Friday, September 11, 2015

Dishes Make a Lousy God.

This week I had one of those days. Usually when I say 'those days', meltdowns, catastrophes, poop explosions and the like all come to mind....actually that's like most days.

But it was another type of day. The type where I used nap time for something other than Friday Night Lights. The type where I organized and cleaned out some stuff in the garage, took out the trash and folded clothes.

Now before y'all get too impressed and I get requests to write an efficiency tutorial, you should probably also know that we had cheese sticks and Spaghetti O's for supper. Although, I'm pretty sure that if it's Alphabet Spaghetti O's you get a pass. Just call it an educational experience.

So I was feeling pretty good about myself. It was actually the first really productive day I've had in a while. I feel like my post-baby gauge for productivity usually peaks at taking the smushed cheerio to the trash instead of eating it out of pure laziness.

I couldn't wait until Nate got home. I had it all planned out, I wasn't gonna say anything, just wait until he noticed the clean counter and trash on the tree lawn, and then give him that look out of the top of my eyelids (is that a thing?) and act all, "It's not a big deal. I can take care of two kids AND be ultra productive....I pull on my Wonder Woman tights just like everyone else".

And he sure was impressed. I even got a kiss on the mouth.

But here's the I lay there in bed, after all the work I planned out was done, and my heart was full with my husband's praise, all I could think about was the mess in my Dining Room, the groceries I am behind on buying, the meals I haven't planned and on and on and on.

And my heart sank. Because as great at the moment of value can be from clean dishes, dishes don't give grace. Seriously. Sometimes I think they dirty themselves as a joke on the frazzled housekeeper (and that's me if that wasn't clear).

When I center my worth on my productivity, all I'm left with is heartache.

And yet, my whole life it has been something. There's always something I want to orbit my life around instead of God.

But you can't sink enough jumpshots, lead enough bible studies, Pinterest enough crafts to fill you up.

My swept floors don't love me back. My job promotion can't sacrifice itself for me. My homemade baby food can't comfort me - there's NO life there.

It's amazing to look at that 'A' in the class you spent hours of your life on, but then your'e registering for another semester. You feel pretty spectacular after your toddler listened to you? Give it two minutes, and one denied request for gum and they will be publicly embarrassing you with their blood curdling screams.

I'm telling you from experience. I've tried to find the source of my life in a multitude of ways and I'm always left wanting.

Because it's all fleeting. ALL OF IT.

So this is my breakup song, Taylor style. I'm done with the things in my life that fail. I'm done placing my identity in things, orbiting my life around things that are found wanting.

Dishes make a lousy God. Actually pretty much only God makes a good God. Scratch that. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING makes a good God, but God. 

Trust me. Or try to prove me wrong. Either way, I'd love to tell you how to know him. 

"My people have committed a compound sin: they’ve walked out on me, the fountain of fresh flowing waters, and then dug cisterns— cisterns that leak, cisterns that are no better than sieves."     - - Jeremiah 2:13 Msg


Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Terrible Zoey-Ronda's

The terrible twos.

Schwoah. What to write? Spoiler alert, no answers here for sure.

Here's the thing. I walk into Lia's room in the morning. She smiles her biggest smile. "Hello, mama."

It's freaking adorable.

I can imagine birds flying in her window. Cute woodland creatures helping her make her bed, Cinderella style.

She gets up, beaming polka dots and rainbows. We hug. She kisses Josie's face. We put on one or several tutu's.

"Mama, who's your favorite princess?"
"Mama, you are sooooooo booootifuuuulllll!"
"Mama, hold my hand."
"Mama, I so much love you."

She's basically the toddler version of what I imagine Zoey Deschanel to be like in real life.

Then, without warning, faster than you can say "Bippity, Boppity, Boo," it happens. 

It's like another person emerges. A much, angrier, less glittery person. 

Her Ronda comes out. Suddenly, the twin bed I'm putting her in for nap time isn't big enough for the both of us. Suddenly, I'm a little scared.

I'm dodgin' elbows. I'm takin' kicks. Her shrieking is piercing my ears. If her arms were big enough to wrap around my head, I'm sure the above gif would absolutely happen.

And then. Maybe at the mention of Fruit Snacks. Or Daniel Tiger. Suddenly...

Zoe's back. 

Ronda, Zoey. Zoey, Ronda. - - Ronda, Zoey. Zoey, Ronda.

All. Day. Long.

The terrible two's. 

