Tag Archives: family

The “perfect” holiday season

Thanksgiving is in a few days and I’m officially excited for Christmas.

Around here that means higher electricity bills (hello, AC!) and less clothes. It means more sweat and more swimming. It means uglier hair and more beautiful evening walks.

Every year we long for our holidays to be “the best ever” and it’s easy to make ourselves crazy with wanting our homes and tables and gifts and trees to look like something out of Martha Stewart. (And don’t get me wrong, I love prettiness all around.)

But I refuse to pursue “pretty” at the expense of “perfect”.

Because perfect holidays don’t come looking like a magazine spread.

Perfect holidays come when there is enough time and space and energy to enjoy the ones we love.

Sometimes that comes with a gorgeous party spread laid out around a pinterest-worthy centerpiece and other times that comes with a backyard BBQ and impromptu game of cricket while dining on picnic wear.

Either way, perfect is achievable. As long as we have the right idea of perfect. 

 

Q for you: Do you stress about having the “perfect” holidays?

 

Love,
A

 

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Stuff – what would you put in your box?

In light of the Colorado wildfires I was thinking tonight about what I would put in THE BOX if I had enough time to gather up precious, sentimental valuables.

Actually, I know full well what I’d put in there because I had to do it not that long ago when a cyclone was headed straight for our city.

I put in our passports, a few other important documents, some photos, journals, a box of love notes, and our hard-drives which contain several years worth of photos.

Really, when you boil it right down, most things we have are replaceable.

But then I started thinking about some of the things I have stored up in my parents attic – sentimental things from my childhood.

What if they were to evacuate their home suddenly, with only a short window of time to “rescue” a box or a car load of stuff? They would have no idea the things that I hold dear from my childhood. (Or if they did, there’d be no way they could locate them in time.)

What remains of my childhood in “stuff” form would be gone forever. (Not the end of the world, but sad for a sentimental sap like me.)

One of the things I’ve wanted to do during this time home in Oregon was rumage that attic and see what treasures I left behind 12 years ago when I left and never came back. That was on my list far before I left Australia.

But the fires in Colorado have given me extra incentive.

Now as I go through those few old boxes (there aren’t many – maybe 3 or 4) I will know to sort the fun-sentimental stuff from the important-sentimental stuff (as well as the non-sentimental-just-move-on stuff as well).

My heart and my prayers go to those caught in tragedy in Colorado, all the while my mind goes here:

what’s really important?

STOP.

 

Q for you: What would you put in your box?

 

Love,
A

p.s. I’ve been sick. And absent. BOO. 😦 But I’m on the mend now. YAY. 🙂

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited

 


Extravagance just because

It’s day two in America and we are well and truly in holiday mode.

Aside from some crazy jet lag, everything is as perfect as possible. We are enjoying being unscheduled and moving slowly and having time together with our family.

There was a bag waiting for us when we arrived, put together from our church to welcome us.

It was full of some of our favorite American goodies that we can’t get in Australia – Cheerios, cheddar Chex Mix, Payday candy bars, Sour Patch Kids, A&W root beer, Reeces Pieces, pink lemonade, and kettle corn. There were even a few little gifts for the kids.

None of this is stuff that we need. (Um, who needs junk food?!)

But that was just the point – to bless us “above and beyond” the necessary. And to make us smile.

It’s amazing how little things can make such a big impact.

Being welcomed with a package like that – full of the treats we adore and miss – made us feel so welcomed, cared for, and appreciated.

As much as God wants to provide for our needs, he also loves to do things just to make us smile.

Extravagance, generosity, hospitality, abundance – those are all marks of our God.

Apparently our church family knows that too.

They reflect him so well.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When is the last time you were blessed to receive something you didn’t need, but wanted “just because”?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Jitters

I have the pre-first-day-of-school jitters.

The kind where you’re so excited that it’s hard to even imagine going to sleep.

Except that I’m not going to school tomorrow… I’m going to America.

Well, technically I’m not going to America. I’m going to Sydney so we can leave for America the next morning.

But whatever.

Tomorrow’s the day we pack our toothbrushes and board the plane.

Tomorrow’s the day we switch into holiday mode.

Tomorrow’s the day we go on a family adventure.

Tomorrow’s the day we head from winter into summer. (Oh please God, give us summer-ish weather in Oregon. Please?)

Between the excitement of the Voice finale and the trip beginning tomorrow, who knows if I will ever fall asleep tonight. But for everyone’s sake, I’d better go and try.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When’s the last time you got those excited jitters I’m talking about?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


What a woman wants in a man

Strong and gentle.

I love this quick phone snap that I captured of my husband and youngest son from this afternoon. It represents so much of what I love about Ryan as he does a handy-man job around the house while simultaneously wearing our son.

The handy-man component: strong, resourceful, smart, innovative, capable, able to provide, always looking after us, holding things together, creative, dependable, faithful.

And the baby-wearing component: gentle, sensitive, sweet, humble, loving, caring, tender, servant-hearted, coaching, cheering, embracing, kind.

Of all the things a woman could want in a man, of all the things a child could want in a father, I’m pretty sure this simple photo represents the best of it.

I love him so.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What do you want in a man?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


More

I’m having one of those “alien” days.

The kind where you feel like a foreigner in your own land.

I’ve written about this before – about the feeling that you belong, but not quite. The longing for something more.

It’s the hope of heaven. The promise of a real home.

And it’s not that I’m discontent where I’m at.

The opposite really – I love my home, my family, the life we’ve built.

