5 Things 3 Weeks with 4 Kids have Taught Me

1. Stances Schmanzes.

We sent Leila to ‘Buela Camp for the first ten days of Ruthie’s life. ‘Buela Camp is the place one sends 22 month olds so that their mother can recover before facing the reality that she has two babies. But really, the mother spends the whole time, while recovering, crying because she has sent her older baby away whilst receiving pictures from her parents such as this one…

assuring the Crazy Mother, that not only has Older Baby completely forgotten and replaced her family of origin, but she is fully enjoying the all-inclusive resort lifestyle we all long for.

But then soon enough Older Baby returns.

And remembers that she missed her mother so much she best not let her out of her sight.

Or let her sleep alone.

I’ve never “believed” in having children in my bed.

Stances yield to survival. (Except if you notice technically, she has the bed to herself. She sprawls out so much there really isn’t room for us.)

2. Some things you don’t get good at…no matter how experienced you are.

Hello Post-Partum…Basically, when I come home with an adorable baby I  cry uncontrollably, have fearful thoughts all night long, and make every scheduling decisions based on whether or not I need to get dressed.

I also watch far more TV than is my usual routine.

Meaning…I have wept too many tears over George and Amahl’s wedding, jumped every time the floor creaks at night and lived in luxurious maternity pajamas with matching newborn nightgowns. Yes, thanks to borrowed pajamas I can match Baby Ruthie as we sit around crying. It’s like she’s my live American Girl Doll.

3. Personal Space is a completely unnecessary cultural construct.

Leila sits on my lap while I feed Baby Ruthie. To keep her from rubbing Ruthie’s face and head raw, or pulling her fingers (she calls it “petting”), I say “Don’t touch the baby, you can touch Mommy.” She then pokes my nose, mouth, and pulls my ears.

Friends, at some point during these every 2 hour scenarios, my personal space has evaporated so fully, that I find myself transcending. It’s like I’ve reached a higher plane. I look down on myself and say, “Someday you will be alone again. But alone now means only 1-2 children with you – in the bathroom.”

4. Stay Current.

The hospital no longer enourages umbilial cord care. This was the process of cleaning the baby belly button with rubbing alcohol until the super gross, yet metaphorically beautiful, cord stubb ( does it have a name?) falls off. This was Travis’s thing with our other babies. He really leaned into this job. He owned it. I don’t look at the belly button for the first two weeks.

Well somehow in the past two years, they said “You know, we don’t think that alchohol is doing anything anyways, let’s just leave it alone.” Like that. 50 years of supportive spousal contribution out the window. Not only does it no longer matter. IT NEVER MATTERED. All that meticulous cleaning.Poor Travis.

Stay current friends. This means talk to first time parents. And buy all new stuff. Clearly. Always.

5. The Great Sibling Shake up

I used to carry Leila around.

This is her new mode of transport:

Olivia used to be The Middle Child, and now she’s been bumped to Top Tier…and picked up a maternal edge along the way…

 It’s been a WILD couple of weeks. I still whisper to Travis every day “Are we going to make it?” I can’t figure out how to go anywhere, so I don’t, things are louder than ever, no one’s sheets match.  But seeing these relationship dynamics shift has been a delightful surprise. Add someone new to the mix and that whole seemingly immovable Family System gets all shaken up.  We are not who we were 3 1/2 weeks ago, and I welcome that. Preferably during the daylight hours, but I can’t be too demanding –  we’re a “Large Family,” now,  no one can.

 

 

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Meet Ruth[ie]

Ruth Miriam joined our family on Thursday, October 2nd. Surprise! She is a girl.

We were not really surprised.

She is named for my sister and my Aunt, joining a rich legacy of Ruth Miriams and providing increased confusion for Puerto Ricans everwhere. Growing up, on hearing “Ruthie,” my mom would go “Ruthie my sister or Ruthie my daughter?” I cannot wait to say this. Except it will be “Ruthie my aunt or Ruthie my sister or Ruthie my daughter?” At that point the speaker will have forgotten what they were going to say.

Look how relaxed we are as a family of three…

except…

Yes. That’s more like it. I should have asked if I could just wear that monster blood pressure cuff home with me. Or can I at least be swaddled?

Here’s to more than we could have ever hoped or even imagined. Humbled and thankful over here – in deeper ways than ever before.

Onward.

 

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Breaking points and Baby Jesus

If you saw my life over the past few weeks you would have seen this (next time I won’t make them face the sun)…

and this

and this

become this

and this

and this

amazingly with the help of The Village, become this

It’s no secret that it’s easier to share pictures of my life more than sound bites.

