Dear Beloved,

Dear Beloved,

I smile upon you this morn and every morn. Do you feel my outstretched arms welcoming you to a safe embrace? Do you understand the vastness of my love for you, child?

Come to me when you are overwhelmed or afraid. I am your Protector. I promise to walk with you through life’s trials. I am your Comforter. I promise to celebrate with you through your most joyous moments. I am your Friend. Above all, when you are lost and the world is seemingly against you, I am your Guide.

Dear child, lean all your burdens and cares on me, I am here for you. For now, I will walk with you hand-in-hand, until we are together in your eternal home.

Love, your Father (God)

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In-laws or Out-laws

For many families, the thought of visiting the “in-laws” is daunting. From co-workers, close friends, and even my closest family, I hear complaints about visiting the in-laws. “My mother-in-law hates my cooking.” “My sister-in-law spends way too much money on food. Her kids are unruly.” The complaints are endless.

Here I sit, at my in-laws. I am in perfect relaxation. I am free to just be. No judgement. No “should-do” or “should-be” exists here. My in-laws are very honest people. If there is something they feel that is an issue, I will know about it. It will be addressed and then taken care of. We move on.

This is the way of my husband. He is a very honest man. Black and white. There is no gray with this man. That is why we are so great together. He is my black and white when all I have to offer is gray. He is my decision to my indecisiveness. He is absolutely my ROCK.

As I sit here reflecting on my husband and his family, I am coming to terms with the fact that this honesty and unambiguity (is that a word?) is a blessing in my life. This is what I appreciate most about my in-laws.

They do not sweat the small stuff. We have a very similar moral compass. They have an unconditional love for me (and the rest of their family.) Also, my mother-in-law makes the best pies.

My Favorite Ritual

Last night as my husband and I were walking Rose to her bedroom, she stopped in her tracks, spun around, and said with a raised eyebrow, “We didn’t read our Bible Story.”

We were so close. Her haven of rest was just steps away. We were moments from our first minutes of relaxation for the day. Alas, a nightly ritual not kept is not a ritual.

Jonathan looked at me, I at him. As our eyes met, we knew we were soon on our way back to the rocking chair to complete our nightly ritual.

At the time, I may have been a bit annoyed at the thought of heading back to tack on extra minutes to our already extensive nightly ritual. Deep down, I love this. I appreciate that Rose, my two-year old, truly values our rituals. Our time together means a lot to her. She understands that a ritual is a ritual because it deems importance.

 

 

Connectedness

Connection is key to a rich, fulfilling human existence. Feeling a connection to something allows a person to share a piece of herself. This, “sharing of oneself,” is essential from little on.

“Mama, I want a hug.” This is a common request from my two-year old daughter. “Mama, scratch my back, please.” This is another one that has frequented itself. (I can’t even be annoyed. Who doesn’t love having their back scratched?)

“Babe, when you walk past me, can you please touch my back?” My husband’s love language is touch. He admits he can be needy at times, but I actually really appreciate that about him. I can tell when I haven’t connected with him in a while. He becomes easily aggravated and at times, impatient. I understand. When I feel disconnected to someone or something, I am not my best self either.

“Honey, let’s go for a walk and talk about life.” This one is all me. My way of connecting with others is through words. I’m a word girl. I love having deep conversations. I crave rich poetry that inspires me to think, believe, say, or do. I love doing crossword puzzles or playing scrabble. I love dreaming together with my husband and discussing life goals. I love reading. I even love singing. I am a word girl. On that same token, words hurt me most. My most devastating moments in life were when someone verbalized disbelief in me. “You can’t do that.” “You are not good enough for that”…etc. Nothing can disconnect me more quickly than a harsh comment.

This community of writers has connected with me. I see other people that thrive on using words to express themselves. I feel a part of something meaningful. I feel a part of something powerful. I feel a strong connection to this community. I feel connected.

I know that once this challenge has ceased, I will miss it. Don’t get me wrong, writing daily has been exhausting. I am even going to admit to missing a few days.

For now, I will embrace this feeling of connectedness. Moving forward, I hope to be more aware of what others need to feel connected.

Thank you, writing community, for allowing me this privilege to walk with you through this writing challenge. Until we meet again, stay connected.

April Fools

During our first year of marriage, April 1st rolled around and I didn’t have an inkling that I should be wary of my new husband’s antics. After all, I knew I had married a man with a great sense of humor. But a practical joker?…couldn’t be!

But then there I was, standing in front of the kitchen sink, the sprayer strapped down with a tight rubber band, and a frigid shower of water spraying directly into my face. Great.

This year, as April Fools Day approaches, I have little worry that I will be the target of any hijinks. He doesn’t make his tricks an annual event. However, I do ‘worry’ a bit what he might be cooking up for our 2-year-old. “April Fools!”

A true double entendre?

I also look out the window. The first day of Spring has come and gone, and this morning we awoke to 2 inches of fresh white snow. More is in the forecast for this weekend. A white Easter on the 1st of April is not exactly what I ordered.

Instead, thoughts should be focused on green grass, new growth, and our risen Savior. New growth, new beginnings, and new life. But the fast approaching of April fools me again this year! Just like last year. Spring is nowhere to be seen, and even though the calendar page will be turning this weekend, the weather outside feels more like December. I’ve had enough!

 

(Sigh)

So much is communicated by a single nonverbal gesture. A sigh can communicate relief. A sigh can communicate frustration. A sigh can communicate exhaustion. A sigh can even communicate contentment.

Research has even been done on this simple act that shows how essential “sighs” are to life. They are described as, “an opportunity to restart life,” or “vital to maintain our life cycle in the lungs.” https://exploringyourmind.com/what-our-sighs-communicate/

Today my husband found me sighing on several occasions. He would ask, “what’s wrong?” or “Are you okay?” I didn’t even know that I had let out a noticeable, audible breath. Upon reflection, I suppose I could admit I was tired, or a bit overwhelmed, but also very content.

I found it fascinating that he could interpret my emotions so easily with a single “sigh.” I hadn’t even come to terms with my emotions and here he is, bringing them to my attention, and even analyzing them.

A sigh is a powerful gesture. I will never again underestimate it’s ability.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”

― George R.R. MartinA Dance with Dragons

As George R.R. Martin so beautifully illustrates, reading grants opportunity for a person. Kids and adults alike benefit greatly from reading.
Part of writing well stems from reading regularly. I truly believe that the best writers are those that see themselves as life-long readers. In an attempt to help my students engage with their books on a deeper level, I added Donalyn Miller’s Reading Graffiti Wall to my classroom.
If you are not familiar with Reading Graffiti, Donalyn Miller explains in her book Reading In the Wild, Provide a place for “selecting and sharing the lines and words from our books that stood out as remarkable or special to us” (Miller 114).
At the start of the school year, our wall was slow to develop. Kids were unsure about how this was supposed to be used. “Could this quote be put on the graffiti wall?” “I am not sure if this should be written on the wall.” There was definite uncertainty about the whole idea. After numerous examples and a lot of rich discussions, the kids started to understand not only what speaks to them as they read, but why it speaks to them.
By this point in the year, the kids have embraced the idea of our graffiti wall. It is not only full, but filled with endless quotes that leave the reader smiling, laughing, crying, or simply nodding in agreement.
The students have gained the ability to read through a thoughtful lens, allowing themselves to be touched by what they read. I am always curious to see what the end of the year reading survey will reveal. This year I am especially excited to read their responses.