Monday, October 1, 2012

threadbare. a coming together.


thread·bare/ˈTHredˌbe(ə)r/

Adjective:
  1. (of cloth, clothing, or soft furnishings) Becoming thin and tattered with age.
  2. Overused to the point of being worn out.


There are a great many things in this world that can cause a mama to feel a little worn down, a little too tired, a little over done. You ever get to a place of feeling a little threadbare?

I do.

It is in those times that I know I must rely on God - I know I must fall to my knees, already pained and pants worn too thin from work, from friction, from overuse. It is in those times where I know He wants me there, close to the ground, eyes awash in tears, face upturned and my all focused on Him.

I have been on my knees a lot these days.
But not all in heavy or painful ways. It is also where I am closer to my children's sweet faces - where I can look directly into their eyes, and show them a small piece of the immense love I have for them. It is but a speck, but it is something I can do.

It is where I can fall, overwhelmed with joy, to give my all in expressing my thanks for the blessings I have had poured out upon me. These children, this Man, our lives and growth and journey together. My past. My beginnings. My present, my future. Our future.

There are scary things to consider in all that lies ahead of us, as I'm sure there are when anyone is undertaking a new venture, breaking new ground. You don't know what can or will be unearthed, or what will be pulled out of dark places when soil is tilled and darkness is brought into the light.

I have a great many fears.

My fears on birthing a new baby, bringing another wee one home, or having him at home, a fifth child, when we already feel parched and thin and tired and worn...

My fears on making ends meet every month, keeping hungry bellies fed with mounting bills and meager paycheques and the strain of normal. everyday. life.

My fears on adoption.

We won't be approved.
We won't have enough money.
We will not be able to adopt.

My fear that my heart will forever pine and ache and swell and break for all. the. children. lonely. crying. fatherless. motherless. waiting. 

dying. dying while they wait, alone. abandoned.

My fears on a new life adventure (of which I am not at liberty to share, just yet - but just know it first involves a boatload of prayer, bountiful blessings and God's grace overflowing. out. everywhere.

and not without a truckload of hard work. worn out hands, hearts, knees, and parched souls. )...

Oh, Father. Take it. All of it. Take me.
Break me. Use me. Fill me.

In the meantime, a dear friend and I have been called into an (in)couraging role, part of the (in)courage community - a role in which I have these fears prayed over and which I relinquish control of them, and of it all, to my Father in heaven who yearns for me to let it go on bended knee - as He (and we!) long for you to do, too. This is also something I can do. We call ourselves Threadbare Mommas and you can find us, join us, seek and provide support for other mommas feeling a little worn, a little threadbare, like we want to do for you.


We are Laura and Jen. We are so glad you’re here.
There are ten children between us (so far). We are grateful for our once-a-week shower. We live for Jesus, coffee, our bunches of noisy kids and have hearts for those who are sharing in the joys and struggles of motherhood, all while learning to deal with stepping out with dirty hair, less than perfect lives - and yet we wouldn’t change a thing.
Learning to be grace-full with ourselves, our children and our husbands. We come from places of brokenness, use (and overuse), the dirty, real-life mommas who spend our days kneeling: to kiss away tears, to wipe spills, and to pray, begging for Spirit life when our bodies and minds are exhausted.
Sound familiar? Good. You are among friends here.
We long to {in}courage, to open our arms to sisters like us, who struggle with the day to day – who long to be perfect moms – who live with the wonderful and challenging joys of life with blended families (steps, adoption, foster) whose children have special needs (attachment, developmental, mental health) and who span from the stretching-belly or stretching heart almost-born to the stretching teenage years. We are growing in grace, (and hopefully wisdom) and would delight in others to join our journey with us. You don’t have to do anythingbut know you can reach out when you’re hanging by a thread – and we can help you find the joy there.
Blog: http://threadbaremommas.com We will have posts specifically for this group, and posts will be up about every 3 weeks, provided we are not completely threadbare ourselves. This is why we will tag-team, pray, and {in}courage one another, also. These will be an attempt to share with you OURselves, and how God has brought us through moments when we could.not.go.on.
Instagram: We want to see photos of you and your children and your day to day life – struggles and joys. Use the tag #threadbaremommas so we can find each other.
Twitter: Use the tag #threadbare so we can all walk together. You can follow us via our personal twitter accounts: @scatteredgraces and @lauraluyt,
and @threadbaremomma.
In His grip, overjoyed you are here,
Jen and Laura






Friday, August 24, 2012

prayer in troubled times.

absence.
turmoil.
so much on my heart, on my mind.

