!

In the midst of all this madness, Fourth of July (and our 5th wedding anniversary) happened. We took a break to go to a BBQ with our Life Group. Which, by the way, is now only THREE blocks away!!! Hooray!

American Cutie

American Cutie

Remember the Pink Bathroom? Well, it also was rocking carpet AND linoleum flooring. Yep, half and half. Epic. Well that had to go but we wanted to keep a retro look. We found this beautiful tile at went for it!

IMG_0059Next up… Re-finishing the original Red Oak floors. Holy Moly, did we bite off more than we could chew on that endeavor. Caleb wanted to hire someone to do it but my dad, who had just flown into town, assured us that we could do it. Me, being the penny pincher that I am, agreed with my dad and a very *skeptical* but *encouraging* Caleb gave the green light.

If you ever need to sand your floors, DO NOT use this kind of sander!!!!

If you ever need to sand your floors, DO NOT use this kind of sander!!!!

Well, we did our best but we accidentally got the wrong kind of sander and it left some dips in the floor. We had to find the right kind of sander and re-do the entire house. It took 3 hours to sand the floor of just one bedroom so you can imagine how this was unpleasant news.

Caleb is repairing some damaged floor boards that needed love before we even moved in.

Caleb is repairing some damaged floor boards that needed love before we even moved in.

After all of that, Caleb refinished the floors with a beautiful Satin polyurethane and we just had to wait for it to dry. We were under a deadline to get out of our rental and into the new house. The floor wasn’t going to dry in time so we just moved all of our stuff into the garage at the new house. We did put beds in the rooms. One for us and one for my stepmom, Sharon, so she could stay in the guest room.

Sharon was amazing! She helped me pack, clean, shop, and move! After all of that we decided we needed a break and headed-over to the Magic Kingdom.

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Finally, I got to do some fun stuff! We had been wanting to paint the door yellow. I did some research and tests of course. This is what we found. It’s called “Hawaiian Pineapple,” it makes me happy!

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Now we’re in the midst of MORE painting. All of the cabinet doors, closet doors and bedroom doors needed a little spiffing-up in order to match the freshly painted walls.

I’m really loving the way everything is turning-out but I must say that this is WAY more work than I anticipated. I’m tired people. There’s just so much that goes into buying an older home that you just don’t think about. For example, we re-painted the cabinet doors for the hallway closets and when we went to hang them back-up, they just looked crummy because the hinges had been painted *literally* three times. They also just didn’t work very well. So, here’s what I did yesterday…

I boiled all of the hinges in a big pot with baking soda. (I’m going to take this moment for thanking the internet for telling me how I can fix things all on my own.) This took a while. (Now I’d like to say, “Thanks A Lot” Internet, if you didn’t exist I would be *forced* to call someone to fix my problem while I lounged around drinking iced tea. You suck Internet.) Anyway, they actually did turn out really great and I’m pretty proud of us!

Gross hinges getting a baking soda bath.

Gross hinges getting a baking soda bath.

Pretty Hinge! I love that it adds a retro flair =)

Pretty Hinge! I love that it adds a retro flair =)

So, like a turtle or something else really slow, the house is coming along. My patience is being tried and my character strengthened. Caleb and I have been trying to have a sense of humor about it all and I’ve been trying to not get sucked into the Vortex of New House Fixing. I want to keep my relationships the number one priority. It hasn’t been easy. But, with lots of communication, good music (oh yeah, we set-up our audio system as soon as we could!) and a positive attitude (provided mostly by my husband), we’re making it through!

 

 

Carrying an Aching Heart

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The moment Caleb and I began the adoption process, my heart began to grow. It feels just like it did when I was pregnant, although without the nausea. My heart feels as if it’s making room. Every day, my love for Luca grows, my love for Caleb grows but nothing can enter or fill the space in my heart that is meant for our new child. It’s just there. Waiting. It’s filled with light and soft pillows and the scent of baking. It’s home. Home for our little one who is miles and miles and miles away.

