If Ever

Thanksgiving is over and gone, celebrated with family and high feasting and burgundy drinking and kids up before the sun to cross-country ski their fledgling legs across fields of diamond-white brilliance in the Vermont Green Mountain National Forest landscape. If ever a parents heart is full, it is when the offspring come in stomping snow, red-cheeked and puffing with eyes that twinkle, twinkle like little stars with so much alive-ness it’s pouring out their skin, they’ve just done something worth remembering forever. And the adults are sitting by the wood-burning stove in the farmhouse kitchen with hot drinks and bed-head-hair and slippers and all wrapped tight-up in robes of winter coziness. Just watching. It is enough, always, to see the young-ones exploring through the same things we–all four parents–did as kids and the aged-ones smile so wide behind steaming mugs for knowing deep the exact feeling that beats in their chests right now and it burns incandescent.

Thanksgiving? Oh, my God. Yes! And all this is Grace, Himself, on boundless platters.

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And, as if that wasn’t enough, He steals in quiet on the heels of this carousal-of-gratitude with a beckoning to His Advent . . .

The atmosphere glows gentle with a hundred and more tiny sparkle lights on our Charlie Brown evergreen tree and all the spirit-atoms within go hush, hush for the sweet Bethlehem Baby. A Baby that I’ve never wanted to hold so bad and we all take Him in our arms tonight with our sacraments and remembering. We take Him in our arms and clutch Him close again, tis the season for new-skin smell and Baby-breath fanning and for swaying around the living room with flesh-palms caressing a soft, downy, Divine-head. Even the three rowdy-ones know the space around them has shifted to temperature still as we light the candle of Preparation on a Sunday and supplicate for the deep hope of softening our Christmas hearts: ” Come, Thou most welcome One . . . prepare our human-temples to be a place where You can rest Your holy head this Christmas season . . . We don’t care what You do within us or with-out us, just make it matter in the Manger Kingdom . . .”

And if ever the air is pregnant, it’s the Advent air – 9 months, pre-labor big with the memory of Something so great, it can only come in the package-size of an infant.

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How, dear friends, was your Thanksgiving?

And, if you have a moment . . . what are some of your Advent and Christmas practices and sacraments?

Love,

Erika

 

Life Lately

In Adoption: This week past we shared fellowship with some friends who have travelled deep into the heart of adoption. Their arms are so wide-open and their hearts even more with the loving of two Littles from across the globe. We went to them with our story, how we came to be at this unexpected place and where on earth do we go from here (?) and heaven smiled on our coming together and exploring regardless of the outcome – there is no prescription in this process. But the thing I carried home right close to my aorta was a simple prayer born from one tiny piece of our conversation . . . “Our Father, what is real family for us?” And the reason I supplicate this sentence to heaven is because the way family has been defined by our western, white-man’s dictionary might not be the truest or deepest definition of family. On the alternate hand, we cannot make our statements like a blanket and say all family’s should be a mixed-up, colorful collection. But, what in this world does it mean for us to be family? I believe on the other side of Jesus the margins are stretched and family is global, but how that plays out in each of our stories is as colorful as the earth itself. So we pray and we pray and we pray, “Our Father, what is real family for us?”

Pray with us?

In The Living Room: Look how cute they are. All my dudes and my Dude working out their manly-muscles with Tony Horton and his P90X. This is the recipe for making children fall into their pillows come nightfall.

Did I mention how cute they are?

In Adventure: This trio of wee boy-hearts, they beat for adventure and I spend considerable energy trying to reveal to their young eyes that adventure is in the vision of the beholder and can be unfurled in the smallest stuff, but this week I wanted to make it bigger for them . . . “Adventure Week” I told them and they did their Little Savage(s) dance of untamed enthusiasm and blew my eardrums into the next county with the whooping and hollering.

Monday, Adventure Day 1, began with our first-ever walk all the way into downtown . . . From the top of the hill next to home, my finger points in the distance to a scene they’ve seen a few hundred times, but this occasion is different because their vantage point changes as their legs will bring them there instead of spinning car wheels. “See those buildings off in the distance? That’s where we’re walking to. YAY!!! We’re going to have SO much FUN!!! AND, we’ll get ice-cream when we get there” It is incentive enough.

Our muscles groaned up that same hill on the way back, but there was such satisfaction in using our bodies so well. To say we “had a blast” would be stating it mildly and the memories from that day and the rest of our “Adventure Week” are pure gold. I think I feel a tradition coming on.

In The Neighborhood: I hear the screams while I’m up to my elbows in dishwater suds. A pounding heart propels my feet to a dead run out the door and in the direction of audio terror. WHAT in the world is it this time? I wonder, but not for long as galloping legs carry me around the bend half a block from home to the scene of disaster.

There he is.

Seth is bleeding and bruised from his helmeted-head to his flip-flop feet, but instantly I can see that all his wounds are surface. Unfortunately, my heart starts in with serious palpitations as I take in the REAL problem . . .

I don’t know HOW they manage to wreak the havoc that they do.

My Mid-Son very effectively crashed his bike into the neighbor lady’s Mary Kay, pastel-pink Cadillac. I’m not making this up. He side-swiped that sucker from back to front and left rubber-tire skid marks along the whole length before landing head over heels on the hood. He then rolled to the ground where bare skin collided with unforgiving pavement.

My fear kept me from confronting the owner to talk restitution, so when Austin came home, I sent him over to face the music (or, in this case, “face the make-up” {oh man, that is the cheesiest thing I have ever said – maybe}). And you know what? All those scuff marks buffed right off that pastel-pink paint.

Sigh.

The End.