Any other mama's out there know what I'm talking about?


Monday, August 17, 2015

Leaning In.

I was riding in the car this past week (in the backseat of course like all the baller moms do). My 2 year old, Lia, was crying because she was listening to the Frozen soundtrack and was not wearing her Elsa costume. This lamenting woke up my 2 month old, Josie. She began to scream. and scream. and scream.

We tried the shushing. The pacifier. The singing. All the ridiculous oogle-ing noises.


Not gonna lie. It was getting pretty hairy in the backseat. 

So I leaned in. I put my face right up next to Squeaks and began to shhhhhh.  I pressed her cheek against mine and spoke softly to her. She began to quiet down and slowly but surely her eyes got heavy and she ran out of the energy to protest sleep. Of course we were practically home by this point, but that's not important to today's musings.

Anyway, this car ride, and the many fussy evening hours we've had lately have got me thinking. The louder she cries, the more hurt she has, the closer I get. It's instinctive. 

Like the time Lia decided to blow chunks all over the restaurant we were eating in and the only thing I could do was hold her and tell her it was going to be ok. The sicker and more disgusting she got, the closer I held her. 

It's not logical. It's love. A mother's love in particular. 

I've been crying a lot to my Father lately. Sometimes screaming/yelling/lamenting if I'm being super honest. 


***And before I get your comments and sweet well wishes let me assure you, I'm ok. I'm just in a season where I'm seeing a lot of suffering, a lot of sadness around me and I'm tired. I'm pissed. I'm over it. 

In those moments. In those screams. Do I believe that God leans in to my pain? 

Do I believe that the more I hurt, the more impossible life seems, the closer He gets? Or do I believe that He sits high and lofty and untouchable on his throne and waits for me to get my crap together? 
Do I believe he leans into the vignette of the wedding pictures, less than 5 years old, that hang on the wall overlooking the wife trying to feed her husband who is dying of brain cancer? 
Do I believe He leans into the hospital room of the woman who has to deliver her unborn baby? 
Do I believe He leans into the life that has been so wounded by racial discrimination and hatred? 
Do I believe He leans into the home of the mother who watches her son physically suffer for six years with no answers, no relief?

Who do I believe God is? How do I believe He loves me as a Father? 

No resolutions or conclusions or cute pictures here. 

I want to believe this. I want to know in my heart and my tired spirit what I know logically in my head. That's where I am. 


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dear Lia,

Dear Lia,

It's been almost two years since I've written consistently in this space.

I'm coming out of a season of life where I wasn't sure I wanted to document my thoughts. I didn't want to remember or record the darkness, the lostness that I felt surrounding me. I couldn't own in my writing what I was feeling in my heart.

But then tonight I was lying in your 'new bed' with you, 9 months pregnant, and wondering if tonight will be the last night that it's just you and me. And after I sang It is Well and Build me up Buttercup with a little Payphone and Give Me Jesus mixed in, you finally started to fall asleep. My cheek was pressed against the top of your now slightly sweaty hair. Your thumb started slipping out of your mouth and your breathing got a little heavier (a la Nate Berkey I imagine).

And as I was lying there two things became super clear. First, I wanted a Zebra Cake and some Pink Milk.....easy enough.

And second, I knew that I wanted to write.

To you.

For you.

I wanted to remember this moment and I wanted to document my thoughts for the first time in a long time so you can have them later, after your sister comes and I'm convinced I'll lose even more of my thinking capacity.

You see, I've been reminded lately of how different I am today than I was 2 years ago as I was getting ready to be your mom. I never knew why it was a big deal for mothers to say that their first child "made them a mom", but now I totally get it.

You're not just the reason I pee a little when I sneeze, or eat Cheerios off the floor because I'm too lazy to take them to the trash, or that poop on my hand doesn't freak me out. You have changed me.

You've changed me so thoroughly that I can hardly remember what I was like before you were mine.

You changed the way I see the world, the way I see myself. I went from being nauseated to nauseating. I mean, we rub our noses together in public. I look like an idiot most of the time following you around, dancing with you, singing Wheels on the Bus 10,000 times over. And I don't even care.

I literally sacrifice my dignity most of the time to see you smile. And I'm totally ok with that.

I went from someone who didn't need a whole lot of physical affection to someone who kisses your face a million times a day on impulse. I have a need to wipe away each of your tears before they fall off your face and tell you that I love you so that you will never know a reality when these two things weren't a part of your life.