If you heard my life right now you would, in turn, run screaming.

Tonight, I fled to FOOD LION, and Food Lion is not quiet nor peaceful. It doesn’t even smell good like nice grocery stores.  But it’s nearby and no one screams at me – usually.

Because, right now, there’s just a lot of yelling and crying and asking and yelling and shrieking.

Leila is swiftly developing her language skills. But she practices by shouting a word and waiting for us to repeat it. If we get it wrong, she shouts it again and again louder. If we get it right, she shouts it again and again louder.

The pattern culminated this week when Leila got attached to the Baby Jesus from our Little People Nativity Set. When we cleaned out the garage, she discovered the Christmas bin and because she is a third child and I am tired, nearly deaf, and with low standards, I opened it up and we celebrated Christmas in September in the driveway.

But then she fixated. So now if we get in the car and head off somewhere without the Baby Jesus she begins screaming, “JESUS!!! JESUS!!!”. I say “JESUS!!! JESUS!!!” to affirm. But then she keeps screaming it because she wants me to hand her Jesus. Which I can’t because he is somewhere on the floor of the garage.

People, I found myself, at a true breaking point, in public, in all of my maturity,  yelling back to a 22 month old.,”LOOK. HE ISN”T HERE!!! Jesus isn’t here!  We left him at home!! We LEFT JESUS AT HOME!!!!”

Any signs in your life recently that something needs to change?

 

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At Summer’s End

We sold our house on Wednesday. Like in the papers signed, keys exchanged, someone else now lives there sort of way. I vacuumed it out for the last time Tuesday night, locked it up, and gave myself seven seconds to feel something BIG. You know what I felt?  Grateful that we bought a quality vacuum cleaner a few years ago.

But when I got the text from our realtor the next day that the closing had finished, I had a long ugly cry in the shower. Not because I’m sad to leave the house but because I remember so acutely a certain day last February when the unknowns in our lives seemed insurmountable and I had no idea how we were going to get from here to there. And here we are. (Which is actually the “there”.) Here/there is not what I could have imagined or planned and it so much better than either.

The last month has been spent doing final moves from the old house (there is something both dreamy and devastating about an incremental move), endless discussions with LL Bean customer service that went like this “No, I want the Original Bookpack not the Original Jr…in Beach Rose. What – it’s sold out? Connect me to your Tysons Store.” and phone calls with the school nurse that went something like this,” She’s missing the polio vaccine? Is THAT going around again, because I can’t face another shot appointment” ( I’ve never been so ecstatic about a clerical error.)

We spent last night at the pool. It was an End of Summer Potluck and  a magical time of being with old and new friends. Tonight we will say our official goodbye to summer by letting the girls slide down the stairs in sleeping bags. They’ve never lived somewhere with stairs and Sophia has been asking since we moved. I have to think this one through logistically because we have yet to be vaccinated for concussions.

Here are some pictures from the second half of summer which I found had a theme of cousins, goats, rabbits, pigs, and pretzels.

We went to Virginia Beach for a week and did the obvious – fed goats at Hunt Club Farms. It was a huge hit. A little interactive for my tastes…but who can resist a good pony ride?

Don’t be deceived by this child’s serious public persona. She’s wild.

She spent most of the summer with a scraped up nose and chin. There was a two day period when Olivia wouldn’t look at her because it grossed her out. Ahh. Family.

Speaking of family, we’ve had a lot of great cousin time this summer including the addition of our new favorite Baby Cousin Granger!

Granger felt the weight of Leila’s training and experience,

She and I just have a few disagreements on holding technique.

Now take a deep breath before this one.

Yes, that’s a Roasted Pig in my parents dining room. Ole! We celebrated my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary a few weeks ago with a huge, wonderful, joyful party in which the ceremonial pig was brought in for the event and, wait for it, named. My grandfather bellowing, “What are we going to name the pig?!!” still echoes in my ears. They decided on Elsa, which we vowed to never tell the small girl cousins who were outside at that moment dominating the salsa-intended dance floor with a Frozen Sing-a-Long. Help us all. I take pictures such as this one to bring to therapy to explain my life.  But honestly what I missed was the Puerto Rican Photo Booth which is when everyone poses with the pig. I had to draw a line.

Now on to rabbits.

We have a rabbit who lives in the backyard and loves to play with Leila. She wants very badly to touch the rabbit. He’s considering it.

