Monday, May 21, 2018

Mother's Day

This is a weekend I’m struggling with, and maybe you are too. I had a hard initiation into the club of losing a mom a year and a half ago…and my second Mother’s Day without her is shaping up a little rough feeling.
But here’s the thing. She was my mother by blood (and she was truly amazing), but so many other women have mothered and mentored me through the years. I can hardly stand the thought of turning my focus inward to loss and instead choose to look at the beautiful souls God has placed in my life. Women who continue to speak truth into my marriage and my parenting, who come alongside and encourage and love the woman I am and see the woman God wants me to become. These are His good gifts to me during a time when I want to refuse to acknowledge His choices for my life…when I question His love and goodness to me.
Our arms may be empty and our hearts may ache to have what we thought we should have this Mother’s Day, but those are not our only choices regarding motherhood. We always have older and younger women around us…we are mothered by the elder and we mother those younger than us…it’s the Titus 2 model. And amidst our own griefs and sorrows, it is the sweetest thing to know that God has not left us alone. In His goodness, He provides.
What if empty arms and aching hearts are what He chooses to draw us closer to Himself? To seek Him and know Him deeply? Isn’t that our purpose in this Christian journey…to know Him and the power of His resurrection?
I know you hurt. I hurt too. But give honor to whom honor is due. Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Joy is always intermingled with sorrow, we must learn to embrace the idea that our life paths are not the same…and that there is no politically correctness that will make it all ok or fill the lonely gaps, only Love wins, Christ’s love.
To those who mothered me growing up, and those who mother me in adult life, to those I have mothered, to the women in middle life with me, to my sisters who each carry a part of my mom …and to Mom… Happy Mother’s Day. I love you and am so thankful for your influence in my life. Let us lean into our good God who is our portion. He is enough. 💗

The Comeback

I keep saying I'll start blogging again when people ask me if I write often...but I haven't returned to this site. It's been over 6 years since my last post and as I've read over my past posts, I can't help but notice that although I am the same person, I'm also a different person. And that's ok...we should be growing & changing as we progress through life...but there has been so much life that has happened. 

This is the year of my comeback. Age 40. Through the first year of deep grief that almost overcame my faith. Re-entering life as a wife, mom, friend, daughter, disciple. Re-engaging and better understanding my purpose, my identity, and God's ways over my own.

Instead of trying to catch up and fill in the years of blank spaces, I'm just going to start in with my latest thoughts I wrote on Mother's Day weekend. This blog is more of a journal for me, a way to record life quickly and "say" things aloud that I want to remember.

If you're still here with me, Hi. Here I go.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Part of Me

I started this post early last week...and could not work my way through my thoughts to complete it. The laundry will not get folded and put away today...again. My birthday thank you's will continue to sit unwritten on my desk. But I am finishing this post today. I'm ready.


My grandma went Home last week.

It was an emotionally-full, physically-tiring week that felt accelerated by my girls getting sick, and getting off to the funeral one day in order that I could be home the next. Seventeen hours of driving, a funeral, grieving family, and sickness waiting at home packed into 38 hours...I'm just spent.

Seventeen hours of driving on my own provided me with much time of prayer. But oddly enough, I did not reflect much on what the passing of this amazing lady would mean for me. And so today, with most of the sickness behind me, and much rest caught up on, the reflection begins...and it comes in waves. Thinking about how her life wove into mine, the intangible things I inherited from her, how her passing affected so many people who loved her...and how I hope I am like her one day.

Grandma was funny, feisty, opinionated...very opinionated, young, beautiful, and godly. She is a reason I am who I am today. As a young wife, she heard a sermon on the radio and gave her life to Christ. And a year later my Grandpa came to Christ. They raised a family of 8 as best they knew how. My dad went into the ministry in part because of her, and raised his own family of 4. I am not in ministry per se, but I love my Jesus and am passing on that love to my little family of 2.

She was short, like me. She sang alto, like me. She loved pretty things, flashy belts and fun shoes. ;o) Me too. She always knew where she stood on a matter, and sometimes to a fault would argue her position...I could stand to be a bit more courageous in some areas, and back down in some others. Grandma was never old to me, not even when I "grew up". She just always looked the same...until just a few short years ago. And when she smiled, her whole face would smile...her eyes, her mouth, each beautiful wrinkle in her skin. Her laugh was contagious. I can still hear it. Her sense of humor was not what one would expect from their grandma, she came out with some of the driest, funniest things. She was a pool shark, and lobbied for Senior Citizens rights at her state capital. She drove her car like a racer around those curvy rural Missouri roads. She was an independent lady, but fell in love again years after my Grandpa had passed...

