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Someone inquired shortly before Hubby returned from a trip “How long is he visiting?” They caught themselves and said “I mean home. How long is he home?” We laughed and went on with our conversation but that distinction between visiting and home didn’t leave me. What does home mean? Is it the house we live in, the family we belong too? Is home “where the heart” is? If so doesn’t the heart often wander? Is home the place we long for when we are away from it for too long? People in strange environments often describe their experience as “feeling at home”. I myself have used the term “home” to describe how I feel.

When I accepted my current position I described being there as “I’m home”. I didn’t mean I was going to put a cot in the corner of my office and move in. (Though Hubby may tell you me doing so would not surprise him.) I meant my heart was settled. Perhaps home is so often associated with where we live because we are most ourselves in that place.

There’s another cliché “you can never go home again”. Places change. I can tell you growing up no matter what was going on in life my parents’ house was home. It was the place I safe and most comfortable. I can also tell you that once it was time for me to move out and go to college that it has never again been home for me. I love my parents, but after a day or two something in me becomes overwhelmed by “I don’t belong here.”

Sometimes we’re prompted to leave the place that feels like home. God called Abram saying “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.” So Abram did. He didn’t know where he was going to end up, but when God said go he left. And yet despite any doubts I can’t help but wonder if there was a peace in Abram’s heart, a sense of home, because he was in line with God’s will.

My sister once told me she can always tell when God’s about to move in my life because I get restless. I knew the behavior she was describing, a nervous fidget, increased sighing and lots of pacing. The same behaviors I exhibit when I have visited a place to long and know “This is no longer where I belong.” I can’t help it. Regardless of what my mind thinks or my mouth says there is something in my inner most being that knows it’s time to go. Like an animal fleeing a storm that hasn’t crested the horizon my soul yearns to move far before it knows a time or direction.

What if home isn’t a place or a people. What if home is knowing we are, at any given moment, right where God wants us to be? What if restlessness is the soul sorting through what to take with it and what to put to the street? And perhaps that mean areas of our life can be at home while others are not. Perhaps I’m at home in my vocation, but God is calling me to move from where I am spiritually to a new home he will show me? By this criteria when posed with the question is Hubby home or just visiting the answer is “Yes.” And my answer for what is home? The answer has to be “In the perfect will of God.”

“Jesus replied ‘All who love me will do what I say.
And the Father will love them and we will make a home with each of them.”
(John 14:23)

Locked In

Locked In

The other morning I was enjoying a nice day off with Hubby. The kids were at school, we had little on our to do list and were in no hurry. While I was in the shower Seester called. I was still getting ready so Hubby caught up with Seester for a good twenty minutes. Once dressed I took the phone, grabbed a cup of coffee, sat in the sunroom and we discussed the woes of life and how to make it better… or maybe it was shoes. Hmmm. Anyway. After 15 or 20 minutes I start to get antsy. It occurs to me that I am on my cell phone and can head out to run errands with Hubby while wrapping up with Seester.

I waltz through the dining room where Hubby is on the computer. I mouth lets go as I grab my purse and head out. Once in the car I realize I forgot something in my bedroom. Still on the phone with Seester I walk in, head to the room, retrieve the forgotten object and head for the front door. I turn the knob and…nothing happens. The deadbolt is locked. I’m dumbfounded as I realize while I was in the bedroom Hubby walked out to the car and locked me in and my key is in my purse…in the car. Unsure of the proper I response, I knock on the door…from the inside. I walk to the front window and see Hubby standing at the car head back laughing.

I am impatient to say the least. The worst answer I get from my prayers is “Wait”. I wait for a while, but if I don’t see God moving fast enough I’m pretty quick to take charge. Movement in the wrong direction has a lot more immediate satisfaction than waiting to move in the right direction. But eventually I hit a locked door. I sit on the floor and with utter patience and tenderness Jesus sits beside me and whispers “lets try this way”. By ‘this way’ I know he means his way. And by his way I know he means the way he told me to do things the first time. But he doesn’t point that out. Jesus has this wonderful way of correcting me without shame.

Running around my house, Seester on the phone and to-do list on my mind I felt rushed and anxious. Afraid even that I had wasted the morning taking it easy and I was losing time with Hubby. But when I knocked and Hubby opened the door to let me out I felt relief and joy. We laughed at the silliness of it all and I let go of the tension surrounding me. That’s how I feel when I let Jesus straighten me out. I leave my problems at his feet knowing what I’m doing isn’t working and I experience relief. I experience pure joy and peace knowing his way will be better even if it’s longer.

