Sunday, June 30, 2013

trust

If our deepest desire for our children is that they grow up without guilt from past wrongdoings, trusting that we'll provide for them today, and secure in knowing that they gave hope and a future...

How much deeper is that same desire that God our Father has for us?

Our children trust us, because they don't know any differently. They don't wake up each morning with worries about time or finances or stress. They just assume that everything will work itself out, as it always does. Children are experts at simply living and accepting love.

Our childhood days may be behind us, but our hearts and minds are still the same. It isn't always easy, but let's learn from our children and have faith in the next moment, hour, day, week, month and year.

Sometimes, having faith is literally all we can do. How awesome it is - how thankful I am! - that it's all God asks of us.
Friday, June 28, 2013

and we're rolling

It's officially been about six months since we've used our video camera. Six!!! There's a long, sad story behind it, which is really too painful to re-live at the moment (or ever), but the good news is that we're finally rolling again. And for this, I am so so so so so so SO thankful.

Lots of people my age, it seems, haven't jumped on the video-taping bandwagon. I'm not sure why. My impulse is to blame technology. Specifically, the ubiquitous smartphone. These super-advanced, multitasking cell phones (which for the average American might as well be considered another bodily organ) do it all now - phone calls, video calls, pictures, video clips, Internet, GPS...and on and on and on. It's literally a One Thing Does It All Tool. And being someone who appreciates organization and streamlining nearly to a fault, you would think I'd be a big fan of smartphones.

Well, I'm not the biggest fan. I do have an iPhone, and don't get me wrong, the convenience of its features is, well, convenient. But I think we've taken convenience a little too far in this day and age. I could write an entire (very lengthy) post about that, but I won't. I'll just say this: The main reason I've used my phone to take pictures or video in the past is because our camera and video camera were out of commission. Now that I have both instruments back in working order, I really don't use my phone anymore. I like to do things the old-fashioned way (not just in this regard, but with many things...again, there's a whole other post hiding behind that statement). I like to take pictures and then develop them, and sort them into an album and, you know, LOOK at them. I like to take video, lots of it, of my kids and our home and camping and autumn and rain, and then after a while go back and, you know, WATCH it all.

Crazy, I know.

Anywho, back to the present. I'm Beyond Description Sad that six months of our lives will be missing from our video collection (starting with the moment we sang "Happy Birthday" to Abigail when she turned 2...and ending with the first three months of Sadie's life...yep). But this is something that is out of our control and cannot be undone, no matter how much mourning goes on. And so we are trying our best to just be grateful for what we DO have, and move on in gladness.

Girls, get ready. Mama is going to be in your face ALL...THE...TIME.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

the dream, part 1

It's been a while since I dreamed about something. Not like I'm dreaming of a white Christmas or I'm dreaming of that first beer after having this baby, but like...a big dream. The kind that scares you.

Jeremy and I both remember the first time we rolled up to 497. Actually, we drove past it. It was a late summer evening, the air smelled sweet, and we were early for our appointment with the landlords to tour the house. Carefully watching for the correct house number, we craned our necks as we slid right past it (it comes up quick, and is nearly hidden by a tall hedge), but I distinctly remember spotting the front of the house and yelling, "Oh my God...NO WAY!!"

The mossy gray/green paint. The original wood planked door. The stone steps. The trellis beside it crawling with wild roses. The classic cape lantern. It was already more than my antique house-adoring heart could stand. Clearly, we must have the wrong house.

But we didn't. It was the right house, and for nearly an hour (us being early turned into the landlords being late), Jeremy and I and Abigail, who was 18 months old, walked around the yard and dreamed. Dreamed about living in that perfect little house. Peeked in the windows. Walked around it again and again. Abby ran around the yard in her pajamas in such joy, which I think is what really made us want the house. There was a yard to run around in, period. Grass! Flowers! Air! A very happy little girl!

Then the landlords arrived, and we toured the house. I kid you not, it was like someone (now I know, it must have been God) had lifted the lid to my brain, eavesdropped on all my wishes in creating "the perfect home", and handed it all to me in one fell swoop. Wood floors...beam ceilings...lots of windows...a stone fireplace...two stories...just enough bedrooms. Was this for real? No, seriously.

It was for real, and we moved in a month later. We've been living in that "perfect" house for almost a year now, and every once in a while Jeremy and I will look at one another and say, "Remember that night? This place was purely magical."

We have to do that sometimes. Because back then, this house was a symbol. It represented a fresh start, a dream, a promise of good things. And I think we expected too much from it. Don't get me wrong, it has not disappointed us. But even though moving here has blessed us in so many ways, it is just a house. There is still sadness here, there is still hardship and exhaustion. And the blessings actually come from God, not the house.

