Tender

Five Minute Friday: Tender

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My love. His hands. So strong and skilled, yet so tender and gentle. His work requires such precision from his hands, they endure many bangs and bumps, and they’re often blackened with the dirt of the job. But despite all of it, my husband’s hands are never anything but tender with me. Wiping away my tears after a long day. Grabbing my waist at the kitchen sink. Cupping my cheeks as he gives me a look filled with such love.

I would read about men with hands like that. I always thought it was so romantic when a man worked with his strong hands and yet used those same hands so tenderly with his wife. I wondered what it would be like to be that woman who was loved by the man with the strong, yet tender hands. And then God gave me a man like that. And I was that woman.

And it’s better than I ever dreamed.

STOP

Vivid

Five Minute Friday: Vivid

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Rain. It makes colours more vivid in a way that sunlight never can. The green of the grass is almost glowing, scattered with jewels of raindrops. The black of the asphalt in front the garage is shiny black, juxtaposed by the brilliant blue of Aaron’s work truck. The gray-whiteness of the sky makes the yellow tulips from my love on my kitchen windowsill all the brighter.

And it clears my mind too. After several hard weeks, my attitude this morning was less than stellar. So very tired, and my mind just felt foggy. But a simple walk to the mailbox, alone in the misty rain, made me feel like a new person. I need rain. I just do. The cool wetness, breathing in and on my face. I was made for this.

And I understand more the phrase “grace like rain”.

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Confessions of a weary mama

Before I got married, I thought parenting would probably be pretty easy.  I had taken care of kids my whole life, babysat a lot, both casually and professionally (for a childcare agency).  I was a live-in mother’s helper for two different families.  If there’s was anything I knew, it was how to take care of kids.  Parenting can’t be that much different, right?!  It wasn’t far into the journey of parenting that I realized that the earlier me had no idea what she was talking about!

There are quite a few things in parenting that took me by surprise, but the biggest one was probably the constancy.  There are now little people totally dependent on you all. the. time.  Around the clock, every day. No weekends (at least the sleep-in lazy kind). No days off.  And I know this is how it should be, and most of the time I love taking care of my little people, but it can be wearying.  Especially during needy days (and weeks and months) when you don’t even get a break at night due to whatever.

I’ve heard different opinions about “me-time” for moms.  Some say that it’s totally necessary and the mom’s “right” and that she should regularly schedule it into her life.  Others say that it’s unnecessary and that the mom should find her fulfillment in her job as a wife and mom.  All I know is…it’s very nice.  This Saturday is a local library’s book sale, and Aaron will be home so he offered to watch the kids for an hour or two so I can go to it all by myself.  He even told me to buy myself a coffee to help with the leisurely browsing (yes, I know I have an amazing husband!).  And I’m really looking forward to it.  And I know that I’ll come back home to my little blessings, refreshed and revived.  Because sometimes I just need a little break.

Don’t get me wrong…I love my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  But I’m just being real.  It’s been a hard couple of months what with sickness and teething and hard toddler phases and Aaron working long.  And so little breaks are much appreciated.  They are just part of the always grace that gets me through each day.

Awake

Friday already!  And no post between five minutes…  Oh well, the busy life outside my blog will stop for no mama.

Five Minute Friday: Awake

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Awake.  It seems that I’ve been in that state more in the last couple years of my life than ever before.  I can’t remember the last time I slept solidly from the bedtime until morning.  A wakeful toddler (thankfully usually tended by his daddy though the noise still wakes me up), a baby that still nurses several times a night.  Aaron and I almost always go to bed later than we should, enjoying the quiet or getting caught up in our new game-for-two Lost Cities.  Then morning comes oh-so-quickly, and I’m awake again.

Yes, I’m awake a lot as a mama.  But I’ve found that my babies have helped me awaken more to the little gifts of every day and the beauty of the supposedly mundane.  A big brother making his baby sister laugh.  How exciting dirt is.  How going outside can make you kick your legs in glee.  The moon.  A bug.  A flower.  Sunshine.