But I know there’s more.

Perhaps it has something to do with returning from a place (Sydney) where I always feel a glimpse of destiny. A something “other” that I don’t even know how to pinpoint.

Perhaps it has something to do with remembering what it’s like to connect with friends from a special (favorite) season of my life.

But whatever it is, the feeling is there. Real, raw, a little bit nagging.

The calm after the storm and the anticipation of the next one all rolled into one.

And I remember that I’m an alien here.

I really don’t belong.

My passport says USA. My address says Australia. But my heart says heaven.

My home is not here.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you ever feel like you belong, and yet don’t belong?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Going away and coming home

I just returned from the most refreshing three days I’ve had in a long time.

Judah and I went to Sydney where I met up with friends–most of whom I haven’t seen in five years–and visited family.

We ate Thai. We picnicked in the park. We got absorbed in the city. We talked about deep and meaningful issues. We walked miles and miles and miles, pushing strollers all the way.

I had pockets of “alone” time – small ones – but enough to remember how much I love breathing city air and merging into the bustle. (Alone time, meaning just Judah and I.)

There were special moments between my son and I that are hard to articulate, but I’m so grateful for. We’re closer because of it.

It’s hard to explain why this weekend was so perfect, but it just was.

And as I collapsed  into bed last night – exhausted and sore – I had a smile on my face knowing that I’d wake up and go home again.

Home to my family, home to my loves, home to my heart.

Going away is amazing. But coming home is even better.

(I missed this guy.)

I’m so grateful for this weekend away. My heart is truly full.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you been away lately? Do you love coming home as much as I do?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Love him with my whole heart, I do. (Dad)

Since watching it sail off into the sunset just a few hours ago, it seemed obvious that I would write about our ship tonight.

About the amazing people that are on their way to Papua New Guinea to give their very lives to others. About the ones that waved them off from the shore who have spent long hours preparing, assembling, building, welding, painting, cleaning, praying. About the many people that have rallied, given themselves, invested their time, emptied their wallets.

I was going to write about the people waiting on the other side of the journey. The ones who have hope rising because of the heart and help that the ship brings and represents.

And these are worthy things to write about. (I will.)

But then I realized that today is my dad’s birthday.

And maybe no one else in the blogosphere cares about reading a wee post from a girl about her dad… but I care about writing, about giving him space.

I have so many memories of my dad growing up. I kid you not, they are all happy.

He was just that good of a dad.

But you know what I always remember when I think back to him during our “little” years?

Bike rides.

And tennis.

And softball in the park and soccer in the yard.

Whatever was my current whim, there he was right alongside me, helping me to learn, helping me get better,

but mostly… just having fun with me.

What a great dad. Dependable, available, approachable, relatable.

Always giving, always fun, always involved (in the best possible way).

Sixty years of being the best dad (and now granddad) I could ever imagine having.

Love him with my whole heart, I do.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How do you remember your growing-up years with your dad?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Searching for margin, longing for rest, needing connection.

Someone gave us money to “do something fun”.

Someone else gave us their apartment on the beach so that we could “get away and relax”.

Someone else gave us a day off after he asked my husband if he had dirt on his face when really it was just bags under his eyes.

So this weekend we’re having a quick getaway to a beach apartment that’s 10 minutes from our house.

Amazing how stressful it can be to prepare to relax. How’s that for irony?

The details are boring but today was a stream of plans-gone-wrong after plans-gone-wrong.

Lists are made but only half completed.

Kids are revved up on I-don’t-know-what’s-happening-but-it’s-different-therefore-exciting energy.

(In other words, tehy’re driving me crazy.)

And after a long day at work the family comes together and we decide it’s worth the stress and the busy and the crazy.

Because soon we’ll be 10 minutes away feeling as if we’re miles away.

We need each other. We need to connect. We need to collapse into baths (we don’t have one) and read books and listen to music and curl up in a great big bed, all piled on top of each other.

Rest is good. Margins are good.

We’re trying to find both.

Thank God there are a few people around us helping.

STOP.

 

Q for you: I think “margin” and “rest” are problems in our society today. Are you finding margins and rest in your life? How?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Little space, big dream

Later this year my family and I will be flying to Papua New Guinea where we’ll board the YWAM Medical ship, hole up in a small cabin, and spend a few weeks serving in villages where access to health care is limited.

Along with us will be teams of medical professionals – nurses, dentists, optomotrists, and more.

On board the ship we’ll run dental and optometry and basic health care clinics.

I haven’t been on an outreach like this in years now. Years.

To a YWAMer, that’s like slow death.

Ok, I’m being completely dramatic here. Nobody’s dying. (I’m not dying.)

But I am longing.

Longing to do what I joined this mission to do. Longing to be in the nations, helping people, helping people help themselves. Helping people to know God.

(To be fair, I’ve been doing all those things – in Australia. Just not “out there” in the developing world, which I love so dearly.)

Today we visited the Ship to look at hte rooms and decide where the best place for our little family to stay will be.

We chose a small room, where we’ll put a matress on the floor for Levi and Judah will share the bed with us. During the day, the bed folds up into the wall, leaving a small space for benches and a tiny floor area to play. (Most likely we won’t spend much non-sleeping time in there anyway.)

That little space created a lot of excitement in my heart.

Even though we’ve been planning this outreach for a long time now, today’s short visit to the Ship just made it all seem real.

This is happening.

Can’t wait.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you taken your family on an outreach before? Would you like to?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited