My iPhone ate my Patience

No.

I was reading “Noah Builds a Boat” to Noelle just now as I settled her into bed.  In this storybook they highlighted how patient Noah was in his ark building endeavors.

As I shut the book and put it on the night stand I thanked this children’s book author for going the extra mile on the patience lesson.  I always need the patience reminder, especially in my parenting.

Then she got up for water and then to pee and then to pee again and then to tell me her bed was too big, I wanted to scream at her STAY THE HECK IN BED!  Patience lesson, how timely you were, Noah made it look so easy.

My thoughts are often: Could you just go to sleep quicker?  Pee faster?  Learn to pull up your pants with a little more hustle?  Come on, figure it out here!  

I would have been a terrible Noah, and don’t even get me started on what sort of Job I would have been.

Patience is my unicorn, it may be out there flitting all shimmery on the horizon, but it rarely makes an appearance in the real world.

Is it me or are we all getting worse at patience?  If we want to know who that actor is, we

I bet he’s got the patience of Job.  Everyone knows unicorns are very patient, probably. 

don’t wait for the credits, we just grab our phones and google it or consult IMDB.  Done.

Do you have a smart phone?  Try this:  Next time you’re waiting in your car in the bank line or a drive-thru just look around, think and wait.  Don’t get out your phone. It feels so weird, you immediately want it in your hand, we’ve become addicted to filling every crack.

We have left ourselves with so little blank space and I bet it’s killing our patience drive, and leaving God such little room to whisper to us, to nudge us toward himself or each other.

We want our food fast, our cash now and our results yesterday.  We aren’t bent to save, count or wait, we believe we can force a round peg into a square hole with the right amount of force.

So honestly, in this “now world” I struggle desperately to wait upon the Lord.

Also, the phrase “God’s timing” is rarely a comfort to me, it drives me nuts.  I don’t want his time, he’s gonna make me wait isn’t he?  I’d really much rather have things now.  I think.

I don’t want to wait for plans to flesh out or answers to come in time, but when I think back on my life, on what’s standing strong,  all that I truly cherish took work and time.

Kel and I had to wait to be together, struggle to figure each other out, yet each year is sweeter and stronger for our shared building.  My children each took 9 months to grow before I could hold them and smell their perfect little heads.  Yet I stand in awe of the gifts that they are every day.  And this writing business seems to flow easier with time… but yes, it’s requiring patience and time as well.

With all of this in the favor of patience why do we seem to loathe it?  Why are we so unwilling to submit to the seasons, to make peace with the years it will take to get to lovely places.

Isn’t the growing part of the blooming?  The journey is part of the destination?

Is this a new problem, this shortage of patience or is there are reason our great grandmother’s were needlepointing it on pillows?  Because patience truly is a virtue, is’t it?

The more I realize much I lack patience the more I want to get me some.  How can I get some of this patience, now? Ha.

That’s when it’s hit me, it’s just another wave that will erode at me, smooth me into someone who looks more like Jesus and less like the selfish inner child.  A little more Mother Theresa and a lot less Paris Hilton.

Perhaps the first step in gaining patience is making peace with the fact that it has a long learning curve, steeped in prayer and deep breathing exercises.

Pray and breathe and make peace with the time, the waiting, expect lovely vistas and profound growth as you wait upon Him.

Forever Journeyers

Every morning at the Penny Casa is fairly routine:  Caedmon gets up, crying “mama mama” from his crib.  I get him up and we search the floor for his “bobby” (pacifier) and “mamake” (stuffed elephant) which he has angrily thrown while waiting on me.

I get him up, change him, he yells for milk and starts his obsessive chant for berries at the fridge door.  The next part is tricky.  You have to give him his bowl, fork, milk and berries in the right order or else he’ll throw the whole mess on the floor.

He demands I pick him “uk” and slice his berries in a one handled balancing act.

All this happens in the first 5 minutes of my waking consciousness, before I’ve had my coffee. Continue reading

Peace through Peach Jam

Lately I have been struggling with my story, my past and all the grisly details of suicide and funerals.

Some days, as you all well know, the devil gets the best of my inner monologue and I feel “less-than” and as my friends Hannah & Heather put it, “like a total hack.”

Today I can’t get through life without this antidepressant.
Today I am not a published author, I hardly made progress.
This morning I wept publicly at the coffee shop trying to write about my Mother’s death.
Over breakfast the kids screamed and I wondered if there would ever come a season of greater peace and less chaos.

It’s noon on an unexpectedly hard day and I’m going to focus on what is and all that I can do. I can’t publish today, I can’t get my daughter to pee in the potty or teach my son to wait for food without screaming and pulling my pants down with his impatient tugs.

but.

