October 11, 2011

The Daily Paws

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , , , , , at 12:26 am by Tamara

You can’t really see it in this picture, but Bear’s shirt has a picture of a dog delivering a newspaper called “The Daily Paws.”  I love it because I’m realizing that Bear is my “Daily Pause:” taking care of him, particularly when he needs to nurse, forces me to pause for a minute, which I think is more valuable than I realize.

The other day right after Adam left for work I got a call saying someone might want to look at the house.  So far Adam has (miraculously) been home every time we’ve had a house showing, and I’ve been dreading the first time I have to get the house perfect and get Bear  and the two dogs out of it all by myself.  When we put the house on the market I emptied out our storage ottoman in the living room so I could throw stuff in there in a pinch (can I just say how stressful it is to not even be able to shove things in closets, let alone close doors on messy rooms?  Thank heaven for that ottoman!)  I now measure the cleanness/messiness of our house in terms of how many ottomans the mess would fill up.  Haha!  Thankfully the house was only about one-half-ottoman messy, but I needed to do cleaning (bathrooms, floors, etc), so I was a little panicked.

About halfway through my cleaning Bear woke up from his nap and wanted to eat.  Panicked though I felt, I still told myself that he is the most important thing and sat down to feed him.  Pausing in the middle of panic seems counter-intuitive, but I think it’s probably a really good idea.  I’ve written before about how I love nursing Bear because it’s one of the few times I’m sure I’m doing the most important thing right at that moment.  Having an immanent house showing definitely tested that theory, but I stuck to it, and I was glad I did because I was more calm in the end, anyway.  Pausing to take care of him also gives me time to think and time to pray.  I think I’ve done more praying since he was born than probably any other time in my life.

I know that as Bear gets older and stops nursing it’s going to get harder and harder for me to take a “daily pause” with him.  He’ll be running around and we’ll probably have more kids and twenty activities I’ll want to do in order to give them “every opportunity” and make myself feel like a model wife/mother/Christian/missionary.  But it’s a lesson I don’t want to forget: I can, and need to, take time to pause and just invest in and enjoy Adam and our kid(s).

It’s also a lesson I need to learn on a spiritual level.  We all need time to pause and invest in our relationship with God; He instituted Sabbath for that very reason, but we Americans are very, VERY bad at pausing.  My Sundays (or any other day) aren’t always truly restful, refreshing, and renewing.  I think they (and the rest of my life) could be more so if I would make pausing and focusing on God more of a priority.  Reflection, meditation, quietness, and listening prayer are all spiritual disciplines that are under-emphasized and in my case seriously under-practiced.  I’d like to read something about them, if anyone has any book recommendations.  An excellent book about rest in general is called The Rest of God, by Mark Buchanan.  I think I need to reread it!  (Oh, and I just saw he’s coming out with a novel about David.  I am SO EXCITED!!)

But for now, I sure am treasuring my daily pauses with Bear.  I never would have thought the business of motherhood might teach me to pause, but I hope it does.  I may need to frame that onesie when he grows out of it….

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August 22, 2011

Recipe for an Idyllic Morning

Posted in Water Droplets, Watermarks in Progress tagged , , , , at 1:01 pm by Tamara

Berean and I had a great morning.  Usually my mornings consist of feeding Rean while eating dry cereal with my fingers, drinking from the half-empty water bottle I forgot on the floor the last night, and wondering if Rean will fall asleep again long enough for me to take a frantic shower.  But this morning was particularly blissful, in spite of the fact that I was removed from another blissful state (sleep) a little earlier than I could have wanted. But still, it was rather idyllic, so I thought I’d document:

The first, and most important, ingredient is a happy baby. The recipe will most likely not succeed without it.

The next ingredients are French-pressed caffe verona and vanilla caramel creamer. Oh yum. I almost put the coffee grounds above the press' plunger by accident. Clearly I needed to stay in blissful state #1 a little longer this morning.

Adam brought me strawberry and blueberry mini-scones from Panera. Yum, yum, yum!

Yes...I'm a month behind. Um, plus a year. Heh. Nothing wrong with a 2-year reading plan! The point is to keep reading!

Next, my chronological Bible, complete with an "Emma" bookmark just to make me smile.

I'd probably get more read if Berean didn't make so many distractingly cute faces!

He was making smacking noises and opening and closing his mouth as if to say "Can I try that, Mommy?"

I also might get more read without cute-but-needy doggies. Exhibit A: Lily.

Exhibit B: Knightley. "I want in, I want out, I want food, I want out, I love you! I want in, I want out...."

The distracting view of the messy living room doesn't help, either....

Clearly, the nighttime pick-up routine did not get accomplished last night. Oi.

But, hey! Bible read, yummy breakfast eaten. Progress!

