Monday, September 21, 2015

Season of Awakening

I started September fresh. Yes, the kids were back in school, but I had made some intentional decisions to make room for what mattered most by removing some of the things that mattered least. He is working in that space I have given Him.

I have realized this is a new season for me & it is a Season of Awakening. I'm not filling every nook and cranny of my time with to-do's but instead with just-be's. I find myself standing at times staring in all directions, "What should I do now?" And with those questions, there are choices: rest, read, be productive, play, invest in relationships, sow into others, meet with Me's; I have the freedom to choose and enjoy each one. I am not wrapped up in have-to's, idol obligation, self-striving, or insignificant distraction, but living in the the gift of now. 

I wish I could recap this last 8 hours of this day in a way that bled truth so vulnerable; so vulnerable you'd share in my heavy eyes but know my full heart that comes only from His love. I fear it may be impossible but I will try. 

It was 7:10am and I felt a gentle shake on my back.  Face planted firmly in the warmth of our bed, I bemoaned morning coming so quickly. I threw my legs over the bed, rubbed my eyes, & swooped my sweater over my shoulders, "Get in gear, Allegra, we're behind for a Monday morning with minions who need breakfast before school," I thought groggily. 

Cheerios. Coffee. Pack Lunches. Shoes on. Backpacks remembered. Out the door. 

7:49am, "Bye, baby, I love you!" I said as I cranked my head to the back seat. I say it because I mean it AND because I want to see my second graders face stare back silently saying, "moooommmm!!!"

I was looking forward to this day! I was thankful for this day. Just give me a cup of coffee and I would KNOW I meant that. 

9:00am, prepare for the dramatic drop off of my pre-schooler. He does not like letting me go. He cries and clings like those who know him wouldn't even believe. My baby.

"Oh, I'm SO lucky to be his mama. I'm so thankful Jesus that I get to be the one who takes him to school and picks him up. Thank you," I pray internally as his tears wet my neck. 

9:18am, I'm on the way to meet my Monday Mama for we are going to indulge in coffee and a mall hour. The sun is high, the leaves on the trees are starting to shift from granny smith to fuji & I turn the worship music on because there's nothing I want more than just to praise this morning:

I need you like the rain 
Come to me and sing again 
I long for your love so much 
I've wanted your pure touch

You are beautiful, beautiful 
You are beautiful, beautiful 
So beautiful, beautiful
I find my right hand reaching up as my left hand holds the wheel: half in heaven, half at the wheel. I lose myself in that worship moment not caring who drives behind or ahead of me wondering if I'm crazy. This moment is mine to be with Jesus & all I want to do is sing each word like I am before Him; He has given me this day, this life, and I am going to thank him for it. I am awakened to His mercy & grace.

11:03am I have found two pairs of pants that fit me in amazing ways & I'm shuffling the GAP sale section with my nearest telling her, "Jesus is REALLY showing me things," not even paying attention to the fact others can hear me. (The conversation is genuine but my volume may have been fueled by caffeine.)

11:30am ....need....deep, aching need creeps in. The smack of real life that steals your breath, makes you incompetent at knowing how to use your phone jolts me. I need HIM & I need him NOW.

I can lose myself in the worship song that starts to play...
Call my name
And I will answer 
All you need
It's here inside my arms
Just breathe
And you'll be safe and sound with me

I hear Ben Rector's song in my mind:
This isn't easy
This isn't clear
And you don't need Jesus
Til you're here
Then confusion and the doubts you had
Up and walk away

I tell Jesus, "I KNOW you! You had me dig my well today so when I was thirsty this afternoon I would KNOW. I would remember I NEED you, God, to love the gifts and mourn the hurt. Thank you for being my Father who loves me, holds me, lifts me up, walks ahead, supports behind, cheers me on, tells me when I'm wrong," and brings me to His chest. 

This with me always....

3:23pm I am tired but I know truth. I am waiting but I know goodness. I'm writing to Jesus: I love you. NOTHING changes You. Thank You. 

The Season of Awakening

Housefires says it best for today: 

Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of
what they think you're like
but I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night You tell me that you're pleased and that I'm never alone You're a Good, Good Father It's who you are
I'm waiting Jesus & you know what for. As I wait, I thank you for friends who show up, love that reigns true, & the truth that it is only You who can fix the unfixable. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Dear Starbucks....

Dear Starbucks, 

This is a story most mom's can tell, but do they?!
I'm writing on behalf of the decaffeinated, the play-date-dream-broken, & the bereaved.
I'm writing for all the moms who have planned the out-of-the-box play date, 
the women who imagined the perfect scenario playing out beside their fellow veteran(s),
& the moms who are constantly reminded of what perfect parents we were....before children.

Like most golden play dates, it begins with YOU, Starbucks.
You're the goal...the reward...nay, you give us purpose, reason & fulfillment just with ONE little cup & one emerald green straw.
Starbucks, this story is for you.

So the story starts like this...

It was a cool, crisp morning in Lake Oswego.
Leila and I were looking forward to sitting river side on the Willamette (damnit!)
The dream included a picnic blanket, beach towels, & shovels
(or kitchen spoons since we're the ultra creative type).
It had been weeks since we had seen each other & the kids kept saying (read: begging relentlessly) to play.
Why NOT try a new park, a new place to roam, an adventure?

We showed up to a serene setting.

We set up camp & threw the spoons to the kids and released them to begin creating clean, organized river dirt castles.

Oh, sweet divinity!
Leila & I would now....finally...warm our hands & bellies with liquid gold: lattes!
Grande, Skinny Vanilla, Lattes! 
(By the way, thank you, Starbucks, for making it such a great drink to order. 
"SKINNY Vanilla latte for Allegra!" the barista shouts over the fans & I'm all too confident & happy to claim it: "That's right! That's MY Skinny drink....and my cake pop...)

This is when things get good.

The kids aren't staying on the river bed...they're quickly approaching the river.
No, wait, they're IN the river.
($&!* . Oh, well. WE have Starbucks!)

Then...the unthinkable!
That cute little, old, pink haired lady with the knee brace & clearly too-much-for-her wet river soaked dog come screaming through OUR imperfectly perfect Mom Moment!

Grande SKINNY lattes & hot chocolate are E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E
Wet river mud has caked not only us but the blanket, the beach towels, and our bodies.
Our jaws drop.
The dog is not just taking a single pass through our space but multiple.
Multiple jumpy, dirty, barky, gross passes through OUR mom moment.
It seems we now have nothing to live for.

Our children are disgusting (more so than before)
Our coffee is gone!

That's not just our fuel but it was our hard saved pennies!
That ONE thing that gets to be ours...that one SWEET, expensive, indulgent treat...
it's GONE along with our money.

We are now left with
no apology
confirmed dislike of domesticated pets
no coffee
dirty kids
& we are convinced we are on "Boiling Point"

Oh, are the reason we manage & the devastation when the cup goes forcibly dry.
You save us from our worst selves...until someone else strips us of our moment.
We may never recover.
(Well, until we save up for the next cup.)

With Love,
Allegra & Leila