Bringing Home The Awkward

Honestly, I  have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. None.

However, I DO know that I’m going start working my margins and sharing a message. 
What? Yeah, you’ll see.

For today, my margins included a to-do list of finding a spot to sit and talk WITH YOU!
This video is really bad, and I’m just not into figuring out how to edit it. You get it as is. 
You are welcome.

My cheap-as-Walmart laptop must have the worst camera ever, but I didn’t know it because I’ve never used it before. I’ll figure that out eventually.
Anyway, I took a walk with no makeup on and in my pajamas, early this morning to find where I want to sit and talk.

I think we found it.

Also, the hoodie was mine. 
((shrug))

Sincerely,
Just Another Marginal Mom, celebrating her awkward

In other news, I’m learning from my kid how to start a YouTube Channel for our Porch Talks and don’t even have ONE subscriber yet. Wanna be one?

SUBSCRIBE TO YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Let’s find a place to sit together, friend.

My Body was Broken, but My Soul Has Turned The Corner

About every time I left the house over the last few months, I had this conversation.

Someone: “How ARE you doing?”
Me: “Well, at this point I’m “faking well”  pretty well, so that feels like an improvement.”
Someone: “Ok…”

I am just no good at saying “fine”.  I never ever will be.  If you ask me how I’m doing I want to spout
1. Random details of recovery from having a thyroidectomy and hysterectomy back to back, with spurts about critical anemia, wayward organs and the loss of my status as an organ donor (most of the disposable ones are gone) and blood, lots of blood…

2. I want to tell you about Jesus and his church and the people who are AMAZING and surrounded my family for the past eighteen months as we grappled with this unexpected next phase of my body being a lemon.
Maybe I’m not a lemon.
I’m an onion.  Lots of layers, and…. it stinks?

(READ: You Start With a Lemon and Squeeze),

3. But what I really can’t put to words in the 15 seconds that social propriety allots to the response expected to, “How are you doing?” is how much God has taught me over this who cluster-chaos of the last 2 years and what I wish EVERYONE could see.  Jesus has GOT to get to us somehow!

I just cannot “Good.” or “Fine”.
It’s not who I am.
I’m ok with that.

So for today’s awkward sharing on the blog, I want to address how I am, for those in the back of the room who may be wondering as I step forward and take on life again. Before I get down to my normal and banging out words, serving families and sharing in other ways, I’m going to tell you about how my broken body helped me turn the corner.

I am pretty sure that getting down to broken was one of the best things God has ever put me through. My body had to screech-halt, forcing me to turn around and focus on my soul because I didn’t listen the first 5,354 times that God sent clues my way.

It took several tries for Him to get my attention, and finally He most definitely, undoubtedly, gave me MORE than I could handle.

Sidenote: We all know that little statement is not in the Bible, right? It’s not in the Torah, or the King James, and definitely not the Apocrypha. Snopes.com  doesn’t have a reference for it, either. See?

It’s basically pre-social-media FAKE NEWS, that statement there. I’m waiting for Babylon Bee to respond to my email suggesting an article on”The woman who petitions that it be struck from the Bible, only to find it wasn’t there in the first place.”
I mean, *I* think it’s funny.

 

For the record, the Bible does say this:


We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.

(2 Cor. 4:8-10)


There are plenty of other examples of suffering that we can meditate on, as we each stagger awkwardly toward the holy and the cross, but this one is the one for me now. Feel free to find more in the good book.

People, we carry within ourselves the broken and battered sacrifice of Christ. In our actual bodies!
His suffering flows in our veins to propel us through our own and toward the place He wants us to be, not just the  “him in us and we in him”,  in a cute little way that gives us a sweet sugar boost to the emotions for our week.
Jesus is an organ transplant, for our dying, languishing souls as we lay on the operating table of this messed up world,  with our pulse fading fast.
He is our only hope, and the good news is…
there’s not a waiting list.

