Church, Faith, Cappuccino (and some random pics of my beautiful kids)

Today is Sunday and like any Christian kid, my thoughts turn to church. Only today I’m not there and I honestly haven’t been for quite awhile.

I’ve meant to. I’ve wanted to. Every Saturday night I make plans for it.

But when Sunday morning rolls around and we’re climbing out of the fog from Bryan getting home from work at midnight, it easily tumbles to the bottom of the priority list. It falls way down below sleep, food, showers for everyone, and a good wrestling session with Welly.

We’re finding that the schedule of a wedding photographer can be rough on family life. Rhythm and routine are hard to come by when your work hours revolve around the sunrise or sunset, or more often, when the beer finally runs out at a wedding reception.

Back on the home front, the laundry piles to the sky, we eat apples and cheese too many meals in a row, and mom gets a little bit crazy.

I wouldn’t always have been ok with how much we miss church, but right now I am. I mean, I’m ok with it because I know for the past year, it’s what we’ve needed to do. But I miss it. I love the ritual of shaking off the daily grind and gathering together to reach out to God.

A pastor from our church (who I also consider a friend) asked me if we had decided not to be a part of organized religion anymore. I laughed because I’ve realized that is like asking if I’m done with drinking coffee, or taking long walks in the woods. I might take a break but I am never done. Going to church is in my bones and I don’t think that will ever change.

If Church had a Facebook page, our relationship status would say: “it’s complicated.” There have been reasons that I needed space, times when it was healthier for me and church to take a break, but I always come back. And I always remember the words to the hymns. I could sing them in my sleep if only I was sleeping these days :).

Since becoming a mama, my faith is stronger than ever, albeit drastically changed. This is in spite of, not because of my sporadic church attendance.

More than ever now, I understand the need to call on some resources that are bigger than myself.

I know what it means to feel humble and small in the grand scheme of things, while I hold my child through a night of labored breathing.

I’ve cried out for help while I’m puking my pregnant guts out for the tenth time in a day and feeling lower than low.

I’ve begged for insight and the courage to face some of my deep inner shit, knowing it was the way towards love. Actually that should not be in the past tense. That is still happening.

I’ve looked into my child’s eyes and known that SOMEONE is going to have to intervene here in order for me to have any chance of being what he needs me to be.

I’ve felt the emptiness of being only human and limited when I need superhuman powers in order to face one more poopy butt.

I also know what it’s like to feel powerful and strong, like I’ve been given the gift of the exact wisdom needed for the moment.

I’ve seen what pure love and trust look like in my newborn who relies on me for survival and to make sense of her loud new world.

I know that I need to reach deep into my spirit moment by moment, and I know that God is the solid ground that I find when I reach.

I know that church will be a great place to celebrate the presence of God in my life when I’m able to make it again. That might be next week, month, or year. I’m not really sure.

For now though, I’m writing alone from a little table in my coffee shop with a huge cappuccino and I think that is the biggest evidence of God’s love for me today.

Happy Sunday and I hope that whatever you’re doing today feels a little bit restful and sacred.

Random pics of perfect babies:

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Photos From Our Week

It’s been busy around here and I couldn’t even tell you all the reasons why. Just little activities here and there. Our big news is that my grandparents have moved to the same town as us!!! My village just got a whole lot better. We are thrilled to have them here. I also got to see Bryan’s latest business venture, his photo booth, in person. There were little bursts of sunshine and also some hailstorms. That pretty much sums up how we were feeling inside the house too. Some ups, some downs. Just life. Hopefully I can write some stories soon, but I wanted to post these few pictures for now so I can remember these moments from an ordinary week.

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How the Light Gets In

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
Leonard Cohen

Dear Pearl and Welly,

Just under two years ago, I walked into Dr. G’s office to talk about my physical health, or so I thought. I planned on buying a few expensive supplements and learning some cool home remedies that would make my body feel better.

Instead I learned that the minor physical problems showing up on my tests were just a symptom of some bigger emotional stress. What happened next was that I tentatively began my journey through what would become months of psychotherapy. I’ll tell you more about all that journey as time goes on.

For now I just want you to know that this is one of the things I am the most proud of in the entire world: I realized that I had lost my way and I let myself need help.

That is the legacy I want to hand down to you. To know that at some point in time, I stopped running away from my own struggles and started learning to love myself through them. You two were and are my inspiration for that work.

If you’re reading this sometime in the future and you feel lost, reach out for help. If you can’t do that, just stay put and stay as open as you can. Help WILL come and I’ll always be looking out for you. Falling is a part of life and so is flying. Sometimes the two are closer than you think.

Love,
Mama

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The Beat of Your Own Drum

Dear Welly,

Today I bought you your very own djembe drum! You loved it immediately and said “where are the things for banging on it?”