How do you miss someone you’ve never even met? I remember feeling this way when I was pregnant. I felt so close to my baby yet so far. All I wanted was to hold him. I could hardly wait! This is no different, except there is an ocean both literally and figuratively, between us. I don’t have the comfort of my child being “with” me but honestly I still felt scared and uncertain when my child was growing inside of me. There was the constant, “Is this normal?”… “Is this ok?”…. “What if something goes wrong?” There are no guarantees in life.

I’m not meaning to compare my current heartache to that of the anxious pregnant mother. There are similarities and there are differences. I had somewhat of a difficult pregnancy and postpartum recovery so I have my biases. I think that the endless paperwork and ridiculous waiting period may be just as difficult as when I had a biological child. But let’s talk about the heartache that comes with adoption.

You see, at some point, I fell in love with a person. Before I fell in love with this person, before my heart began it’s renovation, I was in love with an idea. I have always wanted to adopt a child, truly, as long as I can remember I have had a heart for orphans. It must be in my blood because my sister is the same way. We rescued countless animals to my parents’ dismay. That was just practice though. Now, I’m ready to adopt an actual child! What an adventure this will be!

And what an adventure it is. I anticipated the frustrating paperwork, the difficult waiting period once we were matched and the excitement of traveling to a foreign country. I couldn’t wait to learn more about Chinese culture! I just didn’t realize how hard this part of the process would be emotionally. We haven’t been matched yet, I shouldn’t be sad, right?

I guess the only thing I can relate this to is pregnancy again. I loved my baby before I knew if we were having a boy or a girl. I didn’t care. I just knew that I was going to be a mama and a little baby was going to be mine to love. My heart grew to make room for this precious one that would enter our lives. This feels the same. I haven’t seen a photo yet, but I know our child is out there.

This is heartbreaking. Every day it feels like there is a little part of my heart is aching. Maybe a better word is empty. Or longing. It is longing to be filled. Not only because we’re not together, but because our child could be living in dire circumstances. I just don’t know. I choose to believe that he/she is in a happy, loving foster home. I PRAY that this is the case.

I mean, think about it, this child is going to be a part of our family FOREVER and most likely we will miss the first two years of their life.  That’s right, we have no say over those delicate first 2 years. If you have a child, think of all the joy, the pain, the lessons, the bonding, the adventure that you have had in those first 2 years. If you don’t have children, imagine the last two years without a significant other in your life. Think of all the memories you have shared. Two years seem like quite a long time to me right now.

The classes we have taken have informed us that our child will always have to reconcile the fact that they were abandoned. Their past cannot be erased. That is so hard for me to hear because all I want to do is protect my children. I just wish I could go over there right now! There’s a little child within me that is throwing quite an elaborate tantrum over this. Feet are stomping, I assure you.

But…we can’t change the past.  But we will change his/her future. That is what I’m trying to focus on. I have to focus on the good. Yet, again, it’s just like pregnancy. I would try my best to stay positive and then out would someone come with a blurted-out horror story of birth or pregnancy and hence my worries would return. The same is true of adoption. I need to stay focused on the success stories but inevitably I collide with stories of children who “still only give stiff hugs after being home for two years.” Attachment issues, sensory issues,  developmental delays… these things are all very real in the adoption world. They are more common than not. We need to be prepared for them and we will be. We just have to find that delicate balance between being prepared for reality and becoming hopeless. We must stay positive.

I read a sermon a few days ago by John Piper. His words brought me hope and encouragement. Jesus promises that His grace is sufficient for us. In tough times, the times such as this I am reminded: when I am weak, He. is. strong.

I have become more dependent upon God because He is my advocate. He can bring comfort and love and protection to my child while I cannot. I implore Him daily to do this. I beg. My humanity makes my abilities limited, I am powerless over this situation. I am weak but He is strong. In my weakness I am finding His strength within me. It’s beautiful. Free. Light.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

This adoption process, like marriage, pregnancy, parenthood… is just another tool for the sanctification process. It is an opportunity to worship when I feel like screaming. To release to God instead of anxiously trying to control that which I cannot. I am humbled. I am fostering patience. I am shedding pride. My trust in Him is growing astronomically and He’s gently revealing when I don’t trust Him. I am feeling more connected to Him than I have in so long. For this I am grateful.

