Well. We are one week and two days into summer vacation. My family has survived the insanity of Vacation Bible School at our local church last week. Its a 300 kid, 200 worker fest of crazy fun for five nights in a row the week after school gets out. This means that we take the end of school year push and double down.
As a direct result, my car looks a lot like a goodwill donation bin. Clothing changes and wadded up end of year school projects and fast food bags and inexplicably one Minnie Mouse pink sandle have taken up permanent residence. And that’s just the front seat. My if “I had a million dollars drop from the sky” dream is a self cleaning car. Or a budget to hire a butler to stand in my garage awaiting my return home to remind me to TAKE THE CRUD IN THE HOUSE! Probably I could program alarms on my phone and I could have Siri tell me to clean up. But let’s be honest. I’d ignore her. Or be out of phone battery.
I like to create new things. Its fun. I like to paint and write and think of new projects. Cleaning out my car is…..wait for it…..summer kid word…..boring. Its boring right up until its a massive crisis and then its sorta fun. Like a treasure hunt. I also get great satisfaction in taking it from complete mess to clean. But the daily taking my junk into the house and putting it away does not hit my radar. No adventure in that.
My ten-year-old has been taking piano since she was two. Seriously. We were those parents. My theory was that early piano led to good brain development and impressive reading and math skills. I did not factor in the misery of piano practice. While the big sister does in fact read like a speed train we have decided to let little sister wait until she’s five to start piano. It may also be the second child factor. Really its that I can’t hack dealing with two sessions of piano practice a day.
Another piano parent friend of ours told me that he makes his kids take piano just to learn how to tunnel through the drudgery of practice. It builds character. I love the word drudgery. Piano is fun AFTER you pracitice. When you know the songs and you can play to relax and think and entertain and worship. Drilling through scales not so much. But I think my friend may be right. It builds character. And those drills are what lead to the beauty. Or the adventure.
Clearly I need more practice.
I just finished reading a huge hearted, grace filled, crazy fun kind of book called Love Does by Bob Goff.
Bob’s day job is being an attorney chasing down faulty construction companies. His heart work is chasing down bad guys who traffic and abuse children in Uganda. His hobbies include sailing, skateboarding, sitting on Tom Sawyer’s Island in Disneyland and dating his wife. He also happens to love Jesus. I like this guy.
My husband and I spent the morning drinking coffee, eating Dutch pancakes and putting together a roof rack so we can properly adventure up and haul stuff this summer. At one point in our marriage we did not assemble things together well. We have had lots of practice since with IKEA furniture and we can generally handle assembly without fighting.
The instructions today had some life advice.
I smiled and thought how much better events go with a friend. And especially when I remember to treat my spouse as my friend in the building process.
My favorite quote in the Love Does book was about how pushing back on the dark works best in conjunction with friendship.
Organizations have programs. People have friends. Friends trump programs every time.
I like giving to a good non-profit or cheering on an underdog. But I will work to exhaustion and give sacrificially for a friend. I bet you do as well.
The key to really making a difference in the world is to make the underdogs your friends. It’s getting to know the people at the non-profit personally. It’s having fun in the process, getting dirty, dancing crazy and loving in action.
You know that idea you have? The one that won’t go away? The one that scares you? The one where you see you helping someone up or stopping a bully or hugging a hungry baby?
Can I be your friend in that? Go for it. Love does.
My three year old is taking swimming lessons at the local YMCA. I love this pool. All kinds of people. All levels of skill. The past two Saturday mornings I’ve hauled out of bed earlier than I like on Saturdays and my girls and I have gone down to the Y.
The little one is learning how to blow bubbles in the water and alligator crawl across the pool. She’s holding onto floating barbells and kicking on the side of the pool. She keeps giving strange looks to the one little boy who is crying on the sideline. The little miss is easy to read. Hope his parents aren’t watching. She’s not subtle.
Her big sister is swimming laps over in the lap pool. She had to take a test to qualify to swim in the deep water. She was nervous. She passed. Down and back. Kick. Straight. Down and back.