At this point, I listened to my dreams of a long, peaceful shower get cried away as Berean fought his nap.  When I picked him up to try to rock him to sleep on my shoulder he kept pushing back to look into my face as if to say, “Mommy, you are already beautiful and you smell fine to me–no need to shower!  Now, can we forget about this nap thing and go play?”

Oh well, you win some, you lose some. All in all, I think we have the makings of a great morning! Who needs a shower? On with the day! I love my life. :)

Update: as of this posting, I am glad to report that both a clean living room and a shower have been accomplished!  Now, Berean.  About that nap….

February 4, 2010

Sunlight

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , at 11:30 pm by Tamara

One of the perks of South Carolina I’m enjoying is the mid-winter sunshine.  Sunshine really does make everything seem just a little brighter, both literally and emotionally.  I’ve figured out that at about eleven every morning at work there’s a patch of sunshine that falls a couple feet from my register.  I deliberately plan my mornings so I’ll have some task I can do over there that will make standing in those rays of sunshine look mostly necessary.  <smile>

I was pondering the sunshine and how it somehow seems to send a message of “everything is okay—there’s a reason to be joyful!”  It lights the way for us so we can see clearly and understand more fully.  It gives us nourishing vitamins (that still blows my mind—how does it do that??), it purifies, it warms.  At the same time, if you get too close or don’t respect its power, it can hurt you.

Then I thought, in heaven there will be no sun, because God’s very essence will do all those things.  Think about God’s presence permeating the air so He affects us the same way as sunlight, only unimaginably more intensely and perfectly.  Think of His presence affecting you the way you feel when you step out your front door on a day off and feel a glorious rush of bright, exuberant energy.  Think of being with Him, and how that will flood through any cold, broken emotions and dissolve them forever.  Think of being nourished mentally, emotionally, and spiritually just by being with Him.  The thoughts give me tingles.  If God’s presence is like sunlight (and we know that God is light)…ah!  I can’t wait!

July 16, 2009

The Upside

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , , , at 5:03 pm by Tamara

http://www.comune.venezia.it/flex/images/Gallery/D.d7d119dc8f79a29fd98a/Quaderno_a_112_folgi_in_formato_A5_o_A6___112_page_blank_book_in_A5_and_A6_formats.jpg

I’ve written about a lot of the struggles of my current “blank page between chapters” (as my friend and mentor Natalie called this stage in life). I think I’m drawn to write about struggles because I like wrestling with them and trying to learn from them. But there have been a lot of enjoyable things about being in a time of limbo. Here’s a few (in no particular order):

I commented to my mother-in-law the other day that I’ve never been so available to help out with random things. I think in the midst of all the business and the drive-to-accomplish that I usually thrive on, I’ve lost a lot of my sense of compassion. I’ve learned (pretty well) how to guard my time, “saying no so that I can say yes to other things,” but that’s meant that I’ve said no to a LOT of unexpected, practical needs the people around me have. But suddenly I have very little reason to say no! The result has been helping with a lot of things I usually just wouldn’t have the time (or the compassion?) to help with. Helping several friends pack, clean, paint, move, etc, for example. I’m currently pet-sitting one fish, two birds, and a cat, for another example. I’m surprised I haven’t been babysitting. Anyone need a babysitter?

It’s nice to have so much time to be in the Word and in prayer, and no excuse not to be. Granted, I should probably be spending MORE time in the Word, but I’ve enjoyed having more time than usual. I would think that down time would naturally increase the amount of time I spend with God, but it doesn’t always. Sometimes knowing I have “all day” to get around to Bible study means I never get around to it. But I’ve determined not to let that happen, and it’s been nice. I’ve been reading in the Old Testament, which I don’t do as often as I should. I’ve just felt a drive to understand GOD better—how He works, what He does, how He acts/reacts to things, etc., so that drove me to the Old Testament. Another perk of where I’ve been reading is that they’re stories, which draws me to want to read just one more chapter…. There are so many things God does in those stories that I don’t understand. I want to know Him better.

I get a massive thrill of exhilaration when I see my list of “Books I’ve Read This Year” grow, and there’s been a significant growth spurt lately. I just finished Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace by the Ricucci’s, Holy Available by Gary Thomas, Emma by Austen and The Enclave by Karen Hancock. Now I’m reading Glocalization by Roberts, Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible by Farah and Braun, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Scazzero, Plot by Dibel and Romans Verse by Verse by Newell. Plenty to keep my head spinning.

I also just accepted an internship at my church! That’s pretty exciting. My job at the moment is to research how to connect and involve women in missions, even if they can’t go overseas themselves. I’m supposed to have a proposal of ideas ready to present to the church in September. It’s a very exciting opportunity! I welcome any practical ideas you might have. How do you help people catch the vision for missions AND get involved in it?

And last but not least, have you noticed my proliferation of blog posts? You may consider that a blessing or a curse. Not sure which….