When I was in the sixth grade I saw this movie:As a result, I have spent the last 18 years avoiding any discussion of the end times, lawn mowers and the final twenty-two chapters of the Bible. If you actually saw this movie in the 70's when it was produced or anytime after you became an adult, you might have had a broader context to understand it stylistically and philosophically. I was eleven - and paradoxically becoming obsessed with both my appearance and my ultimate fate. (I've since learned I was right on track developmentally.)
And so I would lay in bed at night quaking with fear over the state of my bangs and if the world was going to end before I made it to seventh grade. Behold: a piece of my spiritual baggage - it fits, just like yours, on the luggage rack next to family baggage and emotional baggage. And left un-confronted it has traveled with me even into parenthood. One night I found myself singing "This Little Light of Mine" with my preschooler and realized that I never sing the verse about Jesus coming back... you know, because I don't want to scare her. Why should that scare her? Because it still scares me.
WHAT is this? Has the Year of Slow become the Year of Confronting My Fears of the Apocalypse? I had no intention of this until I sat in a room full of people this morning listening to this dear Texan: Oh Beth - why isn't there a decent picture of you on Wikipedia? Your hair is AMAZING. And this tiny picture does it no justice...If you know Beth Moore, I need not say anything. If you don't. You should. Can I get an amen? She is in one sense every evangelical stereotype - southern, big hair, passionate, gendered,absolute, waves her Bible and makes sweeping hand gestures. She creates so much material for this cynic to go to town...until I sit in one of her studies. And I open up my Bible and I fight tears because somehow someway I am learning that I am loved recklessly and called to greatness in the scary last twenty-two chapters.
And so B. Moore in the next ten weeks take me into the fire. Only you can pack the house in a study on Revelation - and you are just on a screen. Remind me that this part is the same as the others - a story about He who was and is and is to come. Even more, I dare to hope that if I can push past the fear, there's something new to be learned here - a picture of His love for this world and a perspective on being "chosen, called, and faithful" (Rev.17:14) that I couldn't learn anywhere else.
It's been four years since the birth of this blog...I figure four years is a big milestone and its definitely time to make some updates. All of this is in the works. In the meantime, please cope awith a slightly lacking design scheme that I may play with day to day as I await my professional consult...:)
Also, I wanted to mention something that I'm excited to be prepping for over the next month. Our church is hosting a women's event with author/speaker/adopter Lysa Terkheurst February 4-5. If you live near Williamsburg or love the outlets, the colonial garb, and the pancake houses we would love to see you! Click here for more information and to register. This is my first time being part of a team putting on something of this scale and it is crazy and energizing and my primary excuse for still having this in my living room: Can we please have a moment for the January Christmas tree? I just tell the girls that in December everyone had a tree. Now, it's exciting because in January we're the only ones with one (or are we? Help me out here...)
As an admitted self-improvement junkie, New Years Resolutions are such joy. There is so much motivation in the air. I find it euphoric. I headed out to buy a new planner out of Resolution #3: Be more organized. But I went to TJMaxx because I only wanted to use a gift card out of Resolution #4: Never spend any money ever again. TJMaxx has many wonderful treasures but not a great selection of planners. I left with no planner but no money spent. Half euphoria.
I have so many resolutions this year - philosophical, spiritual, wellness-based, image enhancing. It was getting a bit convoluted. Especially with no planner. So I took a step back and decided to go with the year theme. There is a lot I want out of this year but one word kept tugging at the back of my mind: slow. I want to slow down. I want speak slowly. I want to listen longer and be slow to respond. I want to move slow enough to make contact and say hello to people I pass. I want to be fully present in every interaction even if it means actually doing only one thing at a time.
But more than anything I want to slow down with the girls. I want to rush them less. This will take some work. They don't really keep a normal or predictable pace - or like to wear clothes. Getting out of the house or back into the house is often quite ugly. "Come on, hurry up. Put your shoes back on! Stand up! I can't carry you and this bag and your cup and Elmo and Diego! WALK! WALK LIKE A NORMAL PERSON! Stop hanging on me! Come this way! In the door! Let me strap you in! No - get out of the drivers seat. WE HAVE TO GO NOW! WHY ARE WE ALWAYS LATE EVERYWHERE?!
So really, until I can accomplish all of my resolutions including #10 Get Organized for the Next Morning the Night Before...The Year of Slow will most probably look like The Year of Late. But that's okay. Last year was The Year of Late and Yelling and Regret.
We attended a very tender funeral last night for an incredible man. He received a devastating diagnosis in September. He traveled to Europe with his wife in October. He continued to volunteer in the church nursery in November and he passed away days before Christmas. Life moves at a hearbreaking speed. What is celebrated and remembered in eulogies is never what I am yelling about at 8:50 in the morning. So if the Year of Slow really becomes the Year of No Other Accomplishments, so be it. Then I never really needed a planner after all.
A letter to be opened next November before it all starts again...
Dear Self of November 2011:
Please remember the following lessons from Christmas 2010. 1. Beginning your shopping early is only fiscally prudent if you finish your shopping early, or finish at all. Being in the stores in late November means you should not still be in the stores on December 23 and 24. And whatever you do, please do not decide to go to Best Buy on December 23, with the girls, to "look around for something for Daddy." Though Best Buy is the first place we've ever been to with yellow carts (!) it is not for someone without money and without a plan. You will end up returning what you couldn't afford on December 24 which translates into two visits to Best Buy in two days, twitching eyes from all of the flat screens, and much less of a soul.
2. Remember how you painstakingly planned and purchased presents for your two little girls and then your husband upstaged you by bringing them toys from the vending machines at Pizza Hut? Yes, the whole Christmas extravaganza could have maxed out at $5.75. He does it every year. Last year it was the pencil sharpener. This year, a slimy whale that sticks to the ceiling. This year just go to an arcade, win some tokens, and cash them in for Christmas.
(My gifts were loved though and left much less slimy residue...)
3. Remember how you discussed ad-nauseum your Christmas Weekend Strategy...and then it snowed and everything changed anyway?
The snow prevented us from making it to some great events and ended up compressing and isolating the holiday a bit...but what we lost in Christmas Craziness we gained in some really sweet unexpected family time. For us, for some reason, Sunday December 26 had been a moving target of scheduling - between church responsibilities and family events and travel plans the day kept changing shape as December went on. To be snowed in and unable to go anywhere and accomplish anything felt strangely ironic and like a surprise gift.
4. Remember that your Christmas Day expectations differ greatly from your children's. You have higher demands, built on years of nostalgic memories and listening to too much Christmas music. They are still along for the ride - with an instinctive ability to celebrate. Cherish the gratitude for vending machine toys and animal crackers,
the gift of making any time quality time
and the joy that reminds us of everything that we have. And keep them on their PBS Kids only TV diet. Commercial-free living is still managing to produce low-demand Christmases over here...
5. Try and have a healthier week before Christmas. All of those sweets prior to the weekend did not set us up well. Poor Foo's sick stomach prevented her from providing many camera-worthy moments...Oranges and raisins are traditional stocking stuffers. Bring them back.
And remember - stop, breathe, enjoy and celebrate. Watch their wonder and excitement. Let it remind you.
Your earlier, younger, pre-30 Self.
Another great Christmas in the books over here. More footage to come of Buelo's Big Surprise...