Month: May 2016

The A-Venture Continues

Like many things, in some ways, it feels like a lifetime ago and in others, it feels as if it was just yesterday. This very weekend two years ago, I was putting the final touches on décor and furniture placement preparing to put my house on the market as the holiday weekend would come to a close.

In addition to preparing my house, I spent the previous weeks preparing the mind of my four year-old while I prepared my own heart, in the only and best ways I knew how.

“So, it’s like we’re going on a “A-venture,” the little said. “Like Dora does.”

She was strikingly accurate, and it only seemed appropriate to let her make her contribution, so the name stuck.

“Yep, honey, it’s our A-venture,” I replied, forcing a confident smile, without a clue where we were going, and yet, all the confidence that we would be okay.

If you’d like, you can read the story of how it all began when the For Sale sign was pounded into the yard here.

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Two years later, the A-venture continues for us, unfolding in unexpected, sacred, beautiful ways, just as it did when it first started. We are self-proclaimed Chicago locals now. And Dorothy wasn’t kidding when she said there is no place like home. Being back in the Midwest with all of the seasons, the snow, the summer thunderstorms and people who drink “pop” has done my heart so much good.

I’ve learned a TON in the last 24 months about myself, about my kiddo, and this game called Life.

It took me a few years and an equal amount of mistakes to learn that I can try to have all the control I want, but things can still fall apart. But even in the falling apart, God is there, has been there all along and sometimes what feels like life falling apart was actually life falling into place.

I’ve learned that my kid will survive if she isn’t bathed every day, eats the occasional popsicle for breakfast or doesn’t always go to bed on time (although I will fight for 8 o’clock lights out as often as I can, mainly because Mommy needs to not be Mommy for a few minutes everyday). But she thrives because of the love, care and investment of people who love her in all her five year-oldness and in so many ways that I can’t even begin to do.

I’ve learned that my five year old can pick out better outfits for her (and me) than I can, and that by the time we can share clothes, I’m going to finally have a sense of fashion.

We’ve been blessed beyond measure on our A-venture, the five year-old and I, by people, our Village, as I call them, who have chosen to love us not because they had to, not because of anything we did, but rather simply because they wanted to. There just aren’t words to explain the depth of gratitude and love we have for you, our friends, our “Framily,” near and far, who have been one part or another of the life we call our A-venture.

But if there is one thing that has stuck out to me the most over the past two years, it’s this overwhelming sense that my whole life hinges on and is being held in the mighty, holy, powerful grip of God’s amazing grace. The more I come to know myself and my humanness the more awe-struck I am at His unending, never giving up, there all along in all the moments I never even knew it, love.

I have a feeling I will spend my whole life trying to sort this one out and will still fall short of a full understanding. And so, with a grateful heart, I look back on all of it – the highs, lows, mistakes and mountaintops. And with a hopeful, expectant heart, I look forward offering praise and thanks to the One who continues to prove that He writes a more incredible, perfect, and awe-inspiring story than I ever could.

I still don’t need to know the plan, Lord. I’ll wait right here until You tell me the next step, and I trust that You’ll give me the courage to take it.

Photo credit: The incredibly talented, Carly Smaha.


Mother’s Day Merry Way

It was a grab a Pop Tart for the little, and oh by the way, did you brush your teeth, race out the door kinda morning.

“Mom, my tummy hurts,” Adellyn said, as soon as I picked her up from her class at church.

No, no, no. Today is MOTHER’S DAY. This is not the day of tummy and unknown ailment aches. It’s not the day of “I don’t like this” or “that’s too spicy.” Today is the day of sunshine and flowers and perfect children with perfect smiles. Today is M-O-T-H-E-R-S. D-A-Y. And we are going to be happy, happy, happy.

“Where does your tummy hurt?” I asked in my most un-sympathetic mom voice ever.

“All over.”

“Well, what does your tummy need to feel better?”

“I don’t know,” she replied.

