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Posts Tagged ‘community’

Longest. Hike. Ever.

Okay, so not really, but for someone who’s been slacking off on her fitness routine the past few months, this hike totally kicked my butt. It was something like 2.5 miles.  I know, I’m a wuss. I DID have Eliot strapped to my back the whole time, but that doesn’t really exempt me from wimpy status, does it? There were 5 moms, 19 kidlets, 4 frogs, a zillion lizards, 2 kids who couldn’t hold it and had to poop in the woods, 1 scary she-man who passed us on a bike, 1 cotton mouth–oh, wait, no, his eyes weren’t “slanty,” maybe it was just a water snake, and ZERO (amazingly) serious injuries in 3.5 hours. It was AWESOME. When we reached the end Liam asked if we could go again. The moms all but screamed NO! Did I mention that the oldest of those 19 kids was 8? We must be crazy.  Anyway, here are the pics. Good times. Beautiful day. God sure makes pretty stuff.

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Halloween

Went up to Shelby to hang out with my folks. I LOVE that they’re close enough now for us to just run up for a day or two whenever we want! Although I thought maybe they’d get less candy doing a trunk or treat than they would visiting a hundred houses. WRONG! Them folks at Landmark Baptist Chruch ain’t stingy with their candy. The last week has been a chorus of “can we have some candy?” It’s gone into the basket for school rewards by now. We’ll see if it doesn’t all get tossed out this year. Candy overload or no, I always love seeing them get dressed up. Gillian was a blonde version of Silvermist, Liam, was a prince (although he was adamant about the fact that it wasn’t Prince Charming-Thanks to Shrek), and Eliot, won the non-existent costume award as my little panhandler (thank you Pinterest).

     

     

Peter Pan

The kid’s birthdays just came and went. Instead of parties this year, Liam suggested tickets to see Cathy Rigby is Peter Pan at the Peace Center. My heart leaps with joy at his interest in theater, as it simultaneously cringes over a typically self absorbed hobby. Believe me I know and I struggle with whether or not to try and shield him from some of the identity issues that go with it. Anyway, this show was very special for me, so much that you have to believe me when I tell you it was his idea. I was in this show with SCCT eight years ago and we actually got to perform it in the Peace Center concert hall. The music, the dancing, the FLYING, were all pretty sentimental. Then of course, I haven’t been in a show for about four years now and I miss it–sometimes a lot. Thanks however to Liam’s unrestrained squeals of laughter, I wasn’t too melancholy and was able to have a really good time with the kidlets and Bean. Cathy Rigby tore it up, we had incredible seats and the kids were little angels. So thankful, although a little sad that Andy couldn’t be there.

     

Asheville

Saturday my husband gave me a HUGE gift–a day to myself. A whole day to do whatever I pleased. Of course, I didn’t spend it by myself, I gathered up a couple of my awesome gal pals and headed off to Asheville for Christmas shopping, coffee chugging, yummy organic eating, fall weather enjoying, dread maintaining and lots of girl talk. It was a day full of plenty, full of reminders, full of restful meandering down streets, stopping in wherever our little hearts desired. It was a day full of laughter over random and creepy street performers, Tab and Lacey putting beads on my dreads in the middle of Trade street, obsessively searching out the elusive Virtue boutique, one of us who was really bossy, and Tab almost stealing leggings from Urban Outfitters (if you can imagine!). It was a day void of dishes, squabbles or diapers–all gifts in themselves, but nevertheless nice to have a break from.

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Up to this point, community has not been hard. Three years ago, our ideas of community were revolutionized and we embraced it in ways that were new and exciting. There was a lot of “His Kingdom” talk going on and a lot of getting real and laying it out there. A lot of Total Church moments were happening. It was brutal and great all at once. It was liberating, getting our dirt out on the table and embracing friends when they revealed theirs. “Dude, I’m so messed up!” and “Whoa, you’re so messed up too! Isn’t it great that we’re BOTH so totally screwed up and Jesus STILL loves us!?!?” There was a lot of that. Giving comfort. Receiving comfort. All good stuff.

