Thursday, October 22, 2015

US to Europe with a Babe

I've been meaning to write about our travels with Maisey, but somehow with the life, work, and, well, travel!, it's been seriously delayed.  But I just went through Dan's iPhone photos and found some real gems.  So, here are my best tips on traveling with a one year old from the U.S. to Europe. 

In May, soon after Masiey's first birthday, we went to Europe for ten days for a work trip for me, and a little family adventure. 
   My first tip is to travel with as much support personnel as you can!  We had both Dan and I and our good friend, Susy.  Amen. 
And let that baby wiggle and move  whenever it's available.  And when it's not, use whatever is on hand.  (Pro tip: try to resemble the bedtime routine as much as possible on the overnight flight. Footie PJs for the win!). 
Tip number two/three: be prepared to be up and feed that cute little baby at all hours.  Example: blueberries at 5am in Brussels. 
And don't forget your sense of humor. 

Next. The stroller will be your best friend. For eating, napping, and living. 
Also!  Enjoy all things local.  

And finally, make sure each has their designated beverage at all times. 

But seriously!  We had a great time!  Thankful for meaningful work, the best life partner, and family adventures! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Miracles Are Messy

From dispensationalists to the deists to those being slain, healed, and delivered regularly, “miracles” are as controversial as politics in a room of more than three people. 

But talk about birthing a baby and the chatter and philosophizing and proselytizing dies down.  There is little debate as to the miracle of life: prolife, prochoice, homebirth or a quick train to anesthesia…99% of humans agree: new life is a miracle.  (And the other 1%  had a lobotomy).

You and I both love a good pastor’s story of staring into the face their newborn for the first time.  (We all assumed that the pastor was a man, am I right?  Go with it for now.) And all of Hollywood that feeds that clean image.   BUT, AND, ALSO, just minutes before and steps away, there are two beautiful, bloodied bodies that have just been through an experience that is way messier than is often described.  I will spare you my now-experienced details; sufficed to say, friends!, miracles are messy.

You don’t have to troll mommy blogs for long to get the goods on the mess that it is and the “war” stories emerge.  (And oh the debate between it being beautiful or traumatic or archetypal or unique).  Regardless, please tell me that we can all agree that giving birth is not a tidy experience.  Its messy, messy, messy.  And the metaphor concludes: miracles are messy.  Or at least come out of a mess, most of the time.  We don't have to listen to our stories too long, or read the Bible that in depth, to get this simple truth.

Because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." Mark 5:28

Friday, February 20, 2015

Blessing From That Side of It

Have you ever heard the word “blessing” more than when you are having and/or have had a baby?  I’m telling you, no.  (But I am open to a challenge).    So, lets mix it up.

I am “blessed” regularly in a certain way that I am just finding words for. A space and place that is often overlooked, and certainly not honored in a public or systematic way.  Friends without babies staying close. And even more, friends longing for babies but are still committed to staying close.  Close enough that I get to hear that side of it and be called back to the Beatitude blessing that we humans resist with all our might.

And close enough that I get to see these friends hold Maisey with joy. 
I remember the work, the holy and hard work, on that side of it.

I spent many powerful moments on that side of it.  That side of wanting a child, of holding a child, of losing a child.  Strangely, on this side of it, I miss something of that side.  And it is not the sad addiction to darkness that can often creep in after many years of trouble. 

Especially now, on this side of it, I see my friends on that side of it know something intimately I do not.  At a minimum they know how precious it is to hold this little life in my arms and heart.  And at its deepest ends they know what it is to long, desire, and to not be ashamed of it.  And so I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes on this side of it, I forget the many years and moments on that side of it. 

They bless by not living in spite of the want, but more fully because of the want.  Is it possible, to live more fully because of an honored, unmet desire?  But you, brave beauties, keep me honest.  And whole. You keep me centered and mentor me in the ways of longing and meaning.  You testify to me of the goodness that is in my life and the answer to prayer that Maisey is.  You keep me hoping, dreaming, and believing for more of God and less of that.  Even when that is so very good.  (And adorable, in fact). 

Which, quite honestly, is quite a bit more valuable than mom-to-mom’s about which diapers to buy.   

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

PS:  Not all my friends that don’t have kids want kids.  Lets go ahead and state the obvious that that is not just okay – that that is a blessing too.