Sunday, April 22, 2012
This picture was taken four years ago. After drinking deeply of community spending 3 days with the Parkers in CO (now in Thailand- lauraleighparker.com) we set sail for our homeland of NC
On a once in a lifetime roadtrip from WA to NC after stopping to eat P,B & J... AGAIN we ran around wild in an open field, tackled & tagged and laughed our hearts silly. Then we piled back in the van, I read a story to my 5,2 & 9 month old and tucked each in with lovies & blankets then headed to the front of the van to savor some choclate and conversation with my husband.
Today, my kids are 10, 7, 5 & 2. We live a beautiful life on many levels. Yet, though we are living our dream of land & animals & gardens & owning a home I find it harder to get back to this place of giddy laughter & snorts, of unashamed silliness & play. The duties & demands of my job loom large & I give in way too much to "just let me finish this task" mode.
I teeter and totter on the fence of us all working hard together to have a clean/orderly house and simply living life knowing messes are signs of life and creativity. Does anyone else experience this???
And lately, I have fallen prey to wondering if my job has true significance at all because I am in jeans and a cute t-shirt rather than the tailored suit my Mom wore when I was little.
Yet, yet, my precious Lydia walked around the house today calling her baby doll "Darlin'" and singing "Sabor, you can mobe the mowntowns, you are mowighty to save, you are mowighty to save."
And so tonight although I am in process of balancing the demands of Motherhood and re-establishing some better rhythms of daily playfulness with Mom, I remember my dream after being struck down & having my feet yanked out from under me being diagnosed with a chronic disease...birthing little souls to love loudly on this earth, thus pointing others to the glory of God.
And I saw it today. So tho I groan & moan & kick the dirt as I am in process, I am thankful.
Thankful for kids who sing around the house.
Thankful for Josh inviting Abby to play a game with him.
Thankful for Lydias mimic of me to her baby doll.
Thankful for Jed having patience with his sisters when he desperately wants to talk.
Thankful for four healthy souls to fill with beauty & nature & God-glory.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Friday, February 3, 2012
Thursday, October 20, 2011
beauty floods the heart with light.
enlarges the soul
leaves imprints of glory & I am softened...
Oh, that I once lived among such canyons, rustic magecticness, wide Colombia river & most importantly dear Jesus following souls living intently loving generous & loud.
I wish I could linger longer in this rich oasis of the safety nourishment joy of gizzard friendship but the end of the school day bell is ringing loudly an my professor husband and four budding souls beckon me homeward. I go filled up from being in Karin's picture memories rich, Scripture rich home...Carissa's game rich, Spirit-filled Haven home...Shias Man-cub Daddy rich building a porch with 3 boys rich, livin' free off 23 acres rich & harvesting food & eggs & fruit galore...Megans cultured, amazing fixer uper skilled home where love & peace of Jesus reign & 5 year old man cub goes off to work with Daddy home...and Allisons exquisit meal creating on back porch with a view from Eden & art & books & beauty flowing form every corner rich home. Seeing all this in 1 week- being in 5 unique homes of women I love & shared life intently with years ago has lit a fire in my belly.
To keep going.
To not give up.
To keep walking into this big harry audacious vision of mine to love loudly.
Because at the end of the day, when the end of all school bells rings, its the love that matters.
Oh, Jesus, today that you would flow so freely through these hands & this one mouth that is so prone to sin lately. That you would reign supreme in this heart of mine- your home & recieve glory today as I prod on in this one piece, beautiful mess I am living. That you would rise up in women all across the land to truly LOVE today having the courage to listen to & follow your voice.
Friday, October 7, 2011
The wheel of life kept turning in my absence due to a lot of planning & prep & I am so, so thankful for the fabulous gift of a Daddy for my kids, of grandparents & a fun-loving babysitter!
But, returning has me a bit shell shocked to be honest...in lieu of my last post.
The responsibilities upon me as the woman of this home, the Wife of my professor husband, the Mother of my always growing, learning, absorbing children are startling...are...constant...are...wonderfully stimulating yet overwhelmingly taxing.
