Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Favorite Part of the Day

A flashback to 2008, engaged but just barely

I used to be a morning person.

It was so much a part of my identity that it has probably been healthy to let it go.

But, oh the glory of those sweet mornings.  In college, I would get up and journal on the hard-as-a-rock futon in the corner of my room, looking out of those big Mayfield windows down to the intramural fields below.  In our pre-baby marriage days, I made the coffee for one and sat on our huge ugly chair which made up for its homeliness by being the perfect size and squishiness.

Now I sleep until Anna sleeps, which most days, rings right at 8 am.  I'm a lady of leisure now, what can I say?

I miss being an early bird.  I am sure some day when I'm not waking up multiple times a night it shall return.  For now, my new favorite part of the day is 5:15 p.m.  After 5, I strategically plant myself in the kitchen, the best perspective from which to catch a certain tan blur out the kitchen window.  When the Honda Civic pulls into the carport, the ladies of ye old bungalow rejoice.

Even if Anna and I have had an incredible, fuss-free (me, she's never fussy) day together, there is just something about knowing that he is home.  My friend, my love.  We've never done this before, this all day office job gig. 8 hours is a long time!  For 8 hours, I have no one to tell my lame jokes to.  Thank heavens for texting.  I'm always afraid that I am going to accidentally send my Aaron texts to the wrong person - not because they are scandalous (sometimes they are) but mostly because they are just so...weird.

He gets me.  He gets my weird self.

And we are doing this thing together.  This crazy ride of parenting.  This tough road of being Christ-followers.  This NEVER-ENDING project of house renovation.  (I'm being dramatic about that one. All-caps release some of my stress.)  For better.  For worse.  We promised.  There have been days when the promise has been a thin thread strung between two hard hearts, but it stays.

The artist Sleeping At Last sings a song with this chorus,

May the years we're here be kind, be kind
May our hearts like doors open wide, open wide
Settle our bones like wood over time, over time
Give us bread, give us salt, give us wine

When he walks in that door at 5:15, I think of these words.  Here we are, in this little creaky home that we are slowly making our own, and there is no one else that I want to do any of this with.

It is he who will get all my years, and I pray they will be kind.
It is to him first that I will open my heart wide, and then together, we will fling open the doors and invite in friends and neighbors.
It is with him that these bones will age and ache, and the creak of our joints will be the song of the long direction.
And when the table is full or when the cupboards echo with emptiness, it is he and I that will kneel at the feet of the One who opens His hand to satisfy the hungry.

I love you, Aaron.  To all that's ahead, I raise the glass.  To every 5:15 and to the man who brings such joy with one turn of the knob.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Contentment Diaries: Volume One

It has been printed on my mind today, that verse from Hebrews 13.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  

I ache to live a content life.

So I looked around my life today.  Contentment breeds contentment, you know?  The genetic strain stays true - discontent will never birth content.

These cheeks.  So soft and so so very chubby.  Precious beyond words to me.   Her new thing of late is to arch her back and lurch away from me when I am holding her.  She's dipping her foot in the puddle of independence.  Seven months lingers days away, and she is growing big.  I kiss those cheeks, and for now, I pull her in close when she threatens to nosedive from my arms.  Can't get enough of her.

Vegetables to be made into spaghetti sauce.  Is our God not amazing and creative beyond our comprehension?  I love food. I love good food.  I love that God said, "Yes, carrots will be orange and long, and I will give tomatoes a thin skin to wrap up juice and flavor taut, and garlic will be a bulb covered in paper hiding sections like a surprise."

Seedlings that will be tall and fruitful.  Gardening is my jam, y'all!  Anna and I are going to spend many days outside this summer, and I will figure out a way to keep her from eating all the leaves and grass.  Or maybe I'll just let her roam.  A free-range baby, if you will.  Surely thousands of babies have eaten leaves and grass and lived to tell the story.

This is my story.  Goodness and mercy following me all the days of my life, yes.  My gracious.

My friends, how do you foster contentment?  Share with me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

His Presence is My Wealth

It feels like there is never enough money for everything, right?

I am guessing that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett don't read my blog, so I think it is a pretty safe assumption that most of y'all at some time or another are with me on this:

I wish we had more money.  

