Spaghetti For Breakfast: Sustaining Moments

I’ve been up since 2am. Trying to navigate a challenge involving one of the kids off on an adventure. I promise to tell about that soon, but not quite yet.

I can tell you this boy and his independence will teach Steve and I more about relying on God than many things we have experienced. We have learned to pray and trust and realize that ultimately these kids are God’s and He has plans we can’t even imagine.

 

Sometimes that education is  bit exhausting, emotionally and physically.

 

Like navigating challenges at 2am. After being awakened at midnight as well.

 

My response?

 

Spaghetti for breakfast at 5:30am.

 

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Now, I love spaghetti, but there is a deeper reason for turning to spaghetti for breakfast this morning.

 

When I was growing up my middle brother used to come home from dates and make spaghetti late at night. I would lay awake and wait for him to come home, then follow him to the kitchen and wait while he made spaghetti and eat with him. I honestly don’t know how many times this happened…as our minds play with our memories, it may have only been once or it may have been dozens of times. Regardless, it left an imprint on my brain.

 

Rarely do I make spaghetti without thinking of my brother. And sometimes, when a day has been especially challenging, a plate of spaghetti can bring a sense of comfort. A moment of sustaining.

 

I like what Madeleine L’Engle says about how we carry with us each age we have been:

 

“I am still every age that I have been. Because I was once a child, I am always a child. Because I was once a searching adolescent, given to moods and ecstasies, these are still part of me, and always will be… This does not mean that I ought to be trapped or enclosed in any of these ages…the delayed adolescent, the childish adult, but that they are in me to be drawn on; to forget is a form of suicide… Far too many people misunderstand what *putting away childish things* means, and think that forgetting what it is like to think and feel and touch and smell and taste and see and hear like a three-year-old or a thirteen-year-old or a twenty-three-year-old means being grownup. When I’m with these people I, like the kids, feel that if this is what it means to be a grown-up, then I don’t ever want to be one. Instead of which, if I can retain a child’s awareness and joy, and *be* fifty-one, then I will really learn what it means to be grownup.” 

 

We all know that there are tragedies many have lived through, and those continue to impact them as adults. There are moments of childhood which leave a mark that one would rather forget.

 

But there are moments which leave a mark, a memory…something that gives us strength. A fragrance or a moment of music can spark the emotion from childhood, from adolescence, and can bring strength. Spaghetti for breakfast. Comfort. Reminder that I have a foundation which is sufficient for the challenges of today.

 

 

So in our days as Moms and Dads, as brothers and sisters…remember today that we are creating these moments for those around us. We are giving them tools, we are giving them reminders…we are giving them comfort and strength for the future when they may need it the most. Rituals and rhythms which might spark the knowledge of a strong foundation.

 

I have a feeling Maddie and Sam will have some connection to the theme song from Great British Baking Show.

 

Today, though, as I finish off the spaghetti, I want to think of how to be intentional about creating these moments. I want to be more consistent with them. Life has been moving so quickly, I feel as though I have been holding the tiger by the tail. Time to slow that down.  Time to make the room to do something out of the ordinary. Time to craft a tool the kids can rely on in the future.

 

One other note. The kid that is off on an adventure is actually off with the middle brother mentioned above’s best friend. Confused? Well, this best friend has cared for my boy with diligence and kindness that is the fruit of a deep gratitude.

 

There have been bumps in the adventure they are on, challenges that were not expected. They have navigated them well, but again and again this friend has said that he is thrilled to be able to care for our boy because of the times my brother and parents cared for him. There is a foundation of kindness in that relationship of 38 years which is reaping a benefit for my teen.

 

So. Be kind. Establish some rituals and moments our kids can turn to for comfort and strength and reminders. And remember that the kindness we offer to those around us may come back in completely unexpected ways to be a blessing. Isn’t the crazy connections of life grand? Isn’t it just like there is a creative God who surprises us constantly in how our lives are connected with those around us?

