Monday, April 25, 2016

The love that burdens us

Mom, Dad, and I were gathered in the living room while the girls washed the dishes. After a serious conversation about some solutions to some recent difficulties with the girls, Dad suggested we pray before he headed to bed. This is not at all unusual, and so I bowed my head with some resignation. Here is where we hand our cares over to God, and it is especially necessary today of all days.
You know the feeling from when you're a child, and you can't even vocalize how tired, and upset, and overwrought you are? It was in those moments that I would go to one of my parents and just lay my head on them, because they would understand. This was me tonight. Laying my head on God, hoping he would feel sorry for me. Then Daddy said, "Thank you God for the love that burdens us."
Huh?
I mentally ran that through my mind again, mouthing it at the same time. 
The love that burdens us. 
Look y'all, novels are written about love. All kinds of love. But mostly happy love. The kind that you would scale mountains and cross oceans for (to be very cliche) just to experience the euphoria it gives you.
Today I was disappointed by one of my sisters. She broke my trust, and really made me question my ability to guide her. Let's be real, I'm not experienced as a mother. I've taken over most of their training, all of their schooling, and decide much of their outside activities all by happenstance in a time of need. As my parents get older and don't like to drive, and enjoy the freedom of having grown children, it has fallen almost naturally on me. Both girls ask my permission before my parents, and the need to get this "right" is like nothing I have experienced before. The guidance of young lives is a responsibility that is indescribable. 

But today I cried in the car to Lauren Daigle's song "Trust in you" as I ate beef jerky that I'd impulse bought. I tried to analyze my feelings and decide if I was overreacting. I fought the urge to immaturely ignore her every time she spoke to me. 

True love is something we carry with us always. The love I have for these girls is a living thing. It encompasses my every interaction with them whether good or bad. The hopes I have for their futures and the kinds of people I want them to be, is all because I love them. Before them, I didn't have love like this. It's different from my other sisters in so many ways. I dissect conversations we have and question decisions I make regularly! I rejoice in their successes as if they were mine, in some ways they are! Sometimes love hurts y'all, I'm just being honest. It consumes our minds and jacks up our emotions, but I wouldn't trade it in. I just wouldn't. It never occurred to me that not just growth comes through this part of love, but joy can. The part where the love you have for someone pulls at you and causes you to do things not for the bubbly feeling it gives you, but for their good! I'm learning. I want to be able to be truly thankful for every part of love, because without the lows, the highs become mundane. I want to be able to say, "Thank You for the love that burdens us." and truly truly mean it. 




Thursday, April 14, 2016

Growing a green thumb

"I am not a gardener."
"I have a black thumb." 

I've heard these words so many times, and even said them myself. I was essentially saying, "Don't have your expectations too high when it comes to me growing plant life!" One thing I've always been confident in is my seed growing ability though. It doesn't require much, you basically put some seeds in dirt, water them with a spray bottle, and watch the seedlings pop up in a couple of weeks or less. This I could do. 
Transplanted yellow squash

But something changed recently. Every year Daddy grows tomatoes, as well as a few other veggies of his choosing. It is an understood fact that I will do nothing but pick and cook the fruit of his labors; I love the fact that he gets that! This year, Daddy decided that he would plant vegetables at our rental house and in the yard of an agreeable close friend...AND that he would start selling seedling trees from our backyard. After buying the dormant little trees and planting them he realized something: he needed to connect with buyers. He immediately thought of his daughter who constantly mentions things about blogs and instagrams, and Face books online (it's really like this y'all.) The rest is history.
 I bought some organic seeds and began to plant them in egg cartons to keep them from getting hit by a late (for the south) frost, and I jumped online and started setting up ebay, paypal, craigslist, instagram, and twitter accounts. With each seedling tree I listed, I had to google all about them. In the meantime my squash plants were growing quickly, and starting to lean on their spindly little stems. I called my aunt and asked her when I should plant them and she said, "Right now!". She gave me explicit instructions about the sun and soil and depth...
Basically, I found out that it isn't about having a green thumb. It's about having the diligence and care to commit to a project until it's finished. I had a black thumb before, because it didn't benefit me to check out five books from the library about every aspect of vegetable growing and seedling health--like I currently have.
 I've grown a green thumb! You can too, but it's gonna be work! Are you ready?