For often when you wake, there’s light.

STOP

 

Roar

I have much to do this afternoon, but now that the babies are sleeping, I’m sitting down for a bit with my water and homemade dark chocolate truffle and joining those who just write for five minutes.

Five Minute Friday: Roar

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Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.
~C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Aslan. Though I didn’t fully learn to love him until I was past twenty, I knew who he was when I was young.  And I thrilled to the line in an old Michelle Tumes’ song: “I love an untame lion, he’s broken every chain”.

Untame.  Because, as Mr. Beaver tells Lucy, “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

He isn’t safe, but He’s good.  And what does that mean for me?  I believe in my Father’s goodness and it’s something I have to remind myself of when things get hard. But to couple that with not being safe…that’s a scary thought.  That means that something that is for my good, because He is good, could feel unsafe to me.  It will probably be, as the cliche says, “out of my comfort zone”.  And as much as I like to think that I’m one of those people who are able to handle unknown situations (what with traveling the world and all), I like my safe little spot, thank you very much.

But I want to get past that.  I want to be comfortable and content even in situations that seem totally beyond anything that seem safe and comfortable to me.  Because while my God isn’t safe, I know He’s good.

STOP

 

The distinction

A…luncheon was held a half century ago in England.  The people around the table were [held together] by the bonds of spiritual war.  The general topic was comparative religions, which sparked a debate on the question of Christianity’s most valuable distinction.  What separated Christianity from every other religion in the world?

One suggested the Incarnation, another the resurrection of Christ.  It was pointed out, however, that these two vital features of Christianity were also part of the deities of other religions.  C. S. Lewis, who joined the debate late, uttered the answer as soon as he heard the topic of the day.  “Oh, that’s easy,” said perhaps the greatest Christian apologist of the twentieth century. “It’s grace.”

~ Tim Kimmel, Grace-Based Parenting, pg. 28

One of my favourite things to do with lemons

Living in California, it’s a somewhat regular occurrence for people with a lemon tree to give you a bunch of lemons.  To this girl who grew up in Idaho, this still amazes me as good lemons are not easy to come by in that dry northern state.  So I revel in this abundance and love adding lemon to many different things.  Thankfully, lemon and garlic go very well together and so I invented the below pasta “recipe” (though a friend tells me that I should quit calling these “recipes” since they’re so vague) and it’s one of my favourite things to eat.  After not making it for a couple months, I threw it together last night and remembered how amazing it is…so refreshing and delicious!  (And yes, I know this is the second pasta recipe in a row, but pasta happens to be one of my husband’s favourite foods, so I’ve invented quite a few pasta “recipes” since we’ve been married.)

Lemon Garlic Chicken Pasta with Spinach

Cook a pound of pasta (I like to use fusilli).  While the pasta is cooking, melt a stick of butter in a small saucepan and add one head of garlic, roughly chopped and one small onion, chopped fine.  Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, making sure not to let the garlic and onion burn, but develop a nice browned outside.  While the garlic and onion are browning, zest three to four lemons using the fine side of a cheese grater.  After zesting, juice the lemons and set juice aside.  Without washing the grater, finely grate some asiago cheese and mix with the lemon zest.  After the garlic and onions are browned, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.  Once the butter and lemon juice have emulsified, whisk in a little water.  Salt and pepper generously.  By this time, your pasta should be almost done.  Drain and pour into a large bowl.  Dump a bunch of fresh baby spinach on top of the pasta (remember, it will shrink down considerably as it wilts so make sure to use a lot).  Add some thinly-sliced grilled chicken on top of the spinach.  Pour the lemon-garlic sauce over everything and top with the grated cheese and lemon zest.  Mix thoroughly and set aside for a couple minutes in a warm place to let the spinach wilt some.  Mix thoroughly again and serve.