I may not have been through an organ transplant (they don’t seem to offer me organs, they’ve just taken many of mine),  but I did find myself laying in a bed with someone else’s blood being pumped into my veins to sustain me.  It was awkward.
I was loopy and I swear they told me it was male blood and his name was James.  If my mother-in-law hadn’t been there to witness it, I would still be convinced that James was my blood donor. Also that my husband would have to send my kids to school because I never labeled which homeschool books were for who before I died. That was the context of my hallucinations when crashing in a hospital, I kid you not.

Nevermind.

But, Jesus!!

He wants our hearts in tune to His calling, and our souls turned toward Him, completely and fully. He’s ready to stitch us up and get us back to thriving, the way he designed us to be.

We are each created as an essential part of His Body. We share his DNA, a thing greater than any of the distractions that we keep turning to every day; the distractions that I have turned to and made more important than what He called me to be.

See there, I ‘ll call myself out first; I volunteer as tribute.
I did this to myself, and I know it.
I’ve neglected my own body, but worse…

I. Have. Neglected. His.

It sounds so trite to say. “Oh, I’m nothing without Christ.”  until you are laying there losing blood, doctors are coming and you KNOW that,

God help me I am NOTHING without your saving grace right now.

(READ: Losing your *IT* vs. Saving Grace (5 Things I’ve Learned Through 7 Years of Poop)

God wants the most of us and, if necessary, He is fully prepared to give us more than we can handle so that we just give up and HAND IT OVER TO HIM.

I’m crying “Uncle”, or “Aunt”… ok, “Jesus.”

Friends, let’s do it. Take the transplant, take the blood transfusion.
Let’s get on with the Life in Him part of our stories.

So yeah,
it’s been three months since my most recent surgery and I AM doing well. I am so weak that my soul is just busting.
My body?
Eh, It’s really getting there and I’m fine with it.

 

NOTE: Before anyone becomes deeply concerned about me, I really am mostly-fine.  At this point, I truly am getting my bearings and feeling a flourish of strength return to my lemon of a body.  It’s just been through the ringer. I am ok and I am doing well at this point.  I’m speaking of what I’ve been through in the past two years and making a place marker to come back to when I reference it later.
Not all of my sharings will be so darn, Jesus-ey but this was the place to start for me.

18,629 Days and Counting- A Letter to My Parents

He mentioned it again today.
Let me explain.

I decided, with a heart full of passion and drive, that I was destined, CREATED, God-breathed into being for the purpose of being a writer.
I decided this when I was 9 years old, and the first person I told was my father.

Boy was he proud.

He reminds me still, and I’m 40.  The man never, ever stops believing in his children and their potential.

That year I created a lovely anniversary card for him and my mother, with all of the wit my 4th-ish grade, homeschooled passion could muster.
It read:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
It’s your anniversary,
AND MOMMY’S, TOO!

He reminded me of it again today. Quoted my exquisite logic back to me word for word and told me how he and his friends had chuckled over its brilliance at church this morning. I mean, you can’t question the logic of it, after all.

It’s easy for me to roll my eyes and groan, but listen, people…

He. Is. Still. Proud.

On the flip side, I am now 40 years old. I have had about a million and one false starts at this writing dream and I have decided that I’ve had enough of NOT being a writer.  It’s time.

In honor of the parents who believe in me still, now a mother and wife myself,  I offer my first stepping back out there, in THEIR HONOR, today.

It’s a bit longer, and many years later, but here I am at another one of my parents’ anniversaries, inspired by them.

FIFTY-ONE YEARS
18,629 days and counting.

Every year that goes by for my parents is an amazing and powerful inspiration, not because they “made it another year,” but because I witness the continued and consistent growing together of their souls and hearts.

It doesn’t stop, y’all.
God is in their details.

