Saturday, January 14, 2017

Purpose

 Hello

It's a chilly evening here in Colorado...but beautiful. The snow hasn't fallen yet, the sky is golden ...casting it's bits of light on the edges of our pines and aspens. The branches are bare today...and will be for another few months. They are warm though...all bathed in light and freshness and God.

I've been slow today. Baking here a bit, washing there a bit. I've been reminiscing ... a lot...
remembering all of my babies, remembering the very real struggle of love and tiredness and growing at such a fast pace - my belly and my spirit.

I remember flowers.

Silky baby hair...warm little bodies ...always with me...
the sweet smell in my nose, the hands on my skin, the beauty of looking in their wondering eyes.
Feeling close to them...all of the time...even when my body was weary...
My heart was close to them.



It was a beautiful time of my life. 
It was a time that I had always dreamed of - even with the loneliness, even with the bedbugs and the three autism diagnosis, even with the poverty level pay and the teeny tiny house.




It was beautiful because it was then...that I discovered myself.
It was slow...year after year giving up expectations..
listening to new ideas,
finding truth and sustainability and purpose.
I found love.
I met God in those years. I struggled with God in those years. 
But mostly, I found Him. 



Those sweet porch days.
Green bean picking days.
Bread making days. 
Sleepless nights and potty training and grocery shopping with a one toddler clutching my hand
another in the cart, one on my back
and one in my belly.



One of life's greatest treasures is being able to look back at our lives...no matter our age or our "point" ~ and truly see the events, the circumstances that have made us who we are.
Looking at it from all sides...not just our own.
We can learn why it happened. 
Life is a lesson...not a consequence.




We are the architects of our lives. 
Many things are out of our control...
but in the end we choose if we keep building...or we adjust our plans and change our materials. 

We choose if we throw our hands up, or ask for outside help...hire a new crew, find a new plot.

Some materials are garbage, we have the choice to seem them for what they are and say
"I deserve better building materials...this is crap."
Or we may find ourselves saying
"I've been blind...this whole time I've been looking at the view but ignoring the structure."



This is what I know...after building and rebuilding and storms coming and walls crashing.
This is what I know after fire, after rain.
This is what I know after climbing and clawing and crashing, then crawling on the ground defeated and torn and nothing.



I know why I am here.
It's something we all want to know...what's our purpose?
What does it all mean?



Reading the past, looking back at little blue eyes and trying my best to put light in all of them...
 right now
this moment
is my purpose. 
It will always be that way.
It's now.
Not tomorrow.
Not yesterday.
 Today.



I don't know why loving and building and growing sometimes feels so small.
My mind often says "but Alyssa, you need to do more. You need to find who you are and be important...share it with the world. Earn an income...be known."

Voices tell me that...some audibly, some not so audibly.

People, books, television, pictures in stores...
They all want me to know who I am tomorrow. Who I "could be" if I tried.
It makes my head confused.
 It makes my heart sink because I wanted to be who I am being right now...
and it's not enough for them.




Then I'm quiet. 
A voice says "Raise your hands."
My body feels like it's flying forward...into compassion, into security
I listen.
My hands raise above my head, palms open and I sway to my heart song 
He is here with me. I feel His presence. My heart is wrapped in large warm hands,
the world is glowing...and He's there.
Hello Creator
...my mind needed You.
My heart drums...the first beat slow and I call 
"if you made the heavens and the earth then surely I can trust you"
The beat fastens and I call
"If you formed my body and you love me with all of You then surely I'm worthy"
The drumming is faster and louder and I scream 
"If you love them and You're in me then so can I"
The drumming is slow and all there is is peace.
Golden light filled peace all around me...because I know who I am through Him.



I look outside at the setting sun, swallows dancing and dipping in the yard - and I hear Him :

"You are who I made, and no one else's opinion matter's except Mine and yours."



Then I know...again...why I am here.
He has made it perfectly clear.

I don't have to explain my joy or my fulfillment to anyone. 
My job isn't to convince.

 My purpose is to live well.
 My job is to nourish...myself, my babies, my partner, the strangers all around me.
 My joy is to worship.
I raise my hands, face pointing towards the Sun, salty tears meeting my lips and allowing my heart to cry out
"Because of You I Am." 
There is nothing small in that.

