Tag Archives: fullness

Today: Heather and Her Beautiful Family

Our friendship really took off when we went to Mazatlan several years ago, Heather and I. Little did we know that one short-term mission trip to Mexico would spur a dozen or so more, shaping the contours of our lives for several years. Little did we know that the ongoing planning of those trips would lead to the ever-growing constancy of a friendship needed and wanted.

Now Heather is one of my best friends. Then she someone I knew slightly and admired. Then she was pregnant with her sixth child. Now Emily is five years old. Heather and her husband, Lee, both turned 40 this year. I took some photographs to be a part of their birthday gift. It’s still a work in progress.

This morning on my run I found myself thinking about Heather and Lee and their family and wanted to write some words about them. The world needs families shaped by moms and dads like these two. They love well: each other and their kids. They parent uniquely. They believe the best about their kids and are unapologetic about calling that out of them. They’re not concerned with convention or status quo; they are concerned about relationship and raising whole children.

I can’t help but think when God dreamed up marriage and family as an answer to the it’s not good for man to be alone problem, he envisioned a family like this one. They are not perfect; but they are beautifully human and life is celebrated and love is the greatest wealth in their inheritance.

In their house there is real food and family around the table at meals. There is laughter spilling from the piano room and filling the whole house as the girls write a song. There are piles of worn books beside a television that I’ve never seen turned on. There are smiles and there are hugs. There is listening. There is learning It’s not that there aren’t fights or disagreements, but when they happen, apologies are the norm and trust is rebuilt. Little children are not intimidated into proper behavior, and older children’s dreams and desires are valued and discussed. It’s not always possible to do everything, but it is always possible to see a child, right where they are and meet them. I think this is the gift Lee and Heather give their kids: they are fully present parents. It’s not that they are perfect, but it is that they choose to show up, time and again. They choose each other. They choose their kids. And then they find ways to choose others too.

In the midst of all this kid-loving, life-celebrating goodness, Heather and Lee both pursue interest and passions of their own too. If your life is focused on the others around you, somehow time finds ways to stretch and make room for music lessons and long runs and date nights. I don’t know how it works, but it does. I think some intentionality might be required and some help from a God who’s way is to discipline the ones he loves. Because in so living, fullness is found.

When I spend time with Heather, I’m reminded that people are gifts and that some of life’s greatest treasures and most beautiful moments are found- and shared- when you encounter someone who lives fully and entrusts and empowers others to do the same. This is the way Lee and Heather illustrate love and life and friendship and family and beauty to their kids and to the world.

I thought about this today and thanked God for my friends. I wanted to write this down to remember and to share, because when you realize you’ve recognized something beautiful you want others to see as well. Because lives like these? They make me hope in a world where families struggle and break all too often. Lives like these are beacons of something different, something more.

They compel hunger while illustrating the way to living full. I love that.

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today: listed subtle shifts

“The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.”
p 14, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

It’s subtle shifts, oftentimes, that are the ones that lead to fullness.

Reduced caffeine leads to increased energy and better, easier to attain sleep.

A commitment to earlier bedtime results in actually getting up when the alarm goes off. And walking the dog most mornings. And getting a run in before it’s six thousand degrees. Because once it’s six thousand degrees outside, you melt. True story.

Speaking of running, a shirt soaked in cold water prior to heading out means the first half hour passes before the heat becomes THE HEAT.

A step back- or forward- reframes the photograph and at times takes it from mediocrity to mangnificence.

Reading, for pleasure, just because, inspires. Even if it’s Harry Potter for the fourth time.

Stopping. Smiling. Eye contact. They matter.

So does listening, to God and to others. And when doubting, confess unbelief and ask for help with belief. Jesus takes kindly to that. Every time.

Sometimes “no” has to be said.

The remembering and the learning, they are constants. They produce gratefulness. I think this is a season for simplicity. I don’t have big profound things to say, but in these small moments I feel like I am relearning, time and again, how to really live. And I think these small moments are revising me, preparing me for the next big thing. Whatever that is…

Ah, and hope. Relentlessly.

today: of meandering and picnics

“She glances at the photo, and the pilot light of memory flickers in her eyes.”
-Frank Deford, journalist

This post because I am dating the guy who looks at the weather and realizes one December afternoon would be a magical almost 80 degrees. Said guy happened to be off work, so he headed to the grocery and prepared some food and picked me up along with my hyper-sidekick-of-a-dog. We wandered to find some solitude off the beaten path (that went right past the dog park, confusing aforementioned dog who forgot her confusion the moment we let her off leash in the field where we threw a blanket down). And we were.

I think God smiles at days like that. I know I do.

The end of 2010 was somehow different than past years. Maybe it was just a busy fall or maybe I’ve shifted gears when it comes to personal photographs, but I find myself meandering through December images. The lack of rush to get my own photographs done makes me relive moments deliberately. How I hunger to be so present as I was that day and as I am when pacing myself through photo editing (an unintentional discovery).

I think God smiles at cognition like that. It’s like he knew teach-ability makes us aware and grateful, that coupling producing eagerness to live, ever finding hope for fullness, the pilot light of memory flickering.

today: bellingham? yes, please.

“It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear . . . . It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.”
-Marilyn Ferguson

Everyone, maybe, has places where they should stop and put their feet up for a while. They are places where regrouping is possible. They are home or away from home. They are familiar and foreign. They are safe. They are dangerous. Bellingham is one of my places, because of the people who live here, not so much because of the mountains and the coffee and the parks and the trails and the water and the…

Bellingham already had people, and now some of those people have a new baby girl. I love her. It’s an amazing thing to be around when a family becomes just that, growing from two to three, figuring out what that looks like, adjusting to less sleep and more love. It puts life into perspective to watch the way a little person so radically transforms things. She makes me hope for a bright future. She makes me want things for the world that are bigger and fuller than my selfish ambition. It’s utterly disarming in the most compelling way.

Hanging out with Carla has never been difficult, and adding her little one into the mix only adds value to my life. I love that. I am here to help out, which I may or may not be doing, but we are passing days simply. We eat and sleep. Dishes accumulate then are washed. The laundry never stops. My camera is within arm’s reach at all times. Yesterday we went for a walk, today, another one. We drink copious amounts of coffee. We are passing days simply, but somehow I think this is where God intended us to live: quietly and in community.

God amazes me in the ways He is kind. With all that is going on in my life, I am thankful for this massive change who came in a baby package for Carla and her hubby Johnny. She is reminding me of what matters. It’s people and love and rhythm and peace. I think being in Bellingham is reteaching me to see. The days pass simply, and the fullness is rich. I’m reminded there are things worth holding onto. Thankfully. Fully.