P.S. I’m buying stock in band-aids and Neosporin. And buffing thing-y’s

In My Mind/Heart: This homeschool mama has a whole week off, starting yesterday. Hooligans are at summer camp with their friends – kayaking, fishing, swimming, hiking, crafting and learning about Jesus through nature. I’m certain that they’re bored to tears.

What’s a poor girl to do besides suffer at the beach?

My mama gave me an audio theatre presentation of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I took him to the sun and sand and listened straight through his story for three hours and when he died in the end, I felt like I had lost a dear friend as I cried silently behind my sunglasses. Radio theatre is amazing like that, the characters come alive and tug you right into their circumstances. The beach beneath me disappeared and I found myself walking the streets of Nazi Germany, breathing the sights, sounds and horrors of the day.

My appreciation for the man Dietrich became through unprecedented events and trial, amplified with each passing scene. An idealistic pacifist he was, but when reality rolled repulsive in the form of a monster named Hitler, he discovered a painful, yet graceful, marriage between his divine ideals and the world’s human actuality.

Five minutes before listening to the rope stretch around his neck, the story leaves you with one of his final letters from his two years in traitors prison and I have been ruminating on those words: “I have come to some conclusions. During the last year or so I have come to know and understand more and more the profound this-worldliness, our Christianity. This is something that I am discovering right up to this moment. That it is only by living completely in this world that one learns to live by faith. One must completely abandon any attempt to make something of oneself. Whether it be saint or converted sinner, churchman or righteous man or an unrighteous man, sick man or healthy one. By this worldliness, I mean living unreservedly by life’s duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities. In so doing we throw ourselves completly into the arms of God, taking seriously not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world, watching with Christ in Gethsemene. That, I think, is faith. That is how to become a man and a Christian.”

I’ve been filtering memories from the last ten years of living through this lens of the world being the medium by which I find myself in the arms of God and I discover so much truth there, not to mention the richness of paradox. It also reminds me of a single line from one of my favorite songs, “Let the world wound me, until I see You alone . . . in everything.” 

Selah.

In Thanks: #301 Children playing hard/falling into bed. #302 Hugs, tears and forgiveness before the sun goes down. #303 Walking everywhere with the elements all over my skin. #304 Summer dresses and flip-flops #305 Italian Ice to make a day special. #306 Bandaids and Neosporin! #307 Anticipating vacation. #308 Whole family bike rides – 3 growing boys sandwiched between us.

Love to all,

Erika

P.S. For some reason, I am unable to link to other pages from my posts. So, where you see “friends” highlighted, that is supposed to take you to steadymom.com, “story” is supposed to direct you to Wherein My Heart Changes (under “We” and “Wonderings”) and “place” is Wherein My Heart Changes – Part 2. Sorry. WordPress and I are going to have a little chat to see if we can sort it out. :)

Life Lately

An inspiration came in the night, an ongoing series to begin here. I’m calling it “Life Lately” and it will be comprised of vignettes that illustrate little happenings around my heart and home. What I haven’t decided is whether it’s going to be weekly or bi-weekly, but either way, it will look something like the following – with slight variations from time to time.

In My Heart: It feels tender at the moment. Quiet. Not many words, just many feelings and wonderings without language.

In The Living Room: It’s tea time in the morning for me, coffee for Austin and we’re together on the couch on a weekday – which comes every once in a blue moon. Have you ever seen one of those? Neither have I, that’s how rare they are. Which is to say, that’s how rare a Thursday morning coz is for us.

The two of us are enjoying it slow when the 3 Day Brighteners walk in the living room with their entertainments to lighten the moment.

These boys with their buzzed heads, they don’t need much . . . Just a little metallic-teal silly putty from the Target “dollar section” and an animated imagination and voila(!), we have an impromptu living room exhibition.

This is the stuff . . . you know the kind that makes life’s moments rich. We laughed as they paraded and I grabbed The Husbands iphone to make memories in the morning and SLOW visited our time and stretched the space we occupied to something bigger and more important then the surface shows.

In My Mind: I see how often other blogger’s post and I craft expectations for myself that take the joy clean out of my written communication and the joyless expectation gets a mite heavy for my wee shoulders. My heart can be prolific in it’s processes, but my words come slow in the fringe hours of time and even then sometimes I’m just too tired to rub two thoughts together let alone a whole reflection. Can I let the pressure go? Bring my words to screen when they fall from the Spirit and forget the rest? My longing is to see just One Face while I’m tapping my keys of black and white, but it’s just that . . . sometimes the One Face turns into a multitude and I lose sight of Who I write for.

In The Bedroom: Totally kidding!!!! Well, almost totally kidding . . . Austin Morrison downloaded a Kama Sutra app for his iphone. Who knew there was such a thing? Too much information? This may be one of those times when I don’t think before I speak. But, not to worry! I’ve thought about it and I won’t be keeping you posted. The End.

In The Kitchen: With these three growing, hungry-all-the-time-DUDES, we’ve had to creatively adjust and stretch our budget to accommodate their stomachs. This week, we ebay-ed ourselves a bread maker for a great price ($60 with free shipping). One day later, it’s already paid for itself.

In Thanks: # 238 A brother who surprises us with a Sunday afternoon offering to watch the boys so Austin and I can date around town. #239 Two on a couch. #240 Listening to the boys dialog when they don’t know I’m there. #241 Rain that doesn’t stop all day/ cozy board games to accommodate. #242 Music to move my legs. #243 Lark Rise To Candleford. #244 Weekends without plans. #245 Holding grubby hands. #246 Air conditioning for 95 degree days.

Love To All,

Erika