Posted by: Eric and Heidi | July 27, 2015

Let’s Dance!

If you are one of the 6,000+ people who enjoyed the free Pancake Breakfast downtown on Wednesday, please allow me to apologize.  It was far too early in the morning to subject any of you to my (lack of) dancing skills.  Please know that I wasn’t dancing in front of all of you for my own enjoyment.  In fact, I would genuinely rather be punched directly in the stomach than dance in front of a crowd.  But this wasn’t about you.  It wasn’t even about me.  It was about Abbi.

My Abbi is positively effervescent.  All of life is an adventure.  Every new person is a friend to be discovered.  She has no fear.  She feels no embarrassment.  She is 100% at home in her skin at every moment of every single day.  She sings spontaneously.  She laughs loudly.  She dresses with flair.  She paints wildly.  And oh, how she dances!

Pancake Breakfast in Cheyenne

       Pancake Breakfast in Cheyenne

So after enjoying breakfast with over 6,000 of our closest friends and neighbors, it should have come as no surprise that Abbi wasn’t ready to make a quiet exit.  As we stood to leave, she grabbed my hand, pulled me down to her level, and turned her sparkling eyes on me.  “Mommy, let’s dance!”  My first impulse was to run.  Fast.  And Far.  Next, I considered pulling the busy Mom card.  Sorry kiddo, we don’t have time today.  Maybe next time.  But before I opened my mouth to shoot her down, I took one extra second to really look at my daughter.  Shining eyes.  Expectant smile.  Wiggling body.  Five years old.

And then I nodded my head.  “Ok, Baby.  Let’s dance.”  With a squeal of delight, Abbi led me to the front of the crowd, right in front of the bluegrass band on stage.  Then, in front of God and everybody, we danced.  I was terrified and I was mortified.  I glanced at the crowd and thought for sure I was going to melt on the spot in a puddle of what-is-she-doing-she-has-no-rhythm foolishness.  I prepared myself to bolt once again.  Instead, I locked eyes with Abbi.  I focused on her smile, her laugh, the joy in her eyes.  Suddenly, the crowd faded and I was simply present with my daughter.  We twirled and we jumped.  We hopped and we spun.  We shimmied and we shook.  In that moment, it was just the two of us and we danced just for the joy of summer and sunshine and music and time spent together.  I don’t regret it a bit.

That moment with Abbi has stuck with me through the rest of the week.  I was up in front of that crowd with only one purpose- to please my daughter.  Her opinion was the only one that mattered.  Her happiness was my only desire.  There may have been several thousand watching, but for me, it was an audience of one.  I’m so glad, so very, very glad, that I didn’t miss the chance to make this memory because I was focusing on the wrong people.

And it makes me wonder.  I wonder what other opportunities I’ve missed through the years because my eyes were on the wrong people.  I wonder how much energy I’ve wasted trying to please people whose opinions don’t even matter.  It reminds me of Paul’s words in Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to get people to think well of me? Or do I want God to think well of me? Am I trying to please people? If I were, I would not be serving Christ.”  I readily admit that I am a recovering people-pleaser.  So many years of my life were spent trying to keep everyone happy, to keep the peace, to become what people expected of me.  I kept myself so busy trying to figure out what people wanted, that I never took the time to figure out who I already was.  It’s been in the last ten years of my life that I’ve begun to care less about keeping people happy, and care more about being comfortable with who I am.  I’m learning with each bump in the road that popular opinion doesn’t matter.  Eric matters.  Abbi and Lia matter.  I matter.  It’s about my obedience to Christ and being the best version of myself that I can be for the people who matter most.  And that’s it!  It’s simple, but it’s tough.  It’s so easy to get distracted.  While I was dancing on Wednesday morning, I would occasionally lift my eyes to the crowd and feel a well of embarrassment creep up.  Immediately, I locked my eyes back on Abbi, focusing once again on the only one I wanted to please.  In life I’m attempting the exact same thing.  Referencing the Apostle Paul once again, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.   Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:1-2)  It’s so easy to get distracted.  It’s so easy to get discouraged and sidetracked and caught up in the what-will-so-and-so-think game, when none of that matters a bit.  We don’t obey to please others, we obey to please God.  His is the opinion that matters, and as long as we lock eyes with Him, we remember that clearly.

