Just Whatever.

Hey mom, are my socks still in your purse?

Yes.  Yes they are along with your “summer reading” book.  Maybe you would like to read some of that?

No? Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought.

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Yep.  That is page 2, 2 days before school starts.

Doesn’t every mom need an extra pair of their children’s athletic socks in their purse? I am also carrying 18 or so football discount cards that need sold/delivered, school supply lists, a bag of trail mix, coupons I never remember to use, and a fistful of receipts that you never know if you might need. But, not one writing utensil. My purse has become the equivalent of a new mother’s diaper bag except for teenagers. I have been a mom for almost 17 years.  Where does time go? We just seem to morph from one stage to the next and they keep coming faster and faster and it’s hard to keep your feet underneath you.

Today is our 12th first day of school and this morning the only back to school tears belong to me. Maybe it is because the dog has explosive diarrhea (sorry if this is oversharing) or maybe it’s because of this.

2016 back to school

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Hoods up because jeep hair doesn’t work for school.

This is the first year that I am not the one do the back to school driving.  I am so over this. And before the day has even begun I received a text about a forgotten book from one kid and another with a question about the proper homeroom from the other.  We are batting 1000 already.

Maybe it’s because I am masochistic (like my love for the movies Steel Magnolias and Beaches) but I have watched this video year after year (multiple times already this morning) and every time it makes my heart hurt a little more…I just need to feel all the feels today. And eat more double chocolate butter braid.  Yes, definitely more butter braid.

I want more first days, a lot more. I know they are mine for just a moment, but they are yours for eternity. Keep them safe God, and if you would, just fill in the gaps with the things I forgot to say because I was too busy or too distracted. That would be great. That would be really, really, great.

Wishing you all a wonderful day no matter where this back to school season finds you.

 

Brushfires

  I am a firefighter. This was not what I said I wanted to be when I grew up. But for the last 3 weeks I have been busy putting out pop-up brushfires that just will not die. And I was not wrong in not choosing this profession.

Living on the fly and adjusting plans at the last moment to accommodate my new firefighting profession has left my pantry empty and my brain an addled mess.

Indulge me while I paint you a picture. Last Friday night we did an amazing thing. The Low Country Boil hosted by Love Runners, Do Good Studio, and Captain Montague’s Bed and Breakfast was a rousing success for the children of Casa Bernabe. (In fact, we had to put a waiting list together for people who want to be first in line to buy tickets to our Black Tie for Black Shoes Christmas event the first weekend of December. More on all of this later.)  IMG_7177IMG_7133

BUT, the days leading up to this event began the outbreak of fires, Dehydration, Faulty Alarms, and Tomorrow’s Celebration. It didn’t stop there though. On the morning of our low country boil my daughter and I ended up in a ditch with only 3 of our 4 car wheels touching the ground. After getting the tents, tables, and decorations set up for dinner a thunderstorm blew through, taking everything (tents included) and throwing them around and drenching them. The day after the dinner we were back in the ER for more blood tests after another post-football health episode. Monday afternoon got lit up when we had to abort our school and grocery shopping because we learned of a moved volleyball practice 10 minutes before it was to start when we were over an hour away (and sitting in the stylists’ chair for a haircut.) The grocery trip that isn’t to be was again thwarted Tuesday by another doctors appointment. Today holds blood tests and tomorrow two more appointments (my funny skin kid, not to be outdone by her brother, has developed a funny skin thing prompting an additional specialist to add to the week’s list.) We’ve had two check engine lights, (one on a rental car!) a leaky tire, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Even now I am forced to type this on my phone because it continues to fail to load on my computer.

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As I was making an effort to tidy the piles I have on the counters I picked up a book my two-year old niece wanted me to read to her when she visited two weeks ago, Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. (I probably need to dig out some of the kids old books.) As I absently flipped through it my highlighted passages began jumping out at me and I gained a much needed reminder of how I need to be battling these blazes.

This is war. The fight of your life. A very real enemy has been strategizing and scheming against you, assaulting you, coming after your emotions, your mind, your man, your child, your future. But I say his reign of terror stops here. Stops now. He might keep coming, but he won’t have victory anymore. Because it all starts failing when we start praying.

