Thursday, January 16, 2014

a cup named grace...

it all started with a little too much noise & a misunderstanding.  a boisterous starbucks & a barista asking my name.  i said chris.  she heard grace.  and it feels so very right.  who doesn't need a cup named grace?

in this season of pjm+sick, i have been overwhelmed not by just the HUGE decisions like where to safely place him but also the littles including reordering checks with or without his name {i know, many of you are saying "debit card"...hello 21 century-but the delivery pharmacy for pjm & my bug guy-they need checks still}.  so a cup, or even a few drops, of grace randomly sprinkled about my day remind me that God is here in the middle of this mess.  and that He loves me and my precious family and my broken husband.

hebrews 4:16 says that we can approach our God of grace with confidence knowing we will find beauty and mercy in our times of need.  and yes, i know at the end of me {and pjm} there will be this beautiful presence of being with Him...but today-yesterday-8.3 months ago, i lose all focus of Him.  the complications of wearing many hats exhausts me...tending to sweet browns & that new common core math while balancing visits with pjm and attempting to keep a pulse on our businesses, are nothing less than taxing.  i do not deny having help from family & a very competent CPA but in the dark of night and some days even in the bright of the noonday sun, it is overwhelming & intimidating.

and that's where a cup named grace can be found...somewhere between the hope of yesterday and the mercies of tomorrow, He is ever-present in my today of messy.

dear God.
i want to say i am so unsure of how i made it a year,
but then when i search the very depths of my soul, i find Your grace.
thank you for a year of tender mercies when life was beyond crazy.
thank you for children that kept their focus & loved our family more than themselves.
thank you for friends that held space to allow me to grieve his presence, yet the loss of pjm.
for girlfriend dates-surprise parties-vacations in mexico to embrace family.
and for that barista & a misunderstanding.
but most of all, for a cup named grace that is new every morning.
grace aka chris

Monday, January 6, 2014

resolve for the new year

while chatting with a friend the other day, new year's resolutions came up.  we are all searching for that habit to either abandon or embrace as we hang the new calendar.  once i didn't each chips or fries for an entire year...including tortilla chips and i love me some chips & guacamole.  another year i worked out 201 of 365 days...more than half was my goal.  but, those are the only two i have made and kept.  and since i am not four, my ability to make a pledge and stick to it for an entire year is a fraction away from impossible.

i was explaining to her that yes, this year i did have a resolution but of a different nature.  not one that will test my willpower or brute strength or even determination.  instead, one of nourishment-of me-of my soul.  i have spent the majority of the past 11 years caring for the hearts and needs of my family.  first for sweet brown eyes and then when he was in kindergarten, i began to detect subtle changes in pjm's memory & behavior which lead us to this season.  in the midst of all of the parenting and care-giving, i had little time to think about what i needed.  when there were quiet moments, often i was exhausted and would drone out on tv & internet or catch up on a few moments of sleep.  so the focus this year is to nourish me...which sounds entirely selfish as i peck my way around the keyboard.  but truly, that's my cherish & strengthen-to give me what i need to grow and live and feel alive again.

in the quiet of my mind, i wondered what exactly that looked like.  i bask in calculating plans and challenges for myself in month-long increments.  i formulate rules and rigid timelines i must adhere to...some i tackled last year were journaling a pray every day, donating to a cause each day of the month instead of shopping, and of course there was carb-free february.  what i realize is i operate best when there are rules in place, yet the regiment becomes my god.  however, my intentions were to draw closer to God thru abstinence.

example: i love internet shopping.  genus idea.
ruben, who drives a brown truck, delivers boxes to my front door.
i retreat to the privacy of my bathroom, equipped with a full length mirror & soft lighting, unlike the cramped fluorescent dressing rooms.
i try on a variety of outfits with all my own accessories & proper undergarments.
winners are hung in the closet.  losers are packaged back up & brown, truck-driving ruben whisks them back to where they came.

but for 30 days, i decided no amazon-nordstrom-zappos.  instead it was the watoto childrens choir.  the alzheimers association.  temecula-murrieta rescue mission.  but my heart had not changed from this shopping hiatus.  i did not draw closer to God during this time, i just filled my time shopping for charities instead of clothing & accessories. my motives & efforts were valiant but the finished product was the same.

2014 will be about nourishment & gentleness.  eating & drinking that i which love-i am fortunate weight is not an issue, so i will savor crusty french bread and indulge in creme brûlée.  cherishing time alone & seeking peace for weary soul while leaving holes in the calendar for breathing room.  sustaining those peaceful friendships that bolstered me during this season.  filling my days with activities i hold dear like sewing, running, reading, homemaking; while incorporating others i have been afraid to attempt. what it isn't is a written game plan of intense guidelines i then use to evaluate personal performance because this cycle too often leaves me feeling substandard.

while readying myself for bed later that night, i saw what i hope 2014 holds for me...

wash inside out...that was 2013.  all of my insides were exposed for all to see & it wasn't pretty.  

dear target t-shirt.
my mantra was tucked inside you so nicely.
gentle cycle.  tumble dry low.  iron only if needed.
treat me with care.  don't over dry me.  apply intense heat only if essential.
proper care will make that $14.99  pullover last
and it will nourish my soul as well.
target consumer
p.s.  i purchased you with my red card on dec. 2nd...hope that 5% doesn't haunt me with that breach in security.

dear 2014.
i'm seeking the gentle cycle this year.
a year of  tumbling on low, leaving the soul withering heat of 2013 behind.
and when a hot spell of life begins to dry this soul, retreat promptly.
and allow the cool of God's living water to wash my parched soul.
happy about a new beginning