Archives for posts with tag: growing up

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My son called a few weeks ago with some exciting news and all I kept thinking as I sat there smiling on the other end of the phone was that I was thankful for the front row seat to so many cool things. And I told him so.  But as soon as I said it, I thought, well, that sounds pretty presumptuous.  But he agreed and was like “yeah, me too Mom…” And as I thought about wanting that front row seat, I kind of laughed at how things have changed through the years.

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I grew up liking to sit in the middle row. In class. At church. At weddings and public functions, I liked being not too far back, but not too up-close-and personal in the front row either.  Then, when I became a mom of quite a few children, I quickly found a new and great appreciation for the back row…the VERY back row.  It’s close to the door in case there’s a need for a quick get away.  It’s important to have a clear safe straightaway exit if there’s an unexpected (but expected) need for a diaper change, feeding, or disciplinary “pow-wow.” Yep, way back when as the variables in my life increased and my world included lots of unknowns, that’s when I started so appreciating the back row. I could focus on the tasks at hand without feeling the unnecessary strain of doing it in front of lots of onlookers.  So for years, the back rows were where I felt most comfortable because keeping my ‘little ducks in a row’ …or not…was easier there.

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But, how ironic is it that now, I WANT front row seats!  And how ironic that those very ‘children’ who gave me such a grand appreciation for the back row are now the ones who are giving me a front row seat to so many amazing and beautiful things in my life?  ALL of  their journeys and successes, their dilemmas, their failures (or not-yet-successes), their quirks and jokes and laughter, their new arenas and experiences that come with them…ALL of it makes me thankful for the glimpse, the window, this front row seat  that I have into their lives.

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But it’s a window… It’s not a door to bust through and invade and take over. It’s a window. It’s not a camping out spot,…it’s a view, a seat, a place to sit and marvel and watch and experience. It’s a place to be available to these “stars” in my life as they live out the scenes of their every day lives…available to reach out to if they want to, or merely observe if they carry on and don’t. It’s a place to enjoy and weep and pray and laugh and be through it ALL.  All that I see, that is. Am so aware, there’s so much of who we all are and do and be that others don’t see. (Thankful that prayer can reach even there…) But the part I do see makes me so thankful. And it keeps me on the edge of my seat in this thing called life. In a good way, in a hard way, and in a way that keeps me so very alive and vested.

 

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There’s nothing like the joy that comes from watching someone ‘do their thing.’ It’s especially sweet when you’ve had a backstage view of all the rehearsals and practices, attempts and fallings, fears,  and fatigue and risings-up-again, …all of the not-yet moments that were so very necessary to the developing of the moments of doing-one’s-thing. And we all have a ‘thing’. Just gotta find it. And help others find it. Because we were born for “it.”

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Am thinking God knows how we’re wired. He knows “the paths that we should take…”  He knows what makes us tick, or ticked off, what makes us passionate, what makes us feel most alive and in our zone. And when we find that ‘it’, it is a joy. But not just to us. It’s a joy to those who have front row seats, to those who are the beneficiaries of the use of the giftedness, beneficiaries of people using their skills to make an impact can whatever way they can. At different seasons of our lives,  we can lose  our “it” that we were born for by having it take a back seat to the needs of the now, the needs of those in our lives.  Moms can get really good at that…losing (or postponing) their “it” that is. So can husbands and dads who are trying so hard to provide and be there for their families.

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But we’re not meant to always and only have a front row seat to others’ lives. Others in our lives can also have a front row seat to ours. Have been cognizant of that in recent years and am hopeful that in the same way that I laugh out loud and have tears streaming down face with pride watching people do their thing, that those in my life can actually even have moments like that with me. Because we are in this journey together…however short or long it may be. And we impact each other. We do. We inspire or we don’t. We encourage or we don’t. We build up or we don’t. None of us can be all things to all people. We’re not meant to have that place, to fill those kind of voids. But am thinking that our love can point to the God who is and does. Am thinking He is meant to have that place in our lives and does fill the voids. And we can be little windows in people’s lives to remind them of that.