This week I sat on the sideline in one of those plastic stackable chairs. The chair had a crack along the back. Whenever I leaned back I fell slowly back through the chair. I would try for good posture sitting. I’d forget. Fall back though the back of the chair. Disconcerting.
My baby was kicking and splashing. My big one was tunneling through laps. Down and Back. I was watching both of them and surprising myself repeatedly with the strange bendable plastic chair. Good way to spend 30 minutes on a Saturday morning.
Made me think. Swimming lessons are fun. Splashing around in the shallow end certainly gets us used to the water. Get the feel for things. Safe and secure. Lots of eyes watching. Minimal risk. Lap swimming in the deep water lanes is harder. Better at building muscle though. Still plenty of life guards.
Some of you know that I’m working on a new venture. I’m launching a new blog called Quirky Faith. I’ve got a new website, email subscription software, photo shoot and a PO Box all lined up. I’ve got some guest bloggers and some give aways. I’m calendered up.
Right this very second I feel like I’ve graduated from the kiddie pool and swum past the lap pool. I feel like I’m standing on the cliff above the ocean like one of those deep water ocean divers. Peering down 100 feet to deep water. Wondering what is under the water and what is out past the horizon. The ocean is deep.
Mark Batterson says that if your dream doesn’t scare you it isn’t big enough. I’m terrified. And very excited. Scarecited.
www.QuirkyFaith.com launches on July 1st. Twenty Days. Swim Baby.
It occurred to me a few days ago that if I keep writing I might run out of things to talk about. Hasn’t happened yet in 40 years but you never know.
I heard this song for the first time on Sunday morning at church. The worship band was rocking out. Well. We were Nazarene style church rocking. Not Metallica concert rocking. At any rate. This song Love Come Down by North Point has been stuck in my head all week. Listen Here. What struck me about this song was the joy and fun – and this line about singing forever.
I will sing forever of Your love come down
With my hands to heaven, shout Your praises loud
I was lost in darkness when You pulled me out
I will sing forever of Your love come down
It encouraged my soul. Music has a way of reminding me of what matters.
I took a walk this past weekend. Nice big training five-mile walk. My pace stunk because I kept stopping to take photos. This one made me want to write. Or paint. Or sing. Blue and green and white and good lines. Nice composition there oh Creator of my soul.
I love watching friends help friends. I love watching kids succeed at piano or spelling or soccer or picking up their socks. Popsicles on sunny days. Planting a garden. Finishing a book. Watching the movie. I’m inspired by forgiveness.
I will never run out of things to talk about because Grace never runs out.
I’ve had a day. Or two. The kind of hang your head, kick the tires, sigh and eat chocolate chip cookie kind of days. The “I know I’m a better mom, better wife, better boss than this” kind of days. The “I promise to floss, I promise to ask, the I promise to wait” kind of days.
At one point yesterday I was actually telling my children to stuff the garbage sitting around in our car under the seat so that the people we were picking up wouldn’t see it.
That’s not who I want to be. And its really not who I want them to be. I want to be the kind of people that put their garbage in garbage cans. But that’s clearly not happening. (HA!)
Can I just say I have garbage and you can see it and hiding it doesn’t make it go away and that my dear children its just fine if people see our flaws. But right now I’m tired of the pointless could have, should have self talk.
So I’m going to do what generally works. I’m putting on some music and I’m making a list. Even though I don’t feel like it. Here are the things I know to be true. I stand on them.
I am loved by my Creator. Greatly.
I am not perfect. It’s okay. My story is not the list of my failures and shortcomings and sin. It’s frankly also not the list of things I think I did right. My story is Grace.
Feelings are not facts. Feelings are real. They are important. They are toxic when they are bottled up. But they are NOT facts.
I don’t know what the future holds but God does. He promises it’s secure.
This photo is cute.
My daughter was in the office yesterday morning with me before my day headed south. I found this artwork this afternoon in a stack of paperwork. It reminds me that I often miss the joy in my life in the midst of the junk. And this blue haired wonder made me smile and remember that my husband is courageous and kind and that my ten year old is determined and fun and that my three year old is passionate and clearly a budding artist. It made me remember to count my blessings.
Gratitude trumps grumpy. That is what I know.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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