Mom

Mom

Let me begin with Happy Mother’s Day.

I woke up this morning smiling as I remembered a joke my witty mother made on Friday while we were shopping. Her humor is dry and she has a quick wit that demands you also be quick to enjoy. We were looking at clocks. We had narrowed it to two that were similar, but the wording on the center of the face was different. I held the two in my hands and pondered deeply which one to look at everyday. After a moment I quite seriously said “I like this clock better, but don’t like the message.” As I handed her the clock to replace on the shelf she dryly commented “And yet God has called you to share it.” She turned and left the aisle leaving me doubled over in amusement.
As I was thinking about this moment and laughing again I realized how much of my life I have spent truly enjoying my mother’s company. I saw a Mother’s Day gift that read “If I couldn’t have you as my mom, I’d still want you as my friend.” That’s certainly true of my mom. If she wasn’t my mom she would be that friend that drops everything to be there for you. That sits quietly while you cry your eyes out. That takes care of you when you’re sick. That rescues you in the eleventh hour so many times you couldn’t begin to count or repay them. Who tells me the truth when nobody else will and somehow makes it not hurt. And certainly is quick to come alongside me and remind me who God is and point me back to him when life hurts.
Without my Mom I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. I credit her with my faith, my wit, my integrity and my tenacious personality that never gives up (my apologies to the masses). We’ve been in this message series Circles, Friends, and Followers where we’ve looked at the friends God has blessed us with, that walk through life with us. My mom is all of them.
Happy Mothers Day, Bet.
Love, Princess Today
Mom Guilt No More

Mom Guilt No More

Mom guilt. This ridiculous phrase is becoming an unacceptable social norm. My understanding is it is the guilt a mom experiences when she sets some boundaries and does not make her child/children the center of her universe for a short period of time. I went to the store alone. I skipped bedtime stories last night. I sent the kids to grandmas so I could take a nap.

mom guilt

I have to admit I’ve experienced i myself and perhaps that is where my irritation stems from. Being a mom is hard work. Wonderful, beautiful God anointed work, but tiring. At some point someone told us in order to be a good mom we have to run ourselves ragged and experience guilt at even the slightest reprieve. Dont tell anyone, but ladies we are not actually supernatural being. Amazing? Yes, but our physical, emotional and spiritual tanks run out like everyone else’s.

Not only is it okay for us to take breaks for self care it is in the best interest of us and our families. Self care (whatever that looks like for you) will give you more energy and a happier disposition. This leads to increased patience and genuine enjoyment of our kids. Enough. I vow to carve out time for quiet reading. No longer will I let the first cup of coffee get cold while I scramble to search for shoes and backpacks. I will now poop in peace without child supervision. I will have Mom guilt no more.

mom guilt 2

The Boo, Dude, Mojo Factor

The Boo, Dude, Mojo Factor

The drive to school takes six minutes give or take 15 – 20 seconds for stoplights and traffic. I know this because I timed multiple routes to see which is the fastest. All routes are six minutes. Recently while Hubby was home we went together to drop off Boo, Dude and Mojo at school. Either we were going somewhere together afterward or didn’t feel like putting gas in his car…who remembers such things. I had run out of time to put my makeup on so I grabbed my makeup clutch and took it with me. I began applying as we were pulling out of the drive and finished my lips just in time to tell the kids “I love you. Have a great day. Move it. Get out of the car.” Six minutes flat to put on makeup.

“Huh.” I mused as we pulled away from the school.

“What is it, Babydoll?” Hubby replied intrigued.

“There’s really no reason for me to not wear makeup.”

Hubby laughed kindly. “And why is that?”

“It only took six minutes this morning and there were pauses where I had to wait for you to stop so to not poke my eye out.” Hubby smiled and nodded in a noncommittal manner while I looked out the window. A pensive furrow on my brow I’m sure. “I wonder why it seems such a daunting task when you’re gone.”

Today…

“Dude, I’m going to take a shower and get ready.”

“Okay, Mom. I’ll be in charge conditionally.” (Big Phineas and Ferb fans)

Close bathroom door. Open window. This allows me to hear, see and talk to Boo in the backyard. Quick Boo check. Playing dolls on the “Bridge” (back deck). Quick shower…forgot soap. Hop out, grab soap, hop in…forgot shampoo. ARGH. Finally get everything, wash up, jump out. “Dude! Everything okay?”