Some final highlights:

The Pool Lost and Found Pretzel:

The Sandbox:

Co-Sleeping (it’s not just for Parents and Babies anymore)

But it’s definitely not for sleep.

Summer 2014 has been one for the record books. Tomorrow we will bike the older girls over to school and then I might sit down and really reflect on it all.

Or I might just pray for what is next.  There is always something…

Happy Summer’s End!

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Practicing Lament

I read “news” news on Twitter – local, national, global. I read my friend’s news on Facebook  - a lot about a few, a little about some, and nothing about 400 of them. I check Instagram to be assured of what’s right in the world including new babies, new shoes, and the comforting reminder that somewhere, right now, a farmer’s market is occurring. 

The last few days FB’s personal updates and Twitter’s global ones have collided as we sit behind our screens, horrified at a world seeming to spin out of control.

Beth Moore tweeted, ” I have no words.” That’s saying something, love that woman.

Meanwhile during the past week I’ve been reading a book on faith development. The author has a section in which she discusses the practice of lament – as in it’s a discipline we should practice

Because as tragedy does rightly silence us, when needed, we do have words. They’ve been being said for thousands of years. I’ll never forget Philip Yancey ,in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings, explaining that not only can God handle our grief, He provides us with the words to express it.

One-third of the Book of Psalms are psalms of lament. One-third! But what about the sheep and the tambourines and the still waters?! In there too, but alongside a whole lot of articulated pain. How have we overlooked this? Avoided it? Forgotten even that there’s actually a whole book entitled “Lamentations”?

Will Willimon says this:

Today, when the contemporary Church reads Lamentations, the disciplines of mourning are being taught by a people who have experienced the worst of disaster to a people who tend to avoid grief at all possible costs…there will be no recovery, no renovation, and no rebirth until there is first the legitimate expression of grief, the public processing of pain, and honest admission of our true situation. Lamentations is the part of the Bible that teaches us how to grieve, how to be angry with God when we need to be, how to weep when tears are necessary.”

So if you’re interested, there are two forms of Laments, personal and corporate

Personal Laments (Psalm 13 is an example) contain five elements:

1. Address to God (vs.1 and 3)

2. Complaint (verse 1-4)

3. Expression of Confidence or trust (verse 5)

4. Petition (verse 3)

5. Expression of Praise or Vow to praise (verse 6)

Corporate Laments (Psalm 80 as example)  contain six elements because “Expression of Confidence or Trust” is divided into two elements: “Remembering God’s past actions” and “Words of Affirmation.”

Still with me? You structure people are loving this! We can organize our grief!!!

No, not at all.

But we can use a model that plants us in the practice of grieving,  making it feel less foreign, less an interruption. Especially in confronting global atrocities, practicing lament assures that our grief is not a fleeting internet-inspired emotion quickly overshadowed by the equally fleeting joy of shopping or fleeting grief of a failed car inspection. The Bible grounds our emotions, not dispelling them, while culture continually manipulates. 

Social media overwhelms me into inaction. It’s a cacophony of causes out there. We are urged to pray and urged to act and urged to give and urged to not look away. Yet eventually, I switch sites or shut down and deal with the ones yelling their needs in real time.

But spiritual practices are work over the long haul. I know this because I don’t like  them. But I also know this is how I am transformed. This is how all of us become people who know how to grieve and mourn and complain so that we may become people who know how to pray and  act and not look away.

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Cindy’s Serums and Circles

I had never really feared getting older. My goals were always to be smarter and better, not prettier and cooler, so age seemed to be on my side. But our culture is pervasive and persuasive and right around my birthday this year, numbed with confusion and burdened by the environmental affects plaguing my skin (namely, the air in the minivan} somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 am, I hit the wrong channel on the remote and landed on an informercial for this:

 You see, Cindy Crawford has teamed with a doctor  whose method halts aging on melons…so he prescribes it for faces. This is what I needed. A non-aging melon face.

My last thought before giving out my credit card for the starter kit? It’s Cindy Crawford, it cant’ be a scam.  

Am I twelve? No. Apparently that’s the issue.

Though often billed as  a steady force of face-dulling, dark spot enhancing, forward motion, I experience aging when things come full circle. Overalls and Birkenstocks are back.  I’ll leave Birkenstocks out, as orthopedic comfort is more appreciated as I age, but overalls really? Like the ones Erin and I wore everyday in tenth grade as our own weird sociological experiment until I broke out in a rash? Was that a good look?  The rash definitely wasn’t. Welcome back.