 

Now. Go find your version of spaghetti for breakfast and be encouraged, comforted…blessed. You have the tools you need for today.

 

 

 

 

 

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I See You!

Nope, we didn’t get the birthday shout-out we were hoping for. It is not because we didn’t try. I tweeted pictures of Nate to Taylor Swift and I harassed my friends to re-tweet the pictures. We knew it was a long-shot, but it never hurts to ask.

What impressed me the most was how Nate took it in stride. We were sitting in the nose-bleed section. I mean wayyyy up high. We still could see, but we no where near the stage. Nate smiled and said he liked the seats. I told him not to get his hopes up about a Birthday shout out and he said there were no worries. When we walked out at the end of the concert into a deluge of rain with no chance at the “Club Red” to meet Taylor, Nate simply said, “You know, I thought I would really want to meet her…but I don’t. I just really liked the concert and now I’m happy and ready to go home.”

Before that he had had a headache. The music had been loud and he had a moment of being overwhelmed just as she came out. We were surrounded by screaming young teen girls. Truly, literally screaming girls. The lights went down, the stage lit up and the music began pounding. Nate’s head went down and the tears welled up. The screaming began all around us and the tears rolled down his cheeks.

He handed me his iPod and asked if I would film as he plugged his ears. I was heart broken for my boy. His buddy sitting next to him looked concerned. I looked around at all these screaming girls and I wondered who would be the woman in years to come who would love this boy. As I listened to these girls scream as Taylor sang about love, I wondered about this boy who feels so deeply and is so impacted by sights and sounds…by hopes and expectations.

I whispered a prayer that his first concert wouldn’t end with tears, and God was gracious. The screaming abated and the boy came out of his shell. He even danced a little and sang a few songs. My prayers deepen as I think of who will care for this very deep soul as he grows.

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I know tonight was “just” a concert…simply part of a birthday weekend…and yet it is part of a childhood, and as such, part of a forming.

Sometimes we say no.  Sometimes we say wait, or sometimes we say that whatever the latest craze or the latest want or the latest drama is…is something that is unnecessary or is simply wrong.

Sometimes though…sometimes we look them dead in the eye and we say yes. We say absolutely. I will paint your hair red and I will drive you around town and jump out of the car and take goofy pictures. I will tweet them and harass my friends and make them tweet them. I will post them and I will repost them and I will do my best to help you win that certain something that means something to you.

I will help you in any way I can, and if it makes me look silly or ridiculous or altogether undignified, so what.

Sometimes, we look them dead in the eye and we let them know that we see them and we hear them and we understand and we are right there with them. That doesn’t always mean we win. That doesn’t mean we get the prize, or the shout-out or the meet-and-greet.

It does, however, mean we get the experience, and it does mean that we paid attention. It does mean that they know we saw them. It does mean that those times when we have to say no, the times when we have to teach them that we don’t always get to do what we want to, it is not because we didn’t hear them or see them…it is because we do. We see them well and we know what they can become. We see the beyond the moment we are in, and we know what they can become, and sometimes we have to say no. It is easier to hear that when they know we aren’t just ignoring them, though.

Tonight was a good night. We didn’t get a shout-out. We sat in the nose-bleeds. We had headaches and were in the midst of screaming girls. But it was still a great night, filled with friendship and laughter. Those of you who helped tweet and retweet in the hopes of a shout-out…you can help with a true birthday shout out over on FaceBook if you know Nate. Come by and wish him a Happy  Day over on my page!!

The Power of the Creatives…

I have the clearest memory of being about ten years old, puttering around the darkroom with my Dad developing pictures and chattering away as a ten year old girl would. My Dad had a darkroom in our house and he was quite the photographer; I inherited his love for photography and would spend time with him developing the film and enlarging the pictures.

One of these sessions, I remember, telling him all about the radio station I had found and all the music and artists and the dj’s at the station.

I am sure I wore him out.

