Gardening

I ask God to pull out the roots of anxiety in my mind and body.

When I close my eyes,
I envision God
taking the deep-seated roots,
transforming the pain, fear and grief
– into love –
and planting a garden.

A garden
of vibrant color,
warm sunshine,
easy, deep breaths and
nourishing beauty.

A garden,
ever-green
and eternal.

Two for One

It seems
that

deeply 
and compassionately
falling in love
with myself
– every layer –
feels a lot like
finding
God.
Or is it the
other
way around?

In Quarantine

Ryan sweeps the side yard every evening before dinner.
We watch Shrek for the first time.
We watch Shrek 10 more times.
Coura asks to get tozy (cozy). 
The girls make mud soup for lunch.
Ryan and I fight about him telling me too much of the news.
Ryan and I fight about spending all this time together and not feeling connected.
We make up quicker than usual.
I am obsessed with trees; touching them, learning about them, talking to them. 
Coura learns how to scooter.
Sammie goes on walks.
I bake homemade sourdough bread, feeling mad at first about having to try something new, and then reinvigorated in my love for baking.
We watch Tiger King.
I have dreams that the Tiger King is after me.
The bed of Freddy (the F150) is the girls’ favorite place to be.
I am a laundry machine.

Ryan inquires about my 3pm pajama wearing.
When I say “I trust you” to God and myself, I can feel it to be true deep in my body.
I go in the mud pit, too.
I feel oddly at peace with a slower lifestyle. 
Ryan comes home from the grocery store and I ask him if they had eggs and milk in stock.
Small rocks are painted like hamburgers and sandals at our neighbor’s house.
I dance to classic rock bbq on pandora most mornings (and sometimes end up punching the bed and crying into a pillow by the end).
We watch church in our pajamas on the couch with a candle lit.  
We watch a movie every afternoon.
Ryan is a master chef in the kitchen, with a dish towel over his shoulder and reggae music playing.
We misplace our minds and find them buried outside in the dirt with Coura’s 25 missing pacifiers.
Maisley sneaks Easter candy into nap time. Ryan is proud of her.
We look at our kids in absolute awe and also wonder how long we will send them to grandparent summer camp.
We meet my mom and sisters for “truck dinners” and I spray hand sanitizer at them like pepper spray.
Maisley and Coura are always naked and over-use the nature potty.
I feel more anxious about it being over than being in it.
I do therapy in my car over the phone.
I dream about buying a house on Orcas Island surrounded by thousands of giant trees.
I purposely slow down or speed up my walk to “run into” neighbors.
Maisley says, “It’s all about the germs and the worms”.
I wonder about what we’ll take with us when it’s all over.

My Heart

Maiz: “Mommy, how do you take your heart out?”

Me: “You don’t bug, it’s something that stays right there in your body.”

Maiz: “But how do you take it out?”

Me: “You don’t sweetheart. It’s inside you and it’s what keeps you going.”

Maiz: “But how do you take your heart out and give it to Jesus? How do all the kids take their hearts out and give them to Jesus?”

Me (dying inside, but playing it cool): “Oh Maiz, that’s so sweet. You give your heart to Jesus by praying and loving him, it’s more of a feeling than something you physically do.”

Maiz: “So do you go in through your stomach and take it out that way?”

Thoughts from Inside

Right after my dad died I wanted the world to stop. For everything to be put on hold and for everyone to feel what I was feeling. Breaking News on every channel of the TV: My dad died.

1.5 years later, the world seems to be slowing to a halt. That fictitious thought I had now coming dangerously close to reality with the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are all in this collective experience together (though greatly varying degrees), sharing similar emotions of sadness, fear, anxiety and pain.

And while we’ve never seen this pandemic before, these feelings we are experiencing are ones we have lived over and over. With experience we know that fear, anxiety and pain are companions of love, kindness and gratitude.

Nasdaq is plummeting, but compassion is skyrocketing with daily reminders that steady mental health, weekly grocery store runs, physical and emotional comfort, and quality medical care are absolute luxuries.

Parents are always talking about the rapid speed at which our kids grow and the clocks tick. We are living in a rare blip of history where time is all we’ve got on our hands right now (and excessive amounts of craft particles).

We raced a leaf boat down the gutter in the rain yesterday. Maiz introduced me to “Cousin David”, the plant on our side yard. And a bird flew into the house just as the girls went to bed.

Surely someone’s flying over the cuckoo’s nest around here.

It’s March 18, 2020, another day and a new opportunity to practice living with uncertainty of the future, finding safety in ourselves despite a lack of control, letting anxiety move through us, and revealing that seed of calm within amidst the storm.

(Please seek God for more information on how).

The world is turned upside down, but we’ve seen her underbelly before and we know we will get to the other side.

First Impressions

When I first saw her she was all stick and bones.
Her thin trunk, merely the keeper of weathered branches.
Had she just lost everything or was she just about to bloom?
I couldn’t see her whole story, I just knew she had one.
She didn’t seem worried, confident it was just a season; fruitful days ahead.
Unattached to what she had lost or what was to come.
Rooted in abundance.
When I first saw her I longed for greenery to cover her naked limbs.
Then a bright yellow finch stopped by to relax on her narrow branch.
Stubbornly alive and whole she was.
And always is.
Nothing is wasted in the resting place.

For the Books

Twas’ the night before Christmas eve and I was sitting in my room sorting and getting ready to wrap each of the girls’ presents I had thoughtfully collected over the last month. As Ryan, Maisley and Coura rushed into the house with dinner, I threw a blanket over the gifts and went to join them. 

After dinner, Ryan and I got to talking about car trouble or something interesting, when we noticed that a silence had fallen over the house. I ran into my room to find Maisley playing with her tea set from Santa Claus, Coura with her Christmas jammies in hand and every present overturned. 

All Christmas season I had been hearing about how it’s not about the gifts. The priest left us with, “I hope your Christmas is REAL this year”. The Grinch lays it out pretty clear – it ain’t about the gifts people. I know this, I preach this, I believe this!

So in good Christmas spirit, I scream-cried my brains out on the floor for the next 30 minutes. Christmas is ruined, my irrational small-mind kept repeating. 

I’m learning so much right now – in therapy, in my writing, in my own personal experience of grief and motherhood and life. There have been so many shifts in my head and my heart, but only smaller, less noticeable ones in my actions.

I’m hoping my insides match my outsides more in 2020. I’m also giving myself a break because it seems healing happens in moments, that it’s not linear and not all at once. 

In the reruns of our early days, this Christmas will simply be: the one where they accidentally saw all of their presents. And more appropriately: the one where we shared our first Christmas morning together at home. 

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