Friday, January 22, 2016

Magical Days

Today I'm remembering the games Ty and his friends made up when they were young.

Knifing - Play fighting that began with real pocket knives until the moms realized they were playing with REAL POCKET KNIVES and banned them.

Boot Camp - exactly what it sounds like. Was introduced into boy culture when Bren graduated Marine Corp boot camp. They took turns screaming at each other as they made their way through increasingly dangerous obstacles. Again the moms had to intervene when we realized they were scaling the shed.

I call the next one Avatar - they realized that the kudzu vines were thick enough to walk on. I walked outside and heard their shouts of joy. It took me a minute to realize they were about 20 feet in the air, walking on top of the kudzu-covered trees. It paralyzed me with fear and I made them get down, explaining the danger of falling on a stob or small tree and impaling themselves. They didn't tell me until years later that Ellas did fall and was scraped up by a broken tree branch. How they survived their childhoods is beyond me.

Kingdoms - a highly inventive multi-level game involving elves, warriors, etc. The currency of this game was used aluminum foil. USED foil. So the moms were enlisted to use more foil and for heaven's sake, don't throw any foil away! Weapons of imagination were encouraged. Store bought swords were lame. Sticks of perfect shape, size and weight were highly sought after and woe to the parent who found said stick and threw it away. Weapons were forged of spray paint and duct tape. Armor was fashioned of used Rubbermaid container lids and cardboard. Players completed complicated missions and quests and "leveled up". At one point this game had players in 2 states and 2 countries. Over a dozen boys would come on Friday night to play. I will occasionally still find foil coins imprinted with their Kingdoms logo and smile.

Airsoft- Not a game of their invention but I'll still count it. Gilly-suits, full face masks, $200 guns and Camo abounded in this obsession.

Then there were the standard hide and seek (in the dark), freeze tag, football, smear, and various full contact games.
I'm sure I've forgotten some

I kept unlit scented candles on my table for when they would all stream into the house for water or food and the smell... my word, the smell. We would pass the candles around to sniff to counteract the odor. It offended the boys but that couldn't be helped.

I don’t know that any of us really appreciated the awesomeness of Friday nights until later when the boys were grown and had jobs or sports events. Looking back, those were magical days.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice...

oh how I love this story.

I fell in love with the book my senior year of high school. It was assigned reading and no one wanted to read it. I fell in love with Mr Bennett's sarcasm and Mrs Bennett's nerves. The way the relationship between Lizzie and Darcy unfolded seemed so true and realistic to me.

Then I saw the Laurence Olivier film version and the hook was set.

In 1996, the miniseries aired in the States. Colin Firth... Done.

But the 2005 film adaptation... the more I watch it, the better it gets. The cinematography, the music - gah, it owns me. The scene at the end, at dawn, in the mist, with the music swelling and Darcy striding across the field and Elizabeth's breath trembling... my heart beats hard in my chest.

I love the story. How Lizzie is so strong-willed and looks down on Darcy for looking down his nose at everyone else. How she learns his character and grows to respect him. How that respect and admiration comes before the attraction and feelings. Then the love that comes out of that goes bone deep. How Darcy is lonely but has an enormous capacity to love and how he sets that love on Lizzie.

Chris always rolls his eyes when I say it, but this story tells our story. I am the most stubborn, emotional person. He is reserved and watchful, shy. I thought he was the most arrogant man in the world when I met him. He thought I was reckless and childish. But then I got to know him and grew to respect him, even when I didn't like him. The love that has grown between us over these last 23 years is deeper than I ever thought possible. I thought it was just a fairy tale, but the way he looks at me still, the way he is grateful that I chose him, the way I look at him and see everything that I admire in a man... that is grace - not a fairy tale.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Random Thoughts for This January Night

Random thoughts for the day:

1. My house is really quiet most of the time now. Except for the piano, guitar and singing. Other than that, pretty quiet. Gone, for the most part, are the days of racing cars up and down the hallway and slamming doors and everybody talking or yelling at once. They're all pretty grown up and articulate themselves without all the screaming.

