Rainbow cloud.

Driving on the parkway yesterday, my son and I saw something we had never seen before. Even when we showed my dad the pictures, he said he had never seen anything like it either.

Not really sure what it was, we dubbed it “rainbow cloud.” Have you ever seen something like this? photo (2)

Goob excitedly grabbed the iPad mini to snap some photos and was thrilled that he managed to capture it before we left it behind. He looked at his photos proudly. He was, after all, the one who noticed this special cloud and drew my attention to it. Now he had a tangible memory forever.

Mommy, that’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

Children will make you abundantly aware of the beauty that surrounds you. So, listen to them.

We drove another block.

Mom, why does God do that? Why does he give us those kind of things? Is it to remind us he is there?

photo (1)And with those questions, this momma’s heart swelled. Because he’s thinking about God. He’s identifying His work and drawing conclusions on His own that everything–everything–is a gift from the One who created it all.

We dialogued. I told him how grateful I was that he pointed out rainbow cloud to me.

It’s moments like this I will cherish when one day he’s finding even more spectacular things than rainbow clouds in a world I hope he’ll get to explore.

As long as he promises to send me photos of them.

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Reflections.

Reflections as a daughter:

I remember one time I was painfully sick.  I do not remember the exact age; it was somewhere in my teens.  I went to bed and was awoken in the wee hours of the night by my mother crying into the phone to a friend that she’d give anything for her to be sick instead of me.  I know she does not know I overheard that.  But I’ve carried that love she had for me in that moment since.  Even through the hellish years that followed, I always clung to that moment that I knew the depths of a mother’s love for her child.

Reflections as a mother:

I am unable to describe the emotions that swept over me when my barely 8-week-old son had a 103.5 fever.  They said it was better for me to wait outside and not witness the tests they had to put him through.  Unable to fight under the weariness, I stepped outside but looked on through the slits of the blinds on the door as my baby screamed and internally I did as well while tears poured down pale cheeks.  The moment I went back to him I told him I’d never do that again–never leave him.  It didn’t matter what was best for me.  He needed me there to comfort him.  In that moment, I knew the pains my mother felt so many years before.  I would have given anything in that moment to trade places with him.

***

I wrote under an Instagram photo last night that daily I am humbled at the honor and privilege it is to be called a mommy.  It truly is a gift and, to me, a calling.

I’ve often wondered why I’ve never felt a passion for anything.  Through college, I just wafted not really knowing who or what I wanted to be.  Even post-college, I somewhat aimlessly went from job to job never feeling a sense of…completion.

And I think I finally know why.

It’s because the only thing that feels right, that feels natural…is being mommy.

I think so often in my life a sense of un-fulfillment happens when I’m asked about returning to school or some other career-type question.  There is this natural sense in today’s world to work for more and to want it.  We want parents, especially moms, to be involved but then we make them feel guilty if “all they want” is to be at home with their babes.

I have the best of both worlds with a part-time job that gives back to the community and honors kingdom work, but the truth is the best part of my weeks are when I’m taking care of my home and getting afternoons to be with my boy.

Now don’t read too much into this and think, “She’s just perfect!”  As much as I write about the calling of motherhood, you’ll notice I don’t say much about being a wife or even how the calling translates into tangible evidence of such.

Because it’s hard.  Because I downright complain about it more often than not.  Because Lord knows this momma loves to just lay on the couch.

Too many dishes.  Never-ending loads of laundry.  I need more milk.  Where is my baseball uniform.

The chores are endless.  The questions are endless.  And third-grade homework and book reports may be what God uses to call me home.

And yet, it’s in those places, in those moments, in those tasks where I feel most at home.

At least that’s what came out of my mouth yesterday.  I had told myself I would do absolutely no work on Mother’s Day.  No dishes to be washed; no beds to be made.  Yeah, that lasted about two hours.

My happy place is in clean sinks and rooms that are fixed up.  So I did those things.  I reorganized two closets.  I dusted our study.

And when just this past week I lamented about the plight of having to do dishes, when my husband asked me yesterday, “Why are you washing dishes on Mother’s Day?” without hesitation I answered, “Because I like to.”

There’s the truth.

Because the lies are easy to come out when you’re tired and overwhelmed.  When you’ve had a bad day and standing at the sink scrubbing yet another pot makes you feel under appreciated.

It may not be fancy.  It doesn’t pay (at least financially).  But it’s the most beautiful job there is to care and nurture a home that when people come in they can just breathe.

I so admire my many family and friends who are doing great things with their education and careers.  And I love that about mommyhood–we make the choices that are best for our families.

