Monday, June 25, 2012

Time

Clocks slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.                    - William Faulkner *

In about an hour we are headed to the beach.  Last night, Anna Cate said "if I go to bed earlier, the morning will come faster. If I stay awake, it will never come." I said because time flies when you are asleep. I love the expression a few mothers have told me about life with children....the days are long but the weeks/months/years fly by. So very true.

Twice in the past several weeks I have read about the concept of kairos. Here is wikipedia's description:

Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The ancient Greeks had two words for time, chronos and kairos. While the former refers to chronological or sequential time, the latter signifies a time in between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens. What the special something is depends on who is using the word. While chronos isquantitative, kairos has a qualitative nature.[1]

I think it is fair to say I'm quite lousy at chronos, a horrible time manager. I get frustrated, overwhelmed, don't know where to start, how to plan to use it. For more examples, you can get a list from my husband or my brother.  Anyway you get the idea I'm not good at chronos. But since I've read lately about this concept of Kairos... First, here in this fantastic review of time with kids by a beautiful and fabulous person and blogger who is starting a love revolution, Glennon Melton. Momastery was introduced to me by my fabulous friend, Norah, who is a brilliant time manager amongst being great at a gillion other things. Then, last last week in my desire to spend more time being, I picked up the book  Walking on Water and this author talks about this idea of God's time. And as I reflect on the start to our summer, I want to focus on the moments of Kairos, of special opportunities, of Real Time. God's Time.

Anna Cate eating a home-made rasperry popsicle she made herself. I think about how proud I am for learning about real food, the fact that she knows where these rasberries came from she put into that blender.

Molly going swimming and I see in the sunlight just how beautiful her face is. I forget for a split second all the "I do it myself" which contributes to my frustrations with Chronos.


This past week I did something with the kids every day and it is so overwhelming to an ADD person to get two kids and all their stuff out of the house. Sometimes as we are leaving for swim practice, Rosie gets out and I am so angry I want to cry. This is chronos, right.  The minutia of the details of life. I stink at that, but I'm starting to think it all works out because what I'll remember is the kairos. I hope it is what they remember, too.

Anna Cate's best friend spent the day and night with us.

(this is not my garden but a friend's...she is living a life of kairos...NO TV in her home)

I love how Leana (and Anna Cate) include Molly.

We went to the park for picnic....A glorious summer tradition in Fredericksburg. On Tuesdays, there is live music and a gaggle of Mamas and kids and babies and a farmer's market.  Norah and I reflected on how we remember bringing our babies, Leana and Anna Cate, six springs ago.  A lot of schlepping, hustle, fussing (and maybe even a couple yells) to get out the door, but special times abound while we are there.


This little girl in the picture with Anna Cate, Mallie, was a baby when Anna Cate started going to Miss Diana's, so she is a piece of my children's childhood and I just adore her.  Every day, she ran to give me a hug when I got there to pick up the girls. She starts kindergarten in the Fall. We love you, Mallie!

On Wednesday, Mum Mum invited us over for a "shaving cream party."



She had 5 cans of shaving cream, three little girls, a card table and a baby pool on a tarp and a lot of fun. 

Marian, age 79, mother of four and grandmother to 8 children, used to be a first grade teacher and I looked at her, and said, "I bet your classroom was so messy."  And by messy I meant fun. 



On Wednesday, Anna Cate swam in the first swim meet of the season.  She got a ribbon on Thursday for her "personal record"  and she cut off 27 seconds from her 25 meter freestyle.  She likes the other kids and the concessions as much as the swimming and race part. On Thursday we went to our friends' home to swim and play. I almost considered cancelling because to be honest, I was a little sick of schlepping and packing...the cumbersome details of chronos.


But I'm so glad I didn't!!!



Anna Cate ended up staying for the afternoon and when Laurie brought her home,  the kids shared a popsicle and my dear friend and I shared an afternoon cocktail.

Laurie and I have shared many good and hard times together.  So thankful to be finding moments of love, fun and peace in each of them...kairos.
So now we have arrived at the beach...It took us most of Friday and all day Saturday to get things ready, unpacked, kitchen stocked, beds made.  So many details but so much good living to be had this week for my little family and our Nana.



From Walking on Water, by Madeleine L’Engle:Kairos. Real time. God’s time.




That time which breaks through chronos with a shock of joy, that time we do not recognize while we are experiencing it, but only afterwards, because kairos has nothing to do with chronological time. In kairos we are completely unselfconscious, and yet paradoxically far more real than we can ever be when we’re constantly checking our watches for chronological time.


The saint in contemplation, lost to self in the mind of God is in kairos. The artist at work is in kairos. The child at play, totally thrown outside herself in the game, be it building a sand castle or making a daisy chain, is in kairos. In kairos we become what we are called to be as human beings, co-creators with God, touching on the wonder of creation.