2. I have just a few more months of everybody living under the same roof. Just a few. Surreal.

3. Because of numbers one and two, I am really looking forward to our big trip this year. Lots of memories to be made and they're all old enough to remember them.

4. Brody started art lessons today. He wants to be able to sketch the Roman Forum, so line drawing it is. His teacher, Mrs Rachel, is particularly fond of, and good at, architectural drawings. He's in good hands. Today he sketched a wooden tool box with a rope handle. It was very, very good! He walked down the drive and sketched the neighbors house. She saw him sitting out in her yard and texted me. She thought his sketchbook was a dinner plate and he was sitting out there eating and staring at her house. Ha.

5. I started running last August. I hadn't run since high school. I forgot how much I like it. I worked my way up to 5k, now I'm trying to work up to 10k. Yesterday I ran 4 miles. It shocks me that I'm able to do that. Shocks and awes and makes me really grateful. I'm learning about self-control as a fruit of the Spirit.

6. My kids are all about fitness. Ty and Gracie are actually weight lifting. Gracie is in the 500 lb club and Ty is almost to the 1,000 lb club. Maggie works out several times a week and Brody rides his bike every day, adjusting the gears to make it harder. I'm proud of them!

7. I am going to read through the Bible this year. I think I've read it before, but never in a program of which chapters on which days. I'm curious to find out what I've never read before.

8. I got to spend the day with KimHill today. I had to take the Honda to the dealership to have the airbags replaced because of a recall, so she picked me up and we went shopping. We also ate lunch at Red Robin and almost cried when we put our calories into My Fitness Pal afterwards. That was a thousand calorie meal. I couldn't believe it! And I got water and no bun. Good grief.

9. I don't like that I feel self-conscious about so many things. I feel embarrassed if I talk about running. Or my eating healthier. Or reading through the Bible. I know. I know. I just typed it out in this blog post, but no one will see it if I don't post the link to Facebook. Why does it make me self-conscious? I think I'm afraid that someone will mock me, or make fun of me.
When I first started losing weight, I told NO ONE except my kids and Chris. They have been my biggest cheerleaders. Ty always high-fives me when I hit a PR with my running. The girls dress me and tell me how cute I am and how small I'm getting. Chris just has this quiet, solid way of grinning at me that encourages me. And he talks me off the ledge periodically.
I wish I could just live my life without thinking about what other people are thinking. Or without comparing myself to my mother- which always makes me itchy and sad and vaguely hopeless feeling.
I wish I could remember the truth of the gospel and my true identity. All of the time.

10. I can see, hear and feel God taking away my childhood coping mechanisms. It is terrifying and freeing and gorgeous. Reminds me of Eustace shedding his dragon skin.

I'm sleepy. And since I want to get up early to run, I should go to bed now. Enough rambling...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

I ran across one of my mother's many journals today. This one was actually a small three-ring binder, black, nothing fancy. It was kept during the late nineties, when my two oldest children were tiny, and when her marriage to my father was falling apart. It broke my heart to read it and some of the pages were immediately put aside to be burned.

The pages I kept were, for posterity, a cautionary tale. I'm sure that if I were to take samples from all her writings and place them on a table, one could place them in order according to their desperation. Desperation for freedom, for hope, for release from shame. Desperation for a fix to her problems that would be quick and painless. Page after page of resolves, of ideas and strategies. And page after page of scripture.

She wrote out one verse twelve times. In twelve different translations. She claimed promises that she had no understanding of what their theological meaning was. And I realized that she labored always to experience freedom, but she never knew rest.

She expressed over and over her desire to bring hope to the hopeless, but then in her own words, she expressed confusion and shame - the opposite of hope.

Oh how I wish that I could have known the gospel the way I do now! That I could have offered her rest and peace.

How many women do I come in contact who, as my mother wrote, "are dying inside, like a machete buried deep within and twisting"?

No amount of resolve can make us right with God. No amount of obedience can bring peace. It is never enough. Our flesh only condemns us.

We are loved. Really, truly, deeply. We were chosen when we were enemies. And we are still loved when we are failures.

She knows now. Even more fully than I possibly can.