Success, to him, means stirring up discord in your home, your church, your workplace, your neighborhood, and doing it in such a way that no one’s even aware he’s been in the building. He knows our natural, physical response is to start coming after each other instead of him – attacking, counterattacking, pointing fingers, assigning blame-while he sits out in the driveway monitoring the clamor inside, fiendishly rubbing his hands together, admiring just how adept he is…and what easy targets we are.

If all we’re doing is whacking at the nearest, most visible symptoms every time they pop their head up, we’re doing two things: (1) wasting precious time and energy that ought to be reserved and refocused on the real enemy, and (2) trying to fight ferocious spiritual forces by using weapons that don’t faze them in the least – weapons that aren’t even designed to hurt them.  So the hits just keep on coming.

He wants you to focus on the things that are physical and visible instead of where the action really is. The enemy who’s intent on disrupting the peace in your home doesn’t flinch when you try to force your own fixes upon it, but he does start worrying when a wife, a mother, a daughter, or a sister starts avoiding the noise at the periphery and starts making some noise of her own, right outside the door to the devil’s workshop.

Last Saturday when we came out of the emergency room there was a full double rainbow stretched over the parking lot.  It was a little reminder to me that we weren’t alone in this. God hasn’t forgotten us or the periphery brushfires that keep alighting.  It was also a reminder to me that while I am busy trying to put out the fires  I need to remember Him and not get lost in it all

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Tomorrow We Celebrate

Ok. Seriously. Enough is enough. I am crying Uncle. I am done. Exhausted. Disjointed as it may be here goes…

  
My plans for this week: Prepare for the Do Good Marketplace event that was supposed to be today.  

My reality: doctors appointments, multiple rounds/days of tests capped off by another trip to the hospital. The dehydration from last week had come back to bite us. 

First thing this morning, after staying up deep into the night getting everything ready for The Studio sale which was not to be we got a call from Ty’s doctor. He asked that we take Ty to the ER ASAP as the test results from yesterday were marginally worse with declining kidney function and off the chart protein numbers indicating muscle breakdown. He needed to be seen and soon! The doctor prepared us for the reality that he would probably be admitted. Long story short, by the grace of God Ty is home this afternoon without any restrictions. I can’t even tell you the swing of emotion that has taken place in the span of 12 hours. 

This has been a week of halting stops and starts, highs and lows.  (In the midst of all of this today I got notification that Love Runners 501(c)(3) was approved. We are officially an operating non-profit!)  I was attacked this week at one of my most vulnerable spots, my kids, and I am feeling the after effects of that strain this afternoon like a bad hangover. 

Yet there is so much to celebrate and be thankful for this evening. The celebrations will have to wait until I am a little more energetic though. (As will the cleaning of the extreme mess I made of our family room last night. It looks like the Do Good goods exploded all over it-which they kind of did.) 

I feel like every obstacle has taken a piece of me this week. And the trusting in waiting is so hard when you want answers and action. Watchman Lee nailed this for what it is. 

“Satan has, in fact, a plan against the saints of the Most High, which is to wear them out. What is meant by this phrase, “wear out?” It has in it the idea of reducing a little this minute, then reducing a little further the next minute. Reduce a little today, reduce a little tomorrow. Thus the wearing out is almost imperceptible; nevertheless, it is a reducing. The wearing down is scarcely an activity of which one is conscious, yet the end result is that there is nothing left. He will take away your prayer life little by little and cause you to trust God less and less and yourself more and more, a little at a time. He will make you feel somewhat cleverer than before. Step by step, you are misled to rely more on your own gift, and step by step, your heart is enticed away from The Lord. Now, were Satan to strike the children of a God with great force at one time, they would know exactly how to resist the enemy since they would immediately recognize his work. He uses the method of gradualism to wear down the people of God.”
Today I am going to allow myself the day off (maybe even take a nap, gasp!) and allow God to begin fortifying the areas that Satan has been wearing thin.  

Tomorrow we celebrate!