It’s not that they’ve ticked off another notch in their epic time span, it’s that this year was unlike any of the fifty that they have walked through before. It was completely different, with new experiences. The struggles were hard, the pains were deep and the joys immeasurably unpredictable.
As I watch them pass through life together, it’s not the time span that is inspiring. Buried beneath that number is an unshakeable drive and determination of TOGETHER, wholly submitted to a God who knows their deepest, individually and as a team.
It’s the fact that there is so much that is still new and they are STILL learning and changing together, every single day.

18,629 individual days, unlike the others before or after, of saying yes to each other and believing in God’s design of marriage.

That’s not boring.
10 kids
30+ grandkids
The reach of your investment into this union has changed the world. Just by doing your days submitted to God’s intention for together.
.

Marriage is not just coasting through life. it’s grabbing hold of each other, taking a deep breath and saying TOGETHER is the only way through. Period.

HAPPY FIFTY-FIRST ANNIVERSARY!!!!!

Thank you for showing us how to keep putting one foot in front of the other while still holding each other close.

Here’s to your FIRST DAY of year FIFTY-TWO,
and a prayer that you may have many 1,000s of days still ahead of together-ing.

WE LOVE YOU. 

My parents are so immensely proud of their family.

COMMENT BELOW to congratulation Richard and Lucienne Fowler on their FIRST DAY OF YEAR 52!!!!

SHARE if you believe that every day of marriage is valuable and makes you stronger!!!

The Up-shot Angle of a Child’s View

Lil Bit: Mama, I made you a bowl of soup, so you don’t forget to eat lunch. I made the chips look like a rose!

Sometimes we underestimate their awareness, the small things that they take note of.

It is as if from that lower vantage point they see us in such an exalted light at times, but they also… well, they have a good view of our bad side, too.  Up-shots are often artistic but rarely flattering. Ask any photographer.  It’s a hard angle to pull off, and it’s basically the the only one our kids get, when we are busy and moving about life.

Lil Bit: Mama, I made you a bowl of soup, so you don’t forget to eat lunch. I made the chips look like a rose!

She knows my habits and character. I cannot deny that. This sweet daughter of mine saw a need and an opportunity to serve me, as I was not caring for myself, and for that I am immensely glad.

Still, there is another message I was sending, and that angle wasn’t really great. That up-shot angle can be tricky and we sometimes forget that their little camera is always running, taking it in.

What she learned is a potential future, and what the role of a mother can look like.  That moms don’t feed our care for themselves. That they lose sight of their own needs, not just in happy sacrifice, but even in downright, oblivious disregard for their own bodies at times.

Wait that’s not what I want her learning. That’s not motherhood at all. That’s not me.

Moms don’t take care of themselves. Moms ignore the needs of their bodies, and healthy nourishment.  I wish I could say this message only applies to food, but that would be a lie. I’m going to tell you why.
She doesn’t see me pray enough.
It’s not that I don’t pray, it’s that I do it so privately. It occurs to me now that they don’t even often know that I have private prayers, on top of what we do as a family.
She doesn’t see me read anything fun, because all my reading is educational, training, pressing in for more. Never to just be.  Will I want her to always press so hard?
She doesn’t see my hobbies or dreams, because I crowded them out with other tasks to do. Where will her dreams go, the ones we are working so hard to nurture in here now?

Our life is good and full. We play board games, we roam, we invent, we build and plan our farm, we dream and work as a team. We live well and we love hard. Togetherness is our thing and it is downright glorious.But my daughter isn’t seeing my full potential, because I’m not living it. Heck, she hasn’t even seen me write.
What could she see as her own future potential, when she reads between my lines and margins, to see what matters to me and what I’m willing to invest there? Will she know how to invest in HER? How will she know to chase her dreams, and know that she is fully capable of doing it?

So here I am, friends. I’m invested.
She sees me.
She’s looking up.
She’s not even the only one.What dream do you want your child to catch you chasing, to see in their up-shot view of who Mom is?
Share it with me!