See what dad has going on over on Instagram if you'd like!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

This was not the plan, but HE IS RISEN!

It was confusing and frustrating. 
She had come to mourn, but someone had stolen Master's body!
They were all hiding out. What are disciples without a leader?

This was not the plan!

Or was it? 

How often in the moments of feverish rushing, of preparation, and even of living for Christ, do we forget the important details? 

Good Friday was my birthday, Saturday before Easter was so busy with errands and shopping for the girl's Easter outfits that I stayed up until almost 3 AM Easter morning cooking and finishing last minute details. I went to sleep and woke up at 6. 
I am not a morning person. My hair wouldn't cooperate, I couldn't find the list of things that I needed to remember to do before I left, my mom was still sick and was staying home, one of the girls was on punishment and I wasn't feeling too charitable toward her. I might have muttered that I hated Easter. More than once. And I love Easter. 

This was not the plan! 

Or was it? 

I arrived at church way early which proves my stress level didn't even need to be so high. I realized halfway through church that I'd forgotten my earrings, half of my Sunday School kids didn't show up,  my dress kept dragging in puddles, and the Easter lily I bought especially for the pulpit table was moved to a much less noticeable place. But I also noticed that the man who walks to church and never dresses up was wearing a full suit, and had a fedora to match. Some of the teens' mom came for the first time and seemed to enjoy herself. No one minded me taking pictures of them and everyone was happy. 

Excitement was in the air!

This is the day specifically set aside to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord! After a preparatory week of pondering his love, and the lengths he went to to redeem us through His crucifixion, we arrive at this day of victory. The day good wins over evil. Love triumphs over hate. 

He is Risen! 

Everything went exactly according to plan. It's just that sometimes we forget that.

Oh and regarding Mary and the disciples, you can read the full story at it's source HERE. I promise, it's a good one. 
Happy Easter y'all. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The little things (people)

I've had a rough week y'all. A rough month if I'm honest. I'm not sure if this is what growth or progress feels like, but it's hard and painful and stressful. When I got my business license in the end of January, I thought everything would fall into place. Suddenly I would have time. Instead, suddenly I became inundated with questions, requests, and responsibilities. I'll spare you the majority of the details, but two weeks ago my mom got sick and she remained down for two weeks. Today she is finally showing signs of improvement and I am coming up for air.
Today was not spent in the way my to do list demanded, but was instead filled with baby cuddles and kid-chasing. My mom was seen by the doctor, so my sister left her children with me and I struggled (and had a cookie from chick-fil-a and a second cup of coffee with extra cream and chocolate syrup in it to prove it.) But the smiles from my niece! The solemn statement from my almost-four-year-old nephew that he needed to put his gum up so his sister wouldn't get into it. The fact that my only nephew hadn't yet learned to sleep alone and currently has a hand flung across my forehead as I update my blog on my phone.
These things, little things, little people make me okay. Throughout my adulthood I've been blessed with little humans that are extra special. I don't always stop and appreciate them, but I try.

Saving money like a momma

First of all, let's get one thing straight.
I love saving money.
It's kinda like a hereditary thing. I went to yard sales and thrift stores before it became something amazing to do on tv. The sale rack is my first "department" to visit in a store. There is no shame in my money-saving game. Now that I've gotten carried away a little, behold these adorable boots I bought for my niece. Normally $30, I bought them for just over $8. The best part? BabyGirl (niece in question) wears a couple sizes smaller right now, so by the time winter rolls around she should fit right in them. This whole thought process proves that my brain is turning into a mommy brain as much as I fight it. My sister and I claim clothes to stay over our respective houses like we share custody of her children. I usually end up getting the raggedy play clothes, because they spend so much time outdoors here, and the nice new clothes mysteriously end up back at their house. 