When The Alarm Does (or Doesn’t) Go Off

packyourbagsA door downstairs flew open, jarring me from my peaceful sleep. “Oh NO! What time is it?!” Fumbling for my phone to check the time I see that we had already overslept an hour. I was tumbling out of bed, down the stairs, asking “What do you need?” while gathering socks, Gatorade, and miscellaneous lunch items.  This poor grown child looked at me with terrified, sleep filled eyes and said “This has to be a nightmare!”

Football two-a-days.  This is a taboo phrase in our house.  Not to be spoken aloud, basically like a four-letter word times four (so you know it’s really, really bad!) If you have had any part in them ever, the memory will stay with you eternally. So, when the alarm didn’t go off at 4:55 for the first time or 5:05 for the second time, we slept until the 10th phone call woke my blissfully unaware son at 6:00.  Thus inducing the Fear Of Coach panic that flooded each of us.  He was out the door in record time and I collapsed into a chair after and remember these words from two years ago during the same season of life …

We had spent the day at the ballpark watching a double header and our friends’ son in his Major League pitching debut.  However, with all of the poster-making, jumbo-tron dancing, hot dog eating excitement of the afternoon it wasn’t until we were on our way home (at 10:30 pm) that I realized I still had two pair of football pants that needed to be washed (spray the Shout, scrub the stains, wash, rinse, repeat if necessary) and more importantly dry by the wee hours of the morning.  Fun has a price.  So, while I waited on the washing machine to do it’s thing, I thought, “You should pack Ty’s lunch.  You will thank yourself in the morning when all you have to do is roll out of bed, grab a coffee, and head out the door.”  I also searched out socks (why does this always seem to be the one missing item?) and had his football bag otherwise packed and ready to go because I knew neither of us would be functional this morning.  And I was right.  And I did thank myself.  On my drive back home from the football field as the coffee began to work and my brain began to wake up I had a thought. I remembered something I had heard a very long time ago and thought it was a great reminder for all of us.  I was as true then as it is now!

You have to live ready.

Tomorrow may be a good day or tomorrow may be a nightmare.  Will you be ready?  Is your faith something you are building and strengthening everyday?  Is your relationship with Jesus something you are nurturing?  Or, are these just things that get dusted off, possibly on Sunday, and otherwise left alone only to be unpacked In Case Of Emergency.  Are you waiting for “tomorrow” to explore this Jesus-thing a little bit deeper? If this is where you find yourself, please, wake up!

When the alarm goes off (hopefully when it is supposed to) at 5am after too few hours of sleep, is your bag packed?  Do you have clean matching socks and a lunch or are you scrambling to pull it together? We have to live ready because we don’t know when the crisis alarm is going to go off.  We don’t get a notification in the mail that says, next month you will be diagnosed with a life-altering disease, please plan accordingly.  We don’t receive a call that says, please make sure you have appropriate clothing you will be attending a funeral next week. (Maybe yours?  I am sorry.  That is harsh but it is also reality.)  Ready or not, here it comes, with no warning.

We have to live ready!  We need to use and strengthen our “faith muscles” every day because if we wait until crisis strikes they will be sluggish and sleepy when we need them most. We will have to dust our faith off and hope that we remember how to work it.  It is so very easy to let our faith and relationship with Jesus rest in hibernation, only to be awakened in crisis.

This is a slippery slope.  I know.  I have been there.  I grew up in a solid Christian home, was involved in church.  We were bringing our children up to love and fear the Lord.  I thought I got it.  Then God let me really have it! Oh, foolish proud heart.  I have realized that I had nothing without Him. I am nothing without Him.

The problem with crisis is that we don’t know when the alarm is going to go off.  When crisis strikes, your brain tends to go into default mode. So what is your default?  You want live ready?  Nurture your relationship with God.  If you don’t have one, start one!  If you don’t know how, ask me, I would love to help you figure this out.  Dig into His Word for nourishment, spend time in prayer, communicating with our Father.  Listen for His voice instead of just talking at Him. I don’t have all the answers.  There is not an Easy 5 Step Plan For Readiness but we can stumble and bumble through this together. There are some things you will never be ready for but with faith you can survive them with hope for a better day ahead.  The point is, don’t wait.