We were in Portland for my appointment with Tami Kent who is a women’s pelvic physical therapist and also an energetic healer. I’m seeing her to help with some birth injuries and also because I love her work and want to learn more. In the appointment, she led me through a meditation and was asking me to set intentions for things that I want in my life and for my family.

Your face kept coming to mind my sweet boy, since I’ve been feeling a bit disconnected from you lately. We aren’t understanding each other the way we sometimes do and I see how the stresses of everyday life wear on you when you don’t feel as close to me.

I thought to myself that I want to find a way of being with you that is more simple and smooth. Also that I want to help you embrace all that wild little boy energy, but also find out how to move through the day with a little more cooperation. Because SERIOUSLY, I think you and I will both scream if we have to spend another morning grid locked over diaper changes :).

I’m the mama so it’s my job to guide us to a better way and to figure out what is keeping me from being able to set clear and simple boundaries for you right now.

So as I called our relationship to mind, I set the intention for finding a way to reach you again. I know that we will have struggles, conflicts, off days-but I need to be able to get close enough to help you through all that. I want an invisible string that keeps us close even when you’re flying all over the place. Like the kites that you love to watch at the beach. I can give you some slack when I know you’re ready, and reel you back in when the wind gets too strong.

Anyway, as I sat in my appointment, I didn’t have words for all of this yet. I simply set the intention of finding a thread to connect with you and keep you feeling safe and also the intention of learning how to honor all your physical energy.

The thought of a drum came to mind and I thought: huh? But I moved on with the rest of the appointment.

Lately I’ve been coming to terms more and more with the side of me that knows a lot of wise things but that my brain laughs at and totally doesn’t understand. I think it’s what some might call the Holy Spirit. It’s my crazy cooky inner voice that is actually pretty smart about a lot of things but doesn’t alwaysmake much logical sense. That’s the part of me that saw a drum in our future.

I walked out of my appointment feeling light and hopeful. I paused to write down some of the things I didn’t want to forget, and hesitantly put drum at the bottom. Then I went on my merry way, just minding my own business until I rounded the corner and realized I was standing directly in front of a drum store. Like right in front if it. I basically almost ran smack into a drum store.

So I took that as a cue and marched right in to buy you an awesome little djembe drum. I had some money that my grandparents gave me for Easter and this seemed like the perfect use for it.

The store was really cool with lots of dream catchers and drums from all over the world. When I told the lady at the counter the story of how I ended up there, she just looked at me calmly and said, “Yeah, I know. It happens a lot. We always seem to be here when people need us.” Well ok then. Wow. I guess I’ll go now and buy a latte?! What am I supposed to say to that? :).

And that my darling, is the story of how you got your first drum. You love, love, love it and I hope that when you wake up tomorrow you can beat on it to your hearts content, or until my nerves are shot (whichever comes first). For now, sleep tight my little wild man.

Love,
Mama

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Memories From a Perfectly Imperfect Easter

Dear Pearl and Welly,

I’m very tired tonight so I’ll keep this brief but I want to write about our day while its still fresh in my mind. Here are the top ten things I want to remember from this day in no particular order.

1) I don’t think we’ve ever had weather this perfect on Easter. Ever. It was really a gift for all us soggy, moss covered Oregonians. We spent most of the day outside.

2) Welly, you found a little black slug in the garden and spent the better part of an hour building a fort out of grass and leaves and feeding it rocks.

3) Pearl, you spent a lot of the day marveling over your newly discovered hands. I would stare at them too if I were you. They’re so soft and pudgy.

4) I feel like I look so large in the photos. Truly. It catches me off guard. There is no doubt that my body has been altered by my recent birth. I am so much softer and lumpier than I’ve ever been and I’m strangely ok with it. It’s really ok. It feels good that I can accept this even though I do still feel a little awkward in this new stretchier version of my own skin.

5) Grammie made a cobbler with the last of her frozen berries from the family ranch on Hardscrabble. After this Friday, the place will have a new owner and a piece of our family history will belong to someone else. In some ways you will both be connected to that piece of earth even though you won’t have memories of it. Ill tell you lots of stories.

6) Welly, you ate your first dinner roll and thought it was a donut.

7) Your auntie picked a beautiful bouquet for the table that made everything feel more festive.

8) Welly, your hair. Your wild and windy lion’s mane. It melts my heart.

9) I was able to let go of the expectations I had for myself (clean house, nice outfits for everyone) and just enjoy the day for what it was, that was a big victory for me.

10) For a few perfect minutes, I was rocking sleeping Pearl in my rocking chair outside with people I loved all playing in the yard around me. It doesn’t get better than that. It just doesn’t. Ok, maybe it would have been better if my legs were shaved but let’s not get fussy.

Love,
Mama

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