If your heart is aching from something that has happened or is happening to you, how do you mend it? 

Just Clearing Something Up About Natural Childbirth

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I just read an article that was forwarded to me by my cousin who knows me too well. She knew when she sent me this article, titled, “The Cult of Natural Childbirth Has Gone Too Far” that I would have something to say about it… and she was right. The article was inspired by the release of a new child-birth tv show named, “Born Into the Wild.” It’s a show that captures women having unassisted births in nature. I will admit, that seems a little extreme to me, but hey, to each his (or her) own.

The article was written by Elissa Strauss, a Brooklyn resident who is feeling way to much pressure from the natural birthing movement. She chose to have an epidural and seems to be ok with that. I have no problem with her opinion on the upcoming tv show or her own birth decisions, I DO have a problem with this…

Elissa makes a huge assumption that I feel very compelled to correct: Women choose to have a natural child-birth to prove something. 

Now, I can’t speak for all natural birthing women, but I can speak for myself. I’m going to speak loudly, hope you don’t mind…

I DID NOT HAVE A NATURAL CHILD BIRTH TO PROVE ANYTHING TO ANYONE.

Nor do I think less of women who choose to not have a natural child-birth.

In case you’re curious, here’s why I chose to go the way I did: I wanted my birth to be in a relaxing comfortable environment that I could fully control. Oh and …. I didn’t really feel like sharing one of the most vulnerable moments of my ENTIRE LIFE with a random rotating staff of people. And….I knew I was in good health and that I didn’t NEED to be at a hospital.

Yes, I was also influenced by different studies that show there CAN be a correlation between an epidural and difficulties in breast-feeding. I also heard stories of some women who had more difficulty pushing once they had an epidural and then that led to a c-section. I mean, you can find all kinds of research to support the epidural or not. One thing that is strikingly undebatable though, is that your chances of  a c-section are higher when giving birth in a hospital and considering that c-sections are, in fact, MAJOR abdominal surgery, I was happy to avoid that possibility as much as possible.

Now let me address this quote:

“As extreme as it may sound, the show is, believe it or not, a natural extension of a culture that has turned labor into a defining moment in women’s lives, their first chance to prove just how devoted a mother they truly are.”

Um, ouch. If you were convicted that something really was the best for your child, would you not want to do that for them? NOT to “prove” anything, but simply for the well-being of your child? This seems like a strikingly unfair statement. I do believe that there are less attachment-related risks involved with having a natural childbirth, I wasn’t trying to prove my devotion to anyone, I was simply trying to start my journey into motherhood with my best foot forward. I know many people who had “unnatural” child births and have a very healthy attachments with their children so in no way am I presuming that a natural child-birth is necessary to achieve that. Studies seem to show it facilitates it and that was just one reason to point me in the direction of an unmedicated birth. (Which I’d like to note, with no shame whatsoever, my birth was NOT completely unmedicated, for details you can read the story here.)

Now, I’m guessing that Elissa wrote this article because she is annoyed by the unnecessary guilt that she assumes others are trying to place on her. I don’t know what to tell you Elissa, I wish women didn’t make you feel that way. I don’t think you did anything wrong. I’m hoping that you can see however, that just because some of us chose to have a natural birth, we know it doesn’t make us better moms than you. You’re right when you said it’s only one day, but I think we can agree that it’s also a very big deal. Please don’t judge my decision to make that day as special as I wanted to in my own way. I won’t judge you either.

** You may notice that I didn’t put any links to my claims about studies saying this or studies saying that. I omitted those purposefully because this article isn’t meant to pump-up natural child-birth, which would only cause further divide.  This post is meant to clear the air, so to speak. I just want it to be known that not all natural child-birthers see themselves as “super moms” just because of their birthing choice. Birth is a big deal but, in my opinion, all of the days of motherhood that follow are a much bigger deal.**

 

Delicate Decisions: Adopting a Chinese Boy

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I may or may not have mentioned that we always figured we would adopt a girl from China. It’s kind of a no-brainer right? Girls are abandoned over there all of the time so clearly that is where the need is.

Clearly.