I can remember playing Parcheesi with my son and mom, 8 years ago at least.  In the spirit of competition there was a little smack-talk going on and my son looked at my mom and told her, “Pack your bags your going home!”  This my friends, is great advice, pack your bags.  Live ready.  You’ll thank yourself in the morning.

Dehydration – The Word of the Week

 Fraternities and sororities have a version of it, the Navy SEALS have their version, in our house Monday morning ushered in our own version of Hell Week.  Football and volleyball conditioning began, effectively ending summer and ushering in the fall sports seasons where our lives and schedules no longer belong to us.  Gatorade has been flowing like the Nile River this week and our too often evening trips for Tofts Ice Cream and a walk to the beach have been curbed. Bodies that have been on summer vacation were pushed to their limits.  The very first workout of the week ended up in a trip to the ER for a cocktail of IV fluids, a little something for nausea, and a blue popsicle for good measure. Since then the week has passed quietly, albeit painfully (and with too little ice cream.)  
As we all push through these last few moments of summer it is easy to feel the effects of soul dehydration.  Summer starts out lazily enough with a bucket list of fun to be had and a string of unplanned days stretching out ahead of us.  But, come August we’re exhausted because we have been so busy checking it off, packing it in, and “vacationing” which for us was camping this year, a week’s worth of fun spawned at least 2 weeks of clean-up and we still have a pile of stuff in the garage to be sorted through and put back into it’s designed place. The pace we have been trying to keep to make sure that we pack in as much fun as we can is taking it’s toll.  As moms we have been pouring ourselves out all summer in an effort to meet everyone’s needs and our responsibilities.  And now there’s the whole “back-to-school” thing with list after list staring us in the face demanding more of our time and finances.  

Max Lucado writes, “Dehydrated hearts send desperate messages. Snarling tempers. Waves of worry. Growling mastodons of guilt and fear. You think God wants you to live with these? Hopelessness. Sleeplessness. Loneliness. Resentment. Irritability. Insecurity.

These are warnings. Symptoms of a dryness deep within. Perhaps you’ve never seen them as such. You’ve thought they, like speed bumps, are a necessary part of the journey. Anxiety, you assume, runs in your genes like eye color. Some people have bad ankles; others, high cholesterol or receding hairlines. And you? You fret. And moodiness? Everyone has gloomy days, sad Saturdays. Aren’t such emotions inevitable? Absolutely. But unquenchable? No way.

View the pains of your heart, not as struggles to endure, but as an inner thirst to slake-proof that something within you is starting to shrivel. Treat your soul as you treat your thirst. Take a gulp. Imbibe moisture. Flood your heart with a good swallow of water.”

Here is where the meaning lies in “Run and Be Still.” Run (literally or metaphorically,) be busy if you must, be crazy, but find some time, even (especially) “in the midst” to quiet your mind in the chaos. You don’t have to cease moving to “be still.” Drink deep from the Living Water.

  
Invite God into the crazy, into the chaos, into the summer fun. This is where something beautiful begins to happen…not just God with us…us with God. Include Him, weave Him into the fabric of your everyday life. I have found that with God’s calming presence, the overbooked and overstretched doesn’t have to result in a “snap.” Life becomes a little more fluid. 

Sometimes in our family we do get wound a little too tight which means we get to practice forgiveness (both giving and receiving.) We can use our failures as teachable moments for grace and mercy and humility. This is where faith intersects with life, where God gets taken off His Sunday shelf, and invited into the present. God with us…us with God. Here you will find refreshment, renewal. He does for your soul what water does for your body. 

Summer’s finish line is in sight. In our house it’s going to be an all out sprint to the finish. We are not going to let summer go gently into that good night! But after the way this week began we will be sure to stay hydrated while we do it! 

Stay thirsty (and hydrated) my friends!