This calling should not be limited to artists, or saints, but it is a fearful calling. It is both Mana and taboo. It can destroy as well as bring into being.


In Our Town, after Emily has died in childbirth, Thornton Wilder has her ask the Stage Manager if she can return home to relive just one day. Reluctantly he allows her to do so. And she is torn by the beauty of the ordinary, and by our lack of awareness of it. She cries out to her mother, “Mama, just look at me one minute as though you really saw me… it goes so fast we don’t have time to look at one another.”
And she goes back to the graveyard and the quiet company of the others lying there, and she asks the Stage Manager “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?” And he sighs and says, “No. The saints and poets, maybe. They do some.”

 I would like to think that this scattered-brain, overwhelmed, poor time manager of a Mother has moments of realizing life while I'm living it too.  Well, sometimes I am in the company of saints and poets in those brief moments of being called into being, while I...we.... experience kairos.







*About ten years ago, I tried to read a Faulkner book "As I lay dying." I may have gotten through two chapters. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I didn't get it and it made me sad because I felt like as a good Southerner with a love of literature, I should be able to say I've read some Faulkner novels.  Maybe now, I would understand his work because this quote resonates with me, but don't think I have the time to read it.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

BEING...A Mom

During the school year this family, our household, our schedule,  runs a bit like a well-oiled machine.  As the voice of Mater would say we "get er done"....the laundry, the grocery shopping, the housework, the baths, the bedtime stories, making lunches, working out, church activities, doctor's visits.  Yes, there are many fabulous moments of stillness in the wake....but there is always the rumble of the running machine, the fact that we are on this ride.

My whole life I've struggled with guilt. Among other things, I feel guilty for not being productive enough, but I think I'm turning the corner on that. Maybe it was because I had such a bad school year, where I missed moments with Molly, detested teaching like never before or maybe I'm just growing up and figuring it out, BUT I've decided my days need to be filled with being this summer.  This week has been a fabulous start to being with my girls, with being a Mom.

On a similar note, I decided to get off Facebook for the week for several reasons.  Not surprisingly, I wasted too much time on it, but mostly because I realized I was interacting with people based on the fact that they too visited this website. I was not in control of whom I was talking to, facebook was.  And in getting off, I've noticed a huge uptake in getting more things done...or in spending more time being.  I do wonder how the heck anyone will know to read my blog so I might come back just on the weekend, but I have to find peace in the fact that I write to write, not to be read.  Separate myself from the results, enjoy the process. So I hope to send more emails, more texts or more calls to people with whom I want to interact.  I'm disconnecting from this snippets of reality and shallow connections to relate more fully with these genuine relationships, which include relating to my children, to my home, my husband and my self.

Both girls have had coughs so I took them both to the doctor, the first time we've done a double check-up.

Unfortunately, they both had strep throat, and Molly had bronchitis and an ear infection.  So instead of days at the pool, we've filled our time differently.

On Tuesday, I set up a spa in our bathroom for Anna Cate.

It was so fun, and so easy.  Some fresh blueberries and grapes to snack on, along with cucumbers (from our garden) to put on her  eyes mixed a Pandora station entitled "spa music" set the tone.


She giggled and was so happy. She said, "you are the best, Mommy.  I think you are as good a Mommy as Norah."  Which is a HUGE compliment because AC not-so-secretly wishes Norah were her Mommy, and I don't blame her. Norah is great at everything, including being a Mom.

After her mani and pedi, I let her give me a massage while I had the cucumbers on my face.  Then, by the time Molly woke up I was cooking dinner and Anna Cate painted her hands and toes.  All the red looked like a crime scene! Anna Cate was so upset to not have done it perfect but I reminded her....THIS IS THE FIRST time you've ever done this.  You did great.

On Wednesday, we hosted our friend Erin for lunch. Anna Cate found a recipe/picture in the newspaper of a fruit salad and prepared it while I prepeared a salad. She also set the table all by herself, including putting on the table cloth, finding a vase and cutting a flower arrangement.


In addition to being our friend, Erin is the children's minister at our church....and she has a baby in her belly button according to Molly Mae.

We LOVE you, Miss Erin!!!!

So one of the reasons this school year was hard for me personally is I felt like I was missing out on Molly.  I have always felt so connected to Anna Cate.  I stayed home with her for the first 2 and a half years of her life and by the time she went to Miss Diana's, she was so verbal that I heard all about her day. Last year as I dropped my baby off, I knew I would get snippets of her day through Anna Cate's tales and I knew that Molly would have a piece of me with Anna Cate there.  But lately I've felt like Molly is a bit like a novelty to me. She is so independent and I feel like there is so much about her I don't know.  With all that said, Molly and I had a really special week together.  She was very clingy and wanted to snuggle with me every night as she pleaded to "sweep with you." When I would bring her to my bed to snuggle, she would lay on me and cover me with kisses and say, "I love you" no less than 20 times before she finally drifted to sleep.  It is as if she has indicated to me that she has missed me, too.