I always try to wrestle through it, pray through it, and find some semblance of sense, of completion, of a solution before I pour it out here.

and as of yet, I have not come to any of those blessed places.



my heart is heavy.

I miss my sister.

I feel judged, my husband, my sweetheart, my best friend who struggles hard in this role on his bad days - he is judged, has been accused, carries an ugly, heavy, cross.

A cross that is not his to bear.




my heart aches for a waiting child who had not yet been formed in his or her mother's womb, somewhere out there, a child who God has called my sweet Man and I to bring home. I find peace in knowing this child has not been conceived, that this child knows no pain, no loss, no sorrow, no abandonment. Yet.

My heart still aches, nonetheless.
and my hearts burns and aches and is burdened so deeply for the leagues of children,

beautiful, precious children who were created, born, and left.

and we have so much.
and all they are waiting for is loving arms, food, love, a momma and a daddy.
but there is so much pride, so much selfishness here. it's too expensive. I couldn't handle a special-needs child. I don't want a child with special needs. No, God, NO.


and so I pray. and cry. and wait.

I have a dancing baby boy in my belly. A precious boy who already has a cradle in our room, close to our bed, close to our hearts, and a cupboard full of tiny clothes that his 3 brothers wore on their precious newborn bodies. A boy who already has a name - Otto Ezekiel. I am so in love, and yet so intimidated - again - as I prepare for the labor, the birth, the life of another little one joining us.

God, thank you. Walk with us, as we do our best and fail every day at walking with You. Thank you for Your grace, Your forgiveness, Your light, and love.




God is doing a work in our home. whether to homeschool this fall again - or not.
Praying.

God is doing a work in my Man's heart and spirit. This work was started before my spirit was ever known to Joel - and it is a thing of beauty to behold, as Jesus strips away the scales, the pain, the deceit and hurt this Man has experienced - and to be witness to the beauty beneath, the glory of God's grace and revealing the joys and blessings he has been given by his mother giving birth to him, his father - his hero on earth - raising him and loving him, and showing him what a man and father and sacrifice look like.



God is so good. Life is hard, life is painful, but God is good.

Seeing my husband, my partner, my best friend have the gloriousness of love wash him, cleanse him, and renew his spirit - I am not fit for the likes of this. I too, am sinful, am carrying armour and judgement and behaviours not fitting for a daughter of the King... but God chose me to be by this man's side. And God chose him to be by my side.

and here we are, with our growing family. our hearts. our home.

we are blessed in so many ways.
and we need so much more.

So I have no choice but to carry the cross with him that people who are also trying to walk in the light of Christ have laid on his back. It's weight digs deep into my flesh, tears me open and wounds me daily.  I cringe beneath the weight of it. I bear it somewhat silently, with much less grace than my Lord. I am unsure, daily, of how to ask for His help in carrying it, too -



and yet know in the depths of my being that He is waiting for me, for us, to drop it, and lay it at His feet because He desperately wants to carry it for us.

and so I pray.
I pray for the accusers.
I pray for my Man,
I pray for myself.
I pray for bigger problems than these, I pray for God to continue breaking my heart for what breaks His, and it sickens me to be weighted by something as trivial as this - when there are children dying - abandoned, and Christians sit back and judge and point fingers and sit on their self-righteous thrones and throw stones.
I pray for guidance, for wisdom, for peace, for patience. for love.

above all, I pray for forgiveness. For them.
God, help us.

amen.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

on having it all together.

Do you ever wonder about those women who seem like they have it all together?
Do you have it all together?


I don't.


I'm not supposed to have it all together. And guess what? Neither are you.


If you are sensationally organized, joyful, full of love for your family and have no idea what I'm talking about--bless you. Bless you in your wisdom. Pray for us who aren't as far down the road yet.


Somehow there's a sense that as women, as mothers, as wives, we need to know that we aren't the only ones who don't have it all together. We need to hear it, read it, see it, or realize that someone else also doesn't have it all together just to validate that, in fact--having it all together is a myth, a fictional un-reality, and a home-wrecker. Or heart-wrecker, depending on your perspective. 


Sisters? I am here to validate you today. Nobody has it all togetherI don't know anyone who really has it all together when they have young children underfoot, or are being really honest. Even the ones I think have their lives beautifully organized, their faith is to be admired, they are active in community, their homes are clean and beautiful, their children (young or grown) are well-mannered, well-spoken, well-dressed, and their marriages are a thing of beauty--those women will still speak of struggle, of strife in other areas, of trials and hard days.


There. Lay it down. Put up your feet, grab a cup of coffee, and sit back. 


Now let it go.


