confessions (of a mama). part.19

 As a child we tend to think we have it all figured out.
No need to be taught, 'thanks Mom, but I got this...' we would confidently assert.. and proceed to do a nose-dive off the bicycle we were convinced we could conquer.

Fast forward to teen years.
Now we're desperate to pretend we have it all together.
That we get it... (although we're less sure of what 'it' is now).

By the time we're an adult we've gotten pretty good at the facade.
Putting our best confident face forward.
Not accepting help from anyone because, "thanks.. but I've got this" is still our delusion.

And then you have kids.
They see that ridiculous shroud of pride you've knit for yourself over these years.
That awkward garment that you've stretched over your gaping chasms of insecurity.
They see all the loose ends hanging out... and like pulling on a knit stitch... they pull.
And you, you are undone.

It feels like torture at first.
Being shown your own raw, broken self.
It feels like failure at first.
Being a mess, instead of a model for your children.

But this unravelling is actually a gift.
It shows us the path of humility.
Because we're all a tangled tapestry.
We're caught in this 'stitch in time'.... unable to see the final creation.
All we see is a handful of frayed strands,
a trail behind us of lost tempers and tears.
Be encouraged.
The tapestry is still in progress.

Stitch love,
sew grace.

Forget trying to show the world you 'have it all together'.
Discard the "thanks, but I've got this..." responses.
Confident arrogant boasts like that do more to repel than attract people.

 Humility is a much more beautiful heirloom to stitch for your children.
Don't let the 'sorrys' be trapped in your throat.
Kneel down...
to the One Who made you - and the ones He made through you...
...and offer that brokenness.

You will be sandwiched with love on both sides.
 The strands will weave together.
Brokenness and  beauty will be your knit and purl stitch.
Trust your tapestry in to those hands.
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
Philippians 1:6

a tangled tapestry,
a work in progress,
Mel ;o) 


A.musing.mama! 3.1

Surely we aren't the only parents that do this?
Whenever the kids are being particularly *demented* and wildly ridiculous, we cast a nod at the other spouse and say "your side"
Because, obviously.

Happy weekend'ing friends!

Mel ;o)
Catch up on the previous parenting comics HERE.


...somebunny that I used to know.

She's growing right in front of our eyes.
Our little lamb, Talia.
(Or.. in this case, bunny).

As I hold her in my arms I can almost hear those little limbs extending.
Those tiny fingers and toes stretching.
Slow down baby girl... mama wants to savour these 'little' moments longer.

And now a beautiful quote from this book I'm devouring currently:
"Sweet, exhausted, amazing, resilient, fearless, remarkable, run-down mom - this book is for you...
...I'm thinking about all of us who are dancing our babies back to sleep or waiting up for them, like every generation of mothers before us - the ancient two-step that tattoos our love into the carpet, the hardwood, and the bosoms of our children".

(Lisa-Jo Baker: Surprised by Motherhood)
The ancient two-step... how well I know this dance.
This rhythm that pulls us into its gravity.
No longer in the womb, but still pressed up to my chest.
Every day she grows, and my heart follows.




Confessions of a frog/princess/prince?... a perspective:

 Ever feel like you're caught in the awkward, gangly, nothing-seems-'normal' stage of life?
Maybe you just got a grip on how to be a toddler, and suddenly you have to navigate the school yard.  Maybe you just figured out how to be a care free child, and then puberty hit.
Lets all just admit that puberty/teen years/highschool are probably the biggest gauntlet of awkwardness for all of us to navigate.

Then you're supposed to be an 'adult'.
Good luck with that too.
And as I read this book on Tadpoles and Frogs to our little guy, I'm reminded again: we all are in these wild stages of metamorphosis from the moment we are born, to the moment we die.

Don't sweat trying to be a princess, or a prince... embrace the wonder all around you - all of us, awkwardly growing through various stages.
All of us needing grace, needing kindness, needing encouragement from one another.
The pond is far too big, for us to be so consumed with our own tiny lily pad.