Crab Legs And Christmas Make Doing Good Simple

I’ve got some great things for you today…

First a special invite to spend an evening together and share a meal with myself and my family. We have joined forces with Captain Montague’s Bed and Breakfast  and Love Runners for a great meal and a great cause! Join us for a traditional low country boil (that means crab legs, boiled shrimp, redskin potatoes, and corn on the cob-YUM!) live music, and lots of fun. I would love to have some of the Run and Be Still family there to celebrate with! There are a limited number of tickets available.  Get the details or purchase tickets for $30 at the Do Good Studio.

low country boil

100% of the proceeds are being used to fill the needs of the children at Casa Bernabé orphanage in Guatemala. Casa Bernabé Ministries is changing the way vulnerable children are handled in Guatemala.  Most children have come from broken homes, and are victims of abandonment, neglect or abuse. Casa Bernabé has the ability to provide care for up to 150 children. We are hoping to supply each child with a backpack, school supplies, and a pair of school shoes. 

Learn more about Casa Bernabé, their mission,  our involvement, and how you can help at Love Runners.

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Secondly, I have been reading a phenomenal, and timely, new book, Doing Good Is Simple by Chris Marlow, founder of Help One Now.  My copy is all marked up and colored in; there are so many ideas, quote-ables, and amen moments throughout it!

Doing good book

Here’s the party line for the book…We all want to do good, but often, we can be overwhelmed by our busy schedules, family commitments, and the feeling that we might not be making much of an impact anyway.

In Doing Good Is Simple, Chris Marlow gently challenges us with grace and humor to realize that we are both called and equipped to make a difference in the world and reminds us that doing good can be simple!

Here’s my take…This isn’t about religion, it’s about being a disciple. It’s about how the Good News can look like clean water, a hot meal, or a warm blanket.  It’s about how we can live on mission right where we are.  It’s about how ordinary is becoming the new radical.   It’s about how Christians should be know for what we stand for, love, compassion, and justice, not what we stand against.  Hope matters.  People matter.  Simple doesn’t mean easy.  Simple means we remove distractions and focus on making an impact. It doesn’t have to be big.  It doesn’t have to be complicated. We just need to begin taking steps in compassion, filled with grace, offering dignity.  Loving our neighbor will always cost us something.  However, it will always give us something far better in return: a deep sense of worth.

As part of the launch team for the book  I have some special things to offer to my tribe.  The book launches August 2 and if you pre-order through the following link you will get treated to all of these goodies! No matter where you are in your journey, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book!  I say that, not because I have to, I wouldn’t recommend a book I didn’t like and no one has time in their busy schedules to read a bad book.  I recommend dedicating some time to this book because its message is a huge catalyst for change in a world that so needs it right now.

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“Doing good is simple, but it is also significant.”  Chris Marlow    Pre-Order your copy now.

christmas in july

Finally, we are just days away from Christmas in July, and I am feeling a little festive .  My gift to all of you is free shipping on everything over at The Do Good Studio.  Let’s spread a little July-Christmas cheer with some gifts we can feel good about! There are some great new items available.  Use the code RUNANDBESTILL and get free shipping on everything you order through 7/26/2016! Happy Holidays!!

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”  Please, if you are in the area, August 12, let’s get together, share life, enjoy a meal and do some good.

Together, with one small act, we can make a huge impact!

Hang on! I’m not ready yet!

be there

I feel like I have spent a good deal of my time as a mom counting…

I’ll time you…1,2,3…how long does it take to race around the house, put on shoes, or clean up toys.

58,59,60…Ready or not here I come. And in the meantime I have had to the count of 60 to do a few dishes, fold some growing clothing, or just sit for a blessed minute.

Timers have been set for multiplication tests, toy sharing, and discipline alike. The minutes have been counted for wake up calls and pick up times and curfews.

Paper chains have been made to count down to the last day of school, vacation, and 16th birthdays.

In the instant I became mom, my world was altered, immediately and eternally.  From the moment they placed each of my children in my arms our days have been wound together. And these wound-up, wound together days, that at one time seemed to stretch out to infinity before me, have suddenly, rapidly, began to shrink. When I think of that, there is a fluttering panic, deep inside, threatening and building. It’s like a storm that I can see approaching on the horizon, helpless to do anything about except batten down the hatches and prepare to ride it out.

And I know that this, the changing and the leaving, won’t kill me, it isn’t the end, really.  Parents have to let go but why does it have to hurt my heart like it does?  There is so much in parenting that you can’t know until you face it down.