So I’ve been challenged this week.  The next time I hear the Spirit whisper something to my heart that makes me want to run far and fast for fear of how it might look, I want to remember Abbi’s big brown eyes and excited smile.  And then I want to grab the hand of the One who matters and say, “Yes, Lord, let’s dance!”

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Posted by: Eric and Heidi | June 8, 2015

Loving My Neighbors

This morning, we floated into church as if suspended by angel wings.  The children were bathed, fed, dressed in adorable outfits, with impeccable hairstyles.  I was looking none too shabby myself, all showered with my makeup on point and looking unusually stylish in dark skinny jeans, heels, and an (ironed!) blouse.  How are things going with Eric away?  “Oh, we’re great!  Things are good!” I cooed with confidence.  I’ve got this on lock.

My neighbors know better.  Yesterday we were all out tending to our lawns and they saw how things are really going.  Abbi used a half a bottle of spray conditioner during “nap” (quotation marks are intentional) and ran around the rest of the day looking like Severus Snape.  Lia peed through two outfits and by the end of the day was running through the neighborhood wearing only an inside-out tshirt, bare baby-butt on display for all to see.  And then there was me.  No shower.  No makeup.  No deodorant.  Messy ponytail.  Paint-stained tshirt.  And unbrushed teeth.  That’s right.  UN.BRUSHED.TEETH.  It’s safe to say that my personal hygiene was in the red yesterday.

So when I smiled and waved at my neighbors this morning, loading the girls in the car for church, they weren’t fooled by how put-together we looked.  And it made me think.  As you read through the New Testament, Jesus talks over and over about loving our neighbors.  We can certainly apply the word “neighbor” in a global perspective, but for me it’s more powerful if I take it literally.  What happens when I love my neighbors, the people whose homes surround mine?  Here’s the thing about my neighbors.  They see me at my very worst.  They see me when I’m tired. And cranky.  And the kids let the dogs out.  AGAIN.  They see me try to start the stupid lawn mower for an hour before realizing that it’s out of gas.  They see me covered in grass clippings, cranking on that mower with all I’ve got.  They see me checking the oil and futilely poking at parts before humbly asking to borrow a mower.  They hear how I respond when my kids demand snacks while I’m covered in grease and sweat during hour five of my grass-cutting debacle.  I can’t hide from my neighbors.  They see the real me.

And it gets me thinking.  Perhaps I love my neighbors best when I show my faults.  Maybe Jesus shines most clearly when I’ve dropped my shiny Heidi-mask. I didn’t do great yesterday.  I felt like a frustrated mess!  But maybe my neighbors saw me take a deep breath and try again.  Maybe they noticed that I did not swear a blue streak.  Maybe when the sweet little girl next door came over to play she noticed that Abbi’s mom greeted her with a smile and gave her a snack.  Maybe those small victories by a stinky, smelly, frustrated Heidi showed the light of Christ in a way that polished, pristine, public Heidi never could.  There is no replacement for being genuine.  If somehow, someway my neighbors saw Love in me when I was at my worst, they saw Jesus at His best.  Perhaps the way we love our neighbors reflects most clearly who we are at our core.

It makes me really glad that I did NOT, in fact, set my stupid lawnmower ablaze on the front lawn.  I call it a win.

Posted by: Eric and Heidi | March 18, 2015

Another Day

Last week I had a stretch of about four days where my children were going after each other every.single.second.  It didn’t matter what I did (and I tried it all!) they were simply determined to squabble.  It was exhausting.  I awoke Thursday morning, and within minutes, I was up to my neck once again in whining, fussing, nitpicking children.  With a sincere heart I raised my eyes to heaven and breathed, “Another day.”  As soon as the words slipped past my lips, I caught myself.

Another day.  Another day in which I have been entrusted with these children.  Another day where I get to be their mom.  Another day when I have been tasked with taking IMG_6665this abundance of raw emotion and gently coaxing it into something beautiful.  Another day where I get to model love.  And patience.  And kindness.  And forgiveness.  Another day where I am the most important person in their lives, where they look to me for every need.  Another day where I get to be the security checkpoint of their world, keeping them safe, keeping them innocent, keeping them little.  Another day where my lap is the very best place to be; where my hug fixes any hurt; where the sound of my heartbeat is enough to soothe and comfort.  Another day where the sounds of their voices fill my home and where their beautiful faces are but a reach away.  Another day where I get to see their smiles and wipe their tears.