And I see clearly as I have just had a 6 day refresher from daily life & re-entered that the enemy of my days in this season right now is...exhaustion.
So what I ask do I do with this reality? Do I join the ranks of tired, worn out, stressed out Mamas who are quick to complain about their jobs & kids? Cause I sure could spout out a bunch of 'let me just tell you all I have going on right now & how stressed I am' talk. Do I yell & slam doors & close myself in my room & pout? What do you do when your maxed out, tired, with a full plate?
I don't claim to have the answer but I know Father is present in this struggle. As I bring this reality to light already I am growing in understanding of ways to protect my strength- mental, physical, spiritual, emotional. Just this week I chose to quickly end a phone conversation that I recognized was draining me. I also went to bed one night at 9pm with laundry left unfolded, paperwork yet to be done & without 'preping' for the next day like I typically do. Yes, Jesus is leading me beside still waters in the midst of my days as I listen to his voice.
Victory. I have to say this Christ following, living in an orgainic flowing relationship with the Father of Light is truly exhilarating.
gifts i am counting today...
-a peaceful unanxious heart over the cereal bowls on the counter
-fresh falling of leaves
-mailman blessing my kids socks off with a lollipop
-juice plus gummies for my kids on a day when all they've had is carbs
More to come on the trip out west!
Be blessed today dear one.
May the Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on your daily realities,
abbas warrior princess
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Like truly & calmly admitting I messed up without making excuses. Just admitting. Just being honest
with myself and others and God.
But lately- like the last few years lately- I am learning how to honestly confess and along
how to laugh at my insecurities, my mess ups, which is freeing me in a major way to
mess of a loved & redeemed child of God that I am.
And to let others- my husband, my kids, my friends- be that as well.
Well, I had a little major mess up this week & it daily glares at me.
And isn't it canny that it happened after a morning of ministry???
We all looked cute- dressed presentably from my 9 yr. old on down to my 2 yr. old & headed to my husbands office- an alzheimer's unit- where we brought about 100 cut out red hearts in order to make
a festive 4th of July wreath with the residents to hang on their doors. The activities director is fabulous
and once a month she lets us join in on an activity so my four saplings & I have space to interact with
these folks living out their last chapter of life. It is humbling really. Life enhancing. A stark reminder about
what our bodies do over time. I rarely leave untouched.
This day was no different. Lydia delighted hearts, Abby pasted for Mrs. Lucy who can't use her hands,
Joshua cut for Mr. Albert who is on oxygen & Jed glued white stickers on the blue. We served, we loved.
We were blessed in the giving.
We came home & a sitter was coming in 30 short minutes & I was trying to make smoothies for lunch and pack up the computer & make a grocery list- (always cramming as much as I can into my weekly errand time when a sitter comes!).
And my oldest young man cub asks to show me a used air soft gun he found on amazon as I'm shutting down the computer about to shove it in the bag... And I grunt. "Tonight, with Daddy, Okay?"
And his head drops & he mumbles something about it only taking a minute & a pain of guilt nudges me
as the blender whirls & the toddler squeals with delight yet piercing my ears so I open back out the computer
and turn it on pretty huffy like. Get out cups & straws & time is ticking till Miss Rebecca comes & "UGGG why didn't I write out my grocery list last night, and how again am I suppost to love my 9 yr. old well and train my 2 year old out of high pitched screams & gosh, I know I need time away to run errands but why do I feel guilty" all comes bursting out of me.
when I see it...
the nerf gun on my kitchen floor...and I swing my whole leg into it like I'm kicking a goalie kick scoring smack
the glass oven.
Shattered...a million little pieces...
And expensive mistake. Humbling to be sweeping up glass & awkardly mending, consoling young hearts when a babysitter arrives. Good one, Mandy.
After the "I'm sorry's" and wiped away tears & a talk with my oldest who understands a lot I finally feel okay
to get in the van & leave. Later than I wanted...of course. Less time to do the 100 things I needed to.
But somehow this shattering mistake of a bad choice of what to do with my anger
opened a floodgate that was pent up
in my heart...