Wee Egan, practicing the art of relaxation--circa 2006


I think the truth in it is that we are supposed to love ourselves.
"Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth. It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders all bitterness sweet and acceptable." --Thomas A. Kempis
Of course we are called to love Jesus first, and love one another--but we cannot forget the wisdom and grace in extending that same love to ourselves. 
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. --1 Corinthians 13:7 


I sat here this morning, the dawn of a very special boy's second birthday in our house, and wanted to send something profound and articulate out to the world. In this attempt, I realized how love has completely and wholly changed me. I never knew this kind of love existed. I thought I did, but once Amos smiled and giggled his way into my heart two years ago--extra chromosome and all--I realized I knew nothing. And Jesus gently and lovingly took me by the hand and showed me the real love He had for me, for Joel, for this child--for all of us, and the love I was to grace on others.


I fail miserably many days. 


But that doesn't mean I don't extend myself some grace and forgiveness and get up and try, try again.


It doesn't mean I need to have it all together. No way.
But it does mean I need to lean hard onto Him--and allow His love to flow through me, onto others, and onto myself, imperfections and all.


I pray we all learn and experience that real, true love--the love that covers all wrongs, is patient, kind, and never fails.


I'm off to cuddle a sweet fresh two-year-old boy and a trio of other sweet babes with little feet in my house. 


Our hard working, joy-filled, two-year-old helper.


Jacob just woke up and joined me at the desk. I reminded him today is Amos's birthday--and he replied in sheer perfection, 
"Awesome. Is he two?"
Yes, Jacob, he's two today! 
(whispered) "Awesome. I gotta go see him. I can't talk to you right now."

Us--in the wedding photo booth. Perfection.


Awesome. Can't talk right now. Enjoy your day. Love yourself. xo

Friday, May 18, 2012

friday/flower/love.



Just popping in quick-like this beautiful Friday morn.
My hair is full of color to keep the gray roots at bay, my desk littered with supplies to work with flowers for the Hubs' baby brother's wedding tomorrow... our home filled with family guests from across the country, here to witness the sharing of vows.


I am so honored to be bundling flowers, tying them with ribbon, love, hope and whispered prayers. 


Floral inspiration.

                       
























There is such a reverence in preparing for a wedding. The act of dressing for the day, the choices, the preparation of body, mind, and spirit. The deep breaths, the eventual walk up the aisle. The prayers, the tears, the butterflies. The joy. 


The love.


I've been working on a very simple study of 1 Corinthians 13 this week, part of a group I belong to called Hello Mornings. So this morning was very fitting to be up before my family, coffee in hand, thanking our Creator for life and love; and rejoicing in the joining of two young lives in one more sleep.

1 Corinthians 13

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Way of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.
 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


Much love to you, Aaron & Kaiti. So proud. Love one another. Be joyful with one another. Serve each other selflessly. Hang on tight to that sparkly love you have for one another right now--you never know when you might need to pull it out to light the way through darker times.


Now I'm off to shower, pick up flowers, and start a day anew. 


Blessings to you this beautiful May long weekend.







Thursday, April 26, 2012

a mixed bag.

This is hard. I started this post April 7th. It is now April 26th. Sigh. I've got a lot goin' on.

When I started this post, I said "We are moving in less than two weeks. Our house looks like this." And interestingly enough, now that we actually have moved, our new house looks very much the same.

photo credit - I had my own photo of boxes and chaos but somehow cannot find the memory card it is on... chaos, I tell you.

It paralyzes me, the piles of boxes and things that don't get put away why? because we gotta pack it anyway and the clutter that piles up and the endless list of things to do that just never seem to get done.

It's silly, really, but I can be heard saying I am paralyzed.
And I literally feel like I can't move.
It really is all in my head. I just need to bust through.

I had a mad dash get-things-done-a-thon awhile ago, and I tackled and completed many things on a running to-do list in my head that had been nagging at me for some time. I have a series of posts flitting around in my head pertaining to said things on my crazy to do list. Soon.

I made piles and piles of lists to get organized and in preparation for our move--I listed all of the black and heavy pieces of furniture we own (from sunnier house days) and made plans to paint them white. And pale turquoise. I am excited for the work.

But I am even more excited for the reveal.

I patched walls in the old house, preparing for the new family who will live here. I was on a roll. I was knitting more scarves for our adoption fundraiser, packaging items up to send to people, selling items we no longer need and thriving on the overall scaling-down that inevitably comes when you move house. I love that.