I know these days will not last forever, so I am grateful, so very grateful, that I get another day with my babies.

Posted by: Eric and Heidi | February 20, 2015

Those First Five Minutes

My girls had gymnastics this morning at 11am.  Before that, Lia cried…

-because she wanted breakfast.

-because she didn’t want to go downstairs for breakfast.

-because she wanted carried down the stairs.

-because she didn’t want to be carried after all.

-because she wanted her cereal.

-because she didn’t realize the cereal was already in front of her.

-because she wanted a different spoon.

-because, after two bites, she wanted “more!”

-because, after getting more and having another two bites, she was “full!”

-because Abbi was in the bath and she wanted a bath, too.

-because I put her in the bath and she didn’t want one.

-because I gave her a bath anyway.

-because, after washing her, I attempted to take her out of the dreaded bath when she clearly wanted to play.

-because she wanted her towel.

-because, when I got her towel, she wanted her towel in the bath.

because I took her out of the bath.

-because she wanted her hair done while I was lotioning her.

-because she wanted the lotion when I was doing her hair.

-because she wanted to get dressed all by herself.

-because she got her arms and legs stuck while dressing herself.

-because she wanted me to get her unstuck.

-because I tried to get her unstuck.

And then it was time to go to gymnastics.  IMG_6418I quickly brushed my teeth and threw my unwashed hair in a braid.  I threw a sweatshirt on to hide the fact that I wasn’t wearing a bra (I’m sorry, but it’s true!) and I ran out the door.  No shower.  No make-up.  No outfit.  No clean underwear, for crying out loud!  (I mean, why add to my laundry pile by putting clean drawers on a dirty behind?!)  However, let the record show that we rolled in to gymnastics at 10:58 with two clean, fed, bathed, outfitted, hair-done kids…on time.  Success!!

Now, it’s true, I could have gotten ready this morning.  I could have gotten out of bed as soon as my eyes opened and gotten my shower before they woke up.  I could have.  But if I did, I would have missed those first five minutes with them.  And those first five minutes are what gets me through the rest of the day.  Those first five minutes with Abbi, where she climbs into bed with me and curls into the contours of my body.  Those first five minutes when I feel her toes flexing into my thigh like a cat kneading her paws, testing that I’m there and that all is right with her world.  Those first five minutes with Lia when we sink into the rocking chair, a tangle of baby and mommy and bears and blankets.  Those first five minutes when she digs her head into my chest and I rest my face on her curls, breathing in scent of coconut and sleepy baby breath.  In those first five minutes, no one is crying.  No one is fighting.  No one is hitting or chasing or asking for anything at all.  In those first five minutes I simply hold my babies and drink them in.  Sometimes the spell holds for six minutes or even seven.  On rare days we make it to ten minutes and I begin contemplating adding another baby to our nest.  Inevitably, though, the spell is broken and my work for the day begins.  There are tears and tantrums and fights to break up.  There is a constant cycle of feeding them and cleaning up from feeding them just to feed them again.  And yes, today I didn’t shower and I arrived at gymnastics looking like a total wreck with a two-year old who is in rare form.  But I’m ok with it.  It’s worth it.  I got those first five minutes today and I get five more tomorrow.  And that’s enough.

And, just to put your mind at ease, I did get around to showering at naptime.  There are limits, after all.

 

Posted by: Eric and Heidi | January 23, 2015

Some moms can’t be trusted.

There are all kinds of moms out there.  There are the super-protective helicopter moms.  And that’s fine.  The super-laid-back-let-them-learn moms.  And that’s fine, too.  The crunchy granola moms.  Fine.  The fast-food survival moms.  Fine.  Crafty moms and musical moms.  Sporty moms and baking moms.  Hyper-involved moms and homebody moms.  Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, and fine.  I’m with you.  I could continue this list all day.  And it’s all good.  I have at least one friend in every single one of these categories and I love them.  They are great moms and they help keep me sane.  But make no mistake.  There are moms among us who can not be trusted.  For your convenience, I have compiled a partial list…

The “I treasure every moment” mom.  No.  No you don’t.  Some moments are horrible.

