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Did you catch the rabbit?

June 7, 2017

When little ones trip and fall on the ground, adults kindly ask, “Did you catch the rabbit?” My youngest tried to jump over a low fence, and tumbled on the ground. An elderly passerby asked him, he laughed and hopped up. Nope, the rabbit got away…

In these tiny details, I am thankful. I held his hand as we walked to the tram stop, on our way from school to our jiu jitsu academy. I brought a paper book, Kenny and the Dragon,
and we read with one another on our way to his lesson.

Such beautiful grace, in every moment.

I continue to grow in my faith, and see how God, Our Father, the Spirit, Jesus Christ is working in and through all of these details.

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Giving thanks, weekend edition. 

May 21, 2017

The boys and I went to Warszawa to visit family this weekend. We hadn’t met them before, and I was quite nervous.

Jesus met us in such beautiful ways. In the tiny minute details, in the mundane, and in the great big picture. 

The weather was beautiful, we went to a lovely zoo, a large outdoor garden, a science museum, a Chopin concert; and most importantly spent time getting to know our family. They were warm, welcoming, and quite loving. Giving thanks, for all of these details, and for our time together.

One step at a time.

January 18, 2017

Not so much setting goals or making New Year’s Resolutions, but step by step doing what I need to do.

Right now, I am seeking to do some things that I’ve needed to do.

  • No coffee for now, as caffeine makes me feel too jittery and anxious, and I can’t stand how much more quickly I feel angry with my sweet children. I interrupt more frequently when I’ve had caffeine, and I’m working on listening better.
  • I’m striving to work out consistently: running or swimming or going to a class at a nice little gym in Krakow. I paid to go eight times in thirty days, and that feels like an ambitious goal. So far, I’ve gone three times in about two weeks. I try to go to classes while my boys are in school. I swam for thirty minutes on Monday while S&S had their weekly swim lesson with their school classmates, and helped the children before and after swimming. I went for a run this morning. And tomorrow I’ll go to the gym.
  • I appreciate a change we’ve made, and that’s when our alarm goes off, we get up. That’s it. No waffling or stumbling back to bed. And it is good. We’re seeking to maintain the same routine most days of the week, and this is helping, too. We wake most mornings at 5:30am, and go to bed around 9 or 10pm.
  • There’s a facebook group and they’ve given up sugar for forty days. Partially for the physical reasons, but mostly for spiritual reasons (I groaned, come on! They’re starting now…they end about a week before Lent, and then Lent begins for forty more days… And yet…what a gift, to let go of things in this world that trip me up, to simplify, and to lean in to Jesus. Slowly, I am growing and changing. I am deeply thankful.). Fasting, giving up these easy comforts and emotional eating, turning to Jesus, and clinging to Him in and through each day. Though I don’t eat very much sugar, when I do eat chocolate I indulge, and take another bite, and another, and another. I’ve been waffling back and forth…I am careful with what I eat and then I eat food that bothers my body. And so, I am making a point. To step by step, day by day, moment by moment make wise choices. For right now. For the next forty days. Not in my strength. Not by me muscling through. But by leaning in to Jesus, asking Him for help, and carefully choosing to eat what nourishes my body. (meat, vegetables, fruit, healthy fats are good. No processed foods, grains, dairy, nuts/seeds, sugar, soy, tomatoes/potatoes, nuts/seeds.)
  • And you know this silly phone thing, this screen thing, this facebook/social media thing. I unfollow so much. I put my phone down. And I get sucked right back in…just another article, just another scroll, just another swipe through these endless feeds. Thankfully, I am learning and more importantly choosing to put it down. Moment by moment, step by step.
  • I feel like my family is growing. Choosing, oh so carefully, to listen, to try, and to love. Often when we don’t feel like it, often when we are tired and worn, and yet…we keep turning towards one another. The bigs and the littles. And it is beautiful. Not in the shimmering, picture perfect, instagram worthy, magazine spread…but in the gritty realness of life. One step at a time. Turning towards one another, and loving one another. My beloved chooses to study in the living room, inviting our boys to do their homework beside him. Our eldest takes him up on his offer, and he sprawls out on the rug and does his homework. Our littlest balks, nooooo I don’t have homework. And patiently I reply okay, that is fine, please bring over your backpack. Nooooooo, I don’t know what I need to do…. Okay that is fine, please take out your books. Noooooo, I don’t know what my homework is… Okay that is fine, please open your books. Oh yes, I remember, it’s these pages. 🙂 And step by step, word by word, question by question, he does his work.