Or, as the prolific writer/pastor John Piper shared so beautifully in his Letter to an Incomplete, Insecure Teenager (worth the full read!):

 "...God is good. He has his plan and it is not to make this metamorphosis easy. Just certain. There are a thousand lessons to be learned in the process. Nothing is wasted. Life is not on hold waiting for the great coming-out. That's what larvae do in the cocoon. But frogs are public all the way though the foolishness of change.

I think the key for me was finding help in the Apostle Paul and C. S. Lewis and my father, all of whom seemed incredibly healthy, precisely because they were so absolutely amazed at everything but themselves.

They showed me that the highest mental health is not liking myself but being joyfully interested in everything but myself. They were the type of people who were so amazed that people had noses—not strange noses, just noses—that walking down any busy street was like a trip to the zoo. O yes, they themselves had noses, but they couldn’t see their own. And why would they want to? Look at all these noses they are free to look at! Amazing..."
(an excerpt).

Yep, here's our wonder-fully unique noses everybody.

Have a beautiful day revelling in your pond today, no matter how awkward you may think you look trying to swim.  Trust me, you are a wonder!

Mel ;o)


the treasure hunt...

Soooo, do any other parents out there find the holidays hard to navigate?
As in: 'what message do we want our kids receiving'?
Because Christmas and Easter are the two most significant celebrations in the Christian faith.
Yet, they're also the most commercialised and confusing in our culture.

I wonder if our kids simply see this as yet another event that rewards them with gifts?
Chocolate eggs, fancy outfits and feasting with family has all of 'what' to do with the betrayal, death and resurrection of Jesus exactly...?
(By the way, NO, that wasn't a guilt trip for anyone).  

Do we get so distracted with the superficial frivolities... that we neglect the deeper spiritual truths?  I pray that isn't the case.  
Because sure, we all love to eat a good fistful of chocolate on any day, but a sugar rush doesn't feed our soul.

I want our family to feed on the real sweetness:
the Bread of Life.
The words of Christ, and the Christ of the Word.
So today we hid the Resurrection eggs all around the back yard for the kids to hunt.
Each colourful plastic egg held a small emblem inside.
A simple piece of the Easter story narrative.

The broken bread - Christ's body.
The coins - His betrayal by Judas.
The whip - Christ's beatings.
The robe - His mockers.
The thorns - His crown.
The nails - His suffering.
The cross... and more.

And it hit me afresh.
Just as Ben, the kids 'Daddy' hid these eggs around the yard today.
God, our heavenly 'Daddy' has left us gifts to find too.
Just as these symbols tucked in the eggs pointed to the gospel message, 
so all of history - all the stories in the Bible - have pointed to Christ.

It's like a divine scavenger hunt.
Looking for Christ in every Bible story.
 Having the eyes to see His presence in every day.
It's like a bread crumb trail.
Reading the Word, seeing the world around me... it all points me back to the Bread of Life.
The bread that feeds my soul.
That sustains me.

For when the days are hard,
and my heart is weak,
and parenting overwhelms me,
and the doubts engulf me...
...I follow that trail.
Bread crumb.by.crumb.
Those tiny treasures the heavenly Father has hid throughout our day.
I pick them up.
Dust them off.
See the presence of Jesus afresh.

This day, this moment, we celebrate that He is risen indeed!
Speaking of bread... here's the gorgeous loaves our man made too.

Happy Easter!

mel ;o)


6 weeks!

Well friends, it's now been 6 weeks.
6 weeks since we brought home this bundle of squeaking, squawking sweetness.

6 weeks since our family became a set of five.
Our 4.5yr old suddenly looked like a teenager (and suddenly turned into a 'mom' for her sister).
6 weeks since our son became a 'big brother'.
Now he has the cutest smile for her and say "hold 'er?" 
Yes, our Talia is fitting in just fine here.
It seems like she's growing right before our eyes.
In fact, her last midwife appointment today confirmed that she's packed on 11lbs now.
We're now entering that delightful stage of 'make the baby laugh'.
My face is getting sore from making such huge smiley faces as I try to win her adorable gummy grin.  Oh, and the coos and garble giggles are starting too... which is enough to make you melt.

Seriously, every person would quit their day job to do this.
I may just put it on my future resumes: "I made babies smile".
It's the job and the payroll all in one!