The “I never eat chocolate in the bathroom” mom.  Whatever.  You are lying.  Fine, it might be quinoa crisps or kale or whatever, but you know you do it.

The “my kids never eat breakfast in the car” mom.  Really?  Are you sure?

The “perfectly manicured, hair done, made-up, and dressed nicely” mom.  You suck.  Once in a while?  Sure.  One of the four?  Why not.  Maybe doing your nails is your sanity fix.  I’ll give you that.  But all of them?  All the time?  No.

The “I never lose my s**t” with my kids” mom.  Yeah right.

The “I never have to remind myself not to smack them in the face” mom.  Listen, I’m not here to discuss corporal punishment.  I don’t care who you are, though, and how opposed to spanking you might be.  Be honest.  There are times when you just want to smack your child in the face.

The “I never get so used to whining that I don’t even hear it anymore” mom.  If you haven’t reached this point, beware.  It’s coming.

The “I never count the minutes till naptime or bedtime” mom.  Yes you do.  Don’t lie.

The “I always feel like an amazing mom” mom.  I doubt it.

If you encounter any of these moms, immediately run away.  A conversation with a mom like this is not worth your time.  Moms who say these things are either a.) in denial, b.) not paying enough attention, c.) lying, or d.) robots.  Any of those four reasons are grounds for you to run the other way.  Don’t even feel bad about it.  Just run.

Because the truth is that being a mom is HARD.  It is messy and exhausting and relentless.  It is thankless.  It can be lonely.  It is both chaos and monotony at the same time.  It’s crazy and it can make us crazy, too.  But it’s worth it.  It’s important.  It is a privilege.  It is sacred.  It gives us a unique look into the heart of the Father.  It stretches us and makes us stronger.  It softens our bodies and expands our hearts.  We cry more and we love more.  It creates friendships unlike any others in our lives- friendships between women who are too busy and too tired for anything other than honesty.  For transparency.  For empathy and compassion.  For solidarity and encouragement.  A 10-second conversation with a  mom-friend can be the mini-vacation that gets you through the day.  A thumbs-up from a stranger in the grocery store can give you the encouragement to weather the meltdown happening in your cart.  A “thumbs up” on Facebook can be the virtual hug that lets you know you aren’t alone even if you’re the only adult for miles.  So heads up, momma!  We’re in this together and we’re doing great!  And you can trust me on this.  I’m one of the good ones.  After all, my hair is a wreck and I gave up my chocolate during naptime to write this for you today.  I’ve got your back.

Posted by: Eric and Heidi | January 8, 2015

And then she was TWO!

It’s fair to say that we are past Lia’s second birthday.  Well past.  We have since celebrated not one but two holidays in the (nearly) six weeks that has since passed.  I could regale you with tales of a convalescing husband and a mother preparing for the holidays whilst shuttling two children all over creation.  I could spend some time talking about the dreadful crud we’ve been battling the last two weeks or the fact that we’ve been sharing the laptop while Eric finishes his last (last!) college course.  For the sake of time, though, we’ll say this.  Life happens.  Along the way, our precious Amelia has turned two and rattling about in my brain over the last few weeks has been the elements of this video.  Today, the nap fairies smiled on me and this is what happened.  Enjoy…

Posted by: Eric and Heidi | October 6, 2014

That’s Beautiful

I have been in church since I was eight days old.  I was born on a Saturday, so that first Sunday I missed because Mom and I were still in the hospital.  Poor excuse, I know.  The very next week, though, I was front and center…and I’ve more or less been in church ever since.  In the rainbow of Christian denominations, I’ve sampled just about every flavor.  I’ve attended church services in (at least) three languages and been involved in everything from street evangelism (not my gig) to just about every facet of youth ministry (definitely my gig!)  I’ve seen the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly of Christianity.  I’ve taken copious notes in theology classes and led Bible studies by the dozen.  My faith has been tested, tried, pushed, and proven.  But nothing I’ve experienced, absolutely nothing!, has had such a profound impact on my faith as the privilege of exposing my own children to the gospel.