Lately, I've been especially petulant about our seeming lack of money.  Aaron is passionate about the Dave Ramsey cash envelope system, which means that the cash goes in the envelope at the beginning of the month, and the cash is all there is.  Theoretically.  :)  I am slightly less passionate about Dave Ramsey and his little system.  Can you tell?

Right now, the envelope says I can't buy

-more cloth diapers to replace some hand-me-downs
-a camera since I lost ours, and Aaron's phone camera is with him at work during the day
-some cute JCrew spring clothes
-a plane ticket to see a friend who is moving overseas in the fall

And you know what?  It makes me mad!  Late last night, I was fumbling through replacing the elastic on some of the old cloth diapers, and it was going pretty well, and I wasn't feeling as resentful that I couldn't just buy new ones...and then I CUT THE NEW ELASTIC THAT I HAD ALREADY REPLACED BECAUSE I THOUGHT I WAS WORKING ON THE OTHER (UNREPLACED) SIDE.

You can guess how I felt in that moment about our cash envelopes and Dave Ramsey.  I was ready to run out of the house with my debit card and empty the Walmart shelves of their Huggies inventory.

Then there are the big things we're saving for, which is why we have the envelope system in the first place.  Those things feel so very big compared to what we are able to add to savings each month, and I stew over how we'll never be able to afford a bigger car or visit my sister ever again. 

It's not a fun place to live, this dollars and cents state of mind in which bitterness and anger freely ferment.

This morning, I spent some time asking the Lord to change me.  I read an excerpt from one of Corrie Ten Boom's books in which she notes that "the realm of the wisdom of the wise is in conflict with the kingdom of God's foolishness.  Man's wisdom is found by sense knowledge - feeling, seeing, reasoning - but faith knowledge is in the greater dimension of God's foolishness."

There is no doubt that I have been viewing our money through the lens of the world.  The world would say that I need all the things on my list, that I am entitled to them, that I should spend all my waking hours thinking about money and how to get more, because what else is there in this life but the comfort and pleasure and status that money can buy?  But the Lord, He says crazy things to that.

"Your house full of stuff?  In one minute, a fire or a thief can destroy all of it.  Invest in the treasure of heaven." (Matthew 6:20-21)

"What good would it be for you to have all the diapers, all the clothes, all the trips, all the savings and not Me?" (Mark 8:36)

"I, not your bank account, will supply all your needs." (Philippians 4:19)

"Stop loving money!  Look around you and be blessed with what you have, for I am always with you.  I'm not leaving." (Hebrews 13:5)

The wisdom of God is that we don't need anything else but Him.  Now that really sounds bonkers. It is total and utter foolishness to the world.

But that is where I yearn to live.  Not here, with my Scrooge spectacles on, ledger in hand and purse clutched tight.  But there, where He has promised to provide, and more than that, He has promised to never leave me, to never forsake me.

Oh Jesus, lead me to the place where instead of saying "there is never enough money" I can say,

"There is always more than enough of You."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Have a Problem

Aaron and I live in a perpetual state of married bliss.  Our life is just one big happy selfie.

I'm sorry.  I just lied to you on a public forum.

Sometimes, I am incredibly hateful to the person I have promised to love better than myself for all of my life.

Last night, this syndrome was at its peak.  It was one of those nights where Aaron could do nothing right - poor man.  A few snippets of things I actually said to him:

"Ugh, so now you are going to be checking basketball stuff every day and watching games all the time."  (Hello, March Madness.)

"Can you not talk to me right now?"

"Why don't you take Maggie out?"  (This is as he is putting a second coat of polyurethane on our staircase, which he has worked on tirelessly for the last week.)

"Are you BREATHING right now?  Because that is really annoying!"  (This was said a little tongue-in-cheek because I knew how ridiculous I was being, but I still was sort of annoyed as his audacity to breathe.)

This morning, as I sat still and silent, all the junk of last night came back to my mind.  Am I really that person?  How am I that person?  The black of my heart had stained our home and the heart of the man that I love.  My careless words were spoken freely because everyone is allowed a few grumpy days, right?  Ugly ooze, spilled with such ease.  I look at the piles of gross, and I despair.