But now. . .  I guess now, well, the romance has died off. The newness is gone.

It’s getting harder now. Not so much to be honest and stay transparent. I’ll get up and tell you all day if I’ve got something new to say. I want to be transparent, but it’s not easy to keep spilling the same old stuff. You know it’s hard enough to keep taking the same sins to God over and over, but it’s REALLY hard to sit in your group and share that you’re still struggling with the same issues you were struggling with a year ago. How do you not sit there and know, just KNOW, that inside people are rolling their eyes, saying, “STILL?! REALLY?! I’m tired of her whining about being impatient with her kids,” or “yeah, we already know she struggles with thinking on things that aren’t true and pure.” Maybe I need to give more credit to my community. Maybe I”m forecasting on them a response they aren’t really having? I’m just being tempted to go back to the old, “oh, I”m good, thanks,” when people ask how I’m doing because I don’t want to embarrassingly admit that I’m still dealing with the same stuff. What will they think of me that I can’t have victory over this one? What will they think of God that He’s not changing my heart in this area? I’ve got to make God look good, right? He NEEDS me to do that, doesn’t He?  Seriously, where’s my brain?

BTW, when I say community, I’m not just referring to my Shepherding Group, although that’s a huge part of it, but also some others that we try to live very transparently in front of, as well as a few that I go to for counsel.

I’m also struggling in community to not expect God to change other people’s hearts or fix their situations in the same time frame He may have done something for me. I want Him to help other people on my timeline almost as much as I want Him to fix me on my timeline.

Laying it out there, it’s just a lot of impatience, isn’t it? A lot of not wanting to wait for Him and His plan. Sigh. That’s not really new either. 🙂

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My last post talked a little bit about the whys of the dreads, but a lot of people are asking me some hows and whens, so I thought I’d post a little bit about the whole process. Well, mostly just the pics. If you want to know how to make them, check this out, and if you’re wanting to know if I can keep them clean (short answer is “yes!”), go here.

BEFORE

Started off the day at 7:30 am with clean, dry hair. I’ve been thinking about a funky short cut, so I’m prepared to have it all chopped if the dreads go badly or I hate them or whatever. Bye bye hairbrush!

MARIA (MY “OFFICIAL” STYLIST) SEPARATING MY HAIR INTO 49 LITTLE PONYTAILS (There’s not really any significance to the 49, that’s just what we ended up with.)

1ST SHIFT: These most awesome gal pals worked from 9:00-12:30. I’m so thankful for all of them and their help. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken without them.

I Took a break at 12:30 to feed my children, which is just about all the attention they got from me Thursday, the poor dears, with the exception of a couple of diaper changes for Eliot. Daddy took them out for dinner while I teased and palm rolled, teased and palm rolled, teased and palm rolled, teased, and . . . . . you get the picture. I could tell it was going too slow though and I desperately started calling everyone I could think of to help. The problem is, a large majority of my friends have a hoard of children to tend to, and can’t just up and head over to my house at the last minute.

2ND SHIFT: Eight o’clock rolled around and was still barely half way done. Jody and Lynn sailed in and saved the day, working on it for about three hours. True friends? I think yes.  It was about this time that the style was starting to take shape and I was getting pumped. They were coming out much longer than I’d expected, which was very cool. The time had come to break out the Bob Marley.

     

NIGHT SHIFT: Sadly, my stalwart recruits had to go home. We still had a long way to go and it was just me and Andy, teasing and palm rolling, teasing and palm rolling . . . . see, the process isn’t  really all that exciting.