So, here I am...at the beginning of a new year...knowing exactly my aspirations.
Delighting in my purpose...not because it's easy, not because it pays well, not because it "looks good."

No, definitely not because of any of those things.

The beauty is I don't have to know why sleepless night and dirty dishes and curriculum delights my soul. I don't have to know why felted hoops and homemade laundry detergent ignite some kind of wildfire in me and I feel fuzzy with happiness.
I don't have to know why studying theology and herbs and medicine and the human brain makes me feel excited. I don't have to know any of that.
I just have to delight in it, because that's who I am.
Not an expert.
Not someone that can afford expensive toys.
Not someone that will change the world.

 I have changed my life, and I pour love into my littles so that someday...
hopefully because of a bit of my influence...
they will be able to raise their palms to the sky and feel their Creator...
and be fulfilled by who they are to Him.


Happy belated New Years my friends.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Man in a Chair

Let me try to figure this out ... 
feel free to browse my random photos ... this may take me a moment.
A lot has happened in the four hours I've been awake today.


  It was freezing cold this morning...a sock morning for sure.
 I loathe socks (not to look at mind you, I adore looking at socks...it's the whole concept of my wiggly toes being tied up in a mobile sleeping bag all day that I don't care for.) 

Anyways, two cups of coffee down and I was out the door with several children in tow. The steering wheel was like ice...a sharp reminder that I need to reaquaint myself with winter...
 the sun was in just the right blinding spot forcing me to wear my husbands oversized glasses (I had forgotten mine...and then while looking for my forgotten glasses realized I had also forgotten my phone.) 
The fuel guage was much lower then I would have hoped for. 
I loathe low fuel guages. 
They creep me out. 
Visions of being stranded on the side of the road, hiking 10 miles (with no phone and men's sunglasses) along the highway with four children in 20 degree weather did  cross my mind at least 47 times in the 16 minutes I was driving.
I do not like socks, I do not like ice, I do not like phone - less purses and I do not like close-to-empty fuel guages Sam I Am.
 I do NOT. 
I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere.


But everything was fine. I didn't crash. I didn't freeze.
I'm pretty sure no one noticed me in the ugliest sunglasses ever. 
It was fine. 
I remembered to say "Thank You." 

 When I got home I had two missed calls from my husband which is unusual. 
You see, I don't really talk on the phone...even to him. 
So a missed call usually means that he actually needed to talk to me, no shootin' the breeze, and most likely it was less then pleasant news. 
I was correct on every point.  
The car broke down...he would need me to pick him up from work Saturday (a hour one way.)
In the middle of this phone call my eldest child came into the kitchen, slightly resembling someone with rickets. It took me a moment to figure out why when my attention came to his scalp.
*sidenote...I've never actually seen anyone with rickets*

Supposedly he used his ipod as a mirror and craft scissors to sculpt. 
Every mother's dream come true. 

At this same moment my third child walks down the stairs in shorts.
"Sweetie, it's winter...can you go put on some pants?"
He comes down in ripped blue jeans.
"Could you put on some sweatpants?"
He doesn't have any.
He gives me his best "I hope this cheers you up" smile and says :

"Sorry we're making this day so complicated for you mom."


I took a breath. I took a much needed breath. 
This day needed a plan. This day needed direction. 
I'm ALWAYS the person for that job.
My type A personality comes even more alive at the mention of a "plan."
If I had dog ears they would be pointed straight up...nose forward...tail out...(I digress again)

"Okay kids, this is what we're doing...we are going to go fill up the car so I can pick dad up when we need to, then we are going to the thrift store to search for pants..."
(in case the car costs thousands of dollars to repair...which means we wouldn't repair it...which means we would need a new vehicle...which means we can only shop at thrift stores...see there? I ALWAYS have a plan.)