Her need to cuddle with me has given me a great excuse to get extra sleep, going to bed early and enjoying afternoon naps. I'm really getting better at the let-go on productivity. Anna Cate and I have enjoyed naps together as well.

 I love my sleeping beauties so much. Not only are they not messing anything up, but they are just so precious. They are fun when they move too.  I took the girls to Mommy-and-me Pitaiyo.


I've worked out, slept and played.  A new appreciation of productivity, a comfortable place being with myself and my children.


You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

36.....


36 things I know for sure...what I've learned or what I'm celebrating on my 36th birthday. In no particular order, I'm thinking about being 36.


1. I've been immeasurably blessed with family. I have wonderful parents, a wise and loving brother. I have a loving and capable husband with whom I share precious and charming children.


2. We are spiritual beings. I believe in this quote with my whole soul...

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”


3. The physical experience is pretty important too, though. I believe in the value of healthy eating and active movement. 

4. I love my friends and I always seem to have perfect friends for the stage of life I'm experiencing.

5. I didn't want to be a working mom, but it is ok. My girls are happy and I thank God for Diana Woolls, our day-care provider, every day because she loves my kids and teaches them things I probably wouldn't have been able to had I stayed at home.

6. The sound of the coffee maker makes getting up just a little easier. Speaking of that, taking the covers off my body is almost always the hardest part of my day. Pretty easy life, right? Why do I complain?

7. Reading The Four Agreements changed my perspective on life, and I should reread it yearly:

1. Don't take anyting personal.
2. Be impeccable with your word.
3. Don't make assumptions
4. Always do your best


8. I love the Farmer's Market...there is a joy there in celebrating the harvest of people's hard work.  I'm sure there is a deep metaphor in the spirit of humanity we find when we are there to buy locally.
9. I LOVE crossfit.  Lifting heavy things, moving intensely and taking nutrition seriously fuels my mind, my soul and my body. 
10. My Dad sent me an email today saying this is the "busy time" of my life. I can't imaging doing this with any one other than BJ. We are a fabulous team.  

11. While I don't embrace very much of Christian theology, I love my church and believe raising my kids in church is really important, even though sometimes (often), it is a very big hassle.

12.  I love words.

13. I have wasted entirely too much time feeling insecure about my body. I really don't want to pass this along to my girls.

14. I will never be as wonderful as my Mother, but hopefully she will be around for a very long time, so my girls will get to experience the kind of pure goodness her spirit oozes.

15. I'm selfish, but I feel self-righteous about the fact that I can admit it.  Really, I'm a schmuck.  I care about my own sleep, my own schedule and get unreasonably upset when my house is messy. How can I live with myself when there is so much suffering in the world?!

16. I really can't stand being in relationships with competitive people. 

17. Running is a part of who I am. I hope I never get too old to pound the pavement and breathe deeply. 

18. My brother gives the best advice.

19.  Meeting Patch Adams changed my life. I wish I could have coffee with him once a year to redirect my desires for social justice and humanitarian principles.

20.  I was born to be a teacher, to be with kids.  I wish I was better at it.

21. I love a good story.

22. I knew I would love my children, but I enjoy how much I like them.  
23. I'm grateful I grew up in a small town.  

24. I believe in the Holy Spirit with every fiber of my being.  I'm not so sure about a personal relationship with Jesus or if prayers work, but I know that the Divine is in each of us and wants us to be connected to each other and to His (or Her) Spirit.

25. I would really not like to know if someone has something bad to say about me. You know how people say, "say something to my face." I feel exactly the opposite, "say it behind my back." I don't want my feelings to be hurt. I make the exception if it is something someone can say with love and kindness and bring to my attention something I need to see about myself.

26.  The saying "You Only Live Once" is scary to me. I hope I'm doing it right. 
27. I'm a horrible judge of character. I like just about everyone, but I'm happy that way. I would rather be disapointed a few times than miss out on all the goodness I find in people.

28. No church or school can replace the power of a strong family and good dinner conversations.  

29. I wish I was a morning person.  

30. I don't want my children to grow up but I look forward to knowing the people they will become.

31. It is an obscene waste of energy to compare ourselves with each other.   

32.  I wish that BJ's mother was still living but in her absence, I'm amazed at how much her friends have become our family. I hope I would do that for my friends.