Ann VosKamp’s words from a few days ago pierced my already hurting heart.

I want to go back. I didn’t know that would happen until I started letting you go.

I want to go back and pull that boy with that bowl hair cut up on my lap again. Feel your chub fingers help me turn one more page, reach for one more crayon, hold my hand one more moment, and you have no idea how much I don’t care if that makes me a fool.

I want to go back to your sleep breathing on my shoulder and the way I didn’t want to move, to your bows and arrows and slung-on tool belts and well-envisioned, yet  questionably-executed tree forts, to your buck teeth and big bravado and flipped up toilet lids and flipped out drive-me-mad attitude. I just want to go the whole ugly-beautiful way back and I want to get a do over.

Go back and shake up that 21 year old girl who brought you home and tell her that the best way to raise up a kid is to just loosen up. Nothing ever got raised up when held down tight.

You grew up — and I want to go back and I want to go with you, but I can’t do that either. That’s a hard thing to sit with.

You don’t get to keep. You get to witness.  If you don’t take it all as gift, you end up taking it all for granted.

So, I do the only thing I know how to do right now and that is soak up every moment we have together.  It took so long to get here, so many days spent looking forward and counting down, yet it’s passed in the blink of an eye. Our days are still wound together, just a little more loosely now. I am trying to free myself from the counting, from the pressures of the forward pressing of time,  to keep my eyes focused on today instead of what lies ahead.   I want my mind to stay inside my head for a little bit. I want my heart to dwell here, in the moments of my days.

mom maeThis growing up girl who is so strong and confidently knows who she is, blue hair tips and all. My sweet, funny, beautiful daughter who makes fun of my “old lady shorts,” yet I still seek out for “Does this look ok?” advice on clothing, hair, shoes.  She can just as quickly make me laugh or want to pull my hair out in teenage frustration.  I look at her and it seems just yesterday her brother was her age and she still playing with dolls.

zbb concertAnd this broad-shouldered man who used to be this skinny boy sang into the night with me last week, belting out our favorites with The Band. This big kid, who just wants a fishing pole in his hand,  is getting letters and calls from colleges already.  And while we still have time before any decisions have to be made about what he wants to be when he grows up,  the reality is here and the countdown is on. I know that as quickly as he changed our lives when he made us “a family” he will again change it when he leaves…

The clock that hangs on our kitchen wall is stuck. The second hand continues to pulse without moving forward at all, the hands frozen in time at 9:37. Oh how that I could do the same and just pause in the now!

No, no, I’m not ready for now to be over. Not even close. But the best way to prepare for what’s ahead is to be present to what is now. Eckhart Tolle said, “Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.”

No matter where you are in your journey, it’s some of the best advice I have been given in face of change…Stay where your feet are. Be present to the gift of now.

Closeup of feet row lying in line at summer beach

 

 

 

There Goes My Life…

let me love

Being a mom is one of my very favorite thing to be. It really isn’t a secret, if you know me, this is one of the things you must know. For all of my fellow moms, step-moms, grandmas, aunts, surrogates, and “like-a-moms”out there, Happy Belated Mother’s Day!  This one is for you…

About a month ago I watched my kids head out the driveway together with my son at the wheel of his “new to him” wheels and that snippet of a thought, there goes my life, flashed through my mind as did the mom mantra prayer of safety. “Please Lord keep them safe and bring them back home to me.” There goes my life…these two growing up versions of the babies that I have been pouring myself into for the last decade and a half just had just flown from the nest for their first time, completely solo, unaccompanied, unsupervised, un-“momed.”  There goes my life…a sappy country song from way back about kids growing up that made my eyes leaky on this particular afternoon.

We are deep in the trenches of “in-between.” This is that place where all of the hard work of little ones is paying off but now, with the finish line in sight, we’re in an all out sprint to be our best parent-selves, creating as many memories, and imparting as much wisdom as we can to these pieces of our heart before we turn them out to their own-ness in the world.

