in which i realize how very much i love my life

in which i realize how very much i love my life

When I write my blog, WordPress has something called “Distraction Free Writing” mode. They have clearly never met me. For me there is no such thing.

In spite of my distraction, or maybe because of it, I am just sitting here in the living room in the dark and everyone is taken care of and I am breathing and I realize how very much I love my life.

My life is interesting and full of hijinks and antics and madcap adventures. It is not what I expected or wanted, but it is everything I wished for, once upon a time.

Once upon a time I was a little girl and an idealist (I still am). I just wanted…well, everything. I wanted to have it all.

And all, to me, was not this. But it actually IS this. This is my everything. This life. This sitting in the night in the dark, alone and quiet and wondering if I can survive tomorrow.

Once upon a time I wanted to be in the front lines. I wanted to fight. And now, here I am, fighting the most intense battle in the history of humanity–the battle for good to triumph over the powers of darkness.

This is How I Fight The Powers of Darkness. The Fact That He Exists and Is Happy...

This is How I Fight The Powers of Darkness. The Fact That He Exists and Is Happy…

Sometimes it feels like nothing. It feels like scrambled eggs and forgetting peanut butter when I went to the store and running up and down the stairs and laundry and what does s-a-t sound like for the hundredth time, and it feels very…tiny.

But it isn’t. It’s my dream. And I have created something here that is almost flickering into extinction–a home that is far from coarse noise and full of love. Real, messy, mundane love. The kind of love that notices a sigh or a downcast glance or the slightest change in the tone of voice that indicates a need or a cry for help.

I went to the mall today. I hadn’t really been to a mall in quite a while. It was a beautiful place. It was lovely. A creek flows through it, there are fountains and beautiful sunshine flows in and around it. It really was beautiful, but I found myself walking through it and it almost felt like I was the only real thing there.

The Mall

The Mall

The building, the stores, the monuments to the wants of a very affluent society seemed almost ghostly to me.

And I realized it’s because I deal with soul loving and healing and that is a thing of forever.

I am loving my people, and they come from the stars.

What are malls to such a thing?

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What Are Malls to Daniel Job’s Masterpiece?

It’s not easy, and it’s not fun all the time. It’s easy to want to create a distraction sometimes. I mean, when my nearly three year old can’t figure out the difference between soap and toothpaste…after two months of toothpaste-y hands and soapy teeth…well, it’s difficult to not want to be distracted.

But, luckily, I have a “Distraction Free Parenting Mode” button I can push, and then it’s all much better.

I have Joy, and because of her I also have Perspective.

It pulls out the noise and the sidebars and reminds me that toothpaste as soap is just part of the glorious time we have here. And soap as toothpaste? Well, I don’t know anyone else who does that so maybe it’s just us.

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My Soap Is Toothpaste Girl…

I love my life. I used to be so mad that I was still here after Joy wasn’t. I felt guilty for every breath I took without her.

Now, I am amazed at every moment.

I am starting to see what I know she saw all along…

moon-kissing-ocean

eight years

eight years

It’s been eight years since Joy died.

Most of the time it feels like it happened last week, or a few days ago…and sometimes it seems like it was another life, a watercolor in abstract.

So, this year I have been trying to get it together again. Every year I think this is the year that I am going to get it together and then I don’t quite make it. And then I realize that this is probably one of those things I need to learn: that life is all about trying to get it together and not quite making it but forging ahead anyway.

Joy's Flowers

Joy’s Flowers

I had so many plans, ladies. And I often have thought this year that if she hadn’t died, well, then everything really would have been just the way I planned. Well, maybe not JUST the way I planned it, but pretty close and pretty near perfect. Of course, what-might-have-beens are so very much easier to imagine that what actually happened, I guess.

I realize now that there is no such thing as the perfect plan. I don’t think God or Heaven or the Universe is designed so that our plans, no matter how well thought out, well executed, or inspired will work out just perfectly. No, there has to be the conflict and the sometimes miraculous resolution…there has to be character development and an interesting plot. It can’t just work out without any excitement.

I guess it can if you decide to never act, to sit and stare at a wall all day or something. That could never work for me because I have the attention span of a squirrel. So, yeah. I have to be doing things and chasing things and…living. And if we decide to live, well, then the plans have to be sacrificed and changed and amended and thrown out and sometimes they almost work, or they work out of order or something. It’s kind of a mystery to me how it all works, but it does.

