Embracing the bittersweet

Fridays are ‘mommy days’. The other days are Omie and Ena days, the grandmas’ days. Fridays are the days that mommy picks D up from preschool because I don’t work on Fridays…this year.

IMG_1443Most Friday afternoons involve play dough creations, art sessions, baby doll mothering, bubble blowing, or marathon book readings. But this afternoon, we were both tired. Between allergies and some unexpected emotional upheavals this week, Friday was going to be a ‘napternoon’.

We cuddled in bed and I read two hilarious books (reviews forthcoming) and we almost decided not to nap. But I yawned, and she rubbed her eyes and we knew. She cuddled into her pink cat quilt, and I rolled into the other bed in her room, and we closed our eyes.IMG_4421

I opened my eyes a few minutes later to see if she was truly asleep, and she was. Two middle fingers in her mouth, little line of drool starting to form, breathing softly and rhythmically. The pristine blue spring sky and the soft green leaves celebrated new life outside her window. But inside, something was ending. ‘Mommy days’ on Fridays were almost over.

In four weeks, she’ll graduate from preschool, and  (hopefully) I’ll be employed with a full time job for next year. I try not to get weepy about things like this with my kids. I spent most of my youth weeping about my own transitions. But this one gets to me. The bittersweetness of it. And i let myself wallow.

Times are a-changing. She is no longer a baby. She loves school. She’s a little knowledge sponge. She’s so ready for the next thing. I’m so ready for my next thing. I’m restless and ready and admittedly, I’ve just been biding my time this year. IMG_3016

But can’t we come back to this? The endingness of it hurts. The finality. Friday afternoons will be spent in school. For her, eagerly gluing her last pieces of colorful craft in place to bring home to show me. For me, grasping at the reigns of control over my impatient adolescent students. No more play dough and dolls before a refreshing nap. No more laughter until hiccuping at amusing nap time stories. (*sigh*) Maybe she could just come to work with me…

I have no regrets. I spent as much time with her as I could during these years. I would not change any of it.

Now we move into a new phase, with new excitement, new ideas, new exploration…for both of us.

IMG_4187And when we come home from our long days of learning and instructing, we will still have each other. We’ll still have our afternoon routines, just later in the afternoon…and maybe alternating days of play dough and dolls and tea parties and games. We’ll still read books before bed. And we’ll always snuggle. Because truthfully, everyday is a mommy day…and everyday she is mine.      IMG_4299

Expectantly

It is with expectation that I put my interview clothes on

on my day off.

With expectation I keep my phone at the ready,

With expectation I write down the questions I have

about the new workplace.

In faith, I go about my errands,

Trying not to drink too much caffeine, IMG_0024

Realizing I could really benefit from some gum,

Jumping a bit when the phone rings (Hi, mom).

I know the real call will come

I know they will want me to ‘come by when you can so we can talk’

And I want to be ready.

I am ready.

Broken and waiting

I am empty & awaiting refilling.

I am tired & awaiting renewal.

I am hopeless & hopeful.

I am broken & still whole.

I have the Spirit.

& He will work.

IMG_4527[1]

Isa 40:28-31

28 Do you not know?

    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Project Sundays

On the first Sunday of each month, our preschoolers through second graders at church combine Sunday school classes  to work on a mission project. I jokingly call it ‘Sweatshop Sunday’ because we usually form an assembly line to get a lot accomplished in a little time. The kids love that Sunday for various reasons…the creativity, the ACTIVE-ity, the charity, the variety. The notion was an off-shoot of our VBS program last summer, wherein we didn’t do as many cutesy crafts to take home, but we focused more on whole group crafts to benefit greater causes (local pediatric ward, animal shelter, soup kitchen). We wanted to carry the message of mission on past the week-long blast of VBS, so we started Project Sunday the first week of each month. After we share a lesson from the Bible that goes with our project, we explain who we are going to help and how. We say a prayer for the people receiving our gifts, and then, we get to work!

August— Goody bags of THANKS for the teachers in our church

(Each lunch bag contained a Tea bag, H2o (water) bottle, Apple, Napkin, Kiss (chocolate), and Scripture verses to keep in their purse/desk…the contents spell out THANKS. We gave these out on the Sunday before school started, which was also our Blessing of the Backpacks Sunday.)

IMG_4954

IMG_3450                        IMG_3446

September–Decorations for our church’s intergenerational prom

(The kids cut out and decorated stars that were put on the tables for the dinner/dance to which all church members were invited. It was fun to see the tables decorated with the kids own work…and it was fun to see our Sunday-serious church members cuttin’ a rug right beside the kiddos! What a bonding time!)

IMG_5043          IMG_5082

IMG_5062                  IMG_5095

October–School supply collection for the teachers at the local alternative-education school 

(Knowing that many of the students in this school do not have the money or motivation to provide their own school supplies, we partner with the teachers to keep them stocked with basics. Our church members bought the items, and our Sunday school children separated them into two piles…one for the beginning of the year, and one to restock the teachers mid-year. They also added cards of encouragement for the teachers.)

November–Fall posters for the homebound members of the church

(Using a mess-free painting idea from Pinterest (top picture), we made fall tree posters with the Bible verse ‘The grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the word of God stands forever.’ Isaiah 40:8)

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.37.58 AM

IMG_4153_2                    IMG_4154_2

December–Advent wreaths and daily Bible readings for each child

(We had millions lots of toilet paper rolls left over from VBS crafts, so we used them, along with styrofoam plates, to make Advent wreaths. Prior to this Sunday, I cut out the 5 holes around the styrofoam plates into which the candles would be inserted throughout the  month. I stapled another plate under the top one for support. The first Sunday of December, we added green leaves and made the first candle. The kids took them home that day, with a list of Advent scripture readings. The following Sundays, we made the candles and sent them home for the children to add to their wreaths. )

(picture from Pinterest, but very similar to ours)

Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.45.18 AM      Screen Shot 2015-02-06 at 10.52.53 AM

January–we took a break : )

February–Bags of Love for our local battered women’s shelter

(When thinking of people that needed a showing of love in February, I thought of the women who had no one to show them love. We decorated white lunch bags and added soap, washcloth, candy, gum, and a colorful card with Bible verses about God being a refuge.)

IMG_0015       IMG_0012        IMG_0004

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.19.20 PM

In March, we were eager for some signs of spring so we made our own! Using a Pinterest idea, we painted flowers for our sick or homebound friends who needed some cheer. This was a great painting activity because the kids used plastic forks and didn’t get their hands messy…well, too much. (Of course, MY daughter was the one wearing the WHITE dress that day…*Sigh*) A fun way to bring a smile to someone’s dreary day!!

 

 

 

 

I love Project Sunday, and I love that the kids love it too. We’ve been doing it for half a year, and I’m learning what works and what doesn’t. I’ll tweak some things for next year, and perhaps ditch some projects all together and find new ones. But we will continue with it because it’s teaching the kids that our relationship with God reaches beyond Sunday and beyond the church.

Share your ideas of ways your church has helped others! I’d love to hear them!

Easter quotes

cropped-img_2090.jpg

A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.

~Mahatma Ghandi

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.
~Dwight Moody

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ came to do three things. He came to have my past forgiven, you get a purpose for living and a home in Heaven.

~Rick Warren

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

~St. Augustine

The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.
~Basil Hume

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

~Pope John Paul II

Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.
~Ravi Zacharias

IMG_1492

Prosper

IMG_0564

Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  ~Ephesians 6:10-13

#rethinkchurch

The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
‘Tis an ocean vast of blessing, ’tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

~Samuel Trevor Francis (1834-1925)

IMG_1364