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I love that some people will have arenas filled with people watching them ‘do their thing’. They will be celebrated by tens of thousands of people and will be well known. They will be encouraged by many and applauded. But I equally love watching someone quietly be faithful to their task when there’s no audience, no cheers, no front row seats. That the beauty that shines in the arena, shines in the quiet places that no one sees. Sometimes we’re not even aware of the gifts of the precious lives in our midst. How many are the opportunities daily missed because we fail to see the value of those in our midst and to connect. Who do you have a front row seat to?  Are you glancing at your watch as they share and do their thing or are you engaged, vested, encouraging, applauding even?  And what do people who have a front row seat to me see?   Do I even realize that they are there? Do I know how my actions impact them?

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We only see in part now, for sure, but I’m asking the questions of myself because I’m so aware that we impact each other. And the people in our lives are gifts. Gifts. To be treasured, encouraged, admonished, loved on, even more so when they might not deserve it or feel worthy of it. “People need loving the most when they deserve it the least.”  The world sure can be a harsh and angry place. Although technology  has given rise to the potential for connections, people seem more divided and fragmented than ever. Am thinking that a little encouragement, a little applause and recognition, a little awareness that keeps eyes off me and on someone else, can go a long, long way. For those that are cheered, and those that do the cheering as well.  The cool thing is, in this thing called life, one minute you’re sitting in the front row seat, and the next, someone is sitting in the seat watching  you.  And if we let ourselves, we can be encouraged and moved and drawn in by the beauty of the other person’s story, their script, their life. Humility can be a gateway to inspiration and encouragement and growth on both sides of the ‘stage’.

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Would that we would have a front row seat to applaud and encourage many. In word, in action, in prayer…would that we could get our eyes off of ourselves and our agendas to enjoy the ride, even when it isn’t focused on us. Self-centeredness looks to  me more like a merry-go-round with the ego-centric self going around and around and around and around and getting nowhere. And all the spectators kind of do the same thing. Front row seats to others’ lives can definitely feel like a rollercoaster ride for we experience the ups and downs and comings and goings and failures and victories, and all of the emotions that go with it. But I’m thinking it’s a lot more impactful …and fun. And I’ve learned that whether you’re in the front row seat of the rollercoaster, or the back, you’ll still experience the whole ride. (My kids have encouraged me to do the front row seat on that a time or two…and I’ve encouraged one or two of them to get on the rollercoaster…)  But the merry go round…there’s no front or back, there’s just a point that the whole world of the merry-go-round moves around. Around and around and around.

So, am thinking that front row seats are a good thing. On rollercoasters, in class, and when it comes to having eyes to see the people around us. Yeah, the ride can be a little wild sometimes…up, and down, and up and down, but there’s nothing like a good story unfolding before our eyes…if we have the eyes to see it. Here’s to front row seats and rollercoaster rides, and encouragement that puts our eyes less on ourselves and more on others. Here’s to front row seats and using our gifts and encouraging others to do the same. But let’s not do away with back rows…there are moms out there with young kids who need the back rows…for a season anyway. There’ll be plenty more years for front row seats…

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So there’s a few (more than a few) thoughts on front row seats. Here’s to yours and mine.

Blessings ~

Heather

P.S. I love Zephaniah 3:17 that says the Lord delights in us with singing.. that He is in our midst and delights in us with shouts of joy. He delights in us like a dad on the sidelines or a mom in the stands or a sister or brother in the audience cheering like crazy. He sees. He watches. He delights.  Am thinking His is the ultimate front row seat of it all. That’s pretty cool. And He calls us to know Him and love Him and see what He’s doing…to have a front row seat to His heart as He has a front row seat to ours. And that’s the most amazing story of all.

“The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

…”shine among them like stars in the sky  as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. “

Philippians 2:15-16

 

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So yesterday as Tanner and I were talking about the start of school, he said, “Yeah, Mom…it’ll be your  ‘last first’ day of school…”  Now I had expected him to say HIS last first day of school…but not mine.  And yep, I had a little difficulty seeing through the sudden pool that welled up in these eyes of mine…and all I could see as I looked at my senior in high school was the little boy with the blond hair and the blue smiling eyes.

And a flood of memories came.  My first first day of school with Zac’s first day of kindergarten…turning around as he got on the bus and waving so bravely with a smile. The mom who was waving back was trying to be brave too. And the many, many many photos on couches and porches and driveways of 2, then 3, then 4, 5, 6 children posing with their new shoes and back packs….and then photos of 6, then 5, 4, 3, 2,….and then this morning only one posing. One taller than me senior in high school ready for his last first day.