So, although I know there is no perfect plan, I still make plans. They are just strange, open ended, seemingly nonsensical plans. I now understand a little why I read and re-read Alice in Wonderland so many times growing up. There was something so familiar about the whole madness of Wonderland. Something so comforting about it.

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I just got this comforting feeling of familiarity and this feeling that the world in which I live is truly as mad as the Hatter, and as ridiculous as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and as insane as the Caucus Race. Sometimes I feel big, sometimes insignificant. And, I am really glad that Alice made it out okay.

So my plans are more like “Wonderland” plans. I always felt awkward when people would tell me to plan out what I was going to do for the next 20 years, or if they said to focus on what life I wanted and then I would have it. I guess that’s true to a point, but eventually the Universe will throw you a curveball, because if there is one thing that is a constant in this existence, it’s curveballs.

Anomalies.

Random, inexplicable things that aren’t random because they are planned in specificity by an overarching Power, but that feel incredibly strange as we experience them in our limited understanding.

You know, I used all of my energy and chakra power and zen oneness with the universe to attempt to make a perfect life, and it doesn’t work that way. I realize now that all of that stuff is powerful, but none of it is all-powerful.

c.s.-lewis-quote---practice-hospitality.---blog.---god-sharp39-s-best.

We can change so many things about our lives and what the outcome is, but there are some things we just can’t change or avoid. They are there and they are immovable, regardless of how good we are, or how positive we are or how many times we meditate a day. Some things are just there for our own development and to create a conflict so we can find the resolution and become stronger.

I know that we can sometimes change the nature of the immovable things. But sometimes, the best we can do is just get through it. Sometimes that is all we can do.

So this year, instead of making hard and fast plans to “get it together” I have just decided to let that all go.

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I now have vague, nonsensical, sometimes even preposterous plans for my year that I know can change or metamorphosize or disintegrate into nothingness at any moment. And I think I am finally almost all the way okay with that. Maybe. I am definitely not going to be getting it together this year. I am probably not going to reach some state of nirvana with my kids and homeschool and writing and my marriage and everything. And that is okay.

It’s really okay.

I often don’t realize that due to the nature of this absurd world in which we live, it is amazing that we have the peace and tranquility that we do. In the midst of celebrating unbirthdays, wondering why a raven is like a writing desk, and looking for a competent lizard with a ladder, we are mostly content. It’s a miracle, really. It’s hard to see it, but it is.

It’s a beautiful life. It really is. It’s a messy, unpredictable, who-knows-what’s-going-happen, brilliant and blinding and beautiful life.

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visionary

visionary

I watched a short film today about what appeared at first to be an insane person who was riding a bike on the ridge of this cliff and he climbed up a pinnacle with his bike–literally into the clouds. It was seriously insane.

Don’t get me wrong. There were some parts that looked like, “Wow. That would be fun.” But mostly, it looked like he might be crazy.

And then I kept watching, and I realized he wasn’t crazy.

He just saw a path where others saw none.

It was as clear to him as the path outside my front door.

And no one else can see it.

And I thought about myself, because sometimes I think maybe I am crazy.

And sometimes other people tell me that they think I may be crazy.

And it’s not insanity. It’s just seeing a path that no one else can see.

I have seen that path lit up before me for as long as I can remember being on this planet earth, and I have followed it, even though sometimes no one else could see.

Sometimes, I think the path looks pleasant and everyone approves. And sometimes the path is a little harder to see, and other people may not understand because they don’t see it. That’s where I get to use the light of faith to make it brighter, and I can do just fine.

Even when it looks like I am crazy.

I think all the dreamers and the people who try to really, truly live have paths only they can see. I think it’s part of what can make us great–the following it even when it seems insanely difficult or impossible.

And somehow, we do make it.

So, here’s to all of you who are on the cliff and are going faster than you think may be safe and you are climbing up the face of the rock carrying your burdens and your joys–here’s to you for staying on the path that no one else can see, even if they think you’re crazy.

Try not to worry too much when it gets a little scary. If it is your True Path, then Heaven will not let you fall.

Danny Macaskill, Inaccessible Pinnacle

Danny Macaskill, Inaccessible Pinnacle

And in the midst of the crazy, don’t forget to stand up on that pinnacle and take in the amazing view. It is something only those who follow the unseen-to-others paths can see.

In the end, we will all end up Home, somewhere just as beautiful as the Island of Skye. And we will look back and everyone will see all the paths and how they crisscrossed and meandered in and around and through each other and how it was all meant to be and how none of us were crazy, we were just…visionary. And faithful. And true.

And hopefully, in the end, we can also all have Scottish accents.

drawing misty

drawing misty

The other day I watched a time lapse video of someone using pastels to draw a portrait.

At first, it looked stupid. And it definitely didn’t look like a person.

And if it hadn’t been in time lapse, I would have quit watching, because I don’t have a very high tolerance for random YouTube videos.

But all of a sudden, it seemed like there was a person.

And then It seemed like she was nearly jumping off the page.

And then, I thought, “Wow. That’s a portrait!”

And I thought it was over.

But, no. The video went on. I was only about halfway through it.

For the rest of the video, the artist added little tiny additions of depth here and there, and minute details that improved the portrait until it was a living creation.

And I thought about my life and how I have been so frustrated lately with, well–everything.

I had surgery six months ago. I had a baby ten months ago. I had another baby almost three years ago. Three years ago I almost died. And four years ago I had another baby. And another one five years ago, and another one seven years ago. And eight years ago, Joy went back to heaven.

I have had quite the decade.

So, I forget about that. I forget that I have had stuff. And maybe that stuff might have interfered with having the life I thought I wanted to live and all the Great Amazing Things I was going to accomplish with my family.

And six and a half months ago, I thought that BY NOW I would be totally recovered from EVERYTHING and back into the swing of things and on my way to getting my life back…to getting my family back to where I was before, on a fire breathing unicorn exuding nothing but pure awesomeness.

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Today, it felt like I was so not that.

When I first started this journey of rebuilding my life, I thought everything I did looked stupid.

Nothing resembled what I wanted to have happen.

And when it started resembling something not totally horrible, I thought, “Okay, I will give it some more time.”

And here I am not even nearly half way through and there are days that I catch glimpses of the portrait of my life and think, “Okay, well, it looks like a portrait!” And I excitedly exclaim to Heaven:

“Hey, it’s looking good! I think we are done here!”

But, no.

Heaven sees where the bits of color and depth and detail need to be added and it isn’t even close to done.

So I stomp my foot and demand that somehow Heaven make this part speed up. My problem is I want these hard parts with the “finish” work to be done in time lapse.

I want the hard parts to be a quick two minute montage in the movie of my life, so I can get to the happy endings.

What I need to do is look back and remember that there have been many happy endings already, after the trial of the painstaking detail work that seems to take far too long.

I know there will be many more happy endings and each portrait in the series that is my life will get better and more beautiful until in the end, it is a masterpiece.

I don’t think I will ever quite give up the fantasy that somehow we could just make the hard parts that quick montage with an upbeat, hopeful song that reassures the viewer (and myself!) that all will be well in approximately two and a half minutes.

I still want that.

But what I want more is the creation of something so beautiful that it will be a masterpiece. So, I will be patient and trust Heaven and not give up on myself halfway through.

You know, I think we are all going to be amazing and gorgeous and wonderful and absolutely breathtaking…and we will get through the hard parts. And in the end, it really will be time lapse and all the hard parts will seem like only a moment and we will see the finished product and be awestruck at what we have become.

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You really are.

 

the first day of spring

the first day of spring

It’s the first day of spring here and I have thought a lot today about my perspective.

You see, I think spring is a time to shake everything up.

I don’t believe in spring cleaning.

I believe in spring purging.

I believe in a grand and glorious and messy and sometimes intense rebirth. Every spring.

Mackenzie.

Mackenzie.

I am thinking about my friend Mackenzie, who has an extremely rare form of pulmonary hypertension. She is young and beautiful and vibrant and she rocks this disease like no one else. She knows how to be reborn, even if it’s a new life that isn’t at all what she expected. (If you haven’t read her blog, Brave Little Lungs, you really need to. And after that, read her husband, Henry’s blog, Dear Mackenzie.)

I am thinking about this guy Beau Heyen, who runs a community kitchen in Kansas. They were doing some remodeling and he thought,

“How about make this like a restaurant instead of the same old soup kitchen?”

It didn’t cost any more money than doing the same old boring way, they just needed a few more volunteers. Now, when homeless people eat there, they are greeted by a hostess who seats them and a wait staff who takes their order and brings them their food. Food prepared by culinary art students.

homelessdiner

Kansas City Community Kitchen

It was the same price as doing it the ugly way.

Beau decided to see the soup kitchen with different eyes, and what a beautiful difference it has made in the lives of so many.

I think about Mackenzie and Henry, her husband, and I just feel like she has decided that this is no different from the rest of her life–that it doesn’t cost more to live in an intentionally beautiful way and to continually see life with new eyes.

Henry and Mackenzie, photography by Samantha Broderick

Henry and Mackenzie, photography by Samantha Broderick

And I think about my life and I think that maybe there is a lesson here. Maybe it wouldn’t cost me more, either.

I can see where I could tear down a wall or two in my heart and maybe move things around a bit….Maybe I might need a few more volunteers. I know there are angels, and maybe they could help.

Are there more beautiful ways for me to live my life right now? I can think of five or six ways off the top of my head that are boring and sometimes even ugly.

How do I make them beautiful? How do I add color and depth and loveliness to the mundane, the difficult, and the soul stretching moments of my life?

All it takes is a change of perspective, a seeing with new eyes.

” The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is…” –Marcel Proust

Whose eyes do I need to look through to understand how to create beauty? My children? My husband? Mackenzie? My neighbor? The homeless?

I wonder if that isn’t probably the point of being here? To see things through the eyes of others in order to realize beauty and then, compassion and love, in every aspect of human existence?

So here’s to spring, and to the hope in rebirth, new life and endless beauty all around and in and through us.

 

have courage….

have courage….

To My Kids:

It may seem that in the midst of all the scary things happening, you are fighting in a losing battle. It may seem that people look at you and scoff at you, mistaking kindness as a weakness and mocking it into oblivion.

It’s not true.

You see, there is a great secret: And it is that meekness has never been and never will be weakness.

The secret is something that all the great ones have known.

The secret is that love is the greatest power on earth.

Chihiro Iwasaki

Chihiro Iwasaki

All the hatred, power hungry, vengeful, ugliness–no matter how it is dressed up and paraded on the world’s stage–can never be as strong as even the smallest hint of love and kindness.

Oh, people think they have power when they get angry and they can stir others up to anger…but, really, they have lost their power the moment they venture into this territory…they are like ‘cities that are broken down, without walls…’

People may seem powerful when they use money and manipulation to buy fame, fortune, land and nations…but they have nothing if they are prisoners of their own selfishness and insecurities. Fear can never allow for true freedom.

Love is secure in itself. Kindness is power.

You are not alone. Right now, as I am writing this, there are thousands, hundreds of thousands–even millions–of good people who are thinking the same thing you are…

“Am I alone?”

Alone, Elisa Chavarri

Alone, Elisa Chavarri

But you are not alone.

You are not!

If you close your eyes before you look out at the world and then look with your heart, you will see that you are a light.

And there are other lights shining–some brightly, some flickering, some steady and sure…and they are all small stars lighting up the world. They are what is good and kind and right and they are everywhere.

Even in the darkest hours, they are there.

They have always been there–and although there have been times when there were only a very few, that is not true now.

There is an army of goodness and light and love and kindness out there.

And whenever a light goes out here, a new star is born somewhere to shine down ten thousand times brighter to light our way, so that darkness can never truly conquer.

We will always prevail.

Sometimes it is lonely, because sometimes the lights are spread so far apart that you may not be able to see them.

Sometimes the fog of rhetoric and the smog of confusion that spouts from the few who scream and rant the loudest may cloud your view of those lights.

But do not for one minute ever believe that you are alone.

Even if you were the only light on earth, there are trillions of lights if you look up.

Happiness, Hye Young Lee

Happiness, Hye Young Lee

There is the great burning sun that shines every day. It shines it’s light on truth and truth reflects brilliantly until it eventually overcomes the lesser light of the fires of the incensed. Their fires will burn and turn to ash. The sun will burn on for as long as humankind lives and it has burned to shine the light on truth all throughout time.

The light that you are–the light of stars–is eternal, because truth, love and kindness are eternal.

