Monday, July 18, 2016

20 years later

My high school reunion was last Saturday night.  I went to a huge high school and I had the odd experience of not recognizing many, many faces in the ballroom even though I consider myself fairly social.  I realize many of them were spouses so I couldn't have known them, but it still felt a bit weird.

When I went to my 10 year reunion I was in the center of where I wanted to be:  I was married to a wonderful man, I had a job I loved and I was absolutely at peace.  I was proud of tell that I was bilingual and taught Spanish-speaking first graders every day.  That's awesome.

So why did I feel insecure 10 years later?  I'm the same person.  I'm happily married to the same wonderful man.  We've added 3 boys since 10 years ago and they're fantastic. 

I'm now a mom of 3 boys which let's just be honest for a second and agree that motherhood is very humbling.  I rocked teaching.  I enjoyed it very much.  Motherhood is hard!  Recently I took the time to write out my goals in different areas of my life.  My goal for mothering my boys is to teach them to love Jesus and others and to give them a soft place to fall.  Being that soft place is exhausting and not at all glamorous.  But I digress.

I also work part-time now as an assistant speech therapist.  It's a great job and I'm doing wonderful work with it.

Then why did I feel like I don't measure up to the others in the room at the reunion?  Where is the stick I'm trying to measure up to?  I don't even know.

All I know is I cried yesterday when I saw on Facebook that my circle of friends had a meal outside of the reunion that I wasn't invited to.  Ouch.  Regardless of the fact that I couldn't have gone, it still stung.  What, am I 14?  I am a confident, happy woman.  Why are my emotions being rocked like this?

Because I'm human.  I want to be liked.  I want to have a place at the table.

Well, this morning I had a fantastic quiet time where I confessed my insecurities to God and asked Him to fill me with truth:  I'm loved by God and I need to seek comfort in Him, not this fickle world.  I was looking to the wrong place for affirmation.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Life mission statement

Just today I read this lovely quote from Emily Dickinson "The Truth must dazzle gradually/ or every man be blind."

As I'm figuring out who I am I like the thought of Truth being shown little by little.  I don't know that it's God's plan for Truth to be that way, but it's been that way in my world.

I have happy news:  I finished up 48 Days to the Work you Love but I don't think I had the outcome with it that I had hoped for.  I had this expectation that I would work through the book and have this light bulb moment when I would magically know what I need to do for the rest of my life.  A dream job.  One that would make every day be shiny, pretty and wonderful.  My happily ever after.

Now back to the real world where I still have 3 kids, 2 dogs, loads of laundry and all the other things I do.  I thought I found the answer:  go back to teaching bilingual elementary full time while my husband pitches in to help with all the house and parent stuff I currently do on my own.  Bingo! 

I pitched that idea and was gently told it wasn't time yet for me to go back to work full time.  Our youngest is too young and it's not the best choice for us right now.  In hindsight I'm thankful for the discernment that my husband used in that moment.  That's not how I responded, though.  I felt mad, like I had been told to get back in the kitchen and put my brain on hold a little longer.

The daily grind of doing homework, making lunches, planning meals, doing the shopping etc just isn't exciting.  It's work.  Yes, it's rewarding and yes, I'm very blessed to do it, but it's lost its luster.  The promise of a new job that would let me use my God-given gifts and abilities was like the carrot, just dangling in front of me that I couldn't get.  Unfair.

Contentment is hard.  For much of my life I really thought if I just followed the rules well enough everything would work out.  Life would be easy.  And then I became a mom.  I grew up.  The Lord gently showed me that I had been worshipping an idol of comfort and selfishness.  Now I see with my eyes wide open that God didn't put me on this earth so I could live in a Disney castle and be a princess with no worries.  Instead, He knit me just the way He needed me to be so I could be His masterpiece;  a source of hope and light in a dying, broken world. 