But for me to understand that being content with where I am and what I have in this moment without feeling pressure or guilt is monumental.  And I hope that I can keep this momentum in coming weeks that turn into months that turn into years when inevitably it will get hard again and doubt will creep in about what I am supposed to do and who I am supposed to be.

***

481001_10151377124332187_1980887799_nI had a wonderful Mother’s Day yesterday.  The boys left early to church and I awoke to a card.  Inside was such a special surprise and I’ll share about that next week!  What I can say about the gift is that it showed me how much my husband listens to me.  And that’s why I burst into tears as I saw the gift and read beautiful words.

I remained weepy all morning.  We live in a time where it is so hard to just throw out a blanket “Happy Mother’s Day!” out.  There are so many levels and emotions mixed up into the day.  So much hurt and you want to acknowledge that and be sensitive to it while also celebrate those who have been greatest the gift in the world.

With that, I thanked God throughout the day for the gift.  I want to be intentional about remaining grateful for it, even on the hard days.  I can be rough but I trust that when I ask God to change me, He will.

For any mommies reading, I hope you had a wonderful day.  But I also hope you celebrate every day the wonderful job you’ve been given.

It’s not for the faint of heart.

But it is always, always worth it.

On a side note, we ended the night with baby boy having an asthma flare up and waking up this morning even worse.  He’s home with me now.  You’ll remember the last time this happened was on my birthday.

Ah, at least he’s consistent in stealing mommy’s thunder. 😉

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Celebrating the one who gave me life and the one who gave me reason to live it well.
Mother’s Day 2013

I’m linking up with::

BetterMondaysLinkup

One date can pack a whole lotta punch.

May 1.

It’s a loaded date around these parts.

And by “these parts,” I mean mainly in my head.  And my heart.

As much as I share on social media (and I’m refraining a lot nowadays, trust me), I’m not the type to lament a “bad morning” or the like.  Truth is, I recognize how blessed I am and how even my minor “trials” pale in comparison to the sadness so many other people wake up to in this world daily.  No, I try not to complain.

Except when I post about neighbors who like to do the deed at 1:30 in the morning.  Or 4:30.  You know, it’s cool.

But I think by posting that kind of stuff got people praying, ’cause it’s been awhile since their passions have awoken me.  Hallelu.

But I digress.

It was a rough morning.  It was a rough night last night.  I could feel all my roughness come out of my poor son.  He felt the rough.  I couldn’t place my finger on my out-of-control emotions last night that had been so well contained for many months now.  It clicked this morning.

Roughness that caused my son to enter his school and come running out screaming, Mom! Mom! as I drove away and turned the corner at which point another mother grabbed him to stop him from running into the street.

Are you kidding me!?

He had left a project in my car.  He knew what he had done was very wrong (running out of the school without telling anyone once he had entered the premises).  And he collapsed under the weight of a lot of pressure he felt from the roughness of long nights and busy days ahead.

But still.  Running down the block!?  What was he thinking? 🙂

But I digress again.

***

May 1 was the day hubby and I started dating.  For the most part, it’s a good thing.  What makes it hard is being where we are now, it’s hard to look back on those days fondly.  Our relationship was so sinful; being heathens isn’t even a strong enough word to describe how we were and the things we did.  And something I try to shield myself from admitting is part of that truth–I was still dating another person when hubbyand I made it official.  In my heart it was over with that guy.  But that argument wouldn’t hold up in court, I’m sure.

See?  So wicked.  Not caring about anyone but myself.

I love seeing how far we’ve come.  God took something that was “bad” and turned into something beautiful.  Not perfect, a lot of times not even good as we fall and bend and make mistakes.  But beautiful.  We love and serve the Lord together.  We are raising a child to love the Lord we love.  It’s hard, but always beautiful.

656_41259772186_5631_nApril 7, 2001.  The moment we met.  How many couples can say they have documentation of that?  Pretty cool. 🙂

***

Four years ago, May 1 was the day I miscarried.  Or had an ectopic pregnancy.  Adding to the hurt was that it wasn’t clear which it was, which for some reason made me all the more upset.  Like I did not have a clear answer as to what went wrong.  All I know is I was left broken over a life I only got to “feel” for a couple of weeks.

It technically began to happen on April 30.  But we were in the hospital until the early dawn of May 1 and being a significant date in our history, it’s the one I’ve attached to this event.  May 1 used to hold more value in my eyes than even our marriage date (for personal reasons, for now).  I knew that was never how it should have been, but it was and when this happened it felt like any happiness I could possibly feel with hubby was taken away.  All the important “dates” were marred and I grew bitter.