Eventually, my arms gave out and he was on his own. The last four belong to him alone. Now isn’t that love? What I lucky woman I am. We waxed and palm rolled the last dread right around 2:30 am. You’re probably wondering how in the world it can take so long. It took an average of 18 minutes per lock to backcomb the hair tightly enough to for it to lock up. We were both exhausted by the end, but a short burst of energy followed as we took some pics and stood back to let it sink in that I had actually just spent about 14 hours (not counting break time) tangling and gooping up my hair on purpose! Knotty Boy (people who make dread stuff) does have a removal kit, so I might not have to do the chop when the time comes, but it looks like it will take me just about as long to get them out. SIGH. I’m not going to think about that right now, I’m too psyched about my locks! I do plan to keep them for at least 6 months though, just to give them time to start growing well on their own. We’ll see after that. Hopefully in 6 months I’ll have me some killer dreads that won’t be going anywhere!

   That’s about it. I’m having a blast with them already. Liam says “they’re better than your first hair.” He’s such a supportive little guy! 🙂 Gilly’s not sure. One minute she says they’re beautiful, the next she says she liked my old hair better, so who knows. Eliot likes to pull them.

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Heavy

My heart is very heavy right now. It is a day of “bad news.” All around and close to me are so many broken hearts, so many broken people. Loved ones lost, prodigal sons and daughters, unforgiveness, lost souls, bitterness and regret. It surrounds all of us and I’m seeing it in so many lives that are connected to me today. It is a beautiful thing to mourn with those who mourn, but it’s not easy to accept that I can do nothing to fix the brokenness. Hard to accept that I have no skill to heal the hurting ones I love. Hard to remember that all will soon be put right, that joy will come and the broken ones be mended. I feel lost in a sea of “comforting” words that won’t arrange themselves into a coherent message of hope. I am so weak a counselor, so feeble a friend. My only course is to pray. To pray as the boy’s father did, his soul so desperately conflicted within him, “I believe; help my unbelief!” To pray for the faith to keep praying when praying doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything at all.

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“Stay-Puff Pancake Man.” Thank you Ma Ingles for changing my children’s pancake expectations. However, in my defense, if you compare Ma’s training and preparation for domestic prowess to my own 21st century upbringing, I think I did okay.

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I started the day tired, cranky, running behind, getting upset at the kids, not giving thanks for anything at all. Don’t you just love Mondays? This weekend I took an unintentional hiatus from my 1000 gifts journal and I can surely tell. I’m fighting against everything that really is inconvenient and perceiving everything else as being inconvenient. Constantly saying “yes” but living “no.” (That’s Ann’s, not mine).  I need to REMEMBER. I’m like the children of Israel, doubting God before my sandals have even left the dry ground in between the walls of the Red Sea. It’s so hard, this everyday forgetting and remembering. Do you ever just feel so stupid that you can’t remember all the grace and all the goodness and all the undeserved beautiful surrounding you?

The thing I needed to remember today as I was trying to pull myself out of a Monday funk, was that in order to teach my children thankfulness, I had to show thankfulness, and that in showing thankfulness, I do become thankful. I know this! Doesn’t it just make so much sense? Why then the constant need for reminders? I think partly because the reminders in themselves are something to be thankful for. My reminder came to me on the couch with a teary eyed Gillian who just needed some attention. As we sat there snuggle cuddling, I asked her to try giving thanks to take a way the sad feelings and through her tears and the lisp of her thumb in her mouth she professed thanks “for her toys, her family, her baby brother, her mommy and everything else, except satan” (but of course!). Then after about ten good minutes of purely blissful four year old snuggliness, she looked up at me and said, “my love tank is all full now Mommy.”

So then I remembered and then I went and got my journal and named out the gifts that had been building up all weekend. Thankful to be reminded to give thanks, to be a receiver of so much grace.

Head over to onethousandgifts.com to find out how to join me and a growing community in giving thanks.

767. Bird song heard in the quiet of the early morning

768. The roof on the house being replaced

769. Alone time at the gym

770. Pollen coming down like snow (the Ugly Beautiful)

771. Ten minutes filling up Gillian’s love tank

772. Liam’s cooking escapades in the kitchen

773. Building forts

774. Children giving thanks of their own accord

775. A missing Gillian found reading in the van

776. Coffee mustaches

777. Sunbeams kissing the faces of the ones I love most

And of course, must come the pictures.

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