Sunday, August 28, 2011

So soft

"She's so soft," he says as he gently strokes her cheek, and hair, and hands. "Why is she so soft? I'm not so soft. Annie is still soft and Mackenzie is a little soft, but I'm not very soft."

"She's still very new. Her skin is new and hasn't been changed or damaged by the sun or swimming pool or other stuff in the environment."

"I like how soft she is," he says, his six-year-old voice almost a whisper.

Me, too. I know that it won't last, this softness, this tenderness, this sensitivity to every sort of stimulation.

It is the nature of our world; the nature of life; the nature of experience.

Over time we lose our "softness". We lose our sensitivity. We become more rough, more hardened, and it changes us.

I silently pray again to be a little more like my view the world with simplicity, to hear and receive God's word without doubt, to love with abandon, to laugh uncontrollably, to dance any time and any place just for pure joy, to hug with all my might, and to forgive quickly without long-term recall of wrongs committed against me.

I want to regain, or maintain, some of the softness.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Surrounded by servants

We aren't financially wealthy enough to pay servants to tend to our every need. There's no personal chef in our home, no nanny to take care of the children, no cleaning lady that stops by leaving our house sparkling and smelling fresh. And yet, when a new baby arrives, I am blessed to have all his and more.

My mom comes before each baby is born and stays a while after to help with the kids and the regular duties of our household, like laundry, sweeping, dishes, and meals. My mother-in-law begins making miyeok guk the day I go to the hospital so I'll have what is thought to be one of the best foods for new moms just after the baby is born. Then there are the friends and neighbors who will be bringing dinner by every other evening for the next two weeks. This time around I've also been blessed with a friend that said, "Please just let me come over and clean sometime. I'm good at it and I really enjoy it, so let me come by and run a vaccuum cleaner, or dust, or something one day."

I am so fortunate to be surrounded by so many loving servants. I am humbled and accept their gifts with gratitude.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A full house

I remember when we first started looking for homes in the area where we live now. I remember looking at floor plans and thinking, "Even as our family grows, we won't need this much house." At the time, we were a couple with one child and one on the way.

Now we're days away from bringing home baby #4 and as I type, there will be 13 people sleeping under our roof tonight (most nights we average 8).

I honestly can't imagine it any other way. When we started building and Eric's parents were facing a recent and catastrophic injury we were able to finish the basement to accommodate them and I was grateful that they would be able to have daily interactions with our kids. When my dad was able to get a job on "our side of town" after being out of work for more than a year, then out of the state, I was glad that we could offer our guest room during the week and the kids would have a little more "Grandpa" time.

This weekend we have cousins from California stopping in on a cross-country drive (family of 5). Two weekends ago it was my sister, her 3 kids, and my mom. In early October it will be another cousin and her family visiting for a few weeks from the Netherlands.

Sure we rush frantically to try to clean up and de-clutter a little before the "not-so-regular" guests arrive.

Sure we have to adjust our normal routines and schedules a bit to keep everyone comfortable.

It can add stress, but it can also add excitement and enrichment to our days.

I do need time and space to be alone sometimes, but that doesn't mean I can't create time and space for others, too.

I'm grateful for the roof over my head.

I'm also grateful for all those who spend time under this roof with me.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"Do you have to brush teeth in heaven?"


Tonight at bedtime you cried uncontrollably...really, you sobbed so much I think you were close to hyperventilating (you said, "My tummy hurts and my head feels dizzy.").

When you calmed down enough to talk, I asked why you were so sad and you replied, "I don't want Halmoni and Halabeoji [Korean words for grandparents] to die." (between sobs)

"What made you think of that? Halmoni and Halabeoji are downstairs. You know that when your body stops working is when you die? Their bodies are working fine. Why did you think about when they die?"

"I was just in my bed and I thought about it and it made me SO sad. I would miss them SO MUCH." (still crying, and snubbing, trying to get it all under control)

"It is sad to think about people dying." (teary-eyed, trying to maintain composure) "I think it makes us so sad because we miss people when they're gone and it hurts us deep inside. Did you know that when God made the first people, Adam and Eve, that he didn't want them to die? The Bible says that God wrote eternity on our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3). Do you know what eternity means?"

Shakes head, "No."

"Eternity means forever. We were made for eternity, for forever, but we can't live forever in these bodies on earth. That's why God made a plan for us to get to heaven, and why our bodies will be different then (2 Corinthians 5)."

"Can people die then?"

"Now our bodies can get hurt or sick and we get hungry and when someone's body stops working on earth they die. But the Bible says that in heaven there won't be anymore death or crying or pain."

"Mommy, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure, buddy. You can ask me anything."

"Did you feel so sad when Memaw died?"

(Now I'm crying) "Yes, I did. Because I knew I would miss her a lot. I also felt glad though, because Memaw had been so sick--not like a cold or stomach ache--but sick with cancer. She had to take a lot of medicines and so her body got weaker and hurt a lot. When she died, I knew she went to heaven and got a new body and she wouldn't hurt anymore, so even though I felt really sad, I also felt glad."

"Do we get to eat in heaven?"

"I'm not sure if our new bodies will need food like we eat here."

"But in that song we sing about a 'big, big table, with lotsa, lotsa food'."

"You're right. Jesus talked about banquets and feasts in his stories."

"Do you think there will be bubble gum and ice cream at the banquets?"

"That would be yummy, wouldn't it?"

"Do you have to brush teeth in heaven? After you eat all that sugar?"

"I don't know. Maybe Daddy does, since he knows a lot about teeth. I don't remember reading anything about toothbrushes in the Bible, so maybe not."

(Giggling) "Mommy, I'm glad we talked about this stuff. Can we pray for Halmoni and Halabeoji now?"


Friday, August 5, 2011

I Love You More...

I love you more than a kitchen floor without crumbs.

I love you more than clean clothes folded and put away.

I love you more than straight pillows on the couch.

I love you more than a dry floor around the bathtub.

I love you more than dinner on the table at six.

I love you more than an uninterrupted phone conversation (or any conversation for that matter).

I love you more than getting somewhere on time.

I love you more than I can often describe and maybe more often than my actions show.

I pray that when you look back at our days together, you'll look back with grace. I pray that as you remember your childhood and me trying to keep our household running somewhat smoothly, you'll remember the love...not just the sweeping, cleaning, doing laundry, making appointments, rushing to avoid being late, kinds of things. I pray that you'll remember the way you make me laugh and smile and years from now when you think of the way my voice sounded, it won't be accompanied by a sigh of exasperation.