A month or so ago, we introduced the concept of grace.  (Facebook friends, I know you’ve already heard this.  I’ll make it really quick, I promise!)  Abbi got into the very bad habit of wetting her bed at night (even though she’s been nighttime pottytrained for ages!  Grr!) and Eric and I, little by little, with each soaked load of bedsheets, took away almost all of her “fun” privileges.  One day, though, we explained grace, or undeserved blessings.  Despite the fact that she didn’t deserve it, we were taking her to the mountains.  The concept resonated with her and, a couple weeks later, when I showed grace once more, she remembered the lesson.  And, by the way, our nighttime potty situation resolved.  Grace?  Check!

Yesterday, though, we had another setback.  Another setback = another opportunity.  I don’t want Abbi to get the idea that grace renders our rules unimportant.  Daggonit, I feel very strongly about our rule that we do not pee in our beds!  As the Laundry Queen of the Family, I am NOT willing to let that rule go!  Where there is a pee infraction, there must be a punishment.  That’s a fact.  And that, is what I explained to Abbi.  We had been planning for days to make Daddy a cake- vanilla with chocolate chips.  Abbi was very specific about that part.  But now, because of The Incident, there would be no baking.  Bummer.  But wait, what about grace?  Ah ha!  I would show her grace.  We would make the cake.  But, oh no!, I didn’t say anything about her eating the cake.  Now what to do?

Abbi: Since you are showing me grace, I can have cake anyway.

Heidi: But the rule was broken.  Our rule is important.  Because you peed in your panties, there must be a punishment.

A: What are we going to do?

H: How about if I take your punishment for you?  You can eat my cake, and I’ll take your punishment.

A: But you didn’t do anything wrong!  I did.  Why would you do that for me?

H: Why do you think?

A:  Because you love me so much.

H:  That’s right.  I love you so very much.  I would do anything for you.

A: (long pause) That’s beautiful.

I’ll admit, I had to swallow the lump in my throat just a bit.  We proceeded to make the cake, complete with baking, cooling, and frosting.  Finally, it was time to eat.  I dished up a piece for my daughter, still slightly warm from the oven, with the lightest, fluffiest chocolate icing ever.

H:  Enjoy your cake, Baby.  I love you so much.

A:  (with a frown) But where’s your piece?

H:  I don’t get any, remember?  I’m taking your punishment.

A:  But…but…I want to share with you.

H:  Nope.  I can’t eat any cake tonight.  Our rule was broken and someone has to have the punishment.  I’m taking the punishment for you.

Abbi enjoyed her cake.  She did.  She was pretty quiet, though, by her standards.  There was no dancing about the living room and no continuous commentary on the virtues of the cake’s deliciousness.  Our little Culinary Critic was strangely quiet during this particular piece of cake.  Shortly thereafter, it was time for bed.  After the requisite vitamins and teeth brushing and pre-bedtime potty trip, Abbi and I settled in for our nightly snuggle.  Surrounded by stuffed animals and her baby doll, laying nose to nose in the dark, Abbi whispered to me, “Tell me again about how you took my punishment tonight.”  And so I did.  What happened next surprised me.  She began to cry.

A:  That makes me so sad!

H: Why, Baby?

A: I don’t like that you didn’t get any cake when I am the one who peed my bed.  That’s not fair!

H: But I was happy to take your punishment because I love you so much!

A: (still crying) Please don’t ever do that again!  I love you and I want you to have cake.

Nope.  No amount of Bible studies or theology classes could have the impact of my daughter’s organic reaction to the gospel.  Because that is the gospel, friends.  The truth is that we have all peed our beds and not one of us deserves cake.  The rule is important, the rule was broken, and justice demands a punishment.  But our Father, because He loves us so much, took our punishment for us.  As I walked out of Abbi’s room last night, I had two new ideas to consider.  First, might I have just gotten a tiny glimpse into the heart of our Father?  I sacrificed a measly piece of cake due to a bed wetting.  And yet, when my child asked why I would do that for her, I was nearly brought to tears by the purity of my answer.  “Because I love you so much.  I would do anything for you.”  And He has.  He loves us so much that He has done anything, everything!, for us.  Second, how often do I react to the Father’s sacrifice like Abbi reacted to mine?  With tears.  Genuinely remorseful that my infractions have caused my Father to sacrifice for me.  My sacrifice for Abbi was miniscule, yet it prompted genuine repentance and love.  God’s sacrifice for me was immeasurable; how much more should be my repentance and love?

