Sunday, September 28, 2014

thoughts on a sunday

Image here

In the same way that I didn't want anyone to know I was an American when I first moved to Germany (where "F*CK THE U$A" was regularly spray painted on the side of Tuebingen's German-American Institute), I'm not particularly forward with my faith. But in the back of my head I keep hearing one of my former Sunday school students singing, "Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified!" Today I decided to listen.

. . .

Andy and I both believe in the idea of "many paths, one mountain." At our prep class before Caleb's Baptism, we were asked to write a letter to our son explaining why baptizing him was important to us. We wrote that we believe Catholicism is our family's path, and that in sharing this faith journey we hope to provide him with a strong foundation and an entry point into the conversation surrounding life's bigger questions. It isn't the only answer or way; but it's ours.

Since Caleb's birth, I've found myself thinking about and processing the church in a different, deeper way. The profound sense of fulfillment and joy I've found in being a mother cannot be overstated, nor is it ultimately reduced in the tougher moments or occasional monotony of the day-to-day. A few weeks ago, I was overcome with the sense that the love I have for my son is the closest I'll ever come to understanding God's love for us. In my journal I wrote: 

I love my son to the depths of my soul and every corner of the universe. More than that, actually. In this way, Caleb is a tangible representation of God's love--brought about through the love Andy and I have for each other. I'm finally beginning to understand the "sacred covenant" of marriage. Though I think there are other ways God's love takes form on earth, this was perhaps how I needed to experience it to start a journey closer to God and involve Him in my life.

A week or so later, I was on the phone with my mom, telling her how hard I was finding it to expose the light and love I was finding for fear of judgement. I didn't want to present myself as suddenly holding "The God Box," complete with biblical owner's manual and all the answers you could want or need. I didn't want anyone to misconstrue what I was finding true in my own life as a blanket statement on what would be The Truth for every life.

And she came up with the best metaphor (she's good at that). She told me to think of a diamond. Each facet is capable of reflecting light, but they're still different facets. They also don't encompass all the light (or exist as the light!). In allowing myself to reflect the light I've found, I'm not stealing anyone else's access or telling them it's the only available facet. And sometimes, I may find myself in the shadows, as we all do.

I'm still "living the questions," still "listening for bells and looking for light." The answers often unfold gradually, almost imperceptibly, and they may look different over time. And that's OK. In Christ I am finding both roots and wings. So, one step, one inch, one millimeter at a time: Onward.

Image found on Pinterest, via

Thursday, September 11, 2014

less lonely

“Awake, my dear. Be kind to your sleeping heart. Take it out into the vast fields of Light, and let it breathe.” Hafiz

. . .

People warn that the life of a stay-at-home-mama can get pretty lonely. They say it can be hard to spend your days without adult contact. This is probably true for many people. But as it turns out, I am actually finding myself less lonely these days. I love being home, thinking my thoughts, finding a balance between following the baby's lead and doing my thing. This doesn't mean I don't need regular breaks, or that I don't get overwhelmed, or that the work is easy. Not even close. It's just that there's no pressure to pretend-smile any more, no dreaded small talk to make: I don't have to fake extraversion to make other people happy. I've stopped putting on the masks I'd started to confuse for my face. 

The truth? I feel like I was made to be a mother, and to be home. Accepting that as the call on my feminist, millennial heart hasn't been easy. More than once in the past few months I've been asked if I'm "just" a mom. But setting aside my fears about what the greater public thinks in favor of actually listening has proven beyond worth it. Turns out, I no longer care so much what anyone else has to say, because this is working for us. I'm learning to surrender, and in the process, finding such deep-seated joy that now there's no turning back.

Photo credit: Joshua Swanner Photography, April 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

coffee, stat

It is a GIANT cup of coffee kind of morning. Actually, make that two. One for me, and then another one for me. I really need to stop going to bed at midnight. 

PS - No Cabeys were harmed in the creation of this post; the mug is (oh-thank-Jesus) empty.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

perfect work day

After four days away, Andy took Caleb for the day last Saturday. While they were off running errands, visiting the grandparents, and watching football, I was camped out in my little office space working on a big stationary order going out this week. It was heaven! Coffee, beautiful weather, and solitude. It felt great to be completely immersed in a project without having to worry about the imminent end of nap time. This is my first full wedding suite for a "stranger" (OK, actually a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend, but we'd never met before she contacted me to do her paper goods), and I'm really pleased with how everything turned out. The last photo shows a peek of the lovebirds logo I custom-designed at the bride's request. Excited for her to finally see everything in person in a few days. Hopefully she loves the results even more than I do!