Observing a Sabbath

I found such beauty in these words found in today’s church’s bulletin that I had to write them, share them, reflect on them so I can come back to them again and again.


Many of us know what it means to lose a sense of that essential rhythm between creation and recreation, to discover that place of sanctuary we call respite is just out of reach. We know from experience that when there is no space for rest our work suffers, our sense of balance is disturbed and we grow anxious. Weariness overcomes us and we begin to doubt our intrinsic value. For our own sake and the sake of our children, we must learn to cherish that breaking space we call Sabbath – to become mindful of the restorative blessings that accompany rest. We must find ways to pass on the wisdom that we all need rest, time to breathe, time to give thanks, and teach that to our children lest they grow anxious. 

We are not the first to let the blessing of the Sabbath slip through our fingers in a desire to do more; nor are we the first to feel that there are not enough hours in a day or days in a week. We will not be the last to ask for relief from work that drains and disheartens us. The great Jewish scholar, Abraham Heschel, reminds us that in those difficult times God offers us the gift of the Sabbath as a sign of love – a time to lay our burdens down and appreciate what God is creating in each of us. Rabbi Heschel urges us to make the Sabbath a time of delight and rejoicing, a time to remember God’s goodness and enter into the fullness of God’s presence and help our children to do the same. He counsels us to adopt or reclaim such Sabbath practices as: 

  • a regular weekly rhythm of rest
  • time for reconnecting with the sacred
  • festive meals with loved ones
  • the nurturing of community life
  • study of holy wisdom and sacred text
  • attention to beauty, and
  • honoring intimacy


“The Sabbath is a metaphor for paradise and a testimony to God’s presence . . .” Rabbi Abraham Heschel

The decision to put God first in our lives is never easy. It requires we rearrange our priorities. Perhaps that is another blessing of the Sabbath – a weekly opportunity to put things in perspective. 

Pictures are from today’s Sabbath which included Kid Church, a twice-a-month worship experience that our Catholic parish offers designed to meet the needs of families with young children (ages 0-4). It includes lots of singing, clapping, and participation, which they love. It also includes a craft or outdoor play time after worship. Highly recommended!

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Strawberries at the Farmer’s Market


There will be plenty of seasons where weekends mean spring cleaning, errand running, organizing, preparing, and taking care of household business. But these days of little ones, it is a season of slow and present weekends. Moments spent outside watching them discover the new life that has sprung from the depths of winter. Tripping over messes that trend towards chaos, always. Places that heighten their senses and fill them with curiosity like trips to the farmers market, the forest preserve, and the playground on repeat. It means doing everything as a family because the days when they want to go their own way will come too soon. This season is full of putting my reflexive type-A conditioning on the back burner, because I have spent 30 years of my life dreaming of this and I don’t want to miss one fleeting, sun-kissed, strawberry-juice-dripping-down-their-chin lick of it. Because it only lasts a short season and I want to soak the moments in so deeply that they change me in the very best way. #motherhoodmusings #sweetsummertime #dontblink

a 4th birthday party memory


one of my favorite moments of her birthday party on a late April weekend was when she insisted that the lunch spot next to hers at the picnic table was for her “baby brudder”, warding off the boyfriends vying for the spot. i spend most of my days splitting up their shoving and stealing, hitting and hair-pulling — but this. i know it won’t last – neither the fighting nor the adoring seat saving. but if there is one thing i want to remember, one thing to write down in that parenthood book of memories — the one i dream of writing, likely in another lifetime, it would be this one. oh how it fills me up to see their love.

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Mother’s Day Links

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My husband says he doesn’t need a distinct day to feel honored or showered with love. Every day for him is about this (wee yah! we are doing our job!) and finding the small joys of parenting in every moment. For the most part I agree, but there is something so beautiful about a day when all mothers around the country are celebrated and we are given a moment in time to remember all the mothers who have come before and all the mothers who inspire and all the mothers who we don’t know but are raising children who will be in our children’s generation. For me it is a day of unity and also one to pause in the midst of the chaos to fill up my heart in gratitude for this job I get to do.