The last time I talked to her on the phone, she was full of life and joy, and was wishing to see me & her new great-granddaughters. We never got down there...and I'll always be sad about that. I was rummaging through some photo albums and came across a picture from our wedding. I teared up right away. I looked at it and thought: That's my Grandma. She was so happy that day. Happy for me. Celebrating with me. There for me. What else could one ask for? She loved me...even if I didn't get down to see her often, even if she wasn't able to meet my family. She loved me and was there when she could be.

If you know me well at all, you know that music is a language that speaks deeply to me. I get lost in the longing chords of a double bass, and reflective in the expressive tones of a voice. I have listened to "For Always" by Josh Groban about 100x since Grandma left this's two phrases that get me every time...
"I close my eyes, and there in the shadows I see your light..."
"For always and ever, you'll be a part of me..."
She will always be a part of what makes me me. I'll close my eyes and see that face...and I'll forever be thankful for the amazing woman that God chose to put in my life.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Curvy Girl Goes Skinny

No...I did not lose weight, I did not achieve the "thin as a rail" status. People do not say, "Wow, I can't believe you have had 2 kids, you look amazing!" They say, "You look so nice." The word 'skinny' does not grace the space next to my name. Actually, the word 'skinny' has never been put next to my name. I digress...

Actually, what I DID do is discover a skinny jean that works on a curvy girl. Four years ago I had lived through two years of Iowa winter and knew I needed something more in my winter gear. Enter riding boots. And warm legs. And stylish functionality. Thank you...I can now survive. But, I had no jeans that I could wear inside my boots, so I just wore them outside. I have tried on ENDLESS numbers of skinny jeans only to be disgusted time and time again. I mean, first off, I'm short - Strike 1. Secondly, I have hips larger than my waist - Strike 2 (which you think would be common knowledge about women's bodies - eh?). And lastly, I don't like to wear jeans that hug my every crevice! - Strike 3. And that's why I've never owned skinny jeans. And I was sad to have to wear my pants over my boots...but I was warm.

Then I read this. And I went to AE (where I never shop). And I tried them on. And I am in love with the Skinny Kick as well as the Skinny. And I found them on sale on Cyber Monday with free shipping. And the world rejoiced as the angels sang. Or...maybe I was listening to Christmas music while I ordered. Anyway...they are as close of a perfect fit as I've ever worn.

If you happen to be a curvy girl, make sure these get put on your Christmas list. Your boots will thank you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Growing Up

It's almost comical to me how much my eldest wants to grow up. Today for instance, she is carrying around an old cell phone that was discarded when Rohn got his Treo years ago. She snatched that thing right up when I found it yesterday after digging through a box I haven't touched since we moved 7 years ago (yes, I am THAT kind of "out of sight, out of mind" person). And she's talking on the phone to someone very important, and is checking her calendar often. Totally cracking me up. Last year, she went the whole year comparing everything to "when I'm 33...", because of course, I was 33 and it was very cool to be 33.

Makes me think about when I was "little", and when I was in college but still living at home. Oh the things I was going to do when I grew up, when I left home:

  • I was NEVER going to take naps!
  • I would eat dessert as a meal, and drink out of the milk carton.
  • Play my music as loudly as I wished...and sing along at the top of my lungs.
  • Sleep in, sleep in, sleep in as long as I wanted.
  • Stay out past curfew...I mean, who imposes a 10pm curfew on their daughter??
  • I was going to leave the house without telling anyone where I was going, who I'd be with, and when I'd be getting back.
  • I would wear JEANS at any random time I chose to any locale I thought I just might want to wear them. AHA! (I know, this does not sound crazy to anyone else, but you'd have to have my same growing up background to understand, I suppose)
So now I am grown up. I mean, I'm thirty-something, live in a separate town from my parents (separate state!), have a mortgage, 2 kids, and I'm in charge of a ministry at church. I think all those things together might say I've reached grown-up-dom. Here's what I've checked off my list of being a grown up:
  • I LOVE naps, oh my goodness I wish I could get one everyday. And now I'm on the fighting end to make the Littles lay down and rest each day. What??
  • I eat dessert as a meal, chocolate as a meal, and coffee as a meal. And at one time I did drink straight out of the milk carton...b/c I could...but not anymore.
  • When driving the Swagger Wagon, everyone wants to talk to Mama, so the music has to be at a reasonable level. When at home managing the everything all day, music stays at a reasonable level. But, when I'm out on my own, I end up calling someone so I can speak to them uninterrupted...and you know what? I don't so much blare the music at all. That's sad.
  • Sleep in? What is that? Ever since these little alarm clocks entered my house, sleeping in has been a dream of the past...or the future...but definitely not the present. HA! That would be a present!
  • Curfew...I love to be home at, 9pm. Because then the babysitter has done all the work of getting the girls in bed, and then I just get to sit around in my pj's and watch whatever DVR I want to catch up on, and it's quiet. New rule at the Gibsons...try never to pay a sitter when the kids are sleeping. Good one, right?
  • Not telling anyone where I'm going...yea, not so much. When I leave I practically have to leave notes all over, make sure the sitter has my number, assure the girls I'll be right back to kiss them or cuddle them before bed, tell them where we're going and how important it is to be alone with Daddy, give a run down to the sitter, give a time we'll be getting home, check in while we're gone. So much for anonymity.
  • Jeans. Yes...I get to do this one daily. I have my stay-at-home-play-with-the-girls jeans, my date jeans, my going-to-town jeans (you know, the big city! Sioux Falls!), my work jeans. I love them. I live in them. I do believe I could use a few more pair. But to be honest, I love and adore dressing up. High heels. Lacy or opaque tights. Skirts & dresses that flounce above my knee. I now wear jeans everyday and I miss what it feels like to get prettied up. I wear dresses to church even though no one "expects" me to do it. I just love dressing up. I know, I'm weird. Love me anyway ;o)
All of that to bring me back to what I was trying to point out. We spend 1/2 our lives waiting to do our own thing, and then we get to our thirties and discover that we don't ever really get to do our own thing. We had it so easy when we were young...we just never knew it! I so want to instill in my girls a desire to just enjoy life where you're at. The next chapter will come barreling upon you when you least expect it, and then you'll never be able to go back. That chapter will be closed...but a new unwritten one will be in front of you. 

I think I should take my own advice. The jeans were definitely worth the wait though.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Holding On

Because some days it's all I feel I can do. And lately, I feel it more than ever...which isn't how it should be at all. I should be holding on with all I have all the time. Circumstances can never determine who I view God to be. But, these are the times that I see just how fleeting everything else in life is. There IS nothing to do, but hold on to the only Truth that never changes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Do I Love Thee...

My friend, Janet, is such an encouragement on so many levels. One of those levels happens to be the topic of homeschooling. She wrote a book of devotionals, "The Daily Focus" (highly recommend!), that I've grown to love. In one of her stories, she told how she wrote a list of reasons she decided to homeschool, taken after the poem How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barret Browning. Whenever Janet had a rough day of school with her kids, she would reference her "I Love Homeschooling" list to help refocus her on the big picture.

I liked the idea. I liked it for a lot of reasons...the main one being that one of my goals is to live intentionally. Referring to a list like that - and continually adding to it - would remind me to be intentional with my days.

Many of you do not homeschool, that's totally cool ;o) But, I thought I'd share the list that I started this year and maybe you'll start a list of your own for whatever thing proves to be your challenge.

Homeschooling, I Love Thee, Here are the Ways:

1. Freedom to be where we want to be physically & still be in school
2. No dragging kids out of bed at 6am (ie: early) to meet a preset time schedule
3. A daily schedule that can be adjusted as needed to dive into a subject more in depth, or adjust around appointments or ministry opportunities
4. Interaction with a variety of ages on a daily learning to adjust to the needs of others and help them or be helped
5. I get to see what the teacher sees...all the dots connecting, the lighted eyes of my girls when it suddenly all makes sense
6. They grow up so fast. I will never regret spending this "extra" time with them and sacrificing to be the one who teaches them
7. We're leaving a legacy...and we only get this one lifetime to pass on what we feel is needful for them. This is a part of that legacy, infusing Christ and HIS love into every single part of their daily lives, because life without Christ is no life at all.

So what's your challenge? At the end of the day, why do you do what you do? Start the list...