Still Learning to Be Still

Special needs momming is a full time job, and the business model is super complicated.  I spent Tuesday at the psychologist with Ruckus, working on a round of updated evaluations. Wednesday I was in Atlanta again, from dawn to dusk for Mozart’s day with his health team. It was planned and well prepared for. The other four children had their needs well met in my absence.

Yet my little Cricket, whose sensitive heart struggles with anxiety and trust after losing his first family, woke today with a deep need for constant connection with me. And by that, I mean I spent my morning as a piece of furniture.

We spent much time snuggling, and watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on Amazon Prime.

I set aside my mental to-do list to let him have his time, and be present.  That’s a hard thing to do when tasks snowball and the weekend is coming with no free time to squeeze the laundry into.
I help him. We colored, snuggled, watched Mr. Rogers and Highway to Heaven, both in one day!! His joy was immense, and I loved it!

Still, that  epic battle of “to Martha or to Mary” battled in the back of my head.
Because I still can’t get the knack of  how to be still and know.

 

We have the opportunity for love and therapy with many animals. Cricket and I took advantage of a few minutes with a horse today.

Now it’s after his bedtime. I have that mile long to-do list and a decision to make. 

Be.
Still.
Know.

How much I know depends on the day and a thousand variables reliant on the actions and choices of several other people, both in and outside of my home and family.

What I KNOW is that this is complicated.

There are the days that my inner Martha spits the words back. Be STILL? When? How? Have you not seen? Even my to-do list has it’s OWN to-do lists.  Have you not heard? There are people calling Mama in rapid succession from 5 different directions. How then, do I fit in being still?

Yet there are the times that a Mary spirit wells up within me. I kick off my shoes to ground myself on the earth He’s given and I throw agenda to the side, to watch children fly away with their imaginations and meld into the wonder of the life around me. We breath in fresh air and run in fields. We know how to BE.

I can never decide if this verse is meant to be a deep call to intimacy with my Maker, or a chastising of my flesh for being so easily consumed by what I have to do, seeing that I really do HAVE to do a huge amount of doing!

If asked, I could never decide who it’s for, my Martha or Mary, and I have finally decided it comes down to the day I’m having, every day.

And this is why.

We, the lovers of Christ, have a habit of remembering verses in small tidbits.  We like small bites because then we can say that we ate today.
I’m learning to take the time to look them up and enjoy the pages of my Bible in fuller context.
Decision made. Those words have run through my head all day. Be. Still. Know.
I’m looking up the chapter.

Ladies…. this “be still and know” one is nestled smack in the middle of Psalm 46, and the rest of it is FULL of context that we all need.

Just look for yourself (below)! That little verse that has vexed me is so much better when I stand back and see it as part of this full work God inspired.

He is ever-present.
God is within her, she will not fall.
He makes wars cease.

He writes of refuge and fortresses, I think of hiding in the laundry room, folding, but also of blanket forts and reading nooks.  The word mountain always conjures up laundry to me, however the streams and rivers call to mind his great wisdom in creating the coffee and the constant flow here in my kitchen.  And also, chocolate.  He lifts is voice? Did someone turn on The Fish radio station again?

The last two years I’ve been mostly gone from the internet publicly. My family needed safety and seclusion (for details on that, read THIS PREFACE and sign up for the list. So while, I can joke about the mom thoughts and snark this chapter brings up, my heart hears the promises it holds. Promise of protection and God’s faithfulness. We have been cocooned in tightly. Now it’s time to spread wings again.

After all this time, I know. It’s for all the days. Every one of them whether I feel the depth of stillness welling within my soul, or I’m grappling with stilling my struggle with self.

It’s there, every day.
He has us.
He is with us, we will not fall.
The least I can do is listen.
I can BE.
I can STILL.
I can KNOW.

It’s more than the verse.
He gives us whole chapters, my friends.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.[c]

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields[d] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.