In His Word, He comes.  His Spirit awakens and shocks my heart with truth and grace.  "Jesus, who went before us," Hebrews 6 says.  Jesus has gone ahead of me - He has already experienced every difficult nuance of loving people. And He did it perfectly and completely.  That isn't all, Hebrews 7 declares.  He is also the "holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens" high priest!  To the weak man, to the weak cycle of sin then sacrifice, sin then sacrifice, He says, "Enough.  I am the perfect and complete sacrifice.  And I am able to save you completely."  

This isn't abstract theology, embalmed in ancient and dusty manuscripts.  This is hope and life for a wife who fails and falters and falls, whose good intentions go missing all the time, who lets a weary day of dirty diapers and barking dog get the best of her tongue.

The Son, who has been made perfect forever, is my perfection.  He has promised to put his law in my mind and write it on my heart.

I come to Him again.  There is no shame in how often I need to come, the repeated desperation.   Where else could I go?  I come to the Son, and He says,

"for I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."  (Heb 8:12)

I can't solve this problem.  But He can.

That is the beauty of the Gospel.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Eating...a yummy salad with spinach, salami, kalamata olives, avocado, tomato, and parmesan.  Aaron hates olives, so I have to sneak them in when I'm alone.

Dreaming...of the garden we will plant soon.  Seeds are tucked away in darkness to germinate and our ground is freshly tilled. sister and her family.  Skype is a great gift, but flesh and bone are the greatest gift.

Praying...for our sweet friends who are experiencing a deep loss. Valentine's Day dustbuster from Aaron.  First, when did I become the kind of person that asks for a dustbuster for Valentine's Day?  Second, how did I live so long without one? Anna tries new foods and adores them all!  Avocado, sweet potato, oatmeal, banana, egg yolk - our girl just likes to eat.

Wishing...I hadn't lost our camera!  I remember having it at the airport two weeks ago when my sister left, and now it is nowhere to be found.  Big bummer.

Wondering...which diaper sprayer to buy.  Did you know there are loads of diaper sprayer options?  Anybody with a diaper sprayer care to weigh in?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

North and South Again

Aaron's job requires him to travel here and there.  A couple of weeks ago, he said, "Do you want to go with me to Columbia in March, and we can stay in a cool hotel?"  And I said, "Um, YES!"

But then the day came to leave, and I was on the fence.  I had so much to do here at home - ALL THE IMPORTANT THINGS - and Anna's naps would get all wonky and we'd have to hire someone to take care of Maggie and yadi yadi yadi.

I went.

I'm so glad I did.  

As much as I am a homebody, I need an occasional change of scenery.  My soul is happily contained within these plaster walls, but there is something about travel - even if it's just two hours upstate - that makes me feel cartwheelish.  That's an adjective now.  

Anna and I wandered about for two days while Aaron worked, and it was so fun.  Y'all, I ran out of things to look at in Target!  That has happened in the history of Lara Weaver...never.  My sweet little chubby girl can sit in the cart now which frees up my arms to put all kinds of random things in there with her.  Of course, an hour later we circled back around to put them back on the shelves.  It was like free shopping! In a different town the next day, we walked blocks of historic old homes and popped into a little antique store complete with a tea room in the belly of the booths.  Apple pie and Constant Comment next to an old man who says, "Is that a boy baby or a girl baby?  I'm gonna guess boy baby."  That's a moment.

Our hotel in Boonville was old and beautiful, the kind of place where every detail leaves you heavy with satisfaction and delight.  Thick molding, curved doors, transom windows, rich colors. Our new home doesn't feel beautiful to me yet.  It's functional and the essential items are unpacked, but it's not lovely.  In time, it will be.  As Anna napped in the bathroom, I sat and soaked in the beauty of that green room.  It was a feast.  I journaled and read magazines, and doggone it, you guys!  That old man in the April Country Living made me want to move to the country and garden all day.  I could hardly stand it.

Tonight, we're home.  The dishes and the dog and the urge to do something productive during naptime haven't gone anywhere, but I have, and I am glad I have left them.  I've come back full.