This is where it get's good.
I'm driving down the road, enjoying the sunlight through my found sunglasses. Good.
 My phone is next to me buzzing with jokes back and forth with my husband about fuel guages and love and how in my deranged mind...they are very similar things. When the tank is full...my tank is full. Good. Glad we have an understanding.
At this very moment the radio plays the theme song from Charlie Brown Christmas - I'm instantly transported into a world of monotone bald children and pretend to be a dancing animated character. Even Better.
I am my own "high."
I said to God 
"maybe it's good I had to drive to the gas station...this all could have been missed."


The boys and I went into Goodwill on our Pants Hunt. 
We looked and looked but there was nothing in the right size.
sidenote * Finn is very ocd. When we go into a store we have a routine that we have to follow or he has a veryveryveryvery hard time. The Goodwill routine (we also have a Target routine, a please and thank you routine, a good bye routine, a coloring routine...the list goes on and I regress....) always involves looking at toys but not asking for one. *

I told the kids we could go look but then we would need to drive to Target, break the bank,  and just buy Tristan some sweatpants until we had more time to find second hand ones. 

We walked over to the toy section , directly behind the shelving were all of the chairs and sofas. I noticed a young man in a puffy coat sleeping in a chair, a cup of Goodwill's free coffee in hand. We were there for awhile...and he never woke up. 
I stared at his young face, and his worn hands...his worn shoes...his worn coat - and this being the spot, possibly the only spot he could find rest. He probably was only a few years younger then me, 
but I saw my child. I hoped that could never be my child.
 I saw my friend.
 I saw my brother.
I saw myself.
 I saw all of him.
 I saw his hurt and his heart and his baggage. I saw his addictions. I saw his fear, his desperation. 
In all of it...in everything I saw...all I could think was "bless him."
Who? Who bless him?

I didn't want to wake him but seeing him reminded me of what I had PLANNED to do this holiday season and so far have neglected to. 
I asked a male employee to give the sleeping man some cash (which he did) and I left with my boys to go to Target to find things for care packages. 


I cried all the way to Target. 

We bought socks and hand warmers, toothbrushes and toothpaste, towlettes, chapstick, cough drops, 
little tins of altoids, soft granola bars (last year I was reminded by TWO different homeless people that chewy foods were hard on their teeth and they preferred soft things), large reusable containers to store it all in, little packs of kleenex and then a five dollar bill for each bin. 

It seemed cliche. It seemed like not enough.
These little boxes weren't gonna change anyone's life. 
If anything, they were making me feel better.

At the same time...you can't change the world by doing nothing. You can't give someone even five minutes of love if you don't give minutes of love. You can't give a few hours of a full belly if you never chance it...and buy a meal. You can't give warm feet if you ignore cold ones. 
You can't ,if you don't, where you are.


We came home and began our assembly line. 
We ate apple slices and gingerbread in our warm house.
We talked about others and what is useful on cold days.
I was glad we didn't buy our laminate floors last week because now we at least have money to fix our car (hopefully.) I was glad Goodwill didn't have pants. 
I just felt glad for a lot of things.



I smiled at my boys...with their big hearts and their bright eyes. I smiled at Brady's now covered head and thought how wonderful it was that he cut his hair because now I can see him in hats. 


It started with a fuel guage...with a mind nightmare.
It started with bright sun in my eyes, socked feet and freezing hands.
It started with a broken down car and a pair of ripped blue jeans.

Tristan changed into his new pants.
"How do you like them bud?"
He looked at me from the top of the stairs
"totally zen mom."

It ended with a full tank,
 with a peaceful mind, and with direction.
Light spread through my eyes and encompassed my heart.
All I feel is good. All I feel is peace. 

This is the kingdom...this is the gift.
This is the here and there and everywhere.
This is it.
This is the chance.

I had  "keep me in the light" tattooed on my inner arm a couple weeks ago.
When people asked me what it meant I didn't know how to explain it. It's not a sentence.
 It's a story.
This is what it means.

okay...i figured it out. 


“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” 
― Abraham Lincoln

“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, "What else could this mean?” 
― Shannon L. Alder

“When you have once seen the glow of happiness on the face of a beloved person, you know that a man can have no vocation but to awaken that light on the faces surrounding him. In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” 
― Albert Camus

Monday, November 14, 2016

Wreaths and Bunting and Thanks


Hello friends.