It’s hard to grieve a miscarriage (It’s just easier to refer to it as such even though it’s not certain that’s what I had.) because I know women have gone through so much worse.  I also know that I have a happy and healthy child and so many women could only wish to have that one.  But I still need to acknowledge the date for my own healing.  As an advocate for pro-life choices, my beliefs are life begins at conception.  Therefore, even though that life never saw this side of heaven, it’s a life still to be celebrated and cherished.  I think often a the three-year-old I “should” have had by now.  I imagine how life would have changed and envision what it would like like now and would feel like for Goob to have a little brother or sister.  Once upon a time, I dwelled on these things to a point where I grew resentful and became angry with God.  Now, they are fleeting thoughts and I am grateful that through this trial, God allowed me to only grow closer to Him.  With the exception of this date and perhaps the baby’s due date, I can look back at the year with only fond memories.  It’s the year we decided to buy our own home.  It’s the year I got to take my husband and son to meet my family in a country I adore.  For those things, I am forever grateful for 2009.  It all happened exactly as it was supposed to.  I couldn’t see that then.  I cherish that notion now.

5689_104489177186_8002927_n (1)February 17, 2009. Special memories for special reasons.

***

On, May 1, 2011, one of Christofer’s main teachers passed away unexpectedly.  I’ll never forget that day.

Hubby and I have always tried to “recognize” May 1 regardless of the circumstances surrounding our beginning.  It was the day that started what we are now, and it’s okay to tip our hats to it once a year in acknowledgement.  For that special “ten year dating anniversary,” honey went all out.  We went to see Catch Me If You Can on Broadway and were supposed to follow that up with an amazing dinner at a Cuban restaurant on the same block.

Except on the way there, I began getting text after text about Mrs. Edwards being rushed to the  hospital and being in poor shape.  The texts flew and as the hours passed, the prognosis looked grim.

Oh, the irony of sitting in a comedic show trying to enjoy something your poor husband spent a lot of money on while checking your phone every two minutes.  By the time the show ended, I asked hubby if he would mind skipping the meal.  I knew I would not enjoy it and would feel horrible if I did not get to the hospital to see her.

I never made it.  Just a few stops short of our home on the LIRR I received the dreaded text that Mrs. Edwards passed away.

I wailed.

I cried for her children now without an earthly mother.  I cried for her husband.  I cried for her students who would face Monday and the rest of the year without her.  I cried because I would not have my talking buddy in the morning.

It was the first time as a Christian that I lost a Christian friend and felt the weight of it.

I don’t count this as a positive at all, for I’d give anything for Mrs. Edwards to still be with us today, but because of her the blog title “A Life Well Done” was born.  One consistent theme you heard woven in the stories people spoke of her was when she went to heaven God most certainly would have said to her, Well done good and faith servant. Mrs. Edwards had a servant’s heart.  She was kind and a motherly figure to her students.  You could feel her loving you through her words and warm embraces.  She was a mama bear for sure, but more importantly she was a Godly woman I aspire to be and I wanted to live the life she did.  One that was well done.

I miss her still.

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***

It was last year or the year before, I can’t remember, that I poured my heart out into a couple of blog posts that detailed some of these experiences.  They got deleted, ugh.  The emotion was raw and even though I was very upset, they served their purpose.  Once I released those emotions into the open, I could move on.

So here I am, trying on another May 1 to release.  To share.  To let you know that whatever dates you have that don’t conjure those nice warm fuzzy feeling we WANT To feel–

You will heal.

We have a Heavenly Father who sees our hurts and a Savior who can very well sympathize.  When I call out to Him, it doesn’t mean those emotions go away all at once.  But I begin to heal.  I begin to look past my circumstances and open my eyes to what I DO have.  I learn to be grateful.  I look to the cross.  I remain grateful and humbled of the gospel and what it means in my life.

And if God took EVERYTHING away, that would be okay.  Because I would have Him.

I don’t need “dates.”  I don’t need a baby.  I don’t need Mrs. Edwards.

I like those things.  I love those things.

But I need HIM.

And while May 1 may always be rough, I’m learning to see the beauty in the day.

I look ahead.

Knowing that the time is fast approaching when only good days will come.

When I’m worshiping my King.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

~Psalm 23:4 ESV

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust,
O Lord, from my youth.
~Psalm 71:5 ESV

Let your steadfast love comfort me according
to your promise to your servant.
~Psalm 119:76 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
~2 Corinthians 1:3-4

And so many more.

Be comforted today, friends.

Be brave.  Share your stories.

Let’s help one another get through these days, shall we?

With lots of love,
Lis.