Do not be worried too much. That glorious sun will still rise, even if for a moment it seems that the powers of darkness have won. As long as you and I take courage, our kindness and love and lives of sacrifice and goodness will conquer all of that.

And, in the end, if you don’t believe me, remember all the best fairy tales have always ended happily ever after and there is a truth to that. I believe it. I believe we will all have a happily ever after if we love. If we are kind. If we have the courage to be kind.

So, it’s up to you.

You can wring your hands and shake your head and fall down in despair and even, sometimes, get angry.

And sometimes that happens. But then, you must always remember to look up.

Look Up

Look Up

You can look up and see the brilliance and beauty of millions of heroic hearts who have gone before you: millions of ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives of kindness–small, seemingly insignificant acts, and now they shine as galaxies and you are part of that.

You can look inside and find your eternal fire that is kindled with love and you can have the courage to give up everything for it.

You can have the courage to walk alone sometimes.

You can have the courage to be the one who knows the most significant changes that will ever happen on this planet and even in this universe start with one person who decides to love another. And then another. And that makes a family full of love and hope and kindness.

Little Hearts, Katie Berggren

Little Hearts, Katie Berggren

Nothing else can be as powerful. Nothing!

You can have the courage to give up whatever you have to give up, to risk whatever you have to risk, to be part of and make a happy, loving family.

Happy Birth

Happy Birthday, Pascal Campion

You can have the courage to cut off the noise of the world, the din of those who would shout the loudest to be noticed, and instead fill it with laughter, tears of compassion, and the sounds of hope.

You can have the courage to face your loves in the quiet where your thoughts are the only sounds. Where your souls speak and you are close enough to see the flaws and love through them and live with some of them and not ignore it all by living separate lives under one roof.

You can have the courage to find mountain streams, ocean breezes, thunderstorms, the clean smell of fresh earth, and trees.

On The Sea, Majilan

On The Sea, Majilan

Find the oldest trees and learn from them. And run in the grass and hear the crickets singing in the summer and let fireflies go and fall asleep to the sound of nothing but the wind and the night. Let your imagination soar and play and pretend and never stop.

Pascal Campion

Pascal Campion

And never ever forget that when all else fails, faith will see you through. Miracles still happen. And we have the power to create the most powerful magic of all, the magic that will overcome all the darkness on earth and from hell…and that magic is love.

Have courage and be kind. For where there is kindness, there is goodness, and where there is goodness, there is… magic.

 

We Have Liftoff

We Have Liftoff

I have a confession to make.

Sometimes I am so not sure about this whole marriage thing.

I mean, some days it seems like it is the most magical, wonderful, amazing invention that was ever created in the entire universe.

Other days, well, not so much.

I have finally figured out the perfect analogy to our marriage. It’s like the Saturn V or the space shuttle….It takes so much energy to even get it off the ground. So much fire to get it climbing and then it has to break through the gravity of earth and the barrier of the atmosphere…and if it doesn’t keep going up and up and up the fire will consume it and then it will explode.

Pascal Campion, Blue Grass and Fireflies

Pascal Campion, Blue Grass and Fireflies

But if it doesn’t…if everything goes well and all the energy and fire go in the right places, well then…it’s perfection. It’s touching the face of God. It’s soaring to heights that poets cannot even describe. It’s everything. And it’s breathtaking.

So, yeah. Sometimes we get there and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we explode and have to rebuild from the ashes. And sometimes it’s breathtaking…breathtaking in a this-is-absolutely-incredible-but-there-is-nothing-between-us-and-certain-death-but-a-bucket-of-bolts-and-a-few-thousand-prayers kind of way.

And sometimes, it’s like a dance. I can’t dance, so that’s probably not a good analogy. So maybe it’s more like a song.

Yes, that’s better.

Pascal Campion

Pascal Campion

It’s a song, and sometimes I know the words and sometimes he does and sometimes we both do and sometimes we are both lost and trying to find the melody and harmony and sometimes we are off key and…and sometimes it’s scary, because we both know that eventually we need to surrender to the song in order to know our parts.

Surrender is scary, because then we have to give up the idea that either of us is leading, and that’s not fun. It is terrifying to realize that we don’t know what we are doing and that, in the end, our only hope is to surrender to that song.

