This is a mother’s day and it has been a mothering year. We warrior mothers, we pass the thousands of hours in years and mark them with the birthdays of our children, not our own.  Today we’re marked and celebrated with messy kid-handled pancakes and syrupy kisses and handmade cards with scrawls and artist’s drawings of ourselves with the skinniest of frames and huge eyes. They’re beautiful, and the pancakes are the best we’ve ever had. Yesterday morning I had that half of the day entirely to myself and I drove around a beautiful lake and stopped at beautiful homes for an annual garage sale extravaganza. It wasn’t about stuff as much as it was about a treasure hunt and treasures I found. More than in garages, I found laughter with my own mother and a gulping of the most beautiful weather God could have lended the day. I sucked it in and […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {30}

April 9, 2012

Asher has a blue shirt with red and yellow headphones on it. Every night I sit on my bed and fold the laundry and it seems like that shirt is always in my hands. Half fold, sleeves together and folded back, half fold again. I stop to look at the front of it  for just a second when I put it on his stack of clothes because it’s my favorite. I don’t know why. I just like him in it. Maybe because it’s his favorite, too. Right before the laundry folding festivities, I put Elsie in her crib. Every night, I rock and nurse her, run my hand over her head and put her down and look at her for a little longer than a second. I walk away and tell her Daddy that I can’t believe how beautiful she is or that she’s ours and doesn’t it seem like she was always […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

splints for the soul.

April 7, 2012

“Stories and truth are splints for the soul, and that makes today a sacred gathering.” ~Anne Lamott She has a caramel roll and she’s wearing a white sweatshirt with a lighthouse stitched on it. She sits alone with her newspaper and a sign on the wall above her head that says Dream. She’s absent-minded when the gooey bite falls off her fork on its way to her mouth. I look away to save her from feeling silly. She goes to get a napkin and comes back, sitting down carefully and catching my eye. Good morning! she says and I don’t hear her at first and she says it again loud and clear and then apologizes for how it came out funny the first time. I reassure her and smile wide. Books are open around me, my favorites like C.S. Lewis, Lamott and Donald Miller. It’s been a long time since we sat together […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

little soldiers

March 30, 2012

This morning I sat on the floor with a nice woman I had never met before today. She was here to evaluate Elsie because at a recent doctor’s appointment, our pediatrician raised some concerns about EJ’s gross motor skills. So there we were, criss-cross applesauce, nice to meet you. I knew right away that I was answering her questions with too many no’s. No, she doesn’t do that. No, she hasn’t done that. No. No. No. I hadn’t even noticed it before, that when she does her army crawl, she only uses one side of her body.The right. It’s like she’s a little wounded soldier and how didn’t I notice that before? She’s fine. I kept thinking. She’s fine. And you know what? She is most likely totally fine. But all these months. For months and months now and even years, things have not been fine when I start to think they’re going […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

reverse

March 5, 2012

{this post was inspired by my own story and also Maggie May’s post Anxiety: A Plague, Years of Wonder. Her words help me more fully understand myself and for that I am always grateful.} It feels ridiculous sometimes. I am a grown woman and my husband is holding my hand and taking me to the doctor, carefully. I sit there, child’s pose and Dr. M. says my face looks brighter, better than the first time. Yes, I’m feeling a little more like I can see myself. She increases the dosage of medication that will hopefully round off the corners of some of this anxiety and depression. She says the medicine will at first make the symptoms worse and then better. I hate that I need a medication that is so confused about itself. She was right. I can’t sleep because of the all the drunk monkeys in my head, pounding around, my eyes flying […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Just Write {24}