I can go let out my friends dog while they finish adoption paperwork in the city
I can make a bath of freezer jam and zucchini bread from beautiful local produce.
I can tell my husband that his support is everything
I can confess to God that I’m a mess and I need his grace
I can stop caring what the people in the coffee shop right now think as I cry over my laptop
I can read my daughter “Count on Donald” again, even though I hate it
I will leave 10 encouraging notes to friends, both online and local
I will write that friggin trash check so the truck continues to haul away our nasty diapers and coffee grounds.

I will see all of this as something real, though it is small, it is beautiful.  I can’t conquer mountains today, but I can take these little, life giving steps.

I refuse to be defined by what today is not, I will feel peace and purpose on all the beauty that today holds.

Peach Jam and children’s books are enough for me today, and this is a priceless thing.

Want to partner with me in sharing all that is and forgetting all that isn’t?

Slice off a piece of zucchini bread and smear it with peach jam as we believe that we can and tell the voices of “can’t” and “aren’t” to go to Hell where they belong.

***************
linking up with Joy in this Journey

Three years a daughter, Three years a mother

Saturday was the best day I’ve had in ever so long.  So much so that I’m fairly certain I told my husband how content and overjoyed I was nearly 20 times as we sat together and wound down from the busyness of the day.

Yesterday we celebrated three years of our oldest, our daughter Noelle.

Noelle Ava on her birthday from birth to three

The more I stop and really see my children the more overwhelmed I am with how much beauty God poured into each of them.  My Noelle is fully of curiosity, joy and compassion.  She was given a doctor play set by her grandma and she has been attempting to “feel us better” ever since with TLC and immense determination, watch out or you could take a pretend needle to the face.

I sit here at my breakfast table listening to the thunder and rain and reflecting on this morning three years ago.  In a small hospital room, exhausted with a freshly cut C-section scar across my abdomen.  I was trying to walk without abs and praying to learn how to nurse and swaddle my freshly given baby girl.

Continue reading

Rocking Horse Winner

Last night as I was drifting off in a NyQuil induced coma, Kel and I had a really great chat. Maybe it was just the drugs talking but we found a sweet depth in sharing the fears and doubts that we’re kicking around these days.

His heart hangs heavy on what the next step is for our family, we both feel the winds of change but have no idea what that looks like in reality.  We know he needs to finish up  seminary, but as we are currently debt free (except the house, Dave) we aren’t going to take out loans for his 3 remaining classes.

God has covered all the $500 credit hours up til now, yet still we doubt…

He suggested maybe we could cut back the grocery budget a bit and save cash there, I scoffed because the truth of the matter is that the belt is already tight.  I was actually looking for a grocery budget INCREASE, a decrease won’t do.

We always need more Milk, Eggs, Bananas, Milk, Eggs, Bananas.

I suggested he pick up a hobby that makes money on the side, like delivering pizzas.  Hey he likes to drive and he loves pizza, I smell a win/win and pepperoni!

As soon as he began to talk about money for seminary my worry prone mind began to race around in circles around spreadsheets, money envelopes and dollar signs.  There never seems to be enough does there?  I wish there was just a little more money for food, a few new cute shirts for me, maybe one more date night.  I wish there was a bit more.

Then he asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day.  My immediate response is time, I just want a little more time for myself, to write, read, stroll, sip coffee and just be me.  I wish there was more time.

In that instant a red flag popped up inside me, I had said the word “more” in our chat at least five times.  We just need more…more… more….

Does anyone remember the short story The Rocking Horse Winner by D.H. Lawrence?  Well I studied it in lit class in both High School and College and it’s a story about a family whose house is run by a woman who’s trying to live a life that exceeds their means.  She describes herself as “having no luck” and constantly imparts upon her children the need to be lucky and have money.

It’s said in the story that the children can hear their house whispering “There must be more money” and her son sets off with frenzied determination to ride his rocking horse to learn the winner of the next weekend’s horse races so he can gamble his pocket money.  He achieves some success and the mother is left with an 80,000 purse, but she sacrifices her son who dies from fever after riding his rocking horse to find the winner.

As Kel and I chatted about our fears I found myself feeling parallel with the woman in the story.  The one whose children could feel her anxiety and her ever present discontent with their lifestyle and means.

I felt the sting of being smacked in the soul.  Do I want to be the sort of mother who has such deep discontent that her children feel a desperate need to try to fix it?

Resoundingly and heartachingly NO

My daughter is a fixer, she will make you soup in her pretend kitchen to “feel you better” when you’re sick and she will kiss anything you tell her is hurting, from your head to your toe.  I don’t want her to ever endeavor to fix my discontent for money and time.

This realization parallels nicely with my journey to stop complaining this week.  With increased contentment I will surely find a decreased need to complain, right?