And I think we have both always known that anytime we surrender to that song, it would sometimes take us to pain. Well, who are we kidding? A lot of the time it takes us to pain. Pain that hurts and sears and aches so much that the only thing that could purify it is something even greater.

Pascal Campion

Pascal Campion

Something that burns brighter.

That something is the intense, burning love that makes it breathtaking. And sometimes that’s the scariest part. To get to the breathtaking, you risk everything. And you always lose something.

Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Love is what you go through together,” and John and I know it.

And sometimes I think we are afraid of it.

Pascal Campion, Tough Day

Pascal Campion, Tough Day

I think sometimes we would rather drown out the song that calls us to go through Something Else because the Something Else is probably going to be thrilling and terrifying and painful and beautiful and everything else.

But, the song is strong and we are passionate and we really do love each other and we think it’s worth the pain and the going through it.

Pascal Campion

Pascal Campion

And we get to a place where we don’t care anymore about the “what ifs” or if it’s our “fault” or if we could have done something more or different or better. It’s where we realize that together letting the song lead us makes none of those things that usually stress a marriage that relevant anymore because we surrender all of those feelings to the song.

And if we can just do that…well, then we are in a place where we are free of all the worrying and fear and loneliness from feeling misunderstood and “what about me?” or “what about you?” because it isn’t about me or you anymore, it’s about us. Us.

Pascal Campion, Warm

Pascal Campion, Warm

Letting go and following the music wherever it leads us.

And, sometimes, I have to be honest…we stall. We bicker and quarrel and get annoyed and irritated because we are stalling. Waiting. Because if we really follow “our song” we really do lose everything. All this mortal baggage we pick up and the comfort of carrying it with us. We lose it all and then…we are kind of afraid of what lies beyond that.

And what lies beyond it?

Everything. Everything that matters.

Pascal Campion, Little Wonders

Pascal Campion, Little Wonders

Everything that is breathtaking and so amazing that there aren’t words in any language on earth. Everything that is beyond what tethers us here to all our mortal cares and worries. Everything that transcends our childish need to be validated. All of a sudden, none of that matters anymore.

Right now, we have liftoff. We hear our song and we are afraid, but we will follow it anyway.

And, yes, we will even dance.

Pascal Campion

Pascal Campion

Because, somehow, even though I really didn’t think I could, somehow–when we let go and let the music lead us–I remember how to dance.

 

the second star to the right

the second star to the right

I was sitting on the chair in my bedroom at the end of the day and Daniel skipped in looking like he was about to be up to something.

The other chair in my room was precariously close to a side table which was dangerously close to the bed. To add to the excitement, I was rearranging my entire upstairs because we had been sick for a month and I was stir crazy. I had a fever–cabin fever. So, in addition to the normal places to jump to and from, Daniel had an additional would-be adventure: a stack of plastic storage bins.

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The chair was piled high with pillows and blankets and right in front of it was the stack of bins. He looked at me, and he knew. He knew I was too tired to stand up. He knew that he could climb on whatever was in the room and it would probably take me at least 30 seconds to stop him.

Thirty glorious seconds!

He began his ascent. First to the bins and a jump to the pillows and blankets on the chair. There he was, perched high atop a mountain of fluff. He was right. I wasn’t stopping him.

Daniel took a moment to survey his kingdom. Glorying in the unexpected freedom brought on by my exhaustion, he looked mischievously at the side table and the bed. A quick hop and a jump and perhaps a small flight would land him onto the bouncy surface of what he declared was his pirate ship in the sky.

Still unable to move or speak, I sat and watched him, weighing the possibilities of him missing the bed and landing on the floor. The odds were in his favor. I felt like he was going to make it.

As he got ready to jump, his little sister wandered in. Seeing him on his way to the pirate ship without her was too much.

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“Wait for me!” she said in her most adorably bossy two year old voice.

Daniel looked at the pirate ship, then at me to see if my energy was coming back, then at Jayne. He was hesitant. Jayne, after all, is a girl.

Jayne started to climb up the plastic bins, which Daniel had arranged stair step fashion. In no time, she was at the chair, attempting a lopsided ascent to the top of the mountain.

“I want to go on the pirate ship, too!” she said, as she struggled.

He sighed and went back. I don’t know if it was because he thought the hopping and jumping back to the chair would be fun or if he was just being kind to his sister. It was probably a little bit of both.

