Friday, July 25, 2014

A Lesson in Patience and Perspective

20 hours ago we were packing ice chests by candles light because this time yesterday a sudden, angry, lake-sloshing storm blew pine trees into power lines.  I love East Texas thunderstorms... in different circumstances.

The storm rolled in while my parents were buying 2+ days worth of groceries for the 16 guests coming to the cabin tomorrow.  I must say, Mom and Dad made an impression on me when they returned soaked, scared and laden with a chunk of the small-town store's refrigerated section.

Dad calmly waited for the storm to calm then drove back for ice and chests to fill.  We ate peanut butter for dinner in the dark and Mom did not act stressed or worried.  With money on the line, hungry guests coming, a soon-to-be out-of-stock market, a hospitality bug like my mom's, and no idea when power would return, an average person might become a dramatic frazzled frenzied complainer listing off every inconvenience that she so temporarily faced.  But they didn't.  And their reaction made an impact on their adult daughter.  I admire my parents' impenetrable patience and adaptability.

Electricity was on by morning.  At 6am they stocked the fridge.  Life is easier when we don't make it so hard.

I should practice voicing movie trailers for my personal dramas to measure how terrible they really aren't.

Intense voice for typical action flick, "In the face of massive inconvenience... bum bum bum... Heather rushes to finish the dishes before the baby wakes up!  Her back is turned.  Will her son drop another toy down the heater vent?  Will he need her help opening the Cars 2 box?  Will her husband come home before she seasons the chicken or brushes her hair?  Find out in a theater near you!

Friday, July 4, 2014

No son, we are not gypsies.

This summer resembles last summer in that we move nearly weekly, but this season we are not family member hopping- we are church member hopping.  Christopher's 10-week internship just happens to be 30 miles from our last military duty station where we have many friends.

After spending 3 weeks alone with a toddler and a newborn, I was delighted to join Christopher even if it was in the house of two benevolent bachelor brothers where we and Linus shared two twin mattresses of different heights pushed together on the basement floor.  It is good to be together. Let me also mention that one of the three furniture pieces in this house is a baby grand piano. I enjoyed that baby.

Not all of our posts are so parasitic- two are house and dog sitting jobs.  Since that grand basement stay, we have moved thrice and before summers end, we will move three times more. Our fam of four will have stayed in a basement, an attic, two master bedrooms, and yes, bunk beds!

The purpose of this crazy summer may not be merely to make me laugh or make our family more flexible; it may be to grow our faith.  While craigslist sublet searches yielded only "no," $$, "unfurnished" and scams, I felt a persistent peace assuring me of God's provision.  I was persuaded and so I did not waste minutes of months worrying over the mystery of our living situation. Three weeks into the summer a seamless lineup of opportunities presented themselves. We are grateful to all of our friends here who have made this unsettled time for us a little less unstable. If you're reading this, thank you.

A Big Loudbright in the Sky

From the front yard of our house of the week, we sense the local event flickering just under the horizon.  Surrounded by rising fireflies below a clear sky that seldom looks so dome-like, I stand with my 4-mo-old on my hip.  Nearby block parties smell as loud as they sound and I hope a firework rises between these tall trees.

Boom! Popopopttttttpop!  My daughter whirls unsteady to face me. Her empty little memory box has no place for this sensation. She is asking with her wide eyes, "Mom, should I be afraid?"  I offer reassurance with a smile and squeeze.  "Oh okay then."  Joy turns back to the sky happy. 

Introducing little people to fireworks is one of the many little jobs of motherhood.  Happy.

Check out this Throw back to July 4, 2008 post

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wend with Me

You'll find that I am pretty open.  I am not here to impress you.  I like to say what you hope those sprucy subtle women are thinking because I type what I journal and I journal what I feel.  God did not make us to pretend, to compare, to hide or to wish.  He made us to be loved and known and to become.  I hope words here stir and strengthen you along the way.

I've heard that the most direct route from Point A to Point B is often a zigzag line.  If Point B is perfection, don't expect to arrive in this life.  I don't expect you to.
Wend- to go in a specified direction, typicaly slowly or by an indirect route. 
We do not "wander" aimlessly; we "wend" with purpose, pausing often to wade in the wonders of our Guide.  So whether you're a bride or a maiden, a mother or a mentor, steady or whimsical, rest here.  Wend with me on this wondrous winding way.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Who's Heather Paige?

A friend once said, "I didn't know you were a deep thinker; I always thought you were crazy."  