What I’m about to share may offend you. It may repulse you. You might see me as ugly and selfish and shallow. That’s ok. I’m going to be really vulnerable right now in the hopes that it might do some good for someone somewhere. I’m following in the footsteps of one of my new favorite blog authors Stefanie of “Ni Hao, Y’all” (Best Blog name EVER) who wrote this compelling post: My Chinese Son.

It seems that there are more boys in Chinese orphanages than girls. This may not be true for the Non-Special Needs route, but it is most certainly true for the Waiting Child Program (special needs). Truly, undoubtedly, there are more people in line to adopt girls than boys. This isn’t just true of China. This is true GLOBALLY. A couple of days ago, it was true of us.

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Click above to see the short video “Adopting a Boy.” It will warm your heart!

I wanted to adopt a Chinese girl. It’s what I had my heart set on. They’re really cute, right? Wow, I just came on out and said it didn’t I? Ok, but that’s not the only reason. I also wanted a daughter because we already have a son and it’s every couple’s goal in life to have one of each right? And come on, there are so many abandoned girls over there, it’s like a stand for all of woman kind for us to adopt a girl. Well, now I know that isn’t necessarily the case…

See, I thought there were many good reasons for wanting to adopt a girl.

Digging deeper, I see that these are ugly reasons. You ready for it? Here are the totally unfounded “reasons” followed by the voice of actual logic:

Unfounded Reason #1 Our son won’t be as intimidated by a female sibling.

Actual Logic: My son is nearly 2 and doesn’t know the difference between boys and girls. If anything, he has more consistent play with other boys and enjoys it immensely. If anything, later on he’ll be more apt to see a brother as a buddy.

Unfounded Reason #2 Boys aren’t as cute.

Actual Logic: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen ADORABLE boys on photo listings. Plus, let’s be honest, there’s no guarantee that your children, biological or adopted, will be cute by the world’s standards. I will LOVE without abandon, ANY child that is placed in my arms regardless. It’s just who I am. If we’re honest, we all grieve things about our children because they aren’t EXACTLY how we had secretly dreamed they would be but we get over it. It’s part of what makes parental love so unshakably beautiful.

Unfounded Reason #3 I originally thought we were adopting a girl, my heart was set on it.

Actual Logic:  I did have to grieve the fact that we are not 100% definitely getting a girl. I think it’s really important to allow grief. Once I allowed the grief, I started to imagine Luca playing with a little brother. I imagined people calling them, “The Snyder Boys.” I imagined a house full of Legos and trains and super-heroes. And you know what? I got really giddy about it.

Unfounded Reason #4 This could be my only chance to get a daughter.

Actual Logic: Well, this is true. We could decide we’re done having children after this. But, as Caleb said, if we were having a biological child we wouldn’t get a say in the matter, why should this be any different? I would sure love something to control but just as I learned in my pregnancy (we didn’t learn of the gender until birth) any opportunity to relinquish control to God is actually quite freeing.

And guys, let me tell you, after making this decision, I feel so free. I feel like this is totally in God’s hands and that I have submitted to His will. That nagging feeling has vanished. We could still very well get matched with a girl but I love feeling like I didn’t orchestrate that match. When we receive our match from our agency we will diligently pray over whether this is who God wants to add to our family and make the decision accordingly. I can’t wait for that day! Eeee!!!

Until then, I have a major favor to ask of you. Can you please take a moment to pray for us? We have a lot of requests, feel free to pick one and go for it, it’s SO appreciated!!

- Please pray that the first referral we get is indeed our match. 

- Pray for protection over our little one, that he/she is being regularly attended to as needed.

- Pray that he/she is feeling LOVED.

- Pray for his/her birth mother, that she will be consoled by God knowing that her child will be lavishly loved. 

- Pray that Luca will not feel less loved but only more love as we add-on to our family.

Thank you again!

For more information about Chinese Adoption, check-out this amazing website: Love Without Boundaries.

Exciting (and Terrifying) Changes!

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Well, we did it. We bought a house. Now, I know that stuff could still go wrong (I’m not really sure what, but I’m told as much) and that we don’t have the keys yet, buuut it’s looking pretty certain that we have bought a house! At the end of this month we will be moving cleaning, painting, sanding, re-finishing, re-plumbing, patching-up and all other kinds of tedious tasks that come with moving into a fixer-upper.