Back to work I go,

mama Mel ;o)


A.musing.mama! 3.0


 I keep waiting for this baby to 'suck back my calories' with nursing - and reward me with my previous belly size.  (Much like her siblings kindly did before her).
No dice.
The easter chocolate isn't helping either.

So 'jelly belly' mama it is.
Time to take up belly dancing and embrace the jiggles I guess.

The husband gently reminds me that I *could* attempt exercising.. or restrain from the fistfuls of chocolate.. but I figure I'm just giving him more to love in this state, right.. right?

Ok, off I wiggle, jiggle.. go.

Mel ;o)

You can catch the previous comics I've sketched HERE!


cookies + chaos.

Well hey there friends,
here's a little dose of our daily reality for your reading pleasure.. or, something.

This wild little lass and I like to bake together on days we're feeling particularly house-bound (when she's not colouring up her masterpieces seen yesterday).  Like most activities 'pre'children - baking is now considered an extreme sport.  

So we strap on the cute aprons and dive in.

Melt butter.  Wait.. that's too melted.. now it's scalding lava splashing across the floor.  We'll use the kitchen as a slip n' slide for the day.

Get out the needed ingredients.  Keep daughter (who gyrates the entire day long) from falling off her chair.  Take a deep breathe and prepare to bake.
Wait.. now the baby (who is 'supposed' to be sleeping) has conveniently decided to start wailing.  Which wakes up older (2 yr old) brother from his nap.. more wailing!

Stomp upstairs, grab the boy.
Soothe the baby.
Go back to kitchen where daughter is whining her dismay at having to 'wait patiently'.

Chuck the ingredients quickly into a bowl before the next cycle of chaos hits.
Turn on the mixer.
Wait.. that noise sends the son into a fearful fit of shrieking (much like the vacuum... men's voices... and the fluttering of a bird's wing 10 miles away).

Heave son on to hip.. stomp back to the kitchen.
Wonder why you even opted to bake cookies in the first place.
Remember that the pay off of stuffing sweet therapy in to your mouth is only 10 minutes of baking away.  If we can make it that long.

Cream all the ingredients together.. throw a quick video on for the kids to distract from the noise of the mixer.. and now this ear worm of a Disney song is trapped in your head (again!).

For the sake of speed, drop huge spoonfuls of the cookie dough on to baking sheets.
Fight temptation to lock yourself in bathroom and eat the raw dough.
Realise you only have one baking sheet - and blame husband for likely leaving the others at church potlucks!

Hit the oven timer for 10 minutes and throw up your hands like a hog-tying cowboy.
Inhale the sweet smell of victory.

mmmMMMMMMmm... golden buttery chocolaty therapy for the senses.

Another sweet moment of creating and chaos in our nest.

It's how we roll.

Mel ;o)
The recipe we used is found here.


Spring scribbles and splashes of colour:

Azriel's "happy family...and dad has black hair".
Little brother's swirly scribble fun. (He's a lefty it seems).
Collaborative art between older sister and brother (for Daddy's birthday).
Azriel's happy people.
Flowers, a palm tree... Azi and her best buddy Reggie hanging out.
Just some cute colourful creations by our kids to brighten this gray spring day.

I love watching our kids create.  Watching their pudgy fists sprawl and scrawl across the open pages before them.  Seeing their little worlds and characters come to life.
I love looking back at pictures I drew as a child too - pasted into the tattered scrapbook my Mom had faithfully preserved for each of us kids.
I always drew my Dad with a green beard.
And all the people were always happy.
Despite the fact that their arms came out of their heads!

Now when our daughter makes a new masterpiece I often say "Wow - that's beautiful.. let's take a picture of it!"  because.. you know.. our fridge is running out of magnets - and every time you pop the door open to grab food an art gallery of drawings flutter and flop around you.
Maybe I'll make a photo book of their creations.
Maybe I'll turn them into wall paper for their rooms... ha.

 And there's my cue to hop off the computer - the lil' guy is proceeding to dump all the crayons and markers all over the table.. whheeeee!

Colourfully yours,
Mel ;o)


the long and short of it:

Well friends, it's been one month.
A mere moment.
A lifetime.
All rolled in to one little bundle of baby here.