So where does contentment fit in?  Part of 48 Days encourages you to write your life mission statement.  At first I told Aaron that seemed silly because I was reading this book to figure out what to do in my professional life, not my "life" life.  Aaron's wise;  he told me I would be happier in my job if it fit in with my life mission.  He was right.

I realized that even though the seasons of my life change, who I am doesn't.  The truer I can remain to who I am the more at peace I'll be. 

Today I found myself bogged down in a task for my boys that needs to be done, but that I'm not enjoying.  It's not in the center of my life's mission.  That doesn't mean I can't do it, but it helped me see that I can do it but I need to take breaks to recharge my own battery.  So I vented to Aaron about why the task was stressing me out, took a coffee break, read a book I'm thoroughly enjoying and then chose to write this blog posting.  Words are therapy for me.  Processing my feelings through words is a creative process that brings me peace. 

In conclusion, I want to share my life mission statement.  I will shine my light by being a loving wife, empowering mom and kind citizen of this world.  Professionally  I will use my language skills, unique way of seeing the world and gift of encouragement to help others along their road.

A lead has come my way for the fall that I'm prayerfully considering.  The neat thing is that it fits perfectly in my mission statement even though it's out of my comfort zone.  It would be a real opportunity for growth for me and a blessing to my family.  Right now I'm holding it with an open hand until I know God's direction.  The planner in me wants to know NOW if it's going to work out, but the woman who knows it's wiser to wait on God for me to know His will is content to wait it out for today and trust Him with tomorrow.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The joy of receiving

The other day I got a happy surprise:  a stranger paid for my lunch at Chick-fil-a.  Totally unexpected and it made my day.  I went on to pass the kindness on by giving flowers to a friend who had recently had a death in her family.  My youngest son chose the flowers and got to give them to the friend which made it all the more special.

I was feeling great.  I told my husband about the surprise lunch treat and he asked if I had paid for the next car in line.  Nope.  Wasn't even really tempted to do that.  His question made me feel like I had somehow broken a rule and totally robbed the beauty of the gift I was given.

I've been stewing on this for a few days and today I'm posting loud and clear for all the world to read:  it's OK to just accept a gift sometimes.  You don't always have to reciprocate.  I chose to enjoy that meal and ponder the goodness that there still is in this world.  Granted, I felt led to also do a kind deed using that $9 and it was a blessing to a dear friend, but why do I always have to give?

I think there's a time to receive.

Thursday was my turn.  I give to my boys, my husband, my church, my job, my friends, my MOPs group, my bible study, my pets, my community and whoever knows who else and when do I get to receive?  Finally, at Chick-fil-a when a stranger does a kind deed.  Well, amen, sister!  I don't know you, but thank you for the wonderful lunch.  May others be blessed by your kindness and sweet spirit (and may they do it more gracefully and with less guilt than I did).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The impeded stream

I'm feeling like wrestling with deep issues today. My house is quiet, my little dog is cuddled up beside me and I feel like digging deep.

I'm reading a book by Jenny Simmons called _the road to becoming._ it's an interesting read about her journey from being in a band, Addison road, which had success, to figuring out what to do when the band called it quits.

It's a book about burying a dream, grieving, being lost and following God on the road to becoming. I bought it because her father in law is our music minister and I like her music, but God is showing me some beautiful truths through it.

About a month ago,I was contacted that my birth mother had written me a letter and I had to give permission to receive it. I did. The letter opened the door to emotions buried deep within me that I wasn't even aware of. Tough. Added to it that I'm in this existential weird place of trying to figure out what "Laura 2.0" will be now that I'm headed back to work. it's a lot to sift through.

I've given myself permission to feel. anger spikes up at times. I feel like I've worked so hard to please everyone around me and what has it gained? Not much. I learned a while back that I have to work to stay in touch with what I want because I'll easily be swayed along to make others happy.

I won't go into it, but the letter wasn't what I had hoped for .I've heard that it's common for adopted people to have an idealized vision of their birth parents. I had been told a set of information that made me think x. The letter showed y.