"I am so scared about...
"I can't do this part of my life...
"I feel so inadequate to...
"I'm not sure how to love this friend...
"I'm so fed up with money frustrations...
"I hate all those sex traffickers in thailand & asheville & all those porn making people...
Why does it take so long for pleasers to be gut level honest? Like I think all those confessions & more
had been in my heart for weeks & even tho I had prayed & gone for walks with Father & read scripture I still hadn't reveled
my truest self before him. Posing can be so subtle, can't it?
Before your oven door gets the hell smashed out of it what kind of honest confessions are lying on your heart that need to bust out?
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Thursday, October 7, 2010
And the first few days I kicked some dirt and had a puffy attitude when it was time to order books
for school or I really desperately needed some encouragement & was missing my daily dose of holy experience.blogspot or I wanted to be in better touch with my friends across the miles.
But now a month later, I am still alive without the machine in my home.
And even better for it in some ways.
There has been more freeze tag in my back yard, consistent napping & therefore better attitudes in the evenings, more evening connection & flirting with my husband, and most of all
with space for the persons right in front of me
that unfortunately can get overlooked because of the 'important things' to check up on the computer.
And yes, I messed up the whole schedule for my cooking swap group of mamas- we were suppost to meet tonight & I haven't even bought ingredients cause I missed the email reminders! ooops...gotta love it when
you need some mercy from your friends.
In this time we have also survived the whooping cough- the P in Dtp- pertussis. 4 & 1 year old. Hard nights. Oldest is playing kid pitch baseball & younger 2 are on same soccer team. Evenings are full of outdoors & it is good, this fresh air, this meeting of new folks, this me stretching my legs pushing baby around the track.
In this time, I have missed this blog, missed writing & sharing all that is abuzz in the four walls of this home & some of the learnings and challengings of my heart. Although my life increases with the demands in my chosen job the burning in my belly for this way of life & learning is still ablaze.
May joy & hope be upon you today.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
As for the school question...I stammer on this one a little bit because I know the person is asking if we do actual academics like leaning new math concepts & language lessons and to that my answer is "No, we do take a break from academics for the whole month of July." But what I really want to say is "HECK YEA!" School is learning & learning is relational & therefore I view my kids as always IN school. Children are little sponges, soaking up what is put in front of them all the time...learning ways of relating, learning from what they see on TV, developing ways of seeing the world, learning a zest for God's world by being out in it, feeling the grass on barefeet, hearing birds singing in the morning. But yes, summer time comes with open arms for me to put the math & language lessons on the shelf & planning book. My kids did a week of swiming lessons this summer and a week of a 9-12 Vacation Bible School. And now we are into berry picking & mashing & making jams & shucking corn to freeze for the winter. Truly, each day is full of possibilities.
For me, summer ushers in space where we just "be." A scheduled day turns into a semi-scheduled day to 30 minute chunks of house work if you choose to bicker or want to be a whiny pants or pouter. In the summer time, more than watching over academics I am watching over heart attitudes & pleasantness & ways of interacting with sibilings. Yes, this is 'work' for me and it has been for the last 8 years but a little tending to today produces a lot of peace & joy in our home to enjoy next year. Yet, neglecting these weeds of poutiness & selfishness (at the time they pop up) that undoubtedly grow in every child's heart only means more work & frustration for me next year. Inch by inch, life's a cinch, right?!
I am still learning & crafting how this flow of life & homeschooling looks in our home. For now, I am loving just 'being' around & with my children. The unplanned moments of making cookies or laying in bed for an hour after dinner like I did last night with my four year old, scratching backs & telling 'Abby stories.' I do write down a few possible activities or friends to persue to have in my back pocket but mostly we are flowing with the wind, and my mind & heart are resting. Come August in the thicket of hotness, we will take a week to slowly transition into some academics in the hottest part of the day so that come beautiful fall time when the whether is glorious we can have some half school days & enjoy those leaves & hikes & playing in creeks.
For us, summer's are for...