Yes, our Talia is celebrating her first month with us today (while her Daddy's birthday was just yesterday.. so we'll just eat extra cake for her!).

It feels like she's been a part of our family all along.
Yes, it's been a lot of bliss having her around.. but there's the reality of the not-so-fun bits too. 
 I tend to just scrounge a few hours of sleep here and there.
She's had congestion/cold for the past two weeks (half her life!)... which is unnerving to sleep near.  She hacks and snorts like someone trying to drown a warthog.
The 'baby acne' stage has also hit with full force... so her cherub cheeks are a frightful mess of extra pepperoni.
Her cute brown locks have fallen from her crown... so now she's sporting a 'skullet' with only hair at the back.

But's she's our pimply, snuffly, balding beauty!
I'm still desperately seeking to savour all the sweet little moments though.
Like clutching the grains of hour glass sand - they are so tiny, so frail, but so full of life and beauty all packed in there.

She already seems to stretch out across my lap, when before she could fit snug into the crook of my arm.  And while there's those moments of wishing she would just 'grow past' these early stages of night feedings and bowel screamings... I don't want to lose this teeny baby stage either.  I guess all of motherhood is a combination of extremes and opposites.  
My heart feels a muddled jumble of exhaustion and elation, anger and adoration, despair and delights.  One moment I'm complaining 'at' her for keeping us up the whole night.... and then she flashes me a gummy smile in the dim light of the room, and I melt.
"Lets stay up all night so I can gaze at you" I coo.

Happy one month little lamb.
We love ewe.

Mel ;o)



Grace is:

Our little Talia Grace.

Why did we choose these names for our daughter?
As mentioned before.. we liked the name Talia (little lamb, heaven's dew) - but as for her middle name Grace, there's a lot of beauty there too.

Because it's been a year of learning about grace all afresh.
God has been opening our eyes and hearts to see what grace truly is...

...and when I read this part in Tripp's book Broken-Down House it resounded all the more.
I quote him at length because, well... it's just beauty-full:
Grace is the most transformational word in Scripture. The entire Bible is a narrative of God's grace, a story of undeserved redemption. By the transformational power of his grace, God unilaterally reaches into the muck of this fallen world, through the presence of his Son, and radically transforms his children from what we are (sinners) into what we are becoming by his power (Christ-like). The famous John Newton hymn uses the best word possible for that grace: amazing.

So grace is a story, and grace is a gift. It is God's character, and it is your hope. Grace is a transforming tool and a state of relationship. Grace is a theology and an invitation. Grace is an experience and a calling. Grace will turn your life upside down while giving you a rest you have never known. Grace will convince you of your unworthiness without ever making you feel unloved.

Grace will make you acknowledge that you cannot earn God's favor, and it will remove your fear of not measuring up to his standards. Grace will confront you with the fact that you are much less than you thought you were, even as it assures you that you can be far more than you had ever imagined. Grace will put you in your place without ever putting you down.
Grace will enable you to face truths about yourself that you have hesitated to consider, while freeing you from being self-consciously introspective. Grace will confront you with profound weaknesses, and at the same time introduce you to new-found strength. 

Grace will tell you what you aren't, while welcoming you to what you can now be. Grace will make you as uncomfortable as you have ever been, while offering you more comfort than you have ever known. Grace will drive you to the end of yourself, while it invites you to fresh starts and new beginnings. Grace will dash your hopes but never leave you hopeless. Grace will decimate your kingdom as it introduces you to a better King. Grace will expose your blindness as it gives you eyes to see. Grace will make you sadder than you have ever been, while it gives you greater cause for celebration than you have ever known.

Grace enters your life in a moment and will occupy you for eternity. You simply cannot live a productive life or have a productive ministry in this broken-down world unless you have a practical grasp of the grace you have been given.

So faithfully preach the gospel of grace to the people under your care, but start by preaching it daily to yourself, for the sake of your own soul and the ministry to which God has called you.

This would be our prayer for our daughter - all our kids - that they would know this transformational grace, this One Who embodies it.

mama Mel ;o)