A Resolution

“So much has been given to me I have not time to ponder over that which has been denied.” Helen Keller

My husband just told me about this quote by Helen Keller, who was born both blind and deaf. It brought back memories of my seventh grade English class. My teacher was an alcoholic, which all the students knew but the administration ignored for an inappropriate length of time. She checked out of teaching and centered her entire curriculum on the bombing of Hiroshima and the extraordinary person of Helen Keller.  I had no idea so many documentaries were based on these two subjects, but it seemed she had found every one and we watched movie after movie throughout the semester.

As you might be able to tell from my writing, my grammar suffered due to this mismanagement of the language arts by the public institution to which I was assigned. I could tell you the intricacies of the atomic bomb, but if you asked me to identify a dangling modifier, I’d probably search for something hanging from your nose.

I can’t say it was all bad though. This teacher’s addiction was probably kept quiet longer than one might think possible thanks to the motivations of her students. We knew Ms. K’s class as a retreat. Every time I walked into her room and saw that metal TV stand on rollers with a VCR revved up and ready to play, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction. This was my hour off. An escape from the pressurized life of a seventh grader. No need to answer questions. Just movies.

Other than a break from school, Ms. K’s documentaries offered another positive. I acquired a profound appreciation for the achievements of Helen Keller. I remember watching those films and feeling a bit of perspective even though I was at the peak of self-absorbed adolescence. Miss Keller was humble, yet strong. Handicapped, yet able beyond measure. Her words made a lasting impression on me.

When my husband reminded me of Helen Keller’s quote this morning, that same feeling of perspective came back.

I have so much, why should I ever focus on what I lack?

This theme of gratitude has been something God has brought to my attention recently. Too often I catch myself playing the victim. Complaining of no sleep because I fed my beautiful baby boy multiple times in the night. Or whining because my clothes are old and out of style as I look at a full closet.

Instead of focus too many words on how I fail in this area, I am choosing to look forward. A resolution of gratitude is what I hope for in 2015. Something that I know will help me in that goal is coming back to this blog. I want to write again. It is an accountability tool I can count on. It’s like sitting down with a sister that can openly tell you what you need to hear even when it hurts.

I won’t always write about perspective. Sometimes I might resort to old writing prompts just to get words on the screen. Or I’ll post excerpts from a project I’m working on. Either way, writing allows me to flush thoughts out of my head and let them breathe. That’s important I’ve found.

In those times when I don’t have any clear thoughts to explore, I might just post a short video with stories from Hiroshima survivors. A tribute to Ms. K and her steadfast commitment to showing us just how good we have it.

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Two

My Evy bear is two years old today. TWO!

Never before has time gone by so fast.

In honor of her musical spirit, I thought I’d do a little photo essay of a recent kite flying attempt (really, just an attempt) her daddy orchestrated. For about a two month period, Evy sang “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” from the movie Mary Poppins at least every 15 minutes.

I love that her world is one where it’s totally acceptable and completely expected to break out in song at any given moment.

That’s how the world should be.

I hope she always believes that and lives that way.

Here’s to two years on the books for Evelyn Ruth!

With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings

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With your feet on the ground
You’re a bird in a flight

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With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

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Oh, oh, oh!
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!

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Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring (Evy says “storming!”)

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Up through the atmosphere

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Up where the air is clear

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Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

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Chicken Butt

What would you guess if I said, “guess what?” excitedly, with a huge cheesy smile across my face?

I bet I know what you would say.

Maybe you’ve seen me in “real life” and you’ve noticed the drooping of my lids.

The bulging of my belly.

The surplus of scatter in my already sufficiently scattered brain.

Perhaps the rumor mill has reached you and you’re patiently waiting for a fanciful Facebook announcement that you can appropriately comment on with your congratulations.

Maybe your Facebook comment under my status, “Guess What?”, would be “there’s another fetus in your gut,” or “you and Mark have made a mutt”, or “I guess your love life’s not in a rut.”

Whatever your response may be, we are so excited to share this news. Baby #2 has been growing for 14 weeks. He or she (we’re hoping not to find out until the delivery) is due around September 24th.

It’s been a restless first trimester with energetic (and heavy!) Evy around. (Hence the absence from blogging if anyone was wondering). But we feel so incredibly grateful to God that little Evy will have a sibling soon.

Here’s baby #2 at our ultrasound about a month ago:

Baby#2

 

 

Trader O’s

evyhead

Evy’s favorite food is the cereal, Trader O’s. I don’t understand it. The circular shapes are tasteless. Like little crumbs of cardboard. I continue to fill her food tray with flavorful morsels of raspberries, chicken sausage, and cheesy eggs, but she always looks longingly up at the bright yellow box.

Even when she has a handful of O’s in front of her, she still wants more. Evy twists her body and points up at the O’s, which are placed among our other cereals in the kitchen pantry. She excitedly grunts, “mmm, mmm, mmm” as she waits for me to follow her orders. When I don’t comply, she gets frustrated and purses her lips. Her eyebrows come together and she starts to breathe loudly through her tiny nostrils.

I try to reason with her. “Look Evy! You already have some O’s on your tray. Enjoy what you have before you beg for more.”

She gives me her signature scowl and continues to point. “This isn’t enough mom. I want more!” (I imagine her saying).

Recently I’ve realized just how much of a hypocrite I am when I say those words “enjoy what you have before you beg for more.” So many times, instead of savoring the abundance of blessings in my life, I’m pointing at them and asking God for an overflow.

For example, when I was pregnant with Evy, I was fortunate enough to get a couple gift certificates for prenatal massages. Instead of appreciating the moment and allowing my mind to rest, most of the time I was thinking something like “oh sad, she’s already done with my shoulders.”  Or, “this is going by too fast, I should really spring for the longer session next time.”

If I was outside of myself, listening to my thoughts, I’m sure I would give a disapproving glare and say “Look Mick! You’re already getting something you want. Enjoy what you have before you beg for more!”

It’s embarrassing to admit how I can be discontent when getting something as frivolous as a massage. I mean really, close to 2,000 people are dead and thousands have been displaced because a typhoon ravaged through their country. If people in the Philippines heard me complaining about the amount of minutes in my massage, they’d probably slap me across the face.

How can I be discontent when I have shelter, food, family, life, and so much more? Beyond that, how can I be discontent when I don’t deserve any of the things I have? They are all gifts from God.

If I had a tray full of Trader O’s in front of me and each one represented a blessing in my life, the scenario would probably play out similarly to Evy’s snack sessions. I’d pack them all in my mouth to the point where I couldn’t fit another crumb inside, and with my cheeks bulging, I’d point at the box and grunt, “MORE!”

In those moments we forget that many people’s trays are empty. Their cheeks are sunken in and they are opening up their hands and asking for SOMETHING instead of MORE.

I pray that as I teach Evy the value of a contented heart, I can learn to have one too.

I also pray that we can all learn to help those that do, in fact, need more.

Here’s one way to do just that.