“Yeah, Mom.”

Look out the window. “Boo? You being a good girl?”

“Yes, Mommy.”

Slip robe on. Wash face. Add product to hair. Drop pedometer in robe pocket because I should get credit for every little step. Boo check. Look out the window. No boo in sight. Dog and Mojo are at the fence.

“Mojo, what’s going on?”

“Oh. Coming Mom.”

Roll my eyes. Pull makeup clutch out of the closet. Pull foundation out…

“Mom?” Mojo opens the bathroom door.

“Yes Mojo?” Apply foundation. “She at Bob’s.”

“Whose at Bob’s?” No idea who Bob is. Add powder.

“Boo’s at Bob’s?”

“What?!” Look out window. No Boo. “Wait. Whose Bob?”

“Next door, Mom.” Leans in and whispers with a smile. “Boo escaped.”

Run for the backyard. “Boo!” Hit the bridge and look next door. Dog is still standing at the fence, ears lifted, tail pointed frozen in Retriever form. She turns to look at me as if to say “Thank God. The stupid human is here.”

“Momma.” Boo’s head pops up from the neighbor’s patio.

“Get over here now.”

“Okay.” With a carefree bop in her step, Boo bounces to the neighbors back gate, opens it and comes home.

“To your room, Miss.” I am fairly stern for a woman standing on her back deck donning only a pink fuzzy robe.

“Nooo!!!” She runs to her room as she protests. Tears flow from her eyes. She turns once she gets to her room. “You stay out!” She dramatically slams the door. I hear her flop to her bed as the fake dramatic Snow White sobs continue.

Back to the bathroom. Eyeshadow, eyeliner, lip liner and stain. 25 minutes and 200 plus steps. I think back to my statement “I wonder why it seems such a daunting task…” The Boo, Dude, Mojo Factor. Always consider the Boo, Dude, Mojo Factor.

P.S. No idea how Boo got out. Our yard is fenced and locked. Front door also locked. All locks were still in place when she came home.

Days Without Accident

Days Without Accident

If you have ever been to a place with hazardous work conditions you may have noticed a sign near the entrance that reads “Days Without Accident” and has the number of days nothing has gone awry proudly posted beside it. Typically these are reserved for factories, shipyards, and mills. I’ve decided homes with children need these signs also. Particularly homes being run by a single parent even if only temporarily. If nothing else it would give you a clear indication of how you should enter the house before entering. If the sign tells you we have gone 3 days without any incidents, accidents or fatalities than you know it is okay to enter with tidings of good cheer. If it’s been one day enter ready to comfort, laugh and cry over yesterday’s incident. If it’s 0, however, you have two choices. Suit up and go in, guns blazing ready to save your friend from their own children, or come back tomorrow.

Our house has made it a blissful 4 days with no incidents to report. This is unheard of when Hubby is away, especially during the first few days. Normally on day one of Hubby’s departure there is an odd combination of tears and mischief as the children are both sad Daddy is gone and curious what lines can be crossed with only Mama keeping watch. Four days of no shenanigans, tears or disasters to speak of…I let down my guard. Big mistake.

At 7am this morning I attempted to take a shower…alone. My daughter, Boo, demanded she take a shower also. “No, Boo.” I explained calmly. “We need to leave at 7:30 sharp. You can take your shower tonight.” Understand, Boo’s idea of taking a shower is playing with a tub of toys while the shower is running until the water gets cold. Clearly not something we had time for this morning. Boo did not see it my way. “Nooo!” She shouted. “Mama I need shower!” She flailed herself to the floor. Without anger (please note that) I gently picked her up, set her in the hallway and locked the bathroom door.

Don’t rush to judgment. As long as she is kicking and screaming on the other side of the door I know just where she is and what she is doing. So quick scrub down in the shower and throw my clothes back on and…silence. Awe. Silence is so sweet…wait. No it’s not. Silence is the sign of complete disaster! “Boo!” I run from the bathroom and find Boo under my desk in the entryway. “What are you doing?!” She emerges happily with a can of WD-40 in hand. She had gleefully greased the whole house. Floors, tables, doors… Everything except squeaky hinges.

Days Without Accident- 0. Come back tomorrow.