Currently, I am packing and I’m doing a fabulous job. Can’t you tell?

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Ok, I have done a couple of things. I’m trying to clear out all of the stuff that we don’t want to keep and placing it in our garage sale pile. What a great opportunity to have an Adoption Fundraiser Garage Sale! Oy. That’s right… we’re also in the adoption process.

Here’s the update on that: We’ve now taken 2 of 3 parent trainings. The last one was super fun. We learned about child abuse, the effects of institutionalization, and the grief that all children who’ve been abandoned will inevitably feel. Enlightening (actually: Depressing). We’ve also been really putting the petal to the metal on all of our dossier documents (the dossier is a complete packet of information about us that proves we are fit to be parents). This means we’ve been doing a lot of government issued document ordering, notarizing, and form-filling. We’ve had medical exams, blood work done, and fingerprints taken. Once we get that stuff notarized, it has to be sent to the Secretary of State and then the Chinese embassy for verification of authenticity. Sounds fun, ya?

Ok, but actually the most exciting part of this process so far (and I really am not being sarcastic this time) was the introduction to our Buddy Family. Proof that God loves us. Amen. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to have been paired with another family who has adopted from China! I get really sad sometimes when I think about our child being over there not getting the attention that I would bestow. It’s really really hard. This mom, Sue Ann, gets that. She is overjoyed to help us and we have a date to meet with them in person next month! I can’t wait!

In the meantime, the main focus has been on the house. Here’s what we’re working with… (Sorry for the lame iPhone screen shot photos, I’ll get better ones later!)

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Here she is!

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I cannot WAIT to paint that wall!! AHHH!IMG_5113

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That’s right, the Pink Bathroom, circa 1955!
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This yard is going to be EPIC when we get done with it! (Granted, that’ll probably be YEARS from now, but it’s all good)

So, that’s our update! Big stuff for the Snyders! Your prayers for smooth sailing on all fronts would be appreciated. =)

Trusting That the Kingdom of God is Real

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“Sometimes anxiety seems easier to trust than to have faith.” 

When our pastor said this a couple of weeks ago it really resonated with me. Sometimes, it’s more comfortable to worry than to release my fears to God. It’s comfortable because worry gives me a sense of being in control. When I stop worrying, I feel vulnerable. Why does it seem as if I am now more prone to attack? I’m not on guard. Worry serves as a wall of protection around my heart.

Unfortunately, worry is a poor defense. Not once has worry ever protected me from harm. If anything, it robs me of the present moment by turning my focus towards a potential reality. Worry gives only the illusion of security.

Now of course, there are concerns in this life the we must deal with. Say, we have a concern that our son is delayed in some way. We deal with that concern by taking our son to be evaluated. We don’t deal with that concern by worrying about all of the possible diagnoses. Once the evaluation is complete, we can assess what resources are needed and connect to them. Worry didn’t need to be a part of this process at all.

So why do we worry? We worry because we want to feel in control. We worry because we are too scared to trust that God is in control. We worry because we doubt that the Kingdom of God is real.

All of us have doubts at some level. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have faith. As our pastor said so brilliantly, “Faith in God requires faith.” Why do we forget that? Faith requires the choice to have faith. We must have faith that the Kingdom of God is real.

If we were to believe that the Kingdom of God is real, and I mean really really believe it, here’s what we can rely on:
- God is good.

- God is present.

- God sent His son to bring us in good standing with Him again.

- This life is not all there is.

-  God will redeem ALL of the brokenness of the world.

There are many more truths we could add to this list. These are the ones I listed because they help me when I want to worry. In fact, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been freed from worry whenever I choose to be. I just think this simple phrase:

“I choose to believe.” 

When I remember that my worry is not reality and that the Kingdom of God is reality, my fears are quieted. They may not be muted completely but they take a backseat to the trust and faith that I have in God. He has been faithful to me, to all of us. I have no reason to not trust Him. I pray for God to help my unbelief. I would give anything to have faith that I never doubted. In the meantime, my doubt reminds me of my weakness and my desperate need for Him. When I find myself worrying, I realize that I am making a choice to do so and ask God to comfort my fears. I am so incredibly thankful that we have a God who is patient, kind, and steadfast.