I recovered a pair of antique chairs I picked up for $30 for our new front room.
I began a slipcover for our sofa for the new front room... and was already laying out furniture in new rooms in our house in my head. We have already moved the waiting-to-be-painted things over to the new house. The plan was I would sneak over there with coffee and brushes and cans and sprayers sans kiddos and turn up some music and dance and paint the day away. (And I have painted many of them--but NONE of them are done. Spent two full days at the new house, painting painting painting, 18 pieces of furniture white white white... and they all require more than 2 coats, more than 3 coats... so it is   t i m e  c o n s u m i n g   to say the least).

In the middle of all of this we had our calendar filling with appointments with another adoption agency to learn more about international adoptions and make the choice about where we'll go through, and appointments to learn about domestic adoptions for the future.

Then one morning, I realized I was late.
Like, an entire day late.

And since I discontinued pumping (breast milk) for Amos at the end of last year, I have been back to my regular pretty much like clockwork self.

If you know me or have been following my blog you know I have a couple dollar-store pregnancy tests kicking' around. Yup, I do. No shame in being wise with money. They're $1.25. And I can speak from my RN experience that they are the exact same kind we use in doctors' offices.

And, drum roll please?

I am pregnant.



For real.

And to be honest? I had thought that over the last nearly two years, over the course of us being introduced to a different idea of family, of children, that blessed little something extra, true unconditional love, and of my body being completely out of whack--I had honestly thought that as I was getting older, God was asking us to grow our family a little differently. I know He still has this calling on our hearts, but what I'm trying to say in a roundabout way is that I thought I was perhaps no longer able to bear children.

And truthfully I was finally at peace with that, two years later--especially being that both Joel and I were feeling called to adopt. My heart is still longing and aching and being called by our child somewhere out there, waiting for us.

But now, this new baby delays our adoption. Here in B.C., we must wait until our youngest child is at least 12 months old in order to even continue the process of adoption. You can't make all the preparations (as I had initially hoped) to have all your ducks in a row so that once your baby turns one you fly and pick up your other new baby. No dice.

So we're looking at November 2013 at the earliest to just start the process again.

...and I don't want to seem ungrateful--because I am not. I am thrilled to be growing another wee precious babe in my belly.

But still, being the mixed bag that it is, I shed tears for the sideways track our car has been pulled down. Does that make sense? Because that baby's voice out there is still calling my heart. And now we have to wait. Can you imagine?

It really is a mixed bag. So incredibly thrilling to know of new life, a new tiny beating heart as cells are pulled into their specific places and eyes and ears are beginning to form and this new little one is beginning to hear us, their family, their mama and daddy already. Oh, the sheer joy.

But as a mama, my heart is pulled, and called over there, too. And for those babies, those children, those teenagers, I ache. My spirit groans. My heart is stretched and yearning... and aching and groaning some more. And the tears? Sisters? They be fallin'. Unabashedly.

Today I watched a little video of a sweet little girl with Down syndrome dancing to music, and I burst into tears. So much joy as her little movements are so familiar, she reminds me so much of Amos, and yet so much pain as there is a little one in my heart waiting to call me mama just as there is a little one in my womb waiting to call me mama.

Oh, my babes.
Oh, my Father in heaven. Thank You for the gentle and constant way You cradle all of us in the palm of  Your hand.


And again, I trust in Your perfect timing.

I just have to be honest and say that it is a heavy load for a mama's heart. All these littler, trusting, tiny hearts. Such precious little people, and I can't run to each one and save them.

There's another sweet side to the mixed bag, though. We now have loads more time to fundraise, to advocate, to prepare, and to plan, and to pray.

In the meantime, we will move house, finish the year of homeschooling, and watch my belly grow. We get to see what another beautiful baby will look like--what a glorious day! 

I feel so blessed that God would bless us with another child; and I feel so undeserving. To speak to His timing--this news comes right at a time when we were praying for direction in our lives following what I can only call attacks from well-meaning overly zealous religious people.

We prayed for direction, and God reached into my womb and planted new life. 

That's some pretty clear direction.

Jesus, I trust You.

So for now? I post from a perch that is uncomfortably high at our new kitchen counter, swimming in a sea of boxes and a garage full of semi-painted furniture that the contents of said boxes are waiting to be placed in and upon... and so we wait. For several things. A new baby, unpacked home, clean bright new looking furniture, and our other babe waiting somewhere in the world. I still hear you in my heart, little one.

It's a mixed bag, all around. Joy and pain, patience and reward. Balance of it all, and tipping the scales many days. We wait.




Thursday, March 22, 2012

on my mind.