Still.

We have to remember the magic, because it is there, every day. It's in the dew on the grass every morning and the nostalgic chirp of a hundred unseen crickets. It's in the wildflowers you didn't know existed until they bloom overnight. It's in all the little critters, the chipmunks, the bunnies, the mice that scurry about the yard, giving us small, quick glimpses of their otherwise secret lives. The magic is there, if we open our eyes to it. Abigail does, and it's the most delightful thing to watch. So often I look at her chasing the birds or blowing milkweed or crunching on the snow peas she just randomly picked from the garden, and I'll think to myself, "Wow...she gets it.". And that is what I dream about for my girls (along with other things): that they grow up slowly, and enjoy childhood as it was meant to be. That they are awakened to all the magic around them, and that they not lose it but take it with them into adulthood.

Life can be a fairy tale. I believe it was supposed to be that way. All we have to do is open our eyes and keep the dream alive.

Part Two coming up...
Monday, June 24, 2013

what i wish you knew

Dear Abigail Grace,

I know that being 2 1/2 is hard.

I know that being 2 1/2 is especially hard when you have a 3-month-old sister who is stealing a lot of the attention you used to get before she was born.

I know that after she was born, your entire world changed and would never be the same again.

I know that this change makes you cry sometimes. It makes me cry sometimes, too.

I know that you love your sister to pieces.

I know that when you hit her, it's not out of a desire to hurt her but out of frustration and an inability to express your feelings otherwise.

I don't know how best to handle the situation.

I know that I love you more than words can say, and that my greatest wish, my deepest hope, my most fervent prayer, is that my actions will say it instead.

Always, Mommy
Sunday, June 23, 2013

persistence in love

For my birthday this year, my mom gave me a little leather-bound book of devotionals titled Jesus Calling. That was nearly a month ago, and I hadn't made time for it until today. There are a lot of things I don't make time for these days...not things that I really feel badly about, just things that would certainly enrich my life, for sure. Like devotional reading (although this is the one thing, along with reading my Bible, that I do feel badly about. This will change.)

This morning I sat outside on the patio with a cup of coffee as Sadie slept and Abigail danced around the yard peeking in rain buckets and smelling the flowers, and I opened this sweet little book to today's devotional. Here is the gist of what it said:

Let my love stream through you, washing away fear and distrust. A trusting response includes Me in your thoughts as you consider strategies to deal with a situation. My continual Presence is a promise, guaranteeing that you never have to face anything alone...Gently bring your attention back to Me whenever it wanders away. I look for persistence - instead of perfection - in your walk with Me.

As I'm sure was God's incredible timing, this is exactly where my heart has been lately. In the persistence of love. Specifically with my girls, though truthfully in general I just want to be better at loving everyone. It's not that I don't love my kids - I'm not sure there even exists a word in all of creation that can fully describe the deep, all-encompassing love of a mother. Would agape love be appropriate? This is the word used to mean Christ's love for humankind. I suppose I can't compare my own love for my own children to that. But goodness, it must come pretty close.

We are not perfect. There lies the difference between our love as mothers, and God's love. He is perfect, His love is perfect. He never grows impatient with us, never loses His temper, never says things He doesn't mean. Why do we fall prey to these things? I say 'we' but I mean I. Why can't my love for my girls, which is so fathomless that simply looking at them makes me cry sometimes, be enough to make me a perfect mother? I can't count how many times I've thought back to the moment, the many moments, when Abby was a baby, and I would hold her and stare at her for hours, thinking, "My God. How could anyone get angry at this? How could anyone raise their voice?". So many people warned me that day would come, but my heart was in denial. I didn't want to imagine, couldn't imagine, being anything less than loving toward my child.

But it did happen. It does happen, still. And every single one of those times leaves me feeling cold, empty, and ashamed. I cry about it! What is wrong with me? I wonder. Where is my compassion? My patience? My grace? Where is that mother who held her newborn baby in her arms and whispered, "You will always be safe here, in my arms, forever"? Where is that safety now?

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. Raising kids is the toughest job I've ever had; there is simply nothing in the world that can be likened to parenthood. And there are many days when I'm not very good at it. But God's promise, which was shared in my devotional today, is that He isn't interested in perfection. Only persistence. The willingness to admit that we do fall short, to take a step back, trust in God, and try again.

And again, and again, and again.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Saturday, June 22, 2013

a sweet afternoon

It is the first day of summer, and life couldn't be more beautiful.

