Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sing so everybody can hear...

I stood at the sink and looked up from the dishes. Out the window I could see her in the garden, pen and paper in hand writing down the stories in her head. Seeing her out there, sitting under the arch, pushed on something inside of me. It made me feel happy and free. I ran outside and snapped a picture.

As I walked back to the house I pondered why it had struck me so deeply. It dawned on me that she was reminding me of myself. Pictures of me propped up in a tree reading and writing came to mind. It brought back those carefree feelings of being a third grader. When I was in third grade I wanted to be either an artist or a writer, the same professions my daughter aspires to be. My parents even signed me up for a writing class when I was nine and I can still remember sitting at a desk in the dusty attic typing stories on the typewriter, imagining my name in print on my very own book. 

But time has a way of stealing some of those aspirations away. And seeing her there in the garden, young and free, reminded me of who I was called to be. She awakened longings in my heart. She made me want to climb a tree and write or create some art. She reminded me of the importance of doing those things that make my heart feel alive.

Days later I found this poem sitting on her desk, challenging me again to write and create. 
Thanks Sarah for being who you are!

Sing So Everybody Can Hear, by Sarah Buckwalter

What is that sound, so peaceful, quiet and soft.
Whatever that is, don't stop playing,
That's the sound of music.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

choose adventure.

"An adventurous life does not necessarily mean climbing mountains, swimming with sharks or jumping off cliffs. It means risking yourself by leaving a little piece of you behind in all those you meet along the way."


I woke up to the noise of pots and pans clanging from downstairs in the kitchen. I rolled over to see my husband laying beside me. It dawned on me then that it was mother's day and the kids were probably downstairs unattended making me breakfast. This could be interesting. Mark and I laid in bed talking for a few more minutes before I ventured downstairs to check on the progress. The menu was eggs, bacon and homemade donuts, a very ambitious menu to say the least. They were mixing up some gooey looking batter for the donuts, a recipe they had found online that not even I would tackle.  In that moment I had a choice. I could choose to freak out over a messy kitchen or embrace the chaos and the adventure of my children making me mother's day breakfast. We did end up of vetoing the donuts and Mark helped them finish the eggs and bacon but I was blessed with the breakfast they made me, mess and all.

As I was helping to clean up my mother's day feast we were talking about what we should do that day. The weather forecast was warm and sunny, a glorious day.  Out of the blue Mark suggested a spontaneous beach trip to Ocean City, New Jersey. My heart leaped at the idea. That would be fun. I love the beach! But then my practical mom mode kicked in and I started to calculate the amount of work, money and time it would cost me to do this day trip. The voices inside my head were at war with each other, the adventurous Heather versus the practical responsible mother. I was able to push past my head to my heart and choose adventure and had one of the best mother's day ever. It was seriously a great day with those that I love.

I am recognizing one of my biggest hurdles to choosing adventure is counting the cost. I too often stop and calculate how much work, how much money or how tiring something will be and then talk myself out of it. This is a joy stealer and an adventure killer. Yes, I am a mother of five and yes going anywhere requires a lot in this season but was the trip worth the mounds of sandy towels and bathing suits and clean up I had to do the next day? I would say yes! It was worth it for the look on Eden's face of pure delight as she ate an icecream cone on the boardwalk. It was worth it watching the boys dig up and count thirty sand crabs and seeing Sarah and Hope come to life in the ocean (the very frigid and cold ocean). It was worth it to drive three hours with the man I love listening to music, holding hands and talking about life. It was worth it to put my feet in the sand, sit overlooking the vast ocean and inhale deep breathes. It was worth the time, the energy and the money. It was worth it for the pictures and memories and moments spent together.

Not counting the cost is something I want to get better at because adventure is not just a spontaneous beach trip. I tend to think of adventure as traveling or doing something crazy. But in this season of life adventure might look different than traveling the world. Adventure might be letting the kids try that hard sounding donut recipe, embracing the mess and chaos in the kitchen (this is harder than it sounds). Adventure is going to that class at the gym that pushes me out of my comfort zone every.single.time and still going back because the feeling at the end is awesome (minus the couple of times I cried).  Adventure is letting the kids build a fort in the backyard however hill billy it might look. Adventure is getting on the back of the motorcycle again even though I am scared to death. Adventure is striking up that conversation with a stranger at the gym. Adventure is doing something new not knowing if I am going to fail or not.

I want more adventure in my life. 

Writing this is scary because I know I will be challenged on it. That's the way it goes. 
Saying yes to the adventure will be saying yes to the mess and chaos and letting go of what it will cost me (my time, my pride, my money, my ideals). But I know adventure is worth it. 

"Life is either a daring adventure of nothing at all."
~Helen Keller

"Adventure may hurt you but monotony will kill you"

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnt' do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
 Explore. Dream. Discover." 
~Mark Twain

Monday, May 5, 2014

best sisters.

these two. they make my heart happy. i love watching them be sisters and friends or as hopey calls them "best sisters forever".

"A sister is a forever friend".

the day i confronted my fear.

When the Lord puts his finger on something in my life it starts surfacing everywhere...on the radio, in a book, through my children and even on a date night.
Mark and I had planned a much needed date night last Saturday. I was looking forward to getting a break from the children and spending some alone time with my man. So when he got out his motorcycle Saturday morning and started cleaning it I was confused. The truth is I have posed smiling on the bike for a photo shoot and have ridden once around the block in the almost six years he has owned it. I have always had some good excuse while I could not ride, like "I'm pregnant" or "we don't have a sitter" but truth be told I was terrified of the thing.
So when Mark told me that he wanted to go for a ride as part of a date I did what any one who has been wrestling with fear does. Recognize it as God's method of dealing with fear in my life? No! I threw a temper tantrum that would have made a two year old jealous. 
"I am not riding and you cannot make me" foot stomp and tears to emphasize my point.
Mark gently reminded me that my children were watching me.

I didn't care. I knew I was being irrational and I knew God had been confronting fear at every turn. I even wanted to ride just get over my fear but yet it felt easier to just watch from the sidelines rather than get on the bike and ride.
After some time to think it over and some encouragement from my friend Amber whose husband also has a triumph motorcycle and was going to ride with us, I decided to go for it.

As the time for our ride got closer I had butterflies in my stomach as if I was getting ready to go on a first date! We met up with Tyler and Amber and set off for a ride through the country. When I let go of the fear of dying and falling right off the back of the bike I started to relax a little and enjoy the view. I was still afraid of turning my head too far for fear of throwing something off but it was a different way of looking at the landscape than I was accustomed to and I was on an adventure outside of my comfort zone. It was strangely freeing.

There were times on the ride like when we we briefly rode on the highway and riding home in the dark where I literally needed to confront my fears out loud by screaming "Jesus" and singing "you make me brave"loudly into my helmet to drown out the clatter of my thoughts. But as I stopped focusing on the fear I could actually enjoy the ride I was on. (I am sure there is a ton of parallels to life in that sentence).

I did it and I am proud of myself. I confronted my fear. I tried something new. And I may even ride again. 

"You make me brave. You call me out beyond the shore into the waves. You make me brave. No fear can hinder now the love that made a way.

-Bethel Music
"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway."
-John Wayne