But then a few weeks ago I attended a wedding where I got to pray with a group of women I’ve watched grow up. In a stolen moment before the ceremony that was quiet and sacred, we stood around a beautiful bride and thanked God for grace and friendship and joy, for the past years and the future ones. I had two inches of Cindy Crawford’s Glowing Serum on my face but for the  first time felt so matronly, and so content to be there exactly as I was. Look what I have been able to witness…

Then the very next week one of those women, who not so long ago sat on my living room floor eating brownies after  I put Infant Sophia to bed at 6:30 because I was a hyper sleep trainer, led my almost second grader at Vacation Bible School. Sophia came home every day talking about the chants Tara had her crew do as they marched around the church. I felt not-young and awe-filled, and immeasurably grateful. I only hope that some of these women will circle my girls in prayer one day, with or without me, my face no doubt disintegrated from non-FDA approved product use.

When we recently moved it was to the  same street I lived on in college. Heartwarming. Bizarre.  I sometimes imagine my 20 year old self walking down the street in front of my house, to get to class or wherever I went instead of class. I like her. She’s funny and idealistic and has worked out a good scam in living with all of these athletes who feed her. I yell to her to wear more sunscreen.

Then the creepy flashback ends and I return to my life. I’m not who I was and I’m glad. I’m earning my matronly badges and learning this side of things might have the real perks. I’m more honest, less hard on myself, more hopeful, more at peace. I’ve seen too much of  God’s faithfulness to be unchanged and  the ways it has shaped me, perhaps my face may never show.

Besides tonight when our new neighbors, you know, the Girls Soccer Team, brought me their team dinner leftovers, all was right with the world. Full circle. Welcome Back. 

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It’s possible to fall asleep during an ultra sound and other summer lessons learned (so far)

We aren’t finding out the gender of this baby. We’re focusing on the magic here. Fourth and final. Big surprise. Here we go. Magic.

So I was stressed about the ultrasound. Will I be able to really not ask? Will I be able to tell from the screen myself? Will the Ultra Sound Tech tell everyone else in the office just so I feel left out?

It didn’t matter. I got in that dimly lit room and laid down on the table and I was practically snoring. The tech invited me to stay. She didn’t have another test for a few hours, I could take my time. I was tempted.

Summer’s been crazy. Life has been crazy. I am crazy.  We joined the swim team.  Okay, she joined the swim team.

But really it’s a family effort because summer swim team is a lot of time, and a lot of work. Good thing because if you know me, I live for sports and structure. Hmm…

Yes, we are at the pool every morning at 8:15 and that girl is doing laps in the water and I feel a bit like a hypocrite encouraging her to do it because I’ve done few laps in my life and when I was growing up “swimming” was what I did to cool off from sitting there. But alas, it’s been a win and she’s learning a ton, and we are all actually thriving on the structure.

Though some of us are still not as excited as the rest of the Williamsburg Culture about the five hour long swim meets:

But we’re getting there.

Lesson 2: Don’t let your husband volunteer to run the pool vending machine. 

Meanwhile, as Sophia is doing her laps and Olivia and Leila are wading in the kids pool and I’m struggling in confusion over what “50 Free” even means, Travis is restocking the vending machine. He volunteered to take on this project one blissful early summer night when we had all headed over to “Meet the Coaches” and enjoy a bonfire at the pool. I happened to glance over and see him rapturously eating a smore and proclaiming to the pool president “that he thought he could really contribute in this area...” Next thing we know, our new pantry is stocked with honey buns, our new garage filled with cheetos, and in a season of big happenings, our late night discussions are over the popularity of Sprite vs. Dr. Pepper and how to “keep the Nutter Butters from sticking.” Yes.

Lesson 3: In times of chaos, stay organized. And obey the law. 

I got a speeding ticket back in May. 35 in a 25. I cried. I think I actually was crying before the ticket which apparently caused me to speed. The kind police officer asked me, “Ma’am, where are you headed right now?” Is that part of their script? I can’t figure it out, because I looked behind me to three kids and 24 bags from Trader Joes and I said, “home.” What was he expecting? What kind of rogue adventure could I be going on with all these kids, at 35 mph,  without any gluten?

I was stressed. We had decided that week to, you know, move, the next week, and I was seeing the impact on the kids. Basically we decided to switch major things in their lives and announce it all quite cheerfully in a matter of weeks. New baby! New school! New house! Be excited!

They weren’t. I was stressed. And everywhere in this town is 25 mph or blocked by a horse drawn carriage. But, here’s what I find most degrading about a ticket: They tape a summons to your door. 

