Monday, May 28, 2012

Live Full

'LIttle League baseball, May 2009 - 36' photo (c) 2009, Ed Yourdon - license:

Last week the kids and I visited my parents in my hometown. I drove the children around, passing by the high school (where my parents, my brother, and I all attended), the football fields where I cheered in Pee Wee league, the softball and baseball fields where we spent long hot summer days. We drove through my old neighborhood, and I remembered riding my bike on the roads, never worried about those pesky grown-ups in their cars.

There's something magical about childhood, from elementary school on up through the teenage years. There's so much hope, so many dreams. The long days that, at the time, seemed so boring, now appear full of possibilities and adventure. Last week, back in my home town with the fresh eyes of a visitor, I became enamored with life as it was.

But I'm not talking about nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. I'm happy to be approaching 30. This is the 21st century, and while I sometimes fret about the pace of life now, there's no slowing it down for good.

Rather, as I sat on that deck watching my kids play baseball in the yard, I wondered how to bring the good things about a healthy childhood--hope, wonder, dreams--into the hectic pace of putting food on the table and washing behind little ears. I came up with a short, beginner list:

  • Turn off the smartphone. This is not new advice. I'm not the only one saying it. I also spend a lot of time on my smartphone, trying to integrate the realities of family and career. They aren't bad things. However, I have found that when I put it down and look around me, there are so many amazing things to see and experience. Some of them are even Tweet-able.
  • Breathe deep. In trying to keep up with daily tasks, do you ever find that you don't take deep breaths? Close your eyes right now and breathe deep the provision of God. 
  • Play. Baseball, soccer, hopscotch, dress up. This one can be particularly easy if you have kids because you can just hop in on their games. 
  • Look at the sky. Really, just look up. Or if you can't drag yourself away from your computer, check out NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. I double-dog dare you to not be awed.
I'm just beginning to think on this concept of "living full." Summer always seems like a good time, right? 

Do you have any suggestions for slowing down and living a full life?

*In case you didn't notice, I haven't posted in a while. With summer time upon us and some big life plans in the works, it seems I am officially an "occasional blogger." Head over to the subscribe box on the right hand column and type in your email to guarantee you don't miss a post!

Monday, April 30, 2012

I Eat (Some) Of My Words

Our new garage door...sans garbage can
We've now been in our new house and city for almost a month.

Not one person in our neighborhood (or even in our cove) has greeted us on their own initiative. But, we've received a non-compliance notice from the homeowner's association. (We had our tiny trash can in front of our garage. Horrors!)


I wrote a post last month about the joys of living in the suburbs. I stand by most of what I said then, but I'm reminded again that critics of suburbia have valid points.

A pastor and friend here in our new town summed up the culture well when he said "People wave and smile at you from the driveway, but when that garage door goes down there is some serious pain and suffering happening."

We live in an affluent county. Movie stars and musicians have homes around the corner. Everything is shiny, the yards are well-tended, and children play in the streets. Teenagers have to be warned not to text and drive as they cruise around with their friends. From the outside, it's Americana at its finest.

But here, like everywhere else, there is brokenness.

Maybe there's not a homeless enclave, but there are families with too little food, struggling to pay the mortgage on a house they could afford before they lost their jobs.

In our cove, the neighbors on our right have never officially met the neighbors on our left, though they've both been here for years.

Churches are tucked into every strip mall and meet in every school. There are literally 5 or 6 churches on every corner, in a town of only 30,000. We want to believe there's just that much worship, but we fear that really people can't get along.

There is truly brokenness and spiritual need everywhere: city, suburb, and farm. Our hearts long for home, so we often--consciously or not--set up our chosen location as THE best place. But it's not. No place is perfect, because nothing on this earth is perfect. Yet.

Wherever we find ourselves, by Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to be the perfect-ers. It's Christ in us--His bride--that brings redemption...from the city to the farm.

I confess: I wanted to plop down into a sweet little community and be welcomed to the fold with little effort on my part. That is obviously not going to happen.

But, maybe we can be the family that introduces neighbors. Maybe we, with the power of Holy Spirit, we will be allowed to be a renewing agent in this particular piece of broken earth.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Friday Slice

We had our first tornado threat in our new city last night. No worries; tornado far away from us, but still in the area. Hubby wasn't home. At the first mention of the word "tornado" the kids. freaked. out. I mean lost it.

Now, in Memphis, I handled this all right because I lived their my whole life. I knew the drill. Here, I still don't know the streets or the surrounding cities...well, I needed to listen to the newscast. But I couldn't because I my children were running circles screaming.

Did you know that screaming "CALM DOWN" at the top of your lungs does not, in fact, calm kids down?


Here are some links to divert your attention away from my stellar parenting.

Dishes and Litany and all that Beauty--I link to Mama:Monk a good bit because she's awesome. But, this post has set a new standard.
And that spiral leads toward a glorious center, the place where God is making all the plain things beautiful and all the sad things untrue.
When You Want A Great Life Plan--Ann Voskamp also outdid herself on this one.
When one consistently chooses cyberspace over holy space--life becomes a hollow place.
Lament of a Black Neo-Reformed Woman--New Redbud Trillia Newbell is awesome in her Her.Meneutics debut

Most of Our Spiritual life is not spent in ecstasy--I haven't read anything from Lauren Winner, but I really love this interview she gave.

Praying In Color--The link in the Lauren Winner article intrigued me enough for me to click on it. For someone that's exhausted, stressed, and unable to form the words for prayer, this seems interesting. Personally, I too often get caught up in praying right doctrine, which of course hinders my relationship with God. I plan on trying this in the coming days. Details to come?

Fundraising For Short Term Missions Trips: Hand Outs Hurt--Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes!! Hubby and I experienced this on a grander scale as adults when we joined the staff of a support-based missions organization. If you have any involvement with short term missions, read this ASAP.


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