“Well, I don’t know how your tummy feels, so you need to either decide what it needs or go over there and find your happy tummy. Today is MOTHER’S DAY,” I said in an exaggerated voice (when are the Mom of the Year applications due?), and I need you to smile for a picture. Do you think you can do that?”

“Yeah,” she said, looking up at me with unsure eyes.

She managed to bring her best smile to a couple pictures and was mostly distracted picking flowers before we headed to the grocery store for a quick errand before our afternoon stop: planting flowers with Miss Dawn.

“Mom, it reeeeeeaally hurts,” she said again as we were walking into the market. “I think I have to go….poop.”

“There’s the answer! A quick trip to the bathroom, and we’ll be on our merry way,” I thought.

A few minutes later, we took a left out of the bathroom in front of the checkout lanes, headed for the produce section. Merry Way, take 2.

All of a sudden, Adellyn pulled her hand out of mine.

“Mommmmmmm, I feel like I’m going to….”

And right there, in the middle of the grocery store, her pink Pop Tart breakfast came back up not once, not twice, but three times, all over the aisle and all over her for all of the shoppers to see.

There are a lot of things you get used to as a mom. Boogers, spit up, getting peed on, scooping the occasional turd out of the tub. It’s par for the course really, but Adellyn has thrown up- thrown up twice in her life. Today was the second time, and my queezy stomach didn’t love it one bit.

In a flurry, multiple people handed me hand wipes, a wad of paper towels, a garbage bag, and a plastic container for the over-priced roses available for those who stop in for a quick Mother’s Day gift on their way to brunch with mom.

With my hands full, I walked out the door, calling friends to say that plans have changed while wiping Adellyn’s hands and face, and putting the eh-hem…soiled…clothes in a bag.

Normally, I would have called “stomach bug,” and waited for it to pass, but 12 days post-op from tonsil and adenoid surgery isn’t quite in the clear for something to be possibly wrong. After a phone call with the surgeon who said an ER visit wasn’t necessary unless she gets worse, we regrouped and headed back towards Miss Dawn’s. Merry Way, take 3.

I don’t miss many things about being a homeowner, and while I wouldn’t want a yard of my own to keep up with right now, the old woman in me loves getting dirt under my fingernails and spending a springtime afternoon in the garden. So, after some yard work for me, a little rest plus a few wheel barrow rides for A, and a cruise in the Wrangler with the top down for both of us, we had Mother’s Day-ed, praise the Lord!


However, by the time we got home, the little girl could hardly keep her eyes open and was sound asleep on the couch before I finished unloading the car. An hour later, she woke up with a temp of 101.6, quickened breathing and goosebumps all over her body. My momma heart wasn’t going to be able to sleep until I knew there was no infection and she was okay.

Mother’s Day is for things like brunches and walks and feeding the ducks. For bouquets and cards and chocolate. It’s for planting flowers and putting your feet up. It’s not for Emergency Room visits.

“Her throat is healing nicely. You’re dealing with a virus,” the doctor said, and an hour later, we were headed home. Merry Way, take 4.

Yes, the past five months of surgery and strep and sleepless nights and antibiotics and doctor visits have been exhausting. Yep, I feel like I’m losing what marbles I have left from time to time. Yes, I cried on the way to hospital because I’m really ready to be off this ride on the sick-train.

But in the grand scheme, these inconveniences are reminders that I am not, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be so I can stop trying right now, in control. These are the lows that make the highs so much sweeter, and some days, like today, the days are filled with both. These are the moments that make me realize just how much I love this little five year-old and what a holy, sacred, sometimes overwhelming feat Motherhood can be and how eternally grateful I am for a village of rock-stars who I get to call my people. It’s all a part of the Merry Way.

At bedtime tonight, I scooped the feeling much better after a dose of Tylenol and a bath little girl up off the couch and carried her down the hall, like I’ve done thousands of times over the past five years.

“This is how I carried you when you were just a little, teeny tiny baby,” I said, stopping at the entrance to her room. “And I would hold you and rock you and say, shhh shhh shhh, shh shh shhh until you would fall asleep.”

“Mom?” she replied, looking up at me. “Can you put me in my bed now?”