And here’s what’s worse: we’re switching the girls school and I needed two proofs of address. Between the moves and the chaos (and truly questioning what our address was) I grabbed a bill and the summons. I took a court summons to the school office to prove residency. Talk about first impressions. Stay organized friends. Don’t be like me. Because, to make matters worse, now I can’t find that court summons. And how am I supposed to go to court anyways? Who has the time? No one with the  swim team schedule. Then I realized that it might be dark and quiet in that courthouse. I could possibly read while I wait. I’m finding a way to make this happen.

Within this same time frame, I lost my driver’s license and had to go to the DMV for a replacement. (Insert horror and screaming here. ) The wait was not terrible but the experience led to what has been quite possibly my most formative experience of the summer:

Lesson 4: Never, ever, assume that they will be using the picture on file for your new license. Do your hair and make up every time you go to the DMV, even if you are just picking up a friend.  I’m so grateful that whenever I want to remember the wildness of May/June 2014, I need just look in my wallet (and quickly look away).

Travis and I celebrated our 11 year anniversary last weekend at the wedding of some crazy kids, crazy enough to get married when they were 22 and just out of college. I mean…insanity. I managed to get in a prom picture with this glamorous group to celebrate the first wedding of a generation. I don’t blend in.

Lesson 5: When pregnant, avoid bright colors and large geometric shapes.  

We rounded out the weekend with a great celebration at church at which Travis was presented with the world’s largest meatball.

Lesson 6: If husband has spent one anniversary posing with a meatball, he will again. 

Flashback to last year’s 10 year trip to New York City:

Leading me to my final lesson of the summer thus far:

Lesson 7: Be secure. (And stay safe. It’s a jungle out there.)

 

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It was a dark, rainy afternoon, where upon something INCREDIBLE happened

I watched “Sound of Music” with Sophia and Olivia for the first time.

Pause please. Okay.

I honestly don’t think I’ve watched the epic film in 18 years. Yes, I know a live version came out. No, I didn’t see it. I’m a purist which means, in this case,  I stick to the film. ( What I mean by purist changes depending on what stance I’m describing, which could argue with the definition of purist…)

Also, though I watched “Sound of Music” 8 times a year for a good ten years before this recent drought, it was always on a VHS tape recorded during Christmas 1990.

Positives: re-watching Cold War commercials each time with historic emotional news flashes of the Berlin wall falling.

Negatives: apparently it was edited for length, so today, not kidding, I saw footage I had never seen before. Longer dialogues of conversations I had always felt were a bit abrupt, subtle looks between characters. Oh what I’ve been missing!!!

When I first saw the movie, I identified with Louisa, the blonde, silent, pranking sister.  The one about whom Maria claims, “And Lousia I don’t know about, but someone has to find out about her!”

Oh Louisa. The mystery.

Then I wanted to be Leisel. Because we all wanted to be Leisel.

Of course ultimately,  I  wanted to be Maria, with longer hair, but mainly for the wedding. Oh the wedding! That was the wedding I wanted. Forget Pinterest and mason jars. I wanted all my nun friends cloistered behind a gate as I left them forever to meet the priest and kneel in perfect sync with the orchestra.

That was the wedding I wanted. When I wanted to be Maria, after wanting to be Liesel and Louisa.

So today, I was curious who I’d identify with, you know,  in my maturity.

I mean I had my suspicions,

But no. The Baroness is still a stranger to me.

Go back to Vienna Baroness!

Marry Uncle Max!

Travel the world promoting family singing groups, grieving that you are a few decades too early for the Osmonds!

No, it was not the Baroness that made me weep with understanding today…

Yes. It was the Reverend Mother. Leading me to wonder if the past years have aged me more than I realized. Or if I’m really just longing for a long, concealing, forgiving, habit right now. Yes and yes.

I want to be like the Reverend Mother! She has such grace and patience. She is not in a hurry. She is not stressed about keeping a wave upon the sand.  She loves the Problem that is Maria. She sees her call as walking with Problems towards healing and hope, not dismissing them. Unless a handsome widowed Captain needs a governess. Then she dismisses them and their guitars. But really how often does that happen?

The Reverend Mother is so wise and generous! She commits herself wholeheartedly to both helping Maria find her true vocation ( a discussion that seriously made me cry) and to hitting every last high note in “Climb Every Mountain.” Wow. I think the VHS taped version cut half that song for cold war commercials.

