Watching cute Marie Kondo on Netflix or Youtube organize and get excited about clutter is enough for most of us to start sorting and asking, “Does this spark joy? Do I want to take this into my future?” While I don’t tri-fold my socks, I have modifying a lot of her tips.
Last weekend Dave hung our chandelier from Paris up in our breakfast nook. Seeing it hang there brings me back to our apartment on rue du Rendez-Vous. It hung against a deep turquoise wall and above our lacquered dining table. Out the big balcony windows we could see and hear the busy commèrcante street. We now see palm trees and dog walkers out our Floridian window but there’s still an elegance to the chandelier that I scored as a street find. Continue reading
We are on the move a fair bit as a family on mission. This summer, we are visiting our ministry partners in the Midwest. The last time we did this, was four years ago and we had a three year old and a one year old. Now, we have four kids: 6, 5 & 3 years old and 5 months old. Here are a few of our best practices as we travel and set up “home” in six different houses. Continue reading
I crabbed at my kids all day today, Lexie had a tantrum before she even got on the bus and Chloe asked, “Papa, what doing?” as he taped another box together. We are in the thick of transition, and it isn’t always pretty. Continue reading
This is the best I’ve felt after having a baby and I want to share a few things that have really helped:
Having a labor coach. I had a wonderful friend who coached me during labor and helped make it a peaceful, redeeming birth. Having a good birth, was a great start to post-partum.
Advice from a lactation consultant. Theo is my fourth baby I’ve nursed and I didn’t think I needed help in the breast feeding department, so I turned the lactation consultant down at the hospital (or I tried to). Continue reading
What did Mary feel as she set out to Bethlehem on a donkey; what was going through her mind? Did she trust Joseph to take the fastest route, be the best labor coach and stick a special encouragement note in her labor bag to read right before the transition stage of labor? If the Bible read more like the popular “Birth Partner” book maybe we’d get an answer or two of this nature but instead we get a deeper glimpse into her heart of what sustained her through that long, difficult journey and unexpected place she gave birth. Continue reading
We have been living in Orlando for two months now, yet each week there are still plenty of “firsts” to experience. For some reason, this week seemed to have a lot of them. It started Tuesday by shopping for the first time at a wholesale store (think Costco or Sam’s Club). Is that shocking? I’m 37 years old, have a family of five and never bought a twelve pack of Annie’s mac n cheese? Well I have now.
“Oh, so you’re an evacuee…” As those words sunk into my head and soul a lot of things started to make sense. The anxiety, the feeling of being displaced, the poor sleep and the 14.5 hours logged in the car. Uh, that’s why I feel this way. Continue reading
Seventeen days ago we made the 10 hour direct flight from Paris to Orlando. Our kids did great and the low-cost airline Norwegian was actually a positive experience. (No, they don’t provide water, so we brought 8 liters, just in case.) Since then my adjustment to American culture has been a bit… um, rough. Continue reading
Seeing others in need gives me a desire to rise above myself, my “day” and my issues and help. I like being apart of a community where this is true. I’ve been on the receiving end of a of help this past year between loosing Anna Louise and now moving. A very special band of women have helped carry me through, and I am deeply moved by their open and loving arms.
Our extended family has also rallied around us during this move to get all the essentials (and then some!) for our future apartment in Orlando. My mom took joy in purging her kitchen and packing “everything I would need” to cook and serve. My mother and father in-law are making sure we have sheets, laundry hampers and everything else in-between and are meeting us in Florida to help us settle in. Really?! What a gift. I’ve moved in and out of 5 apartments in the past 14 years and only once was I (we) close to family for it. This is move #6 and I’m just overwhelmed by what it feels like to have family by our side.
We aren’t the only ones moving- there will be 15 families and a handful of singles who are relocating for a year. My hope is that we can be blessing to the other folks who are moving and not just be on the receiving end. But it will be tempting to let jet lag, administrative details, nesting and life in a new city crowd me into thinking I don’t have time to reach out to those around me. Drop off fixings for sandwiches, invite folks for frozen pizza, explain what I’ve learned about vaccinations or be the first to be vulnerable and honestly answer the question, “how are you?” I can do that. I want to do that.
You know, as I think about it, my own kids could benefit from that sort of simple presence and service during this great time of transition. Yesterday it was boiling hot and the kids wanted me to play doctor with them. I told myself, “they are playing well together, they don’t need me.” But they lured me in with, “you lay here mama and we will check you.” They proceeded to spray me with water, give me fake shots and check my blood pressure. We giggled, I stayed cool and I noticed things about their personalities that I hadn’t see before. I liked that.
You know one reason I haven’t wanted to stop is because then I have to look at and acknowledge the crazy waves of emotions surging through my heart and soul. Stopping is scary. I feel vulnerable and not in control. I’m going to miss this place and it hurts to leave. I’ll miss my dear sweet friends, the walking, living in a rich and gorgeous city like Paris, and I’ll miss being close to where the memories that have been so dear to me from the last decade and a half were made.
There are a lot of unsettled questions that I hope the Lord will help me sort through this next year but I’ll be required to stop to hear Him. Well, He could yell it through a bullhorn or write it in the sky but I’m hoping I’ve matured past that. Ha ha. Nervous laugh. But one think that I think will help me slow down is looking to the needs of others instead of mine. Lord, help our family see and respond to the needs You want us to respond to today, this week, this next month, this year.
What are meaningful ways people have served you when you’ve been in need? What are ways you make yourself stop/slow down?