February 28, 2012

It was a hard afternoon. Sometimes I’m just struck with the heaviest feeling, my whole body going kind of weak and I’m just done. I was sitting on the bed with Asher standing next to me. He was looking up at the wall at a vintage print we have of a boy going fishing. I was sitting hunched and staring at him, taking him in and I said, Asher, I love you. He didn’t seem to hear me because he looked right at me suddenly and very seriously said, How come you can’t see God? That’s a good question, honey. Mommy. Lift your head up. Look up. And ask Him. So I did, kind of awkwardly, God, why can’t I see you? and it kind of made me want to cry. I told Asher that I think I can’t see God because He’s a mystery, a good mystery and that what we find out about Him is always about love. […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

free pass

February 8, 2012

  When Asher was a baby and he was crying all the time, I remember trying hard to learn something about faith and then implement it. These were beautiful ideals and I wanted them in my life because I know the peace that comes from actively seeking the heart of God. But what I remember the most is that I was sitting there crossing my fingers and toes and wishing (that’s probably not very Christian) that the person speaking to a room of mothers would add a disclaimer. Something like, Yes, doing all of this will help you and you will feel freedom and peace. But, don’t expect to accomplish this if you aren’t getting any sleep and someone is tugging on you at all times. Then you get a free pass because implementing anything is impossible for you right now and you should just go ahead and expect very little of yourself […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

soul pull

February 6, 2012

{Hi there, you! If you’re stopping by from Danielle’s place, the quickest way to learn about this place and this person is to clickety-click on the “Best of” or the “About” click-ables up there. So happy to have you!} I was invited to tell the story of Ryan and Heather in the a love story series with Danielle Burkleo and I said, Why yes, I’d be happy to. (Psssst! Danielle is so totally rad and so is her blog, Take Heart.) So anyway, if you head over there you’ll read about a moment in time that was all of our moments… My heart and soul were pulling past my ribs and reaching for him, that’s what it felt like and it was so palpable it was playing from the stage and in my mind, bringing the questions… You can read the rest over at Take Heart (I think that post will be my […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

it’s electric

February 1, 2012

  {photo credit} Everything was too hard yesterday. Like how the dish rag was in the bottom of the sink under all the dishes that were filled with water. Uncovering it and rinsing it out and ringing it out would just be too hard so I walked away and left it all there. By three o’clock I was so tired of my own tired with pressure behind the eyes, so I decided to be good and cheerful by making cookies. Except by making cookies I mean the pull apart kind but even then, they kept pulling apart not along the lines so there were big and small ones after baking even though they were supposed to be all one square-gone-round size. Miles thought they were taking too long. Ten minutes from start to finish. Cookies. Done. Not too long. But I understand, I want start to finish now now now, too. We can’t […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Dear Single Mothers,

January 26, 2012

How do you do this? I am on week three of four of solo parenting. I’ve hit that wall in which I can still kind of handle it but I can’t handle the waffle getting stuck in the toaster. Right now the teething sleep deprivation is so severe I’m not sure at all ever what I’m doing exactly. Just getting him to school and then him to school and feeding and wiping and trying. Then I want to throw the toaster and I follow that I’m losing it feeling with guilt of course because look…     Just LOOK at what I have…     They are sooooo…   THEM, you know?     When I am solo, we all move down the totem pole, so to speak. No time for all of our needs or for the family utopia in my head to even come close to existing and I suppose this […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

730 times

January 20, 2012

It’s been 2 years. 2 years 365 days plus 365 days or 24 hours strung together 730 times. I suppose I could go on with all kinds of numbers, but I’m terrible at math and the day must go on. That’s what they do, you know. The days go on, sometimes walking and sometimes running and sometimes marching. Oh the ones that march, they are the stompy and defiant ones, annoying and hard but entirely necessary. This morning I woke up to Elsie Talk, crackling at me over the monitor.  I went to get her and nursed her in bed and when she was done she looked up at me and made the silliest face you’ve ever seen. Then Miles came in and sniffed her head and sniffed her head some more. It’s his favorite thing to do. We got up, we three early risers and I made coffee and thought my thinks […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

freedom is free

September 28, 2011

I’m watching her discover her hand. She’s doing what babies do, she’s trying so hard to keep it in focus. I don’t know what that is or who it belongs to but I want it. Her little fist is clenched so tight and her eyes have the intensity behind them that shouts something like awe mingled with frustration. Her whole body shakes with need. She seems to be willing that hand of hers to do something it just will not do. Maybe she wants it to open. Let go. That thumb of hers has been driving her crazy for weeks the way it hides itself between pointer and index, like she’s playing the old trick, I’ve got your nose! She has never taken a pacifier and she wants her thumb but she just can’t seem to free it. I’m looking at her and I’m thinking me too because as much as I want […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

