Saturday, March 17, 2018

Stella, you are one!

Dear Stella,

You are one baby girl. We made it through the first year together. I am still so glad you are here.  I love how you watch and explore quietly and have decided to do things in your own time. You have thrown me for a loop so many times in your first year, but I think that it's been good for me, God knew I needed a you.

You currently love to climb stairs and would do it all day long if you allowed.  Walking hasn't come yet, but that doesn't stop you from being super quick on your knees and palms. You are a bit of a daredevil at times and its probably something you have in common with your older brother Ephraim, who is extremely good at testing the limits on things for his advantage.

You are loved deeply by your siblings.  One of my favorite things has been to see how your siblings love on you.  While they may get annoyed slightly here and there with you stealing their toy or messing with their game, they cheer you on in each new thing.  Every new ability is a cause for celebration and they just sing your praises to no end.  Baby girl, you are loved.

You love to be cuddled and have a mama right near. You are greatly weary of strangers if they try to hold you or pick you up. Sometimes you get scared if you are too far away from someone you trust and you still aren't the greatest fan of the car, but you tolerate it much more now and sometimes will even take a nap in it.

You love playing with cup and bowls and things that can go inside of cups and bowls.  You are excellent at tearing pages of books and unfortunately a few library books have fallen prey to your habits. You enjoy being held by your mama especially in the sling so you can safely look out on the world and experience things close to your life source.

You are calmed by walks and sometimes will only fall asleep when out on one.  You aren't the greatest of nappers some days but you seem to enjoy sleep at night as long as you are cuddled, and for that we are thankful. You are so sweet in so many ways and we can't wait to see what your second year has in store for you.

Happy Birthday, Stella girl!

Your Mama

Friday, March 9, 2018

A rug from my grandmother

I have this rug. It's one that my grandmother latch hooked for me. She had been trying to give it to me for months, when she first heard that I was pregnant with Noel, she sent a sweet card of congrats on the fourth baby and then sent a picture of a rug she had made hoping that I would like it and claim it as mine. You see then but not even a week later, Noel died. And then I just couldn't talk to anyone.  My grandmother called to apologize of what she wrote in the card, though I think it needed no apology. It was all done with love, it was simply telling me that four babies would be great and how she had such memories with her four own babies. That didn't need apologizing for, not one bit.  I didn't answer the phone and simply had a voicemail, but so it was. She called again a few weeks later and hoped that I was all better.  I don't think she meant any harm in saying that, though it wasn't receptive to my ears and still I wasn't answering the phone because I just still couldn't. This loss hit me the hardest of my two miscarriages I have had. And almost 2 years later, another baby in my arms there are still bits to process. There are still bits of graces unfolding from Noel's short womb life.

My dad called about the rug, perhaps my grandmother thought I'd surely talk to him, but again it was another voicemail as I still didn't answer the phone. We went on a trip to a few cities in the south and I bought a card for my grandmother to tell her that I did want the rug.  But I never wrote out the card and I never sent it.

A few later, my grandmother died unexpectedly from a blood clot that spread to her lungs. It wasn't caught by a foot doctor and it caught us all by surprise.  My first thought was that I didn't ever call or write her. I had wanted to, to say yes to this rug she had made with me in mind, but I just wasn't all there and I wasn't really handling life all that well.

This lady was precious to me and every time we would call for her birthday and the kids and I would sing for her and she would say that this was the best birthday greeting she had gotten all day.  And whether or not that was true, she knew how to make my heart smile.  She would send birthday greetings to all my kids and to me every year and she just knew how to say the right thing to cheer someone up in a rough situation.

Today, for some reason, I was compelled to pull this rug from its buried home in a corner of my bedroom and take it downstairs to use in the house and remember her.  Perhaps, I need more of her now. Perhaps, I've finally forgiven myself for never saying yes to her directly for the rug.  But here it is, I hope that it brings us warmth and softness and memories of love for years to come. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Nothing is Secular

After reading Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory, I am finding myself pondering the idea of things considered to be secular. What is something that is secular really anyway?  Google says its "denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis." So, now we have a definition.  But then is really anything secular?  Is there anything completely void of God, if God is the creator of all? 

I'm reminded of a conversion story of an artist that found God through his paint.  I think by definition of the world, paint would not be religious and yet it led to God. And perhaps its because its a tool that it can be used for both things that bring us closer to God and things that perhaps distract us from him.  However, I think in all of it God is still in the paint.

On another point, I've often thought of the example of two priests coming upon a prostitute and one priest shielding his eyes from the occasion of sin and the other in abject weeping over the soul in the over sexualized get up.  Neither reaction is wrong. One simply is perhaps able to comprehend more, or perhaps is a little further along in his walk with Jesus to be able to look outside himself and see another hurting. 

I wonder if this how we are with things that are viewed as Christian versus those that are secular.  Perhaps there are times that we need the bubble and protection of the Christian cultured things.  Perhaps we are still learning to sit up right in our Christianity and we need to feel protected in it.  Outside it, the world seems scary. We can't make sense of it, and perhaps we just don't want to right now or just aren't able to do so.  

And then maybe someday we venture out and start to crawl a little bit and see God in our fallen humanity, and then we keep digging deeper and find God in the crevices that no one else wants to touch and find them redeemable and find that God doesn't just live inside the deemed Christian walls, but is in the low of the low in society's perception and wants them to be loved just the same as you or the pope.