I've been learning new skills.
Wreath making skills.


After looking around at MANY stores I couldn't find anything that was quite "me" or a very good price. I already had the pretty flowers on hand from my fall decor so I reused and recycled and came up with this bit of loveliness to greet all who enter... or come up on my steps to find a "no soliciting" sign. I love it and it cost a total of about 5 dollars. 
Score and score again.


My other project was this 4 yards of lumber jack bunting. It was SO easy to make - just hundreds of knot tying in the end. I put on a show and made myself a cup of tea and got to tying!
Just take a piece of twine (the length you would like your bunting to be), cut strips of burlp and strips of fabric...and start tying the strips on to the twine. I alternated between the burlap and the flannel. Easy Peasy.


I generally don't decorate for Christmas quite this early but what's the harm of a little extra cheer?


Along with the crafting I've still been doing our homeschooling mornings and also a huge home purge. As in...going through every drawer and nook and crevice of our home and either selling or giving away what we don't use. I've been laying aside keepsakes and sticking photos in albumns - trying to simply simplify as much as possible. 
I have been blessed to find a local online women's group that sell things from home. You can put a picture up of something you aren't using, a yard sale price...and whoever "wins" can come pick up at your house. What's really fun is the ability to just leave a bag of some nonsense never used on your front step, come home and find it gone and a few bucks under your door mat. 

I do love a homey home. I'm realizing though that clutter doesn't necessarily make a place homey. 
For me, beautiful earthy scents and fabrics and handmade goodness is what makes me feel most at peace. Also - clean surfaces. Don't every underestimate a clean surface. 
It's just my Christmas way. I think I do this every year at this time...
maybe it's seeing all of the new stuff at stores and the consumerism that overwhelms my brain.


Also, a confession :
The Christmas Carol Pandora radio station has been on full blast for 2 straight days.
I'm excited this year for Christmas. 
It's been a long time since I've felt this way.

I'm not sure if it's our new home, or the kids being older and them really enjoying our family traditions and giving, or if it's my ever growing love for the Christ child. 
Whatever it is... it feels really good. 
Why not start celebrating His birth in the season of thanks? 

Have a lovely day friends. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Birches



Birches

Related Poem Content Details

When I see birches bend to left and right 
Across the lines of straighter darker trees, 
I like to think some boy's been swinging them. 
But swinging doesn't bend them down to stay 
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them 
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning 
After a rain. They click upon themselves 
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored 
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel. 



Soon the sun's warmth makes them shed crystal shells 
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust— 
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away 
You'd think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. 
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, 
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed 
So low for long, they never right themselves: 
You may see their trunks arching in the woods 


Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground 
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair 
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. 
But I was going to say when Truth broke in 
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm 
I should prefer to have some boy bend them 
As he went out and in to fetch the cows— 
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball, 
Whose only play was what he found himself, 
Summer or winter, and could play alone. 


One by one he subdued his father's trees 
By riding them down over and over again 
Until he took the stiffness out of them, 
And not one but hung limp, not one was left 
For him to conquer. He learned all there was 
To learn about not launching out too soon 
And so not carrying the tree away 
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise 
To the top branches, climbing carefully 
With the same pains you use to fill a cup 
Up to the brim, and even above the brim. 
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, 
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.


So was I once myself a swinger of birches. 
And so I dream of going back to be. 
It's when I'm weary of considerations, 
And life is too much like a pathless wood 
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs 
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping 
From a twig's having lashed across it open. 


I'd like to get away from earth awhile 
And then come back to it and begin over. 
May no fate willfully misunderstand me 
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away 
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love: 
I don't know where it's likely to go better. 


I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree, 
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk 
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, 
But dipped its top and set me down again. 
That would be good both going and coming back. 
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches. 



Monday, October 31, 2016

The Last Gifts of October

~ October Gifts ~

Rainbows in the sky, after an unexpected shower



"Wom! Can we run to the end and find the pot of gold?"
You can - but I probably won't go with you.


Finished projects...


A little Bug, snug...as a bug, in a ... blankie


Hand stitched
I thought I would never finish it, put alas, hard work and effort pays off and I'm left with a lovely light weight imperfect memory crazy quilt.
I'll take it.