He reached out his hand and said, “C’mon, Pirate Jayne!”

“Thank you so much!” she said, and then, very grandly, “I am not Pirate Jayne! I am Princess Addie Jayne.”

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Princess Addie Jayne

“Okay,” he shrugged, nonchalantly as he pulled her up to the heights.

He held her hand tight and said, “C’mon, Jayne! We’ll fly to the ship!”

And as I sat on that chair, I couldn’t help but think about that faith, trust and pixie dust and that little boy who will never grow up, and how two is the beginning of the end, and how glad I was that I was too tired to tell them no, and that I got to see him holding her hand…

11705468_1003874216303667_665557676402164904_o

And I was in a place where there was no time, and Heaven engraved that memory into my heart where it will always and forever be…a perfect moment when two of my loves were innocent children holding on to each other as they flew across my room to Never-Neverland where pirate and princess could laugh and fight and battle Captain Hook and crocodiles and make friends with fairies and sail away on ships in the sky…

And I felt like Mrs. Darling, as she put her hand to heart and cried, “Why can’t you remain like this forever!”

And I thank the little star that shines, the second from the right, for allowing me to catch a glimpse of Neverland when I need it, through the eyes of my little Lost Boys and my Peter and my little darlings….

 

 

eleven weeks and growing up (or not)

eleven weeks and growing up (or not)

He is eleven weeks old.

It seems like forever ago. I actually had a breakdown today.

I just want to be normal again.

I said to no one in particular, as I looked in the mirror at my haggard face and interesting body shape.

I haven’t bounced back, even though I really wanted to.

I wanted to have redecorated our family room and landscaped the front yard and read Shakespeare with the kids and done a million things by now, and I haven’t.

I have done a lot of sitting. And lying. Not liar-liar-pants-on-fire lying. Just lying down.

I’ve been tired.

His birth was the most beautiful, peaceful set of hours I have ever experienced in this mortality. Angels were near and I realized just how much I meant to him…before he appeared.

And there was a push–and there he was.

10 Minutes Old

10 Minutes Old

And he is perfect.

And then I started to feel a little…almost dead. And I lost a lot of blood. Nearly half.

That did not feel so great. I remember saying before I nearly lost consciousness:

John–I am not going to nearly die again. I won’t do it! Don’t you dare let it happen!

And he didn’t. Also, the most incredible nurses on the planet–probably in the universe–also didn’t want to let that happen. And neither did the anesthesiologist. So, everyone agreed that not nearly dying would be better than nearly dying so we did our best and I am happy to say we basically made it work.

Then the rest of the best nurses in the entire universe in Mother Baby made sure that I didn’t nearly die, but recovered through laughter, which is truly the best medicine.

It was a blast.

And I think, a little magical.

No, a lot magical.

My nurses were magical, the doctors were magical. The hospital food was not magical but earnestly tried to be….

The bed also did its best but fell a little short of magic. It tried to evoke a bit of whimsy, but that’s about as far as it got.

I came home. The SMeE decided to join me, and I have been having a small problem with him. It hurts. A lot.

SMeE Returns...Grrr...

SMeE Returns…Grrr…

I went back to the hospital later with trouble related to pre-eclampsia, which I still had.

It’s been eleven weeks and I want to be and do everything I’ve been waiting and wanting for so many years and I am impatient.

It has been busy. Since he was born, we have had birthdays and mission calls and trying to get back into the swing of life.

I even took a trip to California with my sister in order to try and kickstart myself into you know, bouncing back. It was absolutely wonderful, even if I did overdo it just a bit.

I don’t know why I do that, but I really wanted to be finished with feeling…pregnant and the SMeE just flaring up like this and the no blood thing. I just wanted to be perfectly recovered and have fun.

Today was a really hard day when I just had to realize it’s only been eleven weeks.

July 5th was Joy’s Day. The day she went back home, and as I was lying in severe amounts of pain after church, I wondered about these eleven weeks.

Joy

Joy

Eleven weeks after Joy died, I was still a mess.

Still crying.

Sometimes I would laugh, but mostly I would shake and not know what to do with myself.

Our family was a mess. We were eating corn dogs for breakfast and cereal for dinner. The bathrooms were hideous. Our lawn wasn’t mowed. We were really having a difficult time just surviving.