What about you, what do you do to keep yourself from worrying?

Happy Birthday Madre!

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It’s my mom’s birthday!! Let me tell you, I have a pretty awesome mom. As you can see from the photo above, she’s young at heart. This woman loves Disney and all things magical. Well, primarily Disneyland and Harry Potter… Those are the magical things she loves. Sometimes I get too serious and when I do, I think of my mom and how she always has a fictional read on hand. She works hard, loves deeply, and sometimes gives too much… but at the end of the day she is good at relaxing and enjoying life. She is a wonderful role model!

She has now become a delightful grandma. I am so lucky to have  a mom who not only respects our (sometimes weird) parenting choices but who also seeks to understand those choices. She reads the parenting books we read and sends me interesting articles that pertain to our choices. She’s always been so invested in my life and this journey is no different.

Now that we are on the road to adoption and home ownership (more on that later) she is ready to help. Now deemed our Adoption Fundraising Manager and Packing Specialist/Luca Wrangler she doesn’t blink an eye at helping with the hard stuff. I am so thankful to have her on my team!

Thank you Mom!! I love you so much and am so grateful for who you are!

Longing for Shabbat

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“It was as if a whole people were in love with the seventh day…”

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These words, written by Abraham Heschel, stir a longing for rest in me. I long for sabbath or what is known as “shabbat” in Jewish tradition. One day where the to-do’s and shoulds and oughts of the world are placed on the shelf.

They are replaced with Rest.

What gives you rest? In her book, Sacred Rhythms, Ruth Haley Barton suggests that we must notice the things that either fill us up or leave us dry. Listen to your body and soul. She has encouraged me to look at what activities give me joy and peace. Looking beyond momentary gratification, what brings a deep-seated contentment? What brings me to a place of delight in God and His goodness? These are the things that must be done on the Sabbath.

Sometimes, it’s difficult for us to allow such a weekly retreat from life. Maybe we fear what others will think… “Ugh, you’re being SO legalistic!” or we fear of missing out… “But it’s the CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!!!” And then for others, we fear of what might happen if we take a break. We have a feeling that we are being irresponsible or that the tasks we should be doing are more important than taking time to delight in God. You know, because surely the world will fall apart if we don’t attend every family function and every soccer game. Guilty? I know I am. I mean, really, I think I’m guilty of all of those things at different times. It’s hard to live counter-culturally.

But I’m going to try. I’m going to rest from Saturday evening until Sunday evening each week. I’m going to take bubble baths and journal and take my son on nature walks. We’re going to delight in the goodness of God for a whole day! I won’t do housework or any other household duties. We’ll make a special meal and thank God for providing it. We won’t buy or sell anything as an act of defiance against the lies of consumerism.

You know what else we won’t do? Worry. That will probably be the most difficult one for me. But for one day, I am going to release my worries and cares to God. Now, I realize this is something that I could do every day but I’m going to start with one day per week. Although, I’m not just talking about normal worries, I’m also including planning or just thinking about the future. It will be a day to just be present in the now.

Doesn’t that sound fantastic?? I think it sounds like a dream. I hope we can make it a reality. I know it won’t be easy.

I am so desperate to replenish myself with those things that refresh my mind, body, and spirit. Barton suggests that we “be as intentional about protecting it as we can be, but do not become rigid or legalistic about it, which ruins the spirit of the day.” Again, this won’t be easy, but I will do my best. In my experience, I usually need to start-out really extreme with something and then scale back as needed. The hardest thing of this of course is just the logistics… Is it possible to have my Sabbath on Sunday? I serve on Sunday (ok, one Sunday per month) and people schedule bbq’s and stuff all the time on Sundays (ok, like that happened once a couple of weeks ago I think). Obviously, there will never be one perfect day. I guess that’s the point. We have to make the time. We have to fight for it. Sometimes, we’ll make exceptions for good reason but I think I’ll be bummed when I have to do that.

