Last Saturday I woke up to a text message from a very dear friend. He had sent me a Bible verse. I read it and held on to it in the back of my mind as I went on about my day. I repeated that verse a lot to myself that day, as well as the next and then found that I had sort of tied my proverbial life line to it so that I could give it a tug when the water started to get too high…just so that I would know that it was there.

This flood metaphor seems appropriate given the current state of my area. And this morning I woke up from a not-so-pleasant dream to hear more rain falling. I sat on the cold floor, rested my forehead on my double glass doors, and watched God drop more rain onto South Carolina.

Not even a week ago, my children and I drove around delivering pizza to anyone we could find who was obviously working to help keep our community safe. I passed by my former students’ neighborhoods in Columbia. I passed streets that had fallen, bridges that had collapsed, and lives that had changed forever. I passed oases of land that seemed untouched to the naked eye but for the piles and piles of belongings and debris spread out across the yard to dry. I navigated streets so familiar to me that I could draw a topographical map of the cracks and imperfections, now alien and littered with miniature sand dunes. I spoke to God a lot that day. Quiet murmurings of “Bless them, hold them, help them.” I asked God to guide us to the people who were most in need that day, so that we could be a service or that we could shine His light where it was needed the very most.

This morning as I sat on that cold floor, I cried. I cried as I remembered how that first ray of sun felt on my face after days and days of rain. I cried as I imagined the bewilderment of so many who had lost so much as they too sat on cold floors and watched in desperate helplessness. And then I cried for answers. Why is it still raining? Why haven’t we had enough? Why? As I cried I heard my phone, and upon checking it, found the same Bible verse from a different friend. I set my phone down, determined to finish my cry when I heard my phone again. Sapsalm 91me Bible verse. Different friend.

As I looked out into the rain, I saw faces of the men and women we fed after the flood. I remembered whispering the refrain, “God, send us where they need our love. Send us where we’re needed most.” This time I cried for enlightenment. God had sent us to serve where WE needed it the most. All the time I had been pleading with God to allow us to meet a desperate need, He had been meeting mine. Even amidst this flood, as we are treading water and growing weary, as we are wading through water too dark to visually penetrate, we have angels. We have angels both heavenly and earthly moving stones from before our toes, and rocks from under our feet. Psalm 91: 11-12.

E-nough

     Today began as any other ordinary day would. I hadn’t had a hair cut in over 6 months, so I was already dreading the “getting dressed” part of my day. I checked my clock and realized that I would have to wake my children up soon. And then it hit me. People mostly use that phrase to describe an epiphany or grand new idea, but I felt as if I had been literally hit. Plowed. Blindsided. Today would be Elijah’s first day of school. I’d walk him into this brand new world, and he would let go of my hand to take someone else’s. We had talked last night, his little nose inches away from mine as he brushed hair out of my face so it wouldn’t tickle his own. “You start school tomorrow!” I whispered. “How do you feel?” He dropped his big blue eyes and squished his lips together. “Are you scared?”
When he raised his eyebrows and answered me, my heart broke. “I’m BEWY scayurred.”
My heart broke because his wonderful teachers will help him annunciate, and I love when he curls under my chin and says, “I juss wubs ew.” (I just love you.) I love when I tell him to pick up his toys and he says “I tan’t wight now be-tause I’m bissy pwaying wivs my shawks!” (I can’t right now because I’m busy playing with my sharks.)
     My heart broke because his teachers will teach him to be independent, but I still long for a lifetime of “Tan you help me, pwease?” and letting him take my hand and lead me into his world of cars and construction toys that won’t all fit in a box or under a tunnel he made. In gaining more independence will I lose some invitation into his beautiful imaginary world? Will he sit at the table instead of in my lap for his morning milk because that’s what the big boys do?
     But mostly my heart broke because I am also very scared. I am thinking about the time when Emalee at only 4 asked me a question about sex because a second grader on her bus was telling everyone that boys could lie on top of girls and have babies. I am thinking about the times I’ve journeyed a middle school hall and immediately honed in on a child that walked alone, head down, shoulders slumped with the weight of nothing because nothing was20150825_071711 the norm for him, but emptiness is so heavy. I am thinking about watching the footage from the Sandy Hook shooting in frozen terror for those innocent babies and my own daughter’s safety in an early childhood school.
     When I picked Elijah up today, his eyes grew wide as he proclaimed, “That was FUN!” My heart grew a couple sizes, because I realized that what I was really afraid of was whether or not I had been good enough up until this point in his life. I was afraid that I hadn’t taught him the skills he needed to make good choices and to live without me. I was afraid that I hadn’t given him enough opportunities to learn social skills or problem solve with his peers. But as he curled under his blanket surrounded by his “shawks” and puppies and racecars, his eyes at half mast, and his precious words hardly audible, I felt just enough as he said in barely a whisper, “Thank you that I tan go to stool, Mommy.”