Today’s bible verse from K-LOVE is “The Lord gives his people strength, he blesses his people with peace.” Strength and peace. Strength to do what is before me, and peace as I walk forward in my day.

Anchors: Hope, love, compassion, and kindness.

January 17, 2017

Today, I’ve felt a burning urge to write. And so, here I am.

“Love, compassion, and kindness are the anchors of life.” – says my tea label this morning.

“…and so that we, now we have found safety, should have a strong encouragement to take a firm grip on the hope that is held out to us. Here we have an anchor for our soul, as sure as it is firm, and reaching right through beyond the veil where Jesus has entered before us and on our behalf…

In each of these, an anchor. Good to ponder, and yet in the going forth and doing of my day, I have wrestled with this. Loving my boys step by step, through wakeups and breakfast. They helped me clean up the kitchen, they skipped off to go play with legos, I lost track of time, and we frantically ran out the door. What happened to love and kindness anchoring me? Anchoring our family? Kindness–this great heavy object, tying me to each son–serving as an anchor and helping me to carefully measure my words in the midst of me feeling anxious. These minute battles in my heart, through the mundane details of our day. In my every choice and action, what is anchoring me? What is this heavy object, that moors me and keeps me from going adrift? That provides stability and confidence in otherwise uncertain situations?

I took each on a date this morning. The first grumbled, I prayed and asked Jesus to help us and breathe peace into this situation, and He did. My heart unwound and calmed. He hopped onto my lap, and read with me, while we drank our smoothies. I was thankful to open my heart and focus my mind, and pay careful attention to the one in front of me. It’s disheartening how quickly our minds can dart to past and future things, and miss what is right in front of us. I was thankful for this time, to be present with my youngest. And then, picking up my other for our date, and he was mad. It’s hard to leave friends. It took us a bit of time to connect. Again, I prayed. For each of us. And slowly, with my repair attempts and his, we reconnected. And we were thankful for a few minutes to love, listen, and be together.

At home, I am consciously making careful choices. To nourish myself. To care for our home, and the ones I love. To serve, and love well. To hold the space, to think, and to write. In each moment, I feel these slippery pulls…just a few minutes on facebook…just a few minutes reading articles…just one treat…just another…another article…and my few hours slip through my fingers, squandered. These struggles remain. And yet, step by step, I am choosing to do–one step at a time–what I need to do. I am thankful for my anchors, when I feel adrift, uncertain, and aimless. Choosing love, choosing kindness, leaning in to Jesus. He is my hope.

So much grace. 

January 5, 2017

Emmanuel. One word, my focus.

Advent to Christmas to Christmastide to Three Kings Day.

Praying, placing these details in His hands. All is grace. Intersection of contributing factors, yet all goes to and with and because of Jesus Christ.

Love one another. It’s as simple as this.

Circling around, again.

January 4, 2017

4 January/Styczeń. Circling, deepening, reflecting, growing. Though I face some of these struggles that I’ve wrestled with for years, it is my hope and my prayer that I am growing, changing, and maturing. I appreciate the image of growth, that it isn’t a linear or straight line; but instead a spiral, around and around again, climbing or deepening into greater truth as we wrestle and face some of these well trodden paths with familiar obstacles.

