Refueling Red Riding Hood.

They LOVE “The Box!”

Another morning starts, I hear Caedmon crying out in his crib and I roll myself out of bed and cross the hall, past the bathroom to scoop him up;.

He’s sitting there waiting and before I lift him out of his crib he gathers up his “entourage” of 2 mamakes (blue elephants) a bobby (pacifier) and the books he demanded to take to bed with him the night before.

It’s really quite the production.

Then we change his diaper and move through the kitchen meeting his many demands for milk and whatever catches his eye in the pantry.

This morning is exactly the same as every other morning, although for me it feels entirely different.

I’ve been absent from this place, these morning routines, for five days now, off connecting with friends and receiving truth from gifted teachers.  Downloading new music and gathering new insight from new experiences and views.

And now, just as I suspected this conference high has collided with my real life, which didn’t take it easy on me my first day back.

A full litter box which the cat is meowing me to clean with much demand.

Caedmon peed all over Kel’s messenger bag.

I can’t find a clean sippy cup to save my life.

I hear the phrase “shaving cream tastes yucky mommy!”

You can’t make this stuff up people.  This is my real life, not aimless meandering chicago streets with gourmet coffee.

But the escape reminded me who I am, this mother AND that big city wanderer.

This writer and the woman who tends to endless excrement and dirty sippy cups.

As I sat to process all these swirling thoughts, my 3 year old Noelle brought me a business card with the gorgeous STORY red riding hood on it.

She asked if we could put this “beautiful art” on the fridge, so we gathered alphabet magnets off the floor and displayed wandering Red on our black maytag.

I sat with my mug of coffee staring at this dramatic, dark and beautiful woman on the business card, now surrounded by alphabet and banana magnets.

It’s just right, isn’t it? Big city, real skin, conference beauty brought home to fuel the oatmeal making life, peppered with dirty diapers and bright plastic magnets, little people underfoot (both the plastic ones and the flesh and blood ones)

This is the day to day, life is cycles and seasons, each speaking to the other, one refueling and one depleting it.  We refuel for brief periods and then we must travel long distances on those tanks.

The wandering is the punctuation that brings sense to the run on sentences.

But with each pitstop, I am learning healthier rhythm, better grammar, deeper breathing.

I’ll continue to pick up a comma and period here and there, develop sharper eyes for the fuel I need, learn to find it here and there.

But for today I’m Red Riding Hood on the Fridge.

Traveling Mercies

We made it home after our 12 day visit to Michigan, our trip-o-meter reads 2,457 miles.

On the way up our tire exploded in smoke as I drove through 8 lanes of Chicago traffic.  I  was able to easily pull over so the damaged tire was on the inside lane, away from the morning rush of cars.  I consider this a gift.

the remains of our passenger side mirror.

On the way home last night we had an accident where another driver’s carelessness caused me to swerve to avoid T-boning him at 55 MPH.  Both vehicles were damaged, but drivable, my nerves suffered the worst of the collision.

We staggered in the door at 4am, Caedmon got me up at 6:13, I crave my bed in unspeakable ways.  Yet my soul is simply happy that we arrived home together, with minimal damage.

I love the phrase “traveling mercies.”  It’s like someone speaking blanket of blessing over your journey, asking God to show you beauty on your travels and shield you from the ugliness.

We aren’t guaranteed safety, this is why we as for safety and mercy before we embark.

We’ve never had a blowout or an accident on a road trip before, yet this time we had both while I was behind the wheel.  This isn’t unfair, it’s just life.  The reason we ask for traveling mercy is because we’ve seen what can happen, people will drive badly, machines will fail, rubber will burst, weather will turn ugly.  It’s a mad mad mad mad world, full of brokenness and pain.

When the inevitable happens, we can either respond with lips full of anger for the trouble or thanks for the loving grace that carries us through.

If you survive the damage to continue on, then your best response is always gratitude.

We aren’t guaranteed perfect miles, but endless sustenance from the giver of life.  It’s not always easy to see, but freedom is realizing that the sustaining mercy is bigger than the trouble.

Last night as cars collided, our children continued watching a movie and eating teddy grahams as if nothing had happened.  For this, I  buried my head in my hands and weep.  In the light of all that could have happened as two cars collided at high speeds, we were relatively unscathed, able to press on toward home.

In the blowout, the inside lane was greater grace

In the accident, the peaceful children were a blessing

In funerals we have been surrounded with love

In lean months our bills have been paid

I am one adorned with traveling mercy, sometimes so blessed that I realize it.

Do you see the grace in the trouble?  The gray light in the dark room?

“In this world you will have trouble, but I leave you my peace, that where I am there you will also be” ~ Rich Mullins

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