I've never been one to show a lot of emotion. But when you put your hands on both sides of my face and whisper, "I love you, momma", I cry. Unashamedly. I get emotional when I see you take risks and when you are kind, when you snuggle up against your Dad and feed your baby her bottle. I get emotional when I see the tenderness underneath all your crazy. I even get emotional at those stupid laundry detergent commercials where the mom is wrapping her kid in the fluffy towel....although I think that has more to do with pregnancy horomones than anything.

I cried changing the sheets to your big girl bed as I thought about all of the baby in you slipping away: as I realized that I wouldn't be laying you in your crib anymore. I cry almost every time I leave you in your big, new room and you yell after me, "Lay down momma".

Lia, I need you to know comfort. I need you to feel loved. I need you to see yourself as the feisty, independent,  and strong yet sweet and gentle bundle of lovely that I see. And I need you to know that nothing you could ever do would make me love you any less than the heart-bursting, overwhelming, thorough way that I love you right now.

I really think you're going to change to world someday. Mostly because you've started by changing me...and I'm pretty stubborn.

I love being your momma.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Heavy Sigh.

Today I woke up an hour earlier than normal to a grumpier than normal baby. I held her all morning and had the same, internal battle about letting her cry it out while playing, instead of picking her up and soothing her. I got pooped on twice and it got all over the couch. The poop was mixed in the the almost tub full of water that was splashed on me during the purposeful, poop-cleaning bath. The kitchen was almost as soaked as I was and probably more so than Lia, compounded by the orange juice that I dropped on the floor. I face timed Nate and pretended it was so he could see Lia in the bath. Really it was so I could see his face. Have a conversation that's not in the baby voice I pretend I don't have. 

Later in the night, winding down to bedtime, hoping to stay disasterless for just a bit longer. She starts sucking her thumb, her eyes get heavy, she starts to crumple. I sit down and she doesn't protest. She drifts off, thumb still in her mouth.

I look at her face. Her softness and her stillness and her quiet. I think to myself that it doesn't matter if I have to pee with the door open so she can hear my voice, or hide behind a pillow so she doesn't see me eating breakfast, or stand up holding her all day long. in this moment there is good and there is happy. I breath in the kind of deep sigh that fills your chest and your heart with the knowledge that you wouldn't change a single thing about this day, about your chaos, about my baby, about my life. 

This is worth remembering.


Saturday, August 31, 2013


I hold you tight to my body as we rock back and forth, tracing all the sweet curves of your face and trying to memorize every detail illuminated by the soft lamplight from my nightstand.

I kiss your face over and over again...never wanting to end until your whole face and head are covered, in hopes that somehow one more kiss will finally communicate the sum of all my love for you: a sum that I have struggled to adequately put into words. 

You've stopped crying now. You open your eyes ever so slightly, look at me, and smile. I don't think any of the thrills in my life compare to knowing that seeing me makes you smile.

When our eyes connect, it's as if your soul reaches out and grabs a hold of mine. I stare at you in amazement that a connection so strong, so binding, so forever altering, can happen so naturally. These moments fill me with worth and wonder and purpose while simultaneously making me feel so unworthy and undeserving of a love so pure and precious as yours. 

I whisper to you all my dreams and hopes for you, my sweet girl. I tell you how much I love you as your eyes fight sleep. 

I lay you down and already miss the warmth of your body. The dichotomy of wanting to shut my eyes and yet not wanting to miss a single moment with you has begun to define my days and especially my nights. 

It's overwhelming to think of all you are to me in only 6 short weeks of life. My fears of not being able to connect with you vanished the moment they laid you on my chest and became a fading, distant memory the first time you saw and recognized my face.

Being your mom is already a great adventure. One that I'm so lucky, at 5:03am to experience with you, my little lovely. 

Linking up with Life Lately and Mingle Monday

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Love- Pt. 1

Love is new life placed right on my exhausted body.
It's hearing her tiny cry, seeing her beautiful face, for the very first time.

Love is her wrinkled forehead and Daddy's chin.
It's soft skin that lies limp against my chest at 3am. 

Love is 5 tiny fingers wrapping around my thumb. 
It's open eyes, big yawns, and toes spread wide at your touch.

Love is hearing someone call me a mom. 
It's sneezes that shake her whole body.

Love is her face that I can't stop kissing. 
It's all the dreams and adventures and plans that I have for this little girl.

Love is going to the hospital as a couple, and leaving as a family

Love is Lia Joy. 

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