I’ll tell you, these moments of faith with my children are precious.  They are a privilege.  They are humbling.  They are changing me.  Seeing the gospel through the eyes of a four year old is seeing it for the first time all over again.  Abbi had it right.  The gospel?  That’s beautiful.  May we never forget.

—————

ps- Lest you have an unrealistic view of life in our home, you should know that I had plenty of time to dream up this faith lesson while I was stripping beds and washing sheets and shampooing carpets yesterday afternoon.  Yes, it was a doozy of a pee incident.  Truth be told, it was during the time when I sent the children downstairs to their dad so that I could take a couple deep breaths and not bite their heads off that this plan was concocted.  True story.

 

Posted by: Eric and Heidi | September 26, 2014

Wearing Our Scars

You know the really annoying thing about popular cultural adages?  They tend to be surprisingly accurate.  Take for example me and the quip, “Chics dig scars.”  The truth is that I am fascinated by scars.  One of the first conversations I had with my (now) husband was a colorful tour of his childhood via the scars on his body.  In fact, the two men that I love most in the entire world- Eric and my dad- are both badly scarred.  And it’s true.  I dig it.  I love their scars.  I love the stories they tell.

Eric recently is sporting a brand new scar, and it is a beauty.  It covers his entire right knee and is now in the fifth stage of healing.  It has been black, purple, scabbed in white, scabbed in yellow, and now bright, vibrant pink.  It has crusted and it has oozed and it’s snagged and…well…you get the picture.  It hasn’t been pretty at all.  Except to me.  I look at that scar and I see Eric’s love for our children.  I see him grabbing Abbi back from falling down a slippery boulder.  I see him using his arms to cushion Lia, leaving nothing to brace himself.  I see him skidding a couple feet on his knee, clutching our baby to protect her.  I see the blood running down his leg and our girls walking away without even one scratch.  I hear the sincerity in his voice when he whispers to me, “At least it’s just me.  It’s not our girls.”  I look at that scar and am reminded that my children have a daddy who would go to any lengths to protect them.  That he loves them more than he loves himself and that there is nothing, nothing!, that he wouldn’t do for his children.  Yes, I dig that scar.

And then there’s my dad.  Talk about a scar!  Dad is missing an entire chunk of his left calf.  Eric tells Dad that he should invent a story about being attacked by a shark.  People would no doubt believe that story.  The scar is impressive.  Covering the large hole in his leg is skin that still bears the evidence of grafting.  It is white and pink, with ragged edges and it sinks about a quarter inch deeper than the rest of his leg.  Want to know what I see when I look at it, though?  I see my dad giving me a thumbs up as I walk into his hospital room for the first time, eager to comfort me.  I hear Dad’s voice, genuinely hoping that the people in the SUV that hit him were able to enjoy their vacation in spite of the accident.  I see my mom curled into Dad’s chest in that hospital bed, healing each other simply be being together.  I remember the phone call when the doctor was able to save Dad’s leg and I see Dad walking me down the aisle two years later without even a limp.  I see Dad golfing with my brother and hanging Christmas lights with my husband and taking his granddaughters far out into the surf.  That scar tells the story of God’s protection.  Of His mercy.  That scar is beautiful.

I’m afraid my scars aren’t quite so pretty.  I wear mine on the inside.  I wear the scar of infertility, the one that makes me, even still!, a little jealous when I hear of someone else getting pregnant.  I wear the scar of a disrupted adoption, which carries with it lingering distrust and a brand new tendency to wonder about worst case scenarios.  I wear the scar of a NICU mom, which makes me a little bitter towards people whose plans go exactly as expected.  I resent ultrasounds and doctor’s visits and maternity clothes and newborn pictures and joyful discharges from the hospital.  And I compare.  My situation was worse.  I’ve been through more.  I’m stronger.  My scars?  My scars are ugly.