Every stage of mothering is difficult. These days are harder in a different way than from when they were teenies. The days themselves pass easier than the little days. In fact, part of the problem I think, is that they pass too fast and easy. There is still so much I want to say, to teach, and to hold onto and it’s like trying to keep sand from slipping through your fingers. Looking back at the sleepless nights, crying jags, and hard discipline, and then ahead to what I am sure will hold sleepless nights, crying jags, and hard discipline I realize what a cycle mothering is. It’s shushing, and hand holding, and doing the hard things “for their own good” that make your heart break. And praying and praying and praying, for their soul, their safety, and your own sanity.

I love (and deeply identify) what AnnVosKamp had to say about mothering.  I think we all need to hear it, not just with our ears but with our hearts.  It’s not just a message for Mother’s Day but for everyday.

“Because I ain’t no Hallmark mother – and none of us are, if we’re being really truth-telling here. If we’re honest – and what else is there really – there were burnt dinners and yelling mornings, and neck strained words over lost shoes and scattered Legos and unfinished homework and there were crumpled tears behind bathroom doors.

Not to mention the frozen pizzas and no clean underwear and the wild words no one would want the camera rolling for.

And the realization – that a mother’s labor and delivery never ends and you never stop having to remember to breathe.

What you really want is to be extraordinary, obviously good at this.  At this mothering thing.

You wanted to be the best at this. You wanted to be more.

You wanted to be more patient – you wanted to never lose it, to always have it together, to keep calm and that is all, always, and yeah, take their tantrums with a grain of salt instead of throwing one of your own that turned out to be a first class tsunami and a tad bit more dramatic than theirs.  You wanted more flashes of wisdom in the heat of the moment when you had no bloody idea what was the best thing to do, when you flung up an S.O.S prayer and you crawled into bed feeling like a heel who always gets it wrong when everyone else gets it right.

You’d about give your eye teeth and your left arm for more time.  More time to get it more  right and less wrong.

More time so that you could leave that one more thing that ended up not mattering a hill of beans in the long run, so you could take the time to lay there in the dark with them after prayers and talk about the deep things that only come in the exhale of the last light out, and rub their back till they fall asleep.

More time to not hurry them, badger them, nag them, or manage them like some to-do list that needs to get stroked off, done and tossed before tomorrow’s start s again – but just more time to slow down, smile into them, simply enjoy being.

What you really want, desperately, wildly, in spite of everything – is for them to remember the goodto remember enough of the times you whispered, “I Love You”to know how many times you broke your heart and how hard you really tried.

What every mother wants, her most unspoken need – is a truckload of Grace. Grace that buries her fears that her faith wasn’t enough, and that her faults were too many.”

So what do we do?

“Find each other and hold onto each other and offer the hug of the broken who know the relief that homemaking is about making a home, not perfection, that motherhood is a hallowed space because children aren’t commonplace, that anyone who fosters dreams and labor prayers is a mother to the child in us all.

We’ll be the holding on broken who know that it’s not that we won’t blow it but it’s what we’ll do with it afterwards, whose priorities aren’t things that get us noticed, but priorities are all Things Unseen, who keep praying to only speak words that make souls stronger and keep getting up when we fall down because this is always how things just fall together.

And there will be tears and there will be laughter – because what messes our life up most – is the expectation of what our life is supposed to look like – and there will be a mess of dishes in the sink and a pile of laundry and the clock will just keep on ticking and we’ll grab onto someone right in the kitchen and just hold on and let go.”

We can do this…maybe not as well as we’d like, but with the gift of Grace, the release of our expectation of what it is supposed to be and the holding on broken hug of a commiserator, we can do this mothering thing. It takes a village!

Drip. Sip. Do Good. (I am giving away free coffee in exchange for your brain power.)

  Please help!  The Do Good Studio and Good Coffee (actually it’s fabulous) have two different single origin coffees (I may have mentioned them 😉) that we are excited to introduce but before we do they need a snappy new name. (I was just going to go with their “scientific” names, Caranavi and Muungano, but decided to do something a little more fun and easy to pronounce.) The problem is my creativity is overdrawn right now, there just isn’t anything left to draw from. What’s in it for you? FREE COFFEE! All you have to do is hop on over to the Love Runners Facebook page, like us (please) and add your suggested name(s) in the comments on the We Need Your Help Post. If we choose your suggested name for one of the blends, a freshly roasted, newly named, bag of unbelievable goodness will be on it’s way to you. You have until Monday to submit your ideas. On your mark. Get set. GO!