Brene Brown said, “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” and “Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we are all in this together.” Isn’t there such freedom and relief with this? Showing up, as we are, it is enough. I struggle with myself and with my feelings…this time I will change, I will do better, I will triumph over this struggle. And then here I am, facing the same things again.and again.and again. I ponder, the weakness and flip side of strength. Are my imperfections to be overcome? Which ones am I to embrace and accept, and which ones to change? Berating myself hasn’t helped me. Moving forward, with kindness. Can I be a gentle loving mother, who is kind when she is angry? Can I restrain my sharp tongue and my criticisms? Can I accept and believe, I.am.enough. You are enough. My husband and sons are enough, precisely as they are. Can I set realistic expectations for my heart, my mind, my days, my time, and live well within the constraints of each day? It is so simple, and yet impossible on our own: love You, love others. Live a holy life, love one another. Follow You. One step, one moment, one breath at a time.

I’m thankful:

  • This morning I went for a run. It was 0c, and the paths were blanketed in thick crunchy white snow. Quiet, peaceful, and good. I slipped and fell when I began, but it was a gentle tumble, and there was something nice to begin with a fall. Yup…time to get up and get after it. One step at a time.
  • I ran almost 7km, though I pushed myself a little bit too much as my knee was hurting at the end…it’s been several weeks since I’ve ran, time to build up my strength and endurance again. I’m thankful the smog wasn’t bad, I’m well, and that I could run today.
  • I stopped by the farmer’s market on my way home, and I had just enough złoty/money to pick up some olive oil, three carrots, two parsley, some chicken, and some salami. It is so nice, to purchase just a little bit at a time.
  • Though I lost (another) earring this morning, I am thankful my pair is now one from my mother and one from my beloved. Something sweet, about having two mismatched pearls from the ones I love.
  • We began this morning well! Waking early, quietly doing yoga and stretching. I read just a little in my bible, and I was thankful to contemplate a verse from 1 John: living a holy life, loving one another. It is as simple as this. How am I doing this, today?
  • Making breakfast. Having eggs, spinach, a little bit of salami, and juice that it was easy to make food that would nourish us well for our days. Their papa woke them up gently, though they balked and struggled to wake up. Slowly, they awoke. And ate. And dressed, brushed teeth, put snow boots and coats on, and off we went to school. Some of these are such battles…and yet we loved well through the struggles.
  • Snowballs, crunching on snow, finding our friends, walking together. One son with each of us. On time. And ready for school.
  • Then, him to study, me to run. Thankful for a good run, a HOT shower, squats/pushups/pullups, and a delicious smoothie.
  • Thankful to write, to wash and fold laundry, to make chicken stock, and to bake a delicious meal of baked chicken with sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, parsley, celeriac, and oranges. And that I paid our monthly bills, practiced a little bit of Polish, and visited and prayed with my mom. Now, time for me to walk to school to pick up our sons. One step at a time, doing the work that is before me. Time to go catch their hearts, connect, and love them well from now through bedtime.

Leaning in to Jesus

December 14, 2016

Dear ones, how I need Jesus. I ache, I struggle, I battle these battles that I’ve faced for decades.

This song is balm to my soul–I need Thee every hour–and my beloved encourages me to lean in and get after it: Sisyphys – The Rock, the Grind.

This morning I read, “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Cor 12:9

And how I see and feel my weaknesses. I long to be like Christ, in all I say I do. I long to give, serve, pour myself out. I long to love my boys well. I long to make wise choices. I long to be self disciplined. I long to deeply love others every.single.time. And yet I fall down, struggle, and land on my face. So I get up, and I try again.

What do I do? I stay in the pool. I keep pushing the rock up the hill. I embrace this struggle, of this rich achingly beautiful broken life. I pause as I hear the hipster crooning into his microphone in the walkway under our road, 9:20pm on a Monday night, 5c below zero: And I hear the Lord say, what a wonderful world. What a beautiful twist on Louis Armstrong’s song. It doesn’t get easier, we just get better/stronger.

And I end with this:

Bless the Lord oh my soul, worship Your holy name.