And while birth is not the same as death, there are similarities.

Eleven weeks ago, the being known as my Peter, was not here. Our family is forever is changed because he is now here. Eleven weeks after Joy died, we were forever changed by the absence of her presence.

If it took awhile to get used to her absence, it stands to reason that it should take awhile for us to adjust to the presence of a new soul.

Something from heaven right here in our midst.

Fresh

Fresh

So I think I should be able to give myself a little bit of patience and relax a little. There will be time after this to do all that I want to do. There will be time for trips and landscaping and visiting museums and redecorating the family room and all of that.

But there will never be another time that Peter is brand new from heaven.

When I was in Florida, I used to go to Magic Kingdom and watch the fireworks after a long day of walking…of making myself walk. I wanted to be able to walk and move and do for my kids and I often felt that it was only appropriate after a particularly hard day of hundreds of painful steps that I should reward myself with fireworks…

I Wish We'd Never Have To Grow Up...

I Wish We’d Never Have To Grow Up…Off To Neverland

During the show, the audience learns about wishes and how they come from the heart and all of that. And at the beginning, we hear Peter Pan wishing:

I wish we’d never have to grow up! Off to Neverland!!!”

And that’s the part where I would always inevitably get emotional. I always thought of Joy…and how in a way, here in mortality, she was granted Peter’s wish–to never grow up. She lives in a kind of Neverland–where she never has to experience pain or growing up the way we do….and I would always kind of be a little sad about that. I would always feel very much like Wendy in Chapter 17:

“Good-bye,” said Peter to Wendy; and he rose in the air, and the shameless Jane rose with him; it was already her easiest way of moving about.
Wendy rushed to the window.
“No, no,” she cried.
“It is just for spring cleaning time,” Jane said, “he wants me always to do his spring cleaning.”
“If only I could go with you,” Wendy sighed.
“You see you can’t fly,” said Jane.
Of course in the end Wendy let them fly away together. Our last glimpse of her shows her at the window, watching them receding into the sky until they were as small as stars.

And as I watched the night light up with beautiful fireworks over a magical castle, I felt a stabbing pain and realized what it is like to “grow up,” something I vowed I would never do when I was first introduced to Peter so long ago. But it felt as if I were Wendy at the window, letting Peter take my Joy with him off to Neverland….

Ironically, at the time I also had a Jayne. And I knew when I saw those fireworks I would name my last baby, who would be a boy, Peter. Maybe it was in a hope that I could somehow reverse the growing up that had so sadly happened to me.

Maybe I thought he could somehow bring something of Joy back to me, and in some way keep Jayne from growing up too fast, too.

Maybe I thought he could be the balm to my sorrows and the end of the worst part of the grief of losing her.

Maybe I thought he would be the one to give me wings–to let me fly again–because I had forgotten.

For to have faith is to have wings…

Maybe I thought he would let me keep them all in my heart as my beautiful little children–that somehow by naming him Peter, all my precious treasures could somehow “never grow up” and I could stop time and remain in the environs of the magic timelessness that is childhood. And remain in the time when Joy is a sweet, close almost-here-again memory, where I can still recall her smell and her laughter…

Maybe I thought in naming him Peter, my life would be always as it is just now–surrounded by pixie dust and faeries and make believe and stories and crocodiles and jungles and islands and adventure and the feeling of never being scared unless it is for fun…

It’s been eleven weeks, and I don’t know if the name bestowed the magic, but I begin to feel it.

Even in realizing that in eleven weeks I do not have to tidy up the house and be grown up.

I can rest and daydream and even take the time to feel restless because my mind is ready for more than my body.

I begin to feel it as I look at my son, who will be leaving home to serve a mission for two years. Looking at him in his suit and tie, seeing my 13 year old in his uniform at Civil Air Patrol looking like he wants to be 23…seeing my 16 year old girl acting like, well, an adult….like me. Only better…

I see them growing up but there is something else–I see the faith they have in make believe and childhood and Joy–and to have faith is to have wings–and to have wings–well, to have wings and faith is to fly. And I think, in my heart of hearts, that these few children–my loves–maybe Peter brought them the pixie dust and they will never forget how to fly.

And maybe, if I am lucky, I will remember, too.

“Dreams do come true, if only we wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it.”