Monday, May 31, 2010

Meet my sister

Some of you may have wondered why I'm doing this Congo event at all, why I care about it all so much.

She, and thousands like her, are the reason why.

She's only 18. And yet she's seen more in her very short life than most of us will see if we lived a hundred lifetimes.  And she's very much a real, breathing, feeling person.
“Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.
Frederick Buechner

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Seven years old!

Unbelievable.

Seven years ago, I became a mother for the first time.

Our first born has brought us so much joy, and has taught us so much, ever since she came.

She has been remarkably patient and forgiving, as we have had to learn to be parents.

I loved these gifts from Grandmas:

Grandma R. remembered how much she loves to find the almonds in her cereal, and made a special gift of almonds!  The birthday girl was so tickled someone noticed!

Grandma I. knows how much she loves to help with the cooking, and gave her a cook book of her very own.  How BIG can we get? :)


Scooting happily away. :)



And a real party, with real friends, topped it off.  :)





Happy Birthday, sweet pea. :)  Thank you for being willing to be the oldest child, a very hard job, indeed.  :)  I don't know what we'd ever do without you!


We love you!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Storms and Honesty

It's late.  And I'm tired.  But my mind is full.

I have been amazed lately at the total, raw honesty on one of my friend's blogs lately.  (I bet you know who you are. :) )  She's totally exposed herself, her insecurities, her fears, her frustrations.  She's made me think a lot.  And she's made me feel so much better.  She's incredible, and yet so human.  It's made me feel like it's more okay to be as human as I am.

So maybe it's just because it's late.  Or maybe it's because I spent an evening with incredible women and their heart-wrenching honesty tonight and realized yet again how much we need each other.

But I'm going to be really honest.

I've really had a hard time lately.  A really hard time.  I've really struggled with bouts of depression, but it's been different than what you might think.  Yes, I know my hormones are realigning themselves right now, but it's been more.

Soul-wrenching questions about myself.  Doubts of my abilities, far greater than I have ever experienced.  Sadness about everything I am attempting.  Fear of total, ridiculous failure.  Fear of really being nothing after all. 

Ever since I announced our Congo event taking place in the fall, I have undergone a furious storm of criticism and doubt, both external and internal.  It has caused me to question everything I ever thought I was or thought I could do.  I have tried so hard to stay positive, to keep pushing my head back up, but it has been so. very. hard.

I've been trying to "fake it till I make it."

"But what if I never make it?" says the incessant voice inside of me.

Thank goodness I have had a sweet baby to hold, and a kind husband to hold me.  Truly, gifts of God.

It has been an interesting time.  I have truly felt caught inside an agonizing storm.  But as much as it has been a painful time, it has probably been one of the most incredible times of my life, as well.  Enlightenment, inspiration, and life-altering guidance have burst upon my mind.  Love has abounded in my life.  My family is so happy, patient, and full of goodness.  Friends have been there for me in a way I have never had before.  And my own heart has changed.  But something is constantly trying to squash all of that goodness.

So I feel that one minute, I am crushed beyond reason, and the next, I remember all that I have, and I am soaring.  It is a constant up and down.

It's been exhausting.

All week, I have been feeling unwell, and it's made it that much harder to keep trying.  I've been praying a lot for help, and I know I've had a lot of help.  But yesterday found me tearfully, desperately pleading for help.  And in the middle of it all, rain pounded the house and tornado sirens started wailing.

How appropriate, I thought.

(No, I didn't take that picture, fyi) 

At first, I watched the storm numbly.

But then something happened to me during that storm.  Something special and so very personal.

A reminder, even during this huge storm in my life, of who I really am.  A reminder that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or feels or says about me.  Because that isn't who I am.  I remembered to listen to the One person who does know who I really am. 

This morning, when I went outside, after storm after storm raged yesterday, the world was new.  The air was clean, bright, and so very sweet.  I felt the same in my heart. 

And tonight, as I spent time with women who were truly hurting, I remembered the real me.  I listened, loved, and hopefully helped.  Regardless of what anyone else says, or thinks, the real me is someone who wants to do those quiet things.  Because they are what matter.

I feel again like the world just might need me.

