Friday, April 10, 2015

My silly peeps...

About 363 days a year, I don't get involved in what my kids choose to wear. I mean, I buy them clothes at the beginning of the season, or to replace pieces torn in the wear and tear of an active childhood, but I don't get involved with helping select how those pieces get combined after the tags come off. But twice a year I take control over clothing selection... for family portraits and Easter clothes.

So, here's a few snapshots... I think the silly one is going to make it onto a canvas on the wall!

The little things...

If you know me in real life, you know I enjoy a good cup of coffee. Anytime. Anywhere. I love how it smells. How it tastes. How it brings friends together to share their hearts and lives. And thanks to some amazing friends who taught my kids "The Sippy Cup Song" by Hullabaloo, impromptu outbursts of sing-alongs with a side of boisterous laughter. 

One problem I have found with my love of coffee in the last year or so, is that I have become a bit of a snob. Part of it is practical, if I am going to spend $5 for someone to make me a cup of coffee, I want it to taste good. Really good. Better than I can make in my own kitchen good. Well, after I stopped adding sugar to my coffee, and most anything else as well, I began to realize that I was not a fan of Starbucks anymore; it seemed that they relied too heavily on their sugary syrups to right the wrongs of their espresso. So, I stopped going. Pretty much cold turkey. It freaked out my kids, saved me a ton of money, and simplified trip navigation because I wasn't on the lookout for the green and white mermaid in the sky.

All was well. I even thought about adding a "Friends Don't Let Friends Drink Starbucks" bumper sticker to my car.

And then, Elliott was given some gift cards to Starbucks. I knew it had been a long time since we had been to a Starbucks because as I pulled in through the drive-through one day last week, one of the boys called to me saying, "Why are we here? I thought you didn't drink coffee here anymore." I lamely replied, "I don't, but we got a gift card." And the folks who gave E the gift cards were generous, they gave us three, so I started stopping by anytime I didn't take the time to make my own coffee.

I began wondering if I shouldn't have just saved the cards and given them as gifts. I found myself making unnecessary stops through the drive-thru just because I had this gift card with "free" money on it. Kind of like this morning, when I made Caleb leave the house twenty minutes before we needed to so I could swing through the drive-thru at Starbucks.

I may be dating myself here, but do you remember the old TV series, Cheers? I watched it every week. I loved the lyrics to the theme song, "Where everybody knows your name... And they're always glad you came..." The song is like a welcome call to anyone looking for community, obviously, a bar isn't the best place to seek out true Gospel community, but the point is still that there is this safe place to go and be yourself. And maybe, somewhere deep down, that's why I prefer shopping at local places instead of big box stores. Or, if I do shop at a big box store, I'll drive past one that is closer to where I am to get to "my" store, where the aisles are in the right place and the folks at the check-out look familiar.

All that to say, this morning, when I completely selfishly drove through the Starbucks drive-thru, I was surprised to be recognized by the barista. The young woman has served me coffee through that window for at least the last three years. She has seen me looking my best, my not-so-great, and my I-hope-I-don't-see-anyone-I-know worst. And, today, she asked me how I was, said she'd missed me and wondered where I had been, and noticed my new car. Then, she shared with me an update on her life, some amazing things that were happening, and I had an opportunity to encourage her and rejoice with her.

I was immediately thankful that I didn't have the snarky bumper sticker on my car. Then, I was humbled by this young woman, who probably serves coffee to a few hundred people a week, remembering me and chooses to share her life with me, even in a little way. And I was challenged, too. How can I do better in things like this? When my gift cards run out, I'll likely become a rarity at my local Starbucks again. But how can I go about finding a way to become a part of my community, in a Cheers sort of way, but for a much deeper purpose?

Quickly brainstorming, I think of the Farmer's Market I go to every Saturday morning... maybe I should wander more, visit all the booths, and not just pick up my veggies and dash out. Or my local (and amazing) gluten-free bakery... they already greet us by name, maybe we should invite them for dinner. I have a friend who grocery shops on the same day every other week, maybe being more intentional and predictable would foster more opportunities than my current, "Oh dear, the fridge and pantry are empty" shopping schedule. I am realizing more and more that true community is built on the little things.

How are you seeking out your community? Pray for me, if you think of it, that I would do better in pursuing my community, shining the light of Christ wherever I go.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Finding my feet again...

I almost feel like I don't really know how to do this anymore...
Send off my thoughts into the great open world wide web...
Just to get the words out...
To encourage, I hope...
Maybe even inspire a fellow woman bumping along on this journey of mothering...

So, I am tiptoeing back in to the blogosphere. I can't promise regularity. Or encouragement. Or inspiration. But I am going to attempt to be transparent about the ways the Lord is shaping my days and changing my heart; not in a "I finally have it all figured out" way, but in a "you are not alone, this is hard, but God is good" way.

I'll be honest, I do struggle knowing how transparent I can/should/will be, so if I am vague in an area, please believe that I am desiring to share my heart but don't have the freedom to speak into specific situations with all the gory details in such a public forum. It may be that a situation is churning in my life that hasn't been fully resolved, yet the process is worth documenting. It may mean that I have been encouraged by some conversations or events with one of my children, but that I don't have that child's permission to share openly with the world. I might share my own struggle about being a wife who honors her husband and sharing the cause of the struggle would not edify my husband, but the process of seeking to see my heart conformed to Christ's image deserves remembering because it's the sanctification that is important, not the catalyst. Other times, it simply might be too personal to share details on a blog, and I need to protect myself.

If you have ever read my blog, or if you find yourself taking a peek back in time, you will know that I have struggled on and off with the whole social media thing. I'm gonna give it a whirl. We may be having some big changes around here and having somewhere to "jot it all down" is appealing. Especially since I throw out paper journals after I fill in the last blank page. (I have a thing about looking at my own handwriting. I don't like to. But the process of writing is something I love.)

So, while this kind of feels like an un-post, I just wanted to share where I am coming from moving forward. I realize I could have started a new blog, leaving the past in the past, but I'll be honest, I'm not one of the world's best "namers", and I kind of hope that if you look back (or when I do), we'll see God's work woven into the tapestry of my days, weeks, months, trials, and successes.

I hope you will join me, as I find my feet again... Feel free to say "hello" sometime. And I've said it before, I'm available in person, too. And I make some really yummy coffee if you ever want to drop by.