...catching baby grasshoppers in your front yard in your pj's
...coming to the breakfast table in your pj's
...putting a big ole' bin of k'nex or lincoln logs in my den for the kids to wake up to
...walking through the woods in the cool of the morning, around the neighborhood pushing the stroller holding the coffee, letting the kids start & stop at their leisure & as their curiosity beckons them...throwing rocks, jumping off big rocks, petting the dogs that come to greet us, wading in a pond to
catch frogs...both chatting & being silent along the way
...eating cucumbers from our garden with a little salt
...hosting neighborhood boys, dishing out cookies & water, and praises for doing the monkey bars
...taking our 4 year old girly girl to ballet class every Wed. & pinching kids to see if they feel like ice cream
...going to bed later than usual
...checking our bee hive...watching those critters work like crazy
...going slow, reading books in my bed in the heat of the afternoon & then all taking naps
I do hope your summer finds you sprinkled with lightheartedness & basking in the sunshine of
God's great love that is for you & with you always...
Abbas Warrior Princess
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
We have been a family that has recycled off and on. Then we moved to the country & the truck doesn't pick it up. Excuses, excuses. My husband has been nudging me to start recycling more consistently again.
He put my oldest son and I who are both creature lovers in front of this video today.
I wanted to share it with you. So we, together, can turn the tide for our grandbabies.
I dare ya.
And I pick up the book my Mom recently gave me called An Alter in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor and read the chapter titled, The Practice of Wearing Skin. It is turning out to be a delightful book. But, I am humored to read more about seeing the sacred in the ordinary in these words of hers...
So today, dear ones, on this sabboth, may you have the courage to
have a family dance party,
swing high on a swing beside your toddler,
scream out loud at the glorious fireworks,
pray out loud as you fold those clothes,
invite your hubby to the locked bedroom while your little ones nap,
...to truly live
...offering your most authentic prayer in reach
...seeing the sacred in the ordinary things of life,
even if it does cause the pharisees around you to snicker & slide away.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
This first time around, I sweat. Remembering my first days of making fresh ground home made bread in batches of 5 loaves at a time & botching the whole thing over a quick move & mess up... I read and re-read the instructions. I ask James for help to dry the hot jars & lids while I boil the juices & sugar & pectin wondering if it is really going to work...or not. Pour hot purple jam into mason jars, place lids on and screw ring around...exhale, realax the shoulders. Twirl in my cotton skirt & "yes!" to myself.
I am truly enjoying my job lately. I picked lettuce that I grew from seed for the first time this week. That was the most delish salad I have ever eaten. I am so glad a friend & her two precious girls happened to come over for some sprinkler fun that morning & I got to share the moment of tasting the harvest with her. Life is so full of possibilities.
As I learn to lean into this season of life as I glide into my thirties with a busy, hard working husband, four ragamuffin, creative, intelligent children I am deeply soul satisfied. Sure, I look to the right and to the left & "see" all the possibilites of what I could do, could achieve, could work toward to prove myself a little more worthy, to feel a little more secure in our bank account when college days roll around. And sure, I do dream of being a mid-wife, a nurse some day, a writer & retreat leader with my husband. And I hold those desires out there with palms open and trust that when it is time & good not only for me but also for those under my care to persue these things I will hear, "This is the way, walk in it."
Until then, I glory in a job where I get to serve my husband by getting some exercise this week & mowing the grass, a job where I get to research books & learning styles, a job where my patience is stretched, my soul is enlarged in the loving compassion needed to care for young children. A job that allows me to have an influencial voice in shaping the moldable clay of my children's young hearts...to pass on a legacy of love & biblical truth served daily at our breakfast table and sprinkled throughout our day as we work together, play together, learn how to give & take & bear with one another. Sure, I've had to learn self discipline in being my own boss and leading this ship well as I plan out our days & activities. Sure, I get totally overwhelmed & exhausted some days and want to 'quit,' move on to the next job, children, place. Who doesn't want to give up some days?
