What do you do with a snowball in your face?

They were wild the other night. Spun up on sugar and a day full of being indoors, months of being indoors. These have been months of being only outside until you couldn’t stand the cold any longer, which is like five minutes or twenty, if you are my oldest son.

And then it was birthday night at church last night so of course cupcakes at 7pm are a perfect recipe for hyper little boys. I picked them up.  After the neon yellow and orange shoes flew across the lobby while one refused his sweatshirt and the other refused his gloves, we headed out into the zero degree night. Our boots crunched over the icy snow as we stepped out of the warm glow of the church building. Before I could catch my breath from the bite of the bitter cold they were both off, down the path into the inky dark night of the parking lot. My heart caught in my throat because they don’t know how dangerous the dark is. Every time it is like this…with boys who are primed and ready for adventure but a mama whose trying to protect her nestlings as they learn to fly.

The younger one, he is more likely to listen to mamma’s pleas, he slows, returns to walk with me down the path toward the car. The older adventurer, he is out of sight. My eyes scan the shadows urgently, needing to know where to look. Then, thank you, Lord, the tip of a red hat behind a huge snow bank bobs up for an instant.

“Make it a game. Relax. Have some fun.” I tell myself because I know I worry too much and I don’t want my boys to just tune me out because mamma always spoils the fun.

So the youngest and I loudly wonder where oh where has that big boy gone?

Then, just as we round the end of the snow bank, ready for a surprise and a laugh and a sigh of relief that I didn’t loose my every loving mind when he ran and hid, that boy of mine threw a snowball. Right. In. My. Face.

I was so surprised I could barely breath. And it was so cold. I wanted to explode but somehow, instead…

I laughed.

As my face stung and I caught my breath.

I laughed.

They asked me why I was laughing.

Because, dear sons, if I don’t I will dissolve into a puddle of mamma tears and fire right here in the dark parking lot.

I think laughing was probably the best thing I could have done just then.

And then we got into the car. I have to confess, I was still steaming but once I was able to calm down we could discuss why icy snowballs in someone’s face in the dark are dangerous and not a good idea.

These boys of mine – I love them wildly, of course, but it still amazes me how they can push my buttons. I’m working on remembering to laugh, when I want to scream, and to find a safe way to release my emotions. And then to talk through the issues with my boys. This is one of those places I’m being refined by the hot fires of motherhood.

Have you ever had a moment where you thought you might implode? What strategies do you use to diffuse in those situations?

The end of a year

The last two months of 2013 were a blur of activity book-ended by sickness and punctuated by tears. Sounds pretty awful, when I write it down, eh? But it was in fact all covered in grace. Still, I am weary and needing to regroup. It feels like I just sort of fell across the finish line of last year, limped into 2014 and am still trying to catch my breath.

I found this year that, as the calendar page turned to November, it grated hard on my soul. After the beautiful day of the Hot Chocolate 5K, I found myself sick with a bad chest cold that lingered too long. The weather turned cold, too. We celebrated a special seven-year-old and, thank God for whoever invented the Indoor Waterpark!

Through the end of November and into December, with the press of the holiday activities, I tried to close my eyes and not miss my baby girl so much – but I did. Then there was deep sorrow, that isn’t mine to share here, but made me weep for other mothers and fathers dear to my heart who now walk without their precious babes on this earth. So many tears. God must have a very big bottle to hold all the tears, I think.

Then came the time to remember, to celebrate God come to be with us, and to long for Jesus’ second coming. I found myself sick with fever and cough and aches so bad there was nothing to do but stay in bed. So my amazing husband made Christmas for us – cooking and cleaning and feeding us all – while I slept. All the way until New Years and a diagnosis of pneumonia. Oh, and in the midst of me being sick all three of them had the stomach bug – fun (um, not really). And a gerbil escaped…and was found while up in the middle of the night with a sick child – a silver lining? 🙂

And that grace? In-laws who welcomed us – sickness and all – for Christmas. My momma cleaning my kitchen. A sweet friend bringing soup and pie, a movie and yellow flowers on New Years Eve. Medicines and prayers and kind doctors.

Slowly I can breath again. Breathing slowly into this new year – resting and healing.

Five Minute Friday : Truth (for my 7 year old)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetSon,

Seven years ago today I heard your first cries and held you in my arms for the first time and stepped into this new adventure of motherhood. Today, you are big and strong and learning and growing so much. More than anything, I want you to know the truth about yourself, about my love for you, about the fact that you were created by a God who knew you and loved you before I even knew you existed.

My constant prayer for you, my strong seven year old, is that you will live by these truths, that you will speak love and truth to those around you, that your laughter and joy in life will keep pouring over into everyone you meet. Be a truth-seeker and a truth-speaker, son. Be brave and courageous, knowing that God is with you. And that I will always love you.

Love,

Momma

(linking up with here with Lisa Jo)

and laughter too…

I couldn’t resist also sharing these shots of a boy and his dad that I was able to capture last week at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. The pure joy and love that radiates from their faces makes me smile every time I look at them.

DSC05208 DSC05207 DSC05203 DSC05202 DSC05194 DSC05191And then these of me and my oldest boy, who is growing up so quickly. But even when you are a great big boy you can’t escape your momma’s lovin’.DSC05251 DSC05254 DSC05270 These boys, they make me laugh and cry, and yes sometimes (umm, often times) they bring me to my knees. But they and their daddy know how to make me laugh. Beauty and laughter…these are food for my soul, gifts straight from Heaven.

nourishment for the soul

After the long Chicago winter, which has seemed unwilling to release it’s grasp on our region these past weeks, as hard as Spring tries to come, we are finally seeing real warmth and growth outside. Last week we made a trip to the Chicago Botanic Gardens to drink in some of the beauty of colors and blooms and nourish our souls in nature.

DSC05099Who thought lettuce could be so beautiful!

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Someone was a little hungry. This container was overflowing with lettuce and green onions and flowers.DSC05125 DSC05132DSC05152 DSC05154 DSC05165 DSC05168 DSC05179

A somewhat unsuccessful attempt at a family portrait…someone was a little cranky by this point!DSC05162It started drizzling toward the end of our time, but the lighting was amazing and the colors just popped! Afternoons spent in the gardens help me breath just a bit deeper and my soul feels lighter. So thankful for these hours well spent!