Indeed, I am awfully introspective to be so extroverted.  I write more by default than by nature.  See, there are visual learners, audio learners, kinesthetic learners... I am among the annoying few who learn by talking.  I realized at a young age that people didn't want to listen to me quite as much as I needed to talk, so I took up journaling as a means of processing my thoughts.  I have probably filled 100 journals in the past decade (I am 28). It's an addiction.
Sometimes I don't bother thinking when I don't have paper.  
Sometimes I hide under the sheets at night and type memos on my phone.  
Sometimes, when song lyrics strike me, I pull over the car and journal.  
Journal is a verb, did you know?  Much of what I relate here springs from my journals.

This blog has had many faces since 2007.  In my jitterbuggin', rock climbin', trail ridin' college days, I wrote primarily about travel and faith.  Then my baby ate my blog then my beloved job ate my blog then our transition to family-in-grad school life ate my blogging time.  Now, one state, another baby and two drastic haircuts later, I type up untethered observations on life from the perspective of a Christian married motherly frugal contemplative adventurous woman.

Our family of one large sporty nerd, a stay-at-home mom and two little loud people lives on the splendiferous income of a full time student, eating half-portions of meat, strutting second-hand garb, and savouring the small things, sprawled across a 130-year-old 650 sq ft walkup.  In accordance with our married life so far, we have no idea what comes next on life's itinerary, but we trust the Trip Planner.

When I married Christopher, He looked like this

Soon after finishing his 9 years of military service, he looked more like this

And halfway through graduate school, he looks a bit shabbier than this 

I love this curious, hilarious, hardworking, steadfast man.  As a young woman, I prayed that God would help me honor my future husband, so He gave me an honorable man.  For him and for our two kiddos, I am very thankful.  

In this blog, I will refer to our son (formerly Blue Eyes) as Linus.  My siblings named him Linus van Pelt in utero because he resembled a peanut... peanuts gang.  Yes, well I had quite forgotten that we had called him that until his little personality started to develop and I discovered that (apart from the iconic security blanket) this kid shares many traits with Schulz's famous character.  Both boys are analytical, cognitive, imaginative, and very nurturing guys- typical INFJs.  

My daughter, I will call Joy.  Joy is her middle name and she is afterall quite joyful.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

However long & hard I strive, I will never arrive.

I listen to podcasts almost daily while I do chores or drive.  Sometimes, I have to pause, dry my hands, and take notes.  But lately, with blogger Edie Wadsworth's new "Grace Talks," my notes turn into full on self-evaluation sessions.

In Edie's "The Life You Love Manifesto," she describes our Life of Faith as a life of receiving, not of doing.  She lingers on the point that "we bring nothing to the table except sin and despair" and every good thing at the table is from God.  I look back on each guilt-generating seminar and self-help book that I have raved, craved, and prayed over and am finally comforted.  Truth that I already knew rings truer.  Peace sweeps over me.  God brings grace; grace leads us to hope because it grants righteousness.  On my own, I am not righteous.  Nothing I could ever do will ever change my status- neither of my two statuses:

1) I am totally bad.
2) He makes me totally good.

Edie shares her personal experience (I hang on the wise words of older godly women) of trying trying trying for years and years to get it right, stuck in the endless cycle of spent energy and guilt.  I am so there, my friends.  I have created and renovated self-improvement lists, habit-breaking strategies, and personal schedules for which there is not enough time in the day.  No matter how long and hard I try, I will never arrive.  The more likely scenario is that I will spend another decade striving, failing, and guilt-ridden, possibly bound for the stress that beautiful and redeemed writer Ann Voskamp once felt when she wrote,
“I wake to... the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing. Always, the failing. I yell at children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain, go to bed too late, neglect cleaning the toilets. I live tired. Afraid. Anxious. Weary. Years, I feel it in the veins, the pulsing of ruptured hopes. Would I ever be enough, find enough, do enough?"  
We can spend our lives on earth lamenting that we cannot reach godliness not realizing that, when we see Him in heaven, we will more so lament not having fully experienced the freedom and rest that He offered while we were still on earth.  Oswald Chambers so beautifully describes the "delight of despair" you will feel at the moment when you fall prostrate, as John did in Revelation 1:17-18, and Jesus touches your shoulder,
"You know it is not the hand of restraint, correction, nor chastisement, but the right hand of the Everlasting Father... it is an ineffable peace... full of sustaining comfort and strength.  Once His touch comes, nothing at all can throw you into fear again."  
In this mortal life, we should not expect to continually feel the utter fullness of His patient love- for we cannot remove ourselves from the context of our earthly circumstances and daily conditions constrained by our mortal needs and faults, surrounded by the devastating faults of others, and filled with sympathy or sorrow (Bernard of Clairvaux). But, when we see Him, we will be given understanding.  We can delight here and now in believing that moment will come.  I choose to fall into that happy rest that he offers now.  I will put forth effort, but I will not put my hope in that effort.  I will never "arrive" or be "enough," but He is enough and His grace is sufficient for me.