The Canvas in my Home

Soft fibers warm my harried fingers as I evict this load from the dryer. The scent of fresh laundry fills the room, and I shove the heap of clothes into the basket at my feet, hauling it to the living room where I begin to fold.

It’s never-ending, this cycle of dirty to clean again.

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Tumbling

Rage. Anger. Screaming. A child who won’t cooperate. Won’t give in. Won’t back down. She is tumbling in the current while the River shaves off rough edges and knotty pits. It is not a pleasant process. Bouncing in the water she is out of control. There is no sense of direction; up and down she bobs in the waves never knowing what emotion will come with the next swell.

Painfully, I watch from the shore. My arms are burdened with another stone–one who needs me as much as she does. But he is too small for the mighty river and so I am helpless to save her. I am unable to jump in after her and rescue her from the jarring. And as her face twists in pain and voice rages against my gentle urgings, my heart breaks for her.

As the Stone Keeper my job is merely to bring them here to this life giving river. And He takes it from there. Though she may struggle, the undulating current is refining her. Though I may cry, this precious Ruby was never mine to keep. Only to raise. Only to love and teach and guide each day.

Despite my best efforts, I don’t know how to ease her stress. I don’t know how to help her adjust to this new person who has interrupted her life. All the things I thought I knew seem useless now. The experience gained while standing on the shore, watching her brother go through the same thing years back, seems to fail me. She is altogether different. A beautiful gem in the making. But the going is tough right now, and I feel useless.

All I can do is sit there, holding her, crying along with her, hoping for a better day tomorrow, and praying I can shine bright enough for her to find the Light herself.

Newborn

Soft squeaks awake me from a shallow sleep. Seven warm pounds stir and stretch against my deflated belly, rooting around to find a meal. I awaken to find two dark little eyes peeking at me through the dim light of our bedroom.

The whole world is sleeping, and my whole world is you.

Three babies in and most would think me a seasoned mother. One who would recognize, even come to expect, this feeling. But its all still so wonderfully new. I get butterflies when you look into my eyes. And your brown skin and dark hair are so beautiful I cry just looking at you. Every time I set you down to give my tired arms a rest, I miss holding you. And when you curl up in a ball, sleeping on my chest, my heart cracks open letting even more of you in. Pressing even more of me out, making a space all your own inside me. Continue reading

Broken

On New Year’s Eve I sat in the rocking chair near my bed, struggling to put on my socks, a swollen belly limiting my motion while this little miracle kicked around inside me. Tears caught in my throat. A familiar feeling these days. Another day of pain.

Across the room an unmade bed seduced me with it’s fluffy pillows and warm sheets. A place of tenderness for my hurts. A warm embrace ready to thaw my frozen soul. A hiding spot to sink into until all this was over. Voices in our house interrupted my numbness; they were both crying while he tried to settle the squabble. These children needed their mother; this man needed his wife. And I realized I was capable of being neither.

I was broken. And ashamed.

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A Vision for my Valentine

He rises in the early hours of the morning. Toes touch the cold floor, back creaking upward after a long night. He breathes, bracing himself for the day, surveying his battlefield. Planning the strategy. Calculating his moves. No one prepared him for this. No one gave him the plans, the skills, the basic training. He learned this part by committing. By investing his heart into uncomfortable places.

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Five More Weeks

Five more weeks. Likely a little less; possibly a bit more. Thirty-five weeks ago you appeared on the scene, a spec of dust now stretching my midsection to its max. What once was an imperceptible pebble now feels like a small boulder strapped tightly to my tender back. Your arms and legs press against me, testing the limits of their strength while my belly surges and hardens in response.

The time is nearing, little one. But despite my discomfort and swollen belly, I treasure these last days with you. I want for you to take as long as you need. Because when you come, you must begin finding your own way, and that seems like a lot to put on a baby.

The day is coming where you and I will physically separate. You will learn the harsh realities of a bright, loud, cold world. And though my arms will be waiting to scoop you up and hold you close, I cannot shield you from it all. You will feel hunger and the need for air. You will feel cold. Afraid. Out of control. Exhausted. You will perceive at once that you are not me, and that will be terrifying.

Right now we are linked; an intimacy so rare and so wonderful, the closest two human beings can ever get to complete oneness. We all begin this way: wrapped in another, sustained by her blood. Our identity enmeshed with her’s; our every need met by a mother’s sacrifice. It is a role I take great pride in and have ultimate respect for.

But the day is close, sweet baby. The day my role will change, and you must begin discovering who you are: a cherished creation apart from me.

You must learn how to make your needs known, how to cope without the constant warmth of my body and sound of my heart. You must learn to find sustenance, how to rest, and the value of forward movement. You must learn attachment, and then detachment. And we will be there to receive you. We will be there, ready to ease your transition; to encourage, comfort, and sustain you in your growth. But the task–the actual becoming of you–that rests on your shoulders.

It’s a severe truth to thrust onto such a raw and innocent life. I wish I could expand indefinitely, protecting you from the realities of the journey you must face. But to do so would be to deny you life itself.

So know this, my precious stone: this life is your gift. And the Giver is glorified in your soul’s abundance. I pray you learn to love Him for it, and seek to nurture what He has bestowed on you.

Take your time, baby. Come when you are ready. My arms eagerly await your arrival but my heart treasures this time.

Sparkle

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White stacks of steam rise up from the waters that stretch out from below us. Perched atop the bluff I stand watching the massive body of water sink into it’s wintery state. Candles on the table twinkle in the dim light of the early sunset. At the flip of a switch our tree comes to life, illuminating the dark corner and sending the sparkly glitter on the glass ornaments into a frenzy of show. Even the jingle bells and sprigs of holly gleam with gladness.

And in my house their small faces light up. Christmas is meant to sparkle.

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