Thursday, October 08, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real} in a briefly quiet season

| a weekly capturing the contentment in everyday life |

We're easing ourselves into fall around here. After the busiest year (perhaps ever, for us) on top of an intense season of years before that, we've pressed pause on many things this fall. Brian's done with classes (thanks be to God!), I've moved to part-time hours, and we are not leading any small groups, currently. 

When we take this kind of pause, it reminds me of all the things that we shove out of our days when we're overscheduled: reading, reflecting, spending time with friends, eating meals, getting bored. Everyone needs to know what it feels like to be bored once in awhile, you know? When I'm bored I discover some of the truest things about myself and what I'm really expecting from this life.

Truthfully, what we've done is put ourselves on a "full" schedule instead of a "stuffed" schedule. I'm resisting the urge that creeps in (usually when I begin to feel the terrifying sense of boredom) to scheme up new plans. I'm re-reading old books (and journals -- see below!), reconnecting with friends, revisiting old dreams.

We're in a little quiet space before a series of life-changing celebrations that start next month. I keep ticking the list off to anyone who will listen because I can't quite wrap my brain around it:
November 14 - Brian's ordination as a Transitional Deacon in the Anglican church (transitional as a step toward ordained priest)
November 15 - Natalie's confirmation service with our Bishop
November 24 - we celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary
November 25 - we celebrate Thanksgiving
November 30 - we celebrate Alex's 22nd birthday
December 8 - we celebrate Natalie's 18th birthday
December 19 - we celebrate Rebekah's graduation from UNT
December 25 - we celebrate Christmas
January 2 - we celebrate Alex & Rebekah's wedding!
March 9 - we celebrate my 45th birthday
March 10 - we celebrate Kendra's 20th birthday
May 14 - we celebrate Alex's graduation from Rice University
May 29 - we celebrate Brian's ordination into the priesthood of the Anglican church
May 29 - (yes, we're already double-booked!) we celebrate Natalie's baccalaureate service
June 2 - we celebrate Natalie's graduation from McCallum High School
|epilogue: after the summer birthdays (Brian, Andrew, Amber) we send Natalie to college in August 2016, and Brian and I celebrate our Empty Nest.|
This is for real, it is not a drill. Life is happening in big ways, friends. And we're taking a few months here for quiet, to try not to forget all of the redemption stories that lead up to this moment even as we hope for many, many more.

In that spirit, here are a few photos of me practicing contentment this week:

| pretty |

pretty things in my house
I needed flowers for my table, and Brian delivered those purple beauties.  He also helped me hang the china plates I'd carried (ever so carefully!) home from my mother's house this summer.  The stack of green books was what I gathered quickly to participate in #31bookpics on Instagram.  Just fun.  And I adore green covers, don't you?  

| happy |

unexpected blessings

A sweet little love note my mother drew and prayed as blessing over us, and my friend Laura at an unexpected opportunity to have lunch together last week. Our girls are graduating soon and it was good to commiserate together.  

| funny |

love notes and eggs

Last week, Natalie had a "late start" day at school so we ended up leaving the house before she even got out of bed.  We left her this. If you're not a fan of FNL, you probably won't understand why this is funny.

| real|

re-reading redemption stories

I mentioned I was re-reading through old journals. I lost count of the number of times I'd find a little scribble or drawing or note from one of my kiddos -- just popping into the pages that collect my heart to say hello, I love you. I can't tell you the power of these little love notes have for me -- and old momma -- now.

This work of revisiting our family story is no joke.  And it's not the first time, but it might be the first time I've read with both eyes open in a spirit of gratitude and tenderness.  In the past I'd re-read some pages barely able to look at all of the angsty energy, all the seriously misplaced affections, all of the fears and resentments and shame and sadness and loneliness.  And, it's not that my current journals don't sound much the same, but I've been healed of so much, friends.  I can look back at those 40+ years of scribbles repeating to myself a prayer I scribbled in one of those books during the years I was reading everything the ragamuffin priest, Brennan Manning ever wrote:
"Jesus, You took the Widow of Nain's face in Your hands and whispered, 'Shhhh - I know.' You wiped the tears from her eyes with Your thumbs, and then said, 'Don't cry.' Jesus, You are the human face of God and at this moment - and every moment - [my family] is being seen with the same gaze of infinite tenderness. Because our hearts are enveloped in the tenderness of God, please allow us to pass that tenderness around indiscriminately, making no distinction between the worthy and unworthy."
Maybe this week, you'd like to pray those words along with me this week, friends?

Have YOU captured any contentment this week? 
 I'd love to hear about it!

| Join in at P,H,F,R to see other wonderful people practicing contentment. |

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