On appleseeds and other lovely hopeful things.

5.02.2019



"I want an apple seed."

He says to me, the boy who's been avoiding food all day, who doesn't like apples. I take it as my opportunity to perhaps entice him to eat one of the fruits he's banned.

"Well, the only way to get an apple seed is to eat an apple."

It works! Sort of. He takes one bite, and then remembers. He spits it out and gives up his effort.  Fortunately for him, his shadow -otherwise known as brother- comes along and decides he wants a snack.

I return to the kitchen cleaning and hope I wont be picking up apple bits for the rest of the day. Ten seconds later (about) the baby has half the apple down and has eaten a seed or two for sure (arsenic threats unknown.) He's on his way to consuming more. I cause him to pause and pull the seeds out before handing it back to him.

My middle child lays hold of one of those shiny little shapes, and darts out of the room. We're in my bedroom now and I am not entirely sure what he's up to. Ten seconds later (about) I hear a door slam and I hear him tromp up the stairs, satisfied grin on his face. "I planted an apple seed, right over there mama. "

He's proud. and he whispers under his breath "now I have an apple tree."

I was about to remind him of reality. The improbabilities. The likelihood of apples. But I didn't. His hopeful sowing was enough to remind me that, I don't really know do I? He did plant it in a bed, not in the grass. Perhaps there's more hope than I realize.

Perhaps, now he has an apple tree.


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We met the neighbors. And they're darling as any neighbors could be. Welcoming, kind. Offering wine. Plus with two kids right around my kids age. Complete with an  already pledged eternal friendship and schemes for a secret path through the woods. The past few days have been rather painful for my daughter, since the very day after she met her future eternal best friend, Eli got sick. Thus the lot of us were put under house arrest. Much moaning, many an agonizing glance out the window. Shakespearean pain, I tell you. 

In an effort to deflate the situation, to save us all from the melodrama, I'm again tempted. The probabilities. The realities of this young lady being older, of busy schedules, of not getting hopes up. If I kill the dream before it grows, I wont have to deal with the pain of watching her realize its doom (if it perhaps is doomed. However unlikely.)

Fortunately, I'm noticing that there are (atleast) two ways to kill a childhood, one is not having one at all, the other is introducing the 'shoe drop' phenomenon. Just wait for it. Disappointment will come.

I remember an older woman exclaiming praise that God doesn't show her all that's ahead of her in life. She commented that had she known God would have her walk through all the valleys, she'd despair. She was a hopeful woman, who was so brave in the face of grief the words falling from her mouth made little sense. She carried an optimism I was bewildered by (and a bit jealous of.) 

That optimism is often elusive for a brain such as mine, I've found. I can conjure it, but it is fought hard for. I often wish I could just.see.whats.coming. Just let me have it, Lord. Let me make a plan. I remember telling Ben that while living overseas, during the hardest season of our entire life in our marriage, my brain was quiet. I was taking the next step every morning, but I knew the proverbial 'shoe had fallen.' Our marriage was struggling, and I didn't really anticipate it getting much worse between us. There. Then. My brain was quiet and at work at repairing. 

While all this is true, I'm hopeful this doesn't pass on to my little ones. My daughter already has a keen sense of seeing the ends of her ways (mighty bits of wisdom for a little girl.) and she sadly anticipates the dreadful much like myself. 

We have two sayings, between her and I. One is stolen from wise old Hagrid, "What's coming will come, and we'll meet it when it does." We say it every time we're tempted to fret. It helps. and the second "Every day has disappointments love,  but it has even more good bits. We get to find the good bits." 

Getting to meet the neighbors? the potential of an epic friendship? That was a really, really good bit.

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I have often had moments when I get to view myself in the 'fight or flight' scenario. And, I'm quite surprised and proud of myself for the way I get to work when the hard bits happen. I'm in the fight category. Which has its pros and cons. 

Kid breaks their face, I jump up and move towards. Blood gushing everywhere, I'll put a stop to it.  Ben and I tease each other. While I'm the fretful one in calm, I'm also the first responder. If the zombie apocalypse were to happen (don't talk to me about zombies, I hate scary conversations.) I'd like to think I'd just let myself die, but we all know better. I'd be protecting all the babies.  Perhaps all the probabilities allow me to already see how to respond in those situations, so I don't have to formulate. Consider me for your team. I'm learning how to homestead.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm coming to terms more and more with who this nearly thirty year old self is. In her best and in her heaviest. In the coming of terms, it's also allowed me to view the 'terms and conditions' of my life and to see the characters I get to share air with.

Of those, my children are profoundly shaping who I am as their own unique shapes form. I see in them a hopeful narrative that makes room for an even more hopeful narrative in me. Even if my tendency is worse-case-scenario. The apple seed that may be a tree, the neighbor who may be the bosom friend. The fort built for the play date. The making room for what we hope.

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There was a study done  in which students were able to interact with aged-virtual-realities of themselves. The study aimed to see if those who interacted with older versions of themselves would later make choices that were more long-term minded, particularly in financial realms. The study found a seriously positive correlation.  Those that could see themselves as older, made choices with their older self in mind. . 