 

Sooo… those are my thoughts,  I’m curious and eager to hear what any of you do for the Sabbath. Please share your practices and thoughts!

 

 

 

Crunchy Confessions

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So I just took a “How Crunchy Are You?” quiz from Mama Natural and I am disappointed to report that this was my result:

Image

Ouch.

I mean come on, I’ve been “Kinda Crunchy” for almost two years now and I haven’t even made it past “Newbie” status?? I’m sad.

Buuuuut…. Reality is, I have some crunchy confessions to make.

If something is on sale and I mean, it’s like a really good deal, I’ll buy it even if it’s not organic. UNLESS it’s in the dirty dozen… but usually, I just can’t pass up a really good deal, it’s torture. This goes for pretty much anything, not just produce. I’ll buy the super soft non-recycled toilet paper. I do feel kind of bad about that, but it’s so soft.

And as for beauty products… Oy. I’ve tried to convert to the all-natural, all-organic stuff but it’s either really expensive or it doesn’t work or both. My hair looked like I put mayo in it the last time I used an all natural conditioner. Not cute. Unless you’re married to Oscar Meyer, that’s not going to fly.

Now, in my defense, I have really crunched-up in other ways. My husband can attest to the fact that we’ve had recycled toilet paper (“Why does our tp look like the kind from my Elementary School?”) and I am now a huge fan of essential oils (aka “White Witchcraft”). So while I may not grow my own food and go out in public sans shoes, I think I’ve become a little more than Kinda Crunchy.

What about you? How do you fare on Mama Natural’s quiz?

 

Dear Max, The coolest kid I have ever met…

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Dear Max,

We met at the park today but you may not remember me, I’m just a mom so that’s understandable. I have to tell you, I don’t think I’ll ever forget you. How could I?

You hopped down the sidewalk into the park on your big silver squeaky pogo stick. Your bright red hair bounced with each hop, the look on your face was optimistic. You were confident. You were determined.

When the younger children gawked at you with admiration you excitedly paraded your talent. When they became curious you stopped your hopping and enthusiastically offered them a turn. They were too little but that didn’t matter. You held the pogo stick firmly and helped them step on. You encouraged them with each try. Then, when the questions came, you gladly answered. You patiently explained the mechanism of that pogo stick and they ate up every word you offered.

Then, when hopping was done, you joined the little ones on the playground. Your family was busy practicing baseball with your younger  brother but that didn’t seem to interest you much. Instead, you asked questions and answered them. You didn’t flinch when little 5 year-old Rosalyn asked you what was in your mouth. “It’s a retainer,” you said proudly, “See.” You removed your magical mouthpiece and shared with her the wonderful way that it helps your teeth align. She was quite impressed.

When you got thirsty, you approached my husband and I to ask if we knew where a drinking fountain was. We weren’t sure so we pointed you in a general direction toward the school and wished you luck. Along the way to the fountain you saw some more adults and asked them if they knew for sure where it was. I’ve never seen a kid your age with such confidence to ask unknown adults for help. It didn’t faze you one bit.

Your mom says that you don’t fit in much with kids your age but that you get along great with kids who are older or younger. I think I know why. As another author puts it, you’re a firefly. You shine from within. You don’t fit in with kids your age because you are flying above them. I’m not saying you’re better than them, all I’m saying is that you’re up higher and you can see things they can’t. You can see that there’s joy in helping those who are smaller than you. You can see that adults are a valuable resource. You can see that you are awesome just for being you.

I hope you never stop seeing these things. I hope you continue to fly high and keep your eyes set on what matters. I was honored to meet you today. I was thankful that my son admired you. I wish that you were in our lives regularly so that he could learn more from you. You are a rarity. Please don’t lose your confidence. It’s ok that you don’t throw a baseball like your brother. Anyone can learn to throw better, but the spirit of compassion, wonder and inner-strength that you possess can’t be learned overnight. It’s beautiful.

Thanks for being you, Max. You’re probably the coolest kid I’ve ever met.

See you around,

Luca’s Mom

This isn't Max, but it could be.

This isn’t Max, but it could be.

 

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