Daughter Lessons

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Dear Emalee,

You are almost 5 years old. You are almost half a decade. You are almost tying your shoes. You are almost ready for a brand new set of firsts. But I am not almost ready. I am not a little ready. I. Am. Not. Ready. I’ve tried my best to keep you alive for almost 5 years, skirting around the possibility that you will be a big girl, a young lady, one day. But now you are almost there. Soon you’ll be learning that some mistakes cannot be rectified. Some words cannot be unsaid. Time cannot be unlived.

There are several things you need to know:

  1. You can live with other people’s mistakes if the other person is reflective and willing to correct whatever action led to that mistake. Other people can live with your mistakes if you are reflective and willing to correct whatever action led to that mistake.
  2. You can NEVER (and I mean never) get ink out of clothes once a pen explodes in the dryer.
  3. It’s never too early to love. But it’s never the right time to forcibly change your life for someone else. With love, change comes easily so let it be natural.
  4. You and only you have power over how others treat you. If someone mistreats you, let that person know know that you are valuable and not to be treated as if you were expendable.
  5. Be valuable.
  6. Laugh a lot. There are so many things in this world that aren’t funny. Don’t be one of them.
  7. Get lost in an art. Paint, write, play music, dance, make a sculpture out of sawdust and apple peels, but WHATEVER you do, get lost in it.
  8. Never underestimate the power of salt water therapy.
  9. Learn the difference between people who push you and people who pull you. One group is healthy and imperative for growth. The other will bring you down and make you question your morals and your worth. This lesson is hard and mostly learned from experience. You will get hurt. Don’t let it define you.
  10. Some people come into your life for the sole purpose of setting an example of exactly how you SHOULDN’T be. Pay attention, but don’t get too close.
  11. Kindness is free and limitless. Give it away.
  12. Charity is not. Proceed with optimistic caution.
  13. Enthusiasm and a positive attitude will be a key that will open more doors than any amount of experience or education you may accumulate over the years.
  14. When in doubt, listen.
  15. Pray. Pray while you wait in line at lunch. Pray when no one sits next to you on the bus. Pray on the long car ride home. Pray while you wait on the oven to heat. Pray while you get dressed in the morning. And when you’ve done all that, pray some more.

As I hold you in my arms, I can see your childhood slipping away. I see it in your thinning cheeks, and I can hear it in your maturing voice. You’re growing so fast. One day I will pick you up, put you down, and NEVER pick you up again. That day is coming. It will be here soon, and I’m not ready. But I hope you will be.

I’m Not Dead Yet!

No, really. Right here. Didn’t fall off the face of the Earth. Truth is, I forgot I was supposed to be blogging. I’ve been super busy crocheting and keeping up with these crazy children of mine, and sometimes things get neglected.

Like myself. Sometimes I forget to eat, drink, and even BREATHE when things go a little haywire. (The non-eating thing would be acceptable, by the way, if it was coupled with weight loss. But alas, alack…you get it, right?) Point is. I’m NOT dead yet. So I need these things. Food, water, a little O2? That’s sustainability at its basic, right? WRONG-O, my friends! How about a little down time? Sure crocheting is relaxing, blah blah, meditative, blah blah. Clearly these people have never had crunching deadlines and two booties that *somehow* didn’t quite match. Don’t get me wrong, I love to crochet. I am thankful for the business. However…

I need a Wonkaland full of pure imagination and chocolate that won’t make me feel guilty about raising America’s obesity statistics. I need some parallel universe where Terrible Two’s and Thunderous Three’s are actually Terrific Two’s and Tranquil Three’s.

Or how about a Pacific Island? A cabana boy to turn down gently as I pat his fat, oily, naturally-tanned-but-yet-melanoma-free bicep… AHEM. I’d say, “I’m so sorry, Emmilio,” (Because Emmilio is not actually a native. He was castaway from his South American country like those Saudi guys who were just too dang good-looking to be citizens.). Anyway, I was saying, “Sorry, Emmilio, but I am married. No…No…don’t be so sad. Someday a woman with just as many stretch marks and with much wider child-bearing hips will come your way, and you WILL love again.”

I’m getting off track. CHECK OUT MY NEW STUFF ON ETSY AND MY FACEBOOK FANPAGE. You can find me at WhoWhoBoutique.

Hello world!

So, I was going to delete the title that wordpress so cleverly came up with, but then I thought, How appropriate. This is my first blog. Ever. In fact, I’m not whole-heartedly sure I know what a blog is. My FABULOUS friend and old college roomie set this site up for me because she is a computer EXTRORDINAIRE, and she wanted to help me set up a small business (if you could call it that). You can find her beautiful photography work in her blog. So here it is! I suffered through hours of torturous screen time to open my Etsy Shop, and I am on the brink. Now if only I could figure out how to find the web address for my Etsy store….

Oh! HELLO WORLD!!!