in bones and souls and apples

September 16, 2011

Miles with apple trees and apple picker   I don’t know how to talk to them about God. I get worried that I should be saying more than I am. I want to tell them all about the way that I’ve come to know He’s there and He loves me and I know they can’t fully understand an invisible Being that made them up and follows them around quite yet or ever. Mystery. I mean, that’s what it sounds like to them. I know because of the confused questions they ask and yet mystery is exactly where He is, in the best possible way. He is story on a breath and inside all quiet things, good or bad all working itself out to matter and mean something. We are all just kids trying to make sense of things. More and more I realize that not knowing things is how we stay open, less […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

in the midst of this

August 21, 2011

You’ve gotta teach ’em to self soothe, you know. You can’t tip-toe around or they’ll never sleep with noise. Babies know how to get you to pick them up–just let her cry. ::: I know which floorboards squawk under pressure. I avoid them. I am up on the balls of my feet, lightly stepping a dance out the door, gently turning the knob to make a silent shut.  I so badly want these quiet moments to last, more for her than for me. Minutes later, it’s as if some unknown force with a foot has forgotten the dance and stepped on her. She squawks first, then she screams. A loud train has gone by and shook her from her light and always tummy-disturbed sleep. I rush back in, no longer careful just quick.  Her face is beet red and crinkled with pain, her body making little sounds of too much air. I pick […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Please

April 13, 2011

notes to my children: Don’t forget to feel and then move on if things don’t go the way you thought they should go. Sometimes what you want isn’t even what you wanted anyway. Open doors for girls. Or better yet, open doors for anyone and everyone coming through. Please. Your brother will be your best friend, if you let him. Don’t pass up chances to go to far-away places even if it doesn’t seem like the right time. Marry someone who likes so many of the very same things that you like. Please. You need to trust your heart-gut, it speaks to you. It is a true voice that can keep you safe from danger and lead you to great things. You were made for those great things, like laughing or changing your corner of the world. There are dreams in your heart and you’ll surely forget them sometimes so circle back and uncover […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

This post is not about Rob Bell or the backlash against him, or even about Ann Voskamp and all of the opinions on her book. Then again, it is. It’s about all of that and so much more…:::::I am covering my ears. My headphones are even making them disappear, lobes and all. I am choosing my favorite station on Pandora and all I hear is melody, blocking out the conversations around me in this place. All the people and the grinding of the beans and the boots on hardwood. It makes me think of the way we do that, burying our heads in the sand, not wanting to hear or see what other people are experiencing, trying not to understand their perspective because we’re just so busy with choosing our own songs, our own opinions, our soap box issues. I grew up around religious people. I guess you could consider me religious but […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

open

January 19, 2011

empathy, sympathy, compassion a passion for helping and then… empathy and sympathy and compassion fatigue. There’s just too much. But we can’t stop talking about it and we can’t close ourselves off from it because if we do, we’re doing nothing and everyone loses. I don’t know how it happened, but some years back I became quite passionate about the human trafficking crisis, especially the sex trafficking of children, of orphans. Around that time, through the music and message of Sara Groves, I came to know International Justice Mission. Ryan and I then became Freedom Partners, financially supporting IJM’s work to end slavery, trafficking and other injustices. But that sponsorship and the support of two children through Compassion International is all our family is doing. We allow a small donation to be removed from our account one time a month and that’s it…we call it good enough, and it’s not. What happens? What […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

fully alive

December 27, 2010

This post was originally written on January 19th, almost a year ago, and on the day before I quit drinking. The experience described in this post was a catalyst for change in my life. Because it’s true, what are we here for, if not to feel fully alive? To take risks and let go…to strive and overcome…to find ourselves wrapped up in the journey while we tell our truths and help each other. The moments with my boys in this post were just the taste I needed of all of that, and I’m so grateful. ::::: We laughed until our cheeks hurt. We burned down that hill like gravity itself with our coats and mittens crackling under the cold and we just couldn’t stop laughing. We bounced and spun and grabbed tightly to each other. We even face planted once, spilling off the sled in a pile, me on top of Miles on […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Christmas Change