33.  Life is to be lived and celebrated.
"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Luke 12:27

34. I hope my brother and I outlive my parents and that my children outlive me. I can not imagine the pain of losing a child.
35. I miss my grandmother.  I not only loved her, I really liked her. I think Anna Cate & Molly inherited a bit of her charm.
36. I hope by the time I'm 37 I can say I live the 4 agreements more fully, that I have more let-go with less guilt and more examples of ways I've shared the bounty of love I've been given. In the meantime, I celebrate all that I've learned and loved.

“When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 

When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument. 

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.” 
 Mary Oliver

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Quality AND Quantity

A little choppy blog to break my slump.  It is the end of the school year which is emotionally and physically exhausting. BJ and I are doing a challenge through our gym, RARE crossfit, where we eat like cave men. I love eating this way but it requires time to prepare.  I'm lazy, I'm tired, I'm a procrastinator...bottom line is that I've neglected my blog so I need to crank one out.

Summer break is so near...hours away really.  I so enjoy pretending a bit for a few weeks out of the year I am a woman of leisure. I'm big time excited about the little things we will do (or not do) this summer.  Soon I'll have time to write, to relax, to cuddle, to play, to cook, to nap.

I will shift my gears and slip a bit more into a mode as human being rather than the "human doing" I spend too much time as during the school year. I wish I would have made more time to blog lately because writing, pictures and music creates precious reflections that feed my soul. Yet even when I'm not writing or processing, I live a little better because of this space.  I notice pictures like this one we took at a little zoo at the historic Maymont park in Richmond, and let my mind create metaphors for life that are both silly and wise to me.

I watched this owl turn its head all the way around and reflected on the metaphor for that...changing our perspective when I snapped this picture.

Another analogy in the form of a snapshot presented itself.  It is that sometimes I just can't help but notice the obstacles, what's in my way...like the fence you see here.  I can't help but focus on a struggling school year, not enough time with my children, my need for a lot of sleep, my scattered-brain tendencies. Yet other times the barrier is hardly noticeable and I can zoom right in on that at whom I should be looking. The barrier is basically insignificant in the picture I took with the same camera from the same position.

The obstacles are always there, but our focus can change and bam...I am staring right at what is looking back at me. Even in the presence of the obstacles, that object of my attention is looking back at me.

I just went off the deep end a bit with metaphors...welcome to my brain. I love making larger sense out of the mundane.  I love the saying "we are spiritual beings on a human journey." There is more to life.

I told you this was going to be choppy so here goes some tales of our spring....
We went down to Maymont on the Saturday before Mother's Day.

We went to early to Richmond for lunch in the city before we toured the public park.

Molly likes to do crossfit where she can.... toes to bar or pullups on a railing, box jumps on a side walk.

It was a beautiful day and precious family time.

I celebrated Mother's Day with lavish attention and the most best part of being a mother...being around them.

I enjoyed thinking about my own mother and we skyped with her as she opened up what the girls made for her.

Voila...


Here are the way crafty things work in our household.  I get an idea off the internet of from a friend. This idea came from Miss Diana, daycare provider extrodinaire.  I buy the supplies, drink an energy drink, and get completely OVERWHELMED. BJ comes in and saves the day. A few months later I forget that he saved me and/or the project and think he is being a complete jerk for even caring what I'm going to do in this project. I mean, it's not like I'm going to involve him. Why does he even care?!?
See those fabric covered letters in AC's room. His handiwork:


We are such a good team. I get the ideas...he does the work.  Like tonight, I wanted to write a blog but I also wanted to make paleo zucchini bread...well the bread is in the oven. He's a keeper.


As Spring has turned into summer, Anna Cate has prepared herself for summer swim team with a spring program and we've been so happy how her technique and stamina has improved.  She likes her coaches.

Molly enjoyed the ice cream cake at the end-of-season banquet.


On the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend, we met Nana Sharon in downtown Fredericksburg to witness the honoring of the Veterans buried on the grounds of the Fredericksburg Civil War battlefield, which include the Civil War and subsequent wars.  Over 15000 luminaries lit by the boy scouts were stunning. I told Anna Cate about war, about heroes.  I sort of wish I didn't have to tell her about things like that.

But I'm a realist, a History teacher and a Patriot so I think my kids need to know about these things.


To kick off summer, we are starting a new tradition of skipping Sunday morning services to enjoy hanging out together, but we are attending Sunday night contemporary services. A new routine. More quality time together. Quantity and Quality.

This picutre above shows their personalities so well.

As summer dawns, I look forward to a lot more of times like these.

Hanging Out.

Reading.

Tarrying.

I'm going to focus on my nest and those in it.

"He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate." ~ Henry David Thoreau