ImageDetritus: detritus (pronounced dee-try-tus) is non-living particulate organic material (as opposed to dissolved organic material). It typically includes the bodies or fragments of dead organisms as well as fecal material. Detritus is typically colonized by communities of microorganisms which act to decompose (orremineralize) the material. In terrestrial ecosystems, it is encountered as leaf litter and other organic matter intermixed with soil, which is referred to as humus

Somedays, I feel like everything is falling apart around me. From the hem of my favorite jeans, to my relationships and house. Not in a cataclysmic  Typhoon kind of way—just in a late fall – decay laden kind of way.

My stress level rises and swirls like leaves in a November wind. My whole family is struggling to manage school, work, their own stresses, relationships, along with the ever present potential of my husband’s cancer. Somedays it’s really rough. I cry. I struggle. I fear. I pray. I think. I blow up. My kid’s stress comes out in tummy aches and separation anxiety. I worry if my husband is drinking enough water. I worry whether his cough is really a cancerous explosion yet to be confirmed. I worry how this is all affecting my college kids. I worry about the future. I pray for friends going through their own types of detritus. I think about the tragedy in the Phillipines. Somedays it just feels like everything is turning to crap or being hit with crap. (Sorry- that’s the nicest way I can describe it, at the moment.)

Not all the time. But- some times. Not usually for whole days…. but moments. Because: I’m human, I care about my family and we are facing changes and challenges that are beyond our control with outcomes known only to God. Whom I both trust- and fear. Trust because I know he has our best in his plan. And fear- because- as a parent I am painfully aware that our best may not be exactly what we want. It may not even be close

Yesterday, I took a few minutes to go outside and take a walk. (Actually- I probably went for a trespass. I have n idea to whom the land near my kid’s school I walked on belonged to. Oopsy.) I thought I was leaving the detritus behind me. I had my iPod and was listening to some of my favorite worship music…. (Third Day, Mandisa and a side of Plumb, than you very much.) Instead of leaving the detritus behinds me— as I walked through that little plot of woods- I found detritus EVERYWHERE. It was under my feet and was literally falling on my head as I walked.

As I walked (Stumbled, tripped and wandered around- actually.)  I whined (prayed) and worshipped (sang horribly and loudly but also whole heartedly) I noticed something. I noticed beautiful ivy growing among the rotten leaves. I noticed a beautiful crust of white snow over fallen leaves. I noticed the beautiful contrast of un-cluttered tree branches against a china-blue sky.

and then I noticed a decaying mattress topped with leaves and other detritus of fall.

And I became thankful. Not for the disgusting mattress- but because I realized the symbolism.  It hasn’t all been crap. It’s not all falling apart…….

Like the mattress- there have been beautiful places of rest among detritus.

Every day, no matter how bad- has held moments (however brief) of beauty: A meal shared. A hug. A friend’s text. A quiet moment. Reading scripture and finding new refreshment in it’s truth. Opportunities to give and share with others when I feel like a leaf pile after the neighborhood kids have finished with jumping in it. (I don’t know about your neighborhood, but leaf clean up seldom is competed after a good leaf pile jump-attack here. Here the leaves are just smashed and tossed to oblivion. We call it: mulch. we’re green like that.)  Somedays- mulch is all I have to offer others…. but it’s enough. Like truth telling, and knitting for a friend, or caring enough to check on someone…. it matters. God does much with little. As I walked, I realized they haven’t all been the bouncy flouncy canopy bed of my 6 year old dreams….(which I finally did get and loved, FOREVER.) But they didn’t need to be. They just needed to be soft places to land in the middle of the mess.  Like that mattress in the woods.

Maybe today- you’re feeling like your life is surrounded by detritus. Maybe today, you feel like it’s all too much and it’s all a bunch of crap. I want you to know, you’re not alone. I get it. But stop. take just a minute and look around….. what beauty can you find in the detritus? Some relationship that’s starting to grow? Some peace that you can’t explain? The ear of a tired friend – that listened to your hurt as an offering of mulch, cause that’s all she had to give?  Then you’ve found mattresses in the woods too. Take a moment to see them. Maybe even take a walk.

Now…. can you see the branches against a brilliant blue sky and know that the leaves will return? That’s hope.

It’s what I was reminded of yesterday.. and what I pray you find today, Even here.

Dear Lord- somedays I just feel like everything is crap. rom my body to my home- you know all the details…all the detritus. Lord- help me to be a soft place for others- even in my mess and help me to appreciate the places of rest in the detritus…. even when they seem to be an old mattress in the woods… I love you lord- I don’t understand you…. I don’t always like what you allow- But I love you- and in you I find hope and rest. Thank you, Lord for being even here- amen.

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“Toes pointed. Dip, swoop step. Dip, swoop, step. Now, right hand extends- REACH- Lean forward. Stretch. You can do this….. Hand Down. Kick legs up. 1, 2 Legs over…..”