  1. I am so in love with this documentary-like video, titled Working Mom. I often think how lovely my days would look if some jaunty music was piped over the mundane routine of my days with little ones. the exhaustion might be more poetic. the meltdowns might be more lyrical. this is basically the equivalent some how. there is no music but the way it is shot is magical for me who is in the very same stage of motherhood as the mother featured. and this towards the end: “happiness is love. full stop.” i love how this mother loves her children.
  2. Have you discovered Dr. Shefali, author of The Conscious Parent? She is brilliant and her message is revolutionary, which is — it is not the child that must be raised but that parent that must evolve. She releases the archaic notion of parenting as a hierarchical relationship and instead describes it as a relationship of mutual learning and understanding, entering into communion with our children by re-discovering our very own essence.  If you have 20 minutes, this is a must watch talk from Oprah’s Super Soul Session Series. “We want nothing more than to feel the deepest connection within ourselves and with others. To touch upon the wonder and abundance that we know is our sovereign right. To rediscover who we once were. To reclaim the purpose for why we were born,” she says.
  3. And finally, this beautiful read from Glennon and my favorite part: “And we will always remember that the most world-changing work we can do is this: We can live in a way so that our children will be able to say, ‘Not one moment of my life did I wonder if I was adored. Never, ever did I feel alone.’ And they will pass it on.

And they will pass it on.

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the grandeur of trees

fall 2013


praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. to be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all. — buddha

when we moved into our house, it was not on the list of realtor highlights: beautiful front yard tree, wide canopy, provides privacy, shade, and delight. will not be swayed by storms but will sprinkle abundant, pointed, leafy confetti in late autumn. its roots apparent in the ground it has erupted to grow deeply. it will greet you every morning, with the sunrise cascading from behind it’s fullness to reach your windows. it will bid goodnight each evening with a bow. and every 4th of july, when you sit on the roof to watch the fireworks, for one night a year you will feel like holding hands with its outstretched grandeur. unlike any other, it will captivate your heart forever.

what is it about the love of the only tree in our front yard that could bring us to our knees when the dreaded red “x” showed up on it, a symbol the town uses to indicate trees that appear to be infested with the emerald ash borer. our hearts broke to find it marked one recent day in march.

its days were numbered. we danced around it on sunny days. we colored it in sidewalk chalk, like an ancient ritual. we sat against it. we traced our fingers along its bark. we poured out the love we had for it in any way we knew how (which i admit is limited). we sat in awe of its grandness.


and yesterday our beloved tree was cut down. the only one at home to witness it was our dear Tiki. as we drove up we glanced across the sun-drenched front yard, barren, missing its lifetime partner. a perfect symbiotic relationship to all the other living things in radius.

there was something special about this tree that we remarked about every year, especially in the spring when we would comment on its beauty in budding. and again in the autumn as we would wait patiently for the late drop of all its leaves. we were connected. our family, our home, that tree. 

in the kitchen this weekend


weekend dinners at our house means everyone’s in the kitchen. the trick to saving our sanity is keeping these little hands busy, even if it means extra chunky guacamole!

with mike in charge of assembling quesadillas with leftover rotisserie chicken, I usually head up the guacamole committee with my most committed workers 🙌🏼

i keep the recipe so simple these days. my recipe is a nod from the DALS cookbook:

1 avocado + juice of 1 lime + chopped onion (1/4 cu or to taste) + handful of chopped cilantro +  kosher salt (1/4 tsp or to taste) + cumin (1/4 tsp)

And ya know that thing they say about kids in the kitchen helping prep the food being more likely to actually consume it?  Not a chance! Well generally, in our house at least! 😋

Happy weekending and Cinco De Mayo celebrating!

 

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to the weaning mama with a frozen breastmilk stockpile


Around 11 months old, my son stopped drinking breastmilk from a bottle. We tried it in all sorts of varied sippy cups but he refused. While we continued breastfeeding at home, he preferred it straight from the tap so we stopped sending breastmilk to daycare. I continued pumping at work for a few weeks after his refusal and then slowly started to wind down after I realized it wasn’t a temporary strike.

I had accumulated a modest stockpile of breastmilk that he would never drink again. I had been following the adventures of a nearby milk bank and donation center and was excited to donate.