Making peace with that is hard. I profess to be a Christian and give lip service to giving my life to Christ, but when "y" was the reality,I was shaken to my core. Who I always thought I was seemed to be ripped away. I thought I really believed that my identity is in Christ but I didn't.

Now I see I was mourning the loss of my dream. I'm working to accept reality. It's hard. But I can trace God's hand as I look at my own growth.

In Jenny's book she quotes Wendell berry "it may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our true journey.the mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one sings."

Wow. I'm wrestling right now with deep issues of worth and identity. At 36. I didn't sign up for this. My stream was impeded enough with 3 little boys,a husband, 2 dogs, a new job, etc before all this came along. But it's here anyway.

So, today I'm choosing to wrestle with it. I'm reminded that regardless of my DNA or the circumstances of my upbringing, I'm a loved child of God. I can't earn his love or lose it. It's mine to accept.  Who will Laura 2.0 be? Still loved, regardless of the job I take or whatever I do. Victory is mine in Jesus if I'll lean into him and choose to let go of my perceived ideas of who I am. I'm enough. I'm loved. I'm amazing. I'm victorious.

Friday, December 19, 2014

white space

The concept of white space intrigues me. Without the white space on the page there's chaos. The challenge is to allow for that margin of white space in our own lives.

How do I do that? By choosing wisely. I've found that white space is what energizes my soul. Today it was watching son #2 enjoy the magic of his school Christmas party. Seeing the joy in his eyes was precious.

Before the party,I cleaned of the stairs. A task that took less than 15 minutes made me feel fantastic. Afterwards,I played Christmas songs on the piano. Sweet #3 asked me to get out the musical instruments so we could jam. And we did to "Go tell it on the mountain". Sweet moment.

My boys are home and our routine is out the window. Today I'm still going to fold laundry and cook supper, but I'm also intentionally taking time to build in white space. I'm looking forward to doing my fave yoga DVD later today.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas binder

I made a Christmas binder a few years ago. I saw the idea on a blog and thought it would make for the perfect Christmas. I've learned through the years a few lessons about that.

1- expecting anything in life to be perfect is a surefire way to be let down. The more I plan, the more can go wrong. I married a man that is anti planning. I've learned that so much of his time is dictated in his job that when he's home he really wants to be free. I haveto accept where he is in his life which can be tricky when I love a good plan.

2- I've learned to plan activities in pencil and keep expectations low. It's taken time, but I'm learning to be more of a Mary and less of a Martha.

3- i'm also learning to enjoy parts of the binder that are uniquely mine. For example, I write a letter to myself every year. Sometimes it's an actual letter and sometimes it's an after action report written in bullet form. It's very useful for this time of year.

I already have my Christmas cards done.I learned a few years ago that waiting on them stresses me out so now I take advantage of sales on shutterfly and do them in Oct. I like that they are done and in my closet waiting for me.

4-Gift giving isn't my strength. Aaron loves it so he has that job. When I let go of that Christmas got a lot more fun for me.

5- I used to wait to get the binder out and then be surprised by black Friday. No longer. I am going to shop on black Friday and am looking forward to it. I need new boots. I have lovely cowboy boots from last Christmas but I need to replace my riding boots. Great sales are coming for those. Here I come!

Saturday, November 22, 2014


This morning we took our boys to a mythbusters exhibit at a museum. Very fun. Now we're back home and I'm working through 48 days. I'm finding it's a tricky thing to be relaxed enough to take the time to search my soul and dream about the future. I'm accepting that I can do what I can when I can and I'm ok with that.

Today's brain candy: "the only way we can handle change around us is to know what is changeless about ourselves." -Stephen covey

There's a lot there. What is changeless about me? I'm not all that sure. Motherhood has done a number on me. I'm glad I chose to stay home, but it's been rough.I'm seeing this year that being back at work while being a mom is a new challenge.