Then there were the costumes...
Micheal, Cleopatra, Spidey and Captain America
All gifts


Trunk or Treat and then a visit from the "Switch Witch" that night
(they leave their cancer causing candy on the porch and the Switch Witch comes by that night and swaps them for healthier treats and goodies.)
This was our first year trying out her services - it was a hit!


then, a birthday
one that had been counted down and counted on


A little squirrel girl completed 9 trips around the sun
and was very very happy about it


Family from afar came to give birthday hugs,
friends from town brought Calico Critters,
and there was shared cake with an aunt and uncle


Trinity Sky said it was the best birthday she has ever had


Since having my Girl of Wonder, the end of October always leaves me a bit wistful. 
Our little rose bud is blooming, not quite little anymore and not quite big.
She's perfect though...right where she's at she's perfect.
She fills our hearts with all kinds of goodness,
her zest for life and her satisfaction with herself leaves me inspired.


"You know you're children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they are going."
P.J O'Rourke

Trinity is going places. She's gonna travel the world - either physically or mentally, but she'll have adventures. 
She is going to give the world so much, and already has.
 She is a light, one that sometimes I wish I could keep in a mason jar to glow and glow beside me. But I know, that would be an injustice of beauty. So, little by little...we'll unscrew the lid and let her fly about.
Then someday, I imagine she will go, the little jar will be empty
So for now, I'm soaking up her light, as much as I can
to forever keep in my mind
So she really won't leave.


Happy 10 hours until November Friends
I can't wait to see what gifts it brings

Friday, October 21, 2016

Just Gratitude's...


Thank You God for all good things


... for misty mornings
... for burnt sienna and raw umber and sage green
... thank you for a view


... thank you for a warm home
... warm clothes
... thank you for flannel. I dearly love flannel.


... thank you for thrifted beauty
... for the hidden talents in all Your people
... thank you for pictures of streams crashing over rocks, I can hear it.


... thank you for this little potato bin - that it was once not so very tasteful,
and after a good sanding...the treasure was hidden beneath 
... thank you Lord for wood grain
... thank you Lord for potatoes


... for root vegetables
... for starch
... for lots and lots of starch



... for one lone pepper, growing and turning and bright red
... thank you Lord for my little garden
... thank you thank you thank you


... for a hard working man
... for a handsome man
... for a firefighter man
... for a pallet wood collecting man
... also, thank you lord for my little man Brady Bunches of Love


... for pigtails
... and little aprons
... and miniature animals and their cute little clothes and cars and water bottles and rugs and houses and wagons and lamps and books...and all their cute little things 
(I can barely keep it together when it comes to dollhouse goodness)
... thank you that I can't keep it together


... for helping hands


... for the bread we eat
... for life from You


... thank you God for brave kids
... for new skills
... for them being able to do all things because of You that strengthens them
... once again, Lord, thank you for autism. It's a tricky road but it's navigable because of You,
walking alongside me, holding my hand and theirs.



... for new little pets (the quiet, low maintenance kind)


... thank you Lord that I still have one little set of chubby hands left in the house...


... for new projects
... for creating


... thank you for a free costume and a visit from Cleopatra herself 
(I'm honored)


... for "putting the wash out"


... thank you that I feel rich when I see stacks of firewood in the backyard
... thank you for the little things that add up to be really really big



... for Mario and Luigi and their never wavering presence in my life


... for bare-feet in October
... thank you for the sunny days


...for baby Moses
... that she knows that story
... that she wants to play it all by herself


... for banana friendship cake sans frosting ... just pecans and honey and cinnamon
... thank you for a recipe that takes me back to sweet times
... thank you for the sweet times today


... for bear claws as big as your head (the tasty kind)



 ... and of course trees. Thank you so much for trees.






... thank you for walks and leaf crunching 


Thank you for being with me always,
that I get to just be myself everyday of my life
basking in your gracious love 
Thank You that You are good 
always
thank you for freeing me from religion and giving me friendship
thank you for freeing me from sadness and filling me with joy
.........................................................................................

... also, thank you for avocados.