I finally got around to investigating what the criteria were to qualify and alas, I had waited too long! Now 21 months, I had let this one hang on my to-do list for too long. The maximum storage time in a regular freezer is 6 months (which I was over by about 4-6 months)


So with that, I tossed all 62 of of frozen breastmilk and tried not to shed too many tears in the process.


Above I am sharing some of the qualifications for any interested mamas out there in hopes it will reach you at just the right time.

If you are in the Midwest, check out Mothers Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes for more great info.

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to being and becoming

  
“the work of being and the friction of becoming are inextricably knit together.” // mark nepo

i picked up Mr. Nepo’s book, The Endless Practice, at the library this week and it is balm for my soul. he is poignant and graceful with his words and conveys such peace with his reflections on the inner life we are bound to honor.

enjoy your spring weekend! here’s to being and becoming.

Princess Snack Mix Recipe

  
It was family movie night and she had decided on Tangled – the Disney movie about the princess Rapunzel. She loves the storybook version of her long hair (and often remarks about how her own hair is short) and enjoys the mostly upbeat story line with very few scary parts (a requirement for movie picking these days).

We had been talking about it all week. Friday would be movie night! The excitement was building. Each day we’d talk about ways we would make it special — getting into jammies, pulling pillows and blankets into the living room, and making a special treat to eat on the couch.

After tossing around a few ideas, we settled on what we called a Princess Snack Mix. A perfect mix of sweet & salty, it would consist of rice chex, pretzel sticks, and white popcorn drizzled with white chocolate. It was delicious! And half the fun was making it together with both of them on the Learning Tower taking turns scooping and pouring and drizzling. Oh and snagging lots of tastes along the way!

The recipe is below. The only thing that made our snack particularly “princessy” was that we dyed half of the white chocolate purple and half yellow to match the color themes of our particular princess movie. For Frozen you could do blue & white, Cinderella could be blue and yellow, etc.

Here’s to many happy family movie nights!

Princess Sweet & Salty Snack Mix

Ingredients:

  • rice chex, 2 cu.
  • pretzel sticks, 2 cu.
  • popcorn, 2 cu (I air pop 1/3 cu popcorn kernels which makes plenty)
  • white chocolate candies/chips, 12 oz bag

Directions:

  1. Spread each of the dry ingredients on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss to mix
  2. Pour melted white chocolate chips over mixture and stir to coat
  3. Let harden for about 20 minutes before serving

Recipe adapted from here: http://bloomdesignsonline.com/2012/03/make-it-monday-bunny-bait.html

wild love.

  [21 months/ 3-29-16]

when he tugged on the plant leaf in curiosity and tipped the ceramic planter onto the hard wood floor this morning, i almost broke his spirit along with that old planter. soil scattered wide and two pieces of ceramic. i looked at his eyes to see if he had recognized what had been done. with a harsh tone, i told him that he broke it. YAH he said half smiling, not knowing what else to say. i pressed hard to hold back any further words in my impatience. you see, he wasn’t supposed to be home with me today. today was an assigned daycare day. a break for mama to accomplish things. but he was feeling under the weather. so mama got a sidekick. the kind that fling food at mealtimes and cling close at cleaning time and beg to be a butterfly in the breeze, outside 24/7. already upset at the detour in plans, i found myself low on tolerating his toddler antics and the curiosity that cracked the house plant.

but i slowed down.

“s l o w i t d o w n” i internalized.

because when i pause, when i go half as fast, i notice twice as much.

and so i went to the sink to dump out the spilled soil. i looked closely at the broken pottery and reconsidered my plan to trash it as i fumbled through the junk drawer for crazy glue. below me i heard a “mama mama!” and when i glanced towards him, he showed me the children’s broom pan he had dug out of the bin we keep in reach just for them. he was proud, and i realized in that moment, i didn’t need to speak any harsh words.  a reflex, does it do anyone a bit of good? we’re all just doing the best we know how, one damned step at a time. And that wisdom rings true, the wisdom to only speak words that make souls stronger: “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger.“ Ephesians 4:29 (NCV).

his pride, his stance with his broom pan — it was the grace that swept me into a new realm. I knelt and smiled and praised and loved wild. We searched for the missing broom piece. and without any prompting, I saw him walk over to the mess and get down to business, scooping the dirt with the pan — the best he knew how. And I encouraged him wildly.

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