As I sit here on the couch, windows open, curtains softly blowing, sun shining, birds chirping, and sweet little sleeping baby in my arms...I feel so blessed. And so alive.

This moment right here is what life is all about. Jeremy and Abby are napping together upstairs, and I am snuggling the world's snuggliest baby girl and relishing every second of it. We had Sadie because I missed having a baby (ok, maybe partly because we wanted Abby to have a sibling.) I misses the smallness. I missed the smell, and boy does this girl deliver. I must bury my face in her neck eight hundred times a day to breathe in that smell. And, oh, her cheeks! They are like two giant pillows. Honestly, I go to kiss them and my lips just keep sinking...and sinking...and sinking. I'm in heaven.

This Spring was a bit of a whirlwind. We've been getting used to having two little people run our lives instead of just one...getting car problem after car problem fixed and paid for...going back to work...growing a garden...saying goodbye to my grandfather.

I don't know what this summer holds in store for us, but I get the feeling it's going to be a good one.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

life

Giant sigh.

I feel as though these days I have many things to say, and many things to think about, but not a spare moment to say them or think about them. Why does not being able to keep a consistent and thorough journal as I did several years ago bother me so much? Lots of people go their entire lives without ever recording a single day or memory, whether written or otherwise.

But that's not me. That's never been me.

I think memories are sacred and precious. While I'm not ready to share about it just yet, my grandfather died recently. I spoke at the funeral, and the main sentiment behind what I shared was that i didn't know my grandfather very well, and that it would always be one of my deepest regrets. At the wake, the part that brought tears to my eyes even quicker than seeing my grandfather's body, was seeing all the pictures of him in his younger years. Pictures of a man I didn't know, a real man with a real family and real feelings who lived a very full and interesting life. And the fact that I was a stranger to that man saddened me on a level that I was so unprepared for.

I don't want to be a stranger to my kids, or my grandkids, or even my great-grandkids. I may not be traveling the world, or going to college, or curing any cancer, or amassing any trophies. But I am living a full and interesting life - at least in the eyes of my new, late twenty-something self - and I am happy. And I want my kids to know it.

There are things I want them to understand. First off, I married a man who was different than me in many ways, but completes me. He challenges me, without even knowing it, to be better at everything I do. He is an incredible husband - truly, better than any husband I've imagined for myself in past years - and the most perfect father I could have wished for my children. I am a better wife, mother, friend and person because of him. We don't always agree on everything, but we talk a lot and have managed to avoid any and all fighting this way. We make each other laugh. We don't take life too seriously. In fact, we're pretty lazy about it. We like to play more than work, and we hope our children will do the same.

I have two daughters, both of whom are more beautiful, sweet and loving than I ever hoped or dreamed they would be. I am still shocked that I didn't end up with a house full of boys, but now I can't imagine it any other way. I don't know what the future will bring, but for now we are happy with two of the most amazing little girls the world has the offer. They bring us much joy, and are constantly teaching us what love is, and how to do it.

I make coffee for a living. This may change eventually, but both Jeremy and I strongly believe that we are not defined by our jobs. We are not defined by what we do, but by who we are. And who we are is a couple of parents wanting to be their for their children. We don't own a house or a new car and we have no desire to keep up with the Joneses. We have simply chosen to live with less so that we can love our children more. We want to be with them, reading them stories, snuggling them in bed, playing with them in nature, teaching them about the things that truly matter - not what society tells them should matter.

I have always loved writing. I believe in it. I won't necessarily make money doing it, but it makes me happy. And you should always try and do the things that make you happy, as often as possible.

I like blues and folk and classic rock and any combination of the three. I like to garden. I like drinking beer, especially at the beach, and would like to learn as much about beer as humanly possible. I like to paint, and collect sea glass, and take pictures and read memoirs. I like stone walls. I think praying is essential to breathing. And I think I have the best mother in the entire universe.

There is more, so much more...and I hope to keep on writing about it all. I hope to keep sharing about the joys amd sorrows of parenthood and the evolution of being a wife. I hope my daughters will read this someday and know that they are not alone. That I have always been here, I am here now, and I will be here always. Even if it's just for them.

me

My name is Audrey. I'm just a twentysomething learning how to master the arts of cooking, cleaning, working and being in a relationship, same as you.In between all that, I like to collect sea glass and salvaged furniture. Occasionally, I cut and paste scraps of paper together. In the end, I am hoping that all of these things together will somehow amount to something good. This blog is a journal of my efforts to get there.

contact

thesalvagedbride at gmail dot com