But for now, I am seeing the holy in the daily. The beauty in the messes. The wonder in the childrens eyes. The endless possibilities of what we could grow, raise, can & put away for the winter. And I am allowing my heart to feast on the goodness of what is in front of me, today...right now...four jars of homemade blackberry jam all ready for hot toast in the morning, four cups sucked dry of blackberry smoothies my kids ate for lunch, dirty dishes on the counter, a highchair with a tray needing to be wiped, messages to be listened to on the answering machine. And I say, "Abba, I belong to you, keep opening my eyes to see the sacred in the ordinary things of life."
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
with them myself, fully present, hand available to hold when my husband walked free of kid-o's
hands. Something about the smell of mountain laurel, the sound of little creeks and leaves rustling
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Something happens in the quiet moments. I recieve the gift of these little people, and strings of love are tied to these persons whom I care so much for yet, as most all mothers have experienced, these little people interrupt my flow of thought quite often, they make messes, they act silly at inoportune times & dirty a lot of clothes. Yet, when my eyes open after an hours nap, my heart softens as I rest between soft sheets with these children God has entrusted to my care. And I say hats off to a good ole' nap.
Okay, so we are on the road, again. Forgot the cord for camera to computer so creek house pic's- fishing, kayaking, doing leaf shadings will have to wait. Now,we have landed in one of my favorite NC cities...Ashville for a week while our hardwoods are sanded & fumes settle. Today was our first day of exploring the 8,000 acres of Biltmore with our yearly pass...oh, my stars are we pumped or what!@!* And just in case you think I'm crazy enought to take my 8,5,3 & 11 month old in the house by myself, I didn't. We are going for the...yes, the gardens galoore, the farm, the hikes & bike path- miles and miles of beauty & yes, the creamery at the new Antler Hill Villiage.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
"I remember my mothers's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."
The impact we have as a Mother upon the world is limitless. What an incredible job we have been given when God blesses us with a child. It is a noble task, a holy calling, a riverbed of meeting needs & learning just how selfish one is & thus what it is to be a servant. Is it always glamorous and fun, NO...it is stretching & challenging & will stretch one further than she has ever been stretched spiritually, physically & emotionally. Yet, it is foundational to the civilizing of our world.
The impacts of a Mothers choices in her own home have lasting effects upon society at large. We, as grown adult women who have been entrusted with children have got to grow up and stop selfishly trying to free ourselves from our God given task of mothering through twiddling away their days at this place and that, at this activity and that, watching this TV show with horrible attitudes and that one, sending them to this neighbors home and that one. There is NO computer game, expensive curriculium, latest coolest toy or game that will shape morally, lovingly, good natured, smart children like that of a grounded, daily, lovingly disciplining presence of a Mother.
I will say it again even clearer....Babies R Us & all their gadgets & widgets will not form healthy, happy, well behaved children. All that stuff unfortunately clutters a mothers home & thus steals her time in choosing which seat or widget her child should sit. Her loving nurturing presence is what a child desires.
Mothers are civilizers of the next generation. It is high time we stop twiddling away our time in our homes. Just as we make a plan to workout, or reach goals in school or a job, so a plan is needed for your homelife. Don't wait until your child is a teen to be intentional about what kind of homelife you want to shape him/her. Seize the day, seize the hour.
May your heart be prodded toward the saplings in your home as you honestly evaluate their upbringing in YOUR home. They are precious souls longing for beauty & hope & adventure. What will you fill their childhood with?
Yes, you are civilizing your community, your town, city & thus the world through your job as a mother. Embrace it with vigor & joy & a thankful heart. It really is fun when you let down and lean into this season of life.
1. to create a high level of culture
2. to teach somebody to behave in a more socially, morally and culturally acceptable way.
Enlighten, cultivate, improve, advance subdue in terms of a people or nation.
Update: Just read at http://aholyexperience.com about nourishing your children with you...beautiful, life giving, make your heart swell with hope and vision...if you want a rich blessing of beauty trekk on over there aholyexperience.com
Monday, May 3, 2010
Our floors are being torn up this week in prep for some hardwoods going down to support this large family & friends & lots of traffic...so we gotta get outa here!