As I filled with longing to become more Reverend Mother-like, I received my first test:  the CD was scratched during “Edelweiss.” The first “Edelweiss”, when Christopher Plummer Captain Von Trapp had just begun to let down his  guard and reveal himself to be the true Rodgers and Hammerstein singer he was meant to be, we were all meant to be.

I tried not to lose it. Reverend Mother style. I just sang the parts for the girls lost to library CD decay. Each and every note. Reverend Mother Style.

I think they were grateful.

Though I know that right now they want to be Marta or Louisa. It’s where we all begin. 

 

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On this week

I don’t personally know the families involved in last weekend’s horrible shootings, but at one point I knew what it was like to be a student at Norfolk Christian. In the wake of the tragedy, those memories have haunted me. I remember many nights driving home to the beach from school events, graduation parties, friend’s houses. I knew exactly how many minutes it took to get from the school’s neighborhood to my driveway, and what time I would have to leave to get there by 11:30. I knew there would always be a parent, half asleep on the couch waiting for me.

I wasn’t a parent yet. I didn’t realize how much praying one can do when half asleep.

I also didn’t realize that the true curriculum of Norfolk Christian would not sink in until years later, when I was far away from Thole Street and Triple R Ranch. I had spent years learning Scripture alongside the periodic table, but the revelations that shape me still are Incarnational…Jesus in the form of people – teachers, students, families that were faithful and sacrificial. Who believed though it cost them dearly.  Who loved me well, though I was a self-important, stance-taking, theology debating, cynical remark making, champion for dancing at school formals. No, I have not changed as much as I should have. Yes, I think they have dances now. Yes,  I’m sure that has improved everyone’s lives significantly.

Over the past days and nights as I’ve prayed for the Rodriguezes, I’ve been praying for parents and teachers at the school. And for those sweet students. Students who are learning, as I wish I did sooner, that faith is not like algebra or AP Chem… it is not linear and does not feel balanced. We often don’t experience it terms of  forward progression, step by step. Faith is a gift that is birthed and nurtured, sustaining when we least expect it.  It happens upside down and inside out…it comes out of the cracks when we feel on the verge of breaking, or when our hearts go right ahead and split down the middle.

In Mrs. Merkel’s 6th grade class we had to memorize Hebrews 11. The whole thing. We got a handout at the beginning of the year, photocopied straight from the Bible. We  put it in a plastic sleeve and slid it into our binders and the girls would painstakingly highlight each verse  in a different color. It looked hideous. I still remember most of it. I know most of my classmates do too.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see. This is what the Ancients were commended for. By faith…”

It then goes on to list the crazy crazy stuff people did out of faith and by faith and through faith. Great chapter for 6th graders – lots of action, swords, lion’s mouths, etc. It’s been called the “Faith Hall of Fame,” but really that’s too glamorous.  In a brief interlude, verse 13 admits the tension we  inevitably learn as we age on this journey, why the Christian life is ultimately a calling with great cost, not a commodity we can package and sell.

“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”

The author of Hebrews then returns to his list, “By faith…”

Hebrews 12:1 is rarely studied, or memorized alongside its preceding chapter. Yet, it should have been highlighted away by my 12 year old hands.

“Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…”

This week has provided signficant additions to my own ever-running “By faith” list.  The peace, strength and mercy being demonstrated can only be described as other-worldly. A community gathers and is comforted by a family facing the unthinkable. Those of us watching the news reports through tears have to remind ourselves that what we see is real.

I’ve been thinking about Norfolk Christian this week ultimately because I still fight the temptation to grow my faith in a classroom. If I can just find the right book...But what taught me all those years ago, the teaching that sticks and shapes, came in the form of names, Mr. Elder, Mr. Doyle, Mrs. Carter, Mrs. Linz…It’s what  continues my true education today – the community, the cloud.

In an era when belief is statistically going out of style, the community  bears witness and reminds, and sometimes, such as in this tremendous and difficult moment, those most devastated believe for us all. 

 

 

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Did you know?

Dr. Maya Angelou had over 30 honorary degrees but never actually went to college.

Happy Rainy Thursday Friends, here’s to the truth that there are unexpected paths to everywhere and  right now, someone, somewhere is reinventing how to do something.

“The birth of my son caused me to develop enough courage to invent my life.” Maya Angelou, Letters to My Daughter

This is one of my favorites. She wrote it when she turned 80, as a sort of epilogue to her previous biographies. Its a treasure and a great great gift. ‘Tis wedding season friends, and you might just know a bride-to-be who’s going to need some Maya Angelou much more than a Magic Bullet, I mean…don’t we all?

Grateful today for beautiful lives and brave words.

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