“BAM”

All the self-talk and coaching in the world couldn’t have stopped it from happening. Instead of a graceful round-off- as planned-I landed flat on my butt. On the floor. The balance beam a few feet away- mocking me with it’s blond wooden sheen. Which wouldn’t have been a problem (I was well padded  even back then.Yup- I’m butt cursed. Or blessed. Depends on your perspective.)except my lungs quit working at the same time. Apparently they are not as well padded.

I couldn’t get up. Actually? I couldn’t move. I fell over in slow motion, like a rag doll left in a breeze. “Shake it off. You’re ok.” I heard my “coach” call out. (This was in the old days, when gymnastics cost less than a college education and was mostly for what we called: fun. The term “coach” applied to a tall bald guy who liked to wear shorts to work. Which is okay- because I was no Nadia comaneci. Obviously. Hence the Butt slam that left me breathless.)

Except- I wasn’t  okay. I knew it. Actually-  I was pretty sure I was dying. My chest was making all the movements that normally caused oxygen to flow through my lungs- but it wasn’t flowing! I felt like someone had held a Hoover over my mouth and sucked the air out of my lungs like deflating a balloon. Then, it felt like they’d put just enough Elmer’s school glue in to make the sides stick together and make it impossible to refill. I wondered if the world had suddenly “vaccuumized” itself. Or if maybe the Earth’s atmosphere had suddenly gone AWOL. But, since I was the only one drooling on the floor mat-  I knew it was probably just me. Dying. Possibly due to my round- off. Which was more like a flop- off and onto the floor.

I was panicked and paralyzed. The more I tried to breathe- the more I couldn’t. (more…)

Happy news!  Lily and her new mom Elizabeth have made it home! Please continue to pray for those separated and still waiting. And for the adjustments ahead for this new family:)

I’ve never met her. I’ve not even seen a picture of her. I know about her. She’s a mother. For me- thats all it takes, to connect us.

Right now, maybe she’s patting her pregnant tummy and wondering if it was hunger pangs, or her baby’s first movement,  that she felt.  Maybe she worries about the health of both her unborn child and the toddler next to her. Maybe she worries what trauma will be remembered long after today.

For sure, she waits.

While she waits, maybe she holds the hand of the tiny Haitian girl.   They wait to finally be “officially”  mother and child, but their hearts are already one.. They wait to go home and be united with husband and new father.

As I write, they are still, at the US Embassy in Haiti. Waiting.

For paperwork.

Maybe it’s because I’m just shy of full blown OCD, or have too much time on my hands or am nosey, but the image of them waiting, so close to home but so far, won’t leave my mind.

Maybe it’s NOT because of  those things.

Maybe it’s because I’ve waited too.  I’ve been a part of the process of praying and waiting and raising funds and experiencing disappointment and excitement, while friends adopted from Russia.

Maybe it’s because I waited while friends were stuck in Russia, one document from becoming a family.

I watched as God and his people used creativity, passion and connections to get that piece of paper to Russia. I waited while a friend flew from Michigan to another state to take the papers to be hand delivered by another couple on their way to Russia, to adopt their own child.  We prayed.

I remember sitting on the kitchen floor,tears rolling down my smiling face, ear pressed to the phone listening as two little ones met over the phone for the first time.

I waited at the airport, for that flight home to arrive.

I wept as I saw a mother and child and grandparents and family and friends united.

I waited.

Much the way this mother in Haiti is waiting.

She needs help. She needs the Prime Minister to SIGN THE final paperwork.

Thats all.

What’s taking so long?  I don’t know.

I do know this, every mother matters.

And doing something, can make a difference.

What I can do, is share their story.

When I read it- I was touched. I wanted to DO SOMETHING.

I made some calls. I talked to the father.  I talked to someone working with Haiti. I sent some emails, I tweeted some people, I posted to facebook.. looking for those connections that might make a difference and end the waiting.

Will it make a difference?  I don’t know.

But it makes a difference to ME, because I know that I did what I could.

If I were there- holding that tiny hand, I’d desperately want  someone, to do something.

The sad fact is there is not just one mother waiting in Haiti with her legal, already in process before the earthquake adoption paperwork. There are 180 families waiting.

At the US Embassy, Haiti.

For paperwork.

What can you do?

Pray.

Think about your’re sphere of influence. Do you know someone who could help? ASK THEM TO HELP.

Can you share their story? Link, tweet, tell.

Dear Lord- I pray for those trapped physically and by red-tape in Haiti.  I pray that you’d make a way where there seems to be no way.  I pray that you’d renew hope.  I pray that your peace and protection would be present.  Lord I pray that you’d protect children from illegal adoptions and dangerous trafficking. I pray that you’d bring wisdom and peace to chaos.  Lord- I pray that as Lily and her new mother wait- you’d hold their hands.  amen

In an instant, I went from totally relaxed, sunning on the beach, to paralyzed by pain.  All it took was a gust of wind and a few children running past to kick up and spray the powdered glass that is sand into my face. One tiny speck (that felt like a shard) landed in my eye.