I found out about this study on instagram and the writer prompted the readers to consider their own selves (I think I've written on this before), in an older form. I recommend the practice to anyone. 

There are skill sets I definitely hope to have acquired in my old age (being well-read, having a garden, for starters.) but what stuck with me more was the hope of how I'd feel interacting in the world at large. I have a version of myself that I can see, and I really like that lady. I was a bit surprised however, because she wasn't quite as in shape as I perhaps would like to convince myself she could be. Nor was she quite so accomplished as I spent the last two decades deciding she would be, but she was calm. Unafraid. Closer to Home.

Moving some place new always causes a bit of turbulence in my brain, and my husband-praise God for that man-isn't really alarmed by my anxieties or my tendencies to try to create structure in unknown spaces. I remember asking him once if he thought I'd always be this way-referring to some heavy few weeks of OCD tendencies and fretting-and he said as honest as one does, "it's possible." 

It was of great encouragement to me that he wasn't alarmed by the possibility.  Such a gift, to be so fully known and loved, as Pope Keller says. It was an even greater encouragement when that same week I read in Galatians about how Peter-the same follower who had the fear of man so thoroughly in him he denied his beloved savior, then saw him resurrected-is rebuked again by Paul due to that same fear of man. He was rebuked for changing his behavior (and in a way denying the fullness of the gospel again) by eating only with Jewish people instead of the gentiles. 

You might ask, how can this be of encouragement? If a man who walked with Jesus, who struggled with ugly bits of his humanity pre and post Jesus' Resurrection, is still struggling even after facing the Jesus crucified and resurrected, What hope is this for us?  Such a great deal of hope! It gives me a glimpse at who's qualified to be hope bringers. Jesus told him that his very church would be built on Peter! Furthermore, I need to remind myself that struggling in ways I have chronically does not cause God pause in his working to make me new. Peter was still beloved and called, even in his stumbling. So am I. All the more, it makes heaven and the Christ I hope in all the sweeter.  

I know all these little paragraphs seem to be bouncing around in fragmented ways, but perhaps a few of you see the connecting points. 

My aim is this, I'm discovering more and more just how much hope there really is laced in the cloudy overcast days of apple seed planting and aching glances out windows.

 There's hope for the likes of us somewhat anxious ones. There's hope for the apple seed sowers, and there's a undeniable dose of hope that God is working to make things new regardless if we see it.  Even in this season of new normal, budding friendships-truthfully still a lonely season, and building a new life, I'm  forever reminded that as David says "I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

What a gift to get to be part of the sowing.

Boston Children's Museum :: New England Adventures

4.13.2019

Boston is a straight shot down from Concord. In about an hour, we can be at pretty much any part of downtown. We're slowly taking opportunities to explore it as our friends come through or we have something come up (like a few weeks ago when we got to meet the Finnish Honorary Consulate and make a trip to IKEA) This week, some dear friends from Alabama were here for a convention, so we asked if we could grab a quick breakfast with them before they had to be back at it.



We decided to check out the Flour Bakery, as per a friends suggestion, and it did not disappoint! Breakfast was awesome. We also spotted an owl just hanging out in one of the trees, which was pretty epic for three little ones. (It did freak me out a little when he kept watching Rowan walk to and fro-I think he was trying to see if he was a small enough snack.)  We definitely plan to go back to grab a snack of our own. It's located super close to the museum as well (walking distance) so we were pretty grateful to get to see our friends, then hope over for a few hours to visit the Children's Museum.


While pretty expensive (even those under two pay full admission price.) It was packed with activities that were gross and minor motor skill oriented.  Our kids had something to do in every single room, which I was impressed by. Hardly anything was nailed down (which can be a common trait of some 'childrens' museums.)  It's super stroller friendly and has bathrooms everywhere. Once you leave the museum, there were several places to eat as well as decent parking options when you arrive(we found a spot right away on a Saturday morning.) If you come to Boston with kids, I think this might be worth checking out.

Glad to have had a chance to visit.




Ice Castles :: Adventures in New Hampshire

3.29.2019




When I first googled things to do here in NH, I discovered the Ice Castle attraction. Unfortunately, their last weekend here was the weekend we moved, so I chalked it up to something to visit next year. In an absolutely awesome turn of events, the cold weather lasted long enough that they extended the opening weekend until we could go. We were able to visit the very last weekend much to my delight!




They had Disney Princesses. And horses. And slides. and epic icicles.

When we first walked out the wind was pretty forceful, so I was a bit worried it wouldn't be a good visit, but as soon as we entered, we were shielded. We all absolutely loved it.

Rumor has it that in the evening, they light up the place with different colored lights. Since our littles were still a bit too young to push too hard around 'dark' we hope to make it out in the evening next year.

If you go, I'd highly recommend wearing boots and leaving the stroller. They say as much on their website and it makes a great deal of sense. They have locations through out the U.S. and I definitely think if there is one near you, it's worth checking out.