I suspect that I’m not the only one.  I suspect that, if you’re being totally honest, you might find that you have some scars as well.  In fact, I suspect that we are all scarred.  What strikes me is that the difference is not in whether or not our scars exist but in how we choose to wear them.  Eric and Dad wear their scars beautifully.  Selflessly.  They use their scars as an invitation to listen to other people tell their stories.  Somehow, their pain encourages others.  Their scars promote healing.  They use their scars to love.  I wear my scars as medals; as proof of my martyrdom.  No one is as strong as me and I have the scars to prove it.  I can’t get rid of my scars.  They are here to stay.  What I can change, though, is how I wear them.  I can work to have my scars bring out in me an extra dose of compassion, not competition.  I can choose empathy over arrogance.  I can wear my scars to build bridges to reach those around me, not to build walls to keep others out.  I can use my scars to love people, not to look down on them.  My scars are here to stay, and so are yours.  It’s just up to us to decide how to wear them.

Posted by: Eric and Heidi | July 21, 2014

Beautiful.

Have you have seen the trend circulating around Facebook recently where women nominate their friends to share five pictures of themselves where they feel the most beautiful?  As the mother of two daughters, I’m all about women embracing their self-worth and being proud of who they are.  It’s been interesting, though, to see what pictures my friends have chosen.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then my friends have unwittingly been giving five thousand word monologues on how they view themselves.  In this house, we’re all about Girl Power.  A beautiful woman is more than a pretty face.  A beautiful woman is smart and strong, kind and courageous.  I am beautiful.  Here’s why…

I AM SMART.

I AM SMART.

 

It’s wasn’t easy to earn my Master’s…while living abroad…with a newborn…while my husband was flying back and forth to Africa most of the time.  But I did it.  I am smart.

 

I AM STRONG.

I AM STRONG.

Lia’s journey home to us was the most harrowing experience of my life.  Each day required more strength than I ever suspected I had.  But I did it.  I took each blow; shouldered every burden.  And I loved.  I loved big when I had little reason to hope and everything to lose.  That is strength.

I AM KIND.

I AM KIND.

Finding a picture for this one was tricky.  I’d like to think I habitually show kindness to those around me.  As it turns out, though, I rarely snap a photo while doing it.  But here’s one!  While teaching in Delaware, I led my students each year in a fundraising drive to support World Vision.  One year I promised that if they hit a certain mark, I’d turn my very blonde hair very, very pink.  They delivered and I delivered, too.  The fact that I used temporary color because my brother’s wedding was two days later also shows kindness, don’t you think?

I AM COURAGEOUS.

I AM COURAGEOUS.

Being a military wife is not always easy.  Since Eric and I have been a “us”, we have experienced two deployments to the desert, four new assignments, five home changes, and more TDYs than I can even count!  I have moved us by myself, gone to meet our children by myself, vacationed by myself, and traveled with the kids by myself (even internationally!)  I’ve given up jobs, homes, and friends by the dozen.  This doesn’t make me special.  This doesn’t make me unique.  This is just what military wives do.  It takes courage…and I have it.

I AM BEAUTIFUL.

I AM BEAUTIFUL … for all the reasons that really matter.  That’s beauty.

 

Posted by: Eric and Heidi | May 8, 2014

No apologies

Yes, it is true that I have become appallingly bad at taking videos of my kids.

Yes, it is equally true that I am now abysmal at crafting the few videos I have into an adorably sweet montage and posting them regularly.

Yes, it is shockingly true that I have only four a half minutes of video to represent the last five months of 2013.

Yes, it is hideously true that those four and a half minutes fail to include such noteworthy occasions as Lia’s first steps, her first birthday, and any type of Christmas frivolity.

And no.  I will not apologize.  I’d like to give a monologue here about how I’m too much in the moment with my children to sully such precious times with technology.  The more accurate explanation would be that I’m too busy snapping pictures to shoot video simultaneously.  (In contrast with my scanty four and a half minutes of video, I have 578 still shots of my kids during that same period.  True story.  I counted.)  There is a slight chance that Lia is going to seek therapy over the absence of a video immortalizing her mother’s out of tune rendition of “Happy Birthday” on her first birthday.  There’s a far better chance, though, this slight will pale in light of some of my more significant parenting fails that are sure to arise over the next couple decades.

And you know?  I kind of like these four and a half minutes.  These are just little snippets.  Moments, of “Quick, get a video of Lia crawling before she starts to walk!” and “Oh, the girls are so sweet laughing together in the back seat!”  This is real.  This is life.  This is us.  Enjoy.

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