‘Last firsts’ are milestones…for our kids. And for us.  Am thinking that on milestone days we need an extra dose of grace (and chocolate or ice cream or your go to of choice…) for them and for us. We need to let ourselves feel and let the well that comes up from the deep spill on over in tears or words or laughter or whatever. Because life is so short…and the milestones need to be seen as precious treasures that we don’t just pass over.  For them and for us. 

I’ve been so in the ‘function’ mode recently that I hadn’t even let myself think about it being my “last first”.  I had thought about it being Tanner’s ‘last first’ day of high school, and had tens of balls juggling in my brain of things that need to get checked off for our family in the midst of lots of transitions and changes.  The list is long and broad and includes details, details, details, with needs for communication and planning and determination all crammed and crunched into a short period of time. But I don’t want to let the details squeeze out the moments that need to be celebrated, relished, and enjoyed. My mom-hat-of-function often bids me forget to let things seep in to my brain when it has to do with me.  But the cool thing is…with this great gift of motherhood… my firsts are multiplied with each new venture in my children’s lives. Because even when they go alone, my heart, my prayers, my love goes with them. …on the first day of kindergarten, or college, or walking on down the aisle…I’ll always carry the child that I carried. Might be in my heart, or thoughts, or prayers. Might be in my dreams or hopes or mind, but I’ll always carry the child that I carried. The ‘carrying’ just looks a bit different…

Am thankful for Tanner’s awareness, kindness, and words that helped me not just look at his ‘Last First’, but at mine as well. Am thankful for the reminder to treasure the day and be in there with each other. We don’t know what the next day holds.  And here’s the thing…we may all be experiencing our own ‘Last Firsts’ and not even know it. Am thinking being ‘all-in’ and ‘all-there’ is something that we will never regret. Ever. Sometimes I so need to be snapped out of the busy-ness to be able to see it.

So, Tan man, thanks for the ‘snap’, and reminder to your so-often-distracted, scatter-brained mom (who adores you by the way!). It’s your Last First day of high school, and it’s my Last First day of watching my 6 gifts go to school.  Definitely something to  both contemplate and celebrate. Am thinking that celebration and contemplation might need to include carry out dinner …and chocolate.  Or ice cream.  Or both.  All with extra extra doses of grace, grace, grace. (Because those pools of both celebration and contemplation just keep welling up in my eyes and I’m thinking it has quite a bit to do with this whole “Last First” thing.)

Blessings~

Heather

And to my 6 amazing gifts who have brought me a thousand firsts and a thousand lasts and a million in betweens…this little compilation of firsts and lasts is for you for today, for this moment in time. Because as Tan-man reminded me in the car yesterday, it’s good to be reminded of milestones and celebrate them.  Now, Tan and I are off to celebrate with carry-out and some sweet concoction.  It’s a good thing I had decided on doing carry-out, because the past hour and a half I’ve spent going through photos of you all. Love you all so much and so thankful for all the many, many first and lasts in our past…and the million more firsts and lasts to come.  Love you. Hugs and Kisses ❤ Mom

 

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Yeah…thanks for the reminder Tan.

“Wherever you are, be all there…”  ~ Jim Elliot

“Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.” ~ Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

  “Love one another…”

John 13: 34

 

“A ship in the harbor is safe.

But that’s not what ships are for.”

William G.T  Shedd

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Wrightsville, Beach, North Carolina April 7th, 2017

I saw some ships today, and some smaller vessels on the water. They were coming in to the harbor just as the sun was going down. My son and I watched as the boats in the distance moved a little closer in to the dock.

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It was windy and cold, but beautiful on the patio as we ate.  Hot Clam chowder tasted really good on a chilly day like this. But we definitely preferred the view with the cold over the comfort without the view. We watched (and shivered) as the ships came in and the sun went down.

I know that ships are meant to sail. Some are meant to be on the high seas and others are meant to be a little closer to shore. But all are meant to venture out from the safety of the harbor. Yeah, I get that. I do.

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Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8, 2017   (Zac)

And anchors help to provide stability out on the seas. And there are times to use anchors, and times when anchors are dangerous. And moorings are meant to keep one safe in the harbor. Moorings need to be tied tightly at the right times, and loosened when it’s time to set sail.

