1000 gifts · Uncategorized

How Do You Measure a Year?

I’d forgotten all about these lyrics until my jazzercise instructor used the song in class the other day–

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?
Read more at http://www.songlyrics.com/rent/seasons-of-love-lyrics/#ulRxxkIvQXcSY0JZ.99

The words all came rushing back along with lots of memories of drives back onto Berry’s campus late at night after Waffle House runs. My friend Melanie would put in her Rent soundtrack and roll down the windows and we’d be all young and idealistic and going-to-change-the-world.

Then we all grew up and life happened and years have gone by and we’re all world changers in some big and small ways if we open our eyes to see.

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How do you measure a year?

2015 will blow out today, taking with it bands of storms that have plagued lives and spirits. The flood waters haven’t just risen in the Mississippi or spilled over the levees in St. Louis or my sleepy little college town.

They’ve spilled over my life in countless ways of hope and fear and promise and pain.

So do I measure the passing of 2015 in MRIs and blood work and countless unknowns? We took my almost-six-year-old for her sixth MRI yesterday. She’s considered stable right now, and most of the time, these days, we are too. But in other ways this will always be the year I watched my daughter’s little body degenerate–

and watched her learn how to put herself back together.

That’s the hope I need to carry. That she, as her physical therapist reminded us this week, always compensates and keeps going, never worrying about the fatigue or the pain.

May I learn that lesson from my child.

How do I measure a year?

In apologies and forgiveness, rather than meltdowns and tantrums.

In acts of kindness, not jealousy.

In second chances and mistakes that taught lessons.

In successes, not in failures.

2015 is also the year I gulped faith and pushed down insecurity and wrote a novel–bleeding heart and soul and family onto the pages that are under contract with a publishing house for release in early 2017.

This is the year I rebranded my blog and myself, as a Southern writer of life, and have shifted my focus to where my heart truly lies–in the words of creative non-fiction and fiction that paint portraits of the life I know and cherish.

This is the year I heard God whispering, Ask and you shall receive.

Not a give-me faith of praying for things, but a resolute faith of praying that I can walk with His plans, surrendered and passionate and in constant awe of how and where he can use me. A faith of believing that if God has placed a restlessness within my soul, it might be because He wants to do more with me than I ever imagined possible.

And more might simply be to live and love and give and hope through the measure of another year.

amelia · motherhood · Uncategorized

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Found this sitting in my drafts folder from almost exactly a year ago.

When our diagnosis was still AVM, when we were still being told surgery would be an “easy fix” (don’t you just love doctors’ optimism?!?) and had no idea that one year later, our daughter would still struggle.IMG_3481

There are good days and bad days and in-between days. Sometimes I still sit in the school parking lot and cry. But this line breaks my heart when I read back over and remember our darkest moments of this time: I can’t suit up for this fight with everyone watching. I think the biggest lie I bought during that time was the idea that I had to be strong. Instead my kids have learned more about trusting God from my inept brokenness than I ever could have taught them by faking my way through the fear.

Yesterday started with Amelia refusing to wear shoes to school. We’re in the parking lot of her tiny little Christian school at a tiny little church in the middle of the country with the mountains all around and I’m throwing her backpack and saying, “Well, fine, then. Stay home. I don’t care.”

Except I really, really did.

I don’t know how to walk this line. How to parent her through this time in our lives without caving to every little whim (she ate gummies for breakfast by the way). I don’t know how to discipline my child with the “slightly bleeding arterial abnormality” in her brain. I don’t want to yell, but I still need to be the mama. I don’t want to be selfish, but I still need a little bit of time for myself. I can’t suit up for this fight with everyone watching.

She didn’t go to school. Of course it was my one four hour block in the week where everyone goes to school and I keep “office hours” with the free wi-fi in Chic-fil-a and try to write. But another mama came to my rescue. Hers weren’t going either. They all played hooky at her house and ate funnel cakes at 10:30 a.m.

Don’t judge us. Sometimes everyone just needs a little break.

{Maybe I should insert here that our Sunday School Christmas party was the night before and it was at least 10 p.m. before anyone went to bed. Sort of explains the morning meltdowns.}

But when that break is over, reality is still there. My big girls are still in need of attention, the dishes still have to be done, and we’ve got a plumber bill coming to go with the new pipes in the bathroom.

And then apparently I ran out of steam…

What moments from this past year are you dwelling on as Christmas draws near?

31 Days: Fear

When Fear Chokes: 31 Days

Untitled designLast night, my daughter choked on a lifesaver.

Clumped in a crowded school hallway in the midst of the annual fall festival, while I wrangled her and her brother and her daddy wrangled the fishing line at the kindergarten booth, she screamed and gasped and retched. And I had no idea what to do.

I had no idea what was happening. She could breathe–because lifesavers have holes, hence their name–but when she bent over and heaved and her face turned purple with the effort, my heart crippled with the fear.

Then up came that little red circle of obstruction (along with her dinner). She cried. I cried. We got her some water and a quiet place and within half an hour, she was running around the cake walk with her best friend and eating cotton candy.

I, on the other hand, sat watching her and shaking. The ripplings of fear still worked their way from my soul.


We sing the song in church,. “You are peace, you are peace, when my fear is crippling.”  And for a long time, I couldn’t work the words past the lump in my throat and the vice around my heart.

Fear has lodged itself deep, deep into my being and learning to trust, learning to believe, learning to loosen its grip is my everyday struggle.

There are times when I choke daily on my own fears.

Of failure. Inadequacy. Inauthenticity. Being unloved. Being unwanted. Being unequipped. Of the unexpected and of the unknown.

But when the Lord gives the promise–like he gave Moses as the Israelites wandered the desert–he tells us not to fear.

See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 1:21

He gave the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey. But it was a a land full of giants and walled cities.

So they remained trapped by their fear for forty long years.

Maybe some fears are like that lifesaver with a hole for precious breath and a lesson of patience. Some fears do, indeed, keep us safe.

But, I’m thirty-five years old. I have a beautiful life full of promise. A life I no longer want to be crippled and trapped by the fear that if I trust, I might lose everything.

Because if I don’t live the life I’m given, I’ve already lost.

And fear wins.

What do you fear? What are you looking for in reading this 31 days series?