Fast forward to today. I went to Goodwill Thrift Store to buy a top for A's Easter outfit. I wandered to the back and found some fabric bundles! This is the first time I've actually found any of these in a second-hand store. I thought it was like a unicorn that everyone but me managed to discover. I love two of the fabrics that came in this bundle, and it was $9! They're both 2+ yards. I'll figure out what to do with the others. 

What are some recent purchases you've made that left you feeling like you got the best deal in the world?  


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sowing Seeds

A little over a week ago, my mom and I took some egg cartons and began to fill them with dirt. Several packets of vegetable seeds had just arrived in the mail, so I was excited to plant them. I am not known for my ability to keep plants alive, but I'm great at growing seeds. This year we're planning to have all kinds of veggies and have even been allowed to plant at a friend's house! I read each instruction carefully before sprinkling them into the dirt, covering them, and soaking their new homes with water from a spray bottle. These moments are the ones I love with my mom, because playing in the dirt is her thing; that I enjoy it too a this stage is what makes it special. I think every girl secretly wants to share her mom's hobbies.
A few days ago I noticed tiny plants nudging their way out of the dirt, specks of green were just barely discernible at the surface. At this point you couldn't really tell what they were, but by the next morning they were actually little plants. The squash were the biggest, and I watched their container and encouraged their speedy growth with elation. My mom's seeds didn't fare so well. She thinks that the seeds were old, or not stored correctly. Her disappointment only lasted momentarily, because she will find more seeds, and plant them and try again.                         


It's the same way with children. I was discussing schoolwork with a friend yesterday who isn't home-schooling her daughter, she mused that she needed the deadlines that the school set to stay on track. I told her that the online school we used for the last two semesters wasn't for us right now. When she expressed regret, I told her it was okay; I'm coming to the realization that everyone is different and much of parenting or teaching in my case, is about figuring out what works. We sow seeds into the minds of children, and expect that the correct "plant" will grow out of it. When the seeds don't grow, hope is not lost! It could be the wrong seeds, the wrong soil, not enough water, the wrong season, or any number of factors. We change things and try again. If we are in tune with the needs of these little minds that we are responsible for, it will turn out okay in the end. On a personal note, the girls did enjoy their online schooling for the most part (two subjects for each, read about that HERE) it took too much time away from other things I want them to accomplish. I also feel that much of my angst during the school year is from when we take some alternate learning time, and then they get behind online. Anyway, I'm signing up again for nature pal exchange, and my little nephew will be learning about planting seeds--so nature studies are fully covered lol. To close, here is a picture of my squash taken tonight.

Lizzi


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tale of Tanger

I'm doing my best to blog more consistently. Even when I don't want to.
Today was long. So. Long. The main gist of it is that I spent the first part of the day at Tanger outlet wearing Buttercup, and watching Baby Girl and Mikey. At least there happened to be some festivities involving food trucks, sidewalk chalk, and free stuff there. Baby Girl ate chalk, and got it all over her face.
Several people told me what wonderful children I have. Buttercup fell asleep, I got food from the food trucks, and my sister even showed up (sheepishly happy) when it was time to go! After getting back to the house and leaving the teens to babysit the babies, we went grocery shopping --AT TWO DIFFERENT stores. I only went to the fabric store for some thread, and to get some gas for the car after that. A little talk with dad, an epic sandwich, another movie with the girls, half a baby dress finished for my shop, and my day is drawing to a close. 

I'm really really trying to appreciate the time I have with those I love. I want to look back on the negative things like traffic and babies arguing in the backseat as little blips on the amazing pages of my life. Sometimes it's difficult, and sometimes I just have to focus. 

Tomorrow I will be sleep deprived for Sunday school, but it is a privilege to serve God. It is a blessing to be around sweet young souls once a week. I hope your coming week is awesome. My birthday is under a week away! 
Mikey this morning after eating some "honey toast".