Time stopped. The beach disappeared and I was momentarily paralyzed by pain.  My eyes slammed shut like an oyster shell. I blinked. I blinked again. It scraped the grain across my eye. I clamped my eyes shut. Next came a flood of tears.  The tears washed the sand  away. I sighed  with relief.  (Funny how pain takes us INTO ourselves and stretches out time like a rubber-band- isn’t it?)

It’s strange that the same grain of sand that caused so much pain in my eye, can get into an oyster and become a pearl.  Of course, oysters are created with the ability to coat (with shimmering layer after layer of nacre) the irritating invader, creating a pearl. and  my eye  is not.

I’m learning that my heart, is.

Over the years, I’ve experienced plenty of oyster moments.  Things that had temporarily paralyzed me with pain and left me blinded, tears flooding my eyes, pain threatening to burst my heart, have, over time, with grief and healing and God, and most importantly with grace- both given and received, have been turned into pearls. To be honest,  I am amazed.

I can’t do a tutorial explaining HOW it happened. And  I know that it doesn’t ALWAYS happen… But for me, it has. I’ve learned to string the pearls and wear them for others to see. In writing, in speaking, in truth telling and in living with love and authenticity. For one purpose: to share hope.

I don’t know what today is like for you. Today may be the day the sand has hit your eye.  The pain may be paralyzing.  You may be blinking away tears while you try to read these words.  You may wonder if it will ever subside and whether you will ever be able to see past your pain.

The answer is YES. It can.  If you let grace and grief do it’s work.  I’m praying that it does.

Or- maybe, you have a box of your own pearls.  But are afraid to let them be seen by others– You won’t wear them… you worry about them..I pray you have courage to share them- they are beautiful and hope shared is an amazing thing.

You’re not alone. You’re not forgotten.  Don’t give up. I’m praying that God provides the grace, the healing, the time and the peace that you need. I pray that the tears help wash away the pain, and that when you can see again.. you find a pearl, of hope.

Dear Lord- I don’t know how you do it, but I know that you can bring hope to the most hope-less situations and peace and healing tot he most painful ones. I pray today that you would apply the nacre of your love and grace to the hurts of those who come here… and that someday they would find a pearl formed from their pain. I love you lord- and thank you for the string of pearls I can wear and share.. I pray we all can find that courage that comes from you-amen

One of my most treasured passages –

Mommy v1.0 was released 12/13/89 (the day my oldest was born) – she was the beta version-  & had a lot of bugs to work out with the new tools she was running.  There were questions whether she should have released Mommy 1.0 or not but she let the software engineer determine the readiness, and the engineer used the early release to improve later versions.

Mommy v2.0 was a slightly better prepared release.  (8/8/92- my middle son’s b-day), but still needed to work out some bugs with multi- tasking and occasional system crashes.

The Mommy v3.0, release (when the older 2 boys went to school) was bumpy, as the previous updates needed a reinstall. Mommy v3.0 ran fairly well with the changes and a system re-boot.  She discovered new tools that she hadn’t had previously like conflict resolution and improved trust capabilities.

Mommy v4.0 was a total surprise release. The Software engineers kept the update under wraps for quite sometime before alerting the end users. However- March of 2002 turned out to be the perfect time to release v4.0 (with Noah’s Birth.) This version was a much smoother implementation- the new version was solidly based on previous updates.  Of course- it held it’s own challenges- but in general the release went well.

I feel like I’m about to be upgraded.  It makes me both a little nervous and excited. Nervous, because I know there are bound to be glitches along with the implementation and excited, because I know I’ll have a new tool bar when it’s completed. I’m not talking about my laptop… I’m talking about my mommy-hardware, my life is changing.

Rumors have it, that Mommy v5.0 is in the works, with an expected release date of September, 2009. The Software engineer is keeping the details of the update in strictest confidence, but as each new version has improved both the platform and the end- users experience, it is expected to be both well recieved, and to have the occasional bug to work out after it’s release.

MommySoft appreciates your patience as we prepare for this new release, and looks forward to serving you in the future, with its new tools!

My oldest is in college, my middle is graduating High School this year and my youngest will start school full-time in the fall… CHANGE is COMING!  To be honest- I don’t know exactly what the changes will look like in my day to day life.  But I know this– when “hardware” changes have happened in the past– God has always used them to update my “software”.

It seems like everytime my laptop updates.. there is a short period of chaos and problems, until the bugs are worked out. My Mommy hard drive goes through something similar.

When life changes- so does a Mom. With each change she has a choice.. to either click the “install updates now” button, or ignore it.  I’ve done both. Sometimes risking system failure or security breach because I was afraid it may be another “phishing” scam not an actual good change.. and sometimes because I don’t see a need to change anything because things seem to be running just FINE.

I mean.. why risk an update when there are bound to be glitches along with the improvements? he answer is the same for Moms as it is for software.. because the new tools and improvements are worth the risk.

Like most mom’s I’ve experienced my share of changes: Childbirth, weaning, walking, potty training, addition of children to the family, moving, job changes, moving, kids starting school, changing schools,income changes, church changes, kids graduating and entering college. The list is infinite. Mothering changes daily.

Click  for more and to see my ever changing family.. (more…)