Johnny Jump Up, baby food, 1 pair of keens & 1 pair of tennis shoes for each child, pj's, undies & grubby clothes for creek digging, fishing, hiking & rolling in the grass.
J made two arrows with his pocket knife yesterday out of sticks.
Both boys are in....yes, camo.
We are pumped for some time deep in nature, observing & learning more to identify creatures and trees.
Blessings on your week...
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Yesterday I finsihed up and sent in my application for that mac daddy Mom Heart Intensive Training with Sally Clarkson & Whole Heart Ministries. As I wrote my personal story of meeting Jesus, my experience with books or conferences by Whole Heart your name & memories flooded my heart.
I don't think I've said it in a long time & mabey never as clearly as I've wanted to...so I need to say it today while it is today. Your life and sharing life with you has shaped and influenced me...a lot. Thank you for leading that Bible study in the wrestling room at Hickory High School early, early in the morning and letting me see for the first time people my age reading the bible. Thank you for writing me encouraging notes in my first years of learning to walk with Jesus. Thank you for showing me what it could look like.
Thank you for introducing me to Anne of Green Gabels. Remember watching those movies in my basement?
Looking back, one of the real reason's I went to App. was to be near you- to room with you & be around those Jesus loving cool folks at Mt. Vernon. I was captivated by the way you lived life.
That first year, when I got so 'busy for Jesus' and tried so hard to be that Prov 31 woman & started judging everyone by the same standards I was keeping that made me feel like I was getting 'more holy' or 'closer to Jesus', I judged you too. I competed with you. I looked down on your and Matt's blossimg relationship because I judged it by the standards I had set for myself (which were intirely unrealistic). I am sorry. I am so sorry. Will you forgive me?
What a beautiful sense of humor Father has in that the teacher of the conference that peirced my pharisaciacal flesh fell in love with me & married me 2 years to the weekend after that Grace Walk conf. he taught. Guess God knew I would need a good theologian for a husband to keep me straight! :)
Even tho we missed out on a few years of eachothers lives as we were both getting settled into married life, I am so thankful you chose to forgive me and we were able to share life with my first toddler & your first baby girl when we both lived in Hickory. Thank you for giving me The Mission of Motherhood & working out at the Y with me & being a safe friend to share hopes & dreams & hard spots. Thank you for getting food and coming over to make James and I sit down on a blanket & eat on our moving day to WA. Thank you for doing the hard work of packing with me & for the life giving words you wrote on my boxes that I found when I unpacked in my new home.
Your life impacts.
Your humor is refreshing.
You love out loud.
After our 1st pastorate experience, eyes opened wide, who did James and I want to be with...you and Matt. Thank you for hosting us on our healing, slow-return drive from WA to NC. Thank you for babysitting our 3 kids so we could nurture our marriage & absorb what we had just experienced & be present to our pain. Thank you for being silly with our kids at the table, for squirting whip cream in their little bird like mouths, filling them with wonder & joy. You are so darn special Laura Leigh Parker. I still get a fun silly spell when I open a whip cream bottle & glory over the squeals of my little ones lining up for a squirt! I don't think I've ever told you that. I want you to know.
And taking me to that tea room in CO. Walking in to such beauty & you saying "Today, any guest from Wenatchee gets in free." Oh you love so lavishly.
And after our 6 months deep in the woods hiking & healing & finally finding a job & moving into another rental & I began grieving on a whole new level the Whole Hearted Mama sisters I left in WA...what showed up at our door...a trampoline!@#$!- We believe in your family...have fun! the parkers.
I know you do these things & live this life of love because you have been given to, you have been so dearly loved by others & mostly by Abba. But, my oh my, what grace that my life got to intersect with yours & that I have gotten to love & be loved by you.
I'm thankful for you.
I miss you girl. I look forward to lots of tea & stories & face time in heaven.
I love you.
the parkers moved last month to be missionaries in thailand with their 3 chilren to direct a christian orphanage for girls. their story is beautiful & unique & honest. you would be blessed to check it out.