Just as I wore out those poor djs as I called every three hours as they changed their shifts and requested “Anything from Randy Matthews.” The station was one of the very first contemporary Christian stations in the country. All the djs were volunteers. A few years later when I finally joined the ranks of volunteers I was inundated with return phone calls for my favorite artist.

I actually had the chance to meet Randy Matthews a few years later. I was working at the station and he came to town for a concert. The station manager allowed me to be the runner for the day and I drove him around town and had the chance to spend the day with him. I was on cloud nine.  He was extraordinarily kind to me, because even though it was several years beyond my juvenile infatuation…he was that first artist that had caught my attention.

I had a fantastic childhood, however, there were bumps and bruises and in the midst of it, I thought it was horrendous at times. I was dramatic and emotional and there was enough pain to drive me to the point of thinking of suicide. I was lonely, that was much of the problem. Music was my outlet. I didn’t fit in at school beyond being average, and the radio station was my haven. I escaped in music and it literally saved me. How many times have we heard that story? I know myself well enough now to know that I would have been a mess had I played with alcohol or drugs…I simply have no restraint.

Music was safe, and more than that…it was the means God used to stir my emotions and imagination and to speak to me. 

Our musicians, our artists, our Creatives…they have such amazing roles in our lives. They speak life and they provide an outlet to those who are on the outskirts. They give a voice to our emotions when we are lost or when we are in pain, or when we are filled with joy and want to worship and shout and rejoice.

Sometimes our Creatives, they mark our brokenness in ways that bring us to our knees…and we need that as well.

My middle boy is much like I was as a child. He turns ten tomorrow, and this past week we have tried to catch the attention of a radio station in the hope of winning a “Meet and Greet” with Taylor Swift.

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A local radio station had set up a scavenger hunt and we scurried around town, Nate with his hair dyed red and buddy in tow, snapping pictures.

Then we tweeted and instagrammed and talked to friends and tried our best to get the attention of those who held the power.

See, Nate is my middle boy. I’ve written about him before. He is my Creative and some day he will be giving words to those who can’t find a way to express their emotions. Right now…he is looking to others, and Taylor Swift has captured his imagination and his attention. Yes, it’s infatuation and glamor and stardom at the moment…just like it is for so many, but there is this hint of something more…this hint of an awareness of music and of the mark of the Creator.

So, I’ve been “that” mom this past week.BUN2xjwIYAAKm_y

I’ve tweeted.  I’ve Instagrammed. I’ve emailed my friends and asked them to retweet my tweets.

I’ve ignored the fact that I wasn’t going to be on FaceBook.

I’m hoping maybe the noise I’m making might garner him a “Happy Birthday” shout out from Taylor Swift at the concert.

I’m hoping he doesn’t pee himself if she shouts out. 

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So, Taylor, I apologize if I utterly harass you on Twitter today.

Randy Matthews is probably breathing a sigh of relief that there was no Twitter thirty years ago.

It is amazing how a nod or a word…an acknowledgment…could hold so much power. Reading through the Twitter feed of some of the kids who are following Taylor reveals kids who are eager and hungry for some affirmation…and there is so much there for discussion.

We’re sitting in the back row of the arena. We’ll be surrounded by other kids who look at her and who scream and who are just as awestruck and who are just as captured by her music and the glamour…and there are some there who were like me who feel lonely and who feel a little lost and some who feel utterly lost.

And there is a weight on Taylor and on our other Creatives…they are bringing us music and light and an escape.
Sometimes they are just bringing noise. Sometimes the Creatives are just as lonely and lost as the rest of us, and they don’t even know they have they are walking billboards, Image Bearers of the Creator. Lord have mercy on the Miley’s and others.

Sometimes, though…they carry a screaming arena away from their worries and brokenness of the world for an evening and let them be caught up in music and delight.

Sometimes…they go beyond even that and help us to encounter the One who Created all. The One who made the color green….