Monthly Archives: January 2016

No Word 2016

Last year, I tried OneWord for 2015 and selected the word “balance.”

That word called to me last December because I was beginning to feel out of control. So much of my life revolved around the demands of other [little] people and I felt unbalanced and disconnected. I didn’t feel whole in the sense that all the parts of me didn’t feel in concert.

So January began with a marked intention toward balance. I was pinning articles and artwork related to my word, I ordered a notebook-style planner on Amazon (the kind that got me through college), and I got really serious about attending yoga sessions at our local Y—for the first couple months, it was 1-2 times/week.

10941383_810226828658_8405597240895668266_nIn mid-January, we attended winter family camp together (a highlight of our entire year), and I was inspired by the weekend speaker to begin blogging more carefully about the kids. I recorded the cute things they said, sure, but I also made sure I included the pieces of their personality that were God-given, the fruits of the Spirit we already saw in them, the spiritual gifts that had already begun developing in them. As they continue to grow up, I know we’ll be able to look back and see the seeds of who God made them to be starting to sprout even now.

The only concrete resolution I made was to blog at least once per month. Real talk: I forgot about my word after about April, and didn’t remember it until November. And I did not blog every month.

11760052_850987274398_8261262896368744944_nI worked really hard out of the gate to restore balance to my own life. But we forged new rhythms as a family and I discovered I couldn’t schedule the kind of balance I was seeking. The spaces on my calendar were representative of what I could do; the balance I longed for had to do with making peace with this stage of my life.

I reflected on the “failure” of my OneWord this December with Jon and realized out loud that I do feel more balanced, and it had so little to do with what I did to be balanced.

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  • My kids entered new stages, began communicating verbally, became friends with one another, and started sleeping in their own beds in the same room (victory!).
  • My team at work launched a brand-new website that makes my job more streamlined and fun, and introduced exciting new challenges.
  • IMG_6681Jon and I spent a week in Paris and London—just the two of us—that gave us so much life and breath and joy. Which is not say those things had been missing from our marriage, but when you spend quality time with your best friend, you come away with a greater sense of how much you love them—as we like to say, how glad you are that they’re in your corner.
  • I began teaching a Sunday morning adult class, started making the announcements at The Table every now and then, and participated in morning worship a few times with dramatic readings. Jon has helped me recognize that public speaking is something God wired me for, and having these outlets has given me a sense of gratitude and fulfillment.

 

12191006_870113674938_830503387852467319_nI’ve learned that I’m not really the OneWord type. I don’t think I’ll make resolutions this year (I’ve never been the type to keep those, either). This will be another big year for our family, with another baby coming this summer, and we know life ebbs and flows—some stages are hard and some aren’t.

2016, bring it on. It’s just another stage, after all.

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To Jack and Grace

Dear Jack and Grace,

11061655_859265824118_5755606292068120332_nUp to this point we have typically written letters to each of you individually. You are each beautiful children with unique gifts, created in the image of God. However, on this occasion, I wanted to write a letter to the two of you to capture a glimpse at the beautiful friendship and companionship you have developed.

Grace, for months now, when you wake up, look up, or move, you ask, “Bubba?” or, “Where’s Dack?” Whenever you sees him your whole face lights up and often times you run to him. I have heard numerous people describe your reunion after separate BSF childcare on Tuesdays, complete with smiles and running into each other’s arms.

Jack, you love to “play toys” and sometimes that gets challenging. Grace will sometimes take a toy from you. Other times, Jack, you’ll take a toy you want from Grace. Sometimes this requires mediation (from Mom, sometimes Dad) to help reach a compromise and continue practicing sharing. Increasingly, though, Jack, you look to give something to Grace so she can play, too.

Both of you love—and frequently request—to “watch a show.” Specifically, you have bonded together over Daniel Tiger which comes out of the creative world of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Daniel Tiger does all sorts of fun things and has catchy jingles like “When something seems hard to do/ try it a little bit at a time.” Jack, you love the cool things Daniel does with friends, family, and environment. Grace, you particularly perk up whenever Baby Margaret (“Memmick”) is involved. I recently fell asleep on the couch and the two you watched contentedly together.

12313898_875712235378_4335310228539637034_nYou both can be really great helpers. Grace, you love to throw things in the trash and help pick things up. Jack, you like to model behavior for Grace. Sometime you don’t want to do something if we ask, but if you see that it helps your sister (e.g., saying a prayer, putting on jammies, or brushing teeth), then you shows a particular zeal. Grace, you look up to Jack and Jack, you takes pride in watching out for your little sister.

Mommy’s note: Sometimes Daddy and I catch each other’s eye as we watch you interact, and I can practically hear what we’re both thinking: Look at them; they love each other so much. You each show much affection (nature + nurture: we’re a very affectionate family) like hugs, kisses, nicknames, dancing together, holding hands. Jack, some of the things you call Grace are sweetie pie, sweetheart, peanut girl, and Grace Amelia.

Having two sisters of my own, and one of them now living with us, I know that brother-sister relationships can ebb and flow, but the moment you are now in is quite special. I very much value the relationships I have with my sisters now, which has taken some time to develop and heal from growing up in close quarters. I hope that the two of you continue to love, help, and enjoy each other. It gives your mom and I such joy to watch you experience life “toGETHer” (as Jack would say).

God has blessed us with the two of you and your friendship. We look forward to seeing how you welcome your new sibling in 6 months! As of now, you love to talk to Mommy’s belly, greeting the baby and giving kisses/raspberries.

Love,

Daddy

P.S. I also love how much when I come home you both run up to me and want to play “Daddy’s Home”—when I throw you each up into the air. You are very patient taking turns and in some ways, enjoy watching the other fly through the air as much as doing it yourselves.