Blurry Eyed

This weekend was our bi-annual (does that mean twice a year?) Roomie Reunion. Jane flew in and met us Okies for some yummy food, shopping, baking, a barbell class, baby kissing, stinky diaper changing, chair Zumba, an oven on fire and lots of laughter.

Saturday morning I drove north on I35 to Shawnee to meet the girls at Al’s Zumba class. Her salsa-ing hips are off the charts and she’s helping loads of women get off the couch. Steven Curtis Chapman’s Beauty Will Rise cd (Thanks, Jill!) played while rain splashed across my windshield. If you don’t know Steven Curtis Chapman’s story, you need to research it. Wow; if that guy can sing, “You are faithful. When You give and when You take away; even then still Your name is faithful,” then so can I. So I did. I worshiped throughout the 45 minutes of my drive. I sang loudly with deep conviction that despite my confusion, God is good. I sang softly through blurry eyes as I cried for the losses of my friends and family; for their disappointments and heartbreaks. I cried for Finn. I don’t cry this way often, but it certainly feels good. I think it’s therapeutic because I’m crying to Someone. I’m sharing my heartache with my Savior, not the dashboard. I can’t imagine crying and feeling alone like no one hears or cares about my tears. I arrived at the Shawnee Municipal Building on 10th and Bell rejuvenated and ready to shake my tail-feather. It was not a pretty sight.

Tonight I’m thankful for Steven Curtis Chapman’s unshakeable faith, Finn’s laugh, fairytale pumpkins and my beautiful college roommates.

Here’s the delish (not good for you) pumpkin cookie recipe we made tonight if you’re interested:

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 c. flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp clove

3/4 c. butter, softened

1 c. brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 15oz. can pumpkin puree

The Frosting:

1 brick (8 oz) softened reduced-fat cream cheese (not fat free!)

1 tsp vanilla

1 c. confectioner’s sugar

(Or buy a tub of cream cheese frosting like we did.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let cool before frosting.

Advertisements

Tomorrow’s Freedom

We were blessed to celebrate Joey’s grandma’s 90th birthday in Tulsa this past weekend. Can you imagine having NINETY years behind you? Wow. That’s a lot of stories to tell. The best part was spending time with family–Nana and Papa A, Leah, Tyler and Ev from Boston, cousins and second cousins and even some family I had never met.

During the two hours we spent in the car there and back, we listened to All Sons and Daughter’s Dawn to Dusk. I can’t get these lyrics out of my head. They keep showing up throughout my day:

Tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender. We come before you; lay our burdens down.

Surrender. Burdens down.

Sometimes when we’re around family or friends, especially those with children, fear creeps in–burden. Joey’s parents have this beautiful cedar-plank-ceilinged back room that looks out to their wooded yard. This is where the most fun happens. We were lying around planning next Thanksgiving in Boston and got excited about taking the boys to museums, the library, the aquarium, etc. and instantly I became anxious. How will Finn get around in a city like Boston? How will he keep up? In passing, Joey’s parents mentioned a possible basement in their theoretical retirement home and I envisioned Finn struggling to get up and down the stairs with his cousins. He’ll be left out. My heart raced.

Surrender. Burdens down.

That’s where I’ll find freedom. When I “cast my cares on Him because He cares for me” (1 Peter 5:7). This was one of my favorite verses as a child. I visualized myself fishing with my dad and casting my worries so far out into the lake that a big fish would swallow them up and I couldn’t get them back.

God will swallow up these burdens if I surrender them. Daily surrender and daily freedom.

Sing

We find ourselves making up songs for just about anything these days. “Burp, burp, burp…burp, burp, burp…(to the tune of Jingle Bells).” “Rock-a-bye-baby in the treetops”–have you listened to those words? Really morbid. “Oh, Finn, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Finn!” Joey says his songs are originals, but I think they sound just as silly as mine.

Music calms Finn…and us. It can truly be healing.

Joey wrote a simple, sweet song for Finn when I was about 19 weeks pregnant, days after we found out about his Spina Bifida. I found him one night on the baby room floor softly strumming his guitar. We sang it to Finn (or to my belly) every night until he was born, and it’s a go-to when he’s fussy.

Simply goes like this:

Baby, know we love you.

Baby, know we care.

And if the sun doesn’t shine,

Tomorrow will be fine.

Just know that we love you.

I find God easily through song. I’m thankful for those classics that roll off your tongue when life is tough or joyous or somewhere in between. Also thankful for new Christian (and secular) artists who sing about truth in a way that I can connect with. What we’re listening to these days: All Sons and Daughters, Rend Collective Experiment, Karmin Covers’ “Hello,” Ben and Noel Kilgore, and throwbacks to John Mayer and Teitur.