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Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina , April 7th, 2017

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Zac, Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8th, 2017

My  “ships” are all venturing out these days. Only have one who is ‘safely in the harbor’ of our home, but all of the others, well, they are venturing out, all at different distances, different speeds, different tracks, but all venturing out nonetheless.

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Chase and Josh, Wilmington, North Carolina April 7, 2017

And I’m proud and thankful for the courses that they are on. And at times I’m fearful of the storms blowing in and the potential dangers that they have faced, are facing, and will face on their journeys.

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But I remind myself that ships…ships were meant to sail. Birds were meant to fly.

DSCN3273 Children were meant to grow up and become independent, to use their gifts and give it all ‘out there’. And they are not alone ‘out there’. I’ve gotta remember that.

DSCN3203And the fact that my ‘ships’ are out sailing, well, it makes me so thankful for times when they get to come back in to the harbor, so to speak.  It makes me thankful when the moorings are tied, and they are safe in my sights for a little while.

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Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina April 7th, 2017

And we can talk about the journeys and the trials that have been, and maybe prepare a bit for the ones that are to come.  I love that ships don’t have to be tied to a specific dock to be safe…it just takes that connection, that mooring, that link to that holds them close to shore.

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Chase, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, April 7th, 2017

So, the past few days have been precious, because, well, it’s felt like my sailing ships (3 out of 6, anyway…)  and I docked for a bit. ( And we were reminded that home is so much more than a place and family is a gift, and God is good and present and available on high seas and safe docks, college campuses and work environments.

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Zac and Melanie, Ocean Isle, North Carolina April 8th, 2017

And I’m catching glimpses of their world and am thankful for where these ‘ships’ have sailed.  And I’m thankful for moorings that look like cups of coffee and walks on beach and ‘remember when’s. I’m thankful for moorings that look like  T   I   M   E…not stuff, but   T   I   M   E, and conversations that don’t always include lots of words, but might include lots of listening. And prayers prayed sometimes out loud and sometimes not. I’m thankful for moorings  that look like warm chocolate chip cookies, kale smoothies, clam chowder in the cold, or walks on the beach.  I’m thankful for moorings that look like truths stated and not danced around and hugs afterward. I’m thankful for moorings that look like laughing at ourselves and not having to be anything but what we are in that moment. And I’m just thankful for moorings, connections with these ships that were entrusted to me so long ago.

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And I’m aware I’m so not the Captain. My job isn’t to steer the ship. It’s to trust the One who is steering, and encourage those ships to listen, to yield, to the Captain. Am thinking in this stage of my life, my privilege is to focus on the moorings…so that in the midst of all the venturing out, there’s always a connection, a safe place to dock when those venturing ships need a reminder of why they’re venturing out in the first place. After all, ships were meant to sail…

Blessings~

Heather

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”

Deuteronomy 11:18-19 


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A boy’s life.,,  Baseball games in the morning, fishing at night.  Can’t beat that! Wearing your baseball gloves to both hold the bat tighter, and to hold the slimy catfish without getting stung.  Yep, this is the life!  The guy in the middle who’s still wearing the uniform from the morning’s baseball game late at night?  It’s his birthday today.  But he’s not 8 anymore, he’s 23.  23  years old.  23 years young.  Praying that he finds that smile and joy in the simple things in life, the people he surrounds himself with, the mission he sets his heart and mind on, and the fact that life is a precious gift.  Praying that the boy who so had a mission everyday in his early years, will hone his skills and abilities to help him to find his place and niche’ in using his many gifts. Praying that we don’t lose our zest for life and the appreciation of the little things that are so the big things.  And as I’m praying, I’m so thankful for the time to remember moments like these…with sweaty boys and slimy fish and dirty baseball uniforms and a joy in my heart, smiles all around and sleep that is so sweet.  Yes, here’s to a boy’s life…even when that boy becomes a man.

http://mithriluna.wordpress.com/category/gratitude-2/thankful-thursday/

wordpress wpc family prompt

Fathers and Sons…

Seems to me that a hug from Dad can go quite a long way in the encouragement department…especially when you’re fourteen years old and just trying to find your way. Yep, a long way.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/photo-challenge-family-2/

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