Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sturdy Rope

My summer wake-up call happens in phases. Somewhere around 6:40, I hear Calvin sneak downstairs (rascal is "supposed" to stay upstairs until 7...). Ruby trucks down 15 or 20 minutes later.

I doze and wake in fits, their heels stomping across the downstairs floor, Howard skittering around in his morning frenzy, a little giggling, the unmistakable sound of Legos being sifted around in the box.

With any luck, Silas sleeps until 7:30. I listen for the sounds of his steps, bending my ear to catch the clues they hold about the day ahead of us.

We're a wiley collection of opposing preferences and personalities. Ours is an existence of rushing and waiting, push and pull. We're human, but we sure do love each other.

On my very best days, I offer a quick prayer before I roll out of bed. It's usually more of a plea, really.
Follow closely.
Let us feel you near.
Give me what I need.
Show me joy.
Dear God, grant me the miracle of patience. Quickly!

Leading 3 small people through a long string of long days is no monkey business. Many of you might enjoy amiable children with easy-going demeanors and matching socks. That sounds entirely foreign to me. It's mandarin Chinese.

What I enjoy are 3 funny, short people with various ills ranging from "anger mismanagement" to "excessive sarcasm" to "chronic tattling". Everyday, we have fighting and belly laughs. Every day, we see bright moments of pure genius and lapses into the kind of boredom that can't be fixed, just survived.

I'm on a mission this summer to just make it all work. And I'm finding it's so much easier to go with the flow when I'm really okay flowing.

I don't have to decide everything.
I don't have to say no just because it wasn't my idea.
I don't have to make everyone happy.
I don't even have to make myself happy. (Oy.)

One kid wants eggs, one wants cereal, and one wants toast? I would be wise to save my controlling tendencies for something a tinge more dire. Toast your heart out, Silas! Master that elusive sunny-side, Calv!

This is my life, the exact one that I happen to love. Even when it's hard and crazy-making.
This is what pulls me from my earliest squinty-eyed moments of the day, into the very heart of Christ. Faith and family can tangle into the loveliest rope, a double-helix of home and everything it means.

God gave me my heart by making me a Mama. It wasn't the way I thought it would be, and I'm so glad the choice wasn't mine.

What we are is imperfectly perfect for each other.
What we are is something pretty wonderful.


My dear friend Emily Wierenga just published Atlas Girl, her memoir about arriving at the heart of her faith through the twisting road that led her across the world and back home again.

I started it late last night and slipped very quietly down into the wonderland she creates with her prose and her truth-telling. The way she weaves time, place, and bare-faced truth are already amazing me. I'll have it finished by the weekend. I can't think of a better Summer read.

I intended to share about her book today, but I didn't plan for the way her words would have my head in overdrive, thinking about the way my faith and my family are twined.  That, friends, is what great writing will do to you.

Find your copy here

(All the proceeds from Atlas Girl go towards The Lulu Tree, an organization seeking to prevent orphans in the country of Uganda by supporting and empowering Ugandan Mamas.)

*Amazon affiliate link used


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  3. Thank you for hosting me dear Shannan :) Love you! e.

  4. i'll be saving up my change to purchase emily's new book. we have a coinstar at the local meijer, and i'm not afraid to use it. -- gift cards--

  5. This book is DEF on my list for the summer! LOVE that the proceeds benefit a great organization! In spite of the glitter nail polish and the spray paint, may your day be filled with way more belly laughs!

  6. re: your long summer days, has the playground equipment at the school been installed?

  7. I am loving your gentle reminders that we do best when we remember that we don't always have to be in charge...:)
    Starting the book tonight- sounds like a wonderful story.

  8. I love that reminder to not say "no" just because it wasn't my idea!

  9. Ditto to what Laurel said. I have found that, in motherhood, the knee-jerk reaction (for me, at least) is to say no to things too quickly, when sometimes, even though something may be messy, chaotic, or completely contrary to my plans, it still might just be okay! :)

  10. Sweet! Let me know what you think. I can't wait to get these squirrels in bed and dive in again!

  11. Thank you for this. On a day when I had to constantly remind myself not to try to control everything (including sprinkle placement on the cake). A day where I felt like I was failing. A day where I wondered in the grocery store if Shannan ever had to deal with x,y & z. I come home to this & find you have plenty of xyz in your own life & I am not alone.

  12. Ah! I love Emily and her book Chasing Silhouettes was majorly helpful this year as I journeyed with a family (I'm a school social worker) as their 8th grade daughter battled ED.
    Anywho, I really wanted to buy her new book but I have a stack right now and one more just seems like too many but than you said proceeds & Uganda. My little sweetie adopted domestically is half Ugandian so like...Uganda is a pretty big deal in our house. Looks like the stack is gonna get higher!
    Ps. Love that you girls are friends.

  13. Adding this book to my wish list! I was so enthralled by her post over at Proverbs 31. Thanks for the reminder!

  14. Great post! Thanks for sharing this information. I gained quite a lot of knowledge after reading your blog thank you.

  15. You are incredible flowerpatch farmgirl. I wait with anticipation for YOUR book. Just keep doing what you do. X

  16. Your crew sounds JUST like mine -- 15 or 20 years ago. Hang in there. It gets better and better and better.