Oh mamas, friends, we have to give up this deep ache of “not enough” and replace it swiftly with the sort of contentment that Paul writes about in Philippians 4.  If the early church can have deep joy and contentment in the midst of beatings and persecution then surely through God’s grace we can find it in the midst of our lives.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4: 12-13

It seems that the secret is taking our focus completely OFF what is in front of us and putting it fully ON he who has guaranteed us the strength to do life in him.

Let us not think that strength means that we don’t need to delve deeply into our pain and struggle.  If you are grieving, weep well, if you are weary, rest up.  We are never called to pretend life isn’t hard but we are called to sew a deep peace into our hearts.

So, how?  We stop looking around us and look to him instead.  We focus on what we have, GRACE, FREEDOM, ASSURANCE and we just stop focusing on what we don’t have

I am preaching to my soul, maybe yours too?

Dear Lord, may I hunt hard to fix this contentment into my heart so that those around me don’t feel the need to rock and reel to fill my stubborn voids.  

What is your more?  Can we lay them down together?

The proof is in the past

I’m mostly an optimist, a joy seeker, except when I’m not.  Then I’m a pessimistic cynic.

For example, when an amazing possibility pops up on my horizon, the kind that stands to fulfill my wildest dreams, I immediately get cynical and closed off.  It’s probably too good to be true so inevitably it’s not going to happen, God’s going to say no.

I try to pray God’s will, but those prayers aren’t always honest.  I have my mind and heart so dead set on getting the answer I want that praying God’s will is sort of a lie.  I want my will, because God’s will could be no.  What I want would make me really happy and make my insides dance, so I bet God says no.  His will probably involves me growing in patience as I learn to love a non-ideal situation, that’s how he rolls.

I know all the cliches and Christian responses but they aren’t always helpful.  You tell me “You only want to be in the center of God’s will.” and I say “Of course, you’re right.  Confession:  inside I’m saying “Yeah I know… but I really want that ….job, that house etc…”

So I’m flipping God off again and telling him that I know better.  Wow… I just don’t learn do I?

Continue reading

Spiritual Milk Drinkers (an old skool repost)

A repost from July of 2009- which will be pretty new for most of you.  My proposal writing is at an intense point so I am trying to be faithful to posting in this space, yet make progress on the proposal front.  So I’m pulling from the archives and trying not to nitpick my 3 year old writing… 

I have been breastfeeding my daughter Noelle for about 10 weeks now. That’s not that much time, in the grand scheme of life it’s like a sneeze. But I have to say that it’s been the most amazing ten weeks of life I have known. Every time she is hungry and starts to exhibit those sure fire “mom feed me soon or I will go ballistic” signs I take the necessary steps and make sure she gets the milk she needs.  However, usually it’s not fast enough for her liking, but I shoot for two minutes or less . Sometimes, I stop (the horror) to burp her in the middle of the feeding or we pause and I switch her to the other side. When I do this, she has the tendency to cry, fuss and generally express extreme unhappiness that she is not currently chugging milk. The other day I was feeding her, and switching her to the other side and I told her (yes I talk to her all the live long day) “Noelle! For your entire life there has been food when you needed it, what makes you think today would be any different?”

THEN
GOD
SPOKE

I myself had spent the week freaking out about money. Worrying that perhaps we could default on a payment, OR not be able to buy diapers, OR the car would break down and the repairs would be more than our emergency fund.  We only have so much savings in place until I get paid again, how are we going to make it?!

And the Lord spoke and said: “Leanne, you’ve been alive for 27 years. Have you ever gone hungry, without transportation, or had your household poop needs unmet?  (In all fairness my household poops needs have drastically changed recently)

Scripture says this:

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. ~Hebrews 5:11-14

To which I responded: “Wow God, please teach me more through Motherhood” (and he has!)

You see I am just like my daughter when she freaks out about a split second break in nursing.  When I see a potential problem in the distance or spill a drop of faith due to a small bump in the road act, I freak out like Chicken little with her made up falling sky. It’s NOT GOING TO BE OKAY! The sky is FALLING! The ROOF is caving in, The bottom has fallen out and this will surely end me!  (I’ve always been a touch dramatic, don’t act surprised)

But I am NOT an infant
I am 27 years of sustained healthy well-loved adult woman.
Who still freaks out constantly with an  “It’s not going to be okay” mentality

This my friends is a value I do not want to pass on.

Dear Lord please be with me in this… help me to rise above and show my children that you are the giver and sustainer, you are the LORD our God, and it will forever and always be more than just okay. Help me becomer a spiritual steak and taffy eater (you see these things take time to chew) so that my daugther sees it and follows in my footsteps.

And all Gods people, or at least this one said: AMEN.