December 22, 2010

“Sometimes I ask myself to find words to defend the audacity of my belief in it all. And I guess I could… The thing is, I wonder if people don’t want more than that anyway. More than scientific proof. Maybe we all just want to learn how to believe in miracles again… The Christmas Story. Ridiculous and far-fetched, beautiful and believable, entirely necessary and deeply desired. We’re made for that kind of mystery…” For more of this post, please visit Christmas Change… comments are closed on this post Thank you for allowing me to pop up in your inbox and for reading my words, silly or serious. I appreciate you. ~Heather

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

while Love goes

December 21, 2010

Christmas, for me, is about one enormous gift. On 12/24/08 I wrote,“I love to imagine the unexpected fulfillment of love that first Christmas, breathing for the first time in the manger. His love filled the air like a scent, and moved through the people who came to touch Him. Love was all around.” Today the boys and I were driving slowly through the dirty and snowy streets to make our way to a new place to eat. We were going to pick up lunch and then head home. I was going to take a break from opening the fridge and staring at its contents for too long, wondering what to make for meal 2 of 3 in this day. I had my heart set on something fresh and healthy and it felt like a gift, to not have to make it myself. But the parking lot was full, very very full and so […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

grace packaging

October 30, 2010

I’m sharing some thoughts on chameleon grace over on the highway blog today. (The post is over there because that blog’s focus is on faith and religion and thinking out loud about God stuff. Just.so.you.know.) Here’s a little ditty for your sampling. You know, so you can see if you want to go read it:The foundation of my beliefs at their core are definitely Christian, and for that I’m not the least bit ashamed. It’s just that I continue to try to reconcile those beliefs with how things are in the Evangelical Christian world of today and I can never do it. So often, not much of it makes sense to me. So often, Christians create their own version of something good by adding or subtracting, to align their religion with their opinions. I’ve never been good at swallowing that, and I’ve even been known to rant on and on and on about […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

mystery

October 10, 2010

Dr. P. has enormous hands. When we met him about two years ago and knew he would be doing Asher’s brain shunt surgery, Ryan joked, How is he going to manage surgery on such a small head with those sausage fingers? I watched those same hands I’ve come to know (and maybe even love) as they circled Asher’s head at his check-up on Thursday. He knows what he’s doing. He knows what he’s looking for. He runs his pointer finger and thumb along the valve (shunt) on the right side of The Noggin and he pushes a little to feel for something I don’t understand. I was right next to this big man and my boy and I was vacantly watching because the fear I have as Asher’s mom always rears its feisty head in the children’s hospital. I float through it all while we’re there, holding more tightly to that small hand […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

the whole story

August 29, 2010

We painted. For hours. It was our anniversary and the two short dudes were staying with Nanny and Bapa. Painting may not sound like a very nice way to spend a day celebrating six years of perfect wedded bliss, but there we were. (Actuallly, we like to work on house projects together when without the kiddos. We talk, we boss each other around, we take our time.) Anyway. We were painting the kitchen and taking turns observing out loud how annoying it was that the paint didn’t seem to want to be on the wall. Or maybe, it was the previous coat of paint that was trying to shirk off the new and better, brighter color. We rolled and rolled and brushed and brushed and the paint put up its fight, acting all see-through no matter what amount of paint was being slathered over it. Of course, this was an analogy to me. […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

knees

August 16, 2010

I think back on it. Back before we moved, nearly eight months ago already. I think back on the difference and I compare for a while. I feel sick to my stomach for a while. Then I feel grateful for a while. There was rarely anything that could interrupt my drinking routine. And if something came up, I almost always found a way. You’d be amazed at how there’s always a way when your will is that strong. But one night, after Miles had been sleeping for an hour or so and I was getting sufficiently buzzed, or trying to, anyway, he woke up with a cry. This rarely happened, and when Ryan and I went to him, he threw up and threw up and threw up. His sheets and pillow, his floor, his little blankie, everything covered in vomit. I sprang to action and forgot my wine. I held him and cleaned […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