If you want to stay up to date with everything that is happening with Do Good and Love Runners please join the Do Good community or like Love Runners on Facebook.   All of our product information (including a members only sneak peak at the product line-up) will be transitioning over there. 

Do something Good today!

A Good Brew

We slipped away for a few days, taking a much needed breather from house projects and Wally, (he is still around making his presence known every night -unfortunately), work, school, and real life in general.  We traded in the hustle and bustle for the life of a beach bum. This is a trade I will make any day of the week! But, it couldn’t last, and Monday rolled around and brought with it everything we had been working hard to forget – and SNOW! Seriously, insult to injury! There was one thing I was looking forward to getting home to though…my new favorite coffee.

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This was one box I couldn’t wait to open when it arrived a few weeks ago. It was full of coffee samples from all over the world and we’ve been drinking pot after pot of unbelievably wonderful coffee, all in the name of research, of course.

 After all of our sampling, our two favorites are single source origins from Bolivia and the Congo. You can see the super scientific rating system that we used on the sample bags.  These will soon be available for you to try at The Do Good Studio.

In our continuing effort to Do Good in both our support of Love Runners as well as our product offering  we are excited to announce our partnership with Higher Grounds to offer these exceptional coffees from around the world. Higher Grounds is building lasting partnerships with small-scale growers, working directly with them to ensure a top-quality product. Through those close relationships and ongoing community projects both in our local area and globally, we are able to provide coffee drinkers with an excellent product and the opportunity to engage in a cycle that begins at, and returns to, our partners in coffee-growing regions. Bottom line, your morning cup of coffee (or afternoon or evening or all of the above) really will make ripple effects and Do Good, locally and internationally.

Now, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the farmers who grow these fabulously, magical beans.

Bolivia

Like most coffee-producing countries, Bolivia has long been heavily impoverished. In order to successfully produce quality coffee and support their own economic and environmental sustainability, farmers need infrastructure and technology. Thankfully, the fair trade and organic coffee movement has provided support and opportunities to these farmers.

A vast majority of Bolivia’s coffee is grown in the rural Yungas areas, where organic Arabica varietals thrive on small plots that have been redistributed from larger landholdings back to farming families. The rugged terrain often presents a challenge, but the Bolivian farmers who grow our coffee are working hard to produce a very high quality product.

For my coffee geeks, the Bolivian Caranavi typically presents a clean cup with a rich body, notes of semi-sweet chocolate and cranberry, and a smooth, creamy finish. Along with notes of toasty hazelnut, the discerning palate will pick up hints of mango, lemon, and  honey in this dynamic brew.

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Our favorite, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is from the Muungano cooperative, located in Kalihi, South Kivu, on the shores of the expansive, volcanic Lake Kivu. “Muungano” means “togetherness” in Swahili, a perfect description of this emerging group of farmers who have joined together across communities after decades of conflict.

DR Congo is home to many of the economic slaves of the world, both historically and today. A country the size of Western Europe, it has a population of 70 million, an average life expectancy of just 51 years, and an average income of only $200.

Coffee represents a sliver of hope for the DR Congo, and we jumped at the opportunity to engage in a movement for peace through economic development not based on conflict or exploitation. Through coffee, it is hoped by many, local Congolese can begin to rebuild their communities.

For my coffee geeks, the DR Congo Muungano demonstrates a lively, balanced cup with nuances of Meyer lemon and sweet almond.

I am hoping you will love these brews too!  Meanwhile, in my hopped-up-on-caffeine state, the To Dos are getting done and we are growing closer to opening our virtual doors. If you haven’t yet checked out the new website, please do. Also, we are still looking for some local partners to “love on.” You can nominate your cause here.

Thanks for going on this journey with me!

Cease Striving…Be still…Know God (Ps 46:10) Sounds peaceful, right? Peace-filled is more accurate. "Still" has little to do with activity and everything to do with state of mind. Welcome to my crazy life!