And I don't say that in a boastful way.  Believe me, not after how I've felt.  It's all I can do to write it at all.  I say it, because if I, small, insignificant ME, can feel and know that somehow, the world needs me, like I have a true purpose, then maybe, just maybe, someone out there will read this and know

the world needs you, too.

You're worth something.  You're good.  You're special.  You have a place and a purpose.

You're needed.

So hang in there with me.  Don't give in.  Because there are storms to weather, and I know we'll both be weathering many, many more.

But was anything worth doing EVER easy?

No.

But always, always worth the storm, to see the beautiful, clean morning.  "Cast not away therefore your confidence."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Inspiration

This past week has been amazing.  I won't say much about it now, other than to say that
inspiration comes best when you are on the move.

This past week it feels as though it has come while we have been trying, moving, actively seeking ways to change and help.  It's been amazing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's a miracle

This morning, my head was swimming. I was thrilled with the news that a popular Denver studio was considering sponsoring Yoga for Congo Women. I was excited and terrified all at once about a late-night chat and a possible grand new adventure down the road. I was depressed that most people do not want to be bothered hearing about Africa, yet so happy that last night, I found a friend who truly did care. And I was floored, infuriated, and dumbfounded at a large and influential company who outwardly supports a bill that would help to end the violence in the Congo, and yet quietly lobbies to gut that bill, when implementing it, as is, would cost them a mere penny per product. I was further angered when the same company began deleting the comments of concerned people, and then blocking comments altogether. On top of that, I was overwhelmed by the dishes in the sink that I didn't do last night, and by a big school day ahead of us.

My head spun and I couldn't focus well on any one thing.

But then one of my girls came in the room and pressed her nose up to the window.

"Mom! It's so sunny! Look at that sun! It's a miracle!"

(This after a very stormy night.)

Yes, wee one. It is a miracle.

My head stopped spinning, and my heart lifted. And we went on with the day.

My children ground me. They teach me the simplest, and yet the most profound truths. In the whirlwinds and storms in our lives, the sun does peek through.

And it's a miracle, every time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Purity

Lately I have been struggling. For weeks I have fought a heartache and terrible feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. I have been fighting it, and some days have been better than others. I have had illuminating moments, followed by ever darker moments. I keep pressing toward the lighter ones. But life seems to be a constant battle for the light.

Today has been hard. I've been praying for help. Not much has eased the painful feelings. But then, my daughters came in from playing outside. One of them, trying to look nonchalant, came in like this:

She announced that she is now a farmer. Her little imagination and sweetness made me laugh. It made me smile. It lifted my heart. :)

At night lately, I sometimes struggle. My mind fills with negative thoughts and doubts about my abilities and my place in the world. But inevitably at times like that, this little one wakes up, and I snuggle her warm and tight next to me. And instantly, her pure spirit soothes my soul, and my mind rests and trusts again.



How do your children ease your heartache? What blessings they are. In all of the work, toil, and tears they can bring, they are the light of our lives.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Two months

How can two months go by so quickly?

How is it that despite hormonal imbalances, fears of the future, and terrible feelings of inadequacy, this tiny being, only two months old, is the balm to my soul and comfort in each day?

How is it that each child that comes, in spite of all of the difficulty life may bring, is the exact child, the exact spirit you needed at that time in your life?

How is it that I, I who am so imperfect, so small, so lacking in so many areas,
am
so
blessed?



I am the mother of daughters.
Blessed am I.

Friday, May 14, 2010

All she wants for Christmas...


Love this little wink. ;) What a cutie.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

To my mom

"I'm the girl who learned to love 
from watching you."
-Lucy Kaplansky

I love you, mom.

To my little women

With Mother's Day here this weekend, I find myself thinking again and again of Anne Campbell's beautiful words:
You are the trip I did not take.
You are the pearls I cannot buy.
You are my blue Italian lake.
You are my piece of foreign sky.
- Anne Campbell
I'm not much of a traveler, though, but today, as we were out in the sunshine enjoying the beauty of the lake, I thought up my own little words for my girls:
You are the naps I do not take.
You are the snuggles in my night.
You are my sunshine everyday.
You are the Loves of my life.















A perfect day, with a perfect ending...

...someone lost her 4th tooth. :)

I Love you, my little ones.  Thank you for making me a mother!