need

June 26, 2010

I need willpower. I’m hungry and thirsty and looking for a place to sleep. I know what I need. I can rise up in the morning and tell myself, today I will do the right things, and then I believe I will reap the rewards of self-discipline and self-control. My intentions are so good that I believe I’ll do it all (and more) and then maybe I’ll feel more peaceful. As if everything works like checks and balances and tit for tat and punishment and reward. Do ‘A’ – Get ‘B’ I need to believe in grace because I can’t believe A gets B because so often I get a really good B without finishing my A, without following through or doing my good-intended right thing. Grace isn’t fair in the best possible way. Grace does not fit in a box, but it remains in all things even though it blows my mind […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

More

June 19, 2010

I read something last night. It was written by a woman who struggled with alcoholism like I do and it said that when she drank to enjoy it, she couldn’t control her drinking, and when she tried to control her drinking, to drink less, she didn’t enjoy it at all. Seems kind of obvious that this would be the case for an alcoholic, but it takes most of us a really long time to recognize this reality. I thought about all the times in my life that I could, for one reason or another, only have a couple of drinks at a time. Maybe it was in the presence of non-drinking people, or we were about to go to a movie, or any number of things. And I realized how true it was, that I would get so uncomfortable with only a couple of drinks. I didn’t see the point in that at […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The whole

April 26, 2010

I finished Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller on Friday. Then on Saturday I went to pick up his latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. As Anne Lamott says, “I love Donald Miller. He’s a man after my own heart.” I’m going to have to paraphrase a line from Blue Like Jazz because I’ve already given my copy of the book to a friend. There is no more powerful drug than the addiction to self. (Sorry, Don. I probably butchered that. That line I’m remembering was probably more poetic and profound and probably hilarious, because that’s just you.) Anyway. Of course I thought of this line on Saturday when there I was, with myself taking pictures of myself in the bathroom mirror for myself’s profile pictures on the world wide web. Ouch. The thing is, I wasn’t taking those pictures because I think I’m hot. Actually, it’s more that I […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Peanuts

April 11, 2010

He is not a kid on a table or a boy looking up at his Mommy for a hug.He is Snoopy and he’s on his dog house and he can’t wait to fly a plane with a cape.He is pawing at Charlie Brown, begging for a treat.I’m Charlie Brown. This is fitting because I have a really hard time figuring out how to grow up.I trust Lucy over and over and end up flat on my back while she laughs. I have the imagination of a child and sometimes, when I should sit up and learn something,it’s like my teacher is going ‘wa wa wa wa wa waaaa.’My brain is too busy to take these lessons to heart. I’m always thinking, just like that boy of mine, never taking things at face value,always digging deeper. And at the end of the day, we’re both terribly exhausted, the world finally dimming down, hiding at […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Nothing

April 5, 2010

I was in church, for Easter, and I felt nothing. I have been feeling guilty for my lack of feeling in church my entire life. It isn’t that I don’t like church, at least not most of the time. It’s something else. My emotions over the things of faith aren’t triggered in a place of worship often. But as an aside, you should know that they are triggered here… Easter2, originally uploaded by Heather of the EO. In the changing landscape of a Midwestern spring. In the face of a boy I was once worried I may not keep. My soul wells up with hallelujahs on a daily basis, in the ordinary things of life. I carry those praises along in my heart and when we go to church, something happens to them. They go quiet. Sure, sometimes I have a moment, a certain song or words said at just the right time […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Comfort

March 29, 2010

“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand-in-hand.”{Emily Kimbrough} Motherhood has shown me how little I know about much of anything. It started right away. I thought I would know exactly what to do {pffft}, but I second-guessed everything. So much of the time, this unknowledge loomed over me, past and present and future. I knew instantly that I desperately wanted control of everything and I had control of nothing. It was terrifying. To fiercely want to protect while feeling so helpless. Sometimes it feels like all I’ve done since we had our boys is stand in one place trying to figure things out. Thinking about how to do right by them or fix this or that while all the clashing thoughts bounce around my head and heart. Most often, by the time I work through the mess and come up the best possible response, […]

{ Comments on this entry are closed }