Just a quick post tonight. Yesterday was March 21st. 3/21, otherwise known as World Down Syndrome Day. 3/21 -- for three copies of the  21st chromosome. It was on my mind most of the day, and I was wishing we had planned some sort of celebration in honor of how much that tiny little extra chromosome has changed our lives, for the better. I couldn't have said it any better than this:

Right now, I am thinking that Down syndrome is the best thing that ever happened to our family. It is amazing what can happen when you open your eyes to the world around you. It is amazing to be afraid--to feel it, to acknowledge it, to face it head on. And oh, Good Lord, is it ever amazing to be transformed by love in a way that awakens parts of you that needed to come alive. -- Kelle Hampton, 3/21, 2012

So next year, dude? We're gonna rock it. I can't not rock it. This little chromosome has completely and utterly transformed me, helped me to see everyone as God sees us, as we are supposed to see--that there is beauty and light everywhere, that although there is still fear and uncertainty at times, it is outshone by the sheer volume of joy that pours forth from the love in and of these people.

If you are a local family, mama, friend, daddy, sister, brother, and so on... wanna join us next year? And we'll do up a beach celebration? Or a backyard lit with sparkles and eyes shining into the evening, and hot coffee and cold drinks on the porch as we relish the joy and beauty in all of us? Or a walk, hand in hand, arms linked, as we march to the beat of our hearts full of love?

It's gonna happen. I can do this. It's on my mind. And what can one person do? How about one small group of people?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead


It doesn't take long to look around the world in which we live to see that there still many areas that need change. I want to be a part of the change. Let's set our calendars for next year, would you? March 21st, 2013. You and me, and whomever else will join us. 



i want to THINK again of DANGEROUS and NOBLE THINGS i want to be LIGHT and FROLICSOME i want to be IMPROBABLE BEAUTIFUL and afraid of NOTHING as though i had WINGS. -- Mary Oliver



For the love, let's change the world.






Saturday, March 17, 2012

a new season.


 

Last summer, I was in the thick of helping our friends plan their wedding. It was a both a joyful and exhausting process, scouring through scads of photos of flowers, decor ideas, and inspiration and ideas to best represent this unique and lovely young couple as they prepare to make their life and love vows to one another.

Now this spring? I am having a little more fun with being so graciously invited to do the flowers for my baby bro-in-law's wedding to a very lovely girl.
A lovely girl whom I am ever so excited to call sister for the rest of our days. 

More fun? Why? Pinterest. Pinterest is one of those sites that is a bit confusing at first, and then once you figure it out--it's like fireworks start exploding in your head with all of the possibilities.

I'm not going to post anything about the upcoming wedding planning yet... but I am in the thick of a new season for ideas for our new home.

Here is some of the eye candy I have been sifting through - eye candy that tickles the fancy of this stay-at-home-mama Registered Nurse who kinda also always wanted to either a) be a clothing, interior, art, everything designer b) open a coffee shop c) be a carpenter or d) go back to school for a midwifery or med school. Brooaaaaad interests, I know. All that aside, here are some of my thoughts, captured on Pinterest.

Front and Back Entrance Ideas

           



Living Room

You know that awkward cubby hole above a fireplace? Where you're forced to put a tv? Or awkwardly placed pieces of art most of us don't readily own? Well, I googled repurposing awkward tv cubby above fireplace - and this was my absolute fave. Score! Bonus points for the fact that this room has nearly the exact layout of our new front living room when you walk in the front door. (minus that couch right in front of the photographer). My apologies for the poor-quality photograph.

See? Works for me.
DIY--the look of wainscoting. Yes, please. This is already half done in the new house.

 

Kitchen

Most of these kitchens are far more extravagant than ours, but I just love the look of the bright cabinets, and the old-fashioned colours of pale blue and milky, minty green.

Mmm. Pantry door. Old, mixed with new. l.o.v.e.


Home Office

Love this idea of tucking it into a closet. So pretty. Not sure where this will be set up in the new house yet, main floor, downstairs, our room? I'm not a fan of having the computer space in the bedroom, but we'll cross this bridge when we get to it.


Going Upstairs


 Master Bedroom



Amos's Room

I don't really have much I want to change about the baby room--I just love this picture from Pottery Barn.


Egan's Room




Isaac and Jacob's Room


 

  

Downstairs Family Room

I. Love. This.

I just saved these to my computer over the last several months, and as such don't have the credits to whom they belong. My bad. My apologies to the photographers and whomever the credit belongs. If you recognize your photo here, please let me know and I am more than happy to give you the credit you deserve. 

Don't have an invitation to Pinterest, and want one? Email me at lauraluyt@gmail.com... and then follow me: lauraluyt. Happy pinning!

Happy weekend!
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